Another graduate of Rush Limbaugh University

For listening just three hours a day from your truck or assisted living center, you too can earn a Ph.D in Illogically Stupid White Males or a J.D. in Racist Comparative Theory for Dumbshits!

Here, Dr. Johnny Howard (RLU, summa cum laude), explains how affordable health insurance is obviously someone’s (!) punishment for slavery:

Balloon Juice — After Congress passed the debt ceiling extension and reopened the government, the owner of Smokin’ Joe’s Ribhouse in Rogers, Arkansas, Johnny Howard, decided to make this public statement on the road sign outside of his restaurant:

Obamacare_Slavery

The sign was up for approximately 45 minutes, and after it was taken down, Howard apologized and said:

It’s the policy and I made the mistake of wording it in the wrong fashion. The policy. It’s not the person it’s the policy, … To me this health care plan is a job killer. I myself will have to eliminate at least one location if all the policies that were written originally go through.

You might ask yourself: Wait. WHY would Dr. Howard need to eliminate one location of his vast rib empire if people will be able to buy health insurance at a lower price? There are no easy answers… just know it will have to happen because, Obamacare.

Chart: what Republicans got out of the government shutdown

Here’s what Republicans got out of the shutdown, in one chart

Washington Post – Back in September, Republicans released a list of their demands for raising the debt ceiling. Today, the Rachel Maddow show went back to see how they did. And this chart doesn’t even show everything the Republicans lost in the deal… via @EzraKlein

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Yesterday, President Obama put the GOP’s hostage-taking and demands in perspective:

CS Monitor —  “To all my friends in Congress, understand that how business is done in this town has to change,” said the president. Obama said that politicians should stop focusing on lobbyists, bloggers, talking heads, and “professional activists who profit from conflict” to focus on creating jobs and getting the nation’s fiscal house in order. Specifically, he said Washington should now focus on a “balanced approach to a responsible budget,” passage of immigration reform, and finishing a farm bill.

[...] Obama went on to praise the work of furloughed government workers, saying they care for seniors and veterans, ensure workplaces, food, and toys are safe, and other numerous vital services. He said he recognizes that some people disagree vehemently with his policies. But disagreement needs to be resolved in the normal democratic process, he said. “You don’t like a particular policy or a particular president, then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election. Push to change it. But don’t break it,” he said.

Obama’s tough tone was hard to miss. He wasn’t singing “Kumbaya” and asking everyone to join hands. His message, in essence, was this: I won fair and square within the normal democratic process. If you don’t like it, take back the Senate in 2014 and the White House in 2016, if you can.

The winners (Ted Cruz) and losers (the rest of us) of the government shutdown

THE WINNERS: Sen. Ted Cruz and his PACs. 

Not only did Ted Cruz retain his paycheck and benefits during the shutdown, but beginning with his 21-hour stand-up routine that included reading Green Eggs and Ham on the Senate floor, Cruz has raised more money for himself and his PACs throughout the shutdown than he’d been able to raise in any quarter previously. No wonder he claims his effort to defund Obamacare was a “victory” even as that effort bombed in both the Senate and then the House. It was a victory… but only for his personal campaign finances:

His state director, John Drogin, emails to note that combining all of the senator’s accounts (including his reelection and leadership PACs) yields a haul of $1.19 million from 12,000 individual donors. — Atlantic Wire

Unfortunately, because of the intelligence levels of our country, this fact will only make the extremists love Cruz even more, meaning more money for his bank accounts and, like Sarah Palin, a much longer “15 minutes” than would otherwise have been earned. ‘Murica!

THE LOSERS: all of us. 

ABC News —The 16-day government shutdown is over, but the country has taken at least a $24 billion hit along the way. The financial ratings agency Standard & Poor’s said Wednesday the shutdown “to date has taken $24 billion out of the economy,” equaling $1.5 billion dollars a day and “shaved at least 0.6 percent off annualized fourth-quarter 2013 GDP growth.” These estimates are for the overall economy, taking into account not just federal wages and productivity, but all the ripple effects and costs as well.

Additionally:

- $3.1 billion in lost government services. Although furloughed workers will get their back pay,  taxpayers won’t see the products.  (Source: I.H.S.)

-  According to the U.S. Travel Association:  There has been $152 million per day in all spending related to travel lost because of the shutdown. As many as 450,000 American workers supported by travel may be affected.

-   According to the National Park Service: They welcome more than 700,000 people per day usually in October and visitors spend an estimated $32 million per day impact in communities near national parks and contribute $76 million each day to the national economy.  Those revenues were lost.

-  According to Destination D.C., the official tourism corporation of D.C.: There is a 9 percent decrease in hotel occupancy from the last week in September before the shutdown to the first week of October during the shutdown. This year, hotel occupancy was down 74.4 percent for the week Sept. 29 to Oct. 5 compared to the 2012 numbers. (Source: Smith Travel Research, Inc.) In 2012, an estimated $6.2 billion of visitor spending supported more than 75,300 jobs.

Politico — States won’t get paid back for reopening national parks: A deal to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling won’t repay the states for kicking in funds to the National Park Service to open the Statue of Liberty, Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore and other national icons during the 16-day shutdown. According to the deals between the Interior Department and the states, Congress would need to specifically authorize the repayment of any money spent that states had donated to fund the sites. “These funds from states are donations, not loans,” an Interior official said. “It would take an act of Congress to authorize any sort of reimbursement.” …These included:

New York’s donation of $369,300 to reopen the Statue of Liberty from last Saturday through Thursday

Arizona’s $651,000 to open Grand Canyon National Park to visitors for a week from last Saturday

South Dakota’s $152,000 to fund Mount Rushmore National Memorial for 10 days starting this past Monday

Utah’s $1,665,720.80 for eight sites that opened for 10 days starting Oct. 11

Colorado’s $362,700 to reopen Rocky Mountain National Park for 10 days starting Oct. 11

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Tea culpa

Sen. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC) pleads for mercy from the Democrats:  

We won’t be the last political party to overplay our hand. It might happen one day on the Democratic side. And if it did, would Republicans, for the good of the country, kinda give a little? We really did go too far. We screwed up. But their response is making things worse, not better.

Seriously, Lindsey? Republicans--for the good of the country--would be kinder to Democrats if they screwed up this badly? You’re just lucky Republicans won’t have to face Republicans with this debacle.

Sen. JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ), remarking on House Republicans inability to get their shit together in advance of Thursday’s debt ceiling deadline.

“It’s very, very serious. Republicans have to understand we have lost this battle, as I predicted weeks ago, that we would not be able to win because we were demanding something that was not achievable.”

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) provides an assessment from the moderate members of the GOP, as the prominent conservative organizations Heritage Action, Red State and FreedomWorks all came out against a last-second GOP leadership plan to avert a crisis that Democrats had warned was too far to the right: 

“This party is going nuts.”

