Sunday, January 29, 2017

JANUARY 2017 BONEHED ABSURDITY OF THE MONTH



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1. Mick Mulvaney, Ultra-Conservative South Carolina Congressman. How do you prove you're really the anti-science administration? It’s not enough just to deny climate change or spout anti-evolution slogans—any Republican can do that much. To be a serious member of the anti-science brigade, you need to stop funding research, including medical research.
 
Mulvaney, whom Donald Trump has tapped to be his budget director, has questioned whether the federal government should spend any money on scientific research. He recently delivered his brilliant insights to the flouride-is-a-communist-plot John Birch Society, and for those really craving a flashback to the days of “the AIDS virus does not cause AIDS,” the man who would have his finger on the figures for the nation’s research budgets justified the attack on basic science by questioning the connection between the Zika virus and birth defects.
 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concluded in April that the Zika virus causes microcephaly and other defects. But Mulvaney wrote:
 
“Brazil's microcephaly epidemic continues to pose a mystery -- if Zika is the culprit, why are there no similar epidemics in countries also hit hard by the virus?”
 
The answer is likely one that Mulvaney never even paused to consider—abortion. Brazil was hit first, but as the disease spread to other areas, increased awareness of its effects made detection and treatment more available. 
 
But for those like Mulvaney, who regard all of science as some sort of mystery religion run by a cabal of leftists who only want excuses to steal money from hard-working billionaires and halt the righteous profits that could be made selling DDT, the idea that Zika only caused 1,500 cases of microcephaly is a reason to stop the payments on science.
 

2. Dabo Swinney, Clemson Football Coach. Swinney has received widespread praise for turning the Clemson football program “around” and guiding the Tigers to the national championship. Sports Illustrated spared little in singing his praises in its January 16 issue. Somehow the hero image doesn’t resonate so well with me.
 
The gregarious Swinney is paid about $6 million a year for his services. His overwhelmingly black players, who provided the entertainment on the field, receive a $388/month stipend. This glowing disparity prompted a journalist to ask Swinney about the idea of actually paying players, given the dramatically transformed economic landscape of the game (ESPN paid $7.3 billion to broadcast the college football playoffs), to which he responded:
 
If this happens, “I’ll go do something else because there’s enough entitlement in this world as there is.”
 
To call the desire to end this rank exploitation “entitlement” is Orwellian in the extreme. He might as well write “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” on the locker-room walls.
 
Entitlement? If anyone has expressed an obscene amount of entitlement, it’s Swinney. Here is someone working on a refurbished plantation who makes millions of dollars off the sweat and head injuries of overwhelmingly black, unpaid labor, and yet when asked about the Black Lives Matter movement in September, he said, ”Some of these people need to move to another country.” When asked about players’ protesting during the anthem, he said piously, “It’s so easy to say we have a race problem, but we got a sin problem.” He also stated that his players would be in trouble on his team for exercising this kind of dissent.
 
We do have a sin problem; it’s the sin of Big Power football programs in the heart of Dixie profiting handsomely from the labor of their black players, who not only receive little for their efforts but often find employment doors closed when their leave campus. It’s the sin of white football fans cheering loudly for their overwhelmingly black teams then expresing outrage when African Americans protest for rights denied. The hypocrisy, clulessness and insensitivity of big time football coaches like Swinney is nauseating.
 
3. Rep. Steven King (R-Iowa). On the first day of this Congress, Rep. Steve King of Iowa introduced a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act in its entirety. Preferring not to wait for a replacement, King said in an interview with Robert Siegel:
 
It's my opinion that if we repealed Obamacare and did nothing, we're still far better off. Almost everybody I know would be happier if Obamacare had never been passed and we hadn't made any changes in health care.”
 
“Everybody?” King must be referring to the insurance company CEOs and the billionaires who would see substantial tax cuts from the appeal, certainly not the 20-million Americans who now have access to health care because of the ACA.
 
When asked about the millions who would lose coverage as a result of a repeal without a replacement, King offered this callous response:
 
I think that's a fine and shining ideal, but it wouldn't be my standard. We have about 20 million people that they say would be pushed off of Obamacare if we just repealed it and did nothing. I look at the numbers on the 20 million. It's about 10.8 million that were pushed onto Medicaid, and so I don't really look at Medicaid as a health insurance policy that you own.”
 
On the question of requiring insurance companies to offer coverage to people with prior conditions, King echoed the right-wing’s frank indifference to human suffering:
 
“ . . . If we guarantee people that we will - that there will be a policy issued to them regardless of them not taking the responsibility to buy insurance before they were sick, that's the equivalent of waiting for your house is on fire and then buying property and casualty insurance. And that defeats the insurance concept of it, and it defeats the personal responsibility requirements necessary to have an efficient health care system.”
 
If King’s view is representative on Republican thinking, and he claims it is, then an ultimate replacement, if any, will hardly be “far better and far cheaper” as President Trump promised. It will be far inferior on many scores and given the migration of low-income people to emergency rooms, far more expensive to taxpayers.
 
