“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.” ~ Ernest Benn

Rush Limbaugh as seen on The Daily Show (3-5-12)

                   

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” ~ H. L. Mencken

I must confess that I haven’t thought about Rush Limbaugh too much in quite a while. I mean, El Douchebag is not on the top of my things to think about. Unfortunately, maggot-head opened his mouth recently and spewed forth some vile that simply cannot be ignored. I’m referring to, of course, the Sandra Fluke tirade.

Sandra Fluke

For those of you who don’t know, let me summarize (for a full timeline, click here): Sandra Fluke is a Georgetown law student. Georgetown is a Jesuit school, by the way. Fluke, a co-president of the Georgetown chapter of Law Students for Reproductive Justice, testified before a Democratic forum on February 23, having been denied by Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) the opportunity to speak before House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s session on health reform law’s mandated coverage of contraceptives. The committee was probing whether the provision violates religious liberties. In her testimony, Fluke shared experiences by other Georgetown law students regarding access to female contraception, something the Jesuit institution does not believe that it should provide for its non-Catholic students seeking access:

Students who pay as much as $1,000 a year out-of-pocket for a birth-control prescription, a married woman who stopped taking the pill because she couldn’t afford it, and a friend who needed the prescription for a medical condition unrelated to pregnancy but gave up battling to get it.

“We did not expect that women would be told in the national media that we should have gone to school elsewhere” to receive contraception coverage, Fluke’s testimony stated.

“We refuse to pick between a quality education and our health.” (Washington Post)

Enter El Douchebag.On February 29, Limbaugh joined other right-wing politicos who likened Fluke’s testimony to women wanting to be paid to have sex. Said Limbaugh:

“She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We’re the pimps.”

The next day, Limbaugh again brought up Fluke on his show, saying to Fluke and other women, “Here’s the deal: If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. And I’ll tell you what it is. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.” (Washington Post)

Really Rush? Are you really that stupid or have the past decades all been an act? I would like to think that no one can be that stupid, but I know better, especially since you were not alone in the rush to judge the law student as sex crazed. Witness a headline on Hot Air: “Georgetown co-ed: Please pay for us to have sex … We’re going broke buying birth control.” In this particular post, Tina Korbe states the following:

Craig Bannister at CNSNews.com did the math — and discovered that these co-eds, assuming they’re using the cheapest possible contraception, must be having sex about three times a day every day to incur that kind of expense. What Fluke is arguing, then, is that her fellow law students have a right to consequence-free sex whenever, wherever. Why, exactly, especially if it costs other people something? When I can’t pay for something, I do without it. Fortunately, in the case of contraception, women can make lifestyle choices that render it unnecessary.

Five Male Witnesses Testifying Before House Oversight Committee

Hello? Again, really? Lifestyle choices? I know two young women who began taking birth control not so they could have sex but because they had health-related issues that could be eased with contraception.

To put it plainly, this issue, which until recently was being discussed by a group of men, is about women’s health (for more on how this issue is being discussed, click here). Women, informed women, are asking that they have access under their health insurance coverage to birth control, which is still legal in this country as far as I know. These women are not asking for someone to hand them money when they have sex. These women are not suggesting that access to birth control will make it easier for them to have sex with a wild abandon and without any thought to the consequences.

Under President Obama’s compromise, the religiously affiliated institutions that do not wish to go against their principles are not being forced to do so. The compromise calls for the contraceptives to be made available directly through the health insurer. Of course, this compromise is not good enough for those who view the issue as religious rather than health-related.

“We must . . . guarantee women control over their own reproductive decisions.” ~ Henry W. Kendall

And as for picking people’s pockets to pay for something they don’t support, let me put this in a way that you might be better able to understand:

Viagra. Yep, I’m going there. Viagra is available under prescription coverage with almost every health plan. Viagra is taken by men to help them to get and sustain erections. I’m pretty sure that erections are used for . . . shall we say sex?

And hey, I can do math too, and unlike some people, my math is based on facts: Viagra costs between $10 and $11 per pill. Using information found on just about any site on birth control pills, I calculated that the average of cost of one month’s worth of pills would be $32.50; divide that number by 28, the number of pills in a pack, and the average cost of one birth control pill is $1.16.

Now, I pay a lot for my health insurance each month. I know that my insurance plan covers the cost of both bc pills and Viagra. This means that if I look at it in the same way as Limbaugh and his cronies, which I don’t, my pocket is being picked so that some man can get an erection and have sex.

Ewwww. But let’s continue in this vein:

If I’m helping to pay for unknown males to get erections, then by Limbaugh’s logic, these same men should make videos of their sexual escapades and make them available to everyone for viewing, just like Sandra Fluke. Personally, I have no desire to see such videos.