Man of the mighty Tea-God, PAT BUCHANAN, still wants to burn it all down

“Republicans should refuse to raise the white flag and insist on an honorable avenue of retreat. And if Harry Reid’s Senate demands the GOP end the sequester on federal spending, or be blamed for a debt default, the party should, Samson-like, bring down the roof of the temple on everybody’s head.”

Who will be Pat’s holy warrior?

A Senate Republican aide placed the blame on a particular senator from Texas. TED CRUZ (R-TX) reportedly met with a group of House conservatives at Tortilla Coast, a Mexican restaurant in Washington, D.C., to discuss strategy Monday night.

“Ted Cruz and his Tortilla Coast Republicans are leading us to a default.” 

Sen. KELLY AYOTTE (R-NH) says Sen. TED CRUZ (R-TX), could try to gum up the bipartisan effort underway to reopen the government and lift the debt ceiling:

“It’s up to him. I would hope that he wouldn’t. I mean, in the Senate obviously in terms of certain time frames, senators can cause to you run out the clock. But what’s he trying to gain at this point?”

Currently being discussed:


Sorry, Pat.

Tea party throws public tantrum at memorial closed by their government shutdown

Tea party royalty Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin were a part of a very classy protest (i.e. disgusting display) by tea party radicals in Washington DC yesterday.  It was called the Million Vet March although, according to the Washington Times, only about 200 showed up (including stray tourists).

There were many wonderful photo-ops staged “on behalf of” elderly WWII veterans who were (sadly) in attendance, like: pushing over barricades, quoting The Gipper (Palin: “Yes, we can tear down these barricades!”), spittle-blaring The Pledge of Allegiance, and screeching patriotic songs. The tea party always seems angriest when they’re doing things they consider to be patriotic.

Coincidentally, these self-proclaimed patriots are the very people who, through their representatives in the House, caused the federal government to shut down two weeks ago which, they knew, would cause the memorials where they staged their protests to close. And, instead of insisting their representatives in Congress reopen the government to actually help all veterans (and elderly WWII vets specifically), they’re the very same “patriots” who are currently pushing their reps to let our country default on its debt in four days—something that’s never happened before.

As a weird kind of déjà vu, not only was yesterday’s protest redundant but there were flashbacks of “early Palin” and the types of people she attracted between the tail end of the 2008 campaign and the period after she quit her job as governor to pursue Money. Like then, the protesters yesterday brought their anti-Obama signs and an honest-to-God confederate flag to wave in front of the White House—that’s right: the stars and bars for the first black president. Note that no one in the crowd said a word about the flag. Then a tea party speaker told the crowd the President bows down to Allah and that he should put down the Koran, and the people yell, “Yea! Yeaa!”

But there’s more. From Mediate, here’s video taken by one of the goons, named Paul Longenecker. When police arrived, they were roundly booed. On the video, some yell “brownshirts” at the cops, while another man says, “Looks like something out of Kenya.” Go to the link for Longenecker, which is his Facebook page, and read the comments.

How’s that for respecting law enforcement in general or park police in particular? These are federal employees who are just doing their jobs (without pay) to protect our national landmarks and the White House—and they’re harassed and mocked for just standing there.

Worst of all, it sounds like the veterans’ march / protest was actually hijacked by “Washington elites” and “political extremists.” By the end of the day, the veterans’ group had condemned Palin, Cruz and the tea party:

A few powerful Washington elites? I believe that would be Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, and the political extremists are Sarah Palin and the tea partiers. The “incite or create panic” line refers to those tea partiers who tore down the barricades at the WWII memorial and marched to the White House. The extremists waved the confederate flag in front of the White House and chanted things like impeach Obama.Politicususa

North Korea and Al Qaeda working together couldn’t have created a better anti-government insurgent group than tea party “patriots.” Sedition is a gift to all Enemies of the State, both domestic and foreign.

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Where there’s a buck to be made…

WASHINGTON (AP) — A crowd converged on the World War II Memorial on the National Mall, pushing through barriers Sunday morning to protest the memorial’s closing under the government shutdown.

Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas were among those who gathered Sunday morning, along with former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, according to WTOP radio.

And without irony or even a hint of self-awareness:

Cruz said President Obama is using veterans as pawns in the shutdown.


Former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin (R) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) recite the Pledge of Allegiance at a rally supported by military veterans, Tea Party activists and Republicans on October 13, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images) via Bob Cesca

Freedom Watch Speaker tells Obama to ‘put the Quran down’

Washington (CNN) – Angered by the closure of national landmarks due to the partial government shutdown, a crowd of conservatives removed barricades Sunday at the World War II Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial as they rallied against President Barack Obama and Democrats for their role in the ongoing stalemate. High-profile speakers with close ties to the tea party appeared at the event, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

The rally, billed as the “Million Vet March on the Memorials,” drew far fewer than a million people and evolved into a protest that resembled familiar tea party events from 2009, with yellow “Don’t Tread On Me” flags throughout the crowd and strong anti-Obama language from the podium and the audience.

One speaker went as far as saying the president was a Muslim and separately urged the crowd of hundreds to initiate a peaceful uprising. “I call upon all of you to wage a second American nonviolent revolution, to use civil disobedience, and to demand that this president leave town, to get up, to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come out with his hands up,” said Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch, a conservative political advocacy group.

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Charles JohnsonIf you want people to believe that the Affordable Care Act is the worst thing since slavery, maybe it’s not a good idea to wave a freaking Confederate flag at your White House protest. The symbolism is beyond appalling: the first black President of the United States protested with the Dixie flag.

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Goldie Taylor: Still fighting the “War of the Northern Aggression”

Charles Johnson: Here’s Ted Cruz speaking in front of the flag of the extreme right wing Oathkeepers militia.
View image on Twitter

Charles Johnson: Were the Oathkeepers doing security for Sarah Palin?
View image on Twitter

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Old what’s-her-face began her east coast Tour of Terror on Saturday in New Jersey, stopping by a racetrack near New Egypt to help Cory Booker win an election by campaigning for his competitor Steve Lonegan. As you can see by the photo below, she’s still as brilliant as we all remember:


The phrase, “leader not tweeter,” a reference to Newark Mayor Cory Booker, is seen on the palm of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin during a rally supporting Steve Lonegan. (via Buzzfeed)

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Related: 

The GOP’s unserious offers so far: why won’t Obama negotiate?

On Wednesday, Obama indicated Republicans could essentially set the agenda for budget negotiations, but only if Congress agrees first to a short-term spending plan to fund the government and to raise the federal borrowing limit to avoid a possible first-ever U.S. default next week. “I will talk about anything,” the president said.

Pretty simple, pretty clear. Right? Here’s what happened today:

House Republicans were furious with Senate Republicans and President Obama on Saturday for trying to cut a debt ceiling deal that leaves them out in the cold. Members emerged from a conference meeting saying Obama had double-crossed them by breaking off talks in order to shop for a better deal from the Senate GOP.

Oh, my. It’s terrible that the President should want to discuss solutions to a shut down and potential default in five days with both Senate and House Republicans! What a double-crosser. But what was the very serious deal offered by the official Budget Wiz of the House Republicans: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Groundhog Day)?

