If Hobby Lobby had a Vagina, They’d Want Free Birth Control

By Dan

It has been 5 years since the passage of the Affordable Care Act. And for 5 years there has been  a lot of bickering, hyperbole, fear mongering, and often down-right lies. I won’t say either side is innocent of doing one or more of these things, either. But one issue that has come up consistently over the last few years is the provision in the ACA that requires private employers to cover birth control free of charge for their female employees who want it. This has created quite a controversy of Women’s Health vs. ‘Religious Freedom.’

Hobby Lobby – the place you went to in 8th grade for scrapbook projects – is a super Christian company and is vehemently against providing birth control for their employees. They believe that because it is against their religion to use contraceptives, they then have a right to deny it to the thousands of employees that may not share their beliefs.

So there’s a number of issues here I’d like to touch on. Number one is the notion of a corporation’s “religious freedom.” If the courts allow Hobby Lobby to pick and choose what they provide based on “religious freedom,” then that would allow other companies to withdraw coverage for things like blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses) and for prescription drugs (Christian Scientists). If that were the case at hand, I’m willing to bet that this suit would not be taken nearly as seriously, if at all.

On top of that, Hobby Lobby claims they run all aspects of their business with a Christian mindset. The owner, David Green, said through a spokesperson that “[His] family’s religious beliefs forbid them from participating in, providing access to, paying for, training others to engage in, or otherwise supporting abortion-causing drugs and devices.”

Nevermind the fact that he said “abortion-causing drugs,” I’ll touch on that later. There’s just one other BIG problem with that statement though. Hobby Lobby purchases many of their goods from China. China has been trying to curb their population growth, which sometimes means government-forced abortions for families. Only recently have they relaxed their policies on family size. Anyway, by purchasing items from China to sell in their stores, Hobby Lobby is a de facto funder to forced abortions.

You’re probably saying “Dan, that’s ridiculous. He’s running a business! They have to find the products to fill their stores for the best possible price! Capitalism!” And guess what? You’re 100% right.

capitalism gif.gif

In order for Hobby Lobby to stay competitive, they have to purchase goods from overseas. In the same vein, in order to stay competitive Hobby Lobby is going to have to abide by the law that was passed. Instead they are trying to pick and choose their morals when it is monetarily advantageous to them.

Another problem that arises from this case is this increasing idea of corporate personhood. First, Citizens United determined that money = speech and therefore corporations are entitled to certain rights previously only given to actual people. Now, with Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby, corporations are saying they are religious, and entitled to the same religious rights as an individual. A corporation cannot require someone to be religious in order to work for them. Therefore, if that employee then seeks and qualifies for employer health insurance, they need to be required to act simply as an employer, not a religious entity.

A decision in favor of Hobby Lobby could extend rights traditionally reserved for explicitly religious institutions to any private one that claims “religious beliefs,” opening the floodgates to denying employees certain rights if not in accordance with the companies “beliefs.”

The reason for Hobby Lobby’s challenge is because they are against the forms of birth control that the FDA says could potentially end a pregnancy – AKA abort a fertilized egg. Like many christian groups, people, and organizations, Hobby Lobby is 100% against abortion.

Here’s what many of those religious groups and people don’t seem to understand, though. Having broader access to various forms of birth control – whether it’s the pill, Plan B, IUDs, and yes, safe and legal abortions – actually cuts down on the number of abortions women have. It also makes it far safer, less traumatic on the mother (mostly by avoiding having an abortion altogether), and gives women peace of mind that they can be intimate with someone without worrying they will get pregnant.

Since Casey v. Planned Parenthood (1992), and with the increased use of hormonal birth control (and other family planning options), the number of abortions in the United States has hit a 30 year low.

However, these numbers mostly predate the drastic increase in anti-abortion legislation among certain states.