And further, since my health insurance prescription coverage includes my medications for health issues over which I have no control, I’m not going to complain about the people who have access to Viagra any more than I’m going to complain about women having access to birth control.

As Jon Stewart points out in the video below, we all pay for things we don’t support. Our taxes are used for all kinds of things that we might find abhorrent. But trust me when I tell you that paying for birth control is a lot cheaper than paying for unwanted pregnancies. Paying for birth control is a lot cheaper than paying for surgeries to remove ovarian tumors. Paying for birth control is a lot cheaper than the time lost in productivity in the workplace by women who are completely incapacitated by their monthly periods.

And just remember when you accuse women of wanting special treatment: Viagra, for men only.

More later. Peace.

                   

Jon Stewart takes on Rush Limbaugh:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

“Truth is not determined by majority vote.” ~ Doug Gwyn

black-hole-by-nasa-dana-berry-skyworks-digital

Black Hole (picture by NASA/Dana Berry/SkyWorks Digital): Where Political-Speak Goes to Die

“I think politicians are so far out of step with what people really want.” ~ Paul Weller

“I think people are tired of politicians trying to poke each other in the eye.” U.S. Senator Mark Warner (and former governor of Virginia)

I read the news today, oh boy . . .

Apparently, Virginia’s Republican representatives in our state legislature (with the exception of two House Republicans) are taking a page out of the Governator’s book and are refusing to accept $125 million slated for expansion of unemployment benefits. This money was to come to the Commonwealth from President Obama’s stimulus plan.

Yep, just as the extremely beneficent and perceptive (decoded as self-serviing and clueless) Governor Sarah Palin is rejecting much-needed stimulus money in Alaska, the Republicans here in Virginia are turning their noses up at $125 million worth of hope for out-of-work Virginians.

I read all about this political fiasco in an e-mail from Stand Up For Virginia, in which I could sign a petition and/or leave a comment. I receive a lot of political e-mails, and when I agree strongly with something, I will sign petitions. If I had the money, I would make small contributions. But this particular e-mail knocked me for a loop.

Here is a sample of the information contained on the site:

black-hole-blowing-gas
Black Hole Spewing Gas: Politicians Pontificating

Nearly 300,000 Virginians are unemployed—with unemployment rates in places like Martinsville as high as 20.2 percent.

Yet on Wednesday, April 8, Virginia’s Republican-dominated House of Delegates followed the lead of gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell and rejected $125 million in federal unemployment funds for Virginia.

As news media reported GOP gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell “favored rejecting the jobless money  and  McDonnell opposes unemployment stimulus,” all but two House Republicans voted to reject expanding unemployment benefits for struggling Virginians.

The $125 million is money from the federal government paid for by Virginians’ tax dollars. These funds, which are part of President Obama’s stimulus plan, would have gone to displaced workers in Virginia and helped to stimulate our economy.

Despite the highest unemployment rates our state has seen in decades, the Republican-dominated House chose to play political games instead of protecting our future.

“When are we going to tell the Congress of the United States that they don’t set the public policy of Virginia on a state administered and a state run program like unemployment insurance,” said Republican Delegate William Fralin in remarks from the floor of the General Assembly (Available on YouTube).

In these tough economic times, rejecting $125 million will hurt both businesses and families in Virginia. As the state unemployment trust fund approaches insolvency, these funds could have delayed rate hikes for businesses. At the same time, the funds would have helped Virginians who have been laid off get the job retraining they need. http://www.standupforva.com/

“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”  ~ John Kenneth Galbraith

I will have to admit, I was completely blown away by the position that the Republican representatives took. I would have thought that accepting $125 million in taxpayer money for a state that has an unemployment rate of 20 percent in some areas woud be so obvious that considering rejection would be moot. Obviously, I was thinking with a completely different mindset from Virginia Republicans.

My mindset is based on facts. For one thing, there is no cost to Virginia for two years. The total cost to employers for unemployment tax would be approximately $4 per person, an increase of $1. Nevertheless, look at the following statistics which detail Virginia’s long-standing trend to support businesses over citizens (all facts taken from Stand Up for Virginia website):

291,000 Estimated number of unemployed people in Virginia
6.6 Percent Statewide unemployment rate in Virginia
20.2 Percent — Unemployment rate in Martinsville, the highest rate in the state 
$125,000,000 Amount of federal funds for unemployment that Republicans rejected
49th Where Virginia ranks among the fifty states in unemployment taxes paid by businesses
$4.58 Cost per worker per year to expand the unemployment program
$.01 Approximate cost per worker per day to expand the unemployment program
8,000 Number of people seeking part-time work and unemployed people training for work who would have been covered under the expanded benefits proposed by Governor Kaine

“Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence.  Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear.”  ~ William E. Gladstone, 1866

I am perplexed as to why Republicans in the Legislature fail to see the necessity of accepting this stimulus money, especially in light of Virginia’s unemployment figures.  But then again, I should not be surprised by the way that politicians neglect the needs of their constituents—if only to prove a point. To them, it’s all a big game.

