Writing on the Double Yellow Line

Militant moderate, unwilling to concede any longer the terms of debate to the strident ideologues on the fringe. If you are a Democrat or a Republican, you're an ideologue. If you're a "moderate" who votes a nearly straight party-ticket, you're still an ideologue, but you at least have the decency to be ashamed of your ideology. ...and you're lying in the meantime.

Location: Illinois, United States

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Slut Fits

Slut Fits
©2013  Ross Williams

About a year ago we were presented with Reason #619 why 15 minutes of fame for some is 16 months too many.  Some strumpet named Sandra Fluke – a nobody women’s issues “activist” with a compulsion for public exposure – was invited to testify in front of a House committee on an upcoming bill to exempt religious employers from having to provide insurance which covers, under the Obamacare Borg, free birth control.  She was asked by the Democrats on the committee to explain why they should not be exempted ... during the slot set up for religious organizations to testify as to why they should.

She regaled those Democrats – the Republicans left the room – with a dog’s vomit of new age-y buzzwords and sentimentalist foppery.  From a practical standpoint, her testimony boiled down to:
1] she’s among the millions of young, fertile, sexually active women in the US who
2] doesn’t want to get pregnant, and therefore
3] needs birth control, but
4] isn’t earning enough to purchase birth control herself and still pay her iphone bill, and thus
5] wants the insurance company to completely pay for birth control for her: fair’s fair.

To reduce even this nutshelling of her twaddle into a bumper sticker, she essentially declared, “I wanna fuck without consequences; you need to gimme”.

I completely understand her position on this.  I mean, who doesn’t wanna fuck without consequences?  Not only do I understand her position, but I also understand the nature of her argument.  Everyone of a certain immature age, and sometimes well beyond if they’ve been “enabled” away from the real world long enough, can provide a ready litany of rationalizations why he should be given what he wants and why it’s others’ responsibility to foot whatever bill there may be.

These responsible others are, if the birth controlee has employer-provided group insurance, the birth controlee’s co-workers and employer, for they are the ones coughing up the money to provide an individual something at zero cost to that individual; if the birth controlee is among the nation’s 15% working uninsured that Obamacare was designed to cover at taxpayer expense, then those others are the taxpayers.  Sandra Fluke wanted taxpayer-provided consequence-free fucks.

But while I understand where she’s coming from, I find it financially injurious to be forced to provide a woman her birth control if said woman isn’t my wife or daughter.  And unless she’s my daughter, to be forced to provide it without the fringe benefit of sharing a consequence-free fuck for as long as my providence is coerced is to add insult to the injury.  I am no more above advocating for my own selfish self-interest than Fluke is, nor of giving a less inherently offensive justification for it in the process: I’ve seen pictures of Fluke and she’s definitely fuckable, so if she wants others to underwrite her consequence-free fucking she needs to make it worth our while.  Fair’s fair.

The “I wanna” is perfectly understandable as basic, crude, garden-variety self-interest.  The “it’s your obligation to gimme” is also understandable as the self-involved thought process inherent to any teenager.  Anyone who currently has teenagers, remembers having teenagers, or honestly recalls their own attitudes when they passed through the age themselves knows this.  So personally I’m fine with her issuing an intellectually offensive argument, fraught with stilted, self-indulgent emotion.

But the personal is not, and never has been, political.  And Congressional testimony is political.

As a libertarian who’s read the First Amendment, I fully support her petitioning the government for a redress of her grievance over paying for her own birth control.  But, as the same libertarian who has also read the Article I, Section 8 list of what Congress is allowed to do and not seeing any form at all of family planning, health care decision-making or consequence-free libertinism, I realize that she can petition all she wants upon anything she wants, but on most things the answer must be “That’s outside the scope of allowed federal authority.”

In short, she has no more Constitutionally legitimate expectation for having the general public – either privately or publically – provide her with free birth control than anyone from that general public has, having provided her with free birth control, to justify demanding she provide sexual favor in return.

Apparently sensing the cognitive dissonance in Fluke’s unidirectional concept of societal obligation among supposedly free people, the social conservative cheerleader, Rush Limbaugh, called her a slut on his radio show for wanting to be sexually active with no consequences on someone else’s dime.  And I have to say ‘apparently’ Limbaugh sensed this, because who truly knows what Limbaugh senses.  Loosely speaking – ha ha – she is indeed a slut.   Honesty compels me to say Limbaugh was right in this instance, just as honesty would compel Fluke, if she were honest herself, to acknowledge he was.

