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Thanks, Republicans!

Our broken party of ignorant zealots, the Republicans, have shut down the government in a tantrum over our very limited healthcare proposal. Here’s what we can expect to see happen:

  • State department will be able to operate for limited time

  • Department of defence will continue military operations

  • Department of education will still distribute $22bn to public schools, but staffing is expected to be severely hit

  • Department of energy – 12,700 staff expected to be sent home, with 1,113 remaining to oversee nuclear arsenal

  • Department of health and human services expected to send home more than half of staff

  • The Federal Reserve, dept of homeland security, and justice dept will see little or no disruption

  • US Postal Services continue as normal

  • Smithsonian institutions, museums, zoos and many national parks will close

I might have seen a bright side to this if the military and homeland security had felt the bite, but no — health and human services, the department of energy, education, and our parks and museums are being hit. It’s always the stuff that makes us better people that suffers the first cut when the Republicans have their way.

There is no further excuse for them. The Republican Party must wither and die. It is no longer the loyal opposition, the party of conservatives, or the cautious, fiscally responsible party: it is the fringe party of lunatics, demagogues, and irresponsible lackwits.


By they way, if you go to Google right now, their doodle is celebrating the 123rd anniversary of Yosemite National Park.

Why do the Republicans hate Yosemite?

Comments

  1. throwaway, gut-punched says

    The talking point that get’s me most riled up is that this is all Obama’s fault and that he should have compromised… on a law that was already on the books… which was already run over with a fine-tooth comb by the Republicans themselves back in 2009 and gutted thoroughly. They’re relying on this “talking point” solidifying a 2014 victory. They want the fallout because the suffering is real and something they can point to in charts about a failed economic recovery, never mind the context. They are domestic terrorists and need to be shipped off to Gitmo.

  2. brucegee1962 says

    Ever since their Saint Reagan said government was the enemy, this is what they’ve wanted. At this point I consider them to be little better than anarchists.

    It would be nice to see some high-profile defections from the Republican Party. There aren’t many moderates left in Congress, but maybe a few columnists like David Brooks could announce that they can’t in good conscience vote for Republicans anymore until they get their act together.

  3. says

    Anarchists are much, much nicer than Republicans. Anarchists believe in community and mutual aid. Republicans believe in “I got mine.”

  4. says

    Via ThinkProgress: A list of things the GOP has demanded, at various points, in return for not shutting down the government:

    1. A balanced budget amendment
    2. Approving Keystone XL
    3. Eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood
    4. Medicare privatization
    5. Tax reform, as outlined by Paul Ryan
    6. The REINS Act, which would require Congress to approve significant federal regulations
    7. Means-testing Social Security
    8. Defunding Obamacare
    9. Allowing employers to eliminate insurance coverage for birth control
    10. An expansion of off-shore drilling
    11. Preserving all the Bush tax cuts
    12. “Trillions” in budget cuts
    13. Slashing funding for food stamps
    14. Protecting mountaintop strip mining
    15. Stripping the EPA of authority to regulate greenhouse gases
    16. Loosening regulation on coal ash
    17. Delaying Obamacare implementation by one year
    18. Repealing a tax on medical devices
    19. Eliminating Social Service Block Grants
    20. Expanding drilling on federal lands
    21. Restricting the child tax credit

    Gosh you guys, I’m starting to get the feeling that Congressional Republicans just don’t like democracy all that much.

  5. peptron says

    What is going on in the US? The GOP seems to be becoming more and more extreme as time passes, and at an accelerated rate. Why is that? I doubt it’s the recession because the trend started way before that.

  6. Rey Fox says

    Our broken party of ignorant zealots

    I think “ignorant” is giving them far too much credit.

  7. sqlrob says

    Found this. Not sure how accurate the numbers are

    RT @TheBaxterBean GOP 2009-2013:
    124 Religion Bills
    149 Gun Bills
    56 Abortion Bills
    44 Anti-Obamacare Bills
    36 Marriage Bills
    0 JOBS Bills

  8. Ichthyic says

    What is going on in the US?

    that’s actually a good question.

    Sorry, but this is NOT as simple as a group of crazy extremists trying to extort the government for some ill-begotten ideology.

    Seems pretty obvious that this, and the previous “sequester” are merely distractions for some much larger issue.

    Americans, you ARE being duped. The only real question is…. what is the end game here? Is this just all prep for America to get used to austerity? Or is it cover for something else?

    there simply is no way this is all about teaparty asshats taking over government, while the entire majority just sits on its hands.

    Think about it.

    It wouldn’t even qualify as the plotline for a bad TV show.

    There’s something else going on here.

  9. Rey Fox says

    Gosh you guys, I’m starting to get the feeling that Congressional Republicans just don’t like democracy all that much.

    I’m starting to think that they just hate everything good in the world.

    “He’s crossed the line from ordinary villainy to cartoonish super-villainy.”

  10. says

    @Ichthyic:

    My assumption is the tea party wants to trash the US economy in an attempt to get States’ Rights enabled (Something like: “See how the Federal Govt. has failed? Let’s vote to give the states the ability to make their own laws.”)

    It’s purely so that the backwards tea party nutjobs can instill theocratic governments in their states and deny rights to the gays, women, and non-whites.

  11. Brandon says

    Even if this were resolved in short order at this point, it’s still thoroughly fucked over my research by making it completely impossible to plan any experiments that have a horizon longer than a few days (which is pretty much all of them, for me).

    But hey, at least the military’s still getting paid! Because scientists not getting paid is just part of the process, but soldiers not getting paid would be downright unpatriotic.

