Republican Primaries

January 9, 2012

It’s interesting watching the primaries from across the pond. To me and almost everyone else in the UK, it’s like a freakshow of Republican loonies who, thankfully, wouldn’t stand a chance of winning an election here, at least not without pretending to be less ridiculously right wing than they are. There are a number of interesting things about elections in such a huge country. I think I quite like the idea of a caucus like they had in Iowa last week, although it’s not really clear to me what happens with the results of all these votes. They only give one preference so it’s not amazingly democratic, but with a few changes and some clarification it could be good.

The other thing which interests me about American politics is the way in which so many people have been duped into voting for a party which doesn’t have their best interests at heart. Here we are in a recession caused by a lack of regulation and a small state, so that banks can screw people over and not get punished, and people have been convinced that regulation is their enemy and that cutting public spending even further (except for the military of course) is the best way to cut the deficit and get out of the recession. I really don’t understand how people can think that.

And don’t even get me started on campaign finance! Here are these millionnaires with their millionnaire friends running campaigns which cost millions to run, and getting campaign donations from huge corporations who obviously want a return for their money, and political analysts in the press and on TV saying that certain candidates will have to drop out because they don’t have enough money, and not seeming to realise that this is a problem! What happened to the votes counting, not the money?

And now we have this new 20 minute advert attacking Mitt Romney, a thoroughly unpleasant person who, remarkably, is probably one of the more moderate candidates of the pack, which will cost $3.5m to air in South Carolina. Here’s the trailer (yes, a trailer for an advert):

Newt Gingrich in particular has been constantly attacking Romney, questioning his conservative credentials, and saying that his measures aren’t radical enough (which seems like a contradiction to me), and this ad seems to be along those lines. But some of the lines from this film are pure gold:

Capitalism made American great. Free markets, innovation, hard work, the building blocks of the American Dream. But in the wrong hands, those dreams can become nightmares. Wall Street’s corporate raiders made billions of dollars. Private equity leaders getting rich at the expense of American workers!

Mitt Romney became CEO of Bain Capital the day the company was formed. His mission was to reap massive rewards for himself and his investors.

Well, yeah!? That’s what CEO’s are supposed to do, that’s what capitalism is! In fact companies are legally obliged to try and give the biggest returns possible to their shareholders. What, did you expect the CEO to worry about workers’ rights?  How very un-capitalist of you! Did you expect him to carry on operating these companies when they stopped making a profit? Well that would seem to go against the doctrine of the free market, wouldn’t it? In fact it sounds like you wanted the workers to have some kind of control of the company, so the profits didn’t just go to the ‘greedy investors’ and the companies didn’t close leaving people without employment. It sounds a lot to me like whoever made this video wants to take control of the means of the production. Romney is obviously far too capitalist for them, I wonder what they’ll make of the other candidates. [/facetiousness]

It’s almost as if the thought process goes like this:

1. Free market capitalism leads to happiness.
2. Romney’s actions at Bain Capital did not lead to happiness.
3. Therefore Romney did not act as a free market capitalist.

And that’s just how the Tea Party became so popular. Because idiots don’t know what’s good for them. Anyway, I just wanted a rant.

The should vote for this guy instead, at least he seems to know what’s going on:


Embryology Bill

May 22, 2008

Wow, what a lot of to-do about nothing! For the last few days, MP’s have been taking part in free voting on 3 clauses of the much-scorned-by-fuddy-duddies Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, and thankfully it appears they’ve voted with their heads.

I sent a letter a month or so ago to my local Labour MP, Ben Chapman, urging him to ignore the irrelevant religious arguments that have made their way to the forefront of the public debate. He sent me a very nice letter back saying that the religious arguments were not the only reasons to oppose the bill, and listed a few other arguments which I don’t personally agree with. His main reason was that (paraphrasing) “the importance of human life is paramount. It’s what all our other laws are based upon.” Now this is essentially a religious argument. Thinking biologically, human life is no more important (or ‘sacred’, to use the religious terminology) than animal life. That said, I’m glad he voted with his head rather than with his heart.

Looking at the science, I’m a bit confused what all the fuss is all about. The words “human-animal hybrid” portray to many a little baby with a cow’s head or something. In reality most of the hybrids are 99.9% human, and the only animal part is the casing of the egg. What’s the big deal?

Similarly, the Daily Mail made a massive deal about “fathers being made redundant”, the morning after the vote which meant that lesbian couples or single females could have IVF treatment without the need for a male parent. I’m sorry but their argument is totally flawed. Nobody is saying that male role models aren’t important in a child’s life. But a woman can go out, have sex with a man, get pregnant and bring the child up alone, totally by choice. But as soon as it gets to IVF, there has to be a male parent. Why is the law different in this respect just because IVF is involved? I really think that these religious people (and a series of articles in the Daily Mail have specifically defended the religious view) will argue against anything that advances reproductive rights in this country.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, (who remember, supposedly represents a million Catholics in Scotland), has reeatedly said that this bill “has no public support”. But the polls suggest otherwise, apparently 61% of people support the bill, according to a survey from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

Sometimes I wish people would pull their heads out of their arses and use them for thinking, for once.