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Thursday, October 10, 2013

No doubt who's responsibile for the crisis, until there is

"The American people expect in Washington, when we have a crisis like this, that the leaders will sit down and have a conversation." - House Speaker John Boehner, Sunday, on ABC'c This Week with George Stephanopoulos
Really, Mr. Speaker? That may be true if it were a crisis caused by uncontrollable or unforeseen forces, but this is a crisis you created, by allowing a small number of stubborn, unfit-to-govern conservatives to push you into holding the government hostage over your party's profound dislike for President Obama and his signature healthcare law.

Polls show sixty-five percent of the American people, including half of the ones who identify themselves as Republicans (a group which has lost considerable support since the 2012 election), are overwhelmingly against Congress using its power to control government funding as leverage against the Affordable Care Act. There's no doubt who the American people see as being responsible for this crisis, Mr. Boehner - you and the Republican led House of Representatives.
U.S. President is greeted by Speaker Boehner
Yet the latest GOP proposal, revealed Thursday, to lift the debt ceiling for only six weeks, still precludes resolving the ten-day-old government shutdown without talking to the White House and Senate Democrats about making changes to Obamacare, and other GOP budgetary pet peeves. Boehner calls it "a good faith effort on our part to move halfway, halfway to what [President Obama has] demanded."

 Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters at the White House daily briefing, Thursday, the president still insists keeping government agencies shuttered on the condition of agreeing to cuts to the Affordable Care Act and entitlement programs, and changing the tax code, amounts to paying a "ransom in exchange for the Republicans in the House doing their job," something Obama has, so far, said he will not abide.


Sunday, October 06, 2013

Government shutdown fills Congress’ coffers – not yours

War brings camaraderie. The men and women who fought World War Two, what Tom Brokaw called America’s “Greatest Generation,” came together to fight a war, and taking care of your buddy in a foxhole taught them that we all have to watch out for each other. It’s how we achieved victory, and when the war was over, it’s how we became a hard working and strong democracy, a leader in the world’s economy and, for a while, at least, the global standard for human and civil rights.
But a nation at war with itself finds its comrades-in-arms with blinders on, seeing only the side of the road those like them choose to toe. It doesn’t matter that politicians of all persuasions have tried to build bridges across the divide. The stubborn perspective of Republican hardliners ignores, disavows or buries any outreach as if it were an apple from Eden’s serpent. The foxholes where they have planted themselves for this battle are dimly lit gutters, and their comrades tend to be the rats in three-corner hats that scamper through the flotsam of rotten, old ideas.
World War Two veterans, politicians and journalists enter the memorial, on the Mall, in Washington, DC, Wednesday. (Photo by Leo Shane III, Stars and Stripes)
World War Two veterans, politicians and journalists enter the memorial, on the Mall, in Washington, DC, Wednesday.
(Photo by Leo Shane III, Stars and Stripes)

That’s why it was particularly galling to see the Republican National Committee use a group of aged World War Two veterans as props when they “forced” the reopening of the memorial to that war, Wednesday, less than 48 hours after they refused to budget the National Park Service and allowed the government to shutdown.