The Long List Of Needless Closures In Barack Obama’s Shutdown Offensive

It’s finally happened: Someone has started a running list of all the unnecessary closures, barricades and service suspensions the Obama White House is perpetrating as part of the President’s deceitful, backwards campaign to convince America that the House of Representatives is holding hostage the political process – and 300 million citizens with it.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Breitbart had tallied 41 instances of the Administration’s punitive tactics since the Oct. 1 government “shutdown” kicked in. Some are more egregious, in their effects, than others – but all betray a commitment to waste more resources punishing people than would be required to simply let them be.

From Breitbart, here are a few lowlights:

… 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.

 

… 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.”

 

… 5. 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.”

 

… 31. Although Privately Funded, Historic Ford’s Theater Closed – “Ford’s Theatre, which is a private non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, does not use any federal funding or federal employees for its performances. During previous government shutdowns, the theatre has continued performances.”

 

… 39. Iwo Jima Memorial Closed, Barricades Erected – “Another open-air memorial in the Washington area is closed and barricaded off: the Iwo Jima Memorial, just across the bridge from D.C. in Rosslyn, Virginia. A source sends along this picture of the barricade set-up at the memorial, which is also called the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial.”

 

… 41. Shutdown Denies Death Benefits to Families of Fallen Soldiers – “The families of five U.S. service members who were killed over the weekend in Afghanistan have been notified that they won’t be receiving the $100,000 benefit normally wired to relatives within 36 hours of the death. The ‘death gratuity’ is intended to help cover funeral costs and help with immediate living expenses until survivor benefits typically begin.”

 

It cannot be overstated that Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) are relying on Americans’ ignorance about the legislative process to lie about who’s responsible for the government shutdown, as well as the threat of defaulting on our debts if the House doesn’t agree to raise the debt limit.

That’s because the House, which reserves the exclusive Constitutional authority to initiate spending legislation, has repeatedly agreed to temporarily fund the government and raise the Federal debt limit, with the exception of the Affordable Care Act. It is the sole prerogative of the U.S. House of representatives to do that, and the President’s only recourse is to urge the Senate Democrat majority to reject that plan and vilify the House for holding government hostage.

It’s unlikely that anyone has expressed this more clearly than Thomas Sowell. In a column last week, Sowell wrote:

There is really nothing complicated about the facts. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted all the money required to keep all government activities going — except for ObamaCare.

This is not a matter of opinion. You can check the congressional record.

As for the House of Representatives’ right to grant or withhold money, that is not a matter of opinion either. You can check the Constitution of the United States. All spending bills must originate in the House of Representatives, which means that congressmen there have a right to decide whether they want to spend money on a particular government activity.

Whether ObamaCare is good, bad or indifferent is a matter of opinion. But it is a matter of fact that members of the House of Representatives have a right to make spending decisions based on their opinion.

ObamaCare is indeed “the law of the land,” as its supporters keep saying, and the Supreme Court has upheld its constitutionality.

But the whole point of having a division of powers within the federal government is that each branch can decide independently what it wants to do or not do, regardless of what the other branches do, when exercising the powers specifically granted to that branch by the Constitution.

…Since we cannot read minds, we cannot say who — if anybody — “wants to shut down the government.” But we do know who had the option to keep the government running and chose not to. The money voted by the House of Representatives covered everything that the government does, except for ObamaCare.

The Senate chose not to vote to authorize that money to be spent, because it did not include money for ObamaCare. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says that he wants a “clean” bill from the House of Representatives, and some in the media keep repeating the word “clean” like a mantra. But what is unclean about not giving Harry Reid everything he wants?

If Senator Reid and President Obama refuse to accept the money required to run the government, because it leaves out the money they want to run ObamaCare, that is their right. But that is also their responsibility.

You cannot blame other people for not giving you everything you want. And it is a fraud to blame them when you refuse to use the money they did vote, even when it is ample to pay for everything else in the government.

When Barack Obama keeps claiming that it is some new outrage for those who control the money to try to change government policy by granting or withholding money, that is simply a bald-faced lie. You can check the history of other examples of “legislation by appropriation” as it used to be called.

Whether legislation by appropriation is a good idea or a bad idea is a matter of opinion. But whether it is both legal and not unprecedented is a matter of fact.

You can read the rest of that devastating piece over at Rare.

And the full Breitbart list of Obama closures can be found here.

NYPD Cop Allegedly Stood By As Bikers Cornered, Beat Man In Front Of Wife And Child

An off-duty New York City police officer has been placed on modified duty after being forced to turn in his gun and badge — all thanks to his alleged role in a sensational chase last week in which a biker gang pursued a family, cornered their SUV, dragged the father from the vehicle and beat him as his wife and toddler watched.

The NYPD officer, whose name has not been released by the department, is allegedly one of several cops who ride with the “Front Line Soldiers” motorcycle gang — a unit known in the area for its members’ distinctive, shiny chrome helmets.

His alleged culpability in last week’s chase and beating stems from his admitting, three days after the event made national news, that he was present during the entire rolling incident and that he stood by and took no action as other gang members dragged Alexian Lien from his Range Rover, beat him in front of his family and left him lying bloody on the ground.

According to the New York Post, NYPD Internal Affairs is investigating whether other cops were also riding among the Front Line Soldiers group that participated in the violence. The unnamed officer who’s already been implicated was allegedly working undercover — although not, evidently, among the bikers:

“It does not appear that he got involved at the scene,” one law-enforcement source said of the undercover, who has hired a lawyer. “He didn’t want to blow his cover,” said the source — though the cop was not investigating the group of bikers.

Cops have uncovered new photo and video evidence showing that Lien was attacked by as many as five bikers, sources said.

One of those bikers was allegedly Robert Sims, 35, of Brooklyn. He was taken into custody Friday afternoon and charged with gang assault, assault, criminal possession of a weapon, attempted assault and attempted gang assault, a source said.

… Reginald Chance, 38, of Brooklyn — depicted in video using his chrome-colored helmet to bash in Lien’s driver’s-side window — was also in custody Friday awaiting charges. Police plan to do lineups Saturday morning.

The chase did injure one of the bikers: a 32-year-old rider whom the frightened Lien ran over in a desperate effort to escape the group as the bikers attempted to surround his SUV. That man, Edwin Mieses, had been riding without a valid driver’s license since 1999 and had never even applied for a motorcycle license, the Post reported. He’s now threatening to sue Lien for injuries that, according to his lawyer, may end up paralyzing him for life.

‘Truckers To Shut Down America’ Protest To Shut Down Beltway In Washington, D.C.

If you’re on the East Coast this week and happen to see a car with “T2SDA” chalked across its windows, you’re looking at someone who supports a planned three-day grass-roots event, organized by frustrated conservative truck drivers across the Nation, that’s designed to protest Congress and President Barack Obama by effectively shutting down highways around Washington, D.C.

Scheduled to begin this Friday (Oct. 11), the “Truckers Ride For the Constitution” protest is targeted at sending a message to national leaders by clogging Interstate 495, the inner beltway loop around the capital city. Organizers hope to accomplish that by orchestrating “gas-roots” convoys originating from every corner of the country ahead of time before converging Friday morning in Washington, D.C.

And that “T2SDA” acronym? It means “Truckers to Shut Down America.” Motorists who show their support by tagging their windows with the abbreviation will be allowed past the convoy once it starts clogging the D.C. freeways.

