Monday, October 7, 2013

When the Bleeding Heart Becomes the Iron Fist

Ricochet ^ | 5 October 2013 | Dave Carter

Whatever the perceived shortcomings of Ted Cruz and his hardy band of stalwarts, they've performed a remarkable public service by highlighting the fate that awaits all who rub wrongly the translucently thin skin of King Barack the Petulant. The Spartans may have had their shields, Native Americans their tomahawks and arrows, the Samurai may have wielded his sword with all the deadly grace of a tiger in mid-attack, but pound for pound, nothing comes close to the audacious stupidity of "Barrycades" and people in pointy little Smokey the Bear hats, poised to protect America's monuments from law-abiding citizens
Welcome to liberal utopia, where barriers are not erected against terrorists or illegal aliens on our nation's borders, but rather against citizens, and where wheelchair-bound veterans enroute to honor their comrades face tighter security than terrorists enroute to murder a US Ambassador. This is where up is down, wrong is right, illegality is celebrated as progress, and where Constitutionalism is derided as racist. No longer relegated to the fever swamps of academic fancy, utopia has acquired real estate and made known its demands.
(Excerpt) Read more at ricochet.com ...

What, Me Negotiate? The President's Way or the Highway!

Townhall.com ^ | October 7, 2013 | Terry Paulson


President Obama seems comfortable negotiating with President Assad in Syria, President Putin in Russia, and President Rouhani, the newly elected "moderate" from Iran. As Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security advisor, has said, "We're always open to diplomacy if we believe it will advance our objectives." The president talks of "trust but verify," but he's open to meeting our enemies halfway.
President Obama campaigned on bringing a "bipartisanship" to Washington, but looking for a 2014 mid-term election edge, the triumvirate of Obama, Reid, and Pelosi have sent a clear message. There's NO NEGOTIATION with the GOP over the budget, Obamacare or the deficit impasse in the face of deficit limit "blackmail!" In spite of the House's Constitutional mandate to manage the purse springs, it's the President's way or the highway!
When has President Obama "negotiated" with Republicans? A bipartisan House group, meeting in secret to craft a comprehensive immigration bill, has collapsed. It boils down to trust and President Obama's poor track record in enforcing laws that are passed. Republican Reps. John Carter and Sam Johnson explained: "The administration's practice of handpicking what parts of laws they wish to enforce has irrevocably damaged our efforts to fixing our broken immigration system. If past actions are the best indicators of future behavior, we know that any measure depending on the president's enforcement will not be faithfully executed."
President Obama hates any thought of delaying or negotiating changes to the Affordable Care Act with the GOP but has no trouble making changes by executive order. Without even requesting Congressional support, he's provided waivers for some companies and subsidies for politicians and their staffs. He's arbitrarily postponed until 2015 the law’s employer mandate that requires businesses with 50 or more employees to provide their workers with health insurance or pay a fine. Now, when faced with a House-passed CR that funds government but requires politicians and their staff to live under Obamacare and delays the law’s individual mandate, Democrats have refused to budge! Normal citizens like you don't count enough for a waiver or delay.
So who should you blame? Blame the GOP for standing firm on requiring minimal changes that will end special treatment for politicians and give you the same delay that businesses have received. Blame President Obama and the Democrats for irresponsible deficit spending and passing an unworkable, unaffordable healthcare act. The shutdown is a result of the GOP saying NO to reckless spending by an "imperial" president and his Democratic colleagues who are saying NO to any negotiation or responsible compromise.
"Essential" services have continued during the "shutdown." But if some services are "non-essential," why not stop them permanently? Americans would soon let you know the services they actually miss; those services could be funded. Even if the deficit limit is not increased, the government can still spend what it takes in. Let Washington make the tough budget choices you have to make--What's essential and what's not.
The mainstream media and liberal politicians will say the GOP is "holding the country hostage" and allowing "tea party anarchists" to control this irresponsible "extortion." But read for yourself what the GOP is now demanding? They want Washington to play by the same rules and to give you the same mandate delay Obama has given to small businesses.
The GOP has failed to defund or derail Obamacare. Welcome to Obama's healthcare "transformation." When you can't get a doctor's appointment, when your medical insurance costs and co-payments become unaffordable, and when the quality of care takes a turn for the worse, remember President Barack Obama has worked his will without any GOP negotiation.
If the Affordable Care Act should be honored as "settled law," it's time to finally honor the Budget Control Act of 2011 by forcing Washington to live within its means. It's time to get serious about our debt before we further burden future generations with a debt they can't pay.