But she is far from the only slut in the Obamacare dialog.  First of all, there’s those who support the facile notion that just because a large group of people in our nation wanna, they are entitled to a gimme.  I am talking here about the millions of Obamacare supporters who still are not a majority, by the way; they’re also sluts.

Even that’s not all.  For calling Fluke a slut, Limbaugh was catcalled the nation over, many of his radio show’s sponsors pulled their ads and a few local stations talked about cancelling his show.  Within a week, Rush Limbaugh performed the same formulaic penance we’ve heard over and over, and which I’ve grown weary of: the insincere public apology.  Limbaugh wanted to continue having a radio program but without ads to pay for it and locals to carry it his show was in jeopardy; he needed his sponsors to buy back their ad-time in order to stay on the air.  So Limbaugh, in a delicious pot-kettle moment, is a slut as well, prostituting his political ideology for the sake of his own public exposure.

Obamacare – the thoroughly misnamed “affordable care act” – has been sent into beta-testing this year by group health insurers the nation over.   Every large employer who has not already dropped employee health coverage, or will before 2014, has implemented what their loyyers tell them will be the Obamacare requirement.  They’re doing this a year early just to have a shake-out period.  2013 is the Obamacare tire-kicking and door-slamming test drive.

All through 2013, these companies’ corporate loyyers are going to be asking these questions:

“What are Obamacare’s requirements ... really?

“What are Obamacare’s costs ... really?

I don’t completely respect loyyers as a group.  First, they're willing to sell their integrity to any client who can cough up a retainer; second, they'll argue in favor of all laws even when the law is wrong; third, they don’t understand that laws are usually wrong.  But loyyers do know, generally, that simply going by what the Obamacare brochure says is a quick way for their client to be sued for a bazillion bucks by the federal government.  Oh sure, the executive overview SAYS “affordable”, but affordable to whom? and how much of this required affordability can we really afford to provide?

Loyyers aren’t stupid; they’re just arrogant sluts in business suits.

My own company has implemented Obamacare a year early.  As a result, if I were to have gone with the insurance coverage I had last year it would have cost me several times what I paid a year ago –all those “affordable” requirements added into it are massively costly to insure.  I would have had the same nominal co-pay, but a 362% increase in premiums to make up for it – part of which was to be my forcible contribution to my lesser-paid co-workers’ health insurance payments. ... I apparently don’t earn the money I make any longer; others earn it – I just do the work.

The other insurance option was to enter a “wellness” plan, which would cost less in premiums than the insurance plan I had last year, but with only a 170%-plus rise in premiums ... not including the “free” birth control, well-baby care and preventive care that Obamacare requires; it would offset the lower premium increase with a massive deductible.  Part of this “wellness” nonsense is submitting to nosy third-parties butting into my health and health-care decision-making in return for having my company provide a portion of my huge deductible expenses by contributing to a Health Savings Account.

We opted for the “wellness” nonsense and the nosy third party intrusion that comes with it, merely for the cash it brings.  Yes I, too, am a slut.
Thus doth Obamacare make sluts of us all.  We all wear the label, some willingly while denying it the whole way, others of us unwillingly but far more honestly.

Cliff Notes

Cliff Notes
©2013  Ross Williams

Not scared of heights, arya?  Doesn’t matter.  Because, while many Americans were over-toasting the New Year and sane people went to bed at 8, Congress was alertly – well, they were awake, at any rate – rather, as awake as they ever get – saving their nation and ours from a plunge off the “fiscal cliff” created by our National Savior and his Money Doesn’t Matter socialism.  I think it’s considerate of our National Savior to provide his own crisis to save us from ... don’t you?  Very conscientious.

All the major headlines this early January read “Leap Narrowly Averted” or something similar.  Pah.  It’s not a cliff.  It’s merely one of many possible exit ramps from the crazy financial roller coaster our nation is riding onto an even crazier one.  Picture the train track from The Polar Express, or perhaps the mine cars from one of the Indiana Jones movies – the one where he escapes bad guys, saves Steven Spielberg’s wife, and rescues an adorable Indochinese street urchin in a mine car or three.