Remember last year when State Senator Wendy Davis stood for 11 hours to filibuster a comprehensive anti-abortion bill in Texas? Well, the filibuster ended up being fruitless (except for Wendy, who became a political rockstar), and the bill passed. It has since been implemented and has forced all but a handful of women’s health facilities and abortion clinics to shutter. Has this stopped women from getting abortions? Of course not. Some women are crossing state lines in order to get a safe one. Others will be forced to wait due to long appointment lines at the 6 available clinics in all of Texas, potentially causing them to go past the 20 week deadline for legal abortions. Then Texas women will have no other choice but to keep the unwanted baby, or get an illegal and potentially unsafe abortion.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of abortions per 1,000 women began to tick back up again if legislation similar to that of Texas spreads to other states.

People who are genuinely and whole-heartedly against abortion need to realize that the best way to prevent abortions isn’t by making them illegal. It is to give women (and men!) the proper education, access, and ability to make family planning decision on their terms.

I’ll close with a short story. I have some very Catholic family members. They are firmly against abortion, birth control, premarital sex, et al. One day we were talking about the subject, and we get to a point where one says people shouldn’t be having sex if they aren’t prepared for the repercussions to reproduce. That means no birth control whatsoever, and definitely no abortions. This belief is not common among the general populous, particularly among young people. But I do think that many legislators and influencers would prefer this if they had the means to make it possible.

We see it with policies like “abstinence only” sex education, where states with such laws have the highest teen-pregnancies rates. We see it with “slut shaming” of women like Sandra Fluke by influential talk-radio hosts.

Birth control and its coverage in Obamacare prevents abortions. Republican and religious opposition is the only thing holding it back from preventing more.

Conservatives have been trying to regulate sex for decades. But so long as there are people, those people will have sex. Some will inevitably have unwanted pregnancies. And as long as there are unwanted pregnancies, there will be abortions. Legal, or not. Safe, or not.

Posted in ACA, Democrats, Humor, Politics, Women's Rights | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

21st Century Total War

by Mike

“(T)his generation of youth is shaping history. We saw that dramatically across the Arab world starting over a year ago in Tunisia. And we see it globally now in homes and in communities, clinics and schools, governments and intergovernmental organizations. Youth are more than a demographic force – they are a force for progress.”

– Bai Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General

 

A lot of people are talking about Crimea right now. Some people are talking about Venezuela, South Sudan and Syria too. The media is in frenzy.

My boss told me the other day that with all the conflicts going on around the world, his kids have become deft geographers. They’re surrounded by a swirling mass of information. We can never escape it, yet we’re never really in it at all. We know all about it, but we don’t truly know the reality of it at all.

Welcome to 21st Century Total War.

Foundation

What is total war? Most people are familiar with World War II – the war after the war to end all wars. It’s a perfect example of total war, and is most simply explained as a conflict that actively involves the entire population’s efforts; military, economy, politics, everything. Interestingly enough, WWII was also the last total war experience for the ‘ol USA. At least in the context of its definition…

I have a new theory. Total War is still prevalent, but it’s changed.

21st Century Total War still revolves around the idea that our entire population is constantly engaged in our nation’s warfare. Whether it be through the 24hr news cycle, social media, or classic media – we are all immersed in the dialogue surrounding conflict. What separates this from the old version of Total War is that we aren’t actively working towards a war effort, even though the culture of a conflict-nation has permeated into every facet of our lives. We have already begun to see a move to harness our communicative powers with the “twitter revolutions”. The question that arises from this is how do we as Americans harness our own immersion? How do we prevent apathy, and catalyze positive action through the resources we have? This is the quandary of 21st Century Total War.

twitter protesters.jpg

Evolution: A Nation at War

When Cronkite told the American public that Vietnam was a dead end, LBJ reportedly said, “if I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost the country.” Even though LBJ’s insider quote isn’t true, it actually lends more credibility to the mythos of a powerful group of talking heads that could make policy-makers buckle at the knees with a single newscast. The media no longer holds such power, at least not in that way. It’s changed – we’ve changed the way we communicate – and paradoxically, it started with the very same conflict, Vietnam.

