Monday, February 20, 2012

IOUs - February 23, 2012

For what seems like forever, I have been hearing GOP flacks carrying on that SSS is bankrupt, and that the US bonds that constitute its reserve are nothing more reliable than “a pocket full of worthless IOUs.” So it now comes as a surprise to hear the new line: that the temporary pause in the 2% of the employment tax will deplete the solidity of SSS. It would appear that GOP has been paying no attention to their own malarkey, which is about what it is worth. In fact US bonds are the gold standard of national indebtedness and there is no way to degrade even a bad bond below the value of worthless paper. Of course, that comment would be germane if GOP valued their own pronouncements over worthless talk, which they do not seem to do. For an important party to include in their claptrap such contradictions reaches way down beneath cheap talk and into the realm of nonsense. So this latest two-face should qualify as open fraud, beneath the quality of deception that would honor the literacy of even the present low level of US elementary education today. An honest reaction would be for Obama to acknowledge that any shortfall would be made up in a tax increase as soon as the economic revival makes that sound. Judging by their indifference to logic GOP could be expected to switch to crying tax increase without even seeing that the anticipated increase would be years in the future. It makes almost no difference whether their contempt for reason flows from their poor opinion of our thinking or that of their own. I only hope that the Dem Party will hold them up for ridicule if they do it again

RELIGION - February 16, 2012

The rage over religion in the national elections might remind us of that in 1928, when Al Smith, a Catholic, ran against H Hoover. Some GOP railed against the Dems as the party of Rum, Romanism and Rebellion, and raised the spectre of papal control of DC. It was not until 1960 that a Dem could put out that hate-fueled fire and promise that that political panic was a ghost. Liberal USA, school in skepticism in the intervening years of scientific tolerance, would accept Kennedy’s honeyed words, and another 44 years until the Archbishop of St. Louis would pronounce excommunication on Sen. Kerry and those supporting his bid for the presidency, using his Catholic authority to aid in defeating him. Today, religious arguments from all of those bishops have been turned against Obama with a lock-step unanimity that is reminiscent of the days of the Spanish Inquisition. In the meantime, some students schooled in the virtues of scientific skepticism emerge from better schools ready to apply to all claims of divine inspiration the same lack of belief that religious preachers apply to other faiths than their own. This results in GOP claims that higher education propagandizes today’s youth against what they believed in childhood to be the revealed word of one divinity or other. This distortion the GOP candidates call a war on religion. Over the centuries the pronouncements if science, while admittedly occasionally found to be wrong, are less often abandoned than the reports of those resting on divine revelation, their own or others’. It appears true that well-educated people are less credible than others about such claims, and that such skepticism is more often sustained, on the whole, than competing ideologies.