(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
Most of you who read my pieces know that I rarely write about pure politics, but rather put politics in the perspective of music, science, or other contexts. This piece is different.
The conduct of the candidates for the Republican nomination and especially the audience at the previous two “debates” has been much than reprehensible. It not only borders on being vicious, the conduct crosses the line to much more.
As is my wont, I shall use an analogy from another topic to explain why I use the term venomous. I think that it is quite apt.
In the early 1960s the United Kingdom and the United States were great military allies, as we remain to this day, and rightly so. The US led the way in nuclear technology, and quite by accident, the UK had found the ultimate chemical weapon.
First a little history about chemical weapons, and a very brief one. In modern history, the Germans first used chlorine gas as a weapon during World War I. It was not very effective, at least after the first couple of times that it was used, and was abandoned for more potent agents.
Things like phosgene and hydrogen cyanide were tried, but they were too volatile to be of much use. The wind is fickle, and with volatile agents you might well dose your own troops.
Finally, mustard gas (not a gas, but a fairly volatile liquid) was used by both sides fairly effectively. It was easy to distribute in shells, and it stayed put at the target area better than the older agents. Another US introduction was Lewisite, also a persistent agent. Both of those chemicals caused chemical burns externally and internally, and mustard is in particular difficult to block even with chemical defensive gear.
Some attribute the breaking sound of Adolf Hitler’s voice to his exposure to mustard agent, because it scarred his vocal chords. I believe that this is likely. But that is not the point. During World War II, the Germans developed an entirely new class of chemical warfare agents, now called nerve agents, that kill not by burning, but by interfering with nerve impulses that are essential for life. Those were never used in warfare, but when Germany was defeated in 1945, the information became available to the Allies, and the Soviets. These agents, known as “G” agents (from “German”) are very similar to many insecticides both in chemical structure and mechanism of action: the deactivate the essential enzyme acetylcholesterase, which in turns deactivates the potent neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and I wrote about this a long time ago. I shall look for a link.
But the problem with these agents is that they, although fairly potent, are volatile and have trouble staying put where they are placed. Although deadly, they evaporate fairly quickly and are more effective from inhalation than by skin contact.
Now fast forward to the early 1960s. The insecticide industry in the UK had discovered a new class of nerve agents that were much more potent than the “G” series, and had another tactical advantage: instead of being volatile like water, they were more like motor oil. Although they did evaporate a bit, skin contact was more deadly than for the “G” agents. The Brits traded that technology with the US for thermonuclear technology. We got the knowledge about he chemicals, and they got the knowledge about the nukes.
These were termed the “V” agents, the “V” meaning venomous. There are several variants, many of them still classified, but one is not classified, VX, and was manufactured in huge quantities in the 1960s in the US, and almost certainly in other counties as well, like the Soviet Union. At this date, we are still trying to destroy the stockpiles of them worldwide. By the way, in military parlance, “X” usually means experimental.
Now to make the connexion.
The “V” agents have almost no antidote, even though we do have some countermeasures. The problem is that a drop just about too small to see on the skin will kill you to death in fewer than 15 minutes. VX, since it is like motor oil tends to coat the skin, and death can happen within only a couple of minutes. It is venomous! The point is just this: it kills with no discrimination.
Looking at the recent history of the “Tea” Party folks, so do they (unless they LIKE you). The question was put to the puffy idiot Perry about execution of possibly innocent people, and he said that it was OK. He, by his inaction, likely killed at least one person who was innocent in Texas (when can we get them to suceed?), so he was venomous, killing without discrimination. If that were the only thing that happened, we could chalk it up the ravings of a madman. But that was NOT all!
The crowd went crazy, applauding him for killing people! For the record, I am pretty much opposed to capital punishment, but I am not fanatic about it. I truly believe that there might be circumstance where it is justified, but I can not think of any off the top of my head. Let me say that I am just not an ideologue one way or the other. I will tell you this, though. I have NEVER rejoiced when the State or the Nation has killed people. But the venomous Tea Party crowd cheered about putting people, even though they might be innocent, to death!
That is totally unacceptable in a modern society, and I am beginning to wonder how modern our society is. Keith said it very well (and he STILL needs to call me about that Science Adviser gig, and all of this is off the top of my head) when he said that he was unable to find anger, or even understanding. He, like I, was dumbstruck that people would cheer for others being killed. I am still having trouble with it, but I can say this: people who cheer for the deaths of others are venomous!
Then there was the “debate” yesterday. Of course I did not watch the whole thing, because I have better things to do, like dust my house, pick a few tomatoes, and write here. I saw enough of the “highlights” to make my opinion of the Tea Party folks even lower.
I do not know in which order these discussions came, but I know that they did come. I will take the words of the venomous Bachmann first. She accused Perry, also venomous, of doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. I never thought that I would say it, but Perry made a good call in requiring girls 11 to 12 to be inoculated with Gardisol, the HPV vaccine. He did it for money, but even a blind hog finds an acorn now and then. I have written extensively about that, as well. I have written so many scientific pieces that it is not easy to find links unless I take hours to do so.
Anyway, Perry did the right thing for the wrong reason, and Bachmann attacked him for “injecting little girls” with a potion that, in Bachmann’s twisted mind, would make them nymphomaniacs. That is how venomous that Bachmann is! As a matter of fact, this vaccine, although not perfect, will keep almost all of those girls from having cervical cancer later in life. This is close to me, because my mum’s best friend died of it when she was around 50 years old. Bachmann is venomous!
But the entire universe of the Tea Party came to be last night. Blitzer, who is not very high on my book of unbiased journalists, asked the idiot Paul about what should be done with a seriously ill person with no medical insurance.
Paul, or Tigger as I call him, because he just looks and talks like the Winnie the Pooh character, had an answer! By the way, he is just about as smart as Tigger, the one with the head stuffed with fluff, and legs made out of springs. Ron Paul is venomous!
His response was to be kind, unless the hypothetical patient could not pay. Then he said that that patient, unless some charity could pay, should just be let go.
The crowd went crazy, applauding the idea that that hypothetical patient should just DIE, and not be a burden unless the churches could come up with money!
I am done now. I know that this was sort of a screed, but I think that it is an important one. Since the Tea Party has taken over, and their influence will be gone by this time, as will what we know as the Republican Party by 2020, just like the Whigs, I have a bit of optimism, long term. I would be even more negative, but!
Something nice happened today.
Please tell me if I am wrong, or not getting it. I think that I am. Once again, I rarely do purely political pieces.
Doc, aka Dr. David W. Smith