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Saturday, August 8, 2015

Elephants Lost in the Tall Weeds

The first debate did little to hide the misogynistic and absurd tendencies of the Republican candidates.

It’s hard to believe more than a radical fringe would ever vote Republican again when that party’s base so strongly supports a man, calling himself “The Donald”, who sets out to brand himself as one who can belittle and insult more than half the population.
Donald Trump not only could not explain away his many nasty comments about women but he added to his ridiculous and insulting remarks after the debate when he attacked the only female interviewer, Megyn Kelly, suggesting why she had been so aggressive towards him, “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”
Good one, Donald. When you can’t handle the heat or the questions, attack the questioner. And suggest, as insultingly as you can, she doesn’t love you because right now she’s hormonal.
But Trump is hardly the only male Republican candidate who lacks respect for women’s minds and bodies. Republican candidates tried to out-extreme each other, several saying they would countenance no exceptions to allow abortions in cases of rape or incest.
Scott Walker’s position is so extreme he brings to mind aliens in the movie “Independence Day”. He has a one-word response to a woman with a life-threatening pregnancy: Die.

Given their positions and their raucous support for women-hating candidates, Republicans are right to worry how they can gain any votes from the fairer sex, or anyone with a brain.

 Smart Republicans, forgive the oxymoron, recognize they have a teensy little problem appealing to the female demographic, not to mention younger voters, voters of color, and well, anyone with any sense. But they have come up with a clever solution for at least that female problem. Well-planted propaganda in the form of op-eds, preferably penned by women, to appeal to what they believe is a woman’s vanity and stupid-side of the brain.
A case in point: Bridget Bush’s column, “Tanning Bed Tax Does Much Harm, No Good”, published in the August 5 Courier Journal.

The article is aptly headlined; just one word needs to be omitted: “Tax”.
This propaganda piece was so ridiculous that a recent letter to the editor suggested she thought it was from “The Onion”. In an otherwise greatly decreased, and some might say, diminished newspaper, a full column was wasted on this so-called “Guest Editorial”.
Let’s look at what Ms. Bush says. Without any factual support or citation, she states the tanning bed industry disputes that the use of their tanning beds causes cancer. In actual fact, the use of tanning beds before age 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 75%: tanning beds are now in the highest cancer risk category. In addition to greatly increasing the risk of cancer, a few of the other risks associated with indoor tanning include eye damage, suppression of the immune system and premature aging. See, for example,

Saying the tanning bed industry disputes the facts is a lot like saying the tobacco industry disputes tobacco causes lung cancer. Much like what spews from Donald Trump’s mouth, Ms. Bush’s column is balderdash. And it’s balderdash for a profit motive.
Making a claim that is contrary to the scientific evidence is not the same as actually raising a serious factual question. Why the CJ wastes space on such tripe is beyond my ability to fathom.
The fact that this tax has decreased the use of tanning beds and tanning businesses is the best evidence the tax is a success. Ms. Bush’s simplistic arguments the tanning bed tax has not been useful because it was insufficient to fund Obamacare, when even she admits it was never intended to solely support the whole program, is too ludicrous to merit a response.
Since Ms. Bush acknowledges the tax has resulted in less use of tanning beds she might consider adding as a major benefit of the tax the avoidance of so many disfigurements, injuries and deaths, as well as the health care costs avoided as a result of the decreased use of tanning beds.
But let’s talk about what Ms. Bush says bothers her most about the tanning bed tax, that is, “its disproportionate effect on women.”  Of course, her statement is designed to try to deal with Republicans well-deserved struggle to draw votes from women, particularly young women. Do Republicans seriously believe women are so gullible they will think Republicans care about them because they oppose the tanning bed tax?
Even if we are not elephants, many women have long enough memories to recognize and remember  the many assaults and insults by Republicans, some of them recent, such as during and after the debate.  And then there are the many other Republican attacks on anything benefitting women. Just this week, Jeb Bush said he was not sure we should spend so much on women’s health care. Less than two hours later he was “walking back” that comment.
The Republicans have a long history of outrageous attacks on and insults to women. Though not limited to that arena, many involve women’s reproduction rights. The Republican comments are so jaw-dropping as to be unforgettable.
All of the following are Republicans: Todd Aiken (women seldom get pregnant in a “legitimate rape”.); Richard Murdoch (suggesting God intended a rape if it results in pregnancy); Roger Rivard (“Some girls rape easy.”); Tom Smith (suggesting a pregnancy out-of-wedlock is a lot like a pregnancy resulting from rape.).
See also the Blunt Amendment that would have allowed employers to withhold insurance coverage for contraception and GOP support for so-called “personhood” laws that would criminalize some types of contraception.  
And let’s not forget such clever Republican proposals as making birth control available over the counter, incidentally, the subject of another Bridget Bush op-ed published in the CJ. What better way to accomplish another Republican goal-- undermine Obamacare and its requirement that birth control be covered by insurance plans.

We, that is, anyone with a sentient brain, recognize these Republican “slips of the tongue” and their actual agenda for what they are: signals to the extremist elements now trying to direct the Republican agenda. These “wingnuts”, to borrow a John McCain phrase, one Republican who occasionally engages in “truthiness”, are telling us loudly and clearly they will trash women’s health care and other rights. And they don’t mind insulting us if we go along for the ride.
Ms. Bush is identified as the founder of “Elephants in the Bluegrass” blog. A better name for her and those in her group might be “Elephants Lost in the Tall Weeds”.