One of the huge successes of the Anti-War movement during Vietnam, some might even say the pivotal moment, was when TVs became a household item. What is commonly known today as “CNN Syndrome” began to seep into the American psyche. As images of war flashed across every television screen in most houses in the States, people began to realize how horrifying war was, and their appetite for intervention was sated. Popular opinion began to turn, and lets just say that since Vietnam our casualties in any conflict have become incredibly smaller.

The 24hr news cycle arguably made us a more peaceful people (according to the theorists behind CNN Syndrome), less willing to send our boys and girls overseas. But at what point does the pendulum swing so far to one side that we sit and do nothing while our fellow human beings are fighting for the very freedoms our ancestors died for? Our ancestors spilled blood for the right to stay on their native land, to be ruled by a democracy, to not be owned by another human being, and to have the same rights in their society and control over their bodies. What happened to the mores which our nation was founded upon?

We’ve become oversaturated with information to the point where we turned from a more peaceful people, to an apathetic people. Not that we should send special ops to Venezuela or Syria – in fact I think doing that would be a bad idea. I just think that us American Millennials need to sift through all the bullshit, and begin to inform  and take action amongst ourselves and the international Millennial community.

Oversaturation

I’ve read so many articles about the Crimea Conflict that I can hardly remember them all. The thing I do remember about them was how drastically different the opinion of every author was. From talking heads, to former ambassadors or politicians, to Russians, Ukrainians and everywhere (not) in-between, hardly one had the same idea of the situation.

  1. Putin is a tactical genius

  2. Putin is absolutely crazy and losing grip on reality

  3. Russians are Crazy Xenophobes, always have been, and always will be. I mean, you read Dostoyevsky too, c’mon.

  4. The Russians are no longer afraid of the “soft and materialistic” West

  5. Americans are too isolationist

  6. The Russian media is spinning a war-preparation propaganda campaign

  7. A quiz called “how well do you know Putin?” …and no, it’s not Buzzfeed

  8. This one is Buzzfeed. I hate you Buzzfeed. You are horrible*.

Oversaturation. The media is pulling Millennials in every which way…sometimes downwards (Buzzfeed*). We have all this information, but how do we shape the policy conversation to best aid those in Ukraine? How do we force our politicians to craft policy that helps Venezuela, Central African Republic or Syria?

 

21st Century Total War

Being an isolationist is easy, especially when we’re drowning in information. There’s nothing more simple than throwing out the paper and tuning into Ron Paul babble on about how little we should care about what goes on outside the county. Instead of shutting everything out, we must take control of the state of 21st Century Total War. By increasing communication with youth in Syria, Venezuela and CAR we can begin to spread stories and learn from the ground what is truly wanted, and needed.

We have a White House petition site, emails, phone numbers of Congressmen. Our generation is a dormant political leviathan that has been coddled by the baby boomers and fed the idea that the system is out of our reach to change.

Well, we’re growing up now, and guess what – we’re gonna be in charge of “that system” sooner than we think. It’s time to put down the Ron Paul pamphlet and start to actually create our own dialogue inside America, and around the globe.

I’m not just gonna spout rhetoric and a call to action without some direction though. There’s an outlet that has formed to help bring our nation’s millennials together. They’ve created a Super PAC, fellowships, crafted policy and are working to galvanize our generation’s energy in a productive direction. See how you can become involved – check out the Millennial Action Project at http://millennialaction.org/. It’s not the end all be all, but it’s a hell of a good start.

“The time is always right to do what is right” – MLK JR

TWITTER%20REVOLUTION.jpg

*Did I mention that I hate Buzzfeed and their deep dive into the annals of idiocy and bullshit more than anything else in the world yet?  I think I might write a post soon about how they’re everything that I think is wrong with us, and are a glimpse into how we could collectively fail as an entire generation. #realmillenialtalk

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CPAC 2014 – “Because It’s Never Too Early to Start Campaigning for 2016”

By Dan

Conservative Political Action Conference – or CPAC; It happens every year and is pretty much exactly what you’d expect from something with that name.

It’s where conservatives, including politicians, political groups, bigotscelebrities,” and others engage in a four day long circlejerk (but no gay stuff!) and talk about how their platform of voter suppression and ignoring minorities is DEFINITELY going to work this time around.

