It’s been a strange week to view US politics. The Tea Party; a group that consists of about five men, waving Confederate flags, and insisting that anything slightly Left of Mussolini is a communist plot, seem to be holding their party, and the country to ransom.
Like most nights Canadian born (which strangely, birthers seem not too fussed with) Ted Cruz spends not filibustering anything, he spent last night, not filibustering anything, but performing a filibuster anyway. After vowing to stand and talk until he couldn’t talk any more (though taking a break after an hour) he’s doing the same thing today. And when he’s asleep tonight, he will also not be filibustering anything in much the same way, though he wont have the distinct enjoyment he gets from the sound of his own voice. Like their redefinition of the word ‘Marxist’, The Republicans have redefined the word ‘filibuster’ to mean; speaking aimlessly for quite a long time. And the more he speaks, the more myths he throws to be knocked out of the park, like the World’s worst pitcher. Incidentally, I deal with debunking three Obamacare myths here.
It is indeed ironic for a Party apparently calling itself “Republican” to be attempting to close down the entire Government despite losing the Presidential election twice in a row, losing the Senate, losing the popular vote for the House, and their share of the vote falling for both legislature elections. A minority sect, of a minority Party appears to believe it rules the Country. How un-democratic, and how tyrannus.
Whilst Cruz compared his ‘struggle’ to prevent millions of children from being insured, and women from accessing preventative care, to the sruggle to beat the Nazis, and the struggle for American Independence, we must ask; What are Ted “Mr Over Dramatic” Cruz’s credentials when it comes to the health and well being of Americans? Well, as it turns out, not so good.
Ted Cruz & Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week:
In March this year Cruz registered his opposition to the ceremonial, routine Senate resolution commemorating Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week. The excuse pushed by his staff was:
“The Senator, like many of his colleagues, will not grant consent to call up and pass a resolution or bill at the last minute without time for review,”
– The time given, was just under 48 hours. Two days. So, given Cruz’s complaint, we’d expect the Bill for this routine Senate resolution to have far too many words for a Senator and his staff to read over in just 48 hours? Well, no. House Resolution 95 has less than 700 words. Actually, when you take out the introductory paragraph and focus on the substance, it comes to 568 words. That’s a little over 150 words more than you’ve currently read of this article so far.
So if we put aside that ridiculous excuse from Cruz’s staff, and look at the Bill, we may be able to see the real issue Cruz has with accepting it. And it doesn’t take long before we reach:
“(6) recognizes and reaffirms the Nation’s commitment to ending multiple sclerosis by promoting awareness about people that are affected with multiple sclerosis and by promoting new education programs, supporting research, and expanding access to medical treatment.”
– This might go some way to explaining why Politico referenced a Democratic staffer who told them that the reason Ted Cruz opposed the MS Bill, was:
“He was unhappy with a clause in the resolution describing the purpose of the Multiple Sclerosis Coalition.”
– Could it have been the clause that seeks to help expand access to medical treatment for those with Multiple Sclerosis? Judging by his current behaviour, I’d find it difficult to pinpoint another clause in the Bill that he might have issues with.
Ted Cruz & Hurricane Sandy:
Ted Cruz rightfully demanded Federal aid in the aftermath of the West Fertilizer Company explosion in West Texas in April. Though he failed to accept that weak regulations lead to this plant running for years without a pollution permit; thus leading to Cruz having to ask the taxpayer to bail out failed deregulation policies and the irresponsibility of a private company. This came six months after the same Ted Cruz announced his opposition to the Sandy Relief Fund. His excuse was disastrous:
“Two thirds of this spending is not remotely “emergency”; the Congressional Budget Office estimates that only 30% of the authorized funds would be spent in the next 20 months, and over a billion dollars will be spent as late as 2021.”
– This isn’t exactly true. Short term aid or “emergency” aid accounts for 40% of the money spent. The rest was indeed for longer term relief. I see no problem with that. For example, $5.3 was set aside for funding projects “related to reducing risk of damage from future disasters.” For that, Cruz voted against all funding for Sandy relief, including emergency food supplies. This is not a man who cares about people.
