Uprisings: August 27 – September 9

By : Billy Manes
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In yet another week of banging our heads against the figurative political firmament, we’ve come to learn a few things about Florida’s state governance we’ve suspected but weren’t necessarily choosing to believe. Yes, we’re aware that the swamp dense with horny toads and sprawl-makers who pretend to be concerned about the Everglades. We understand that there’s a secret pipeline that funnels cash from private prisons and their health-care mechanisms, a pipeline that effectively fuels campaigns of ignorance. We get that #Floridaman is less a Twitter distraction that a symptom of a state that just doesn’t take care of itself or scrub in the right places. We get it.

But what we weren’t ready for, at least in the past couple of weeks, is the witch-hunt switch on the back of our dear leader Gov. Rick Scott. You’ve likely already heard the news and its requisite fallout. Scott decided to take a hard stand on Planned Parenthood after the reproductive health organization was pinned into a corner for something we don’t care to talk about.

UpRising_BruceRaunerQuick, though. Let’s talk about it.

What Planned Parenthood has been accused of by Scott and many other heads that like to talk is selling fetal tissue after pregnancy terminations. An ongoing series of videos have placed the organization in a seemingly heartless glare on the issue, with higher-ups discussing the costs of transference and all of that wonderful medical stuff that shouldn’t be discussed among people who don’t understand science.

Rick Scott, he who famously said, “I am not a scientist,” speaking in the context of his climate-change denial, has decided to go against protocol (and science) in order to investigate whether the veritable ACORN-ing of Planned Parenthood is something he should be concerned with. Why? Politics, says an Aug. 21 editorial in the Tampa Bay Times.

Never mind that the Agency for Health Care Administration has come out against the selective impugning of various clinics throughout the state, mostly because making an investigation publicly announced isn’t much of an investigation. Never mind that AHCA counsel dialed back that resistance, certainly not because the lawyers were pressured by the Scott administration. This is an issue of nuance and shouldn’t be one of political – and sexual – oppression. Are you an organ donor? Do you believe in stem-cell research? Are you looking out for the greater good? Then you have no place in this particular political maelstrom.

Scott, however, is playing a game of rhetorical poker with this one and likely alienating any female base he has (who are you, really?) in advance of his next governmental office purchase.

Oh, wait. We know who you are, after all! You’re Attorney General Pam Bondi, the cheerleader who never gives up! Earlier this month, Bondi also appeared as an angry scofflaw when she decided that it wasn’t up to her or the state to pay for the court costs in the federal marriage equality battle. That’s $500,000, estimates say, and the lawyers who fought tooth and nail for human rights deserve that money. Also, legally speaking – or even just in the gaze of the wild world of political optics – it doesn’t make sense. This administration, with all of its free-market bluster and detached compassion smiles is starting to gather polemical dust, it appears. We’re growing tired of banging our heads.

UpRising_KochAs we’ve previously mentioned, the absence of compassion can be fascinating on the great political plane, and, as numerous Tampa Bay-area politicians have proven, it also makes for great YouTube fun! In what can only be described as a backhanded compliment, Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity (which is basically just for the prosperity of its members) released a TV-ready YouTube blip that gives you the Christmas list you’ve been waiting for. Wonder which of your representatives want to watch from the sidelines as nearly one million people fall through the gap? Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg; House Majority Leader Dana Young, R-Tampa; Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes; Rep. Chris Latvala, R-Clearwater; Rep. Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor; Rep. Larry Ahern, R-Seminole; and Rep. James Grant, R-Tampa. That’s them. And they’re just a chunk of the 72 others.

UpRising_AshtonMadisonWe’re not quick to clutch our pearls at online dating shenanigans, and the latest one in which a leak of high-end cheaters has been slowly rolled out on to the internet, is basically no different. On the one hand, having a Duggar rolled through the public-relations mud after 19 minutes and counting was kind of fun. The responses thereafter – a pastor speaking of a new “sex epidemic” and family members piling on with Biblical verses – were even more hilarious and sad and weird, because exactly who uses fake pictures on Ashley Madison? Oh, a Duggar does. When Orange/Osceola State Attorney Jeff Ashton’s name showed up in the hack, however, we sort of grimaced. Ashton, who managed to let Casey Anthony go free somehow, is a quiet sort, and his press conference (held nearly in secret) was painful to watch. Private business or public figure? You be the judge.

UpRising_TedCruzEverybody’s favorite crazy uncle Ted Cruz – the snide blob of misery and anger who is running for president against all odds, popped up in Iowa – he doubled his historic gaffe-count by going after former President Jimmy Carter who just announced he has brain cancer (Cruz made a similarly mortifying move by going after Vice President Joe Biden when Biden’s son died). Then, out of the ether, Juno hero Ellen Page popped up unannounced and bowed up to the candidate on LGBT issues. “You’re discriminating against LGBT people,” Page said. Cruz hung on the plastic cross of people being persecuted for following their beliefs. Page, not missing a beat, brought up the fact that the same argument was used for segregation. Cruz then immediately morphed into Donald Trump and disappeared into a pile of money. The end.

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