On Paying For Immoral Things, Or, Is Stupak On To Something?

There has been a great wailing and gnashing of teeth over the past day or so as those who follow the healthcare debate react to the Stupak/Some Creepy Republican Guy Amendment.

The Amendment, which is apparently intended to respond to conservative Democrats’ concerns that too many women were voting for the Party in recent elections, was attached to the House’s version of healthcare reform legislation that was voted out of the House this weekend.

The goal is to limit women’s access to reproductive medicine services, particularly abortions; this based on the concept that citizens of good conscience shouldn’t have their tax dollars used to fund activities they find morally repugnant.

At first blush, I was on the mild end of the wailing and gnashing spectrum myself…but having taken a day to mull the thing over, I’m starting to think that maybe we should take a look at the thinking behind this…and I’m also starting to think that, properly applied, Stupak’s logic deserves a more important place in our own vision of how a progressive government might work.

It’s Political Judo Day today, Gentle Reader, and by the time we’re done here it’s entirely possible that you’ll see Stupak’s logic in a whole new light.

So let’s go back a moment and reconsider what Stupak wants: his religious beliefs are offended by the concept of abortion, and he is taking steps to ensure that the government is not using his taxpayer dollars to pay for the procedure.

This precedent is fascinating—and what I’m inviting you to do today is to consider, for a moment, what our government might look like if we take his logic and…extend it a bit.

“…In the game of life, the house edge is called Time. In whatever we do, Nature charges us for doing it in the currency of time…”

--Bob Stupak, Yes, You Can Win!

I always try to find common ground with those I oppose, and the most logical place to start would be to consider the fact that Stupak and I are both morally offended by the idea that we use taxpayer dollars to go around killing people.

So where do we differ?

For starters, I find it morally offensive that my taxpayer dollars are used, on a daily basis, to fund the actual killing of actual, living, people by my Government…so, Congressman Stupak, in the name of finding common ground, how about if the same day your Amendment goes into effect we also stop funding any military activities that might reasonably be expected to, as I hear people say, “stop a beating heart”, so as to prevent offending my religious sensibilities?

John Allen Muhammad, the so-called “Washington Sniper”, is scheduled to be executed today. Are you prepared to support legislation, Congressman Stupak, which will prevent his “post-term abortion” and the potential abortions of all those other human lives on Death Rows around this country if those state-sponsored abortions are as much of an affront to my religious beliefs as they should be to yours?

During the more or less four months worth of slow-walking and stalling that we have seen so far in this process 15,000 Americans have died…or, if you prefer, five 9/11s…simply because they have no health insurance—and unless your religion is a lot more bloodthirsty than mine, the abortions of 15,000 people because of the…what’s the word I’m looking for here…let’s see…could it be…sloth…of your colleagues should be an act as reprehensible as the greatest of blasphemies ever recorded in The Bible.

With that in mind, are you prepared to join me in cutting off the use of my taxpayer dollars to fund the salaries, the “public option” health care, and the office operations of those legislators who are behind these killings?

What else do we do that’s aborting lives on a daily basis that I’m sure Congressman Stupak would be glad to allow me, as a result of the offense to my conscience (and, presumably, his), to “negatively fund with extreme prejudice”?

There’s that Drug War, of course, and whatever we're doing in those secret prisons—and public ones—and subsidies for those who clear mountains and poison lands…not to mention the tax dollars I’ve been providing for a company who did electrical work that’s aborting soldiers.

So whaddaya think, Congressman Stupak?

Since you’re so proud of your pro-life credentials, are you ready to stand up with me and defend the principle that all human lives deserve to be protected, and that we have the right to withhold funding for all those activities that are morally repugnant…or are you just another one of those “enablers” who helped kill 15,000 people this past few months?

Enquiring minds want to know.

Comments

who doesn't love...

...political judo?

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

Erectile dysfunction

premature ejaculation...

...and I'm sure if I really think about it I can come up with several other strictly male bodily functions that you should have to buy a special insurance policy to have covered.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

i was thinkng about that myself...

...and then it occurred to me that the c street crew needs to have their erections controlled--and if you don't believe me, ask john ensign.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

You forgot vasectomy...

As an incentive to Congress to stop any public monies to be spent on this totally unnecessary.... and probably morally repugnant and religiously unacceptable to some.... practice......I am hereby volunteering to perform such procedures absolutely free on any Congressman in need. I will assiduously sterilize my old anvil, polish and steam treat my hand-axe, and wear my glasses to be sure strike home...on at least the 2nd or 3rd swing. Since anesthesia is expensive (I was twice previously denied permission/payment by Met life for a surgical procedure) I will also relieve the tax-payers of that burden by tightening a rusty coat-hanger around their necks until they're unconscious. there will be no charge for the coat hanger because hangers will be plentiful left-overs from abortions done in back-alleys all over the country.