ACTUAL picture from the CPAC 2014 “Minority Outreach Panel.” There must have been a workshop on “Paying Women Less” down the hall.

ACTUAL picture from the CPAC 2014 “Minority Outreach Panel.” There must have been a workshop on “Paying Women Less” down the hall.

This year was no different. Rand Paul won the CPAC presidential straw poll as well as “Weirdest Hair.” Ted Cruz was a distant second in the straw poll with only 10% of the vote (Paul got 31%). The yearly straw poll is generally not a good indicator of successful presidential bids, as previous winners include George Allen (‘05), Rudy Guiliani (‘06), Romney, (‘07-’09, ‘12), Ron Paul (‘10-’11), and Rand Paul (‘13-’14). Not a lot of success there. Only one of those people ever actually became the Republican nominee, and it took  four wins of the straw poll to do it. So don’t really look too much into it.

CPAC does bring out nearly every major name in conservative politics, though, especially as we approach the two year endeavor that is presidential campaigning. Speakers/attendees included Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, The Donald, and Chris Christie.

Christie – who wasn’t even invited last year because he was a decent human being that one time – had a particularly interesting CPAC. Amidst Bridgegate, Christie is fighting to get back his electability status. He took a hard line against President Obama and focused on his work destroying unions in New Jersey – always winners with the GOP.

There were others trying to claw back out of the GOP doghouse, too. Marco Rubio is still facing backlash for his attempts at immigration reform. So now he’s trying to position himself as the next Reagan, which is the Republican equivalent of hipsters putting birds on things.

Every Republican wants to be the next Reagan, so they’ll use any and every reason to invoke his name.

Rick Perry had an interesting CPAC. He, too, is attempting to rehabilitate his “Oops” image, and trying to position himself for another presidential run to which everyone collectively reacts:

HoC really.gif

Michele Bachmann also made an appearance, and (surprise!) she made another bigoted comment. She was on the Lars Larson radio show at CPAC, and when asked about Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s veto of the controversial SB 1062, Bachmann replied:

“There’s nothing about gays in there. But the gay community decided to make this their measure,” Bachmann said. “I think the thing that is getting a little tiresome, the gay community, they have so bullied the American people, and they’ve so intimidated politicians. The politicians fear them, so that they think they get to dictate the agenda everywhere.”

I can’t say I expect anything less from her at this point. Thankfully she will no longer be in Congress after this year, and I couldn’t imagine her running for President again. But you never really know with Bachmann.

So what now? Did the Republicans come out with any viable candidates for 2016? Heavens, no. But guys like Rand Paul are definitely starting to make their push. Although, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker – who did not attend this year’s CPAC – has been seen as a potential bridge between Tea Party conservatives and establishment Republicans.

This year he is going through his third election for the same seat in 4 years (was recalled and won in 2012). If he loses to a Democrat he could be severely wounded going into 2016, although it’s not unheard of to win the nomination after losing a gubernatorial race (a one R. Nixon comes to mind). But I’m sure he’ll figure out a way to get the win and carry him to 2016.

All-in-all, CPAC 2014 will be considered another success for the Republicans. Obama was shit on; Reagan was deified; and Mike Huckabee still hasn’t realized he can’t be president. Pretty much no different from every other day in the life of a prominent Republican.

Posted in 2016, Elections, GOP, Humor, Obama, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It: Thoughts on “Stand Your Ground” Law

Editor’s Note: I’d like to welcome the newest writer for D Street Politics, Nicole Anzuoni. She’s a good friend from back in Boston, where she is about to graduate from Emmanuel College. She’ll be a regular writer for us, and will be posting every couple of weeks. And now we can say we have a woman “on staff” (she’s doing this for $free.99). Anyways, welcome Nicole!

By Nicole

When one thinks of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” laws and the high profile trial cases surrounding it, it seems as if the state has transformed the suggestion, “If you see something, say something” into “If you see something, shoot it. And if it’s black, shoot it twice.”

