I Don’t Think This Is Helpful

CNN posted an article today with the following headline, “State of the Union will not take place Tuesday, Pelosi aide says.”

The article reports:

President Donald Trump’s second State of the Union address will not take place on Tuesday, an aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN.

The aide confirmed that the address, which was originally scheduled for Tuesday, will not happen — answering a key question about the address’s fate in the wake of the reopening of the federal government.

At a news conference Friday following Trump’s announcement that there was a deal to end the partial government shutdown, Pelosi said, “The State of the Union is not planned now.” The California Democrat added that discussions about the date of the address would take place after the shutdown — the longest in US history — officially ended.

Trump’s director of strategic communications Mercedes Schlapp said Monday that the White House has been in discussions with Pelosi’s office about rescheduling the address and that “we should have a response soon.”

In order to give an address like the State of the Union to a joint session of Congress, both the House and Senate must pass a resolution allowing it to happen, making Pelosi’s voice an important part of the discussions.

I truly believe that this is a new low in partisan politics. There is no excuse for this. The State of the Union Speech is a tradition and should not be the victim of political pettiness. If this is the attitude the House of Representatives is going to show to the President, he needs to cut to the chase now, declare an emergency on the southern border, build a wall, and tell Ms. Pelosi to go pound sand. I also think Ms. Pelosi is trying to block President Trump from speaking directly to the American people about the need for border security on our southern border. She is definitely out over her skis on this one.

Attempting To Move Toward A Solution

One America News Network posted an article today about the latest development in the government shutdown. The Republicans are making a sincere effort to reopen the government. The Democrats will join in that effort when their focus groups tell them they are losing the argument. The bill that will be introduced in the Senate this week includes things that the Democrats have voted for in the past. The difference is that we currently have a President who will actually do these things after they vote for them. In the past when Republicans agreed to Democrat terms and let a deal go through, the terms the Republicans were promised never happened. The unwillingness to give in without funding for the wall on the part of the Republicans is the result of lessons learned in the past.

The article reports:

Senate Republicans are releasing a bill to reopen the government. The legislation relates with the president’s proposal he unveiled in his address Saturday, which calls for $5.7 billion for a physical barrier at the southern border and funding for nine closed government agencies.

It also grants a three-year extension for DACA recipients and those under temporary protective status. A plan to ease the asylum process for Central American migrants is also included.

…Senate Republicans said they plan to vote on the bill this week, however, no Democrats have voiced their support for the legislation.

Meanwhile, Democrat Senator Joe Manchin remains on the fence about the president proposal to end the shutdown despite his initial optimism about the deal. On Monday, a spokesperson for the West Virginia lawmaker said Manchin is waiting to see the final draft of the proposal before making a decision.

This comes after Manchin tweeted on Saturday, saying he was looking forward to working with both sides to make the immigration reforms proposed by President Trump happen. However, Democrat leadership has since slammed the plan as a non-starter.

If this bill is blocked in the Senate or in the House of Representatives by the Democrats, they will have to take responsibility for the continuing shutdown. Their unwillingness to vote for things they have voted for in the past is becoming very obvious.

A Representative Speaks About The Border And The Shutdown

On Saturday, The Alpha News, posted a column by U.S. Representative Jack Bergman.

Representative Bergman wrote:

For those of us who call the Upper Peninsula and northern Michigan home, the discussion around border security is often different than what we see on the nightly news. The challenges for U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Agents and other federal, state and local law enforcement in the Soo vary greatly from those of their southern border counterparts. The commonality is we share the same goal: the safety and security of our citizens.

As the national debate rages on, we must remember that our nation is a welcoming nation and built by immigrants. I know firsthand — my grandparents immigrated from Sweden to the Upper Peninsula to start a new life.

Though, equally as true as the aforementioned: We are a nation of borders, as well as law and order. But our immigration system is broken — and to argue otherwise would be dishonest. From an ineffective visa system to porous borders, decades of disinterest, lazy legislation, and bureaucratic opposition have encouraged bad actors to take advantage of our current system. It’s not fair to put the needs of our citizens or of those who come here legally below those who enter illegally.

President Donald Trump is right to call this a crisis, and we have a unique opportunity right now to address these issues head on. Fixing our immigration system starts first and foremost with secure borders. Without that, everything else falls apart. While most are hoping to enter our country for a good reason, we can’t turn a blind eye to the facts. Over the past two years, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has arrested close to 300,000 criminal illegal immigrants in our country — 3,900 on murder charges, 27,000 on sex-related charges, 99,000 on assault-related charges, and over 160,000 on criminal traffic charges, such as driving under the influence.

Congress has the constitutional duty and obligation to provide for the safety and security of our citizens, and it’s time we put aside partisan games and secure our borders. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol have identified the need for 234 miles of physical barrier (read: wall) on our southern border.

