what the hell is going on with politics?

Today, the Republican-controlled House decided that it was perfectly okay to for the various branches of the US military to fund racing of various stripes to the tune of over 30 million dollars, but to entirely defund Planned Parenthood, which provides healthcare and family planning (yes, including abortion referrals when necessary) to millions of low-income families.  This on top of the fiasco of HB3, which wanted to strip women of their rights to federally funded abortion unless they could prove that they were ‘forcibly’ raped, they were under 18 and molested by a close relative (the bill limits such cases to ‘incest’), or if there was an immanent chance of dying.  While the ‘forcible’ part was removed, the other two are still there.  In Arizona, Jan Brewer got her wish…well, sort of.  She was told by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, that it was okay to cut childless adults from the state health insurance plan, ACCCHS (30,000 as opposed to the 280,000 Brewer wanted to cut), right now, and after September 30th, maybe more.

But Congress’ stupidity doesn’t end with this odd claim that by invading the most private of women’s spaces, they are simultaneously creating less government intrusion.  No, they get even more ridiculous.  It wasn’t until Rachel Maddow and others decried it that they took building an extra engine for a fighter jet off the table.  Note, however, that even before the Republicans put it in their bill, the Pentagon had asked them NOT TO.  Seriously.  The Pentagon said ‘no, really, we don’t want these engines for the F-35’, and Defense Secretary Gates made his opposition quite clear.  But no, the House Republican budget contained the line item anyway, to the tune of $485 million.  Of course, once they were made fun of on Maddow, The Daily Show, etc., then they re-thought it.  And then there’s that whole repealing healthcare thing.  Some judges say yep, it’s unconstitutional, while others say it’s fine.  And even I, someone who believes wholeheartedly that we should have a single payer, universal system like every other industrialized nation in the world, am not sure it’s perfect…but.)

In Wisconsin, as educators and their students shut down schools and Democrats in the house flee to Illinois in order to stop the stripping of public employee union rights, the governor threatens to fill in with the National Guard, and sends state troopers to ’round up’ the wayward Democrats.

In Texas, even as he closes community college campuses, Governor Rick Perry calls on schools to create $10,000 bachelors’ degrees (books included).  While I am all for providing more access to higher education for more students, Perry, like many other governors, is stripping education funding to the bone.  In California, in a rather startling turn of events, the Regents of the UC system, and President Mark Yudof, have essentially (finally) stood up and said the cuts were bad, wrong, not okay…this after raising fees 32% last year, and planning on another 8% increase this coming year.  Jerry Brown, once a champion of education, proposes cutting enormous sums from the budget for the UC, CSU, and community college systems in California.  Congress wants to cut both Pell Grants and science funding, while even Obama proposes cutting the in-school no-interest clause for grad students. At the school I teach at in Arizona, our state contribution went from $3.4 million to $900,000.  Yep, a 78% decrease in state funding.  Long time employees were let go, the nursing program was cut, the library will see its hours reduced, two campuses will close, reducing for-credit languages to just one.  The list goes on.

When it comes to making tough choices, poor people and education seem to be the targets.  Poor people, I suppose, get the shaft because they don’t contribute to those enormous campaign war chests, and education is a target for two reasons: kids don’t vote, and when it comes to university funding, it’s apparently quite easy to stir up resentment at those overblown fat cat intellectuals who get summers off (just like their K-12 counterparts).  But let me be blunt:  I’m an adjunct.  I make so little teaching a full load that I qualify for ACCCHS, and food stamps.  SO much for that ‘fat cat’ thing, right?  And if I don’t get classes in the summer, I don’t get paid.  Seriously.

And who isn’t paying for these cuts?  The very people who precipitated these huge budget shortfalls.  The banks, Wall Street, men like Angelo Mozilo…where are they in this?  What about corporations who make massive profits, such as Exxon?  Oh, yeah, they’re getting tax breaks.  Take a look at this chart.  What do you see?  Yeah, that’s us, with one of the highest rates of income inequality.  And yet, the gap gets wider.  Men like the Koch brothers and Karl Rove are like the Wizard of OZ…they don’t want you to see behind the curtain, but their funding of the Tea Party movement has little to do with what you want, what you need, or even your best interest.  No, they’re out to repeal environmental regulations, union rights, and every other impediment to corporate profits.  Despite what they say, they don’t have your best interests at heart.  Hell, they don’t even care if the planet falls apart.  They’re only interested in one thing: money.  And thanks to those of us who buy into this absurd farce of a grass-roots movement get what they voted for:  a trampling.  You want ‘don’t tread on me’?  Good for you.  But unless you’re a rich white male, guess you’re pretty much out of luck.

Published in: on February 19, 2011 at 12:05 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. “When it comes to making tough choices, poor people and education seem to be the targets. ”

    you said it. if you don’t pay a ton of money to get these jerks in power and can afford to send your kids to private schools, they don’t give a rats ass about you.


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