Commentary on current events, politics, government, and popular culture from John Sheirer, author of the book, Make Common Sense Common Again.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

On the issue of Ebola, Democrats favor reality while Republicans indulge paranoia.


With a few exceptions, the Democrat versus Republican views of Ebola have sorted themselves into a clear example of one basic difference between the two parties: Democrats favor reality while Republicans indulge paranoia.

Democrats are reality-based optimists who understand that Ebola is a serious disease, but that it's a public health situation that American medical science and good government can handle.

Republicans are fear-based pessimists who are terrified that incompetent government and arrogant doctors might kill us all, which somehow translates into voting for Republicans for reasons they can't quite explain.

The choice is clear: reality should trump paranoia. And our votes should reflect that clear choice.

Here are some of the many right-wing Ebola nightmares, just in time for Halloween.


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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Right-wingers can't even get half of right-wingers to blame Obama for Ebola.

Republicans want everyone to believe that government is always incompetent, so, of course, they're trying to get everyone to blame government for the Ebola situation. But the reality is that 70% Americans support the government's response, and even hard-line right-wingers can't manage to score cheap anti-Obama points on the issue.

Click here for a CNN poll showing strong support for the government response. 

Click here for the ridiculous poll that can't even get half of right-wingers to blame President Obama.


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Monday, October 27, 2014

The best-kept secret in American politics: Obamacare's common-sense regulations.

The common sense regulations in the Affordable Care Act have been helping us all for several years now. The corporate media, of course, completely ignore all of these benefits. Obamacare certainly isn't perfect, but it's well past time that people understand the many ways that the law is on the side of everyday Americans.
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Friday, October 24, 2014

Obamacare caused Ebola? What caused anyone to be confused enough to vote for Ted Cruz?

According to a Ted Cruz staffer Nick Muzin, Obamacare somehow caused Ebola to come to the United States. Muzin later deleted his clueless tweet and claimed it was just a bad joke, but he will never live down the depth of his derp.

At some point Republicans will probably also say that Obamacare caused dinosaur extinction, Bubonic plague, Windows 7, the Irish potato famine, the sinking of Atlantis, ISIS, The Walking Dead zombies, and Donald Trump's hair.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Next on Fox News: We're all gonna die and it's Obama's fault!

Yes, Ebola is serious and we should do all we can to help the people who have the disease.

No, the Fox News freak-out doesn't make any sense.

To be fair, CNN is almost as bad on this issue. But Fox, as usual, sets the lowest bar.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Glenn Beck just pretended to smear feces on himself. That seems like an appropriate metaphor for his whole career.

Not so long ago, Glenn Beck was considered the leading voice of Tea Party Republican conservatives. Now he's widely considered a wacko whose ideas are so crazy they got him fired from Fox News. The strange thing is that he hasn't really changed. The difference is that reasonable people finally now see that he's just a huckster and an extremist--which just makes him a typical Tea Party Republican conservative.
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hypocrisy: Republicans want an Ebola Czar but won't confirm a Surgeon General.

Republicans have cut funding for health research and emergency preparations. They've tried to take health insurance away from millions of people with their senseless Obamacare repeal votes. In addition, Republicans have been blocking the president's Surgeon General nominee because the NRA lobby doesn't like the fact that he views gun violence as a public health issue. 

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Local Republican calls for military coup, but not in an "ill intent" kind of way.

Whether someone is a high-profile Washington elite or a local elected official, there's no excuse for calling the President of the United States a "domestic enemy" or soliciting the armed forces to remove him from office. This is America, not a third-world country where people can threaten a military coup. Top to bottom, today's Republican Party has gone off the rails. Instead of insurrection, we need to vote out Republicans at every level this November. 
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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

We are a Liberal Nation

This column was originally published in my hometown newspaper, the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

One of the strangest aspects of political discussions these days is that the word "liberal" gets tossed around as an insult. Some people even believe that calling someone a liberal automatically wins an argument. They don't bother with facts, reason, common sense, or compassion when a mindless insult is all they have.