The House GOP framework, pushed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), would raise the borrowing limit for six weeks while replacing across-the-board spending cuts (known as sequestration) with cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits. It would also set up formal negotiations to resolve spending disputes and address the next debt limit increase. 

Got it: they won’t shoot the hostages immediately, but one of the hostages has to stay in the hole in the basement, taking lotion from a bucket for six more weeks. Basically:

  1. the government remains shut down,
  2. and let’s do this again in six weeks when we hit the new debt limit,
  3. also, by the way, let’s take the sequestration cuts that are currently shared by Defense (and other GOP favorites) and replace them completely with cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

I’m sure the offer from the Republican Senators via Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who’s reportedly fluent in Moderate, was much better:

For Senate Republicans, the focus has been on the draft proposal by Collins to extend the debt limit through the end of the year and reopen the government for six months in exchange for a two-year delay of Obamacare’s medical device tax and granting flexibility to government agencies when it comes implementing sequestration cuts.  

Senate Republicans are promising to lengthen the ankle chains the hostages wear, so they can at least reach the bucket in the corner of the cell. Basically:

  1. let’s do this again at the end of December when we hit the new debt limit,
  2. then let’s do it again four months after that, when temporary funding will run out for government operations,
  3. and, in the meantime, let’s continue this ongoing damage to our government and the entire national economy just to delay a small 2.3% tax on a select group of medical device manufacturers, who will gain business after health reform,
  4. but, here’s a bonus!, agencies will get to decide where they won’t spend the money that they’re no longer given.

Obviously these are all exciting opportunities. Why won’t Obama negotiate?

American Horror Story: Government Shutdown

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The U.S. Congress, as a whole, is making $2.95 every second. That’s $177 a minute and more than $250,000 a day. And yes, it’s still making that during the government shutdown it caused.
– Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) says he needs his paycheck during the shutdown to pay for his “nice house.”
— Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) says “I need my paycheck. That’s the bottom line.”

– See: http://congressstillgetspaid.com

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This evening, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the US Department of Agriculture announced that “an estimated 278 illnesses … reported in 18 states” have been caused by chicken contaminated with Salmonella Heidelberg and possibly produced by the firm Foster Farms. “FSIS is unable to link the illnesses to a specific product and a specific production period,” the agency said in an emailed alert. “The outbreak is continuing.” // FSIS furloughed 1,218 of 9,633 federal employees.

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Food expert Marion Nestle asks whether government-shutdown-mandated furloughs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hampered its response to the salmonella outbreak at Foster Farms… The Heidelberg strain of salmonella appears to be especially virulent. As my colleague David Pierson reported, 42% of victims have been hospitalized, double the normal rate. One big problem: Some of the salmonella strains appear to be resistant to antibiotics. Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued the initial Public Health Alert, monitoring food-borne illnesses is the job of the CDC. Thanks to the Republican shutdown, the agency was operating with a skeleton crew when the outbreak appeared. // If you’re curious why the CDC’s absence from this outbreak is so critical, this description of how the CDC works in multi-state outbreaks — by organizing the investigation and deploying lab resources that no other agency possesses — is helpful.

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Most federal employees will receive a paycheck on Friday that’s only 60 percent of the usual amount, thanks to the government shutdown. This could be the last check they receive until agencies reopen. [...] The government shutdown affects the pay of both excepted employees — those still on the job — and furloughed workers. The pay of most excepted employees will be delayed but eventually they will be reimbursed for their hours [when the shutdown ends.] // USFS furloughed 18,755 of 32,015 federal employees. Fire crews and law enforcement remain on patrol to protect life and property.

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Benefit checks (including pensions) for veterans and their families would end Nov. 1, if the shutdown lasts through October, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki told a congressional panel Wednesday morning… and most of the remaining 13,000 VBA workers will be furloughed.

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Most federal employees will receive a paycheck on Friday that’s only 60 percent of the usual amount, thanks to the government shutdown. This could be the last check they receive until agencies reopen.[...] The government shutdown affects the pay of both excepted employees — those still on the job — and furloughed workers. …Furloughed workers will only receive back pay if Congress approves it; those who worked for a few hours on Oct. 1 to close up shop will be paid for that time.

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The Utah Department of Workforce Services has seen a 500 percent increase of people requesting unemployment since the government shutdown turned federal employees away from work Tuesday. The state-run office usually process 2,000 unemployment claims a week, but since Tuesday has taken on 10,000.

Capturephoto source …aw, bb.

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A report released by the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees (CNPSR) set out the following numbers: 715,000 visitors lost daily based on October 2012 national park attendance numbers, $76 million in lost visitor spending per day and $450,000 in lost revenue each day that would go directly to the National Park Service ($300,000 in entrance fees and $150,000 in other in-park expenditures, such as campground fees, boat rentals, etc.). [...] Losses like these led the American Hotel Lodging Association to send a letter on Thursday to President Obama and members of the House and Senate urging them to reach an immediate agreement. The letter states, “Analysts say that for each day the federal government is shut down, collective American income is reduced approximately $200 million, and our nation’s hotels are losing more than $8 million in economic activity – putting jobs at risk and causing repercussions across many other related sectors. Communities near national parks are expected to lose $76 million a day in visitor spending.”

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New distilleries, breweries and wineries cannot open. Certain businesses that manufacture or distribute alcohol — and firearms, ammunition and tobacco products — require permits [to operate] from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which won’t accept new applications during the shutdown. // An obscure but powerful arm of the Treasury Department has stopped approving new brews... Jim Koch, founder and brewer of Boston-based Samuel Adams…said that while it’s important to keep the focus on how ordinary people are being hurt by the shutdown, “we will quickly see the downstream effects on businesses and industries. … In short, new breweries cannot start up and new beers cannot be sold.” // 448 of 483 TTB employees were furloughed on Oct. 1.

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At the close of business today, more than 90 percent of the staff of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will go home on furlough as a result of the government shutdown. The Commission had been operating on carryover funds since last Monday, when the shutdown began, but those funds run out today, reducing the staff to a skeleton crew of 300 “essential” personnel who will be responsible for monitoring the nation’s 63 nuclear sites until the government reopens. 

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Processing of oil and gas permits by the Bureau of Land Management [has come] to a halt. BLM will continue to monitor ongoing oil, gas, coal and other mineral operations. BLM will keep inspectors and enforcement personnel on the job for some activities, including overseeing some drilling operations and patrolling oil and gas fields “to make sure that theft of oil or condensate is not occurring.” Alaska pipeline operations will also keep going because funding comes from non-federal sources and for health and safety reasons. // The Dept. of Interior furloughed 58,765 of 72,562 federal employees.

