Jason Johnson is a regular contributor (pundit) I see on MSNBC. He’s been known to say stupid stuff that’s gotten him in hot water and even cost him some gigs. Still, he’s knowledgeable, experienced and good at explaining stuff. Today, while getting caught up on all I missed yesterday evening and this morning (I live in NC and my county got whacked by that storm. Power out for over seven hours, no internet till mid morning and no TV till almost noon) I did some news binging this afternoon.
During a segment when Tuberville’s holding up top military promotions and the impact it was having on National Security Johnson nailed what’s going on with those two words:
The whole subject of the filibuster, in particular the way it’s been increasingly abused since (Democratic) Majority Leader Mike Mansfield reformed it fifty years ago has generated countless articles and news segments. With countless more to come. I’ve written about it myself. However, when it affects military readiness, our troops in harm’s way and interactions with our ally’s forces the filibuster becomes something more than some Senator being too big for their britches, exercising almost Presidential level power to set/affect national policy. When it puts people, and not just our troops but civilians too in some rough places in danger use of the filibuster to demand change for a political hobby horse is taking our troops and our military hostage. So no, I don’t think terrorism is too strong a word.
Tuberville is unqualified for the position he holds. Had he not had a reasonably successful tenure as head coach at Auburn, Alabama’s “other” university (like Chicago is “second city” to NYC, so it is with Auburn to the University of Alabama) he’d never be where he is. But football, or more specifically college football is religion in many southern states including Alabama. As the saying goes, there are two main sports: (college) Football and Spring Football. Everything else is way the hell back.
All this is about Tuberville using abortion as an issue to ensure re-election and then that Senate seat is his till he retires or dies. Does he actually have a strong moral objection to abortion? Possibly. What I DO know for sure however is that he spent a long career as a college football coach, much of it as a head coach and not just at Auburn. Here’s something else I know. People have sex. Young people at college, away from home and parents in particular. Not always responsibly either. The mix of alcohol and other controlled substances in copious amounts on and around college campuses and therefore parties ensues too many sexual encounters that result in unwanted pregnancies.
And athletes? Especially elite ones like you find in major university sports programs? They f**k like rabbits. It’s well known for example that every four years common spaces in every athlete “Olympic Village” has big bowls of condoms everywhere. Which need frequent refilling I might add. College athletes in the major revenue producing sports, football and basketball at major universities have lots of chances every day to get laid. It’s common for them to get a “use protection” lecture both to prevent STDs but also unwanted pregnancies. And I know it’s not politically correct to say this but it doesn’t make it any less true that for stars that might get drafted by the pros there are women who see getting pregnant via someone who will be worth millions in as little as a couple of years as an opportunity. Of course, when they realize they won’t be Mrs. pro athlete after all, and start getting pressure like a rape victim of a college athlete that will drag their name through the mud many will opt for a settlement of some sort. Getting a paid for abortion and maybe a halfway decent offer of a job somewhere after graduation.
I’ll guarantee you Tuberville has had many dozens of players who went to him or one of his assistants with a “Coach, I need some help… You see there’s this girl and she’s pregnant and she/I/we don’t want any baby.” A booster is called and “arrangements” get made. Given the length of his career I’ve little doubt Tuberville was either directly involved in or “sanctioned” this many dozens of time, if not well over a hundred. And unless it happened to be an underperforming player he wanted to dump from the team to free up their scholarship anyway he didn’t kick anyone off his teams for getting someone pregnant and asking for (and getting) help in arranging an abortion!
That offends the hell out of me. That he’s so goddammed hypocritical on this issue.
The thing is, members of our armed forces, along with their families don’t have the final say on where they will be stationed. I can tell you from experience that you get orders to a duty station and that’s that. You work with the people who handle travel/moves where you are and where you are going and have your butt there by the date you’re ordered to be there. And if not right then, if you have a family they’ll be joining you soon enough unless it’s what’s known as an “unaccompanied tour” or for some other, personal reason . If you happen to be assigned to some state like Alabama, if you or someone in the family wants or needs an abortion it can be almost impossible to get one now, not that it was easy prior to Roe being overturned.
The military isn’t allowed except in certain circumstances to perform abortions and it can’t use govt. funds to cover the cost either. But if a person happens to be in a state where the service is damned near impossible to get, say Alabama policy is for DOD to cover the travel costs back and forth to a place that does. Just the travel costs mind you. Senator Tommy Tub-O-Lard objects to that. Hence his hold on high level military promotions going back many months now.
As of this writing I understand the number of vacancies is over 300 now. For the very first time in our history both the Marines and now the Army too don’t have a Commandant/Chief. Oh, and the new Chair of the Joint Chiefs is also in Tub-O-Lard’s “I don’t want no wimmin gettin no abortions” purgatory.
Policy and implementation of changes to training/readiness and force restructuring and deployments are slowed down or suspended. In addition to that 300 plus number of top level officers, others down the ranks who would be moving up, moving to new duty stations this summer and so on and their families are also getting screwed over so Tuberville can play “Abortion Hero” to Christofascists.
However, as I’ve noted this is harming National Security and I don’t say that lightly. The bottleneck the UN-distinguished Senator from Alabama has created is interfering with complex matters. The logistics of supplying Ukraine both weapons and training as they act as proxies for us and the rest of NATO for example. I for one also don’t think it’s a coincidence that recently Russian jets have started attacking our surveillance drones. And a crisis is growing in the Persian Gulf with Iran acting up. Ships and troops are being rushed there to protect shipping. Not to mention other threats in other places. China’s activities r.e. Taiwan and along the Pacific Rim is fluid and you can bet they are using the mess going on with our military being held hostage by a dipshit unqualified Senator with delusions of grandeur to advantage. Lots of parts moving quickly and requiring day to day decisions on how to deploy/respond.
Holding top promotions hostage is harming National Security and putting lives in danger. So again I say it qualifies as terrorism.
Finally, lots of other GOP Senators know it. Even if they want to ride the abortion issue (despite it having already cost them control of the Senate and odds are ruin what should be a good chance for them to regain it next year) themselves they know this isn’t the fight their Party should be having. Tuberville has had plenty of them from McConnell on down pleading with him to relent. He’s made his point. Made himself a big star with anti abortion zealots and will be able to raise a huge war chest for his re-election bid. Which is probably what this has been about from the beginning. Sadly, like so many others he’s gotten addicted to the attention. Hell, he’s probably finding it better than being a head coach at a major southern university!
In the meantime though women needing access to abortion are suffering. Military families are suffering. And a LOT of officers and NCOs at a point in their careers where it’s decision time to in fact make the military their career or move on are looking hard at how easily just ONE single self-service a$$hole can impact their lives and careers, as well as their family’s too. And decide to take the knowledge, skills and experience the taxpayers invested hundreds of thousands of dollars (sometimes upwards of a million) providing them and take it to the private sector. THAT affects military readiness too.
Tuberville has taken hostages, both people and National Security. And for no other reason than to f**k with President Biden they won’t join Democrats in breaking his “hold”, his filibuster. To hell with them all. If it were up to me I’d plant every one of them between our troops (or better still Ukraine’s) and an enemy force to speed them on their way.