Tag Archives: Senate

Ending Radio Silence

25 Jul

I know I have been largely absent (or, actually, entirely absent) since my last post on April 20th about Bill O’Reilly but I am back because honestly, this shit is fucked.

Back when Donald J. Trump (heretofore referred to as SCROTUS), was elected President of the United States of America there was one thing I simply couldn’t wrap my head around. It wasn’t, as you might have guessed, the Access Hollywood tapes. I have been a woman for far too long to ever think that a recording of white men degrading women would be the thing that brought SCROTUS down. Let us not forget that Bill Clinton was impeached and it wasn’t because of statutory rape or sexual harassment. It also wasn’t for that time SCROTUS told an audience at a campaign rally in Sioux Falls that he could “stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and (he) wouldn’t lose voters.” This country, it seems, doesn’t care too much about threats of violence when they come out of the mouth of a white man. No, it wasn’t either of those things. It was, instead, SCROTUS’ dismissive comments about John McCain’s status as a war hero. It was back in July, 2015 when, still on the campaign trail, candidate Trump said,

“He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

Say what you want about John McCain. About his politics, about his run in 2008, about his temper, about his sense of humor that is oftentimes wildly inappropriate and not in the least bit funny. All of those things are up for conversation and debate. His status as a war hero, however, is not. And so when then-candidate Donald Trump, who by the way was granted 5 deferments during the Vietnam draft, essentially called McCain a loser I figured he was finished. This country is fucked up in a lot of ways but it respects its war heroes. Not enough to provide them physical and mental health care or job training, mind you, but when it comes to verbal respect, we’ve got that shit on lock. Especially the Republicans. It’s sort of a calling card for them. So when a man campaigning for the Republican nomination talked shit about a war hero, and one who had served in the senate for decades no less, I figured his days were numbered. But then he went on to get the nomination from the GOP and that’s when I knew this country was fucked. I still didn’t think he would win the goddamn election (fuck you #FailingElectoralCollege) but it was at this moment when I realized the divisions in this country run a lot deeper than I ever thought possible.

All of this is to say that despite my disagreement with John McCain on a lot of policies – for example that time he ran a successful filibuster to stop the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy or that time he voted in support of Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court – I always respected the guy. I, perhaps naively, thought that compared to other Republican politicians he was at least reasonable, at least willing to work with people on the other side of the aisle. He did, after all, say that the Citizens United decision was “arrogant, uninformed, naive.” But today whatever I thought about him perviously, about his desire to do what was in the best interest of the citizens of the United States, went forcefully out the window. This man who has served this country for the majority of his life today voted against its future. He voted against the future of every single American and so I have this to say:

Senator John McCain you can fuck right off. 

Seriously though, fuck off. You went in for surgery on your eye and came out with a diagnosis of glioblastoma, the most aggressive type of brain tumor. People rallied around you. Spoke about your reputation and everything you have done for this country. And then, to a standing ovation from both sides of the aisle, you returned to the senate floor and voted to open a debate to try and pass a bill that would strip millions of Americans of health care. And after that, after you basically said that the care that you have received should be a privilege for the rich and not the right of everyone, you delivered a speech. No, not even a speech. It was a condescending admonition of your colleagues. And honestly in that moment, I lost every bit of respect I ever had for you as a senator, as a war hero, as a human being.

You stood up there and you talked about how partisan the government has become, and you admitted to the role you played in that. And then you said that at times you had “let your passion rule your reason” and to that I have to say, no. In this case you certainly didn’t choose based off your passion because what human with a soul could ever be passionate about so unjust a bill. And so where’s the reason, John? What was your reason? Because I, for the life of me, outside of partisanship and greed cannot come up with a reason why you would support this. And why you would think that your chastisement would be appreciated. Because as far as I am concerned, you’re worse than the rest of them. You traveled to Washington from your sick bed to vote for something that would bar millions of people from getting the same level of care that you have received over the past week. And so again I say this:

Fuck right off.

I’m sorry but you don’t get my sympathy anymore. You talked today about the price of winning. That so much of the poor decisions and the governmental gridlock and the backroom moves and dishonesty are all with the goal of a short term win and that that attitude won’t help us and I agree on that. But today? Today we lost. We all lost. And you were incidental in that. So get the fuck off your high horse. This time your status as a war hero cannot save you. Not in my mind.

Today in Ridiculous: New Bill to End Flight Delays!

26 Apr

Hear ye! Hear ye! Read all about it!  Today, the day before the Senate leaves town for a week, they did the unthinkable: they passed a bill.  Unanimously.  What did they pass, you might ask?  Well, I’ll tell you.  As the title of this blog suggests, they passed a new bill to end flight delays.  Oh, thank god.  Seriously, you guys, that is like the most pressing issue I could possibly imagine.  On time flights for all!