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Patients hoping to enroll for treatment in cutting-edge research studies at the National Institutes of Health’s renowned hospital will have to seek care elsewhere during the government shutdown. Each week that a shutdown lasts would force the agency’s research-only hospital to turn away an estimated 200 patients, 30 of them children… [...] For the fiscal year that ended Monday, NIH was able to fund only about 16 percent of the grant applications it received, Collins said, down from about 1 in 3 applications funded a decade ago. That’s because earlier this year, NIH lost $1.5 billion of its $31 billion budget to automatic spending cuts known as the sequester, after years of budgets that didn’t keep up with inflation.

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[Arizona] stopped payments averaging $207 a week to 5,200 families eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families after Tuesday’s government shutdown… The Arizona Republic reports the decision came despite assurances from federal officials that states would be reimbursed for any payments they made for the federal program. It also comes as the state sits on a $450 million rainy day fund.

NOTE: Gov. Jan Brewer paid the federal government a $651,000 donation allowing Park Service employees to reopen [Grand Canyon National Park] and manage it through Oct. 18, the park service said Friday in a statement..

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The distribution of Social Security benefits will continue, but services like issuing new Social Security cards have ceased. “I just came in here to see if mailing a disability questionnaire late will affect my son’s benefits,” an 81-year-old Howard Beach woman said as she left the Rego Park Social Security office. “ All the supervisor told me was that he doesn’t know, that he couldn’t help me.” For some, that frustration has turned into anger. “It was a bad experience in there,” the woman added. “One man was so mad, he nearly punched the worker through the glass window.” // SSA furloughed 18,006 of 62,343 federal employees.

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The Food and Drug Administration has been forced to suspend all routine food safety inspections for the duration of the government shutdown, FDA spokesman Steven Immergut confirmed to The Huffington Post on Friday afternoon. Until funding is restored, the FDA will be inspecting only those facilities that it has cause to believe “present an immediate threat to public health.” // FDA furloughed 976 of 1602 investigators.

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In a post on his personal Facebook page that was later deleted, Pearce urged government workers to call their banks and take out a short-term loan if money is tight. “If you are a furloughed government employee, we encourage you to reach out to your financial institution as soon as you worry you may miss a paycheck,” read the post. “Don’t wait until you are behind on a bill; call now and explore your options. [Pearce is one of the 50 richest members of Congress, with a net worth of $8 million. ]

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The House gym reserved exclusively for lawmakers remains open during the shutdown. It features a swimming pool, basketball courts, a sauna and steam room. “This job is very stressful and if you don’t have a place to vent, you are going to go crazy and that’s why I’ve used it all these years,” said Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who has been a user since 1973. While there’s no towel service available during these tough times, taxpayers are still paying for maintenance and cleaning. The House gym for staff members, however, is closed. // And for [lawmakers and their staff] who feel like relaxing, there’s a special little subway car …to get them there in a ride that takes about 30 seconds. The trains remain staffed and functioning during the shutdown.

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More episodes of American Horror Story: Government Shutdown, as time goes on:

“The longer this goes on, the worse it will be.”President Obama

  • The Commodity Futures Trading Commission regulates trading on Wall Street. The CFTC has sent home 680 of its 708 employees. “They’re monitoring a $300-trillion market,” said Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass. “How many people are being ripped off, right now? The cops are off the beat.”
  • Engineering firm URS Corp and British defense contractor BAE Systems added a further 4,200 to the number of workers who have been temporarily laid off due to the U.S. government shutdown.
  • Boeing Co. (BA) said it may furlough workers at its defense, space and security unit should the U.S. government’s partial shutdown continue. … He declined to say how many employees may be idled.
  • Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin said Monday that it would trim its planned furloughs to about 2,400 employees—most of whom are based in the D.C. area—in light of the Pentagon’s decision to recall most of its civilians workers.
  • 10/8/13: One industry group estimated that after another week of shutdown, up to 300,000 government contractors could be out of work.
  • Many state governments, including North Carolina, Rhode Island, Arkansas, are also furloughing employees whose pay depends on federal funding. Wyoming furloughed 231 state employees whose salaries are paid in full or in part by the federal government.
  • A recent study released by WalletHub claims that Idaho is one of the hardest-hit states in the union, when it comes to the shutdown. Idaho checks in at ninth, due to our high reliance on federal contracting work (much of which has been put on stand-by) and our high reliance on loans from the U.S. Small Business Association (which can’t be processed). Idaho will feel even more impact from the shutdown next week, when logging in national forests is halted.
  • The housing market is expected to slow down because lenders won’t be able to verify borrowers’ incomes with the IRS and Social Security Administration. Borrowers will also face delays getting mortgage insurance from the Federal Housing Authority, which guarantees about 15% of new loans.
  • Many small business employers rely on E-Verify (an online program of the Department of Naturalization and Immigration Services) to determine a potential employee’s eligibility. But that resource is currently unavailable. 
  • Furloughs for federal inspectors also kept the National Transportation Safety Board from dispatching a team to investigate a fatal explosion on a Washington Metro line over the weekend. // Deborah Hersman, chairman of the NTSB and a West Virginia native, said there have been 14 accidents since the shutdown began — including a school bus accident in Tennessee and a worker who died on the D.C. Metro subway system — that the agency has been unable to investigate because of the shutdown. “Safety delayed is safety denied,” Hersman said.
  • National weather and emergency preparedness resources are not available.
  • The government’s Small Business Administration, Federal Housing Administration and the Agriculture Department’s Farm Service Agency are essentially out of reach for many people applying for funds…government funding for these agencies has essentially been halted
  • Agriculture producers cannot get market reports.
  • Government approvals for fishing and quotas are unavailable, a situation that is costing seafood companies tens of thousands of dollars. 
  • Illinois officials are scaling back on certain hospital and nursing home inspections because of the partial federal government shutdown. …a state agency gets about $1.3 million a month to pay for inspections of medical facilities. But the shutdown means the money isn’t heading to Illinois. So the Illinois Department of Public Health has put certain inspections on hiatus.
  • Head StartAfter reports during the first week of shutdown that some Head Start programs had been shuttered in Florida, Connecticut and a few other states, more programs will likely shut as local programs run out of money. [Some conservatives see the curtailing of a pre-school program for low income families not as a crisis, but as an opportunity.]
  • WIC [Women, Infants, and Children] If the federal government is still shut down at the end of October, 38,000 women and young children (in Washington state) will lose access to an important federal nutrition subsidy called WIC, and 82 King County staff will be laid off.
  • Meals on Wheelsthe shutdown comes on top of the this year’s sequester, which resulted in a roughly 8% overall cut in federal funding for Meals on Wheels, a percentage that might be higher or lower for individual programs. [How many veterans receive Meals on Wheels? It's too bad GOP politicians care more about photo-ops at national monuments than whether those elderly veterans in wheelchairs will receive something to eat in the weeks ahead.]
  • Salvation Army: The impacts of the government shut down can be seen on the shelves of the Salvation Army’s food pantry. “Usually shelves would be full like this,” explained Volpone. Since the shut down began, the Salvation Army says it is feeding 40 more mouths a day than normal.
  • Many exports and imports – including steel, lumber and computer equipment – cannot move over the border without specific permits from the federal government, permits that aren’t being given because of the shutdown.
  • Environmental Protection AgencyAll pesticide imports to the U.S. have been halted, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, which must approve them but has had more than 90% of its staff furloughed.
  • U.S. Department of CommerceSome U.S. technology companies can’t fill overseas orders because they cannot obtain U.S. Department of Commerce authorization to export. Steel imports are stranded at customs-clearance warehouses awaiting paperwork.
  • MSHA [Mine Safety and Health Administration]: gave lay off notices to nearly 1,400 employees who enforce mine safety laws from West Virginia to Montana. Those cutbacks mean safety regulators can’t do routine inspections of those high-hazard workplaces. Since the shutdown began, three mine workers died in separate accidents that occurred over a three day span. However, there isn’t any indication that those deaths occurred because of fewer inspections… But its been enough to send a red flag to officials with the united mine workers of America, and local miners as they continue their work.
  • With ninety per cent of OSHA employees furloughed, workplace-safety inspections aren’t taking place.
  • Ninety per cent of EPA workers are also staying home, which means inspections of toxic-waste sites have stopped.
  • The CDC has stopped monitoring the spread of the flu.
  • As scientists had feared, today (Oct. 8) the National Science Foundation announced it was canceling the U.S. Antarctic research program for this year because of the ongoing government shutdown… The shutdown means the cancellation of millions of dollars of planned research. Graduate students may have to stay in school longer because they won’t get the data they need to complete their research. Contractors are losing their jobs. Other countries, including New Zealand, France and Italy, rely on the United States’ sea-ice runway at McMurdo Station and may not be able to conduct their own research after the pullout.
  • As a result of the federal government shutdown, many resources that researchers, academics, and library patrons depend on—like the Library of Congress (LC) archives—have been rendered unavailable in the last week. [From comments: A great deal of research is done at National Laboratories, such as Los Alamos National Laboratory, including library/digital library research, which are slated to shutdown at midnight 18th of October.]
  • Oct. 16: Federal courts could shut down. Administrators say the courts will stay open for roughly the first 10 business days of the shutdown, but they say they would have to reassess matters on Oct. 15.
  • After Oct. 17, the Treasury would have about $30 billion on hand, enough to cover only a few days. Predictions for the fallout in the financial markets are catastrophic.
  • Some economists have estimated that the shutdown costs the U.S. economy $300 million a day.
  • If the shutdown stretches through the end of October, experts at Moody’s Analytics predict a total economic impact of $50 billion.

