Start your Monday with some opinion. Today's anti-science postings are brought to you by the Republican Party.
"The four corners of deceit: government, academia, science and media. Those institutions are now corrupt and exist by virtue of deceit. That's how they promulgate themselves; it is how they prosper." It is tempting to laugh off this and other rhetoric broadcast by Rush Limbaugh, a conservative US radio host, but Limbaugh and similar voices are no laughing matter.
There is a growing anti-science streak on the American right that could have tangible societal and political impacts on many fronts — including regulation of environmental and other issues and stem-cell research. Take the surprise ousting last week of Lisa Murkowski, the incumbent Republican senator for Alaska, by political unknown Joe Miller in the Republican primary for the 2 November midterm congressional elections. Miller, who is backed by the conservative 'Tea Party movement', called his opponent's acknowledgement of the reality of global warming "exhibit 'A' for why she needs to go".
According to the Q-poll, Republicans not only deny global warming, they don't like giving citizenship to children of illegal immigrants and don't think Islam is a peaceful religion.
But voters say 43 - 34 percent that President Obama shares their views of mainstream Islam, with Democrats and independent voters agreeing and Republicans objecting. Voters who believe Islam is a peaceful religion say 75 - 11 percent that Obama shares their belief. Voters who believe Islam encourages violence say 77 - 10 percent that he does not share their views.
Know-nothingism and ignorance lives.
But wait, it gets better. Georges Benjamin (exec director, American Public Health Association) outlines an upcoming Republican effort to gut preventative care:
The new health reform law, and its historic investment in a Prevention and Public Health Fund, moves us away from a costly "sick care" system toward one focused on preventing disease before it occurs and promoting wellness. It is a critical step towards reducing the growing burden of some of the most feared and deadly chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke in our nation.
Yet, Sen. Mike Johanns wants to raid the fund to pay for a small business tax fix. His amendment, which the Senate will consider this Tuesday, would ravage community-based prevention initiatives at the expense of the health and productivity of workers employed by those same companies. Programs such as tobacco cessation and obesity-fighting initiatives would be gutted undercutting efforts to protect worker and community health.
The Johanns amendment is up for a vote Tuesday in the Senate. Gutting preventative care is a bad idea, and moving backwards in terms of real health reform.
More "Senate vs voters" from EJ Dionne:
Now imagine a member of Congress telling a lobbyist from Consolidated Megacorp Inc. that she would do all she could to block an extra $2 billion in an appropriations bill to purchase the company's flawed widgets for the federal government. A week later, television advertisements start appearing in the representative's district portraying her as corrupt, out of touch and in league with lobbyists.
It turns out they are being paid for by Consolidated Megacorp through contributions to a front group called Americans for Clean Government. Shouldn't the voters be able to know who is behind the ads?
This hypothetical tale is not fantasyland, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court's hideous decision this year in the Citizens United case. But with Congress coming back this week, there's a chance to limit the damage the court has caused -- if three moderate Senate Republicans are willing to act.
And with the two above examples, you still think Congressional elections don't matter?
You see, senior American policy figures have repeatedly balked at doing anything about Chinese currency manipulation, at least in part out of fear that the Chinese would stop buying our bonds. Yet in the current environment, Chinese purchases of our bonds don’t help us — they hurt us. The Japanese understand that. Why don’t we?
Why? Because these days, facts are just another commodity to be bought and sold.