America Will Self-Correct from the Mistake of Obama

AmericanThinker.com ^ | 10/7/2013 | Kevin Jackson

I don't expect America to be perfect, and I know America has made some mistakes. But boy do we know how to correct them. And we will self-correct from the mistake of electing Obama.
The anti-American naysayers declare that we are all from somewhere else -- the inherent message being that America was stolen and none of us can lay claim to the land. They say that we invaded what is now America, attacked the Indians, then took their land and livelihoods. We forced them to live in squalid camps. Liberals say that we took their dignity.
I admit that the Indians got a bad deal. A well-meaning group of immigrants left oppression, then came to America and oppressed. The interlopers got greedy and the Indians paid for it; many with their lives. We relocated the Indians from their homes and gave them the badlands. And if America had remained the America run by Democrat Andrew Jackson, who referred to the people whose land he stole as "savages," today I would be outraged. But today, the Indians have the opportunity to feast, and some are.
The Pequot Indians of Connecticut run the largest casino in America. The tribe guarantees every person in their nation a college education, and adults are guaranteed a $60K a year job, I'm told. That's better than the deal you can get from any Liberal, including the king of redistribution himself.
(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...

Where's sense of crisis in a 17% government shutdown?

Washington Examiner ^ | OCTOBER 5, 2013 | BYRON YORK

Everyone knows the phrase "government shutdown" doesn't mean the entire U.S. government is shut down. So in a partial government shutdown, like the one underway at the moment, how much of the government is actually shut down, and how much is not?
One way to measure that is in how much money the government spends. In a conversation Thursday, a Republican member of Congress mentioned that the military pay act, passed by Congress and signed by President Obama at the beginning of the shutdown, is actually a huge percentage of the government's discretionary spending in any given year. And that is still flowing. So if you took that money, and added it to all the entitlement spending that is unaffected by a shutdown, plus all the areas of spending that are exempted from a shutdown, and added it all together, how much of the federal government's total spending is still underway even though the government is technically shut down?
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."
So the government shutdown, at least as measured by money spent, is really a 17 percent government shutdown. Perhaps that is why the effects of the shutdown, beyond some of the most visible problems, like at the monuments and memorials on the Washington Mall, don't seem to have the expected intensity. Seventeen percent of federal expenditures is still a huge amount of money, and the shutdown is affecting many people. But many more who are dependent on federal dollars are still receiving their money, either as salary, transfer payment, or in some other form. Viewed that way, it's no wonder both Republicans and Democrats appear to believe they can last the shutdown out, at least for a couple of weeks until they try to resolve the debt limit crisis due to arrive October 17.

Obama Shuts Amber Alert Website And Mt Rushmore, Keeps Andrews AFB Golf Course Open!

Confounded Interest ^ | 10/07/2013 | Anthony B. Sanders

What is this horrid government shutdown I keep reading about? It isn’t for Federal employees, since the House passed legislation paying all non-essential Federal employees that were furloughed for their missed time. (If President Obama signs it, that is).
Stated differently. Non-essential Federal employees received a taxpayer-funded vacation.
The government shutdown is a way for the Administration and Senate to punish Americans for Republicans not rubber-stamping the funding of Obamacare. At least the Administration should exempt everyone or no one.
John Nolte has created a list of unnecessary shutdowns.