List of 21 House Dems who voted with the GOP yesterday to piecemeal government services

Cherry-picking their way to a longer shutdown:

Since the shutdown began, 84 percent of DHS employees, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents remain at work. Border agents and TSA security staff are still screening people entering the country, essential visa applications are still being processed, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are still detaining and deporting immigrants. The border security bill is the latest of 13 selective funding bills passed by House Republicans. Democrats have criticized House Republicans for “cherry-picking” piecemeal issues rather than fixing all critical components of the government.  [...]Still, 21 House Democrats voted with 228 House Republicans to pass the border security bill, which costs $18.8 billion to enact.

Treasury has retained only 10% of its employees; NASA currently has only 3%, and HHS kept 18%. But the DHS is already running at 84% capacity, already “protecting life and property” with its excepted employees.  What’s happened, exactly, that some or all of the remaining 16% of DHS employees have suddenly become more “essential” than the other approximately 500,000 feds who are still furloughed—or the feds who are just now being furloughed (the Veterans Benefits Administration furloughed 7,000 workers this week)?

As this shutdown drags on, employees who are now working can still be furloughed, depending on budgets, just as some agencies might bring back employees for a specific emergency or situation, but send them back home when it’s resolved (FEMA brought back 100 workers and sent them back home a few days later). The furloughed are in flux, and how this impacts the public will constantly change as well, depending on how long this drags on.

Remember that, unlike Congress and the military, excepted / essential civilian employees are NOT BEING PAID for working. NO ONE GETS PAID until the shutdown ends and budgets are funded by Congress. Excepted civilian employees are simply required to show up, while non-excepted furloughed employees are required to stay home, locked out of their jobs, even though they want to work.

Here’s the list of 21 House “Democrats” who decided to vote with every House Republican yesterday to further piecemeal and cherry-pick high-profile government agencies—effectively voting to extend the shutdown by weeks or months, causing personal financial disaster to federal workers, lost income to communities and business, lost revenue for the government itself, and countless (and growing) problems for citizens nationwide.

Border Security and Enforcement Continuing Appropriations Resolution, H.J.Res. 79

  1. Bustos, Cheri (D-IL)
  2. Barber, Ron (D-AZ)
  3. Barrow, John (D-GA)
  4. Bera, Ami (D-CA)
  5. Braley, Bruce (D-IA)
  6. DelBene, Suzan (D-WA)
  7. Foster, Bill (D-IL)
  8. Gallego, Pete (D-TX)
  9. Garcia, Joe (D-FL)
  10. Lipinski, Daniel (D-IL)
  11. Loebsack, David (D-IA)
  12. Lynch, Stephen (D-MA)
  13. Maloney, Sean (D-NY)
  14. Matheson, Jim (D-UT)
  15. McIntyre, Mike (D-NC)
  16. Murphy, Patrick (D-FL)
  17. Peters, Scott (D-CA)
  18. Peters, Gary (D-MI)
  19. Ruiz, Raul (D-CA)
  20. Schneider, Bradley (D-IL)
  21. Sinema, Kyrsten (D-AZ)

——————————————————————————————————————–

If you click their names you’ll get a link to their website / contact info and Twitter account (if they have one).  If they were my representative, I’d contact them and let them know what I thought. Because you really have to wonder how these folks will vote when a bill to reopen the government or raise the debt ceiling comes to the floor—with the Republicans?

And maybe the DCCC needs to hear from the base that another candidate should be run in the next election, no more money to those who supported the Republican Shutdown with their voting behavior. Slapping a “D” behind their name does nothing helpful for the Democratic Party or the country in general if they vote with House Republicans. Someone needs to stand up to the insanity and extremism of the GOP, not encourage it. Assholes.

The ultimate price of the shutdown will be felt by everyone:

The shutdown cost $1.6 billion last week in lost economic output, according to IHS Inc., a Lexington, Massachusetts-based global market-research firm. As the showdown enter[ed] its eighth day, the office closures are now draining an average of $160 million each workday from the $15.7 trillion economy.

On Oct. 9, the shutdown cost is estimated to surpass $2 billion, which is how much economic damage the Colorado floods caused last month. Another six weeks (the length of time Boehner was negotiating for yesterday) could add at least $6.7 billion to the price tag.

Can you imagine another six weeks?

Is Michele Bachmann drinking all day long now?