Logistics organizer Earl Conlon told U.S. News that truckers plan to adhere to the 55-mph speed limit and to keep the left lane open for emergency vehicles, but “everybody that doesn’t have a supporter sticker on their window, good luck: Nobody in, nobody out.”

Conlon, who believes Obama has committed treason by arming Syrian rebels, also said the truckers are serious about holding Obama and member of Congress, as public servants, accountable for abusing their obligations to the people who elected them.

“We are coming whether they like it or not. We’re not asking for impeachment, we’re asking for arrest of everyone in government who has violated their oath of office… We want these people arrested, and we’re coming in with the grand jury to do it. We are going to ask the law enforcement to uphold their constitutional oath and make these arrests. If they refuse to do it, by the power of the people of the United States and the people’s grand jury, they don’t want to do it, we will. … We the people will find a way.”

Of course the only potential arrests the event will effect will involve the truckers themselves. But it will be interesting to see the scale of the protest, as well as whether the mainstream media will acknowledge that anything is happening at all.

The event’s Facebook page can be found here.

TruthRevolt Takes Dead Aim At Mainstream Media And Its Sponsors

TruthRevolt, a new website / project born of a collaboration between Breitbart’s Ben Shapiro and the David Horowitz Freedom Center, launched today. It’s an ambitious, self-styled foil to progressive media watchdog Media Matters, and it’s taking aim not only at the mainstream media, but the sponsors who support their programming and celebrity pundits.

From TruthRevolt’s mission statement:

The media win elections for the left. It’s not the left’s competence in office; leftists have demonstrated none. It’s not the left’s ideas; leftist ideas have failed everywhere they have been tried. The left wins for one simple reason: leftists control the information distribution system in the United States. And they use that system to pillory conservatives as heartless bigots intent on harming the poor and targeting minorities.

The media must be destroyed where they stand. That is our mission at Truth Revolt. The goal of TruthRevolt is simple: unmask leftists in the media for who they are, destroy their credibility with the American public, and devastate their funding bases.

TruthRevolt focuses on high-profile media members, and holding them accountable. But TruthRevolt does not stop there. TruthRevolt understands that all politics is local, and therefore looks to fight leftist propaganda at the local level, monitoring local newspapers, television and radio. TruthRevolt also seeks to stop the left dead in its tracks when it comes to training the next generation, our college campuses.

TruthRevolt works to make advertisers and funders aware of the leftist propaganda they sponsor – and bringing social consequences to bear to create pressure on such advertisers and funders.

Fresh out of the gate, the group took aim at Al Sharpton and his MSNBC sponsor Mondelez (owner of Ritz crackers), calling Sharpton “one of the greatest race hoaxers and divisive demagogues of the last half-century.” TruthRevolt established its M.O. by launching a petition against Mondelez, setting an attainable signature threshold (1,000 names) and directing traffic to the petition by featuring a lead story about Sharpton on the TruthRevolt website’s landing page.

That petition had attracted 1,791 signatures by early Monday afternoon, making the project’s initial effort a success – though what a success entails, so far, seems to be collecting signatures instead of pressuring advertisers into actual capitulation.

Still, it’s an interesting idea that may buck typically-unsuccessful small-scale boycott efforts by effectively crowdsourcing the implicit threat of boycotts without actually uttering the B-word. Nowhere does TruthRevolt claim to be a boycotting outfit; rather, it seeks to focus concern in a concentrated fashion so that corporate sponsors understand there’s a wider market for media out there than one-sided liberal swill they’ve been subsidizing.

Visit TruthRevolt at truthrevolt.org.

Gun Scare: Arizona Police Officer Told Not To Pick Up Daughter From School When He’s In Uniform

Scott Urkov is a municipal police officer for the small town of Coolidge, Ariz., a bedroom community in rural Pinal County that’s roughly midway between Phoenix and Tucson on Interstate 10. His daughter attends Entz Elementary School in the huge Phoenix suburb of Mesa. Urkov does a lot of driving and, like many people living in the car culture of Southern Arizona, his schedule can be pretty tight.

But now he has to decide whether he’ll carve out a little extra time before picking up his daughter from school to comply with a bizarre request from school administrators. The essence of that request is: “Don’t wear your uniform or bring your service weapon when you come; you’re scaring us.”

Urkov received a phone call from school officials after someone saw him drop his daughter off at school while wearing his uniform, according to KSAZ-TV. The school asked him to stop showing up looking like a cop.

That didn’t sit well with Urkov, who took to Facebook to vent his frustration.

“Nothing like your kids school calling and asking if I could not come to pick up my daughter in uniform cause parents were concerned when their kids came home telling them there was a man at school with a gun,” he wrote. “Are you freaking kidding me?”

A spokesperson for the Mesa Unified School District told a reporter that “some parents” had voiced concern to the principal after seeing a uniformed and armed officer on campus.

Predictably, the publicity has favored  Urkov instead of the school. Just look through the recent posts visitors have been leaving on the school system’s Facebook page.

The district’s idea of damage control is to turn their blunder into a “teachable moment” — not for school officials and terrified parents (if there really are any), but for students. The school hopes to invite Urkov to come to speak to students in a special assembly about what police officers do for the community.

That could open a whole other can of worms, but that’s also another story.

The Coolidge Police Department has reportedly advised Urkov not to comment further.

NYT: Racist Southern Republican Governors To Blame For Uninsured Poor Blacks, Single Moms

What a facile strategy to shore up the benefits of Obamacare: Paint its political opponents as racist, while bolstering the emotional weight of your argument, by suggestively alluding to past racial conflicts that have nothing in common with the present situation, save their GPS coordinates.

The New York Times’ Sabrina Tavernise and Robert Gebeloff went for the full Walker Evans effect last week in a lengthy story highlighting the no-man’s land of health insurance limbo for poor people in States where lawmakers have refused to expand Medicaid coverage, leaving the implementation of Obamacare up to the Feds.

“Because they live in states largely controlled by Republicans that have declined to participate in a vast expansion of Medicaid, the medical insurance program for the poor, they are among the eight million Americans who are impoverished, uninsured and ineligible for help,” the story states.

“… The disproportionate impact on poor blacks introduces the prickly issue of race into the already politically charged atmosphere around the health care law. Race was rarely, if ever, mentioned in the state-level debates about the Medicaid expansion. But the issue courses just below the surface, civil rights leaders say, pointing to the pattern of exclusion.”

Never mind that more than half those “Southern” States saying “no thanks” to a crippling expansion of Medicaid happened to be on Abraham Lincoln’s side (or hadn’t come along) during the Civil War: Ohio, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Maine, Alaska and so on.

The Times’ reporters hang their argument on the census statistic that 68 percent of uninsured poor blacks in the United States live in the 26 States that are choosing not to expand Medicaid. But governors in these largely rural States have seen past the short-lived incentive the Feds are offering in exchange for a permanent expansion. Sure, the Federal government has pledged to fully subsidize the increased cost of a swollen Medicaid register for “opt-in” States for the next three years. But then what? Even when 2020 rolls around and States are having to pay “only” 10 percent of the new costs, where is the money going to come from in rural States with low populations and comparatively small tax bases? Most rural States (which historically have allowed their governments to become more and more financially beholden to the Feds) have struggled in recent years to level-fund their mandatory expenditures such as schools and courts.

Now the few Republican-led Southern States that have declined to effectively take on yet another unfunded Federal mandate (in the form of the 10 percent they’d have to chip in to receive the Federal Medicaid subsidy) are again being singled out by the liberal media as bastions of racism.