Whaddaya think?

Stan Bozarth

Just about wet my britches from laughing so hard

I hearby dub you Sir Tallywhacker of Nanistan.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

that was pretty funny...

...but here's a serious coment: i post on a lot of sites, nationwide, as you know, and this story is getting more response, in more places, than most.

this suggests to me that stupak is having conversations with d leadership...and they're probably not "happy talk" conversations.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

what do i think?

i think you're going to need the royale deluxe II if you're going to do it right...that's what i think.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

Anyone see Rachel Maddow last night? She and

Jeff Sharlet made the case for a C Street connection on this amendment.

Saw it and also saw this called a bad bill

by several different people.

Forty Democrats have delivered a letter to Speaker Pelosi saying they will not vote for the bill if the Stupak language is in the final conference report.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

this is going to hit big resistance...

...in the senate as well.

as is pointed out here, boxer will be as intractable as lieberman is on the other side...except she's not looking to be bought off...which suggests that, in the end, she has the stronger hand--as long as the ds have something good to threaten with or sell or trade to lieberman and the others like him.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

Saw it.

Sharlet (who happens to be a high school classmate of mine, go figure!) spent a good period of time undercover with "The Family" and is considered the go-to authority on all things C-Street.

If I remember correctly, this book is actually a few years old by now...so he was a little in front of the story when he wrote it.

I've got his very excellent book. I can't understand why

C Street isn't bigger news. I, too, have held off judgmnet on this amendment. Betsy Muse saw it for what it was immediately. This amendment does what Bush couldn't do in eight years. Sad, sad.

here are two possible explanations:

--the non-religious don't always recognize the depth of religious fervor, and the extent to which the religious can feel called to "spread the word".

--people of faith don't want to associate their faith with the kind of faith represented at c street.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

i looked it up...

...and it appears the release date for this book was june, 1, 2008.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

the bigger question...

...was the leadership blindsided by this--or is it being sneaky?

we'll know if this is buried in conference.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

hey, folks...

...a reader as kos will be attending stupak's town hall tonight, and he's looking for ideas for questions to ask the congressman.

swing by his diary, if you can, and let's see if we can help him out.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

How about

"Why do you hate women?"

you may want...

...to check that link, as it appears to be not working.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

Thanks Fake

Here's the link I hope everyone reads

i hope they do too...

...and more to the point, the democratic leadership either already gets this, or they are just getting it now...or there's a lot of trouble ahead.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

That's why I think this will be the year of the woman

If I were a woman right now, I'd be going postal. From where I sit, it's put up or shut up time. That's why I'm finding Elaine's candidacy more interesting right now.

Women have a year to raise holy hell and vote out the assholes that want to control their bodies. Because if they don't, the assault will only intensify.

while that would be an intuitive response...

...here are two notes of caution:

women don't vote as a monolithic group, and a surprising number are predisposed to vote republican/conservative...

...even when it's against their best interests.

need an example?

two words: sarah palin.

conservative women are heroes to conservative women, and years' worth of irrationality, absurdity, and a careless disregard for reality from those women hasn't changed that so far.

all of which makes me less than hopeful that a lot of new women will come to our side. if we get lucky, a lot of loud women on our side will convince a lot of young women who voted for obama in '08 to show up and vote on an issue that really matters in '10.

of course...and here's the catch-22 part...the ability to do that that is presumably going to be directly related to what happens right now, and if the ds screw the pooch on this effort, those same women may become unwilling to vote for ds under any circumstances, creating a "lost generation" out of the very people that '08 was supposed to make into lifetime d voters.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

A surprising number indeed

My wife is in the center of women and politics, and there is growing alarm among the boomers about the disengagement of younger women who take reproductive rights for granted. There's a big push being planned by a wide coalition of women's groups in North Carolina to mobilize younger women in the next cycle.

i'm 1000% in favor of the big push...

...but democrats better realize that unless the way they are approaching this issue changes--and quickly--thee won't be a party for these women to come back to.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

Agreed

I've already registered as unaffiliated, not that I would ever vote for a Republican.

this is where the talk of a third party...

...comes from--and also why i don't think a third party can be effective.

the ranks of the middle are full of disaffected ds and rs, and the twain, i suspect, aren't going to be meeting in the middle any time soon.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

Maybe we should have four or five parties

From what I've seen, the Independent movement is leaning decidedly more to the left than it did a decade ago. But you're right, the odds of disaffected Rs and Ds will never find common ground.

