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They're Foxed In the Head

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"We praise a man who feels angry on the right grounds and against the right persons and also in the right manner at the right moment and for the right length of time."

Aristotle (384322 B.C.), Greek philosopher. The Nicomachean Ethics, chapter 4, section 5, subsection 3 (written c. 340 B.C.).

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"Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."

Bill Bixby, as Dr. David Banner, in almost every episode of CBS-TV's The Incredible Hulk.

Every time I turn over a historical or political Re-publican rock, I discover enough creepy-crawlies to make an entomologist blanch.

My recent exploration of the Taft-Hartley Labor Act of 1947 while writing "The Daft-Heartless Act" (, September 11, 2010), is a prime example of this phenomenon. It was, according to Congressman Fred A. Hartley, the first step in undoing FDR's New Deal, and returning America to the quasi-feudalistic purgatory for the working class that it was before the Great Depression. It was designed (although Congressman Hartley did not say this) to help return the United States to a time when half of the nation lived in poverty;the elderly often died homeless; children died for lack of health care; employers could reduce a worker's wages without cause; and if you became unemployed during an economic downturn, and there were no jobs to be had, you and your family starved or froze to death.

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But it is not enough for these crypto-fascists to want to roll back our nation to the 1920s. They want to roll back the entire Twentieth Century, just as they have with the active enforcement of antitrust laws, and return to what Mark Twain called the "Gilded Age." In fact, the reactionaries at Fox News are quite overt about this desire:

We all know of the Re-publicans' desire to "privatize" Social Security. What they want us to ignore is the simple fact that a downturn of the Stock Market (such as happened in 2007), or major bank failures (as nearly happened in 2008), would wipe out the money in these private retirement accounts. I am all for people saving up for their retirements, so that they can have a more comfortable time in their sunset years. However, Social Security is everyone's fall back position: if you have your retirement money stolen or wiped out just before you retire, with Social Security you are not left living cold and hungry in the streets, or working until you are eighty. The way to fix Social Security is simple: remove the cap, so that everyone pays Social Security tax on all of their wages, salaries, and non-exempt (e.g., health care) compensation for the money they earn in a given year. If you have deferred income, e.g. stock options, you would still have to pay the Social Security tax on the current value of those options in that year.

These are the same people who want to get rid of Medicare and Medicaid. The real--if unspoken--reasons are that these two programs are cutting into the earnings of the for profit insurance companies, and they are much more efficiently run than those for profit companies, with an overhead of one-quarter or less that of the insurance firms. Of course, Medicare and Medicaid aren't paying their CEOs' multi-million dollar annual salaries.

Shifting to a not-for-profit, single payer healthcare system would save us at least $350 billion each year in administrative costs (see "I Will Fear No Evil,, August 23, 2010). But it would rob the Re-publicans and their plutocratic masters of a chance to run up medical costs with an overhead of 15 to 30 percent.

And then there is the matter of the right of privacy, as is exemplified by the Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade. I heard Delaware's Re-publican candidate for Senate, Christine O'Donnell, say about the Health Care Act that she wanted it repealed because it was wrong for the government to get between a doctor and his patient.

This was the exact logic that Justice Harry Blackmun used to arrive at the need to legalize abortion in Roe v. Wade.

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According to the 1979 book The Brethren, by Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong, Justice Blackmun--who had been the attorney for the Mayo Clinic for many years--felt that the laws against abortion, especially in the first trimester, were an unwarranted intrusion of government power upon the doctor and his patient.

In the eyes of the doctors he had represented at the Mayo Clinic (and whom he had consulted in writing his decision), the only consideration for those three months should be the private relationship between the doctor and his patient, extending the right of privacy in matters of birth control and family planning first expounded by the Court in Griswold v. Connecticut.

Justice Blackmun, in writing his decision, placed additional restrictions on physicians performing abortions in the second trimester, and even more restrictions on them in the third. The Reactionary Re-publicans, including the self-serving pygmy elephants at Faux News, have given the false impression that physicians have been given a carte blanche in performing abortions since Roe v. Wade. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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Richard Girard is an increasingly radical representative of the disabled and disenfranchised members of America's downtrodden, who suffers from bipolar disorder (type II or type III, the professionals do not agree). He has put together a team to (more...)

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