On Saturday, she said the President is funding al Qaeda, which is a sign of the End Times:

Rep. Michele Bachmann accused President Obama of giving aid to Al Qaeda, which she said is proof that we are living in the Last Days. Of course, on the same day Bachmann gave the interview, a Delta Force operation approved by Obama nabbed a key Al Qaeda figure in Libya. [...] Bachmann said that the Al Qaeda funding (which isn’t happening) is a sign of the End Times: “This happened and as of today the United States is willingly, knowingly, intentionally sending arms to terrorists, now what this says to me, I’m a believer in Jesus Christ, as I look at the End Times scripture, this says to me that the leaf is on the fig tree and we are to understand the signs of the times, which is your ministry, we are to understand where we are in God’s end times history. Rather than seeing this as a negative, we need to rejoice, Maranatha Come Lord Jesus, His day is at hand,” Bachmann continued. “When we see up is down and right is called wrong, when this is happening, we were told this; these days would be as the days of Noah.”

On Tuesday, she said she wants to impeach the President for “thuggery:” 

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said Tuesday that President Obama has “committed impeachable offenses” and that the House could hold a hearing to impeach. “We can have an impeachment hearing in the House, and in my mind the president has committed impeachable offenses,” Bachmann told conservative talk show host Rusty Humphries in an interview first detailed by Right Wing Watch. “I think we could be on the cusp of seeing civil disobedience — I’m not saying I want civil disobedience — but people aren’t going to take the thuggery of this president much longer,” she said. “We see thuggery going on in the White House, we’re not going to take it. We’ve drawn a line in the sand, and we’re telling the president you need to recognize … that you are a co-equal branch of government. You are not a dictator.”

Also on Tuesday, she said she was mistaken for 20-year-old Miley Cyrus: 

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) said this week that people confused her with pop singer Miley Cyrus but she has “never done twerking” in her life. …“What was kind of funny is the Monday after Saturday Night Live aired, we had a lot of calls in the office [and] people thought that actually was me in the skit. And I will tell you as a 57-year-old woman, it’s been a long time since I’ve been confused for a 20-year-old.”

  

I guess I can see how some elderly folks who could use an appointment with the eye doctor might make this mistake. Brown hair, open mouth, idiotic…

Profiles in cowardice: put your vote where your mouth is

Those moderate, supposedly responsible Republicans who have said that they would vote for a clean CR or a discharge petition to reopen the government (and essentially go against Boehner and The Extremists) are just another myth, like unicorns.

Several of them have talked a good game over the past few days, probably to appeal to mainstream America (where disapproval of how their party is handling this fiasco is clocking in at 73%). Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY) admitted that a clean budget bill could pass with around 150 Republican votes, but only if it were a secret ballot.

Every one of these politicians, including the Speaker, are terrified of the 80 or so tea party extremists — who represent only 18% of the country in gerrymandered districts — because of their wealthy benefactors. So forget Republican “leadership” and serving the “will of the people” or even “serving the country” – Party Before Country is the guiding theme here.

So how will they handle it when we reach the debt ceiling next week? Just like they handled the shutdown: vote in lockstep with the party, then complain a little in public to make it seem like the GOP still retains some sanity or courage.

The enemy within: the cowards and anti-government insurgents of the GOP

“If the United States government, for the first time in its history, chooses not to pay its bills on time, we will be in default. There is no option that prevents us from being in default if we don’t have enough cash to pay our bills.” — Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, adding “Congress is playing with fire.”

The New York Times reports that “shortly after President Obama started his second term, a loose-knit coalition of conservative activists led by former Attorney General Edwin Meese III gathered in the capital to plot strategy. Their push to repeal Mr. Obama’s health care law was going nowhere, and they desperately needed a new plan.”

 Out of that session, held one morning in a location the members insist on keeping secret, came a little-noticed “blueprint to defunding Obamacare,” signed by Mr. Meese and leaders of more than three dozen conservative groups.

It articulated a take-no-prisoners legislative strategy that had long percolated in conservative circles: that Republicans could derail the health care overhaul if conservative lawmakers were willing to push fellow Republicans — including their cautious leaders — into cutting off financing for the entire federal government.

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told George Stephanopoulos yesterday that there’s no way he’s going to bring up a “clean” debt limit increase for a vote and warned “that the U.S. will default on its debt unless President Barack Obama agrees to make policy concessions.”

“We’re not going to pass a clean debt limit increase,” he said. “I told the president, there’s no way we’re going to pass one. The votes are not in the House to pass a clean debt limit. And the president is risking default by not having a conversation with us.”

Lie. Boehner means there aren’t a majority of Republicans who are willing to pass a clean CR. Why won’t he let it go to the floor for a vote?

Meanwhile on Fox News SundayRep. Peter King (R-NY) admitted “we are the ones who did shut the government down.”

But while he reiterated his opposition to the strategy, he also said he would not act to require a vote to reopen the federal government. [...] Though King and at least 19 fellow Republicans have said they would vote for a clean bill to reopen the government immediately, none have voted with House Democrats on repeated attempts to hold a vote on doing so. A discharge petition, a little-used parliamentary maneuver used by a majority in the U.S. House to bring a bill to the floor without the Speaker’s consent, would require 217 signatures.

Kevin Drum explains how the Republican Party as a whole, and with John Boehner as its House Speaker, has become the party incapable of accepting ‘yes’ for an answer: An unnamed Republican congressman interviewed by Bryan York said, “Instead, it’s no, we’re not going to negotiate, we’re not going to negotiate, we’re not going to negotiate. Which means effectively you’re going to try to humiliate the Speaker in front of his conference. And how effective a negotiating partner do you think he’ll be then? You’re putting the guy in a position where he’s got nothing to lose, because you’re not giving him anything to win.”

[...] Here’s the thing: I agree with our unnamed congressman about the device tax. It’s a fairly small thing ($2-3 billion per year) and completely nonessential to Obamacare. It could be eliminated without harm, and it would give Boehner a small bit of face-saving that might allow him to pass a budget. If this had been the GOP’s initial ask, Democrats probably would have given in.

But after weeks and weeks of tea party rage and intransigence, that became impossible. By the end of September, the Republican strategy had become crystal clear: demand unceasing concessions from Democrats at every opportunity without offering anything in return and without any negotiation. A month ago, Democrats might have shrugged over the device tax. Today, they know perfectly well what it would mean to let it go. It means that when the debt ceiling deadline comes up, there will be yet another demand. When the 6-week CR is up, there will be yet another. If and when appropriations bills are passed, there will be yet another. We’ve already seen the list. There simply won’t be any end to the hostage taking. As their price for not blowing up the country, there will be an unending succession of short-term CRs and short-term debt limit extensions used as leverage for picking apart Obamacare—and everything else Democrats care about—piece by piece.

Both King and this unnamed congressman wish their party hadn’t shut down the government, but seem unwilling to do anything about it themselves. And now our government hits the debt ceiling next Thursday. Is there not even ONE Republican member of the House with an intact spine?

Josh Marshall remarks on a profile the Post did on freshman Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL). The focus is how he’s part of the faction who forced John Boehner to trigger the government shutdown and now wants to move along to default on the national debt. How bad will default be?

