Following the president’s speech from the Oval Office on Sunday night (something I have said he should do more of) the Republicants predictably lined up to take pot shots at the man who was clearly trying to quell fears and bring civility to the discussion of terrorism. It seems clear to me that the president might have rallied the citizens behind such things as tougher gun laws if he had used his prestige and considerable rhetorical skills in front of cameras addressing the American people before this. But he has been reluctant tho do so — perhaps because he knows he will simply provide an occasion for his political opponents to take aim. And what a group it is! A brief portion of a news story tells us of the response from some of the clowns vying with one another for the Republicant presidential nomination:

“President Obama has finally been forced to abandon the political fantasy he has perpetuated for years that the threat of terrorism was receding,” former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said in a statement. “We need to remove the self-imposed constraints President Obama has placed on our intelligence community and military, and we need to put in place an aggressive strategy to defeat ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism as I have proposed.”
After the speech, Republican hopeful Donald Trump tweeted, “Is that all there is? We need a new President – FAST!”

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida criticized Obama for saying that Americans should not fall into a trap of discriminating against Muslims.

“Where is there widespread evidence that we have a problem in America with discrimination against Muslims?” Rubio said on Fox News after the speech. “I think not only did the president not make things better tonight, I fear he may have made things worse in the minds of many Americans.”

Aside from the Trumpet’s comment which, as always, is not worthy of note, one must reflect on these comments. Jeb Bush wants to assume the Nazi pose and take a Fascist approach to international affairs. Storm troopers and armed drones against anyone and everyone who thinks or believes differently than us. But Rubio’s claim that this nation is not becoming rabid in its fear of Muslims and reeks of discrimination shows how out of touch he is with reality. Long before 9/11 this nation has shown its ugly side when it comes to those who are different from the norm. As I have said in previous posts, the root of this fear and hate of others is our ignorance of those who differ from us. But to see issuing forth from the mouth of one who would be the leader of this nation words that show him to be blind to the obvious does give me pause. Has the political fabric of this country torn beyond repair? Are we that far gone that we would pay serious attention to people who reside at the bottom of the intellectual pool groveling  in the mud and sludge of utter nonsense and hate-mongering?

In any event, I applaud the president for seeking to restore calm after the praise ISIS heaped on the couple who engaged in mass killing in San Bernardino last week. The murders themselves were sufficient to drive reason from the playing field, but the discovery that the pair were Muslims added fuel to the fire and someone needed to say something. The president was wise to make this move and one would hope that it will have a soothing effect and bring civil discourse back into play. But with ambitious, small-minded political candidates elbowing each other out of the way to claim center stage, this may not happen. My goodness how stupid those people are.

You Must Be Kidding!

This story from HuffPost beggars belief:

On Tuesday, FedEx Chairman and CEO Fred Smith, an adviser to Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign, said that the notion that tax hikes on the richest Americans would kill jobs was simply “mythology.”

And on Monday, a gathering of the nation’s top defense executives took a surprising turn when they endorsed tax rate increases on the wealthy and cuts of up to $150 billion to the Pentagon’s budget. Top executives from Northrop Grumman, Pratt & Whitney, TASC and RTI International Metals appeared at the National Press Club at an event organized by the Aerospace Industries Association, the top defense contractor lobbyist.

David Langstaff, CEO of TASC, said that the executives were speaking out because so far leaders of the defense industry were “talking a good game, but are still unwilling to park short-term self-interest.” After the event, he told a defense reporter for Politico that tax rates need to go up.

“In the near term, [income tax rates] need to go up some,” Langstaff said. “This is a fairness issue — there needs to be recognition that we’re not collecting enough revenue. In the last decade we’ve fought two wars without raising taxes. So I think it does need to go up.”

And apparently there are a number of other key members of the wealthiest classes in this country who agree with Fred Smith and David Langstaff.  This is truly quite remarkable. Cut military spending? You must be kidding me!  It can’t be April Fool, but it may be a Christmas miracle! Not so. As expected, the Congress hasn’t given any sign that they will move on the question of continuing the tax breaks for the very wealthy which many believe are the reason we are in such a financial pickle. Led by intransigent Senators like John Thune and Marco Rubio, who would apparently just as soon see us fall head-first off the fiscal cliff, the Republicans in the Senate are adamant that there will be no rise in taxes on the rich — even if they want them.

Now there’s the kind of enlightened, inspired leadership the founders were hoping would rise to the top like cream in a milk bottle. Oh, that’s right, the scum also rises!

Pat Robertson Of All People!

An interesting Yahoo News article recently surfaced that cries out for comment. It begins as follows:

It’s no surprise that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio took heat for an interview he gave to GQ magazine this month: Departing from scientific consensus, the rising Republican star refused to state whether the Earth is billions of years old or a few thousand, as many fundamentalist Christians believe.

What no one expected was the rebuke from televangelist and longtime Christian conservative leader Pat Robertson, dismissing theories of a “young Earth.”

“If you fight science, you are going to lose your children,” Robertson said last week during an appearance on the Christian Broadcast Network, the television empire he founded three decades ago

Robertson has shown considerable political savvy in taking this stand, though it puts him at risk of expulsion from the Society of the Spiritually Smug — of which he is a founding  member. He dares to swim against the tide of group prejudice built on the blind conviction that any science is hogwash that embraces such disturbing notions as evolution, the ridiculous notion that the earth is billions of years old, and denies that dinosaurs and humans walked the face of this earth together. Robertson is showing a side of himself we never thought we would see. Huzzah!

The interesting thing about this declaration coming from such an unlikely source is that it doesn’t appear to be based on the conviction that science might actually be correct in its claims about the age of the earth and other disturbing facts that are dismissed as mere opinions by the spiritually certain. I recall with fondness Penny’s boyfriend Zack in “The Big Bang Theory” telling the science geeks that the thing he liked about science is that “there is no one right answer.” Now that’s the sort of thing we might expect Pat Robertson to say.

In any event, Robertson hasn’t swung the full weight of his great stature behind science in making this astonishing statement: he is merely calculating that if the Republicans are going to stay married to the religious Right (which is always RIGHT, of course) then they are going to have to bring the young voters back into the fold, as it were. And those younger voters are apparently not buying into the load of anti-scientific malarkey that is being fed to them by the right hand of the righteous. And this despite the fact that “creationism” is being taught in many schools along with evolution (if the latter is taught at all) and there really are biology teachers out there in our high schools who think the dinosaurs and humans walked the earth together a few thousand years ago.

I must say I don’t give the young that much credit, knowing what I do about what passes for science in so many of our schools. But if it brings Robertson out from under his rock and causes him to declare that religion must stop fighting science (which St. Thomas Aquinas said centuries ago) then it’s fine with me. Let’s hear it for Pat Robertson!