Governors and legislatures in all the non-Medicaid States might instead agree that, whether Southern or not, any State where leaders are resisting the bloat of Obamacare is simply a bastion of common sense.

Shutdown Roundup – Day Four

If you’re still alive and carrying on as you were before, congratulations on living through an entire workweek of government shutdown.

Both sides in the shutdown fight dug in today, with the only real sign of capitulation being Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) non-apology for talking nasty about Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

“I’ll work harder and I hope my senators will work to their best to maintain these habits of civility and decorum,” Reid said Friday from the Senate floor.

Elsewhere, though, the shrill tone President Barack Obama’s Administration established Thursday, with bogus park closures and disingenuous threats against retirees, only grew more piercing. The Daily Caller got its hands on an email circulating within the Social Security Administration Friday, in which employees are specifically instructed to scare people who call with questions about how the coming debt ceiling deadline could affect their monthly Social Security checks. An excerpt from the actual email:

If a member of the public asks whether their Social Security payment will be affected if the federal debt ceiling is not raised, you may give the following response:

‘Unlike a federal shutdown which has no impact on the payment of Social Security benefits, failure to raise the debt ceiling puts Social Security benefits at risk.’

Direct all program–related and technical questions to your supervisor.

You mean, this whole time, all these beneficiaries were thinking they were simply drawing money out of a system they’d already paid into? Guess again – turns out that debt’s got everything to do with it.

On the park side of things, the Obama Administration, through the White House Office of Management and Budget, continues its punitive and irrelevant campaign to ensure the pain from the “shutdown” itself is visible from sea to shining sea.

It’s an antiquated strategy in this Internet era. Thirty years ago, media was a one-way sieve of information that could convey tear-jerking images of people not getting to tour the Statue of Liberty or Mt. Vernon (privately owned, remember?) into American homes – without having to worry that viewers could connect the dots on blogs, social media sites and by consuming alternative reports that would tell them the rest of the story.

Today, the Obama Administration is happy to blame the Tea Party – his political nemesis uber alles—for polarizing Americans on topics from Obamacare to the shutdown to immigration to gun control. But the President is sorely underestimating the Tea Party if he continues to fail to consider how accurate a barometer it is of what a great many Americans think of his policies in real time. The fact that the White House website is soliciting shutdown sob stories (here’s one: my grandpa can’t tour all the monuments you’ve arbitrarily shut down and he’s pretty pissed at you) indicates the President still thinks that community organizing on the Internet is a one-way street.

To marginalize conservatism when its influence and popularity are evident in the world that exists outside Obama’s sphere of mainstream media control is to play a defeatist political game. Tea Party conservatives don’t represent a clear majority in grass-roots American political culture – but right now, neither does anyone else. The chorus of conservative voices isn’t weak, nor is it small. If it were, Harry Reid and Barack Obama would be railing against some other political force by name. But they’re not. They’re trying to kick this bothersome eruption of true conservatism all the way back into the George W. Bush era.

Congressional RINOs are already learning this the hard way. Will Obama show any sign of playing catch-up in Week Two?

Obamascare: Insurance Exchange Accidentally Sends 2,400 Social Security Numbers To Minnesota Man

Critics of the Affordable Care Act have long contended that Obamacare asks too many personal questions of would-be enrollees and is rife with the potential for fraud, abuse and privacy breaches.

Now those criticisms have been proven correct. A Minnesota insurance broker told the Star Tribune last month that he had received a document in his email that contained a trove of confidential information on more than 2,400 insurance agents, including things like names, Social Security numbers and business addresses.

The source? An unnamed staffer at MNsure, Minnesota’s new Obamacare health exchange online marketplace. The MNsure employee had accidentally sent the email to the wrong person (although it begs the question — who’s the right person to receive that much info about that many people?).

The Star Tribune reported:

An official at MNsure, the state’s new online health insurance exchange, acknowledged it had mishandled private data. A MNsure security manager called the broker, Jim Koester, and walked him and his assistant through a process of deleting the file from their computer hard drives.

Koester said he willingly complied, but was unnerved.

“The more I thought about it, the more troubled I was,” he said. “What if this had fallen into the wrong hands? It’s scary. If this is happening now, how can clients of MNsure be confident their data is safe?”

Good thing the email landed in an honest guy’s inbox, huh?

Exchange enrollees throughout the Nation are required to provide a lot of personal data, which is run through a Federal database for verification and to sort out candidates who are eligible for Obamacare subsidies from those who aren’t eligible. As everyone by now knows, that information also must be passed along to Obamacare’s enforcement arm: the Internal Revenue Service.

The hurried rollout of Obamacare for individuals has a slap-shot quality of reckless haste that finance and healthcare experts had cautioned against in testimony before lawmakers.

University of Minnesota Finance Professor Steve Parente, who this week testified in Washington about the potential pitfalls associated with the needlessly urgent rollout schedule, told the newspaper it’s impossible to implement even basic security and functionality in a system as complex as the healthcare exchanges if the schedule is dictated by political motives.

“The people who believe in this are so driven that there’s a subcontext of ‘Just let us do our job and get as many people signed up as possible, and we’ll pick up the debris later,’” he said.

Who’s The Criminal? Illinois Police Strip DUI Suspect, Leave Her Naked In Cell

A Chicago woman busted on suspicion of driving under the influence in LaSalle County, Ill., is suing the sheriff’s office for an incident recorded by a surveillance camera: Four cops (three men and one woman) forcibly stripped her naked, threw her to the ground and then tossed her into a padded cell, where they left her without clothing — not even underwear.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8umpROhBjo

The victim, 33-year-old Dana Holmes, shows no sign of resisting police at any time during the video, although the police indicated in the incident report that she had attempted to kick them.

While being held against the wall, the still-clothed Holmes underwent a pat-down search with her arms and legs spread. The melee began (around 4:10 in the video) as the female deputy conducting the search inspected Holmes’ feet. Holmes moved her leg ever so slightly as the officer search her lower body, and that motion apparently set off the four deputies.

“I did not kick,” Holmes told the Chicago Tribune. “I don’t know if I lost my balance or what happened, but I wasn’t being combative at all.”

Holmes, whose blood alcohol level was reportedly far above the legal limit when she was arrested by a municipal police patrol, said her infraction doesn’t justify the actions of the county deputies who booked her into the jail, and that the way the cops had treated her made her fear they would return to the cell where she was being held and sexually abuse her.

“I was actually afraid they might come in and try to rape me. I wasn’t sure. I just had all kinds of things going on in my head,” she said. “…There’s a lot of people that get DUIs, a lot of people that just make mistakes in life. That still doesn’t give them a reason to do what they did. My dignity is worth more than that, and other people’s too.”

The incident happened in May, but the release of the video has brought national attention to the case. Holmes has never contested the DUI charge; she pleaded guilty in July and has no prior criminal record in her home county. She is suing the sheriff’s office for violating her civil rights and causing emotional distress. Her attorney, Terry Ekl, is also hoping the deputies involved will be charged with official misconduct. “It’s not only a violation of her civil rights. It’s also a crime,” he told the Tribune.

The municipal police who arrested Holmes had already searched her once. When they handed her over to the county, the deputies threatened to remove her belly button ring with pliers, according to Ekl.

Illinois law permits a strip search only if police have a “reasonable belief” that a suspect is concealing a weapon or contraband on their person, and the law doesn’t allow anyone who isn’t conducting the search to watch. An officer of the opposite sex cannot participate in a strip search.