4. Republican Georgia Commissioner, Tommy Hunter. Hunter, who serves on the Board of Commissioners of Georgia’s Gwinnett County, took to his personal Facebook page to fire some low blows at Rep. John Lewis. Angered by Rep. Lewis saying he doesn’t think Trump is a “legitimate president,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Commissioner Hunter had a few words of his own. The (now hidden) Facebook post read:
 
“John Lewis is a racist pig. There ain’t one political pundit that didn’t say on November 9 that this would be ‘Demoncrat’s EXACT response to Trump winning. Like I heard Rush, I believe say, Democrats DO NOT live in reality. They believe polls were right and THE REAL VOTES were wrong. What a bunch of idiots.”
 
He went on to claim that gerrymandering has kept John Lewis in power, saying “his wins are illegitimate.”
 
Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Gerrymandering has allowed the GOP to stack the deck in state and local elections. The hypocrisy is deafening.
 
5. Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX). After praising President Trump on the House floor for things like his “stamina,” and “conviction,” Rep. Smith criticized the press for, in his view, skipping over the Trump's positive attributes.
 
“No, the national liberal media won’t print that or air it or post it,” Smith said. “Better to get your news directly from the President. In fact, it might be the only way to get the unvarnished truth.”
 
If you were to get the "unvarnished truth" from Donald Trump, a man ever-willing to tell you of his own positive attributes and the various conspiracies arrayed against him intended to sully news of those attributes, you would be under the impression that his inaugural event was the most-attended event ever—but that most of the participants were invisible. You would believe that "three to five million" "illegal" votes had been cast against him in the last election—despite nobody, anywhere, providing any evidence whatsoever for the claim. You would believe Americans in New Jersey celebrated the devastation of 9/11 on their rooftops, that the last president was not a true American, that Donald Trump can determine the guilt or innocence of individual criminals regardless of any evidence presented in any other American venue, that he believes in certain policies and also the precise opposite of those policies, and that he is the fittest, most stamina-filled, smartest, most capable man that ever held office, despite looking like an undercooked lump of bread dough and sounding like a man who has had nine-tenths of his adult vocabulary stolen from him at gunpoint.
 
Sadly this is what it’s come to in America. Partisanship shapes what people regard as truth. No doubt Lamar Smith would never say such a thing about a liberal president; on the contrary, he would denounce (and has) anyone who said a similar thing about someone he objected to. The problem here is not that Donald Trump is a liar, which he obviously is. The problem is that so many people embrace and promote anything he says, and demand it be given credence and attention.
 
6. Donald Trump. (I couldn’t avoid at least one of these.) In January, president-elect Trump horrified every thinking person on the planet when he casually and ignorantly tweeted that the United States needed more “nukes.” The next morning when asked to clarify, Trump doubled-down:
 
“Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass. And outlast them all.”
 
What does this actually mean? We don't know. What kook was he listening to when he suddenly came up with the idea that he, as president, needs more "nukes"? It’s not clear who would likely be in charge of implementing such a plan? Ah, Rick Perry, of course, the guy from Dancing with the Stars; the guy who demonstrated such extreme denseness of mind in his ill-fated run for the presidency.
 
On January 20, the narcissistic, thin-skinned, man-child, Donald J. Trump, and the clueless Rick Perry will indeed be in charge of our nuclear arsenal. Tuck your children in at night with that thought.
_______________________
And the winner is:
 
There are many quality boneheads this month; any one of them would be a worthy winner. In the interest of broadening the base of winners beyond the formal political arena, I’ve decided to select Dabo Swinney as the January winner. Swinney, Nick Sabin, and all other college football coaches who believe the rights of African American football players don’t stretch beyond the gridiron must be called out.


2 comments:

  1. It's hard not to agree on Dabo-the-bonehed. But I note what he denies are "facts." Mulvaney represents the logical extension of the "alt-fact" madness spreading across this country. De-funding public scientific research guarantees the alt-fact generators a free hand. Remember South Africa's indulgence of an "African approach to an African problem" (HIV) and the devastating results. The scale of the consequences that will follow continued rejection of science as just another ideology may represent the most boneheaded moment in human history. Rejecting fact, what other claims are possible? We can win a nuclear war?

    Steve Iverson

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  2. I would have to agree with Anonymous that Mulvaney is the Bonehed Absurdity of the Month. To advocate for the suppression of funding research into discoveries that have had and could have a profound effect on the world and every living thing in it, shows an ideology of extreme willful cruelty. His denial of scientific facts are beyond any semblance of rational thought. An accumulation of over a thousand years of diligent painstaking work has given humans and animals prevention and cures for debilitating diseases. I don't think were concerned with political ideology.
    As for the other candidates they are just mean spirited people.
    Donald Trump is everything that the others are with the addition of being a mentally challenged child in a man's body.

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