1. Treatments for Children Suffering From Cancer – The GOP have agreed to a compromise by funding part of the government, including the National Institutes of Health, which offers children with cancer last-chance experimental treatment. Obama has threatened to veto this funding.
2. The World War II Memorial – The WWII memorial on the DC Mall is a 24/7 open-air memorial that is not regularly staffed. Although the White House must have known that WWII veterans in their eighties and nineties had already booked flights to visit this memorial, the White House still found the resources to spitefully barricade the attraction.
The Republican National Committee has offered to cover any costs required to keep the memorial open. The White House refused. Moreover, like the NIH, the GOP will pass a compromise bill that would fund America’s national parks. Obama has threatened to veto that bill.
3. Furloughed Military Chaplains Not Allowed to Work for Free – Furloughed military chaplains willing to celebrate Mass and baptisms for free have been told they will be punished for doing so.
4. Business Stops In Florida Keys – Although the GOP have agreed to compromise in the ongoing budget stalemate and fund the parks, Obama has threatened to veto that funding. As a result, small businesses, hunters, and commercial fisherman can’t practice their trade. While the feds have deemed the personnel necessary to keep this area open “non-essential,” the “enforcement officers” to ensure no business is done are “essential.”
5. Obama Blacks Out Sports, Entertainment Programming to Overseas Troops - The American Forces Network (AFN) that provides American sports and entertainment programming to our troops stationed abroad, has been shut down. For some reason, though, AFN News will still broadcast news, just not any of the popular and fun stuff. Camp David is essential, but popular programming for heroes overseas is non-essential.
6. Obama Closes D-Day Memorial – The GOP have offered to compromise and fund the National Parks. Obama has said he will veto this compromise legislation. As a result, along with 24 other military cemeteries, the D-Day memorial in Normandy has been barricaded.
7. Obama Tries to Close Privately-Funded Mt. Vernon – Although George Washington’s Mt. Vernon estate is privately funded, the feds blocked visitors from entering the parking area because the Park Service maintains the lot. Apparently, the New Media publicity resulted in the feds backing down.
8. Obama Closes Over 100 Privately-Managed Parks That Cost No Money to Run – The U.S. Treasury actually makes money from the rent paid by a private company that “employs about 400-500 camp workers and managers across about a dozen states.” No federal money is used to operate these parks. No federal employees are used to staff these parks. Taxpayers make a profit from these parks. Still, Obama had them closed and as a result 400-500 employees and a private business are taking it in the neck.
9. Obama Closes Self-Sustaining Colonial Farm It Hasn’t Supported Since 1980 – “For the first time in 40 years, the National Park Service (NPS) has finally succeeded in closing the Farm down to the public. In previous budget dramas, the Farm has always been exempted since the NPS provides no staff or resources to operate the Farm.”
10. Obama Tries to Close State-Run Parks in Wisconsin – “The park service ordered state officials to close the northern unit of the Kettle Moraine, Devil’s Lake, and Interstate state parks and the state-owned portion of the Horicon Marsh, but state authorities rebuffed the request because the lion’s share of the funding came from state, not federal coffers.”
11. Obama Closes Vietnam Memorial – The GOP have passed compromise legislation that would fund national memorials and parks, and open them to the public. Obama threatened a veto. Apparently, the “essential” government employees are those erecting barricades, not those who could keep the memorial open.
12. Obama Closes Privately-Owned Hotel, Police Block Parking Lot - “The operator of a 51-room inn located on U.S. government-owned land in North Carolina abandoned his defiant stance on Thursday to keep the property open despite being ordered to close as part of the federal government shutdown.”
October is this inn’s prime season. The GOP have offered compromise funding opening the parks. Obama said he will veto that compromise. State troopers blocked customers from entering the inn’s parking lot.
13. Park Service Ranger: ‘We’ve Been Told to Make Life As Difficult For People As We Can’ – “It’s a cheap way to deal with the situation,” an angry Park Service ranger in Washington says of the harassment. “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.”
14. Obama Forces Residents Out of Private Homes – “The government shutdown is being felt close to home for some locals. They say they’re being forced out of private homes on Lake Mead because they sit on federal land.” The GOP have agreed to fund the parks. Obama has threatened a veto.
15. Acadia Park In Maine Shut Down – ‘”We’ve been training for two years at CrossFit for this hike — no kidding,” Hart said. She added that the shutdown should be as inconvenient for the Washington politicians who caused it as it is for average citizens.’