Shutdown Roundup – Day 3

President Barack Obama waited ‘til the third day of the government “shutdown” to play the senior citizen card, telling a Maryland audience that, if the partisan standoff over a continuing resolution to fund the government escalates into a stalemate over the debt limit, people won’t get their Social Security checks.

“In a government shutdown, Social Security checks still go out on time. In an economic shutdown — if we don’t raise the debt ceiling — they don’t go out on time,” he said. “In a government shutdown, disability benefits still arrive on time. In an economic shutdown, they don’t.”

Well, that would certainly be devastating to the millions of people who depend on the returns they paid into Social Security in their working lives. But it’s pretty audacious of the President to play to affected seniors and disabled people as though they’re his political ace in the hole.

Whose fault is it really, Mr. President? There’s plenty of evidence out there that public opinion doesn’t favor your role in this whole mess. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was caught on a hot mic Thursday telling Senate colleague Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) he didn’t think Obama had “poll tested” his “we won’t negotiate” strategy, and that it’s damaging Obama’s to Obama’s case, in the court of public opinion, to keep bleating that as a mantra. Hope he’s right.

And a Harvard Law professor even got on NPR (of all places) Thursday to caution that Obama’s brinksmanship is likely to damage the President and his Congressional Democratic support, in the long run, more than it will the vilified Tea Party leaders in the GOP.

A CBS poll released Thursday indeed revealed that 76 percent of voters want Obama to negotiate with Congressional Republicans to end the shutdown, and 78 percent want the GOP to do the same.

More insanity from Day Three:

The New York Times saw no reason to let a good crisis go to waste, jumping on Twitter moments after Thursday’s bizarre Washington, D.C. car chase/shooting to announce an implicit connection between the incident and the ongoing shutdown standoff. Here’s the link.

There’s been a surprising amount of violent rhetoric coming from the Obama camp over the GOP opposition since the shutdown began. Obama himself said the GOP has a “gun to the American people’s head.” Congressman George Miller (D-Calif.) went with “jihad.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told CNN last week that GOP holdouts were “legislative arsonists.” White House Aide Dan Pfeiffer said Republicans are acting like they have a “bomb strapped to their chest.”

“Less than three years ago, on the heels of the deadly shooting in Tucson, Ariz., Mr. Obama now famously called on Americans to use ‘words that heal, not wound,’” noted The Washington Times in a related story. So much for that.

Win or lose, the conservative opposition to Obama’s demand for a “clean” resolution has galvanized the conservative base. That could mean big gains in the 2014 elections for Republicans more likely to stand with Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) than John McCain (R-Ariz.) Here’s a good read from Rare on the topic.

The “shutdown” of government websites has mimicked the White House’s “Washington Monument” strategy of artificially maximizing the effects of the stalemate by needlessly limiting access to government monuments.

Speaking of monuments, the Feds went after Mt. Vernon – George Washington’s home – this morning. The government doesn’t even own that – well, they do half-own the parking lots. The Park Service relented later in the day. Strategic backfires starting to sink in, maybe?

We’re creeping up on a full week – Day Four’s just around the corner.

Will All The Real John Boehners Please Step Forward?

There’s weepy John Boehner. Then there’s tough-guy conservative John Boehner. Then there’s White House operative, behind-the-scenes John Boehner. Which of these is the real John Boehner (R-Ohio), Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives?

Another leaked set of emails this week suggests the last of those, Boehner the RINO appeaser, is the right answer.

David Krone, chief of staff for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), leaked to the media a series of emails involving Boehner and Reid, who’ve evidently been putting their heads together behind the scenes to concoct a Congressional exemption for Obamacare enrollment — all while Boehner continues to pretend to lead House Republicans’ get-tough opposition to the law.

The emails indicate Boehner and Reid aren’t nearly so far apart on exempting members of Congress from the mandates of the Affordable Care Act as Boehner would have Americans believe.

The Blaze has published portions of the leaked emails, which were first reported on (but not extensively quoted) by POLITICO.  They contain passages like this:

“We can’t let it get out there that this is for [Boehner] and [Reid] to ask the President to carve us out of the requirement of Obamacare,” Boehner chief of staff Mike Sommers wrote on July 17.

“This is a little bit more difficult because it isn’t a routing meeting because [House Minority Leader Nancy] Pelosi and [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell won’t be there,” he wrote. “I am even ok if it is the President hauling us down to talk about the next steps on immigration.”

Of course, Boehner and his supporters say there’s a context to all this that easily spins his intent in a more benign direction.

But not a month has passed since Boehner was caught making similar behind-the-scenes moves with President Barack Obama on the Syria debacle, secretly serving as Obama’s GOP informant in an effort to develop a strategy that would force Congressional Republicans’ political hand.

Sources near Boehner said at the time that his staff had fallen in with White House chief of staff Denis McDonough to craft a Syria speech for Obama that would help the President in his ill-conceived attempt to drum up support for a military strike against Syrian President Bashar Assad.

So which John Boehner will emerge going forward? For conservatives exasperated with RINO leadership in Congress, the best Boehner may the one that decides to allow new leadership to take over his Speaker’s role in 2014. Dare to dream…

Opting Out Of Obamacare: Need To Know

So what if you don’t want to have anything to do with the government-managed insurance being sold under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act? Or what if you simply don’t even know how to tell whether you’re a candidate to enroll in insurance under the Obamacare exchanges, or whether you’d be eligible for an entitlement (er, subsidy) if you do?

There are exemptions that, under the law, prevent you from having to enroll:

Having your own insurance policy either through an employer or direct coverage is one; Medicare/Medicaid is another. Veterans Healthcare, children’s State-funded programs and others also exempt you from having to either buy a policy or pay a penalty.

But those are exemptions for people who already are covered. What if you just want to opt out and claim an exemption that prevents you from having to pay the penalty? Well, there are a number of ways (H/T: The Christian Science Monitor for the compilation):

  • Being without insurance for less than three months of the year.
  • Being an illegal alien.
  • Being in jail.
  • Being a member of a recognized Indian tribe.
  • Being too poor, as determined by your tax filing (or your eligibility not to file).
  • Being unable to acquire coverage that’s more than 8 percent of your household income (though, if early anecdotal reports are true, that would seem to include a very great number of people).
  • Being a member of a “recognized” religious group that objects to insurance coverage in principle. An entire article could be written about what a joke it is to have the government validate your religious beliefs with a “recognition,” but that’s the law as it stands.

There are also a number of hardship exemptions at the healthcare.gov exemptions page.

If you don’t meet one of these qualifications and you don’t have outside insurance, expect to pay a penalty that starts relatively small (as “little” as $95 per person in 2014) and increases in succeeding years ($695 per person by 2016).

The penalty will be determined based on new healthcare information you’re required to submit to the government on your 2014 Federal tax form. You’ll then either have to submit the penalty as a part of your tax payment or, if you’re in line for a sufficiently sizable return, it will simply be deducted from the amount the government “owes” you.

Despite all the early “glitches,” the open Obamacare signup period for 2014 remains fixed, with a cutoff date of March 1, 2014.

In other words, you have until March 1 of next year to figure out the least-costly path through this new era of socialized health coverage — or hope Congressional conservatives figure out a way to derail the whole mess.

