Alarmists. Hypocrites. Opportunists. Fakes. Phonies. Liars.
Self-centered. Misogynistic. Patriarchal. Partisan. Money-hungry. Power-hungry.
All of the above when combined result in assholery – and assholery is running roughshod all over absolutely everybody right now. If you took a break while Congress was in recess or relaxed your way through January in a post-holiday malaise, allow me to welcome you to 2013, Year of Assholery.
Assholery is the word that comes to mind when I hear that a New Mexico lawmaker introduced a bill to make having/performing an abortion a felony when the pregnancy being terminated is the result of rape. Pardon me if I’m not comforted that the legislator says she didn’t intend it to punish the rape victim.
Assholery rears its head again when I read about the Montana “Fetal Homicide” bill that could easily turn innocent pregnant women into murderers in the eyes of the law.
Assholery is the only word to adequately describe the motivation behind Personhood USA’s recent attack on the women’s health focused organization, National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW). Apparently, their focus on assisting women of all income levels in gaining access to services that include prenatal care, abortion and drug treatment while protecting their legal and civil rights is pure evil. One can only assume it’s especially heinous because they assist women in the low-income and non-white demographics.
As I scroll through the rampant assholery, I keep thinking about the debt ceiling.
Yeah. I meant the debt ceiling. The recently delayed yet still upcoming debt ceiling fight – and it’ll be a fight – keeps flashing before my eyes. If you said “Huh?” this post is especially for you.
Ah, 2011. The good ol’ days when the word “debt” only preceded the word “ceiling” inside the beltway. And then Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) had a thought. If ever there was a man who shouldn’t be allowed thoughts…
Three hours of debate in February of 2011 ended weeks of back and forth about an amendment from Pence on the funding bill that would ultimately push back the federal fiscal shutdown to August. The purpose of the amendment holding up the business of Congress? Ending federal funding to Planned Parenthood. And you didn’t think it’d be something worth risking the full faith and credit of the United States. Oh, and your personal interest rates on every loan you’ve got along with your credit cards. Yeah, the federal government defaulting has a direct effect on the GOP’s beloved Joe-Six-Pack.
This Pence-prompted, drawn out lunacy over Title X funding for Planned Parenthood set up a short-term fix that pushed the debt ceiling danger off until August. And everyone remembers how much fun August 2011 was. If you don’t, you certainly remember the spectacular November and December we just had – a funding fight set up by legislators who feared both the defaulting of the United States government and the potential donors they were courting for the coming months’ campaigns. That’s right, they pawned all real decision-making concerning the budget off on their post-election selves. Then, of course, their post-election selves passed the buck again to the incoming 113th Congress.
In the end, the feckless lawmakers were left with automatic budget cuts to defense — the main GOP concern — and the social safety net — supposedly the Democrats’ main concern, still no actual budget and still no long-term extension (or, better yet, elimination) of the debt ceiling.
So here we are. The start of 2013 and the newly seated 113th Congress. And what are they debating? The damn debt ceiling. All because a man named Pence, who is no longer a congressman (he’s the governor of Indiana), had a thought two years ago.
For those who think 2011 was an aberration, take a gander at dueling Tennessee Representatives Marsha Blackburn (R) and Diane Black (R) who waited a whole two days into the 113th Congress to introduce individual bills to defund Planned Parenthood. Black’s bill has 38 co-sponsors.
Even if raising the debt ceiling doesn’t erupt into a brawl in May and/or/through August, Americans of all genders, backgrounds and political persuasions ought to be mad as hell that our legislature has spent SO much time fighting over a controversy of their own creation. Dammit, people in New York have front steps with no houses! Sandy has left 1900 homes in NY and NJ STILL without power! One in five children – that’s more than 16 million — are going to bed hungry tonight! Countless Americans will suffer and many will die this year because they lack access to adequate healthcare – and that’s after the band-aid provided by the Affordable Care Act! Oh, and how’s the job hunt going, recent graduates? How about those who followed common wisdom and went back to school during the recession — how are you faring? Fellow early 30’s guys and gals with four-year degrees and beyond, how are you doing with that career you put yourself an average of $27,000 in debt for?
While we’re drowning – some of us in debt and some of us literally, Congress is STILL wasting time on a bullshit crisis begun in the head of a man named Pence in February of 2011. That’s going on Two Years. The House of Representatives gets elected every 24 months. By the time it’s over, the debt ceiling debacle will have spanned the entire length of a Congressional term. Raise your hand if this is what you elected your representative to spend his/her time doing.
Seeing no hands, I ask that you keep the following in mind when the debt ceiling next saturates the hyperactive, ADD-afflicted, alarmist media:
- the debt ceiling does not authorize additional spending; it authorizes the federal government to pay the bills run up by the spending previously authorized by Congress (notice I said Congress, not the President);
- raising the debt ceiling is a thing that happened routinely under every president since Roosevelt until this administration;
- most importantly – every wasted minute playing out on C-Span on the topic of the debt ceiling was a crafted, created, entirely unnecessary faux crisis that the House Republicans of the 112th Congress manufactured in order to trim an infinitesimal 0.00048% ($75 million) — that’s less than one half of one thousandth of a percent — out of the $15.6 trillion budget so that 2.2 million women across the country would be left without access to cancer screenings. That’s right, “pro-life” activists; cutting funding to Planned Parenthood kills women. It’s that simple.
So if all the posturing isn’t actually about saving lives, what’s it about? I don’t have an answer. And that would be fine if the legislators griping, harping and whining on the floor of Congress had one. Assholery is the best I can come up with. If the minority of legislators using the debt ceiling to hold up the business of the American people can’t come up with a better answer than mine, I suggest they knock it the hell off and get some real work done.
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Tags: women's health, choice, Planned Parenthood, jobs, abortion, women, debt ceiling, Title X, prochoice, poverty, debt, student debt, rape, unemployment, Fetal Homicide, New Mexico rape, NAPW, Personhood USA, Mike Pence, full faith and credit, marsha blackburn, diane black, 113th congress, House GOP, Sandy, Hurricane Sandy, Affordable Care Act, economy, part time Congress, student loans