August 12, 2013
“Let me define that term, since for their own reasons creationists habitually equate all modern biology with Darwin. Darwinian evolution requires just three components; inheritable variation within a population, competition between its members to survive and reproduce, and a difference in fitness between variants. Fitness, here, is simply the ability to survive and have offspring that are themselves fit. This then leads to the evolution of a population in which the variations that confer fitness have become more common. We now know, as Darwin did not, that the inheritable variation corresponds to differences in genes, and that mutations, arising from gene copying errors, give rise to an ongoing supply of new variations. That’s it.”
There are no mystical elements here. No legends. No need. God is smart.
August 3, 2013
New York Times columnist and economist, Paul Krugman, blogged an essential point the other day (8/1/13). He suggested that,”… the madness of the GOP is the central issue of our time.”
The effect of that madness is that we are not being governed, we’re lurching from one manufactured crisis to another because one of our two parties has shown itself to despise democratic process —a process that requires compromise. All of the major problems that loom before us are not being addressed because the GOP has become a party of petty tyrants whose governing strategy is one of tantrums. The most immediate threat facing us is not violent terrorism or economic stagnation per se, it’s the policy of the GOP, both national and state, to work relentlessly to undermine the nation’s progress because, among other things, the demographic specter that haunts them (the ascendance of people of color in the ranks of voters) has blown their sanity.
As Krugman says, “Right now, if inherent importance were all that mattered, I wouldn’t be writing about the effects of sprawl, or the Fed succession, or even, probably, about China’s brick-wall problem. I would instead be writing all the time about the looming chaos in U.S. governance.”
Monkey-wrench-in-the-works governance is not governance it’s sabotage. If, as politicians and the media love to frame it, we are at war with terror, at war with a failing economy, at war with immigration policy, at war with an ineffective education system, at war with chronic unemployment, at war with environmental threats, at war with a snooping government, then Republican saboteurs are as guilty of aiding and abetting our enemies as much as Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden allegedly are.
Of course we should not be surprised at what Republicans are doing. As the party began showing blatant signs of wooing right-wing extremists and corporations (especially during and since the presidency of Ronald Reagan —the Great Labor Excommunicator) red flags should have been popping all over the place.
Many Republicans, for instance, are proud of having signed Grover Norquist’s pledge never to raise taxes. What this means is that their pledge to protect and defend the constitution was superseded by their pledge to Norquist, a conservative think-tank politician who, besides dreaming up his no-tax pledge famously said, “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.” —a clever turn of phrase until we remember that the government Norquist wants to drown is the one of, by and for the people. It’s the people Norquist and Republicans want to remove from the political equation.
Specifically GOP conservatives (who now control the party) would rather not have the people vote. As we all know people can be pesky, and people who vote can be especially pesky, especially if they’re not the right people. So we’ve heard and seen a lot lately of how Republicans, especially in state legislatures they control, are infecting the electoral process with all sorts of voter suppression viruses. But these moves should, again, not be surprising. They flow from the brain-trust of conservative think-tanks like the Heritage Foundation —and from its religious conservatives co-founder, Paul Weyrich, who 30 years ago unashamedly admitted in a speech at a right-wing conference in Dallas, “I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of the people. They never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”—Right-wing Watch.org, 11/5/12
What’s more the GOP is not coy about its abandonment of the people and its commitment to deregulate everything, to destroy the power of labor and to privatize the public commons. Both Republicans and many Democrats have sold their political souls to big business, to bankers, to Wall Street, but Republicans have gone in whole hog. They are not now the GOP, but the ACP —the American Corporate Party.
This is the kind of counter-the-constitution craziness that Paul Krugman is talking about. The kind that would take a government established for the people and re-establish it as one for some of the people. And, in order to buck the demographic trend that indicates the US will soon have a majority of minorities, will also trash the constitution, will blunt the work of government, both federal and state, will do the work of corporations and not the people, will mire the legislative process in silliness, will obstruct any progress in the hope of gaining political control.
Imagine that —having obstructed and voter-suppressed their way to power, imagine what Republicans would do with the fruits of their manipulation while under corporate or religious control. Imagine.
Writer H.G. Wells said this in his Outline of History, “The feudal state was one in which, it has been said, private law had usurped the place of public law. But rather it is truer that public law had failed and vanished and private law had come in to fill the vacuum.”
As the seditionists of the land —the right, the looney Republican obstructionists— further drown the people’s government in their bathtub, destroying it, killing it, privatizing it, suppressing the vote— the corporate robber barons, the Kochs, the Waltons, the Blankfeins, the Dimons move in with their graft and bribes (sanctioned by the Supreme Court of the United States) to finish it off and finally create the FSA (Feudal States of America).
If that’s the kind of country you want, keep silent, be still and enjoy it.
by Jim Culleny