Yet, Nancy Pelosi and many other “leaders” have radically dismissed the notion of walls being a necessary part of securing a border.

This is not campaign rhetoric or pandering for votes. This is a crisis of our own making. We are in the longest — and most avoidable — government shutdown in U.S. history. Those most vital to protecting our borders, coasts, and ports have now missed at least one paycheck, with little to no progress being made in Washington.

It’s time to end this shutdown, secure our borders, and get our government open and working for the people.

Come to the table Democrats.

U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet, represents Michigan’s 1st Congressional District, covering the northern Lower Peninsula and all of the Upper Peninsula.

Well spoken, sir.

 

 

When You Are Convinced You Know It All

Power can do strange things to people. Some people handle it well, and some people are so impressed that they have some power that they decide they are all-powerful. Nancy Pelosi is a good example of the latter.

The Daily Caller posted an article yesterday about one of Speaker of the House Pelosi’s recent statements.

The article reports:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Wednesday night she “doesn’t care” if the Secret Service said it was prepared to appropriately secure the State of the Union address despite the partial government shutdown.

Instead, she stood firm in her resolve to delay the January 29 event until the government completely re-opens.

In a letter to President Trump, Pelosi claimed the lack of funds to Homeland Security posed a risk to the White House and the Congress during the event, but the Department of Homeland Security Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen released a statement refuting that.

So Speaker Pelosi knows more about security than the Department of Homeland Security?

The article concludes:

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise called Democrats’ security concerns nonsense, telling reporters on Wednesday, “There are no security concerns that have been raised and that has nothing to do with that. Ironically, it seems like she’s only concerned about security when it’s a State of the Union that will expose what this fight is all about.”

It may be that the Democrat focus groups are starting to indicate that the shutdown isn’t going exactly the way the Democrats thought it would. Meanwhile there is another caravan headed our way. I wonder what the impact of that will be on public opinion.

Somehow They Don’t Seem Overly Concerned

Optics do matter in politics. However, some of our politicians are so accustomed to the media covering up their antics that they don’t even worry about the optics anymore. This was obvious last weekend when thirty Democrats headed out for a fun weekend in Puerto Rico despite the continuing government shutdown.

On Friday The Washington Examiner posted an article about the weekend trip.

The article reports:

Some 30 Democratic lawmakers left the government shutdown behind Friday on a chartered flight to Puerto Rico for a winter retreat with 109 lobbyists and corporate executives during which they planned to see the hit Broadway show “Hamilton” and attend three parties including one with the show’s cast.

Those attending the Congressional Hispanic Caucus BOLD PAC winter retreat in San Juan planned to meet with key officials to discuss the cleanup after Hurricane Maria at a roundtable Saturday.

But the weekend is packed with free time for the members and their families on the trip.

“We are excited for you to join us for CHC BOLD PAC’s 2019 Winter Retreat in San Juan, Puerto Rico! Each year, this retreat serves as a way for our CHC BOLD PAC Members and friends in the D.C. community to come together to escape the cold and discuss our shared priorities for a stronger and more prosperous country,” said a memo on the trip.

Some 109 lobbyists and corporate executives are named in the memo, a rate of 3.6 lobbyists for every member. They include those from several big K Street firms, R.J. Reynolds, Facebook, Comcast, Amazon, PhRMA, Microsoft, Intel, Verizon, and unions like the National Education Association.

What chance does the average American citizen have in getting the ear of his Congressman when lobbying groups can do this sort of thing?

The press release regarding the event is predictable–it blames President Trump for the shutdown and explains that the event was scheduled months before the shutdown. President Trump is at least partially responsible for the shutdown, but another aspect of the shutdown is the refusal of Representative Pelosi to negotiate. Having thirty of your Democrat Congressmen running off to Puerto Rico to party when the government is shut down does not make good political optics. I wonder if the American people will notice.

Because I Have To Write Something About The Wall

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about the wall that seems to be responsible for the government shutdown.

The article reports:

According to the results of an ABC News and Washington Post poll released Sunday morning, 42 percent of Americans support a wall. That is up from 34 percent one year ago and a previous high of 37 percent in 2017.

With 54 percent, the majority of Americans polled still oppose building a border wall. However, that opposition is shrinking, as 63 percent opposed the wall a year ago and the previous low was 60 percent two years ago.

The article also reports:

According to the poll, only about a quarter of Americans — 24 percent — believe there is a crisis-level situation in regards to immigration at the border.

That is a very sad statistic. We have drugs coming across the border, human trafficking is happening at the border, and American citizens are being killed by illegal aliens that should not even be in the country. There is a crisis. A wall will not end that crisis, but it will provide a partial solution that will greatly help the border patrol. Either Americans are not well-informed or they don’t see a crisis because it hasn’t directly impacted them. I am not sure which is the case. At any rate, the wall (and the increased border security requested with it) represents such a small part of the federal budget that there shouldn’t even be a question about whether or not to build it.

In Fiscal Year 2019, the federal budget will be $4.407 trillion. Compare the cost of the wall and the increased security at our border with the annual cost of illegal immigration. The wall is a bargain.

When Facts Get In The Way Of A Good Narrative

Yesterday Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about the situation on our southern border. I guess you might even call the editorial a fact-check on some of the things we have been told recently by the mainstream media.

The editorial reports:

NPR’s “fact check” — like countless others — dismissed Trump’s claim as false because “illegal border crossings in the most recent fiscal year (ending in September 2018) were actually lower than in either 2016 or 2014.”

What they aren’t telling you is border patrol agents apprehended more than 100,000 people trying to enter the country illegally in just October and November of last year. Or that that number is way up from the same two months the year before.

Nor do they mention that last year, the border patrol apprehended more than half a million people trying to get into the country illegally. And that number, too, is up from the year before.

NPR may call that a fact-check, but it seems to me that it is more like political spin.

The editorial continues:

Trump’s critics certainly don’t bother to mention that those figures only count illegals the border patrol caught. It does not count the ones who eluded border patrol agents and got into the country.

The Department of Homeland Security claims that about 20% of illegal border crossers make it into the country. Other studies, however, say border agents fail to apprehend as much as 50% of illegal crossers.

Even at the lower percentage, that means that 104,000 illegals made it into the country in 2018 alone.

Is that not a crisis at the border?

I strongly suggest that you follow the above link to read the entire editorial. It contains a lot of important information that is not necessarily being reported.

The editorial notes that previous Presidents noted the crisis and promised to fix it:

Here’s another problem with claims that we don’t have a crisis at the border.

Past presidents all treated it like one.

In 1982, for example, President Ronald Reagan said that “The ongoing migration of persons to the United States in violation of our laws is a serious national problem detrimental to the interests of the United States.”

President Bill Clinton said in his 1995 State of the Union address that “All Americans … are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country.” That’s why, he said, “our administration has moved aggressively to secure our borders.”

President George Bush, in a prime-time Oval Office speech in 2006, declared that securing the U.S. border is a basic responsibility of a sovereign nation. It is also an urgent requirement of our national security.”

Bush also promised to end the practice of catch-and-release “once and for all.” He said that “people will know that they’ll be caught and sent home if they enter our country illegally.” 

President Barack Obama in 2005 declared that “we simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, unchecked.” And in 2014 even he admitted there was a crisis on the border — one that he did virtually nothing to fix. (Apprehensions at the border last year were almost the same as in 2014.)

The editorial concludes:

Yet despite repeated promises by presidents and Congress for the past three decades, the border remains nearly as porous as ever. And catch-and-release is still alive and well. Is it any wonder so many try to cross the border illegally every month.

Isn’t the failure of leaders to do what they all say is necessary to protect national security interests the very definition of a crisis at the border?

Democrats, it seems, want to label everything a crisis. We have a health care crisis. A clean water crisis. A “food desert” crisis. An infrastructure crisis. A homelessness crisis.

Democrats label just about everything a crisis. Why? Because they want to whip up public support for bigger, more expensive, more intrusive government programs.

Everything, that is, except for the very real, long-standing crisis posed by a porous border that each year lets in tens of thousands of illegals.

The current government shutdown is about border security. Any other discussion is irrelevant spin. The Democrats simply do not want President Trump to have a border wall, and the Republicans do not want to see an end to cheap labor. That is the impasse.

The Numbers–Do They Actually Matter?

On January 6th, The Conservative Tribune posted an article about illegal immigration.

The article reported:

According to an Economist/YouGov survey, a jaw-dropping 93 percent of Americans believe that illegal immigration is a problem.

“A wide-ranging Economist/YouGov survey gauged the level of concern Americans have on the issue to find that only 7 percent of the overall public say illegal immigration is ‘not a problem’; 2 percent of Republicans, 7 percent of independents and even 12 percent of Democrats agree with the statement,” The Washington Times reported.

There are differences in how serious people believe the immigration problem is, but those who shrug off illegal immigration are few and far between.

“40 percent of Americans overall say illegal immigration in the U.S. is a ‘very serious problem’; 73 percent of Republicans, 38 percent of independents and 15 percent of Democrats agree,” The Times explained.

“22 percent overall say illegal immigration is a ‘somewhat serious problem’; 19 percent of Republicans, 21 percent of independents and 26 percent of Democrats agree,” the paper summarized. Another 24 percent of Americans said that it was a “minor problem.”

At the same time, the Economist/YouGov survey revealed some inconvenient results for liberals.

When respondents were asked if they trusted Republicans or Democrats to deal with border security, a higher percentage — 31 percent — said “Republicans.” Meanwhile, 62 percent thought Congress should compromise with the president to end the government shutdown.

It seems as if most Americans are aware of the problems associated with illegal immigration regardless of what the media is trying to tell us. A border wall is a good idea. However, we also need to do something about America’s very broken immigration system. Our current immigration laws have been exploited by major corporations to replace American workers with cheaper workers. This has been done not only on the low end of the pay scale, but also on the higher end.

On June 3, 2015, The New York Times reported:

Instead, about 250 Disney employees were told in late October that they would be laid off. Many of their jobs were transferred to immigrants on temporary visas for highly skilled technical workers, who were brought in by an outsourcing firm based in India. Over the next three months, some Disney employees were required to train their replacements to do the jobs they had lost.

Of course that was legal immigration, but it was a typical case of a corporation using a bad law to its advantage.

I don’t know if the wall will actually be built. It should be. The wall is opposed by Democrats (present and future voters–many illegals are currently voting in our elections) and Republicans (U.S. Chamber of Commerce members who support illegal immigration because it depresses wages in the lower sectors of the economy and increases their profits). We have reached a point where our representatives not only do not represent us–they have forgotten to represent the best interests of America.

An Update On The GoFundMe Page For The Wall

Today Breitbart posted an article updating the information on the GoFundMe Account to build the border wall.

The article reports:

We are witnessing something truly extraordinary. In merely 19 days, a GoFundMe campaign to raise private contributions to build sections of the wall along the Mexico border has raised an astonishing $19.0 million. It will soon be the most successful GoFundMe campaign ever—the current record holder is the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund for victims of sexual assault, which raised $22 million in 2018 over a much longer period of time. The campaign to build the wall should blow past that number in a few days.

The article  mentions that the Presidential Election Campaign Fund Tax Check-Off, which does not actually add to the tax burden for the people who check it off, raises less than a million dollars in a typical month.

The article continues:

The astonishing number of contributions that this project has received from ordinary Americans demonstrates just how important the wall is to the American people. Citizens see the crime, wage depression, and other negative consequences of illegal immigration, and they want something done about it.

More than that, building the wall makes clear that the United States is a sovereign nation that is willing to do what is necessary to control its own border. Indeed, securing a nation’s borders is one of the most fundamental obligations that a government owes to its people. For decades, the federal government has failed miserably in fulfilling that obligation. Now, Americans are making a grassroots effort to solve the problem themselves, while sending a message to Washington. As Kolfage put it, “This is giving them an avenue to be heard.”

I  have to wonder what the focus groups are telling the Democrats about the wall. There have been a number of polls showing that Americans overwhelmingly support the wall, so to continue a government shutdown to stop the wall is not a wise political move. The only rationale might be that the Democrats are depending on the media to make the case to the American people that the wall is expensive and not in line with modern technology. I have already seen these talking points used, but I am not sure they are useful. The latest talking point I heard was that the wall was immoral, but that doesn’t even make sense. Does that mean locking your doors at night is immoral?

The next week is going to be very interesting.

Blaming The Other Guy When You Are Not Willing To Talk

The Daily Caller reported today that the Democrats refused to negotiate with President Trump on the wall and then blamed President Trump for the government shutdown that is the result of unsuccessful negotiations.

The article reports:

Democratic leaders walked away from the negotiating table Thursday in the midst of a government shutdown over funding for border security, a senior White House official tells The Daily Caller.

The government partially shut down shortly before Christmas after President Donald Trump refused to sign an appropriations bill that did not contain his requested $5 billion for border wall funding. Since then, Republicans and Democrats — who will take control of the House in the New Year – have been looking to strike a deal to reopen the government.

…The new development all but confirms that the government will remain shut down through the New Year — until Democrats take over the House and current House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi gets confirmed as Speaker. House Republicans confirmed on Thursday that there are no votes scheduled for the remainder of the week.

Pelosi promised that when she assumes the speakership, she will put forth appropriations legislation that does not include any of the president’s demands.

Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have repeatedly sworn not they would not budge on funding for Trump’s border wall.

There are actually very few people in Washington who want a border wall. However, there are many people throughout America who want the wall. So what is the disconnect about? It’s about money and votes. The Democrat Party sees illegal immigrants as people who will eventually become citizens and Democratic voters. The Republican Party sees illegal immigrants as a cheap source of labor for their corporate sponsors. One of the major lobbying groups and campaign contributors is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce–a group that loves cheap labor. Unfortunately neither political party is willing to address the danger to Americans caused by an open border.

A Different Perspective On The Possible “Schumer Shutdown” Of The Government

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article today about the looming government shutdown. He comments on some of the strategies being used by the Republicans to avoid a shutdown and some of the strategies the Republicans can use to make the shutdown as painful as possible for the Democrats if a shutdown occurs.

The article reports:

Senate GOP leaders prepared to force Democrats into a series of uncomfortable votes, aimed at splitting their ranks by pitting moderates from states that Trump won against party leaders and the handful of outspoken liberals considering a run for the presidency.

For one, Republicans attached a long-term extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program and delays to several unpopular health-care taxes. The bill does not include protections for “dreamers,” immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children or who overstayed their visas as children, a top Democratic priority.

That represented an election-year bid by the GOP to cast the spending vote as, in part, a choice between poor children and undocumented immigrants. Ryan, McConnell, and other Republicans also sought to highlight the potential erosion to military readiness that could result from a shutdown.

At a press conference this morning, Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, referred to the possible shutdown as the “Schumer Shutdown.” Maybe the Republicans are finally beginning to understand the value of messaging.

I need to mention that in order to continue to fund the government, the Republicans need sixty votes in the Senate–that means that some Democrats need to vote to keep the government running. The Republicans do not have enough votes in the Senate to keep the government running by themselves.

The article suggests ways to make the shutdown work for Republicans:

But perhaps Republicans should shrug off the media headwinds here and allow Democrats to shut down the government. The White House has the upper hand in these stunts, as both Barack Obama and Bill Clinton proved, by picking and choosing which workers to furlough. Both Obama and Clinton made it as painful as possible; Obama locked veterans out of national parks in 2013, garnering huge headlines and generating lots of anger toward Ted Cruz and his fellow futile obstructionists.

Donald Trump and his team should take the opposite approach: make everything seem normal while shutting down the regulatory agencies Democrats love. Keep the national parks open, but shut down the EPA. Maintain military readiness, but close down the Departments of Education and Labor. Rather than look at the short-term public relations hit, the White House should keep their eyes on the long game by using a shutdown to remind Americans just how much of the government they could truly live without. And when all of those union-represented employees have gone without a couple of paychecks on top of that, wait for Democrats to come back to the table.

It’d be much better if Democrats didn’t obstruct the budget over DACA, of course. But if they do, it shouldn’t be Republicans panicked over a shutdown.

Hopefully, the government will keep running. It is ridiculous to give government workers a paid vacation that they didn’t earn–they may not get paid immediately, but they will be paid for the time they did not work.

House Speaker John Boehner Is Resigning

NBC News reported today that Speaker of the House John Boehner has announced that he will resign at the end of October. The announcement comes at a time when the battle between the conservative Republicans and the establishment Republicans is heating up in Washington and in some states.

Many Republican voters are disillusioned because they have voted Republican for the past two or three election cycles, and nothing has changed–we are still overspending, ObamaCare has not improved health care, in fact it has cost more and done less, and the treaty with Iran is going forward. So why did we bother to vote? A change in House leadership was needed last year, but did not happen–Boehner held on to his position.

The article reports:

An aide to Boehner said that the Ohio Republican had planned to serve only through the end of last year, but that the stunning primary loss of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor changed that calculation.

The defeat of Eric Cantor was an indication that the grass roots are not happy with the direction of the party. The establishment Republicans are no different than the Democrats in most policy areas, and the voters have figured this out. The Tea Party evolved out of that feeling, and despite reports to the contrary, has not gone away.

So where do we go from here? We can probably expect a government shutdown some time in the near future over the funding of Planned Parenthood. I don’t know how any American who has seen the undercover videos about the selling of aborted baby body parts can support the funding of Planned Parenthood, but evidently some do. The Republicans offered to give the money to community health centers that serve women, but the Democrats wouldn’t budge (possibly because of the large amount of money Planned Parenthood puts in their campaign coffers). I honestly do not know where the American public stands on Planned Parenthood, but if they support what is going on, we are in danger of losing our humanity.

The Cost Of Mismanagement

The cuts to the defense budget in sequestration were much larger than they should have been–that was the only way that the Democrats would have even considered sequestration as an alternative to working out a sensible budget. However, the way the cuts have been implemented does not reflect a lot of wisdom on the part of the people making the decisions. Just as in the recent government shutdown, many of the sequester cuts were made in places where it would be most obvious–not in places were it would actually make sense.

On Thursday, Military.com posted an article about one area where the cuts did more harm than good. One place where the Defense Department made cuts was in the air shows put on in various areas of the country. These air shows provide entertainment, but in many cases have a much broader purpose–the provide a chance for Americans to interact with our military.  The air show at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar was cancelled the day before it was supposed to take place.

According to the article, the cancellation of that air show cost the base between $600,000 and $700,000.

The article further reports:

Last year’s air show netted $1.6 million in profit, which goes back into Marine Corps Community Services programs on base, including family readiness programs, the youth and teen center, and fitness programs, officials said.
 
The Miramar air show was originally scheduled for Oct. 4-6, but sequestration cuts grounded many military planes and helicopters. The base asked the Pentagon for a waiver to allow them to fly military aircraft at the show, and when it was denied, officials decided the show would go on anyway.
 
The sequestration version of the air show was to be two days long and feature civilian flying demonstrations and acrobatics, along with military aircraft parked on the tarmac.

And while the show is typically paid for with sponsorship money, appropriated and nonappropriated funds, no appropriated-fund monies were to be used for this year’s event, said Lt. Chad Hill, a Miramar spokesman.

Among other things, the military air shows give Americans a chance to see what their military is doing and to meet many of the members of the military. Aside from raising money to support military families, the shows are a good way to remind the public that there are many brave young men and women serving our country in the military.
Unfortunately, when the government was shut down, the show had to be cancelled again.

The article reports:

Then the government shut down. Base officials continued moving forward with the show, but were told the morning before it was to begin that all nonessential activities — including outreach events like the air show — were not authorized under a shutdown.
 
Many of the acts were already on base preparing when Farnham held another press conference.
 
The Pentagon’s restrictions were “more than I had the authority to overcome,” he said. “The timing probably couldn’t be worse … but it is what it is.”

The fact that the government was shut down was unfortunate, but the fact that the shutdown was managed by a group of petulant leaders who chose to punish the American people for the shutdown was truly despicable. It is a shame that we have such petty people running our country.

Enhanced by Zemanta

This Will Be Very Interesting To Watch

I am hoping that this story is not accurate, but I am afraid it is. Breitbart.com reported today that the President and the Republicans in Congress have reached an agreement that will end the government shutdown. Why am I hoping that the story is not accurate? Because if I read the story right, the Republicans gave away the store.

The article reports:

Aside from reopening the government and agreeing to raise America‘s debt over the current $16.7 trillion limit, the Republicans made several other concession to President Obama and the Democrats. One such example is that Obamacare would receive funding. The Republicans would get to take out a portion of the president’s signature legislation, but the law would substantially remain intact.

The article explains that the agreement under discussion would repeal the medical device tax and require better income verification requirements for people looking for government subsidies to pay for their health insurance.

The article concludes:

The GOP surrender comes at a time when it is in a stronger position than it was during the partial government shutdown in 1995/96. The public generally blames both parties and President Obama for the fiscal stalemate. Obama’s approval ratings, meanwhile, have cratered to 37%, the lowest of his Presidency. 

In addition, 61% of the public thinks significant spending cuts have to be part of any deal to lift the debt ceiling. By that, they mean actual cuts, not a “framework” to discuss cuts. 

The House GOP has signaled to the Democrats that it is desperate to end the stand-off. They will, of course, promise that they will have more “leverage” next time. They’ve said that so many times, they probably even believe it. 

The mainstream media is not saying much about this tentative agreement. Based on recent news reports, the Republicans are negotiating with themselves while the President stands back and watches. It really is time for that method of doing things to stop.

Enhanced by Zemanta

An Interesting Perspective On Events In Washington

Nate Silver is a statistician who used to do baseball statistics. He took his methods of statistical analysis and applied them to the American political scene. He has been very successful in both predicting performance of baseball players and predicting political trends.

Yesterday Nate Silver posted an article at grantland.com about the impact of the government shutdown on the mid-term elections. Some of his comments on the shutdown include rather colorful language, so I suggest that if colorful language offends you, you avoid the quotes to follow and don’t follow the link to the original article.

The article points out:

However, presidential elections are more the exception than the rule. As I discuss in my book, the more common tendency instead is that people (and especially the “experts” who write about the issues for a living) overestimate the degree of predictability in complex systems. There are some other exceptions besides presidential elections — sports, in many respects; and weather prediction, which has become much better in recent years. But for the most part, the experts you see on television are much too sure of themselves.

That’s been my impression of the coverage of the shutdown: The folks you see on TV are much too sure of themselves. They’ve been making too much of thin slices of polling and thinner historical precedents that might not apply this time around.

Mr. Silver lists six observations about the government shutdown:

1. The media is probably overstating the magnitude of the shutdown’s political impact.

2. The impact of the 1995-96 shu4. The polling data on the shutdown is not yet all that useful, and we lack data on most important measures of voter preferences.tdowns is overrated in Washington‘s mythology.

3. Democrats face extremely unfavorable conditions in trying to regain the House.

4. The polling data on the shutdown is not yet all that useful, and we lack data on most important measures of voter preferences.

5. President Obama’s change in tactics may be less about a change of heart and more about a change in incentives.

6. The increasing extent of GOP partisanship is without strong recent precedent, and contributes to the systemic uncertainty about political outcomes.

The bottom line here is simple–we really don’t know how what is now happening in Washington will impact the 2014 mid-term elections. Frankly, I think many Americans are thoroughly disgusted with both political parties.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Where Are The Reasonable People?

Fox News reported today that because of the government shutdown the Pentagon will not be paying death benefits to families of fallen soldiers.

The article reports:

“Unfortunately, as a result of the shutdown, we do not have the legal authority to make death gratuity payments at this time,” said Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a Defense Department spokesman. “However, we are keeping a close eye on those survivors who have lost loved ones serving in the Department of Defense.”

The good news is that the House of Representatives is planning to vote Wednesday on a bill to restore funding for these payments.

The article further reports:

Adding further insult, the families will have to pay for their own travel to Dover. That’s a bill the Pentagon also says it can’t pay because of the partial shutdown.

…After the ceremony at Dover on Wednesday, the families will fly to their home states to conduct private funerals. That’s also an expense the Pentagon says it can no longer pay due to the stalemate.

All of this brings to mind a quote from an article posted on Sunday at rightwinggranny.com:

On Friday, we reported that a Park Ranger admitted being ordered to make life as inconvenient as possible in order to punish Americans during the shutdown.

“We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can,” an angry Park Ranger told the Washington Times. “It’s disgusting.”

This is a government attack on the American people. It needs to be stopped, and the people responsible need to be voted out of office.

Enhanced by Zemanta

This Sort Of Thing Drives Me Nuts

Senior citizens (77 and 80 years old) are forced from their houseboats on Lake Mead due to the government shutdown, the Amber Alert website is not working, private businesses are being shut down, and Camp David and the golf course at Camp David remain open. (sources ktnv.com, therightscoop, fox business news, and fox news).

UPDATE: The Amber Alert website is now working again.

Regardless of who you choose to blame for the shutdown, the way the Obama Administration is dealing with a 17 percent (yes, only 17 percent of the government is shut down) cut in government is not the way the government should treat Americans.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Americans Need To Be Concerned About Protecting Their Rights As Citizens

There have been a number of very disturbing stories coming out about the impact of the government shutdown on private citizens who are in no way involved in this dispute. Private organizations renting government land have been closed by the government, private businesses in national parks have been shut down, and now, private citizens are being evicted from their homes because of the shutdown.

Today The Examiner posted a story about 60 families kicked out of their private homes on Lake Mead.

The article reports:

Some 60 families have been kicked out of their privately-owned homes on Lake Mead by National Parks Service personnel as a result of the partial government shutdown, Newsmax reported Sunday.

“They are all vacation homes and everybody who lives in them are considered visitors,” said Lake Mead Recreational Area spokeswoman Christie Vanover.

“If anybody needs to gather their personal belongings, we’re not going to deny them access. They can go do that. They just can’t spend the nights there or have barbecues during the day,” she added. They need to get in and get out.”

This is disturbing.

The article further reports:

On Friday, we reported that a Park Ranger admitted being ordered to make life as inconvenient as possible in order to punish Americans during the shutdown.

“We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can,” an angry Park Ranger told the Washington Times. “It’s disgusting.”

Across the country, Park Rangers have been doing exactly that, closing down parks, roads, and even scenic bypasses on a whim.

Obama, meanwhile, fomented violence against Republicans Saturday when he called them kidnappers who “demand ransom” and “hold our democracy or our economy hostage.”

This is not acceptable. We need too find out who gave these orders and remove them from power. This is the government fighting the people of America. This is not the way America works.

Enhanced by Zemanta

More Ridiculousness

Hold on to your hat–the government is attempting to shut down God. The Daily Caller reported yesterday that the Priests who are in government service or are under contract to the military have been threatened with arrest if they celebrate Mass on Sunday.

The article reports:

“With the government shutdown, many [government service] and contract priests who minister to Catholics on military bases worldwide are not permitted to work – not even to volunteer,” wrote John Schlageter, the general counsel for the Archdiocese for the Military Services USA, in an op-ed this week. “During the shutdown, it is illegal for them to minister on base and they risk being arrested if they attempt to do so.”

According to its website, the Archdiocese for the Military Services “provides the Catholic Church’s full range of pastoral ministries and spiritual services to those in the United States Armed Forces.”

The article points out that this ruling on the part of the Obama Administration is not in accordance with the First Amendment rights of the American military. This is not something the government of a free country should do.

Enhanced by Zemanta

This Is Ridiculous

Breitbart.com is reporting today that the federal government has closed the ocean due to the government shutdown. Yes, you read that right.

The article reports:

Just before the weekend, the National Park Service informed charter boat captains in Florida that the Florida Bay was “closed” due to the shutdown. Until government funding is restored, the fishing boats are prohibited from taking anglers into 1,100 square-miles of open ocean. Fishing is also prohibited at Biscayne National Park during the shutdown.

The Park Service will also have rangers on duty to police the ban. ..The government will probably use more personnel and spend more resources to attempt to close the ocean, than it would in its normal course of business.

…Apparently, according to an anonymous Park Service ranger, “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.”

