Wednesday, October 2, 2013

At Least the Giants Didn't Shut Down the NFL

So the federal government is closed.

As I write this, we’re in Day Two of our first government shutdown since 1996 (when Newt Gingrich threw a temper tantrum because Bubba Clinton wouldn’t give him a good seat on Air Force One). An estimated 800,000 federal employees have been furloughed, the lights are turned off in many government offices, and clinical drug trials and disease-prevention work have been hampered. Government websites are outdated and ineffective, people camping in our national parks had to pack up and leave, and our lazy media are advancing a false equivalency that makes my skin crawl.

Google’s homepage yesterday commemorated the 123rd birthday of Yosemite National Park - yet the 761,000-acre park was closed. 

Contrary to what you’ve probably heard, this shutdown did not happen because President Obama and Democrats in Washington refused to negotiate in good faith with Republicans. As my friend Bill Perry said, “This is about the GOP shutting government down for a law that was passed legitimately. The Affordable Care Act was passed, signed into law, upheld by the Supreme Court and reaffirmed in the last election. The GOP needs to get over it. They lost and shutting down the government is not the answer!”

That’s of course not what you’ll hear on Faux News or from your congressional representatives if you, like me, are unlucky enough to be represented by a Republican. Here’s an e-mail message I received from my congressman, Rabid Mike Rogers:

I hope this finds you well. I write you today to update you on the federal government shutdown. I appreciate the opportunity to contact you on this issue.

Last night the House and Senate were unable to agree to a Continuing Resolution to fund the government. As a result, the federal government is now shut down, except for essential services.

I am extremely disappointed in this outcome. It is unfortunate that we've come to this point – a shut down absolutely should have been avoided. Unfortunately, President Obama and Democrat leaders in the Senate have refused to discuss, negotiate, compromise, or in any way work with the House on a plan to fund the government.

House Republicans have now passed four different plans that would fully fund the federal government. The latest proposal would fund the government and simply require Congress and the Executive Branch to enroll and experience Obamacare the same way the American people will. It's only fair. This morning the House also proposed a conference committee with the Senate which would resolve differences between the two bodies. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has rejected this and every other proposal we've offered.

I strongly believe that our leaders in Washington must work together to find solutions that make America stronger. That is why I have always worked in a bipartisan way to address the issues Michiganders care about. I am disappointed that some have chosen this week to play politics instead of get serious about their governing responsibilities.

While I continue to work on a solution, rest assured my office will be open and working every day to keep assisting constituents in Michigan's Eighth District, answering questions, and doing casework. In the mean time, other essential government services will go on. For example, our troops will be paid, Social Security checks will go out, and the Postal Service will still operate. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 877-333-MIKE.

I thought about contacting his office and asking why he and his conservative cohorts are such lying douchebags but decided against it. I don’t want the former G-Man’s minions to send some cloaked dude with chloroform and a revolver to my house in the middle of the night.

This shutdown could cost an estimated $1.6 billion a week in lost economic output. According to NBC News, that translates to about $300 million a day or $12.5 million an hour.

So we pay rank and file Congressional politicians $174,000 per year to cost us $300 million per day? (The Weeper of the House is paid $223,500.) Math was never my forte but this seems like a poor investment.

It’s more than a little challenging to get facts instead of spin and opinions about this partisan, GOP failure-fest, so here’s what President Obama said about the situation:

This shutdown is not about deficits. It’s not about budgets. This shutdown is about rolling back our efforts to provide health insurance to folks who don’t have it. This, more than anything else, seems to be what the Republican Party stands for these days. I know it’s strange that one party would make keeping people uninsured the centerpiece of their agenda, but that apparently is what it is.

Strange indeed, POTUS. And it’s strange that in this day and age, Republicans can burnish their image just by pointing fingers and regurgitating disingenuous talking points.

Yosemite Valley photo by Sue Langley
Want to know what really infuriates me? According to Pew Research Center, “the GOP has drawn even with the Democrats as the party seen as able to better deal with the issue of health care.”

Really, public? Seriously?

Lucky I don’t put much stock in polls, as regular “What’s the Diehl?” readers know, or I’d be pulling out what few hairs remain on my head.

At least the public “opposes a proposal to cut off funding for the health care law as part of any budget agreement,” according to Pew.

If the public doesn’t vote these GOP rat bastards out of office in the next election, I’m moving to Kazakhstan. It can’t be any worse.

You’ve got to check out “Jon Stewart's Rockin' Shutdown Eve” below:

Sources: USA Today, Mike Rogers, Pew Research Center, Washington Post, The Daily Show, NBC News.

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