Zika and political obstructionism

Maki Naro has a very good overview of the Zika virus in comic form.



The effects of the virus are actually easy to understand: mild, flu-like symptoms in adults, but a significant chance of debilitating brain damage to developing fetuses. You don’t want to get Zika because it’s unpleasant and nasty, but your fetus must be protected from it because it’s devastating.

Unfortunately, the USA has a dysfunctional congress that can’t respond to serious problems anymore. An effort to dedicate money (to the tune of almost two billion dollars) to preventing the spread of the disease was killed because Republicans loaded it with irrelevant, poisonous addenda — baggage to snipe at Planned Parenthood (an organization that is vital to putting together a response) or to allow Confederate flags to fly, for instance.

But especially unfortunately, diseases that cause birth defects are a vector for the pro-life-at-any-cost fanatics to gallop in and wreck any process with their delusional antics. We are supposed to love that tiny slug of human fetal tissue so much that we’ll defy any attempt to combat a virus that will poison its nervous system, and don’t you dare think about abortions. A fetal slug with a deformed, shriveled brain is still to be regarded as a full human person!

If you think I’m making this up, listen to Marco Rubio.

Obviously, microcephaly is a terrible prenatal condition that kids are born with. And when they are, it’s a lifetime of difficulties. So I get it.

I’m not pretending to you that that’s an easy question you asked me. But I’m pro-life. And I’m strongly pro-life. I believe all human life should be protected by our law, irrespective of the circumstances or condition of that life.

No, he doesn’t get it. He’s lying.

He also doesn’t believe in protecting life, because he’s also in favor of the death penalty, and in fact thinks the big problem with capital punishment is that we don’t shuffle the condemned into the death machine fast enough.


Meanwhile, Donald Trump thinks we have Zika under control, and is praising Florida governor Rick Scott for how he’s handling it. His little PR helpers are arguing for inaction because birth defects are nothing new.

The United States has been paralyzed by the Republican virus. They know nothing, they do nothing, and they actively interfere with necessary responses to problems. We need to do something about that. Never vote for any Republican, ever.


  1. blf says

    Never vote for any Republican, ever.

    This applies not only to federal elections (President, Senate, and House) but also to state and local elections: NO thugs. NONE.

    Importantly, in the Senate, cutting back the number of thugs by only a handful of seats will hand control to less-insane (and presumably rational) crooks. A larger swing is needed in the House, but since the House is 100% up for election, a removal of essentially all thugs is theoretically possible.

  2. blf says

    Gregory@2, At the least, that presumes thugs can think ahead (instead of the usual “Me! Me!! Me!!! NOW!!!1!”).

  3. dianne says

    I would note that there is a small incidence of guillan-barre syndrome associated with zika infection. May Marc Rubio honor all life by becoming a host for zika virus and experience the full range of what life has to offer.

  4. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I think the republicans are scared to show that government can be effective in solving public problems. It goes against their presuppositional thinking.

  5. unclefrogy says

    the ability of the republicans or some faction of the same in congress to continue to do these things that block any proposal that they do not like and then go on to control the spin without any real vigorous public resistance to counter it with facts is really amazing.
    It is in large part what the dissatisfaction with government that is so pervasive this election season.
    The truth of what is going on and how it is happening, might as well be going on behind closed doors no one seems to have the courage to stand up in the public square and take a stand against this. Why? For fear of being seen as what, liberal? Becoming a target of the right wing lie machine, teabag bigots and christian hypocrites .

    uncle frogy

  6. says

    So…I’m a bit confused; probably because I haven’t been paying attention to the news as much as I should. I’ve seen email from one of my Republican US senators, Chuck Grassley, was claiming there is money allocated for handling Zika that’s not getting spent and I have seen one or two news headlines claiming much the same. But the ABC article PZ links regarding Trump says there are “new alarms over dwindling resources to fight Zika.” So what the frak is going on?!?

  7. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    LB #7, There have been no allocations from Congress for Zika spending. The Obama Administration used some ebola and other research monies for zika research, to the tune of $500 million or so. Congress was asked to supply $1.9 billion to fully fund the zika program, and replenish the other programs. It hasn’t done so to date.
    Grassley, the Judiciary Committee Chariman won’t consider holding hearing or an up/down vote of Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court. Always take his word with a grain of salt the size of Montana, as he is a partisan.

  8. NitricAcid says

    I have never understood why the US system allows riders to be slapped onto bills willy-nilly.

  9. JohnnieCanuck says

    blf @3
    Some Republicans are very much capable of thinking ahead. For example, Chris Jankowski as president of the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) created Project REDMAP.

    They are already at work with the same strategy for 2020, the next census based redistricting effort.

    They caught the Democrats completely off guard in 2012 and look to do it again if someone doesn’t wake up soon. It’s not as if they haven’t bragged about exactly how they did it. They got $30 million from big federal level donors and carefully selected GOP candidates in State elections who would benefit from the advertising money and give them the state. Next, the State GOP gets to select the redistricting committee and gerrymander Federal districts. All legal, too.

  10. blf says

    JohnnieCanuck@10, From your description that was a project to decrease or marginalize resistance to the thugs’s owners. Faux & Kochroach Bros., UnLimited are known to be capable of thinking-ahead when it relates to their profits / income (but perhaps nothing else), and are totally capable of buying thugs to implement their plans. So from that — admittedly highly cynical — perspective, I continue to see no evidence thugs can think ahead, beyond their next bribe.

  11. lepidoptera says