As one famous liberal, Martin Luther King, once said, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." The folks who use "liberal" as an insult would do well to learn an important fact: At every significant moment in American history, the liberal view has propelled our nation along that arc of justice.

Liberals brought us the American Revolution while conservatives believed that we should remain subjects of the British Empire instead of becoming an independent nation.

Liberals brought us a unified American nation while conservatives believed that we should be a grouping of separate, loosely connected states.

Liberals brought us the Bill of Rights while conservatives believed that defining our rights as Americans was redundant and unnecessary.

Liberals brought us an end to slavery while conservatives believed that some people have the right to own other human beings.

Liberals brought the right to vote to working-class whites, women, and African-Americans while conservatives believed that only property-owning white males should choose our representatives.

Liberals brought us public education for the improvement of our nation while conservatives believed that education should be a product bought and sold like a commodity and reserved for only a wealthy elite who can afford to be educated.

Liberals brought us the National Park system while conservatives believed that the most beautiful American lands should be sold to the highest bidder and enjoyed only by those who could pay for admission.

Liberals brought us the job programs that kept millions of Americans afloat during the Great Depression while conservatives tried to repeal those programs and called them socialism.

Liberals brought us food, workplace, and product safety while conservatives believed that there is an acceptable level of preventable illness, accidents, and death to ensure maximum corporate profit.

Liberals broke up monopolies to protect small businesses while conservatives have always supported large corporations that drive out mom-and-pop entrepreneurs.

Liberals brought us rural electrification while conservatives believed that there wasn't enough profit in bringing modern advances to parts of the nation that couldn't afford to purchase them.

Liberals brought us freedom from child labor while conservatives believed that there was nothing wrong with corporations exploiting children at farms, factories, and other dangerous jobs.

Liberals brought us an eight-hour workday, forty-hour workweek, and weekends while conservatives believed that American workers should serve the unrelenting demands of their corporate employers.

Liberals brought us the minimum wage while conservatives believed that corporations should be able to pay workers as little as they could possibly get away with.

Liberals brought us Social Security to lift millions of aging Americans out of poverty while conservatives didn't think the government should care whether or not people could survive once they were too old for the work force.

Liberals brought us basic civil and human rights for African-Americans, women, and gay people while conservatives considered these basic rights to be special gifts that no one deserved but white males.

Liberals brought us Medicare and Medicaid to guarantee basic health care to senior citizens and the poor while conservatives believed that health care should be a product that only those wealthy enough to afford should be able to access.

Liberals brought us an overall social safety net to protect our most unfortunate citizens while conservatives dismissed anyone who wasn't financially successful as lazy or irresponsible.

Liberals brought us the opportunity for all Americans, including women, African-Americans, and gay people, to serve their nation in the military while conservatives fought for the discriminatory idea that serving our country should be a special privilege reserved exclusively for white, male, heterosexuals.

When confronted with the fact that liberals have always represented core American values, people sometimes tell me that liberals might have been okay at some fuzzy point in the distant past, but today's liberals hate American and are trying to destroy our nation. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Today's liberals have brought us affordable health insurance, programs that staved off another Great Depression after the crash of 2008, Wall Street reform, and expanding marriage equality. We also keep fighting for immigration reform, campaign finance reform, expanded educational opportunities, minimum wage increases, pay equity, Internet accessibility, common-sense gun safety regulation, tax fairness, and smarter military interventions.

Meanwhile, today's conservatives continue to fight against those advances while promoting regressive policies such as suppressing voters, creating the fiction of corporate personhood, restricting reproductive choices, cutting education, shredding the social safety net, shifting the tax burden even more to the middle-class, keeping big-money corruption in politics, and waging unwarranted full-scale wars.

Basically, liberals want to keep us arcing toward justice with optimism, equal opportunity, and facts while conservatives campaign on scapegoatting, fear, and misinformation. So, please, go ahead and call me a liberal. I'm thankful for the compliment. 

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