“I think, personally, it would bring stability to the world markets,” Yoho told the Post

Absorb that for a moment. He’s on the team that’s driving this bus. What would at best be a huge jolt to the global economy and more likely trigger a global financial crisis and do irreparable harm to the country, he thinks will actually improve things.

Couple this with the Times article [above] detailing how the current shutdown and soon to be default crisis was planned by a working group of top GOP money men and the major far right and Tea Party pressure groups in the immediate aftermath of the 2012 election.

Brian Beutler details what will happen when America reaches its debt limit:

Once the Treasury can no longer borrow to finance deficits, it will have to arbitrarily slash spending on everything the government does — from defense, to social insurance, to medical research, and eventually to debt service.

The government currently borrows about 30 cents on every dollar, which means that irrespective of the impact on U.S. creditworthiness and global financial markets, the effects on these services will be enormous. Probably something like four or five times the impact of sequestration, but with no exemptions. And the only way to exempt anything (at least in theory) is to either force the administration to direct revenues toward favored services, which would mean much deeper cuts to everything else, or to allow the Treasury to borrow specifically to finance those services. In other words, to increase the debt limit but only for targeted purposes.

[...] The GOP’s current position thus boils down to to the laughable idea that nothing’s more important than reopening federal monuments, funding clinical trials, and spending money on veterans services for two weeks, until we breach the debt limit and they have to be shut down again.

Paul Krugman thinks that “GOP leaders fundamentally misjudged the situation (and Obama’s incentives). And now they have backed themselves into a position where they don’t know how to back down — they have to extract concessions or they’ll have been “disrespected,” in a situation where Obama simply can’t make any concessions without destroying his own credibility and betraying the fundamental norms of governance.”

So Krugman describes what the endgame will look like on Oct. 17: 

The assumption has been that Republicans will finally be moved to act by the market freakout. But given their behavior so far, why would you believe this? …My bet now is that we actually do go over the line for a day or two. And what ends the immediate crisis is not Republican action but a decision by Obama to declare himself not bound by the debt ceiling. He can’t even hint at this possibility until the thing actually happens, because he has to keep the focus on the Republicans, and he has to make them demonstrate their utter irresponsibility before he can take any extraordinary action.

But maybe I’m wrong; maybe Obama’s lawyers have concluded that there’s really nothing he can do. If so, God help us all.

We have elected people to govern us who do not believe in government


image: Gizmodo

Worst shutdown in modern U.S. history

In seeking to trump a lawful vote of both houses of Congress, a Supreme Court ruling and a reaffirming national presidential election, they tread on extremist ground. Their hubris is radical and nothing in modern American history provides a fair counterpart.

To be sure, each major expansion of the U.S. federal government’s role in ensuring Social Security, access to health care, and equal civil rights has been accompanied by intense ideological and partisan conflicts. But when milestone laws have survived the gantlet of Congress, been affirmed in a presidential signing ceremony, and withstood Supreme Court review, the losing party or faction has generally settled for taking arguments about repeal or revisions to the voters.

They have also, to be sure, continued efforts to chip away at enforcement or funding through normal legislative steps. Republicans pushed back at parts of the Social Security Act of 1935 for more than 15 years, for example, but they never threatened to close down the entire federal government unless Democrats agreed to undo their own crowning New Deal legislative achievement.

[...] But in none of these episodes did a minority attempt to undo a major law by the sorts of threats against democratic decisions we see today.

[...]  Some might argue that the actions of Republican House members are justified by the sweeping changes Affordable Care promises to bring. This law does seek to fulfill a century-long dream of reformers to ensure access to affordable health insurance to virtually all U.S. citizens. But the core provisions are far from radical.

Devised by the conservative Heritage Foundation and first tested in Massachusetts under Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, the central tenets of Affordable Care respect and build upon private market mechanisms and long-established public programs like Medicaid for the poor and disabled.

No, the extremism of the present moment should not be understood as a fair response to a governmental expansion some consider too vast. Unprecedented efforts to try to repeal or gut a major law by threatening the nation’s government and economy are a symptom of a political party that has allowed a faction to pull it far away from fundamental democratic values. We can only hope that saner heads and hearts will soon prevail.

Charlie Pierce: Government Shutdown – The Reign Of Morons Is Here

We have elected the people sitting on hold, waiting for their moment on an evening drive-time radio talk show.

We have elected an ungovernable collection of snake-handlers, Bible-bangers, ignorami, bagmen and outright frauds, a collection so ungovernable that it insists the nation be ungovernable, too. We have elected people to govern us who do not believe in government.

We have elected a national legislature in which Louie Gohmert and Michele Bachmann have more power than does the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who has been made a piteous spectacle in the eyes of the country and doesn’t seem to mind that at all. We have elected a national legislature in which the true power resides in a cabal of vandals, a nihilistic brigade that believes that its opposition to a bill directing millions of new customers to the nation’s insurance companies is the equivalent of standing up to the Nazis in 1938, to the bravery of the passengers on Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, and to Mel Gibson’s account of the Scottish Wars of Independence in the 13th Century. We have elected a national legislature that looks into the mirror and sees itself already cast in marble.

We did this. We looked at our great legacy of self-government and we handed ourselves over to the reign of morons.

This is what they came to Washington to do — to break the government of the United States. It doesn’t matter any more whether they’re doing it out of pure crackpot ideology, or at the behest of the various sugar daddies that back their campaigns, or at the instigation of their party’s mouthbreathing base. It may be any one of those reasons. It may be all of them. The government of the United States, in the first three words of its founding charter, belongs to all of us, and these people have broken it deliberately. The true hell of it, though, is that you could see this coming down through the years, all the way from Ronald Reagan’s First Inaugural Address in which government “was” the problem, through Bill Clinton’s ameliorative nonsense about the era of big government being “over,” through the attempts to make a charlatan like Newt Gingrich into a scholar and an ambitious hack like Paul Ryan into a budget genius, and through all the endless attempts to find “common ground” and a “Third Way”…

Continue reading…

The main mullah of the GOP’s anti-government insurgency never had a game plan or strategy

Steve Benen — Indeed, on the government shutdown’s fourth day, a few truths have come into sharp focus. Republican members of Congress (1) don’t know why they shut down the government; (2) don’t know what they hope to get out of the shutdown; and (3) don’t know how to end the shutdown.

By the way, it’s no longer about Obamacare. Oh, you want proof? Benen explains:

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) isn’t the most prominent member of the House Republican caucus, but in recent weeks, he’s played a pretty important role in shutting down the government. It was Meadows who initiated a formal letter, endorsed by around 80 of his House GOP colleagues, vowing to oppose any spending measure that failed to gut the Affordable Care Act.

…With this in mind, as Brian Beutler reported yesterday, “it was a big surprise” when Meadows told reporters this week that the government shutdown has nothing to do with Obamacare. “This fight now has become about veterans and about national guard folks that perhaps — reservists that are not getting paid,” the North Carolina Republican said. “That’s where the fight is today.”