In 2005, Florida passed the “Stand Your Ground” law which justifies the use of deadly force if  “a person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another.”

David Granlund

Anyone with a measurable IQ and a decent internet connection should be familiar with the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Martin, who was seventeen years old at the time and unarmed, was shot by the twenty-eight year old, George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was not arrested at the time of the shooting due to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, and was later, acquitted of all charges in July 2013. (Note: Zimmerman did employ self-defense in his case.)

No one wants to make the argument that DMX could have served more justice for Martin than Florida jurors but you have to wonder…

But jurors down in Florida are getting a little bit smarter—that is, at least if Michael Dunn’s conviction proves anything. On February 15, a Florida jury convicted Dunn of three charges of attempted second degree murder. Each charge carries a minimum twenty year sentence.

Bob Mack, Associated Press / February 15, 2014

Back on November 23, 2012, Dunn parked next to a Dodge Durango filled with teenagers in a gas station parking lot. Dunn apparently felt threatened by the “thug music” and asked the teenagers to lower the music. Thereafter, he fired ten shots into the SUV, ultimately killing the seventeen-year old, Jordan Davis. Interestingly enough, the verdict didn’t state whether the Durango’s stereo went up to 11.

There’s no doubt that music can be threatening. In Guantanamo Bay, blaring American pop music is actually used as a torture tactic for prisoners. Indeed, there is possibly someone right now getting waterboarded as Drake plays in the background. (It brings “waterworks” to a new meaning.) But I have to ask, does playing loud music really justify firing ten gunshots? (I guess that ultimately depends if the shots are fired at a radio playing Riff Raff.)

Hip-hop music might suggest violence but as Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic points out it’s  “actually not very different from the broader culture within which it resides.” I remember (although, I typically try to repress it as much as I can) when I used to be a huge My Chemical Romance fan. Paired nicely with red eye shadow and a clear lack of shame, their band shirts became a staple of my wardrobe and almost all I wore in middle school. Each shirt seemed to have some kind of gun or knife on it. Sure, I received stares but rock music with violent themes and American pop culture as a whole do not seem to receive the same type of critique that hip-hop does.

No weapons were found in the Davis’ Durango. And Dunn never mentioned the teenagers having any weapons to his fiancé, Rhonda Rouer, who was in the convenience store at the time of shooting. Calling the case “self-evident” may be a bit of an overstatement, but Dunn comparing himself to a rape victim definitely has me beat.

While Dunn will spend the rest of his life in prison, there’s the possibility that he wasn’t appropriately charged. While Dunn was charged with the attempted murder of three teenagers in that SUV, he was not charged with the murder of Davis due to discrepancies over the degree of murder. Initially it seemed weird for me to classify the case as first-degree murder. I mean what if Dunn really did act on what he thought was a potential threat? Five to ten minutes occurred before Dunn fired shots, there was enough time for him to premeditate the murder or arrive at a more peaceful solution like rolling up his windows and leaving the scene. Dunn made communication with boys in the car. He drove away from the scene without calling the police. But despite all that evidence and how it seems almost impossible to call this second-degree murder, discrepancies somehow exist.

There have been other “Stand Your Ground” cases that didn’t invoke white-black-violence but let’s approach race for a minute.

In 2012, Tampa Bay Times conducted a comprehensive study of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. After examining over two-hundred cases, it found that while black and white defendants were treated roughly the same, “people who killed a black person walked free 73 percent of the time, while those who killed a white person went free 59 percent of the time.”

The Society Pages further examined the racial disparities in “Stand Your Ground” laws as set forth in the graph below. This graph below “compares the likelihood of a favorable finding for the defendant in “Stand Your Ground” and non-“Stand Your Ground” cases [and also] consider[s] the races of the people involved.”

The Society Pages. Lisa Whade, PhD.

White people who kill black people are more likely to be found non-guilty, even in states without “Stand Your Ground” laws. Black people are far less likely to be found not-guilty.