The GOP have agreed to fund the parks. Obama said he will veto.
16. Historic Restaurant Open During Last Shutdown Forced to Close – “An iconic Philadelphia restaurant has been forced to close its doors and turn away booked parties because of the government shutdown. …
“Restaurant public relations director Molly Yun said they were notified there was a possibility a closure might happen, but they were allowed to remain open during the last government shutdown 17 years ago.” The restaurant is part of the federal park system, which the GOP have agreed to fund. Obama said he will veto the funding.
17. Obama Shuts Down a Road That Goes Through CO Park: “The Forest Service announcement, in turn, led the Pitkin County commissioners to order that Maroon Creek Road be shut down at the height of the colorful leaf-changing season. Ahead of what is to be one of the busiest weekends of the fall, the road is to be closed to vehicles at T-Lazy-7 Ranch, pending a resolution to the government shutdown.”
The GOP have agreed to fund the parks. Obama said he will veto that compromise funding.
18. Residents Plan Protest of Cape Hatteras Closing – “Businesses and residents on the Outer Banks have planned a peaceful protest of the closure of Hatteras Island’s beaches due to the government shut down. “The U.S. House Wednesday passed a measure to reopen national parks and monuments. It will now go to the U.S. Senate.”
In the unlikely event the Democrat Senate passes the bill, Obama has threatened a veto of any compromise legislation opening the parks.
19. Obama Blocks People From LOOKING at Mt. Rushmore – “Blocking access to trails and programs at South Dakota’s most popular attraction was one thing, but state officials didn’t expect Congress’ budget stalemate to shut down a view of Mount Rushmore.
“The National Park Service placed cones along highway viewing areas outside Mount Rushmore this week, barring visitors from pulling over and taking pictures of the famed monument.
The cones first went up Oct. 1, said Dusty Johnson, Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s chief of staff. The state asked that they be taken down, and federal officials did so with some of them. The state was told the cones were a safety precaution to help channel cars into viewing areas rather than to bar their entrance.”
20. Crucial USDA Websites Taken Down – “The U.S. Department of Agriculture has turned off its entire website in response to the government shutdown, leaving farmers, reporters and others with no way to access any of the agency’s information online. …
“USDA’s total website shutdown goes far beyond the response of other federal agencies, and seems to be part of an effort to make people feel the effects of the shutdown. Thursday morning calls to USDA’s press office seeking an explanation were not answered.”
This website is down and yet the ObamaCare and White House websites are up.
21. St. Louis Gateway Arch Closed – The GOP have agreed to compromise legislation funding the parks. Obama has threatened a veto.
22. Park Shutdown Bounces Rowers from Potomac – “The ripple effect of a government shutdown has pushed rowers from the Potomac River.
“Multiple high schools rent space at the Thompson Boat Center in Georgetown. But like other places controlled by the National Park Service, it closed Tuesday morning.”
The GOP have agreed to compromise funding opening the parks. Obama has threatened a veto.
23. Thompson Boat Center Closed In DC – The GOP have agreed to fund the parks. Obama said he will veto.
24. Obama Closes Military Commissary – “Military members, veterans and families who shop at local tax-free store are shocked to discover the store’s doors locked; no progress to end stalemate in Washington.”
While the government has deemed the White House chefs “essential,” working class military personnel have lost their tax-free store privileges. Military personnel and their families tell me that they have never lost these privileges in previous shutdowns.
25. Arizona Offers to Fund Grand Canyon, Obama Says ‘Drop Dead’ – “Obama has ordered the Grand Canyon to stay closed, even after the state of Arizona and local businesses have offered to cover the costs necessary to keep it open. In other words, the shutdown isn’t about the money — it’s about hurting the American people just because he can.”
John Nolte forgot San Francisco’s Cliff House in the shut down list. Where you can watch Great White Sharks eating Seals.
49sq_cliffhouse_0003_lh1-600x399 (1)
Not to mention that President Obama kept his favorite DC-area golf course open (Andrews).
One of my students at George Mason, Yaser Ebrahimi, pointed out that http://www.time.gov/ is not working.
timeclosed
And one of my readers told me that the Amber Alert site is down too.
So, non-essential Federal employees will likely get reimbursed and only citizens are punished.
But wait! The Administration has defied its own government shutdown and is ordering almost every furloughed worker back to work!
Meanwhile, the Federal debt skyrockets on a path to default.
debtprojection7
I guess House Majority Leader John Boehner is ordered to obey in order to reduce the suffering of its citizens.
TheyLive1041111

