When a Shutdown’s Not a Shutdown.

Posted in Conservatism, Economy, Environment, Health Care, Media, Politics with tags , , on October 8, 2013 by Cannon

Mark Steyn brilliantly puts the government shutdown crisis in perspective.  To wit:

This week’s “shutdown” of government, for example, suffers (at least for those of us curious to see it reduced to Somali levels) from the awkward fact that the overwhelming majority of the government is not shut down at all. Indeed, much of it cannot be shut down. Which is the real problem facing America. “Mandatory spending” (Social Security, Medicare, et al.) is authorized in perpetuity — or, at any rate, until total societal collapse. If you throw in the interest payments on the debt, that means two-thirds of the federal budget is beyond the control of Congress’s so-called federal budget process. That’s why you’re reading government “shutdown” stories about the PandaCam at the Washington Zoo and the First Lady’s ghost-Tweeters being furloughed.

Nevertheless, just because it’s a phony crisis doesn’t mean it can’t be made even phonier. The perfect symbol of the shutdown-simulacrum so far has been the World War II Memorial. This is an open-air facility on the National Mall — that’s to say, an area of grass with a monument at the center. By comparison with, say, the IRS, the National Parks Service is not usually one of the more controversial government agencies. But, come “shutdown,” they’re reborn as the shock troops of the punitive bureaucracy. Thus, they decided to close down an unfenced open-air site — which oddly enough requires more personnel to shut than it would to keep it open.

When the Democrats had control of both the House and Senate. as well as the White House, they pushed through the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.  No Republican voted for Obamacare.  If Obamacare were to come before lawmakers today, it certainly would not pass.  Yet, all we hear from supporters of the act is that it is established law, and debate should cease.  It sounds a lot like global warming (a.k.a. climate change).  Carbon’s destroying the environment.  It’s settled science, so shut up.

Do you get the feeling that we’re living in a time where molding perception is far, far more common that facing reality?  The federal government is running record deficits, piling up record debt.  Current entitlements are set to go broke in the years to come.  Just north of 63% of adults are participants in the labor force.  That’s the lowest rate since 1978.  However, we have to enact another huge entitlement we can’t afford because it’s “established law.”  Really?  That’s your best argument?  Obama’s unilaterally handed out exemptions even after the law was “established.”

Democrats are depending on most Americans being ignorant of what’s really going on.  They shutdown elements of the government which are easily highlighted in the media.  Hopefully, turning veterans and other citizens away from “an area of grass with a monument in the center” won’t just reflect negatively on Republicans.  It should reflect negatively on us all.  Some of us are being manipulated while others are willing perpetuators of a narrative that favors bolstering future political support through government programs over solving a fiscal dilemma that will certainly cause massive amounts of pain in the near future.

Don’t Shutdown Congressional Gyms

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 8, 2013 by Cannon

Don’t worry about Harry Reid and John Boehner losing muscle definition during the current government shutdown.  From ThinkProgress:

A House aide confirmed to ThinkProgress that the House member’s gym is open. The House gym features a swimming pool, basketball courts, paddleball courts, a sauna, a steam room and flat screen TVs. While towel service is unavailable, taxpayers remain on the hook for cleaning and maintenance, which has been performed daily throughout the shutdown. There are also costs associated with the power required to heat the pools and keep the lights on.

It appears that the members gym in the Senate remains open on similar terms. Yesterday, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) complained to a reporter from the Omaha World-Herald that the members gym was getting “rank.”

Of course, we know that the federal government is only 17% shutdown.  In an anecdotal sense, this is kind of amusing though not at all surprising.  The leftist army at ThinkProgress wants to make this into a huge deal in order to tar and feather Boehner.  Those on that side of the argument are also willing to bar Americans from open-air monuments and the like as a way of bolstering the spectacle.  People are being affected in negative ways, but this is mostly a media manipulation scheme.  On second thought, the media is more of a willing participant than a victim of manipulation.

Hat Tip:  Drudge

A Look at the Government Shutdown

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 6, 2013 by Cannon

Byron York has some information on the shutdown.  Maybe it’s more of a semi-shutdown.  To wit:

I asked a Republican source on the Senate Budget Committee for an estimate. This was the answer: “Based on estimates drawn from CBO and OMB data, 83 percent of government operations will continue. This figure assumes that the government pays amounts due on appropriations obligated before the shutdown ($512 billion), spends $225 billion on exempted military and civilian personnel, pays entitlement benefits for those found eligible before the shutdown (about $2 trillion), and pays interest costs when due ($237 billion). This is about 83 percent of projected 2014 spending of $3.6 trillion.”

Not to minimize the pain and/or inconvenience some are experiencing, but this whole ordeal has been blown up by politicians and the media.  Why are open-air attractions being blocked off?  It’s an effort to convince the public that those of us who prefer less instead of more government intervention are crazy, uncaring extremists.  It’s infuriating to say the least.