Shutdown Roundup – Day 2

Let’s start with this:

The PJ Tatler’s Patrick Poole captured this video today at the same WWII Memorial that provided the backdrop Monday – Day One of the Federal government shutdown – to the Obama Administration’s petty reversal of fortune.

You know that story: veterans and GOP House members disregarded the shuttering of the memorial, moving barricades (the conservative blogosphere has taken to calling them “Barrycades”) and touring the memorial that was meant for them. President Barack Obama had to be gritting his teeth at a PR failure that subverted his Administration’s whole “make ‘em hurt” approach to this shutdown. Who antagonizes veterans?

The more we learn about the extent to which the White House has attempted to get vindictive against the American people over the government shutdown, the more bizarre the whole things gets.

Like the rest of the grounds of the National Mall, the memorial is public space that is never, at any time, physically separated from the public by barricades or is otherwise “closed” for visitation, so closing it due to an alleged lack of funds is a conceptual non-starter. The memorial itself “was funded almost entirely by private contributions,” so the White House’s financial stake in its accessibility is both morally and fiscally miniscule. The Park Service has indicated the Obama Administration, via the White House Office of Management and Budget, did indeed order that the site be closed.

With all that as context, now we have today’s “protest” of more veterans and their mostly-GOP supporters at the same scene by “Federal” employees. Park Service employees (hey, don’t they know there’s a shutdown going on?!) were out in force in the morning, putting up yellow tape and aligning more barricades with those specially-made “government shutdown” signs.

Despite a call-ahead warning they would be arrested for defying the barricades a second day, vets from Ohio, Missouri and Chicago forged past the blockade once again and toured the memorial.

There were no reports of arrests, but, according to Poole (who shot the video and whose voice can be heard asking protestors to show their Federal IDs):

After about an hour, about 20 SEIU [Service Employees International Union] protesters arrived on the scene chanting “Boehner, get us back to work” and claiming they were federal employees furloughed because of the shutdown.

…I was asking them to show their federal IDs to prove they were in fact federal workers. No one wore their federal ID and none would provide it to prove their claim.

Then, remarkably, a guy carrying a sign passed by wearing a McDonald’s employee shirt, which I noted. I then began asking them how much they had been paid to protest, at which point the guy wearing the McDonald’s shirt came back and admitted he had been paid $15 to attend the protest.

About a minute later a SEIU organizer ran up to me telling me that the man in question is a contractor working at the McDonald’s in a Smithsonian Museum — a claim she made no effort to prove. The same story was told to Jake Tapper at CNN who was on the scene and made the same inquiry.

And yet that doesn’t explain why he was paid $15 to attend a protest targeting our nation’s honored military veterans.

No, it sure as hell doesn’t. But it’s easy to connect the dots.

Meanwhile, the Park Service ordered the closure of the Claude Moore Colonial Farm, a park in Virginia that, while situated on Federal land, receives no funding whatsoever from the Federal government for its operations.

The Washington Free Beacon reports:

According to Anna Eberly, managing director of the farm, NPS [National Park Service] sent law enforcement agents to the park on Tuesday evening to remove staff and volunteers from the property.

“You do have to wonder about the wisdom of an organization that would use staff they don’t have the money to pay to evict visitors from a park site that operates without costing them any money,” she said.

The park withstood prior government shutdowns, noting in a news release that the farm will be closed to the public for the first time in 40 years.

“In previous budget dramas, the Farm has always been exempted since the NPS provides no staff or resources to operate the Farm,” Eberly explained in an emailed statement.

“In all the years I have worked with the National Park Service … I have never worked with a more arrogant, arbitrary and vindictive group [that’s you, Obama Administration] representing the NPS,” Eberly said.

 

In other related hijinks from Day Two:

This is excerpted from a February sequestration article in The Washington Post, but if it was applicable then, it’s only more relevant now:

Does everyone know what a “Washington Monument” strategy is? We should expect to see government agencies employ that strategy against the sequester — because it works.

A Washington Monument strategy involves fighting against budget cuts by focusing, and if possible shifting cuts, to the most popular and visible services an agency provides — thus the Park Service would react to a budget cut by threatening to close the Washington Monument, figuring that disappointed tourists would flood their Member of Congress’s office complaining about it.

…What this means is that whatever the level of damage across-the-board would impose, we can expect the affected agencies will try to make the damage look as high as possible.

The collective opinion of political pundits is that this “shutdown” is likely to be a long-haul sport.

Rand Paul pointed out the fallacy of calling this whole flap a “shutdown,” noting on Fox News that “85 percent of government is being funded. Two thirds of the government is Social Security, Medicare – all of that is going on. And then we agreed yesterday, Harry Reid did come forward when we asked him to, and he finally agreed to pay the soldiers. So now we’re up to that, 85 percent of the government.”

There’s a little 143 year-old law called the Antideficiency Act that is intended to prevent the Executive Branch from obligating funds that Congress hasn’t appropriated. There are exemptions written into the law for “emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property,” and during a government shutdown, guess who gets to interpret that? The White House Office of Management and Budget.

Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to get to the bottom of the National Park Service’s actions at the World War II Memorial in Washington this week, the PJ Tatler reports.

Late in the day, The Hill reported Congressional Democrats, led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, were dipping their toes in the compromise waters :

[Reid] offered to open negotiations on tax reform Wednesday if Republicans agree to a clean resolution to reopen the government. Reid sent a letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) pledging to appoint negotiators to a budget conference if House Republicans relent on a six-week funding stopgap.

The budget conference is something Democrats have long sought, however, and the proposal was quickly shot down by Boehner’s office.

Reid offered to include tax reform, which has bogged down in partisan politics this year, on the agenda. The letter suggested that Democrats would be willing to negotiate changes to ObamaCare as part of budget talks as well.

Finally, from the fair-and-balanced department: The Media Research Center (MRC) finds that the news divisions at ABC, NBC and CBS are interested in framing the shutdown as anything but a product of Democrats’ obstinacy. In 39 stories leading up to the shutdown, the three networks “blamed” Republicans on the gridlock 21 times, both parties four times, neither party 14 times, and Democrats zero times.

Day Three, here we come.

DNC Nearly Broke; RNC Has Cash To Spare

The Democratic National Committee (DNC), which sets the party’s National platform, plots out election strategy and sits atop its fundraising hierarchy, is nearly broke. In fact, the DNC is so deep in the hole that it’s having to negotiate delinquent vendor payments on a case-by-case basis.

Some of those disgruntled vendors broke the DNC story Monday by anonymously complaining to CNN that the DNC was seriously overdue on payments.

From the CNN/Fortune report:

It is a highly unusual state of affairs for a national party – especially one that can deploy the President as its fundraiser-in-chief – and it speaks to the quiet but serious organizational problems the party has yet to address since the last election, obscured in part by the much messier spectacle of GOP infighting.

The Democrats’ numbers speak for themselves: Through August, 10 months after helping President Obama secure a second term, the DNC owed its various creditors a total of $18.1 million, compared to the $12.5 million cash cushion the Republican National Committee is holding.

It’s not as though Barack Obama has not been pounding the pavement on the fundraising circuit; he’s done 15 engagements so far this year. But much of the grass-roots effectiveness of the Obama money machine owes not to the DNC’s organizational structure, but to Organizing for Action (formerly Organizing for America, then Obama for America), the metamorphosed community organizing group that, under the DNC’s leadership, helped Obama win the White House in 2008 and 2012. OFA has used its extensive mailing list and stronger leadership to effectively cannibalize the DNC’s donor base.