Oklahoma Lawsuit Could Effectively Defund ObamaCare

Forbes ^ | July 31, 2013 | Merrill Matthews

One of the key components of ObamaCare are the health insurance exchanges . . ..
The coverage will be expensive, and so ObamaCare includes hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars in subsidies. . . .
But the legislation also includes a safe harbor: Individuals must have access to “affordable” coverage. If a person has to spend more than 8 percent of his income to get coverage, he is exempted from the mandate. And if a worker is exempted from the mandate to have coverage, his employer is exempted from the $2,000 penalty ($3,000 in some cases) for not providing health coverage.
Under the law states are given three exchange options. States could create the exchange, enter a partnership with the federal government, or, if a state does nothing, the federal government will create the exchange and impose it on the state.
The liberals writing the law assumed the vast majority of states would create their own exchange. But just to make sure, they included a “carrot” that clearly says that the federal subsidies are available ONLY in the state-created exchanges, not in the federal-state partnerships or the federally created exchanges.
However, 34 states have decided not to play the ObamaCare game and opted for a federally created exchange or the partnership, which means the federal subsidies will not be available to millions of middle- and lower-income workers in those states.
And without the subsidies, insurance would become “unaffordable” under ObamaCare for the vast majority of those families. They would thus be exempted from the mandate to have coverage, and their employers would be exempted from the penalty for not providing it.
In other words, the most draconian part of ObamaCare would essentially be defunded. Bingo!
(Excerpt) Read more at forbes.com ...

Voter ID

The Ruling Class

Pallbearers

A Horrible Person

Terrorists

Cover Up

In Common

Jump Start Brain

Executive Privilage

Where was he?

Lessons learned

Ready

WORK

Transparent

Decoded

Incompetent Hillary

The 14th Amendment and the Debt Ceiling

National Review Online ^ | October 7, 2013 | Charles C. W. Cooke

...............Members of Congress, meanwhile, seem to be thrilled by the idea of having their roles usurped. “I think the 14th Amendment covers it,” a blasé Nancy Pelosi told reporters in late September. “The president and I have a disagreement in that regard, I guess!” In 2011, Harry Reid made it clear that he has a “disagreement,” too. “We believe you must be willing to take any lawful steps to ensure that America does not break its promises and trigger a global economic crisis,” Reid wrote — and “without congressional approval, if necessary.” Among a host of other members of Congress who think that the 14th Amendment is “an option that should seriously be considered” is retiring Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus.
Given this president’s shaky commitment to the constitutional limits on his power, it is difficult to believe that he is here demonstrating a virtuous restraint. Instead, one suspects, he is playing political hardball, adding publicly to the sense that the stakes are real and lending credibility to the suspicion that a grave crisis is brewing. After all, to imply that he could just step in if necessary would be to take the pressure off Congress.
Nevertheless, whether or not he actually believes his own words, the president is right to demur. For a start, the proposed 14th Amendment solution is simply never going to happen. In order to mitigate the serious risk of the Supreme Court’s simply invalidating all presidentially blessed debt, the interest rate on any extra-constitutional bonds would have to be unreasonably high, as the American Enterprise Institute’s Peter Wallison has observed. Moreover, Wallison writes, “the yield on all US government debt would probably rise after the issuance of a questionable debt instrument, as investors began to doubt the sanity of those in charge at the Treasury.”..........
(Excerpt) Read more at nationalreview.com ...

