Friday, December 14, 2012

Last Call

Republicans are once again trying to jump off a cliff that has a fiscal component, and that's House wingnuts on the Appropriations Committee indicating they will block the President's proposed $60 billion Hurricane Sandy relief package for the Northeast unless Democrats make $60 billion in budget cuts elsewhere.

The White House last week requested $60 billion in federal disaster relief to rebuild the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, but some Republicans are again threatening to hold disaster relief funding hostage unless it is offset by other budget cuts.

A day after Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) called disaster relief for Hurricane Sandy “wasteful spending,” Reps. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Steve King (R-IA), Raul Labrador (R-ID), and Jeff Landry (R-LA), all from the more conservative wing of the House GOP, told The Hill that they will demand offsets for disaster spending:
Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), who sits on the Appropriations Committee, said she will need to see offsets on Wednesday as did Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho).
We have these emergencies every year and we should prepare for that in our budget,” Labrador said.
“No pun intended, we should have a rainy day fund,” Rep. Jeff Landry (R-La.) said.

Midwestern House nutjobs telling the East Coast to go to hell.  Seems like something totally moderate and not at all political.  I'm sure this is President Obama's fault too.

And let's remember that Republicans love to watch disaster areas and the people in them suffer.

House Republicans also cut disaster relief funding in a 2011 spending measure and cut it this year to preserve military spending. The GOP also reneged on a deal it struck with Democrats to make emergency disaster relief funding easier in the future.

Of course they did.  Disaster relief might make people grateful for federal government or something, and we can't have that.  Time to make sure that when disaster strikes, Americans know that government helping out their fellow citizens is a zero-sum game where helping people must be punished by taking things from the rest of us.

Jindal, Reconfigured

Louisiana wingnut Gov. Bobby Jindal continues to try to pretend he's a "moderate" with this week's op-ed on birth control in the WSJ.

Let’s ask the question: Why do women have to go see a doctor before they buy birth control? There are two answers. First, because big government says they should, even though requiring a doctor visit to get a drug that research shows is safe helps drive up health-care costs. Second, because big pharmaceutical companies benefit from it. They know that prices would be driven down if the companies had to compete in the marketplace once their contraceptives were sold over the counter.
So at present we have an odd situation. Thanks to President Obama and the pro-choice lobby, women can buy the morning-after pill over the counter without a prescription, but women cannot buy oral contraceptives over the counter unless they have a prescription. Contraception is a personal matter—the government shouldn’t be in the business of banning it or requiring a woman’s employer to keep tabs on her use of it. If an insurance company or those purchasing insurance want to cover birth control, they should be free to do so. If a consumer wants to buy birth control on her own, she should be free to do so.

Now, this is where it sounds like Jindal makes no small amount of sense, making the fiscal conservative argument that making contraception as widely available as possible is one of the best preventative health care cost reduction measures you can take.  (Kids?  Expensive.) But as Irin Carmon explains, Jindal has no clue what he's talking about because his facts are all garbage.

At first glance, this seems like giving bipartisan credit where it’s due, until you realize that many on Jindal’s side erroneously equate with abortion the high dose of hormonal birth control pills taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex. To those attuned to this particular dog-whistle, Jindal is implying President Obama and “the pro-choice lobby” are conspiring to make it easier for women to “abort” (by which they mean blocking an hours-old fertilized egg from implantation, which the morning after pill has never been shown to do) than to prevent. To most everyone else, it just seems like a twist of ridiculous government bureaucracy, and Jindal gets to have it both ways without conceding that the main opposition to emergency contraception access comes from his own camp.

And Jindal conveniently doesn’t mention the fact that young people under 17 are unable to access emergency contraception without a prescription, despite the fact that the sooner you take it, the more effective it is. This was first due to a politicized handling of medicine under Bush, and more recently a politicized handling of medicine under Obama, both of them acquiescing to the hysteria of social conservatives like Jindal. Which brings us to another pressing issue that Jindal addresses only indirectly: Minors’ access to contraception. He writes, “Parents who believe, as I do, that their teenage children shouldn’t be involved in sex at all do not deserve ridicule.” That’s true, but do they deserve the ability to deny their “teenage children” access to birth control if they’re going to have sex anyway? He says these over-the-counter rules should apply to women over 18, despite the fact that the ACOG recommendations didn’t say that at all.

My question is how long Jindal's "moderate position" lasts (and it's really just more wingnut code speak anyway).  My guess is "until the next time he gets dinged by the forced birth crowd" for not being misogynist enough.  Let's remember, that while Jindal isn't a complete Neanderthal on contraception, he is very much so on education, cutting libraries to the bone across the state and trying to funnel taxpayer money to religious zealots in school.

Don't be fooled by the guy.  Jindal is just Romney without the millions (of dollars, he still has the millions of policy positions).

Michigan's War On Women

While nearly all of the attention on the Great Lakes State involves the right-to-screw-unions legislation passed by the GOP last week, the Republican-controlled legislature this week is working on passing a couple of anti-choice, anti-woman bills that GOP Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to sign, making getting abortion in the state one of the toughest and most obnoxious roads in the country.

One bill passed the Senate, 27-10, and calls for more stringent licensing of abortion clinics; the other, passed out of the House insurance committee into the full House, would allow health care providers to refuse service based on moral objections, religious reasons or matters of conscience. 

That's awesome.  Docs can say "no, I refuse to treat you because you're a slut" for example.  There's your hypocritical Hippocratic Oath.

The bill that regulates clinic operations would:
• Require abortion clinics to be licensed and adhere to the same standards and regulations as free-standing surgical clinics. Most in Michigan are not licensed that way now.
• Prohibit a doctor from performing an abortion until determining that a woman hasn’t been coerced into the procedure.
• Dictate how to dispose of fetal remains. 

And of course the goal here is to make it impossible for the clinics to ever be able to meet the requirements, thus putting them out of  business.

2010's backlash against Obama and the Democrats who "failed" continues to have long lasting effects.  Will any lessons be learned for 2014?


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