In addition, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, despite her party leadership position, has reportedly faced tough sledding as an aloof political outsider with no strong ties to the Administration of Obama, the Democrats’ chief fundraiser.

“The [OFA] group can raise unlimited sums from deep-pocketed donors, and there is some evidence it is siphoning resources from the DNC,” reported CNN. “All of the top-tier OFA donors this year have been prolific supporters of the DNC in past years. But of the 13 who cut six-figure checks to OFA in the first half of this year, only three gave to the DNC over the same period, according to a review of records from the Center for Responsive Politics.”

So the DNC owes $18.1 million and the Republican National Committee (RNC) is sitting on $12.5 million. Does that ironic disparity reflect any underlying truths about the two parties’ differing fiscal philosophies? Or is the RINO-dominated RNC money just better at coordinating its donors’ political “investments?”

Shutdown Roundup – Day One

All the money and effort that went into the creation of propagandist signs informing visitors to the Statue of Liberty, Grand Canyon, D.C. monuments and other Federal properties that the big, bad government shutdown has crippled the U.S. Parks Service thankfully won’t go to waste.

President Barack Obama quickly rejected a proposal by House Republicans Tuesday that would have included Federal parks, veterans’ programs and Washington, D.C. government services and amenities in the approved list of “essential” services protected from the government shutdown.

“We are asking Democrats to come to the table,” said Congressman Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) Instead, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney ridiculed the Republicans’ proposal for its “utter lack of seriousness.”

There’s much for Democrats and the White House to gain from maximizing the pain of a shutdown – just as they had attempted to do over the much-balleyhooed budget sequestration, which they also blamed on the GOP and emphasized with orchestrated photo-op instances of crying and sadness. The White House needs America’s sacred cows to stay defiled, so long as it’s the fault of the Republicans. What great theater.

In a rehash of those same tired methods, Obama himself patronized Federal employees (a.k.a. political pawns for both parties) Tuesday, telling them in a letter they’d been treated like a “punching bag” by the Republican-controlled House even though all 800,000 of the furloughed government workers are “driven, patriotic, idealistic Americans.”

You do all this [work] in a political climate that, too often in recent years, has treated you like a punching bag. You have endured three years of a Federal pay freeze, harmful sequester cuts, and now, a shutdown of our Government. And yet, you persevere, continuing to serve the American people with passion, professionalism, and skill.

None of this is fair to you. And should it continue, it will make it more difficult to keep attracting the kind of driven, patriotic, idealistic Americans to public service that our citizens deserve and that our system of self-government demands.

For a minute there, we thought he was describing the Tea Party.

Other lowlights from the first day of the shutdown:

  • Starting this weekend, service academies may not be able to play football. Real shame, y’ know, ‘cuz everyone loves football!
  • The ever-vigilant NSA won’t be able to protect us (though we’re pretty sure they’re still full sail on the domestic spying). “The Intelligence Community’s ability to identify threats and provide information for a broad set of national security decisions will be diminished for the duration,” said Shawn Turner, a spokesman for James Clapper, the always-truthful Director of National Intelligence. “The immediate and significant reduction in employees on the job means that we will assume greater risk and our ability to support emerging intelligence requirements will be curtailed.”
  • Having already squandered on sequestration the poignant spectacle of closing the White House to public tours, the Obama Administration is having to identify new locations where capital city visitors must blame Republicans for not being able to visit. Now it’s the whole National Mall. Wonder if it’s open to liberal rallies, still?
  • A Gallup poll released Tuesday found there really doesn’t seem to be much to be gained or lost by all the political players on either side of the argument. “Gallup’s historical data surrounding a similar 1995/1996 government shutdown reveal that the current battle may have little impact on Americans’ views of today’s political leaders – at least through the next several months,” the poll finds. “Additionally, Americans already view Congress itself – and the Republicans and Democrats who are part of it – very poorly, meaning there is not much room for their perceptions of the legislative branch to worsen further.”
  • As a fare-thee-well, here’s how RTT News reported on the stock market’s first-day reaction to the shutdown:

After moving moderately higher in early trading on Tuesday, stocks have seen some further upside over the course of the trading session. With the gains on the day, the tech-heavy Nasdaq has reached a new thirteen-year high.

The major averages are currently posting strong gains, near their highs for the session. The Dow is up 70.74 points or 0.5 percent at 15,200.41, the Nasdaq is up 39.57 points or 1.1 percent at 3,811.05 and the S&P 500 is up 13.78 points or 0.8 percent at 1,695.33.

The strength on Wall Street comes despite news that lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on a temporary spending bill, resulting in a government shutdown.

See you back here Wednesday for Day Two.

Al-Qaida’s ‘Standards Of Friendship And Enmity In Islam’ Spells Out Jihad Against The West

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) has made public a translation of a recent al-Qaida broadcast in which a militant Pakistani cleric spells out who the enemies of Islam are — and how faithful Muslims should treat them.

It’s a translation of a lecture entitled “Standards of Friendship and Enmity in Islam” delivered by an Urdu-speaking cleric named Abdul Samad. Samad uses scripture and hadiths to cement the point that Muslims have no business associating with infidels, and that they should wage jihad against anything that isn’t Islamic to its very core until the world is populated only by Muslims.

From the MEMRI website:

i) The most powerful and binding relation is Islam.

ii) The believers, who do not disassociate themselves from nonbelievers and do not distinguish their ranks from people who have interest in worldly things, can never serve Islam effectively.

iii) Our friendship and enmity should only be for Allah’s cause.

iv) Our friendship, relationship and love should only be with the people who believe in Islam and Allah as the ruler.

v) The people, who do not accept Allah as the ruler and do not believe in Islam are our enemy and we should disassociate ourselves from them even if they are our close relatives and from our tribe.

vi) The infidels, whether they are the Jews or Christians, atheists and polytheists, are the real infidels and are the enemies of Allah’s faith (Islam).

vii) The Koran has termed friendship with Kuffar (infidels) as a sign of disunity and unbelief, as it is associated with the foundations of belief.

viii) The people declared by Allah as our enemy can never be our friends.

ix) The non-believers are the enemies of our elderly people, women and children. They kill the Muslims with bombs either in Kashmir, Iraq, or Palestine. There is hardly a day when a Muslim escapes their cruelty.

x) They open several fronts (against Muslims) after entering a region. One of their fronts is education. They used it in the Egypt and Turkey; and they currently use it in Pakistan against the Muslims.

xi) Our enmity towards Hindus is not due to the Kashmir issue; our enmity towards America is not due to Iraq and Afghanistan; the enmity between us and the Jews is not due to the Palestine; the real cause is that they do not accept our system and Islam.

xii) Our enmity towards them (the non-believers) will continue even if they renounce all their crimes.

xiii) Enmity towards infidels is a must. It is part of our faith. Islam says the Muslims should stay away from the infidels and their countries.

xiv) The best way to get rid of them (infidels) is to continue jihad until the Allah’s faith (Islam) is completely enforced all over the world.

In theory, there is no reason why Christians, Muslims, pagans and everybody else must actively pursue the obliteration of other belief systems. Regardless of what the religious books tell Christians and Muslims to do or not do to each other, it is mankind who decides doctrine and who chooses whether to follow the religious texts closely or with a wide interpretive berth.