In a separate article, York shines some light on how the Republicans “stumbled” into the Obamacare fight.  This from an unnamed Republican House member:

As the congressman told the story, as August progressed — and Cruz, along with a few Senate colleagues, the Heritage Foundation, and others, ran a high-profile campaign to stir public opinion against Obamacare — the House GOP leadership was mostly unaware of what was going on. “They got surprised a little bit by the Obamacare thing,” the lawmaker said. “This was something that blew up in August. Nobody really saw it coming — probably should have a little bit, I’m not being critical of anybody in that regard, on either side of this — but it just happened.”

The result of Reid’s intransigence, coming after multiple Republican miscalculations, was that both sides dug in. Whatever chance there had been of a settlement before — and there really wasn’t much of one, once the events of August began to unfold — there was zero possibility of a deal as September 30 approached. So the shutdown that House leadership never expected came. And it lasted more than the few days some predicted. And it is still going on as the October 17 deadline for raising the nation’s debt ceiling approaches. The crisis that House Republican leaders didn’t see coming is now consuming them, with unpredictable consequences. “We’re not in a situation that has been planned out and war-gamed and plotted, OK?” said the congressman. “We stumbled into a situation like Gettysburg that nobody planned, and all of a sudden each side is feeding more troops into it, and it’s turning into a much bigger deal.”

In a way, all this, if true, is a little scary.  However, it’s refreshing to know that not everything that goes on in Washington is a made-for-TV drama that’s been poll-tested over and over again.  I believe there’s certainly a theater element to all of this, but hopefully there are some standing on principle, fighting against conventional political wisdom.

Hat Tip:  Drudge Report

Obamacare, Government Shutdowns, and Republican Disunity

Posted in Conservatism, Economy, Health Care, Politics with tags , , , , , , on October 5, 2013 by Cannon

So, you can’t get signed up for Obamacare.  It’s probably not President Obama’s fault.  It’s just like when Apple has some teething issues with one of its products.  It’s not the Congressional Democrats who are to blame.  They just want to fund government although they blow up every attempt to fund certain elements because Republicans won’t cave to funding Obamacare.  It’s not like Congress has been diligent in passing budgets over the last few years.  Now, the government is somewhat shutdown.  No doubt, numerous people are being affected.  Many Republicans preach that Republicans will ultimately pay the price for the shutdown.

I’m inclined to believe that the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, is a stepping stone to a system that’s totally government controlled, devoid of any quasi-market aspects.  If people can’t get signed up due to wacky websites  and employers continue to respond to incentives and direct employees into the government exchanges, there will be a push for government to step in and just give everybody health insurance.  It’s a scary thought, I know.

John McCain doesn’t like Ted Cruz, the opportunist.  Kim Strassel and Brit Hume don’t believe in Cruz and his followers, either.  Sure, Cruz is gaining contributions from like-minded parties and raising his political profile.  I’m all for people on Capitol Hill taking a stand against another debt fueling entitlement.  The current Republican leaders haven’t done all that much in the way of winning elections and holding Democrats’ accountable.  I know Hume has 115 years of experience in Washington alongside Mitch McConnell, McCain et al.  Here, we have the problem.  A good portion of America doesn’t believe in the “conservative” contingent that’s been entrenched in Washington for what seems like an eternity.  Next time you conservatives of the Potomac want to give the rest of right-wing America advice on winning in D.C., you could do it with a little more humility and little less quoting of old saws.  These are fiscally tenuous times for the United States.  It’s important that we make every effort to distinguish ourselves from those who support a semi-socialist paradigm, the same paradigm which has put European countries on a downward economic trajectory.

Awful Blogger

Posted in Conservatism, Politics with tags , , , , on May 22, 2010 by Cannon

Yep, that’s me. It’s like I’ve fallen off the face of the blogging earth. Luckily, I don’t have a ton of fans to disappoint. I must do better. I blog about as often as Eric Holder (a.k.a. Stedman) reads the legislation he criticizes. I heard someone on TV saying today that if Alberto Gonzalez had done such a thing he’d be labeled a stooge. So true.

What about Richard Blumenthal? Though he has caught some flack from leftist media types, he would have been drawn and quartered if he were a conservative. Republicans really don’t have it together yet, though. They let John Murtha’s old seat slip through their hands. It seems the public is breaking right so to speak. All Republicans have to do is be coherent and tenacious. In other words, they have to do a better job campaigning in November than I’ve done at blogging as of late. And that my friends is not a huge hurdle to clear.

Demonizing Republicans and Tea Partiers

Posted in Health Care, Media, Politics with tags , , , , , on March 25, 2010 by Cannon

Most media outlets (and I use that term loosely) have been less than subtle in trashing the tea party movement ever since they identified it as a threat to their collective left-wing agenda.  Since the passing of ObamaCare, that effort has only intensified.  However, with Republicans working to integrate much of the tea party element into their own base of support, these outlets are also doing their best to make the GOP look like those “crazies” whom they associate with the tea partiers.  We’re talking about the minuscule outer fringe.  Timothy Egan of the New York Times (surprise, surprise) illustrates my point by engaging in this rather trite exercise:

From the leader of the opposition, at least, was expected a level of decorum. But instead, Rep. John Boehner, the Republican who wants to be the next speaker of the House, predicted “Armageddon,” and shouted “Hell, no!,” his perma-tan turning crimson in rage.