The immediate result of taking this exit would have been stock markets tanking the world over.  Maybe the US credit rating would be lowered a smidge, but probably not – it would be viewed as racism.  Congress would still have had several weeks to a few months to address the issue[s] in the way they have in the past: retroactively.  They’d have passed a bill in January, or possibly February, ... or maybe even March, which would have made all its taxing and spending provisions effective as of January 1st, thus effectively passing a law declaring that they had, indeed, acted before the end of 2012.

Then the markets would have rebounded the world over, as if to say, “Phwew!!  Don’t scare me like that!  We almost went over the cliff!!  And, unless the bill Congress passed in early 2013 was one that my strict libertarian sensibility would have hailed, nothing would ultimately change: we’d still be on the same insane roller coaster ride heading to fiscal ruin, national fracture, internal revolt and foreign territorial claim jumping.

But, as it happened, Congress did indeed address the “immediate cliff crisis” with whole minutes to spare and avoided having to pass a law early in the year declaring portions of this this winter to be a do-over.  Thus is our republic spared ... of having to deal with its own sloth and avarice.  For while the major headlines scream that Obama saved the day by holding Congress’ feet to the fire, inside on page 5, just below the School Menus for our youngsters’ first week back after the holidays, is one or maybe two short articles spelling out what else is going on in conjunction with our National Savior saving us from himself.

In short, we’re in more trouble now than we’d have been had Congress done nothing.  For tiptoeing into the New Year through a side door while the noisy, self-congratulatory parade of politicians came in the front are two troubling items.
First, because the deal they passed only raised taxes and didn’t address spending other than to leave it alone, Congress’ own Budget Office projects a $4trillion deficit for fiscal 2013 ... which began last October 1st and is now three months old; this new projection is based on the details of the bill just passed.  And these bean counters always underestimate how much they’re truly spending.  Their projected deficit is roughly 2.5x Obama’s largest deficit to date, and roughly 8x larger than the largest deficit run by his spendthrift predecessor, the one the National Savior and his acolytes and apologists still point at when the subject turns to which president over-spent most obscenely.

Of course, the primary difference between 2012 with its $1.5trillion deficit and 2013 with its projected $4trillion deficit is the initial implementation of large parts of Obamacare.  Remember when Obamacare was only projected to cost $1trillion over ten years?  And then when it was only projected to have doubled in cost from $1trillion over ten, to $2trillion over ten?  Ah, but reminiscing gets us nowhere...

Next, there had been some discussion recently as to when our super-thrifty National Savior would reach his credit limit of $16.some-odd trillion – Dec 17th? Dec 12th? Dec 26th? – but Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner quietly announced in a letter to Congress on the 31st that the limit was definitely upon us on New Year’s Eve when Congress was busy clapping itself on the back for failing to do anything about it.  As a result, Geithner announced that he was therefore going to undertake a series of “extraordinary measures” from now until the end of February – for that is as long as he thinks he can juggle it – to both post-date the nation’s debt payments and search the country’s couch cushions for loose change. 

Among the measures Geithner is going to take – apart from the pre-payday check-kiting that we’re all familiar with – is a tight schedule of bouncing federal money from one federal checking account to another federal checking account, to cover those checks he’s kiting.

Additionally, he’s going to suspend the Congressional and federal employee pay raises that our National Savior unilaterally handed out the week before Christmas, and he’ll “reinvest” federal pension dividends in T-bills ... otherwise known as embezzling.  By moving money, paying monthly minimums, forgoing in-house allowances, asking creditors to please wait a day or two before depositing the checks we send out, and by stealing, our Juggler in Chief, Timmy the Magnificent, or perhaps The Great Geithner, can hope to get $200billion of wiggle room for up to two months.

Of course, this is figuring at last fiscal year’s deficit rate of roughly $1.5trillion per year, which borrowed a little over $100billion per month.   This fiscal year’s deficit rate is being clocked at $4trillion, which is well over $300billion per month.  Timmy the Great seems to think he’s got $200billion of juggling he can do before it all collapses at his feet.  But the math leads me to think that by Martin Luther King Day Congress will either have to figure out how to stop spending money or allow the National Savior to create an even bigger crisis for the nation to endure.

Smart money – what there is left of it – is on the even bigger crisis.  Four trillion bigger, over just the next nine months.  Phwew!  That was a close call!