Sure it’s all fun and games until someone falls and puts an eye out . . .

I cannot help but wonder if Virginia’s Republicans are living in some kind of bubble, one that does not allow penetration of  the reality of our state’s rapidly increasing socio-economic problems.

“What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.” ~ Edward Langley

black-holes-merging
Two Black Holes Merging: Politicians Speaking at Each Other

In an editorial, The Washington Post called out “Virginia’s let-’em-eat-cake Republicans,” saying that the GOP “would rather give lip service than genuine financial relief to the states unemployed.”

But let’s let the words of these political jackasses speak for themselves:

“[The federal government is] going to dangle this money in front of us to tempt us to change some sound policies that have worked so well for this commonwealth for so many years.(Del. Kathy Byron, R-Campbell County; also posted on YouTube).

Okee dokey, then. Virginia ranks at almost the bottom of the list for the unemployment taxes paid by businesses. Sound practices for business but not necessarily the unemployed.

Here’s another one that I like, just for the sheer lack of logic behind it: 

“I have a lot of people who are unemployed, and I feel we have made an effort to address that.” (Del. Bill Carrico, R-Grayson County), who has an unemployment rate of more than 10 percent in his district).

I understand perfectly, now. You have made an effort to address it, and I’m certain that all of the individuals who are making an effort to survive truly appreciate it.

But the best one has to be this:

“We are being used. Actually our constituents . . . who are now unemployed are being used by this administration to hold a gun to the head of this General Assembly with the assistance of the governor to force through a bad bill.” (Sen. Ken Cuccinelli, R-Fairfax, also a candidate for Attorney General).

Excuse me, Senator, but did you just have the audacity to say we are being used? So we should refuse this money because you want to prove a point to the Obama administration even though the unemployed of whom you speak actually feel that you and your fellow Republicans are the users?

“In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican.”  ~ H.L. Mencken 

Of course, I had to respond; although I’m certain that my response was much longer than what they had hoped to receive. Here are some highlights from my dissertation: 

We are regular, hard-working, law-abiding citizens just like anyone else. We do not use or deal illegal drugs, use 10 credit cards, or live in an especially large house. In fact, our house is an old brick rancher, built in the 50’s. We do not go out, throw extravagant parties, buy clothes, jewelry or cars. Of our two vehicles, one is completely inoperable at the moment because the repairs will cost about $400.

I’m not sure what the Republicans in the Commonwealth’s Legislature are thinking by refusing this much-needed funding for unemployment. We have families who are living in cars, people at grocery stores who are counting every penny and putting things back, and everywhere you turn, people have that hollowed-eyed look of desperation because they have lost their jobs, their homes, or fear that they may lose everything tomorrow.

I campaigned for the Democrats in the 08 election. In the next state election, I will do everything in my power to make sure that we can replace as many Republicans in the legislature as possible, even if it means traveling to small counties and knocking on doors.

This kind of political posturing is inane. Exactly how is this decision by the Republicans benefitting Virginians? How are those in need who have turned to their government for help supposed to feel? That we do not matter enough? That our concerns are paltry in comparison to making a point to President Obama’s administration? That only those who are financially secure should be able to survive in this economy?

I’ll tell you what I believe this posturing truly reflects: a complete and total disconnect with what the American public wants and needs, and in particular, a total disregard for the welfare of the constituents of Virginia.

Telling the Congress of the United States that “they don’t set the public policy of Virginia” is so ludicrous as to be deemed on par with Governor Palin’s refusal to accept all of her state’s stimulus money. Sarah Palin cares about Sarah Palin, and obviously, Republican Delegate William Friam, Bob McDonnel, and their Republican cohorts are as unqualified to lead and represent as the Governor of Alaska.

. . .  these people need to stop generalizing about people on unemployment and assistance. Most of those on unemployment want to work, provide for their families, improve their quality of life.

Do not assume that you are dealing with the dregs of society who will not challenge you. Do not make the mistake of believing that you are dealing with a populace that will blindly follow you into the abyss. Do not underestimate the power of grass roots movements in removing from office those who do not truly represent the people.

To close, I will use the words of the inimitable Albert Einstein: 

“All of us who are concerned for peace and triumph of reason and justice must be keenly aware how small an influence reason and honest good will exert upon events in the political field.”   

More later. Peace.

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