These statistics don’t show that “Stand Your Ground” laws directly reinforce racial disparities in Florida jurisdiction. Consider, however, general American prison statistics where “blacks are incarnated six times the times of whites” and that “one in six black men had been incarcerated as of 2001 [and] if current trends continue, one in three black males born today can expect to spend time in prison during his lifetime.”

These statistics don’t suggest that blacks commit more crimes than whites. Institutional racism is undeniable. As a black man, there’s roughly a 33% chance you will be imprisoned, most likely, by no fault of your own.

So with that in mind, it doesn’t seem out of line to say that a black man spends a great deal of his life asserting his own innocence. And what “Stand Your Ground” law does is distort the idea of a “reasonable person” and shift the burden of proof on the prosecutor. “Stand Your Ground” laws become less about a defendant owning up to his/her crime and more about the victim proving he/she did not invoke any harm or threat—once again, a declaration of innocence.

Posted in Gun Control, Humor, Justice System, Politics, Race Relations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The House GOP Just Did the Smartest Thing They’ve Done in a Long Time

Writer’s note: To our loyal readers (or whoever may be left), my sincerest apologies for failing to update you with some sarcastic, cheapeasy, witty jokes and commentary regarding today’s political happenings for the last four months. Mike has been busy with a big boy job where he writes all day and comes home wanting to do anything except write. I, on the other hand, don’t have a good excuse and just got lazy. Anyway, I have a new schedule that will allow me to get back to being (sort of) on top of this. I’ll have a few announcements in the next few days, so keep posted to the Facebook group and Twitter. Until then, enjoy my newest post.

By Dan

In the last 4+ years we’ve seen the hostile takeover of the Republican Party by the tea-bag wearing, John McCain censuring, legitimate rape spouting (making fun of Todd Akin will never get old), climate change denying, creationist wing of the GOP.

"Taxed Enough Already.....at historically lower rates than previous generations!"

“Taxed Enough Already…..at historically lower rates than previous generations!”

These self proclaimed constitution experts somehow think it’s been okay to downgrade our credit and nearly default on our obligations to pay back our loans because they don’t want to see taxes on the top 2% of Americans go up. They got what they wanted in the 2011 debt ceiling talks, and the Bush Era tax cuts were extended for a year. That opened the floodgates to the GOP doing this every single time the debt ceiling was about to hit and thus making them unlikely to increase it for any substantial amount of time in order to use it as a bargaining chip.

Recently though, Democrats began to grow a tiny bit of a spine, which resulted in the largely republican blamed government shutdown. Tea Party support is at it’s lowest since “Tea Partiers” became a thing, and the rest of the Republican Party leadership has finally realized that they are out of control.

So what now? Democrats are still reeling from the awful roll-out of Obamacare (which is showing sign of picking up, but not enough to help Dems come November), as well as all the NSA backlash that Obama likely knew about.

Like Richard Sherman attacking an unsuspecting Erin Andrews, the republicans have decided to pounce. But this move is noticeably less overt, and it’s fucking brilliant.

Democrats saw this "surrender" coming as much as poor Erin saw this interview coming

Democrats saw this “surrender” coming as much as poor Erin saw this interview coming

For the first time in the Obama presidency, Republican House members are not going to hold the credit of the United States hostage to their demands. In other words, they are going to do what they did for nearly every other president, including George Bush and their beloved Ronald Reagan, countless times and pass a “clean” bill to raise the debt ceiling for the roughly one full year.

I would love to call this a victory for common sense, bipartisanship, sanity, Democrats, America, and our foreign creditors…. but I can’t.

This is one of the smartest, most calculated political moves the Republicans have made in a LONG time. Something that might actually work to their advantage.

As stated, this fight has hurt Republicans recently. So why bother with it again when they are set to gain seats in the House and compete to take control of the Senate for the remainder of the Obama presidency? Instead, they ignore this fight, take this “loss” that almost nobody but the uber right-wing will care about and continue attacking any Democrat running for Congress.

The GOP knows the Democrats are hurting. Even Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri has acknowledged that vulnerable Democrats, particularly in the Senate, do not want Obama to campaign for them.

People are calling this a cave by the GOP. Here’s Politico’s homepage as of last night:
Politico debt ceiling surrenderBut in reality this is Oliver P. Smith’s advance in the opposite direction. The Republicans will gladly take this small hit in order to secure the Senate for the remaining two years of Obama, where they can force debt ceiling fights as much as they want.

Or I could be wrong.

Maybe Republicans are actually changing. And if so, maybe everybody can. We just need someone to end this political Cold War of who’s going to cave first. I know just who to call….

Posted in debt ceiling, Democrats, Elections, GOP, Government Shutdown, Humor, Obama, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Everyone loses the shutdown game, but Republicans are losing it more

By Dan

Fifteen days of government shutdown has produced a lot of different things. Few of them could be considered “progress.” The only thing that has become abundantly clear during this shutdown is that the Republicans are losing. And they are losing HARD.

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that while Democrats disapproval ratings have risen from 56 to 61%, a modest increase, Republicans disapprovals have risen from 63% a fortnight ago to a staggering 74%. Listen, when 3/4 of the general public (and 60% of your own party) are blaming you for the shutdown, you’re losing worse than the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Republicans are surely aware of these polls, as they’ve changed what this shutdown has been about approximately 3 times now. First it was completely defunding Obamacare. Then it was the budget. Now it’s the debt ceiling, with a hint of “we still want to fuck up Obamacare.”

A recent proposal by the GOP is to raise the debt ceiling until early February to continue budget talks, while funding the government through mid-January, but only if the Democrats repeal or delay for 2 years the medical device tax – a major pay-for of the ACA. When Democrats balked at that idea, Republicans agreed to a provision that would require the Department of Health and Human Services to certify that anyone receiving Obamacare subsidies met the income requirements; a far cry from their original “defund the whole damn thing” stance two weeks ago.

But herein lies the problem, or at least my issue with this potential deal: Democrats would still be giving in to a bunch of Republicans throwing a temper tantrum. The GOP has turned into Veruca Salt – they haven’t heard “no” in so long that they are sending themselves down the garbage chute – and the Democrats should let them.

That’s not the only problem, though. As we all know, the Senate GOP has been abusing the power of the minority since Obama took office. But now the House is joining in on the action. On October 1st, the House GOP voted to change the rules of the House, using their power of majority, so that any resolution to the government shutdown could only be proposed by the GOP leadership, effectively ending any sense of accountability on the Republicans. If nobody could bring up a vote on a clean bill to fund the government, then they wouldn’t have to vote “no” and take yet another hit in the polls. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) called out the Republicans on this rule change, and it has gone viral.

I don’t care if you are a Democrat or a Republican, this should absolutely INFURIATE you. Not only have the Republicans held our country and economy hostage because they can’t accept a loss (several times over), but they tried to discreetly change the rules so that they could continue to hold the country hostage until they got something they could show for it. Unfortunately for them, it was about as thoughtfully planned out as the hostage taking in Airheads.

The Congress. The ACA. The Hostage Situation. (Credit: Reddit /u/AintAintAWord)

The Congress. The ACA. The Hostage Situation. (Credit: Reddit /u/AintAintAWord)

I hope the Democrats continue to stand tall in this fight. They already gave up a lot during the first debt ceiling fight in 2011 and need to show that it can no longer be used as a bargaining chip.

Hopefully this fight ends with Democrats saying something like this:

Posted in Elections, GOP, Government Shutdown, Humor, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

We’re gunna shutdown like it’s 1995!

By Dan

Whip out your Will Smith style windbreakers, and throw on some Mariah Carey while you wait for Xena to come on, because apparently it’s 1995!

The government has shut down for the first time since 1995, and it looks like it’s going to end the same way as it did last time around — With republicans getting all the blame and forfeiting the next year’s elections, and possibly further, to the Democrats.

And Republicans absolutely should get the blame on this one. I’ve done a lot of GOP-bashing on this blog (and rightfully so), but I will concede that sane Republicans can have valid arguments when it comes to certain fiscal debates.

In this case, though, Republicans have just turned into a bunch of whiney, incessant sore losers.

If you don’t know why the government has shut down all of the sudden, here’s a quick recap:

2009 – President Obama and the Democrats passed and signed the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) on a strictly partisan vote

Confused boy witnesses President Obama sign a bill that will supposedly help his sick mom.

Confused boy witnesses President Obama sign a bill that will supposedly help his sick mom.

Since 2009 – Republicans have tried to repeal/defund Obamacare 42 times (all failing); Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for president in 2012, ran on a platform to repeal Obamacare on “Day 1.” He lost by 3.5 million votes.

Sidebar: Obamacare was upheld in a conservative
supreme court ruling in the summer of 2012.

Monday (September 30th) – Republicans refused to pass a continuing resolution, which would fund the government at it’s current rates, unless the Democrats and President Obama agreed to defund or delay the implementation of Obamacare.

Tuesday at 12:01 a.m. – The Democrats grew a spine.

So here we are. The government is shut down. That means all national parks, museums, and national mall memorials are closed, and you currently don’t have anyone inspecting your food and drugs at the FDA. Nor is there anyone at the CDC trying to prevent any outbreaks of deadly diseases. But for more info on how the shutdown affects you, go here.

When the government finally gets back “up and running” at it’s snails pace of passing laws and continued political posturing, every talking head (including yours truly) will continue to discuss how this is only bad for the Republicans. Not only did they not learn from 1995, but they doubled down on their terrible decision. That’s like Mark Sanchez’s buttfumble, followed by Sanchez using that in an audition tape for another team.

The shutdown did not look quite as likely a few months ago. It wasn’t until guys like Ted Cruz started talking to his constituents about “standing up to Obamacare” during the August congressional recess that it seemed more and more likely.

Ted Cruz decided to “filibuster” in the Senate leading up to the shutdown, continually shitting on Obamacare for an impressive 20 hours. He had some hilarious quotes, most notably when he used the Dr. Suess classic “Green Eggs, and Ham” as an analogy, and the meaning of the children’s book was completely lost on him.

A book about not liking something before you try it. Then actually liking it when you do. -- how fitting.

A book about not liking something before you try it. Then actually liking it when you do — how fitting.

Sometimes I wish I lived in the Republican media/thought bubble because I simply can’t understand their logic on this one. I’ve tried. I’ve tried hard. But I simply do not get how they can threaten (and successfully) shut down the government because they don’t like a piece of legislation that has been tested in Congress time and again, tested in the Supreme Court and deemed constitutional, and tested at the ballot box via the Presidential election.

Republicans are saying Democrats are “unwilling to compromise.” But here’s the thing about compromise. Both sides have to give something up. And that is what I’m incapable of understanding with today’s Republicans. They claim an unwillingness to compromise from the other side, but show no compromise themselves.

inigo montoya compromise

So here’s my prediction: Due to the political fallout from this absolute nonsense of a government shutdown, the Democrats are going to win back the House by a very slim margin, but only if it lasts long enough for people to really start feeling it. If it ends this week, the GOP will likely hold on to the House by a slim margin (thanks, Former Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry!).

Even if the ACA DOES fail. If it IS as horrible of a program as the Republicans make it out to be, why not just let it play out? If it’s as horrible as you say, then the Democrats will have ruined healthcare and would pay a massive political price for decades to come. But if it works? Then millions of people get healthcare. But apparently that’s not good enough for Republicans. They either need to be credited with it, or nobody can. And that’s exactly what they are afraid of. They are afraid this is going to be a success, and then they pay the price for fighting it so vehemently. And when you’re this far in the rabbit hole against the ACA, all you can do is keep digging.

Per usual, Jon Stewart gets it right.

Per usual, Jon Stewart gets it right.

The silver lining to all of this, though, is that maybe….juuuusttt maaayyybee, the tone and ridiculous rhetoric in Washington will simmer down some. Because when you hit rock bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up, right?

This post….in 6 seconds:
https://vine.co/v/hX2TELTF7uj

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