There are places in this world where Christians and Muslims have lived together in peace for centuries. But those places are becoming scarcer, because we are living in a time when the local and regional prestige of Islamists who wish for a literal enactment of the Quran on Earth is strong. And the appeal of religious absolutism is on the rise in those impoverished, destabilized parts of the world where the population — and fundamentalist Islam with it — is burgeoning.

The United States needs leaders who will be clear about the threat to free society that fundamental Islamists pose. The “Standards of Friendship and Enmity in Islam” shows that the Islamists intend to speak and act with conviction when it comes to interacting with the “infidel” world. President Barack Obama and his successors should drop America’s temerity over discriminating against Islam as a religion or abstraction and hew to a policy that shows America isn’t afraid to identify our very human enemies.

A religion is benign until evil men wield it to serve a political agenda. And that’s a battle that’s continually unfolding, with frightening outcome, in the restless Islamic world. “The Allah’s faith” cannot be “completely enforced all over the world” without politics, without theocracy. Fundamentalist Islam is a political problem for the rest of the world, and there can be no solution until Western leaders will embrace that plain truth with unwavering confidence.

Al-Qaida and other legalistic Islamist groups are growing. And in many regions, their brand of fundamentalism isn’t the isolated, wing-nut, fringe social influence that our liberal leaders would have us believe.

Al-Qaida is telling us how and why it’s taking the fight to the West. Should the liberal West, whose leaders have become so open-minded that their brains are falling out, not start listening?

Will The Federal Government ‘Shut Down’ At Midnight? And If It Does, Will It Affect You?

The answer to the first question is looking more and more like a “yes” with each hour that passes. President Barack Obama said nothing new (and took no questions) at a press conference today, reiterating the harm a shutdown would do to the U.S. economy and to “our neighbors” who work for the Federal government – the Nation’s largest employer – who’d be furloughed.

Obama also repeated his rhetorical device Monday of marginalizing recalcitrant House Republicans (despite their representative majority), claiming that “one faction of one part in one house of Congress in one branch of government doesn’t get to shut down the government just to re-fight results of the last election.”

The House GOP spent Monday criticizing the Senate for taking Sunday off in the face of a government shutdown, as well as to repurpose a continuing resolution to temporarily fund the government with a proviso that would require a one-year delay in Obamacare’s individual-coverage mandate. That bill also seeks to strip members of Congress, White House officials and political appointees of any Obamacare subsidies, effectively forcing lawmakers to live with the same legislation they’ve passed on to the public.

Democratic leaders from Obama to Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) uniformly vowed any bill that attempts to attach Obamacare restrictions to the Federal budget would get no traction.

In short: last-minute deals can always happen, but there’s been nothing in the rhetoric to indicate either side of the argument is approaching a compromise that will avert a shutdown with only hours left on the deadline clock.

As for the second question? Well, if you aren’t a Federal employee in a “nonessential” role (more on that in a moment), history would indicate that a shutdown is more likely either to help you a little, or to have no effect on you at all, than to cause you financial harm – despite Obama’s dire talk of an imploding economy.

Russell Price of Ameriprise Financial wrote Monday:

The most notable government shutdown of recent memory was the closure of government offices during the budget battle of 1995. Similar to the current circumstances, then-President Clinton battled with the Republican-led House of Representatives over the fiscal 1996 federal budget.

… How did the economy and markets react? Quite well, actually. Stock prices moved steadily higher throughout the period, likely on the perceived prospect of deficit reduction. The S&P 500 was 5.4 percent higher on a price-only basis from the end of October through the end of January.

Meanwhile, consumer spending was also fairly unaffected through the period, although consumer confidence did drop significantly. Confidence levels had improved in early November with the Conference Board’s index rising to 101.6 from 96.3 in October. But by the time of the January reading, the index had dropped more than 13 points to 88.4.

Ultimately, the U.S. economy surged in 1996 with Real GDP growing by 3.7% versus 2.5% in 1995.

In addition, Democrats’ claims that a shutdown will harm soldiers, mailmen, people on Social Security, unemployment and people who eat meat that someone from the FDA hasn’t inspected – to name only a few nightmare scenarios – are either exaggerated or completely false. National Review sets the record straight here.

A separate NR article also points out what many small-government conservatives have maintained all along: that a “shutdown” as defined by Congress isn’t really a shutdown at all. Rather, it’s a paring back of government bloat that leaves intact, in some form, those functions of Federal government that crucially serve the interests of all Americans, as opposed to specialized entitlements and regulations that benefit (or harm) only the few.

NR’s Hans A. von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, writes:

The truth from the experience of prior shutdowns, applicable federal laws, Justice Department legal opinions, and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) directives, is that crucial government services and benefits would continue without interruption even if Congress fails to agree on a continuing resolution (CR) or President Obama vetoes it. That includes all services essential for national security and public safety — such as the military and law enforcement — as well as mandatory government payments such as Social Security and veterans’ benefits.

In fact, as the Justice Department said in a legal opinion in 1995, “the federal government will not be truly ‘shut down’ . . . because Congress has itself provided that some activities of Government should continue.” Any claim that not passing a CR would result in a “shutting down” of the government “is an entirely inaccurate description,” according to the Justice Department.

Such a lapse in funding would be neither catastrophic nor unprecedented. There have been 17 funding gaps just since 1977, ranging in duration from one to 21 days. Under applicable federal law, operations and services would continue for those essential for “the safety of human life or the protection of property” as well as those programs funded through multiyear or permanent appropriations such as Social Security.

Even furloughed employees are likely to receive their back pay, and some are already using the union apparatus to clamor for it. That kind of collateral expense points out the self-perpetuating fallacy of big government. Democrats’ urgent criticisms that a shutdown will ultimately be costly to the government are true – from Democrats’ point of view. That’s because Obama and his followers invoke the lost opportunity cost of unpaid wages and unspent Federal funds as a harbinger of economic loss for average Americans.

But that’s a very progressive way to approach the “problem” of paring back Federal spending. As Reason’s Scott Shackford writes:

To my perpetual annoyance, the president – like any government official defending employee spending – invoked the concept of economic multipliers, the notion that wages generate and grow a local economy as the money is spent in the community, thereby creating wealth. It’s frustrating when government officials invoke economic multipliers because the money they spend is forcibly taken from the community in the first place. These are not voluntary exchanges where the consumer receives something of value in exchange for the producer receiving more than the cost to create that thing (in fact, ithe exact opposite often happens given the lack of incentives for efficiency). When a government official invokes economic multipliers, he or she inevitably doesn’t consider what might have been done with that money if the government never collected it in the first place.

So here’s an idea: stop calling it a “shutdown” and make it permanent. Let dollars stay in the hands of people who earn them instead of being handed over to the Federal government to propagate a never-ending bait-and-switch game of “taxpayer-funded” entitlements that are actually funded on wave after wave of limitless, currency-debasing money printing.

Of course that won’t happen anytime soon. But if the government does “shut down” after midnight, it will be interesting to see whether the private sector responds as it did during the Clinton years.

Rand Paul Argues Democrats ‘Should Not Escape’ Pain Obamacare Will Cause Everyday Americans

After Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) delivered his marathon talk last Tuesday to galvanize GOP opposition to Obamacare, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) published an opinion piece in The Washington Times, excoriating the hypocrisy of Congressional leaders who continue to support the Affordable Care Act while exempting themselves from its mandates.

What should infuriate you the most is the fact that the same elected officials who implemented this mandate have recently declared themselves exempt from it. That is to say, these officials are forcing you to partake in something that they themselves are refusing. If Obamacare is so great, why then are federal employees and elected officials getting special treatment and opting out?