Obamacare is prime example of government tyranny in action!

Washington Examiner ^ | 10/7/2013 | GREGORY KANE

Tyrannical governments need to be shut down. The federal government now ensconced in our nation’s capital is indeed a tyrannical one.
It became tyrannical with the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.
I know some readers will dismiss me as some Tea Party movement nut-job, but the fact is I have nothing to do with the movement. But I am a sympathizer.
The “Tea” stands for “taxed enough already,” and indeed I am. All those people that have sneered at even the mere mention of the Tea Party movement in the last few years obviously belong to that body of Americans who feel they aren’t taxed enough, who want to pay even more.
I extend to such Americans my heartfelt invitation to pay not only their own taxes, but also mine.
It’s not the Tea Party movement that’s convinced me that the federal government is a tyrannical one, but the Constitution of the United States of America.
Senators and representatives that voted to make Obamacare the law of the land have been criticized for not reading the legislation they passed. Apparently, they haven’t read the U.S. Constitution, either.
Where, exactly, in our Constitution does it give the federal government the power to compel individual American citizens to buy a product or service?
It’s not in there. Nor is it in that mythical location liberals seem to cherish: the “penumbra” of the Constitution.
The power to compel citizens to buy a product or service they may or may not want can’t even be justified under the Constitution’s commerce clause, which gives Congress the right to regulate interstate commerce.
There’s a world of difference between regulating an insurance company that has branches in two or more states and jack booting citizens into buying health insurance from that company.
The first is an example of Congress regulating commerce. The second is an example of Congress compelling commerce, while butting into the private lives of citizens as well.
That’s why Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, in his opinion that contended the flagrantly unconstitutional PPACA was indeed constitutional, didn’t even use the commerce clause as a justification.
Instead, Roberts wrote that the financial penalty PPACA imposes on those that don’t buy health insurance isn’t a penalty at all, but a tax.
With one Supreme Court opinion, Roberts made America’s journey into the land of George Orwell’s 1984 complete.
The government that can compel us to buy health insurance today can compel us to buy only God – and it – knows what else tomorrow.
The automobile industry is crucial to the nation’s economy. In hard economic times, should the government compel us to buy a car, truck, van or fill-in-name-of-vehicle here to help bolster the automobile industry and the economy?
Should that same government compel us to buy books, newspapers and magazines to promote literacy?
A robust economy and literacy are both good things for society. That doesn’t mean the federal government should compel us to buy motor vehicles or reading material.
That same government shouldn’t be compelling us to buy health insurance either. When it does, it has clearly crossed the line that separates a representative government from a tyrannical one.
The legislators that voted PPACA into law – and the president that signed it – didn’t just put us on the slippery slope that leads to tyranny.
No, they want to go one better. These jokers actually want to grease the slope now that we’re on it.
The House of Representatives Republicans most critical of PPACA – and the ones that resist funding it – have been dismissed as radical nut-jobs.
If knowing what true liberty is means they’re nut-jobs, then I’m sure they’ll proudly wear the label. It’s too bad our president and his party minions have no idea what true liberty is.

The President’s Box and Red Line

American Spectator ^ | October 7, 2013 | By Emil W. Henry, Jr.

By refusing to negotiate the debt ceiling, the President has drawn another red line. Once again, he is in a tenuous box of his own making.

Contrary to the myths presented by the President and his allies, consider the following:

First, the President can prevent default on our debt and the disruption in the flow of critical entitlement via legislation. He has refused to sign it.

