The Gadfly

Did The Devil Really Make You Do It?

Ed Raymond

 Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia managed to rescue Satan from relative obscurity a couple of weeks ago when he told a reporter he believed in the devil. The reporter evidently reacted with surprise because Scalia responded: “You’re looking at me as though I’m weird. My God! Are you so out of touch with most of America, most of which believes in the devil?” YouGov Research, looking for reasons for a dysfunctional government, did find that 57 percent of Americans do believe the devil exists in a September 2013 survey. Scalia was right for once. So now we know that hottie little red guy with the horns, tail, and spear is on a majority of American shoulders, muttering nothing but troubles in our ear with that deep bass “Exorcist” voice. It’s quite evident he is parked on the shoulders of more Republicans than Democrats. Look at all the trouble they have caused. Finally, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid bumped Satan from Cruz and company shoulders by tossing a nuclear grenade into the filibuster kerfuffle. The cruel, patronizing, selfish, and dehumanizing ways of the Tea Party Cruzservatives are not over, but the explosion opened a few doorways to political and scientific realities.

Pope Francis: “The Thirst For Power Knows No Limits...”

   President Obama should be able to get his three nominees to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals approved by the Senate now that only 51 votes are needed instead of 60. These judges should give him a 7-4 majority on the many regulatory cases that come to the D.C. circuit. Regulations written by many departments and agencies such as EPA, OSHA, Labor, and Treasury are challenged by lawsuits brought to the 5th Circuit. Evidence gained by scientific research is not a strength of the Republican Party. It seems only the bottom line counts–and turning government into a personal ATM is the Valhalla of their political platform. The worship of Odin and the golden tree Glasir and the gold shields covering the ceiling of Valhalla is at the centerpost of their shrinking tent. Pope Francis in his recent apostolic exhortation said:”The worship of the golden calf has returned to a new and ruthless guise...The thirst for power and possession knows no this we can add self-serving tax evasion.”

Legitimate Rape And Damaged Ovaries

   Remember when Republican Todd Akin said a woman couldn’t get pregnant from a “legitimate” rape because the female body could “shut it down?” Man, is that “legitimate” medical science! Actually, this is when science itself was raped. It has been raped around the world, primarily by very conservative and cruzservative politicians and “theologians.” In Saudi Arabia Sheikh Saleh bin Saad al-Lohaidan declared that driving damages ovaries. If a rough drive can damage ovaries, wouldn’t it make sense that driving a car would certainly raise more hell with testicles because they are exposed more? Ovaries are certainly better protected by the body. But this is Saudi Arabia where men try to control women by throwing them in jail if they deign to drive a car. Besides, females can’t get a driver’s license. These are sharia laws made by men whose only skills are signing Western oil checks and living in the 7th Century of Wahabbism, a woman-hating radical form of Islam once embraced by Osama bin Laden.
   Saudi women have also been tightly controlled in order to preserve the hymen, the symbol of virginity. Don’t play sports or exercise strenuously because it might destroy your virginity! A long jump, a sudden “break,” and zip goes the hymen. I have always thought that there was some connection between sex and virginity...but...medical science says there are hundreds of ways to wreck a hymen. I just report. You decide.
  In raping science, let’s not forget the good ol’ boys in the Vatican. They didn’t want anyone to use condoms anywhere in the world because they might limit the Catholic race to out-birth Muslims, so they started the rumor that the HIV virus can easily pass through tiny holes in them. Male politicians in Nigeria fought polio vaccinations by saying that it was an American plot to make all children infertile. Medical science strikes out again.

Headline: “Are Heartless People Simply Born That Way?”

  After the 2012 election of Barack Obama, when Boston’s Logan Airport was absolutely jammed with private jets carrying CEOs and Wall Streeters to help Mitt Romney celebrate his election to the presidency, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus declared the GOP “suffers a major deficiency–the perception that the GOP does not care about people.”  Geez, what ever gave the people that idea? The Republicans, now captured by the Tea Party philosophy, believe only in tax cuts and cutting “spending”—except at the Pentagon. They are against raising the minimum wage, anything resembling a living wage, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, ObamaCare and any health care reform, the EPA, all regulations except for those applying to actions in the bedroom, and hundreds of other regs that provide glue for a society.
    Their latest gambit? They want to take $20 billion out of Medicaid and transfer it to the Pentagon. Such a transfer would stop the expansion of Medicaid in its tracks, a part of ObamaCare which is operating well. Hell, a million children in Texas don’t need any health care! Well, Reince, who says Republicans don’t care about people? I think its voters. It’s the new Citizens United battle of the superrich and endless money against the remaining middle class, the poor for voters and votes.