Most of these vignettes are isolated incidents — a few crazies going off in a vein-popping binge. But the Republican Party now has taken some of the worst elements of Tea Party anger and incorporated them into its own identity. They are ticked off, red-faced, frothing — and these are the men in suits.

Having welcomed Tea Party rage into their home, and vowing repeal, the Republicans have made a dangerous bargain. First, they are tying their fate to a fringe, one that includes a small faction of overt racists and unstable people. The Quinnipiac poll this week found only 13 percent of Americans say they are part of the Tea Party movement.

I suppose Egan should get some credit for acknowledging that the most distasteful of his examples are “isolated incidents.”  Like his characterization of John Boehner’s speech, the Times writer’s assessment of the GOP opposition is completely off the mark.  While Egan sees Republican opposition as a hurdle in front of the liberal quest for better health care through the strong arm of the federal government, much of the country sees that quest for what it is:  a fantasy.  More specifically, it will cost trillions of taxpayer dollars, further empower the federal government and likely damage the positive aspects of the current health care marketplace.

WSJ.com’s James Taranto takes on a supposed examination of the right-wing fringe contingent that’s taking over the Republican Party:

“Scary New GOP Poll,” reads the headline at The Daily Beast. In the article, “Wingnuts” author John Avlon declares that “Obama Derangement Syndrome–pathological hatred of the president posing as patriotism–has infected the Republican Party.” The poll, he claims, “demonstrates the cost of the campaign of fear and hate that has been pumped up in the service of hyper-partisanship over the past 15 months. We are playing with dynamite by demonizing our president and dividing the United States in the process.”

There’s another methodological problem, which points to the nexus between the science and the art of polling. The survey includes only people who actually answer the crazy questions asked. So if your reaction to the guy on the street at the top of this column was to step up your pace and get away from him (which corresponds to saying “this is nuts” and closing your browser window), your opinion would not affect the outcome–but if you happen to be a Republican, Harris’s methodology imputes to you a likelihood of holding crazy views.

It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the survey was designed to make Republicans, and only Republicans, look unhinged. The press release states: “The very large numbers of people who believe all these things of President Obama help to explain the size and strength of the Tea Party Movement.” This presupposes that the tea-party movement centers on crazy beliefs about Obama, a view that the poll provides no evidence to support.

For balance, such a poll might have included a series of crazy statements about polarizing Republican figures like George W. Bush, Dick Cheney or Sarah Palin. This would at least give some indication of whether Republicans have a greater propensity than Democrats to believe “scary” things.

For better or worse, there will always be people at each end of the political continuum with over-the-top views on certain matters.  What I see in the conflation of the right-wing fringe with the core of the GOP and, really, most who oppose ObamaCare, is an effort to discredit the legitimate arguments against a vast government intrusion by slandering those who are putting forth said arguments.  I mean, that’s a whole lot easier than actually debating the opposition directly, especially if one doesn’t have an answer for their opponents.  This entire left-wing slander initiative should be filed under “if you say it enough, most voters may believe it to be true.”

Sticking With the Paul Ryan/Health Care Theme

Posted in Economy, Health Care, Politics with tags , , , , on March 22, 2010 by Cannon

Here are some new comments from Congressman Ryan via National Review Online:

“We need to establish a set of metrics and benchmarks to measure the sector going forward, keeping a close eye on all of the Democrats’ claims,” Ryan says. “From cost to quality, we will need to be vigilant in making sure that their assertions are actually substantiated with facts, and I have every reason to believe they won’t be.” Repealing Obamacare should be the goal, he says, “but with the political plurality you need to do that — a new president, 60 senators, and a majority in the House — that is a pretty tall order.”

“Our offense will be hammering them for wrecking the health-care system, their demonization of the insurance companies, and their push for government control. That is the future fight,” Ryan predicts. “They’ve got a president here until 2013 and the votes in the Senate to support this for a few years, but it’s not over. As we work to repeal, we must recognize that we’re fighting a different and distorted progressivism. They want to hook people up to entitlements and delegate more power to unelected bureaucrats and technocrats to micromanage the economy — a government full of Peter Orzags. Yet their fatal conceit is also a rational gamble to establish a new culture of dependency.”

Obviously, I’m on board with all of this.  I’m happy to see that Ryan and I are on the same page, but that’s really no surprise.  It’s just the same old thing out of the “progressives.”  Ironically, progress isn’t part of their plan.  It’s important that all those who cringe at these types of government power grabs stay in the game, and prove, in the end, that this is not the course our great country should take.  There are ways to achieve real progress without an oppressive federal government actively involved in making personal decisions for its citizens.  Another state-sponsored Ponzi scheme will fail to yield the results which Democrats claim.  It’s now time to prove that this unfortunate piece of legislation was, in fact, a mistake.  Though many types of manipulation were utilized to sugarcoat Obamacare for the public, the truth is all that will be needed to bring it down.

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