Second, the debt ceiling has been referred to as the “nuclear” option, but it has nothing to do with the full faith and credit of the United States, which can be preserved regardless of the outcome of the fight. In impasse, the U.S. will still pay its bills, but its spending will be limited to the extent of tax revenues. The real fallout from a standoff would be the economic damage that would follow as a result of the dramatic reduction in government spending.

Third, the world’s economies rely upon the smooth functioning of the market for U.S. Treasuries including the $4 trillion “repo” market that uses Treasury securities as collateral and provides much liquidity to the U.S. financial system. If the ceiling is not lifted, rates will rise. But the Repo and other markets will function as they have in past crises......

.....Apparently, there will be no such dialogue for this administration. To emphasize the point, this president’s surrogates equate such discussions to negotiating with terrorists and arsonists.

Which leads to the President’s latest box: on one hand he and his surrogates forecast “economic collapse” should the ceiling not be raised. On the other hand, by cutting off discussion, he is signaling his resignation to such an outcome. But is it conceivable that he would willingly catalyze economic Armageddon over a debt ceiling impasse?

The answer must be no. Surely the President’s advisers are warning him.....

(Excerpt) Read more at spectator.org ...

Tea party is the Solution, Not the Problem

Townhall.com ^ | October 7, 2013 | Star Parker

Let's get clear about the political realities behind the budget impasse in Washington and the government shutdown.
Nothing captures the distortions being perpetrated more than the headline of a Washington Post column by Anne Applebaum that reads: "The GOP Undermines Democracy."
And, according to President Barack Obama, a "faction" of Republicans (read "tea party") is holding the nation hostage to its "ideological demands."
After all, isn't it true that the health care law is the law of the land? Isn't it also true that it passed constitutional muster before the U.S. Supreme Court? And isn't it also true that we have a president, who champions this health care law, who has been elected twice?
All true.
But it is also true that the brilliant architects of the U.S. Constitution provided many checks and balances and a multitude of channels through which the will of the people may, at all times, be expressed.
The move by the Republican-controlled House to pass a bill to authorize spending for the federal government, but to withhold spending authorization for the health care law, is totally legitimate, appropriate and constitutional.
The Constitution vests the power of the purse in Congress. Here is what James Madison, who drafted the U.S. Constitution, had to say:
"The power of the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effective weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure."
The fantastic news is the system is working.
Ironically, those like Post columnist Applebaum tell us that Republicans, who are boldly exercising their responsibilities and authority under our Constitution, are undermining democracy.
And, ironically, our president refuses to sit down and negotiate with Republicans who are constitutionally representing popular sentiment. Then he says they are the "ideologues."
As of Friday, the RealClearPolitics.com average of polls showed 51 percent oppose the health care law and 43 percent support it. Little has changed since Obama approved it in March 2010. Polling then showed 49.3 percent were opposed and 40.1 percent were in favor of it.
Against prevailing public sentiment, Congress passed the 2010 law without a single Republican vote, using parliamentary gymnastics that few can even explain today. And yet Republicans are being accused of hijacking the system.
Among U.S. households, an increasing percentage receives more in government transfer payments than they pay in taxes. The figure rose from 20 percent in 1979 to 60 percent in 2009, according to University of Dallas economist Michael Cosgrove.
With all the crocodile tears about inconvenience that this shutdown may cause some nonessential government workers, real tears should be shed for the massive loss of jobs due to a barely recovering economy, larded down with government, debt and a welfare-state culture.
Stanford economist Edward Lazear has reported in The Wall Street Journal that only 58 percent of our working-age population is employed today, compared to more than 63 percent before the recession.
Last June, Lazear wrote, "At the present slow rate of job growth, it will take more than a decade to get back to full employment defined by pre-recession standards."
A new Gallup poll shows 60 percent of Americans say the federal government has too much power, the highest percentage ever recorded by Gallup.
Obama is intentionally playing to the cracks in the Republican Party. He knows Republican leadership is weak-kneed. But if Republican leaders cave in, the country is lost. We need principled and courageous leadership now.
The tea party is the solution, not the problem.