China Evidently Does Not Have An Environmental Protection Agency

   About three weeks ago pollution in Harbin, China, a city of ten million, became so bad bus drivers got lost in the deadly fog, and cars could not go faster than a walk because drivers could not see the traffic lights. Harbin hospitals had a 30 percent increase in admissions for respiratory problems and the city was basically sold out of pollution face masks. Our EPA has established maximums for particulate matter in the air at 35 micrograms per cubic meter. Some Harbin residential neighborhoods checked out at 1,000 micrograms per cubic meter.
   The cause? A perfect storm of coal-powered electrical plants, business and domestic heating by coal, and many coal-powered industries, no wind, and cold weather. China does not have an equivalent EPA that we formed in the 1970’s under Richard Nixon. Chinese environmentalists recently gathered in Shanghai and made the following comments reported by Tom Friedman of the NY Times: (1) When Chinese children go abroad for the first time, why should they ask: “Why is the sky so blue?” (2) “China doesn’t have to have rivers that run bright red with industrial waste, or our lakes and beaches smothered by thick, green algae, or 18,000 dead pigs floating down the Huangpu River”, and (3) “We shouldn’t have to check the air quality index before we let our children outside to play.”

Is Obama Supposed To Work With The GOP Scientific Illiterates In The House?

   The Fargo Forum recently carried an article by Jason Bogrer of the ND Lignite Council lambasting President Obama for “singlehandedly” embarking on restricting energy choices and trying to set an energy policy via the EPA behind the backs of the Congress. Let’s see. Most of the Republican candidates running against Obama in 2012 pledged to rid the country of the EPA. Where did “true conservative” Romney stand? Who knows? Obama is supposed to work with the scientific illiterates in the Republican House? Give me a break! Bofrer needs a trip to Harbin, China on a bad day.
   I think it’s significant that the head of Vatican Museums has said that unless the pollution is improved in Rome they will have to limit visits to the Sistine Chapel and other Vatican treasures. He says dust, humidity, carbon dioxide, and other pollutants may ruin Michelangelo’s masterpieces. This from a Vatican that still lives in the Middle Ages and declares women are second-class citizens.

Remember When Some Of Our Lakes And Rivers Burst Into Flame?

   I remember when Lake Erie was declared dead in the 1960’s and the Cuyahoga River  which flows into it burst into flames from oily pollutants. The Great Lakes are still not “clean” after 40 years of clean air and water regulations and the EPA, but they are getting better instead of worse. Now we have to lick the attack of the zebra mussels. All of the fisheries and tourist trade in the upper Midwest depend on responsible regulations.
  Now we have “research fellows” at the Koch brothers right-wing Heritage Foundation proclaiming that the new trans fat ban by the Food and Drug Administration is “a question of freedom.”  Nutrition and medical science have driven the call on trans fat. People have more heart attacks and strokes by eating it. Daren Bakst in a Fargo Forum op-ed wrote “government interference on dietary choices presumes that people are too ignorant to make basic choices.” We often are. We depend on medical science to answer such questions.
   A Grand Forks man was recently killed in a rollover near Thompson. Did he know that the strap by his pickup door was actually a seatbelt? Was he ignorant of what it was for? Scientific research shows about half of the lives lost in accidents are caused by “virgin” seatbelts. Was he protesting his loss of freedom when he was thrown from his pickup and squashed? Did he vote against mandatory use of seatbelts? Regulations come about because of scientific research. Lives are saved and severe injuries reduced. Banning trans fat will save and lengthen lives. Daren, go eat all the trans fat you want. Your action will eventually help the gene pool.

The World Is Becoming A Land And Oceanfill

   With over 317 million of us polluting the country we live in, we have to work hard to keep it from becoming a cesspool. We are cleaner than we were 30 years ago because of the EPA, but about ten years ago the wingnuts in the Republican Party started to get rid of GOP moderates who helped Democrats pass laws and establish regulations for the good of the country. The Great Lakes are again suffering from plastic left by lazy fishermen.
   There is so much garbage and plastic in the Pacific near Hawaii an entire area about 1,200 miles long is called the Pacific Garbage Patch. It should be named a Superfund site so funds can be allotted to clean it up. Tern Island near the Hawaii chain was used as a landfill for toxic materials, particularly electrical equipment containing PCBs and other contaminants.
   We need to pay attention to an Australian yachtsman who recently sailed from Melbourne to Japan to Hawaii to San Francisco, covering a lot of the Pacific. He had sailed the same route ten years ago. In his first trip his boat was surrounded by birds, fish, and whales. In his latest trip the Pacific had turned into a “dead zone.” In over 3,000 miles of his trip he saw no sign of life—except for huge fishing trawlers scraping the ocean floors for fish and other sea life.
   There were miles upon miles of plastic crap, telephone poles, rusty trucks and giant chimneys still floating from the Japanese tsunami, boats, rope, lumber, barrels, tanks, and junk too numerous to mention. He didn’t start the engine on his boat because he was afraid his propeller would be fouled by cables and ropes. His conclusion: “The Pacific Ocean is broken.”
   This is why we need regulations on many aspects of modern life. What would Wall Street banksters do without regulations? We already have learned the hard way. What if  asbestos had been regulated from when it was first mined in Montana? A lot of people would still be celebrating life today instead of being dead of lung-destroying fibers.