Please remember that the President is the one who determines where money is spent during the shutdown.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Absurdity In Government

The Washington Free Beacon posted a story today about the shutdown of the Claude Moore Colonial Farm. The shutdown is supposedly the result of the stalemate over the budget.

The article reports:

According to Anna Eberly, managing director of the farm, NPS sent law enforcement agents to the park on Tuesday evening to remove staff and volunteers from the property.

“You do have to wonder about the wisdom of an organization that would use staff they don’t have the money to pay to evict visitors from a park site that operates without costing them any money,” she said.

The park withstood prior government shutdowns, noting in a news release that the farm will be closed to the public for the first time in 40 years.

Please note: the government spent money to close down a park that operates without government funding and does not cost them any money.

The article further reports:

Farm staff repeatedly asked the NPS to allow the farm to remain open. “Every appeal our Board of Directors made to the NPS administration was denied,” Eberly said.

She called the decision “utter crap.”

“We have operated the Farm successfully for 32 years after the NPS cut the Farm from its budget in 1980 and are fully staffed and prepared to open today. But there are barricades at the Pavilions and entrance to the Farm,” Eberly explained.

Previous federal funding battles have threatened the farm’s operations. A group of citizens in 1980 formed the Friends of Turkey Run Farm, established a $500,000 endowment for the farm, and negotiated a 30-year no-fee lease.

This park is on federal land, but has no relationship to the federal budget. It is small and petty to shut it down.

Enhanced by Zemanta

This Article Has No Title–It’s Just A Basic Vent!

Harry Truman is credited with saying, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” Both the Republicans and the Democrats could learn from that statement.

It is a national scandal that the taxpayers are going to be expected to subsidize the healthcare of Congressional staffers at levels that the taxpayers themselves will not be eligible for. It is also a national scandal that the President, who has the ability to determine where the money goes during a government shutdown, has chosen to shut down the military commissaries and cancel sports events at the military academies. Why doesn’t he simply cut his (and Congress’) expense accounts?

Why have the Democrats refused to meet in conference with the Republicans to resolve the shutdown? This is political theater at its worst.

The government shutdown will end as soon as the President and the Democrats in Congress begin to be blamed for the stalemate. At that point all disagreement on everything will magically disappear.

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Government Shutdown Won’t Work For The Democrats Unless They Can Make It Hurt

A website called College Football Talk is reporting today that all sports games at the service academies will be cancelled because of the government shutdown.

The article reports:

In a press release sent out a short time ago, Navy announced that the Department of Defense has suspended all intercollegiate competitions at the nation’s service academies due to the government shutdown.  At the very least, the Air Force-Navy game as well as Army’s game at Boston College are in danger of being canceled.

This is simply petty. The House has passed a number of bills to fund various parts of the government. The Senate has refused to bring these bills to the floor. The Democrats are hoping for a political victory by causing visible pain. If they are successful, we have only ourselves to blame when they do it again.

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Change In Government Shutdowns

Government shutdowns have happened before. NPR posted an article today detailing some of the history of government shutdowns.

The article reports:

Drawn-out fights over spending bills are nothing new for Congress. But that’s where the fights used to stay: in Congress. The rest of the country didn’t have to pay much attention to countdown clocks and all this drama.

“In the ’60s and ’70s down until 1980, it was not taken that seriously at all,” says Charles Tiefer, a former legal adviser to the House of Representatives, who now teaches at the University of Baltimore Law School. In the old days, he says, when lawmakers reached a budget stalemate, the federal workforce just went about its business.

“It was thought that Congress would soon get around to passing the spending bill and there was no point in raising a ruckus while waiting,” he says.

That easygoing attitude changed during the last year of President Jimmy Carter‘s administration. That’s when Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti issued a legal opinion saying government work cannot go on until Congress agrees to pay for it.

Benjamin Civiletti was sworn in as the U.S. attorney general on Aug. 16, 1979. In 1980 he issued a legal opinion saying that federal work cannot go on until Congress agrees to pay for it. That changed the way Congress and the country behaved when Congress took some extra time to agree on the budget.

The article reminds us:

A handicap for lawmakers is that the White House makes the call of which employees are deemed essential and keep showing up for work. So even though Obamacare has been the main bone of contention in this year’s fight, President Obama insists the new health insurance exchanges will open on schedule Tuesday, even if much of the rest of the government shuts down.

Conventional wisdom is that a government shutdown will seriously hurt the Republicans in the 2014 mid-term elections. I understand the basis for that idea, but I am not so sure it is valid–particularly if ObamaCare is funded and the rest of the government is not. ObamaCare is not a popular program, and if the debate revolves around ObamaCare, the Republicans win. If the debate revolves around the shutdown, Democrats win. There is also the matter of the fact that the President has stated that he will not negotiate. That really does not look good either.

It is going to be an interesting week.

Enhanced by Zemanta