October 07, 2012

Sunday Morning Essay: The Show About Nothing

Brought to you by Costa Rican Organic coffee.... 

Some ideas for questions for the next "debate:"

Q:  Professor Michael Mann, a leading climatologist at Penn State, has stated that Arctic ice melt and the melting of land-based ice shelves in Greenland and Antarctica are "decades ahead of schedule" according to climate models.  Groups at MIT and Stanford have concluded that the forecasts of the IPCC are, if anything, much too optimistic.  Do you consider the future habitability of Planet Earth by human beings an important issue?  Should we do something?

Q:  Almost everyone in America is clinically obese and dying of Type II diabetes.  Should we take a look at the federal government's massive subsidies to the inedible corn industry?

Q:  Since the world is running out of affordable petroleum, should we think about building a railroad so people can get from one place to another?

Q:  Should food be labeled so that Americans know whether they're eating a biological substance produced through millions of years of evolution, or is something concocted last week by a genetic engineer at Monsanto?

Q:  Gentlemen, should the President of the United States be given the power to assassinate American citizens without judicial process of any kind?

Q:  Mr. President, Governor Romney, should the President be allowed to invade and bomb any foreign country he chooses without seeking Congressional authorization under Article I of the Constitution and even without complying with the War Powers Act of 1973?

Q:  Should the President be allowed to suspend the right of habeas corpus for an American citizen on American soil simply by labeling someone a terrorist or by accusing him of material support of some terrorist organization?

Q:  Should an American official ever be prosecuted for a capital war crime, such as causing death by torture, in compliance with the War Crimes Act and with the Convention Against Torture to which the United States is a signatory? Should the answer be any different if the American official in question admits on national television that he ordered torture?

Q:  Should anyone on Wall Street be prosecuted, ever, for committing mega-fraud in the mortgage securitization business? Or were President Obama and Attorney General Place Holder correct that, "unfortunately," nothing anyone ever did was illegal?

Q:  Should the rule of law be reinstituted as a governing principle in the American Republic?

Such questions seem unlikely.  Rather, the passions of the mob will be stirred up instead by the riveting arguments over such issues as whether Mitt Romney does or does not propose $5 trillion in tax cuts at the top marginal rate over the next ten years, and whether Obamacare does or does not involve "raiding" Medicare reimbursements.  That's pretty much the whole story.  

Oh, and jobs.  Both candidates favor jobs.  I guess the next go round will be all about foreign policy.  Whereas in Round One there might have been a dime's worth of difference between the two candidates, this time the gap will narrow to the dimensions of the aperture in the electron slit experiments of quantum mechanics.

I tend to agree with those wags who opine that the problem with the debate format isn't that third party views are completely excluded.  It's that there is no second party represented.

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