MEASLES AND THE MEDIA
I’ve always been a fan of Face The Nation’s Bob Schieffer and once made him laugh. (There’d been some chaos in the stock market and, asked where it was headed next, said, “I haven’t got a clue.” He thought I was kidding.) Mr. Schieffer’s elegant under-two-minute commentary on vaccines this past Sunday is must-viewing. Did you know that the study that set off the whole anti-vaccine movement was not only 100% discredited and retracted, and that its author was barred from the further practice of medicine, but that — and this is the killer detail — he had taken $670,000 to write it from a lawyer who hoped to sue vaccines makers?
Friday I posted a letter that called out Repulicans for denying “critical healthcare for over a quarter of a million hard working Tennesseans . . . 800 [of whom] have already died waiting for healthcare expansion.”
Now comes this report* of a former two-term Mississippi Republican state senator switching parties, saying:
Elected officials should be in the business of helping all Mississippians, not picking out who to hurt . . . The Republican Party leaders’ actions against supporting Medicaid expansion and threatening our local hospitals was the final, deciding factor for me. . . . We see these current [Republican] leaders make excuses for underfunding our schools, we see them refuse to repair and maintain our crumbling roads and bridges . . .
In response, the Republican state party chair told the Clarion Ledger: “I guess this begs the question of whether he’s really been a Republican all these years.”
As if to say true Republicans do stand for threatening local hospitals, underfunding schools, and refusing to maintain our crumbling infrastructure.
And as I argued Friday, as a practical matter, if not in so many words, they do stand for unfortunate things: Allowing our infrastucture to crumble, quadrupling the National Debt under Reagan/Bush, denying a hike in the minimum wage, denying climate science, sending the National Debt soaring again under Bush 43 after Clinton handed him a surplus, handing Obama a $1.5 trillion deficit plus two wars and a global depression it would cost a fortune to avert, repealing Row v. Wade, repealing health care, privatizing Social Security, denying women reproductive rights and gays the right to serve in the military or marry, cutting taxes on the wealthy and the estate tax on billionheirs to zero, fighting consumer protections, fighting environmental regulations, and opposing anything Obama favors, even if it’s something they ardently supported until he did.
(Also from Friday: I hate being so partisan. If this were the party of Lincoln or Teddy Roosevelt or Eisenhower — or the moderate Republicans who used to serve in the Senate and House but who’ve been primaried out by defiantly uncompromising right-wingers (“shut it down!”) or else forced back into the moderate closet for fear of being booted out — if this were that party, I’d still vote Democrat most of the time but my life would be entirely different, writing books instead of screeds and seeking people’s help.)
Hurray for Senator Tim Johnson of Mississippi. May his example inspire others.
*Hat tip: Steve Benen.
Quote of the Day
In 1800, 75% of [an American's] working man's expenditures went for food alone. By 1850, that had dropped to 50%. Today it is a little more than 11%.~The Wall Street Journal, September 20, 1996
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