The Long Version

Retired broadcast journalist. Blogging helps scratch the itch. Recovering exRepublican – Sober and still Conservative.

Archive for October 2013

Planning a Government Shutdown

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Now that the government shutdown is over and we’re back to arguing about more important things like “is $600 million too much to spend on a website?” something has been bugging me.

Government Shutdown SignsHave you wondered how it was that within 8 hours of the shutdown professionally printed signs of all shapes and sizes saying “This Park (facility, etc all with custom logos) Closed Due To Government Shutdown” appeared all over the country by the thousands?

What’s so odd about that you say?  Well consider this.  People who work in the government will tell you nothing gets done in Washington DC in 8 hours.  NOTHING.

They are all too familiar with requisitions, bidding, awarding contracts for anything and everything including printing thousands of closure signs.  It’s a time-consuming process with bean-counters and bureaucrats every step of the way.  The simplest request, they will tell you, takes months, not weeks, days, or hours.

A-sign-announces-that-the-Statue-of-Liberty-is-closed-2327220These signs were designed, specifications determined, then requisitioned. Bids would have been posted and then vetted, after which contracts awarded. That’s how the Federal government works.

The materials were then ordered, produced, and distributed via US Mail or freight companies.

It is my position then that this shutdown was planned and orchestrated well in advance of the actual shutdown date.  Considering what our friends employed by the federal government suggest, this shutdown was planned for and expected months ago.

For those of you saying, “Maybe they just used signs left over from the last shutdown?”  The last shutdown was 17 years ago and many of the things that were shutdown this time, parks, memorials, monuments, etc., were not shutdown back then.

No this was a planned event and I challenge any good investigative journalist out there to get on the paper trail. Find the work orders, contracts, and companies who printed all those signs.  The tax dollars spent on those signs should have a paper trail a mile long and if you can get on it and follow it my bet is it leads right to the White House.

The Democrats planned and perpetuated this shutdown.  That’s my premise.  Someone show me it isn’t viable.

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Do You Really Know WHAT the Tea Party Is? I doubt it.

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A refreshingly honest admission by a Yale University professor may do more to help the country see the real Tea Party and understand what it really stands for than any news report could ever do.

tea party science comprehension studyProfessor, Dan Kahan, did a study on education, religiosity, ideology, and science comprehension and posted his findings on the website CulturalCognition.net.   To his very apparent surprise, people who affiliated themselves with the Tea Party were more educated in science than any other political party members.

This discovery shocked Kahan to the point that he exclaimed:

“I’ve got to confess, though, I found this result surprising. As I pushed the button to run the analysis on my computer, I fully expected I’d be shown a modest negative correlation between identifying with the Tea Party and science comprehension.  But then again, I don’t know a single person who identifies with the Tea Party. All my impressions come from watching cable tv — & I don’t watch Fox News very often — and reading the “paper” (New York Times daily, plus a variety of politics-focused internet sites like Huffington Post & Politico).  I’m a little embarrassed, but mainly I’m just glad that I no longer hold this particular mistaken view.”

I am not really surprised that Mr. Kahan doesn’t know any people who associate themselves with the Tea Party. He is a professor at a very liberal university where academicians find sport looking down on the unwashed uneducated hicks they identify as Tea Partiers or more commonly the more vulgar and disrespectful term Tea Baggers. The Left has denigrated the Tea Party so much that many will not admit their association or identification with the Tea Party to anyone for fear of public ridicule.

tea-party-march

I’m confident this is how the majority of Americans have gained their own less-than-positive opinions about the Tea Party and why the general public carries an overwhelmingly negative perspective. Our news media has painted this picture with a continuous barrage of negative comments, allusions, and stories that in my experience always focus on one individual or small group, the fringe, and then extends that negative stereo-type onto all people in the party as a whole.

Every political party has its fringe members.  I believe most reasonable and fair-minded people would agree the fringe does not represent those groups as a whole, but the Tea Party is not given the benefit of that reasoning.

Anyone who has attended a Tea Party event, meeting, or rally, knows from experience these negative images and stories are more fabrication than fact.

The Tea Party is not a political party but rather a movement of common people who feel the Government has taken too large a place in our lives.

Most who align with Tea Party ideals are worried about the constant increase in Government size and control over their lives along with a huge increase in expenditures that has increased the national debt to a point where it can never be reduced to any appreciable level.

They believe the debt will eventually reach a level where the government can not fulfill its promises. This will result in riots if the people can no longer get what the government has promised.teaparty

Tea Party people won’t ask for your political affiliation if you inquire about what the Tea Party stands for.  But they will ask you how you feel about the size of Government, the constitution, whether the Federal Government should be involved in Education, Health Care, Energy, Marriage, and other important social issues of the day.

They strongly believe the Affordable Care Act should not be implemented in its current form for many reason, but mainly because it was forced to a vote without having been read by those who voted, without people having any understanding as to what the unintended consequences would be, and with the costs being completely misrepresented.

Why should those people be branded as kooks, terrorists, jihadists, racists, and traitors?

If representatives who run on Tea Party principles use every legal means possible to prevent implementation of a law they feel is harmful to more Americans than it helps, do they deserve to be pilloried?

Those in power fear the Tea Party.  It is as grass roots as any movement has ever been.  It is made up of Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and Independents.  It is a group that has had enough of a government they see as out of control in its spending, its regulations, its overreaching legislation, and its seeming lust and death grip on power and control over the people of this country.

They’ve reached the proverbial end of their rope and they’re speaking out. Some are doing and saying things none of us want to see or hear, but they are the few, the fringe, and not representative of the whole.  It’s time the media accurately portray who and what the Tea Party is and stop spreading misinformation.

Written by DCL

October 18, 2013 at 7:15 pm

The Politics of Gerrymandering or Vice Versa

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Democrats and Liberals and Progressives (OH MY) are up in arms over a rule change by the House Republicans.

Late in the evening on September 30, 2013, the House Rules Committee Republicans changed the Rules of the House so that the ONLY Member allowed to call up the Senate’s clean CR for a vote was Majority Leader Eric Cantor or his designee — all but guaranteeing the government would shut down a few hours later and would stay shut down. Previously, any Member would have had the right to bring the CR up for a vote.

This is what we’ve come to in Washington DC politics.  The division between the two major parties has become so large and so corrosive that neither will work with the other.  Rather than even try they simply look for ways to get around whatever impediment the other side puts in their way.  In other words, they gerrymander the system to get what they want when they want it.

It happens on both sides and its wrong in either case.

But we can’t let Liberals squawk about this rule change without reminding them of the underhanded tricks, procedural gimmicks, and gerrymandering that took place when Obamacare was voted into law without a single Republican vote in 2010, even though the Senate did not have the super majority it needed to ram it through.

Here is the story behind that gerrymandering fiasco.

How Obamacare Became the “Law of the Land”.

senator_nancypelosi_obamacareYou may recall the Democrats in the Senate weren’t able to pass their version of the Healthcare law because all revenue bills must originate in the House of Representatives.  So the Senate found a bill that met those qualifications: HR3590, a military housing bill.  They took that bill and basically stripped all the language out of it and turned it into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which we now all know as Obamacare.  Dirty trick number one.

Oh but It gets better.

At the time the new fangled HR3590 was passed and moved to the Senate, the Democrats had 60 Senators, just enough to pass this gerrymandered bill.  However, after that bill passed the Senate, Democrat Senator Ted Kennedy died.  In his place, Massachusetts elected a Republican, Scott Brown, to replace him.  Now the Democrats no longer had the super majority needed to rubber stamp the Healthcare law, Obama’s signature legislation.

That meant, if the House made any changes to the bill, the Senate would not have the super majority to push the bill through without Republican help and Republicans were not on board with Obamacare.

So the Senate Democrats made a deal with the Democrats in the House with no input from any Republicans.  The House would agree to pass the Senate bill without any changes, IF the Senate agreed to pass a separate bill by the House that made changes to the Senate version.  This second bill was called the Reconciliation Act of 2010.  It made some detail changes and added some language to the bill.  You scratch my back I’ll scratch yours.  Dirty trick number two.

So the House passed the PPACA, the Senate bill, and their Reconciliation Act.  Making the PPACA ready for the President’s signature, but the Senate still needed to pass the Reconciliation Act from the House.

Confused yet?

Now remember the Senate only had 59 votes to pass the Reconciliation Act since a Republican, Scott Brown, replaced Democrat Ted Kennedy.  That meant in order to pass the Reconciliation Act the Democrats in the Senate had to change the rules.

They declared (because they were the majority and could) that they would use the Reconciliation Rule to pass the Reconciliation Act — the Reconciliation Act and Reconciliation Rule are not the same thing but the irony is simply amazing!

Stay with me.

5639556_Obama_Obamacare_Signature_600x515_xlargeThe Reconciliation Rule was only used for budget item approvals to allow budgets to be approved and passed by a simple majority vote of 51 Senators rather than the usual 60 super majority.  The Reconciliation rule had never been used nor was it ever intended to be used to pass legislation of the magnitude of Obamacare, but that wasn’t about to keep the Democrats from getting their way come Hell or high water!  So they used this obscure rule with some very liberal interpretation (pun intended) to pass the bill.  Dirty trick number three.

Both of the “Acts” passed both houses of congress and were then signed by President Obama.  All done by Democrats without a single favorable Republican vote.  To quote Democrat Representative Alcee Hastings of the House Rules Committee during the bill process: “We’re making up the rules as we go along”.  They certainly couldn’t have passed this law without doing so.

I don’t care what party you align yourself with, show me the integrity in that process. Defend the actions of the Democrats and President Obama. Some of you Liberals may have done so at the time the law was passed.  I don’t know how, but maybe you figured out a way that sat well with you. But what about now? Now that we’ve seen what a disaster the implementation of this law has become. Do you still defend the method of its passage? Do you still say Republicans should have been shut out of the process? That it was right to ignore their ideas and input on the law?

And now, as Republicans use the same dirty underhanded tactics to get what they want you scream foul!?!  Really?

What goes around comes around. The Republicans have figured it out.  They’ve finally succumbed to using the same political guerrilla warfare they seen used on them by Democrats for decades.  Principles be damned.  To Hell with integrity, decorum, and fairness.  Win at all costs.

That’s how we got here and it’s only going to get worse.  The power brokers on both sides in DC think they are “winning” while the rest of us are losing.

Big time.

The Day the Public Realized its Government was Playing Them

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The government shut down is a week old.  What?  You didn’t notice?

In all seriousness, 15% of the government is shut down. What company is so lean that if they shut down 15% they go into massive chaos? Look at this list of a few things that have been inexplicably impacted by the shutdown and tell me who’s inflicting pain on the American people and who’s negotiating.

  • “Treatments for children suffering from cancer. The Republicans have agreed to a compromise by funding the part of the government, including the National Institute of Health, which offers children with cancer last‑chance experimental treatment… The NIH was told by the President, ‘You can’t start any new testing of anything.’ As soon as the Republicans found out about it, they said, ‘Not a problem. Let’s make sure that we fund the NIH. We’ll pass a special bill to fund the NIH so we can save children,’” Glenn explained. “If that’s what you really picked out of the 100% of the pie, you only need to shut down 15%, if that’s what you pick, we’ll fund that. So [Republicans] said, ‘We’ll pass it.” The President said he will veto it if it gets to his desk. That’s the compromise.”
  • “World War II Memorial is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It doesn’t have a staff to it. It is maintained with private financing, built by private financing, maintained with private financing. The White House knew in advance that these flights come in all the time… And so what do they do? They put a chain‑link fence around the World War II Memorial… You have your National Park Service coming out and saying, ‘We were told to inflict as much pain as possible,’” Glenn explained. “Then when the GOP finds out about it, the congressmen remove the barricades. When one of the park rangers says, ‘Hey, you can’t do that’ and starts yelling at the people in the wheelchairs, what happens? The president raises the stakes and then says, ‘I’m going to put guards around that memorial.’ So he’s spending money. Does that seem reasonable to you? By the way, the GOP has offered to cover any costs to keep the memorial open for the greatest generation.”
  • “Then there’s the furloughed military chaplains. The military chaplains are not allowed to work for free. They have all said, ‘We will celebrate mass. We will do our services. We will do baptisms for free.’ They have been told they will be punished if they do it,” Glenn explained. “So you have a baby to be baptized; the military priest cannot baptize your child or he’ll go to jail. He can’t celebrate mass anywhere for free or he will go to jail. Does this sound reasonable to you at all?”
  • “In the Florida Keys small businesses, hunters, and commercial fishermen can no longer practice their trade,” he said. “They have tried to close down the ocean. The Feds are saying, ‘You can’t do any fishing on the ocean.’ Does this seem reasonable to you?”
  • “The American Forces Network, AFN, these are the people that carry shows like mine, they carry shows like… 50% of the shows have to be liberal. But they also not just broadcast the news and talk,” Glenn said. “They also bring our Armed Forces all of the sporting events, all the football games and everything else. The golf course at Camp David is deemed essential, but AFN carrying the football games, carrying them, carrying them. Not doing them. Carrying them… By the way, Camp David, the golf course and Camp David is open.”
  • “The D‑day Memorial. The GOP has offered to compromise and fund all of the National Parks,” Glenn explained. “The President has said he will veto any compromise on legislation. So the D‑day Memorial in Normandy has now been barricaded.”
  • “Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home, is privately funded. The Feds blocked the visitors from entering the parking area because the National Park Service maintains the lot… No federal money is used to operate any of these parks. In fact, the federal government makes money through the operation of these parks,” Glenn said. “He had them all closed down and so the 400 to 500 private employees have been furloughed. And by the way, they don’t get any of their money back. They’re just destroyed. Because, I forgot to tell you: The GOP and the Democrats did get together in some emergency legislation. They don’t give a crap about the 400 to 500 employees that are privately. But those government workers, they raced to make sure they knew, ‘Oh, don’t worry. You’ll get your money.’”
  • “A self‑sustaining colonial farm that hasn’t received a dime of government money since 1980 has been closed for the first time in 40 years. The National Park Service has succeeded in closing the farm to the public. In the previous budget dramas, the farm has always been exempted because the government pays nothing, provides no staff, nor do they provide any resources to operate the farm,” he explained. “The President has closed the Vietnam Memorial. The GOP passed the compromised legislation that would fund the memorial, keep it open to the public, but the president said he would veto it.”
  • “The operator of a 51‑room inn located on U.S. Government‑owned land in North Carolina abandoned his defiant stance on Thursday to keep his property open despite being ordered to shut down as part of the federal government shutdown. October is this inn’s prime season,” Glenn said. “The GOP has offered a compromise to open this particular park, but the President said no to that compromise. So here is a private individual that will lose out on the money that he makes in his prime season. State troopers, by the way, have blocked the customers have entering the parking lot. How much are they spending on the state troopers? Again, Park Service ranger said, ‘We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can.’”
  • “The President has forced residents out of their private homes – the government shutdown being felt close to home for some locals. They say they’re being forced out of their private homes on Lake Mead because they sit on federal land,” Glenn said. “Acadia Park, Maine, ‘We’ve been training at two years at Crossfit for this hike, no kidding.’ She said the shutdown now is going to keep everybody off of Acadia Park.”
  • “A historic restaurant opened during the last shutdown, forced to close. An iconic Philadelphia restaurant been forced to close its doors and turned away book parties because of the government shutdown,” he said. “That is a private restaurant. They won’t get any money back.”
  • “There’s a road that goes through a Colorado park,” Glenn said. “The forest service announced the Pitkin County commissioners to order that Maroon Creek Road be shut down at the height of the tourist season, ahead of what is supposed to be one of the busiest weekends of the fall. The road is to be closed at T Lazy 7 Ranch pending the resolution of the shutdown.”
  • “And here’s my favorite. We joked about this. They actually did it. They are now blocking access to trails, roads, and programs at South Dakota’s most popular attraction,” Glenn explained. “The National Park Service has now placed cones along the highway outside of Mount Rushmore this weekend, barring visitors from stopping and looking at the mountain. You cannot stop on the road. And they have officers there to ticket you if you do.”
  • “The U.S. Department of Agriculture has gone turned off its entire website in response to the government shutdown, leaving farmers, reporters, and others with no way to access any of the agency’s information online,” Glenn said. “The USDA’s total website goes far beyond response of other federal agencies. Seems to be part of an effort to make people feel the effects of the shutdown. Thursday morning calls to the USDA’s press office seeking an explanation were not answered.”
  • “The President has closed the Military Commissary. Military members and veterans and families who shop at the local tax‑free store were shocked to discover that the store’s doors had been locked. They have closed the PX. This is where you go and you shop if you’re a military family. This is at Andrews Air Force base. They have shut the commissary and they have shut the PX,” Glenn said. “So you can’t go buy any groceries, you can’t go buy any clothes, any medicine. You can’t go buy meat, nothing.”

Now get this, while the American people are feeling the stress and strain of the closing of privately funded businesses, monuments, and memorials around the country, the President can still get in 18 anytime he wants.

Conservative radio and TV show host Glenn Beck had even stronger words for the president’s cam-pain against the American people.  Beck said, “…the President’s golf course remains open. But he said that’s because the golf course is paid for by private funds. Wait a minute. So is the World War II Memorial. So is the farm. So is the restaurant. So is the damn road that you just put cones on.  This is a strike and a slap across the face. This, I’m warning you, America, this is the sign of a dictator. He is slapping you across the face and saying, ‘You will behave. You will do what I tell you to do or I will punish you.’ If your friends don’t wake up and see the nonsense and see what they are in store for, when you’re spending money to put cones on the highway so people can’t stop and even see Mount Rushmore, we get everything we deserve. And we are about to get a lot.”

Thanks to GlennBeck.com and TheBlaze.com

 

The Path to the Government Shutdown You Didn’t See

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By: Soren Dayton (Diary)  |  October 2nd, 2013 at 07:05 PM As seen on Redstate.com

The press has been falling over itself to attack Republicans for the shutdown and claiming that they are the source of all the irresponsibility in the process. They have conveniently forgotten several important things about how much the Democrats have broken the budget process in the last couple of years and in this year in particular. I wrote back in January about how the Senate Democrats were dismantling the budget process. While the Senate did pass a budget resolution this year, in many ways the situation has gotten much, much worse. A shutdown is, purely for procedural reasons, a natural and logical consequence of the massive failure of the Senate to do its job.

Let’s work through the details.

The budget process starts every year with the President offering his budget in the first week of February. But that’s not what happened. He offered it on April 10, two months after the statutory deadline. In fact, he offered it after both the House and the Senate had passed budget resolutions, so his budget plan was already a moot point. He didn’t do his job, so Congress had to move on without him. (Incidentally, this was the first time that the Senate had passed one since April 29, 2009)

But then the Senate ground to a halt. The Library of Congress offers a very helpful scorecard about how the budget process is proceeding this year that makes it very easy to compare how each chamber did, and how that compares to the past.

This year, the House passed four appropriations bills:

Military Construction and Veterans Affairs on June 4, which passed 421-4. This bill cost $158 billion.
Homeland Security on June 6, which passed 245-182. This bill cost $39 billion.
Energy and Water on Jule 10, which passed 227-198. This bill cost $30 billion.
Defense on July 24, which passed 315-109. This bill cost $516 billion.
The least controversial of these, Defense and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, totaling $674 billion is over half of the $1.15 trillion that President Obama requested. The Senate could have done something with these and moved the ball forward. The House vote totals prove that these weren’t controversial.

By contrast, the Senate only put a single appropriations bill on the floor, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, nicknamed, appropriately, THUD. This bill cost $54 billion, less than 5% of the President’s proposal. And they brought it to the floor at the end of July, at the last possible minute before the August recess.