Okay so listen.  There was this one time when I was going to visit my extra-super-awesome friend Meredith in Portland, Oregon in like, I don’t know, 2008?  So long ago.  I had been working at a restaurant in the West Village where my schedule was as follows: Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights 6pm-2am or later if needed, Sunday, Monday nights 4pm-12am, or later if needed, and Tuesday lunch, 10:30am to 4pm.  At the same time I was training for a marathon and had speed workouts on Wednesday nights and long training runs on Saturday mornings.  Needless to say I had very little “me” time.  I was very excited for my 4-day Portland adventure, which I had scheduled months in advance.  The day of the trip I traveled, by subway, to JFK to catch my nonstop flight to Portland.  Upon arrival, I was informed that my flight had been cancelled due to “lack of crew.”  Um, what? Instead, they flew me to Washington, DC to catch a connecting flight to Portland.  Fine.  When I arrived in DC they told me there was no flight to Portland, so I would have to spend the night in DC, fly to Chicago the next day and then on to Portland from there.  I would arrived at 4pm on Saturday, about 32 hours after I walked out the front door of my apartment building in Brooklyn.  Not going to work.  I asked the lady if I could just fly back to New York and change my trip.  No, because, somehow, flying to DC because the company had fucked up and then, as a result, flying back to New York would have used up the tickets I bought plus my free ticket and so I would have basically just flown to and from DC just for fun.*  Finally, after much attitude on the part of me, she got me on a flight to San Francisco for that night. I would then spend the night in San Fran at the airline’s expense, and then fly on to Portland the next morning. I would arrive there at 10am.  Twenty-six hours after leaving my house.  I took it, but not after I gave the lady a piece of my mind which resulted in me getting escorted out of the line by security.  It was not my finest moment.

Anyway, that whole experience sucked.  (The trip to Portland was, as expected, so great! I want to go back!  Meredith, when can I come back?!) Anyway, so I get it, flight delays are awful.  But seriously?  THIS is the thing we are so excited about?  That the Senate managed to pass a bill to “ease impacts of cuts on air traffic?”  Okay, so let me just give you a couple of really fun little quotes from this article I read in, where else, The New York Times.**

Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, said “I am so happy that we were able to work together across the aisle in a bipartisan way to solve this problem.  It’s nice to know when we work together we can really solve problems.”

I just have to say that I am pretty sure that I learned the lesson of working together in like, kindergarten, but some people just take a little longer.  Also, I would just like to say that cuts to air traffic control that results in flight delays certainly results in inconveniences but I would hardly call this a problem.  Problems, to me, are cuts to education, to social security, to infrastructure development and maintenance.  You know, stuff like that.  But what do I know.

And Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, had these words: “At some point, we have to admit the best thing is to find another $2 trillion in debt reduction by looking at revenue, closing some loopholes and bringing down the debt with some spending cuts, but not ones like this.”

Oh, no, not cuts like that!  Never cuts like that!  I mean, cuts to air traffic control is totally insane and I can’t believe we ever in a million years thought about doing it, let alone actually did it.  I know!  Let’s take money from other parts of the transportation budget and just, you know, move it to air traffic.  Like, let’s not invest in high speed rail.  That was a dumb idea, anyway.***

Then there’s this. Republicans are accusing the Obama administration of “mismanagement of the cuts, at best and intentional infliction of pain at worst” (emphasis mine).  And then also, this: “Republicans — and some Democrats — have been pushing for much of the month for a rescue of the air traffic control system, charging that President Obama was intentionally extracting maximum pain on the traveling public to illustrate the costs of the cuts, called sequestration.”

I know that last paragraph is redundant but I feel like if The Times can have both those sentences in one article, so can I.  Anyway, here’s the thing.  Maybe the Senate wants to prove to the American public that, after the debacle involving the failure of the background check bill which 90% of the population supported yet still couldn’t get through the Senate because Senators are “doing what their constituents want” (!!!!!) that it can actually accomplish something.  Well done, Senate, you get a gold star.  But give me a break.  I mean, sure, when I fly I want on-time departure and on-time arrival.  I think we all do.  But let’s not act as though we are solving some huge, life-shaking issue.  Let’s not be so sensationalist that we start talking about how Obama is intentionally fucking with your life, travelers, to show you that spending cuts suck. What this is to me is the whining of a bunch of people in the leisure class who are pissed that their lives are inconvenienced by something that they themselves pushed for.  They wanted spending cuts, they just didn’t want it to impact them.  So why don’t we go ahead and solve this problem and let all our spending cuts occur on the backs of the poor.  So carry on, travel class!  We’ll get this economy back on track but don’t worry, you won’t feel a thing.

*I was young and stupid back then and didn’t know the full potential of letter writing.  If this happened today, I would write the shit out of some letters (and, obviously, post them here).

**I know it might not seem like it but I do, in fact, read things other than The Times.  I read The New Yorker.  Also, books.  Also, all of the comments written on that grumpy cat internet meme.  I want that cat.

***I don’t know that this is where the money is actually coming from but I am feeling especially snarky this morning so, whatever.