Other Republicans stood against the relief fund for the victims of the superstorm, because it was a Bill ‘laden with pork’. What Republicans didn’t like to tell people, is that the ‘pork’ was actually aimed at winning over Republicans, in Red States, with funds for Red States, to ensure a filibuster proof bill, as pointed out by Rick Ungar writing in Forbes. This is the result of Republican derailing attempts at every possible turn, to the point where even relief for victims of a horror storm, aren’t enough to warrant help according to Republicans. Interestingly, the relief fund for the West Texas explosion, didn’t require bribing Blue States to ensure its funding.
Ted Cruz & Mental Health:
When it comes to mental health, Cruz is astonishingly inconsistent with his underlying values. When it comes to a database of gun owners, Cruz is quite clear:
“I don’t think the Federal Government has any business having a list of law abiding citizens who choose to exercise their right to keep and bear arms.”
– Law abiding citizens being the key phrase to this, because when asked about the database, Cruz called for the strengthening of a Federal ‘list’ of law abiding citizens who wish to own guns, who happen to have mental health issues:
“Right now a lot of states, a lot of local jurisdictions, are not reporting criminal convictions, not reporting mental health barriers to ownership. And so the federal database is not nearly as good as it should be. That would be a common-sense improvement.”
– We can deduce from these two quotes, that Cruz believes ‘law abiding’ does not apply to anyone with a mental health issue.
Ted Cruz & Uninsured Children in his own State:
According to the 2012 American Community Survey, Ted Cruz’s State of Texas has the highest number of uninsured people in the entire Country. But even more horrifically, is that whilst Ted Cruz works to block a Bill that will cover millions more children…. his own State has the highest number of uninsured children in the Country. A status quo that Ted Cruz is currently fighting to protect, in what can only be deemed to be a bid for the White House in 2016. More than 852,000 Texas children did not have health insurance in 2012. As Senator, what is Ted Cruz doing to put an immediate stop to this tragedy? Did Cruz use his fake-filibuster to argue for higher rates of employer-sponsored coverage? No. Did he use his fake-filibuster to talk at all about the tragedy of uninsured children in his own state? No. Did he even spend any of the 18 hour fake-filibuster to offer an alternative plan to cover those in desperate need of coverage? No. Instead he read Dr.Seuss (who, ironically, was very liberal, and very Democrat). Cruz should be ashamed of his record, ashamed of the state of Texas for its unacceptable treatment of children, and for offering nothing to correct it.
Ted Cruz & Violence Against Women:
Of the 100 Senators, Ted Cruz was only one of eight who voted No on reauthorising the Violence Against Women Act. On voting No, Cruz issued this statement:
“He (Senator Cruz) voted against this federal law because stopping and punishing violent criminals is primarily a state responsibility, and the federal government does not need to be dictating state criminal law.”
– Cruz here defining his objection to the Federal Government meddling in State’s affairs. And yet, Cruz openly supports the Federal Government defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Like most Tea Party Republicans, he abhors ‘big government’ when it doesn’t meet his set of values, and fully endorses big government when it’s aimed at gay people. So when it comes to the VAWA opposition, we of course get a subtle answer from Cruz (he’s setting himself up for a Presidential run, afterall), but we get a much more candid answer from less ambitious members of Congress like the horrendously ignorant and bigoted Steve Stockman, who registered his opposition to the VAWA in a way we all know that Cruz agrees with:
“This is a truly bad bill. This is helping the liberals, this is horrible. Unbelievable. What really bothers—it’s called a women’s act, but then they have men dressed up as women, they count that. Change-gender, or whatever. How is that—how is that a woman?”
– Ted Cruz similar announced his arrival on the homophobic scene by opposing ex-Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert’s attendance at a gay pride march. Cruz said:
“When a mayor of a city chooses twice to march in a parade celebrating gay pride that’s a statement and it’s not a statement I agree with.”
– What statement is he making? That it’s absolutely fine to be gay, and open about it? That gay people are citizens whose rights are not to be decided upon by dictatorial, Republican men? What does Cruz object to here?
When a Party loses the Presidency, loses the Senate, loses the popular vote for the House, I’d suggest being a little more humble, accepting that the American people don’t want you controlling anything, and stop trying to hold the entire Country to ransom for the sake of one man’s egotistical attempts to set himself up for a Presidential run in 2016. And when that Presidential run is more important to that man, than a generation of vulnerable, uninsured children…. it’s time to question who you choose to elect to positions of power.