Archive for October, 2013

“Accountability Thirty-Ought Six”

October 18, 2013


$24 billion flushed down the drain, but Ted Cruz gained his fleeting fame.

That seems to be bottom line for the disastrous Tea Party Slam Down that brought our Federal government to a wrenching halt for 16 painful days, continuing right up to a last second Congressional deal avoiding chaotic global consequences, possibly concluding with catastrophic collapse.

Standard and Poor’s, a highly regarded, non-partisan financial services company, says the debacle has also reduced projected fourth-quarter GDP growth from 3% to 2.4%, a significant blow to our national economic health. Here in the foothills, an extensive article in Friday’s Fresno Bee cited such specifics as revenue cut in half at Todd’s Barbeque in Oakhurst, a reservation cancellation rate of 90% at the Gateway Restaurant and Lodge just outside Sequoia National Park and similarly stark developments at the Narrow Gauge Inn near the southern entrance to Yosemite. All told, over a half million business bucks were blown here in Madera County alone.

One of the most disturbing aspects of our first Federal shutdown in 17 years, now ranked as possibly the most severe ever, were the well-worn canards, clichés and quaint commentaries emerging from an oftentimes seemingly clueless general public.

A now famous and clearly catalytic NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll published October 10th demonstrated a decisive majority of voters blamed Republicans more than Democrats for the suspension of services. Less reported was the fact that an astounding sixty percent also said that they would vote and replace every single member of Congress, including their own representative, if such action was possible.

“Government sucks.”

“They need to get along.”

“Everyone is to blame.”

False equivalency is the sign of a sluggish mind.

While a requirement to pay taxes is important, the need to pay attention is even more imperative.

Watching Fox News is not paying attention.

Updated studies confirm that those watching FOX are less informed than those watching no news at all. That doesn’t mean FOX viewers are stupid – just unknowingly susceptible to cynical, ratings-driven programming that elevates form over substance. Human nature finds comfort in the confirmation of righteous pre conviction. Ask Bill O’Reilly on his way to the bank.

But turning off TV and referring to our President as a “tyrant”, “thug” or “disgrace” is insipidly, abysmally lazy and hateful – demonstrating not only pungently pretentious posturing, but shameful ignorance of information easily accessible from a multitude of alternative media sources.

Our own Congressman Tom McClintock (R-California) shares direct responsibility for all of the horrors recently encountered in the Tea Party Fiasco and should be held appropriately accountable.

His Republican colleague, Devin Nunes (R-California) said it perfectly in voting to reopen the government along with seven fellow GOP California representatives. Nunes exclaimed, “No more lemmings!” — having earlier described colleagues who were willing to bring about the shut down as “lemmings with suicide vests.”

I’m hoping that Devin can convince his furry friend Tom to agree with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and publicly confess that any similar actions in the future should be judged as hopelessly irresponsible.

In an interview Thursday, McConnell admitted that his party had learned a painful political lesson. He said he saw no reason to go through the agony again in January 2014 when the current stopgap measure is set to expire. Quoting McConnell, “One of my favorite old Kentucky sayings is there’s no education in the second kick of a mule. The first kick of the mule was when we shut down the government in the mid-1990s and the second kick was over the last 16 days. There will not be another government closing. I think we have fully now acquainted our new members with what a losing strategy that is.”

In a Sierra Star column last April, I unambiguously stated that Tom McClintock was no fool. We’ll soon find out if he’s a mule.

I’d hate to have to call on Tom Waits.

“And I filled me a sachel full of old pig corn. And I beat me a billy from an old French Horn. And I kicked that mule to the top of the tree. I kicked that mule to the top of the tree.”

Tom Waits – “16 Shells From a Thirty-Ought-Six” –“Mule Variations” (1999)

“Lynching a Law”

October 4, 2013


“We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.” — Tea Party Congressman Marlin Stutzman (R-Indiana) offering characteristically definitive insight explaining his vote last week to shut down the government.

“You should be ashamed of yourself!” — Tea Party Congressman Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) addressing a young female Park Ranger forced to turn back visitors at Washington’s World War Two Memorial — something for which Neaugebauer had voted and was responsible.

“He has no place in any station of government and we need to realize that he is an enemy of humanity” – Tea Party Congressman Trent Franks (R-Arizona), speaking of our President.

The inmates are not only running the asylum, they’re forcefully ruining it.

Any assessment by political poseurs that the shutdown was a consequence of failing to negotiate and compromise completely ignores the stark reality that a handful of bitter, spiteful Obama-haters have successfully leveraged themselves into a command position by fanciful fabrication, skillful manipulation and raw intimidation.

President Obama defined everything succinctly in addressing a Maryland construction company gathering Thursday morning when he called for a simple up or down vote in the House on an already approved Senate Bill that would end the impasse. The President said House Speaker John Boehner could reopen the government and send 800,000 people back to work “in just five minutes”, rightfully declaring that Boehner “doesn’t want to anger the extremists in his party.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid went even further condemning Boehner’s refusal to yield to reason, openly calling him “a coward.” Reid also insisted that Boehner was reneging on a prior promise to facilitate a continuing resolution to fund the government without partisan strings attached.

But the Tea Party isn’t interested in simple strings. They want a hangman’s noose around ObamaCare — for some second best to one around the man himself.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was approved by both houses of Congress and signed into law on March 23, 2010. That was three and a half years ago.

Since that time, the essential features were reviewed and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 28, 2012.

Running against an opponent who dramatically promised to “end ObamaCare”, the President easily won re-election on November 6, 2012 by trouncing Mitt Romney in the Electoral College 332 to 206 — defeating the former Governor of Massachusetts by more than 5 million votes.

The American people have surely spoken.

But the House of Representatives refused to listen, even though there were almost two million more votes for Democratic House candidates than Republicans nationwide in 2012, but GOP redistricting through state gerrymandering resulted in a Republican House Majority of 234 to 201 in the 113th Congress and has led us to where we are.

And where will you be this weekend?

Mountain Democrats hope you’ll be spending some time at the 2013 Oakhurst Fall Festival on Saturday and Sunday in the Community Park from 10 AM to 4 PM. Stop by our booth to say, “Hi!” and ask any questions you might have about “ObamaCare.” We’ll have answers available and/or information directing you to reliable sources. We happen to believe The Affordable Care Act is an excellent start on providing what every other country in the entire developed world has enjoyed except us — until now.

It’s good for you and long overdue.

Like fine wine & tasty chocolates!

PC:? Ad