I think I need to find a socialist country to live in.

i honestly think...

...that four parties is more likely than three, and it may be that the side that can bring its two feuding wings together the most often becomes the most successful.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

I see something different

It looks to me like the democratic party is losing independants. The November elections brought out a whole host of political pundits that said that very thing. How much it is true, I really do not know but I do know that watching the polling numbers of many issues and on many liberal democrats, things are not looking like independants are moving more left. In fact, sad to say, it looks like they are moving in the other direction. We will have to be diligent to stop that trend in my opinion.

you are exactly right...

..to be concerned about the center.

part of that is because democrats--particularly obama--were especially successful in '08 in grabbing centrist votes, which will be tough to duplicate in '10 when obama is not running.

another part is related to having had to do all those bailouts, which were "you have no choice" deals at the time, but look bad to voters today.

a big part of what we should all be concerned about in '10 are unemployment numbers: if unemployment's still high...bad for democratic candidates.

the central rule of politics...and the one that no progressive should ever forget...is that, in the american electorate, about 30% are inclined to be conservative, about 30% liberal...and 40% represents the middle...and you can't win any election if you don't win the middle.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

True deal Fake Consultant

The one thing about the bail-outs that I believe we have missed is in showing that if these did not happen, our country would be far worse off than it is today. I said here a month or so ago that I was listening to Clark Howard who is a brilliant financial analyst who makes a point of being apolitical and he said on his HLN TV program and on his regular radio show that if Obama didn't make the decision to have the bailouts and the stimulous package, we may very well have gone into a deep depression. I know the right is trying to use those against us but we need to find a way to show how these were needed efforts brought about because of the horrendous situation that the democratic party assumed as it came to power after the 2008 election.

We have to make them own it

We totally have to put the onus on the Republican Party. It was their government handling that landed us in the spot we are in today. Their 2 unending/un-winnable wars, their deregulated banks, their mortgage meltdown, their tax cuts, their desire to drown government in a bathtub.

remininding people...

...that we're better off today means we have to remind people what they were afraid of a year ago--but lucky for us, the republicans seem to be trying to do everything possible to remind us of who they are, day after day.

now the rs might go as crazy as a wobbly top and nominate palin in '12...but i would be a lot more afraid of huckabee, who has more audience on fox than most any other r, especially since palin is less likely to be popular today than three years from now.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

Also ... History and current law work against a third party

When a third party does develop enough of a following to get some traction, the issue(s) that brought it into being get co-opted by one or both of the Big Two.
That, plus the 15% threshhold, no sign of proportional respresentation and winner take all races in most, if not all, states, severely impedes the development of a viable third party.
Many states would have to change laws that are in place to perpetuate the 2 party system, and that ain't happening anytime soon.

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

odd that you would bring up voting options...

...i live in king county, washington, and the next county over is pierce county...who just rejected the "ranked choice voting" system they voted in, i believe, in 2006...by a 71%-29% vote.

sometimes reform just does not catch on, apparently.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

Can I just say

That i thoroughly enjoy your posts fake consultant. That is all :)

you may...

...and i'm thrilled to hear it.

thanks.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

the big, big, point here...

...which i had not considered, is that reid already has a "built bill"--and because of that it's now going to take 60 votes to change that bill...which means you need 60 votes to add this amendment.

i had not remembered that, and it is huge.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

Rep. Loretta Sanchez this morning

in full Blue-dogedness force informed viewers on Morning Joe that the Congress is now more pro-life, anti-abortion than when the Republicans held power. Middle-of-the-road, pro-choice Republicans have been ousted by far more conservative Dems so we shouldn't be surprised by legislation that reflects their preference.

Aaahhh, Loreta, dear, you're supposed to reflect the preference of the people you work for! And the majority of us are pro-choice!

What a dumb shit

Ms. Sanchez is. I guess she figures the Senate isn't part of Congress.

she's a tough one to read...

...at times she seems...well, if she was a streetlight her bulb would seem awfully dim...but she is a survivor in a tough place for democrats to run, and that should be recognized.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

ms. sanchez...

...is representing her people, who are an enclave in quite red southern california.

santa ana, garden grove, and anaheim all have significant hispanic (read: cathiolic conservative) populations (as does much of southern california), and richard nixon grew up in whittier, just to more fully set the picture.

other representaties from nearby districts?

issa, dorgan, bilbrae, and, until he recently went to prison, "duke" cunningham...all of whom could be described as aggressively anti-abortion.

senators represent states; representatives have a far more parochial view of the world, and i presume that's because of the narrower focus imposed by smaller constituencies.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965