If President Obama, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Harry Reid and Chief Justice Roberts love Obamacare so much, they should live under it. Their actions speak louder than words, and it is erroneous for these leaders to even attempt to claim that Obamacare is a step forward for Americans.

Not a difficult concept to understand, is it?

One thread that runs through all of the conservative opposition to Obamacare has been the simplicity of the conservatives’ moral message. Despite the sophistication of Cruz’s Ivy League mind or of Paul’s Hippocratic training, conservative lawmakers have had no need to fall back on complexity, obfuscation or patronizing, “it’s-complicated” justification for why they have taken this particular stand on the healthcare law. Rather, their message is manifestly simple and just plain correct: It’s wrong for Congress to stand apart from the laws it has created.

Similarly, Democrats and RINO proponents of Obamacare have feebly argued in favor of the law from a smug high ground of intricate, systemic and complicated explanations. Their attempt at intellectual abstraction to defend the indefensible — such as when President Barack Obama last week urged America to wait patiently for the law to begin reverberating through society, or when Senator John McCain criticized Cruz and Co. for failing to appreciate his fatalistic “compromise” justification for siding with the Democrats — is both stupidly transparent and intellectually dishonest.

People often see through such condescension if they’re paying attention.

Here’s more unfiltered logic from Paul:

I find it absolutely despicable that Mr. Obama, his administration and the elected officials who shoved this mandate down the throat of Americans are now giving themselves waivers. The president is also giving his friends waivers. Mr. Obama’s behavior mirrors that of a captain jumping overboard, abandoning his own sinking ship.

I have a proposal. I have offered an amendment that would outlaw any special exemptions for government employees. This amendment requires all federal workers to purchase health insurance from the new Obamacare exchanges, instead of receiving taxpayer-funded subsidies.

I am also introducing a more broad constitutional amendment, which states that Congress shall make no law that treats citizens differently from the elites in the federal government.

… My legislation and constitutional amendment will remind all elected officials that they are not above the law, and they are certainly not above the American people.

Hopefully, by 2014, a great many elected officials will learn that same lesson at the polls.

Seymour Hersh: Obama Administration Narrative Of Bin Laden Death ‘One Big Lie’

Pulitzer journalist Seymour Hersh, who first earned recognition for breaking the My Lai massacre scandal, doesn’t buy the Obama Administration’s narrative of how Osama bin Laden was taken down. In fact, he thinks American media is mostly garbage and coddles President Barack Obama instead of hitting the streets to suss out the truth behind sanctioned press releases.

Hersh told The Guardian American media – and The New York Times, in particular – spends most of its energies “carrying water for Obama than I ever thought they would.”

From the interview:

Do you think Obama’s been judged by any rational standards? Has Guantanamo closed? Is a war over? Is anyone paying any attention to Iraq? Is he seriously talking about going into Syria? We are not doing so well in the 80 wars we are in right now, what the hell does he want to go into another one for. What’s going on [with journalists]?

…Why do newspapers constantly cite the two or three groups that monitor drone killings. Why don’t we do our own work?

Our job is to find out ourselves, our job is not just to say – here’s a debate’ our job is to go beyond the debate and find out who’s right and who’s wrong about issues. That doesn’t happen enough. It costs money, it costs time, it jeopardises, it raises risks.

As for the bin Laden narrative?

“Nothing’s been done about that story, it’s one big lie, not one word of it is true,” he said. “The Pakistanis put out a report, don’t get me going on it. Let’s put it this way, it was done with considerable American input. It’s a bullsh*t report.”

Hersh said his solution to the lapdog media problem would involve firing 90 percent of America’s newspaper editors and replacing them with “editors that you can’t control;” people “who look you in the eye and say, ‘I don’t care what you say.’”

Then he’d shut down the major television news networks and “start all over, tabula rasa.”

Who wants to go first?

U.N. Panel Will Need Literary License To Spin Climate Change Myth

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations committee that has been pushing the urgency of manmade global warming on its member nations for decades, is set to deliver its latest findings today when it releases its assessment report before the media.

Since the IPCC is responsible for creating and developing a significant chunk of the plot in the human drama of global warming, it’s in no position to kill off Climate Change, the story’s main character. But how it will avoid doing that as it attempts to explain its own findings — that “global warming” has been in abeyance since 1998 — should be entertaining enough.

Critics of the climate change agenda don’t expect the ICPP to come clean. Writing for The Telegraph Thursday, James Delingpole explained that global warming careerists have… well, an inconvenient truth on their hands.

Though the details are a secret, one thing is clear: the version of events you will see and hear in much of the media, especially from partis pris organisations like the BBC, will be the opposite of what the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report actually says.

… In truth, though, the new report offers scant consolation to those many alarmists whose careers depend on talking up the threat. It says not that they are winning the war to persuade the world of the case for catastrophic anthropogenic climate change – but that the battle is all but lost.

… [This year’s report is] the first in its history to admit what its critics have said for years: global warming did “pause” unexpectedly in 1998 and shows no sign of resuming. And, other than an ad hoc new theory about the missing heat having been absorbed by the deep ocean, it cannot come up with a convincing explanation why. Coming from a sceptical blog none of this would be surprising. But from the IPCC, it’s dynamite: the equivalent of the Soviet politburo announcing that command economies may not after all be the most efficient way of allocating resources.

… Al Gore’s “consensus” is about to be holed below the water-line – and those still aboard the SS Global Warming are adjusting their positions.

The IPCC’s assessment report is viewed as “the gospel of climate change” by policymakers and elected officials who employ its findings as the moral basis for tinkering with fees, fines, incentives and taxes.

As the member nations involved in compiling this year’s report are fretting over how to spin a dead narrative, there’s one option they should — but won’t — consider: walking manmade climate change back to theory status, and letting it stay there until it demonstrate by reason, and not emotion, that it is fact or fraud.

They’re Kidding, Right? Official Senate Web Page Trashes 2nd Amendment In Novel Interpretation

The host website is www.senate.gov, the official Web presence for the U.S. Senate. If you visit the page and click on the “Reference” tab in the top right-hand corner, you’re taken to a second page that links to a number of jumping-off points for learning about the Nation’s founding documents.

One of those links connects you with a full text copy of the U.S. Constitution, which is presented, in columnar form, alongside an “Explanation” commentary that purports to offer insight on the meaning of each Article and Section, as well as each amendment. Here’s a direct link.

Remember, this is hosted on an official publication of the U.S. Senate, with all the probity that implies.

So scroll down to the “Amendments” section (or simply click on the “Amendments” link at the top of the page to jump directly to the Bill of Rights.

There it is: “Amendment II (1791).” By heart, you know what it says. So what does the Senate’s “explanation” have to say?

“Whether this provision protects the individual’s right to own firearms or whether it deals only with the collective right of the people to arm and maintain a militia has long been debated.”

Makes you want to read through the entire “explanation” column, to see what else the Senate wishes to tell Americans about how government reinterprets its own charter, does it not?

You don’t have to read very far. The very next “explanation,” for the 3rd Amendment, glibly calls the amendment “virtually obsolete” and insinuates it had only transitory value because it arose out of a specific set of circumstances. Does that mean it doesn’t function in 2013, like the rest of the Bill of Rights, in “extending the ground of public confidence in the Government,” as the preamble states?

Perhaps it does to the U.S. Senate — or to whoever has been designated to reimagine the Constitution on its behalf.