In theory, this is excellent news. Republicans have spent the last several weeks making one demand: take away health care benefits from millions of Americans or the government’s lights go out. If one of the far-right congressional ringleaders of this fiasco is arguing, on the record and out loud, that the fight is no longer about health care then the shutdown can end immediately.

This point was not lost on NPR’s Tamara Keith, who asked Meadows why the House doesn’t just vote on “a full CR if you don’t care about Obamacare anymore.” If you listen to the audio, there’s an awkward silence that lasts about five seconds. Eventually, the congressman says, “Why not vote on, on a full CR?”

Keith replies, “Yeah, sure. Because if you’re, if Obamacare isn’t the issue to you anymore…” At this point, Meadows tried this explanation:

“Because it, twofold. One is, is, that when you when you start to look, they say ‘clean CR?’ That it, it translates into into to truly a blank check, and, and so Obamacare is an issue for me and my constituents, but what happens is today is, we gotta figure a way to open it back up and, and with that, in opening it back up, when we start to look at these issues, it, it is critical that we make it, the decisions we, we make to be as least harmful as they possibly can be.”

So to review, the reason the House can’t vote on the Senate spending bill is an incoherent word salad, filled with lots of words that seem unrelated to one another.

Palin-style! This should come as no surprise but… turns out that fucking around with our government, just to make the voters in your little gerrymandered districts wave their torches and slobber on themselves, isn’t really leadership or a very effective way to manage a world superpower. But blame the Democrats.

The government shutdown: Christian dominionism and God’s bankers

Capture

Senator Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, is a pastor with Texas charismatic ministry Purifying Fire International–he’s also been campaigning against Obamacare the last several months. The theological ethos of Rafael Cruz’s vision is in Christian dominionism; he talks about preaching a “message of dominion” that all Christians have received an “anointing as kings.”

Morgan Guyton, Associate Pastor, Burke United Methodist Church, watched a sermon Rafael Cruz preached on August 26, 2012 at the DFW New Beginnings megachurch in Irving, Texas, and shared his thoughts on how a government shutdown fits perfectly with the ultimate plans of Christian dominionism

…Christian Zionist charismatic pastor Larry Huch… had a very interesting prophecy to share when he introduced Cruz to preach:

We’ve been doing this series here that God laid on my heart: Getting to the top and staying there. A message for us as individuals, the kingdom of God, but also for America. It’s not enough to get there. We need to stay there. It’s not a coincidence that in a few weeks, we go into what’s called in the Bible Rosh Hashanad [sic]… It will be the beginning of the spiritual year 2012. The number 12 means divine government. That God will begin to rule and reign. Not Wall Street, not Washington, God’s people and His kingdom will begin to rule and reign. I know that’s why God got Rafael’s son elected, Ted Cruz the next senator.

But here’s the exciting thing… The rabbinical teaching is… that in a few weeks begins that year 2012 and that this will begin what we call the end-time transfer of wealth. And that when these Gentiles begin to receive this blessing, they will never go back financially through the valley again. They will grow and grow and grow. It’s said this way: that God is looking at the church and everyone in it and deciding in the next three and a half years who will be his bankers. And the ones that say here I am Lord, you can trust me, we will become so blessed that we will usher in the coming of the messiah.

So it sounds like we’re entering into the age where the Christians (who give faithfully) are going to get all the money through the “end-time transfer of wealth.” Isn’t the title of that sermon series just awesome? Getting to the Top and Staying There! It was a packed house. I wonder how many other apocalyptic prosperity gospel megachurches are packing their houses by preaching sermon series about getting to the top and staying there. 

[...] The seamless move that Cruz makes without any justification is to say that because kings and priests were anointed in the Old Testament, that means there are two kinds of Christians today: kings and priests. Forget about the body of Christ and all the spiritual gifts identified in 1 Corinthians 12. Forget Jesus’ exhortation in Mark 10 not to be like the Gentile princes but to be servants instead of kings. Cruz decries the way that churches have neglected their members’ kingly anointing:

Our churches unfortunately are very focused on only one of these anointings and that is on the priestly anointing… Those of you who think you don’t have the anointing to teach the word of God, to be teaching Sunday school, you’re second class citizens. And so you begin to lead frustrated lives… The majority of you… your anointing… is an anointing as king. God has given you an anointing to go to the battlefield. And what’s the battlefield? The marketplace. To go to the marketplace and occupy the land. To go to the marketplace and take dominion.

So to pull all this logic together, God anoints priests to work in the church directly and kings to go out into the marketplace to conquer, plunder, and bring back the spoils to the church. The reason governmental regulation has to disappear from the marketplace is to make it completely available to the plunder of Christian “kings” who will accomplish the “end time transfer of wealth.” Then “God’s bankers” will usher in the “coming of the messiah.” The government is being shut down so that God’s bankers can bring Jesus back.

And here’s the thing. When you get a lot of people together in a megachurch, you can do some pretty impressive things with your mission projects. You can feed thousands of people and host ESL classes and job training programs and medical clinics. And I imagine that seeing your accomplishments could give you the hubris of thinking we don’t need a government at all to make our society run; our church can be the new government.

Everything makes sense now. No wonder extremist fundagelicals within the GOP base conduct themselves the way they do: not only do they imagine they’re earning a shiny throne right next to Jesus in the Afterlife, but their spiritual leaders are promising that, in the very near future right here on Earth, they’ll be rewarded with truckloads of money in an end-time transfer of wealth and then… Raptured!

Their God-given mission is Greed, which also becomes the reward in itself. Praise Jesus!

Read it all: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/morgan-guyton/the-theology-of-governmen_b_4020537.html

Video: Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) bullies a National Park Service Ranger

TPM — Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX), one of a number of Republicans who have tried to use the closed World War II Memorial to bash the Obama administration and Democrats on the shutdown, confronted [a National Park Service Ranger] while surrounded by a crowd of onlookers.

Photo op!

Neugebauer asked the Ranger how she could turn World War II veterans away.

“How do you look at them and…deny them access?” the congressman asked.

“It’s difficult,” she responded.

“Well, it should be difficult,” Neugebauer snapped.

“It is difficult,” the Ranger said. “I’m sorry sir.”

“The Park Service should be ashamed of themselves,” Neugebauer said.

“I’m not ashamed,” the Ranger said.

Members of the crowd then chimed in. One person shouted “This woman is doing her job, just like me.”

“I’m a 30-year federal veteran — I’m out of work,” the man continued.

“Well, the reason you are is because [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid decided to shutdown the government,” Neugebauer said.

“No, it’s because the government won’t do its job and pass a budget,” the man responded.

Neugebauer then tells his entourage, “Come on, let’s take this somewhere else please,” and scurries away.

Keep in mind that, as a congressman, Neugebauer’s federal paychecks continue to be deposited every two weeks during this shutdown, while the NPS ranger is currently required to work without pay.

Related: