Patterico's Pontifications

9/30/2013

Hey Republican House Members: If the Government Slowdown Bothers You, Why Not Fund What You Like?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:46 pm

It is now clear that a government slowdown is inevitable. (Reminder: it’s a slowdown, not a shutdown.)

Barack Obama took to the podium to complain about things that won’t get funded. He says: ““One faction of one party in one house of Congress in one branch of government doesn’t get to shut down the entire government just to re-fight the results of an election.”

Well, perhaps not. But we do hold the purse strings, Mr. President, and that too is the result of an election.

So, House Members, embrace the power to do what Barack Obama says you don’t “get to” do — namely, to decide to initiate spending. For those purposes you decide are appropriate.

If you’re worried about a specific program or department not being funded — and if you’re worried about taking blame for that program getting defunded — then here’s an idea: draft a bill to fund that program or department.

For example, the House certainly didn’t want to be branded as keeping soldiers from getting paid. So guess what? They passed a bill to pay soldiers. The Senate has already passed it. Boom. Problem solved. You won’t get blamed for soldiers not getting paid.

So: if there’s anything else you think should be funded, fund it. Think national parks should be operating? OK. Draft a bill. If it’s a very popular program or department, the Senate will pass your bill.

NPR may not get funded. The Department of Education may not get funded. For a while, anyway.

Would that really be so bad?

But instead of quivering in your boots about the public being mad about a government slowdown, figure out exactly what the public wants to keep going, see if that program or department deserves it, and then fund it.

And if it doesn’t deserve it? Then don’t.

And hold fast.

Think of these bills as pressure valves. You let loose a little of the pressure built up by the haunting and very very scary prospect of a government slowdown, and then . . . wait.

Maybe, just maybe, Barack Obama will figure out that you do “get to” fulfill your constitutional role, as the body that initiates spending, after all.

If It’s Not a Shutdown, Stop Calling It One

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:34 pm

As of right now, I refuse to call it a shutdown.

The government is not shutting own. Not even remotely.

As I noted this morning, after the supposed government “shutdown,” the mail will get delivered. Social Security and Medicare will continue. Soldiers will defend our country. The USDA will inspect meat. Air traffic controllers will keep our skies safe.

On what planet is that a shutdown?

Propose your own language in the comments. Until I hear something better, I am calling it a “government slowdown” — with a link to this post.

ObamaCare, Shutdown, and Lying Liars

Filed under: General — JD @ 2:26 pm

[guest post by JD]

Matt Walsh nails it. Again.

They’d even risk a short-term, temporary shutdown of government just to make their point. SHUTDOWN THE GOVERNMENT?! BUT HOW WOULD WE EAT OR BREATHE?! This is a warning to Ted Cruz and all his ilk: If the government stops operating for even one day — chaos and cannibalism will reign in the streets. Mark my words. Yeah, a government shutdown would only impact “non-essential” federal government functions. And, yeah, some might even argue that the government should only be doing the essential things in the first place. But that will be of little solace when you’re bleeding on the ground, being eaten alive by the starving masses. I can scarcely imagine the horror. If non-essential government agencies and departments are forced to close for a short period of time, that means we’ll have to find a way to go without the Administration on Aging, and the Japan-United States Friendship Commission, and the Indian Arts and Crafts Board, and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. WHERE WILL I GET MY TRANSPORTATION STATISTICS?! You’re playing with fire, conservatives. Civilization is bound together by the strong, steady hand of bureaucracy. If you loosen its grasp, you risk plunging us all into a dark, perilous land of individual responsibility and liberty. Our Founders fought and died to rescue us from such a fate, and I’ll be damned if I sit here and let you undo their efforts.

In related news, I read where Teh One was scheduled to give a public address, no doubt in the spirit of getting things done for the American people, about the looming shutdown that he has vowed to not negotiate on. Likely right after he gets off the golf course.

Update – apparently the Hectorer-in-Chief delivered his shockingly hyper-partisan address to an adoring press corps, who already had their marching orders and Narrative in order, then promptly walked out, without answering any questions.

—JD

CNN’s 10 Ways a Government Shutdown Would (Not) Affect You

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:52 am

CNN has an article about all the ways a government shutdown would affect you, the average American taxpayer. Wow, 10 ways! Already that sounds scary! Except when you read the article, many of them are about how citizens will not be affected.

Without quoting every bullet point, it appears mail will still be delivered; taxes will still be collected; passports will still be processed; soldiers will still defend the country; air traffic controllers will continue to keep the skies safe; food inspectors will continue to inspect your meat; and workers in other “critical services” will continue to work.

9. Holiday. Celebrate: Don’t come to work if you’re a federal employee. You’re on furlough. (Offer not valid for workers in “critical services,” such as air traffic controllers, hazardous waste handlers and food inspectors.)

Do take some time to celebrate. In previous shutdowns, everyone who stayed home was paid retroactively after peace returned to Washington.

Query why we want to have workers in “non critical” services, but there I go again. At least we’ll pay them all eventually for their vacation!

Not mentioned in the article, but also true: Social Security and Medicare payments would continue to be made as well.

I guess “10 ways a government shutdown would not affect your daily life” wasn’t the title they wanted to go with . . .

9/28/2013

Defunding Strategy Gives Way to Delay, for Better or for Worse

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:18 am

DRJ recently quoted Instapundit as follows:

BYRON YORK: GOP flinches at Obamacare plan devised by Sens. Ted Cruz, Mike Lee. I don’t think things are as disorganized as they seem. I see it this way: (1) Effort to defund — if it succeeds, it’s a win. If it doesn’t, it’s forced a lot of vulnerable Dems to vote in favor of ObamaCare just before it goes into effect: (2) ObamaCare goes into effect, producing a train wreck of increased premiums, implementation snafus; (3) In 2014, GOP can say if you want this repealed, you’ve got to give us both houses of Congress — and, in 2016, the White House.

Now that (as expected) the Democrat-controlled Senate has removed the defunding language from the continuing resolution to fund the government, it appears that the House is shifting to the preferred Establishment GOP strategy of delay. Ed Morrissey reports:

The House will send a continuing resolution to the Senate sometime today, but not the clean CR that the Senate sent to the House. Instead, Speaker John Boehner and the Republican caucus plan to approve a new stopgap funding measure that includes a one-year delay in the ObamaCare individual mandate, exchanges, and subsidies, as well as a repeal of an unpopular tax on medical devices:

If this is the best we can do, will it help us or hurt us?

This piece argues that delay is a “win/win” for Republicans:

If the exchanges did open but the individual mandate was postponed, experts say those likely to skip buying insurance are the young and the healthy – just the people most needed to broaden the risk pool and keep insurance rates low. Surging rates would antagonize the public. So would the absence of income-based subsidies. And if the exchanges did not open at all, after laying groundwork for big changes for the last three years, insurers and consumers would be left scrambling.

“You could think about an orderly transition back, but just stopping it would be chaotic,” says Gary Claxton, director of the Health Care Marketplace Project at the Kaiser Family Foundation. Among his questions: Would the companies have to resume underwriting, charge higher rates to sick people, and deny coverage to some? And with many high-risk pools gone in preparation for the big shift, where would those people get insurance? He also notes that if insurers lost money as a result of the sudden full stop, the federal government would be on the hook to make up much of the loss, as it was the case with the Medicare drug program.

From a political semantics standpoint, says Robert Blendon, a health policy expert at Harvard, “defunding sounds awful. It sounds like you’re taking money away from sick people.” A one-year delay seems more benign, he says, but “could have a very negative long-term effect on the viability of the law.” That makes defund and delay a win-win for Republicans, and a test of backbone for Democrats.

I am skeptical — yet admittedly torn. The above piece sets forth the potential advantages of a delay strategy. There is another advantage: every day without ObamaCare is another day of freedom, and another day in which we have staved off the fundamental restructuring of the government’s relationship to the individual that it represents.

I think, though, there are some serious potential disadvantages. Delay gives Democrats a way to blame the GOP for the inevitable catastrophe that ObamaCare represents. If we simply oppose ObamaCare, try to defund it entirely, and our efforts fail, then the responsibility for the inevitable disaster falls squarely on Obama and on Democratic Senators. If we delay, Obama can argue we have thrown off original plans, throwing everything out of kilter. Ironically, we would also probably be increasing the chance of successful implementation, as delay of any portion or all of it gives Democrats a year to iron out the current implementation snafus. That’s why even some Democrats have sought a delay, and Obama might be just fine with it. This way, we get the worst of both worlds: we take some form of responsibility for how it turns out, while increasing the chances that it will turn out to be less disastrous than expected.

And it may help keep the disaster of implementation from being a huge issue in 2014.

Reader Kevin M made this comment about the defunding effort, but I think it is perhaps more aptly describes the delay effort:

Obamacare cannot succeed. We know that. It will crash and burn by the middle of next year and take the Democrats with it. The ONLY thing that will save them is if they (and PRAVDA) can blame the Republicans for the failure.

And we’re putting our fingerprints all over the murder weapon.

That seems right to me. But I could be wrong.

The collective wisdom of my readership far exceeds my individual wisdom. I am interested in your thoughts.

John McCain Hires Syria Analyst Who Puffed Up Her Credentials

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:45 am

New John McCain motto: “F[vowel deleted]ck all of you.”

Sen. John McCain has hired a controversial Syria analyst who recently was fired by one D.C. organization and resigned from another after it emerged that she inflated her academic credentials.

The Republican senator’s office confirmed to Fox News that Elizabeth O’Bagy was hired as a legislative assistant, and will start work next week.

“Elizabeth is a talented researcher, and I have been very impressed by her knowledge and analysis in multiple briefings over the last year. I look forward to her joining my office,” McCain said in a statement.

I have a feeling he mostly thinks she’s attractive. Elections have consequences, and so do things that rhyme with elections.

Screen Shot 2013-09-28 at 10.40.20 AM

Regardless of his reasoning, this is a thumb in the eye of everything that makes sense. This woman not only “inflated” (meaning “lied about”) her credentials, but she posed as a neutral observer when she was being paid by a Syrian rebel front group. Her piece in the Wall Street Journal was cited by McCain and John Kerry as influential, before she was exposed as a fraud and shill by a friend of this blog, Charles C. Johnson. She deserves to be cast out of public life for the foreseeable future, not embraced and given a position of influence.

So says this wacko bird.

Corey Feldman SWATted — For Real

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:33 am

My usual admiration for the way TMZ gets these stories every time is negated by their sniggering. I don’t even feel like throwing them a link. You can Google it.

The headline of their post? “COREY FELDMAN SWATTED … But It’s Kinda Funny.”

Yeah. A real laugh riot:

Corey Feldman’s pad got swatted last night — and TMZ has slightly scary (yet hilarious) footage of a bath-robed Corey and one of his “angels” getting the shake-down from cops.

Law enforcement sources tell us LAPD got a call of unknown trouble at Feldman’s house — which he’s douchily dubbed the Feldmansion — and responded around 2 AM with multiple cruisers and a chopper.

Corey quickly came out of the house with his arms raised, and got frisked by cops. In typical Feldman-fashion … he had not one, but TWO female companions in lingerie … who were also frisked.

TMZ has dramatic footage of Feldman and one of the women coming out with their hands up and being frisked while a helicopter is heard overhead. It’s not embeddable, which relieves me of the burden of deciding whether to embed it or not. It’s an invasion of privacy, but it also gives the viewer a small glimpse of what the experience is like. Although I am angry at TMZ, some of you may find it worth your while to seek out the TMZ post to see this footage — if only because it helps bring home, in a small way, the reality of these SWATtings.

TMZ calls the footage “hilarious.” I find that description not only callous but entirely inaccurate. But maybe it’s different for me, given my own experience. When I watched the clip, I got flashbacks. My heart started racing as I literally felt the adrenalin flow. I don’t see how anyone can watch this, imagine the events that preceded it, and find it “hilarious.”

The updated and noncomprehensive roll call of the SWATted: Corey Feldman; Paris Hilton (again); Miley Cyrus (again); Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom; Anderson Cooper; Magic Johnson; Mike Rogers; Wolf Blitzer; Ted Lieu; Erik Rush; Ryan Seacrest; Russell Brand; Selena Gomez; Justin Timberlake; Rihanna; Sean Combs; Paris Hilton; Brian Krebs; Clint Eastwood; Chris Brown; the Jenners and Kardashians; Tom Cruise; Simon Cowell; Justin Bieber; Ashton Kutcher; Miley Cyrus; Aaron Walker; Erick Erickson; Mike Stack; and me.

Whoever was doing this was quiet for a while, but they seem to have awakened.

P.S. I meant to report this soon after it happened, but I have been utterly slammed at work. I think things may remain that way for a week or two.

College Football Saturday

Filed under: General — JD @ 6:49 am

[guest post by JD]

LSU vs Georgia. Horrible coach vs bad coach.

Alabama vs Ole Miss. Wake up call for the rebels.

ND vs Oklahoma. Interesting matchup of 2 stories programs.

The Ohio State University vs Wisconsin. Is the Urban Meyer 15 game winning streak in jeopardy?

Oregon vs Cal. Over/under should be somewhere around 95.

—JD

Foreign Policy Brilliance – Link Round-up

Filed under: General — JD @ 6:42 am

[guest post by JD]

Kerry signed a UN arms treaty that they know cannot be approved in the Senate.

Syria clusterfark just keeps getting better. Now we have agreed to a toothless resolution with no real enforcement mechanism, which requires another UN resolution to move forward. 22 resolutions later they will strongly denounce genocide, under certain circumstances.

Speaking of the UN, Iran’s President snubs Obama’s fanboi request for an “encounter” at the UN, then hosts Farrakhan. Rev Wright hearted Farrakhan too. No wonder Teh One just had to talk to Iranian President on the phone.

Sen McCain #somethinghappenedtohisbrain hires disgraced Syrian “expert” that made up credentials, and flacked for terrorists. She was so flawed even her leftist think tank let her go, which makes her perfect for McCain.

We are in the best of hands.

—JD

9/27/2013

Senator Obama Calls President Obama A Failed Leader

Filed under: General — JD @ 10:17 am

[guest post by JD]

Unprecedented! Historic!

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that “the buck stops here.” Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.

Hostage taking terrorist voting to make America default.

—JD

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