This bill was filibustered by Republicans. Why? Because it pretended that the bipartisan sequester didn’t happen. It returned to pre-sequester spending. In fact, the spend-thrift Senate Democrats spent even more money than the President wanted:

“The vote we just had was symbolically very, very significant,” McConnell told reporters. “There is no question that if cloture had been invoked on this particular appropriations bill, which was even more than what the president asked for, your story line tomorrow would have been Congress on a bipartisan basis walks away from the Budget Control Act.”

So that’s the real history, not the mythical one driven by White House talking points, of this year’s budget process. The House started to do its job. The Senate barely got off the ground, and then only operating in a fantasy-land in which the sequester never happened. Sorry for all the wonky details here, but it is really important to see just how much the President and the Senate Democrats have failed in the budget process and how much of this lays at their feet.

 

The Party of NO

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Words mean things but actions confirm them.

If you’ve read or watched any news at all over the past 4 days you’re aware of the government shutdown. You may even be aware of the reason for the shutdown. But are you aware of what’s actually being shutdown? Furthermore, are you aware of what appears to be a campaign by the federal government to shut down things that are not even funded by the federal government?

That last question is the one I want to focus on. The answer to that question exposes what I believe is motivating the Liberal Progressives in DC including our President to make the shutdown as painful as possible for as long as possible.

The reasoning for such motivation? Their understanding of the media, their control of the mainstream channels, and knowing the media will run with their narrative. A narrative that says it’s all Republican’s fault and the result of the Tea Party take-over of that party.

The hope is a majority of Americans will buy into that premise and turn against the Tea Party.

Ironically a similar strategy was implemented with the sequester, which by all measures didn’t work. The sequester, it turns out, wasn’t the apocalypse Liberals told us it would be.

But back to the desire by some in our federal government to inflict pain and frustration to get their way.

World War II Govnt ShutdownTake for example the more publicized World War II memorial which was barricaded on Tuesday to keep people from walking through the open air monument. Why?

The Atlantic’s Garance Franke-Ruta points to a theory for why the WWII memorial, along with every other open-air monument in Washington’s Mall, has been closed to the public:

It’s called Washington Monument Syndrome. Here’s Wikipedia’s definition:

The Washington Monument syndrome, also known as the Mount Rushmore Syndrome, or the firemen first principle, is a political tactic used in the United States by government agencies when faced with budget cuts or a government shutdown. The tactic entails cutting the most visible or appreciated service provided by the government, from popular services such as national parks and libraries to valued public employees such as teachers and firefighters…. The name derives from the National Park Service’s alleged habit of saying that any cuts would lead to an immediate closure of the wildly popular Washington Monument. [Wikipedia]

Political brinksmanship. Period.

I’m still waiting for the names of whoever gave the order to barricade the memorial knowing daily tours of the last remaining WWII vets would be coming to THEIR memorial and knowing the pain not being able to enter it would bring. All to muster political leverage against their conservative opponents.

Next there’s Wisconsin. The National Parks Service told Wisconsin to shut down its state parks even though they were not directly funded by the federal government.

Why?

Mount Vernon BarricadesThe National Park Service erected barricades to shut down parking lots surrounding Mount Vernon despite the fact that the tourist destination is privately owned and has been for 150 years, another example of how the feds are deliberately worsening the government shut down.

To make a point and make the shutdown bigger and more painful.

These actions speak loud and clear to the political games being played by an administration that cares more about its power and control over everything in this country than it does the general welfare of the people who live in it.

To be sure both parties in the two-party system share the blame for this shutdown, but while the Liberal side is using brinksmanship and propaganda to forward a political goal, their conservative counterparts are passing bills to fund as much of the government as they can hoping to bring the naysayers to the negotiation table for a serious discussion about the Affordable Care Act.

So far Harry Reid has pretty much given the finger to anyone who even mentions Obamacare and our president has made it clear he lives in a no negotiation zone.

Link the actions with the words and see who the real obstructionists and party of NO is right now.

The Party of NO - Democrats

 

Written by DCL

October 4, 2013 at 6:10 pm