  12. bahrfeldt says

    Aside from blaming the president for everything, totally expected from the con-artist, Cruz’s routine on Sunday left me unusually uneasy with regard to one thread. When asked what people who needed health insurance could do he answered simply that they should “get a job”. Not even “get a job that provides coverage”. Is he really that far removed from the reality of life for many in his adopted country, as well as from the reality of many American employer’s failing to cover worker’s for health care (and retirement) and the reasons that ACA was passed? Or is his spiel just a damnable bunch of lies?

    I understand that he passes on any health insurance coverage that he is eligible for under his Federal job, because he is covered by his spouse’s plan, provided by her employer without charge, whereas he would, like most Federal civilian employees, be paying about 30% to 40% of the cost of a probably inferior plan, subject to political whims regarding cost and coverage. Unless it’s because he is fully covered by Canada :)

  13. Brandon says

    Is he really that far removed from the reality of life for many in his adopted country, as well as from the reality of many American employer’s failing to cover worker’s for health care (and retirement) and the reasons that ACA was passed? Or is his spiel just a damnable bunch of lies?

    Yes.

  14. wpjoe says

    PubMed is running a banner saying that they will try to maintain the site, but it might be as up to date as usual.

  15. birgerjohansson says

    The “get a job” thing. He either thinks there are X million empty positions for the x million unemployed, or is there a single job opening the x million are supposed to fight over?

  16. wpjoe says

    PubMed is running a banner saying that they will try to maintain the site, but it might NOT be as up to date as usual.

  17. w00dview says

    SallyStrange@7:

    That list of demands is outrageous. Not only is it plainly undemocratic, not ONE item in that list benefits ordinary, working Americans. It all benefits the rich, powerful and bigoted. As every day passes, the Republicans start to become less like actual human beings and more like comic book villains. They really are evil fucks who despise everyone who does not look, think and act like them. And they have the fucking gall to call academics elitists.

    Wankers.

  18. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    This maybe just cynicism speaking*, but I haven’t believed for a long time that anything drives federal politics more than the interests, lobbies, and corporations that buy our candidates and stage elections. Someone profits from the government shutdown, and likely, they paid for it.

    *blaring in my head like a fleet of klaxons

  19. Ichthyic says

    My assumption is the tea party wants to trash the US economy in an attempt to get States’ Rights enabled

    not buying it. too far fetched given the history involved.

    nobody with any sense really thinks state isolationism works, and I really don’t buy the idea that so much of the legislative branch is that stupid.

    again, no. this is not what is going on here, it’s just a cover. A distraction like a magician’s trick. Something else is being missed here, while this circus show grabs our attention.

  20. Ichthyic says

    That list of demands is outrageous.

    supports my point.

    it’s outrageously outrageous.

    Makes me think “Overton Window”

  21. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Brandon, I would think a mutiny of scientists would not be exactly as dangerous.

    Think of what a million Walter Whites could do.

  22. Ichthyic says

    I would think a mutiny of scientists would not be exactly as dangerous.

    sharks with lasers on their heads don’t worry you eh?

    how about a Sharktopus?

    Sharknado?

  23. Ichthyic says

    Think of what a million Walter Whites could do.

    Just think of all the different colors of meth we would have!

    Taste the Rainbow!

  24. MJP says

    Of course, when the government “shuts down,” they keep all the parts of it that the right-wingers like.

  25. Scr... Archivist says

    pepton @8:

    What is going on in the US? The GOP seems to be becoming more and more extreme as time passes, and at an accelerated rate. Why is that? I doubt it’s the recession because the trend started way before that.

    They are, and it did. See “An Update on Polarization through the 113th Congress” in the House ( http://voteview.com/blog/?p=887 ) and the Senate ( http://voteview.com/blog/?p=892 ).

  26. A Masked Avenger says

    Ultimately the only ones hurt by this “shutdown” will be ordinary citizens, with the most vulnerable hit hardest. The interests that pay campaign contributions will either be completely unaffected–like the “military industrial complex”–or will be amply repaid later. For them, the shutdown doesn’t really exist.

    As far as I can tell, the shutdown is pure theater, intended to scare the masses into accepting trillion-dollar budgets of which almost every penny is funneled to those same special interests. Except that “theater” is a damn disgusting way to describe an act of terror that will actually harm, and possibly even cause death among, the “little people.” And both sides are complicit, in that they collaborate to ensure that the services that are cut first, are the ones most calculated to terrify the voting public. It would be hyperbole to call it an act of terror, but the exaggeration is less than one could wish.

    It’s a safe bet, however, that the “shutdown” can’t be allowed to continue too long. If people were given enough time to find other ways of meeting their needs, than the various services that are suspended, then the whole thing would have backfired. The goal is to terrify the masses with the belief that they can’t survive without the government–not to allow them to discover that in fact they can. (Please don’t interpret this paragraph as any sort of comment, positive or negative, on the welfare state; only on the fact that the politicians have a vested interest in keeping the system as it is, and dare not act in a way that might precipitate change.)

  27. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    14
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    According to NPR, WIC payments are to stop and the federal school lunch program only has the funds to run until the end of the month.

    I cried this morning.

    Well, eating was nice while it lasted. And since food stamps get paid in the beginning of the month (between the 1st and the 12th, depending on your last name first initial) means we’re immediately screwed.

    Fuckin’ A.

  28. peptron says

    Scr… Archivist @35:
    That explains that the polarization happens, but it doesn’t say why. Surely it’s not for shits and giggles? It seems like the GOP is running a contest about how to represent the fewest number of people possible.

  29. Amphiox says

    Some time ago, the GOP decided to raise a tiger, called the Tea Party. They fed the beast a steady diet of lies. The beast grew large and ferocious. The GOP rode it into battle in 2010. They had some initial success. Only when it came time to dismount did they realize their mistake.

    And now they are *inside*.

  30. Ichthyic says

    still not buying that’s what’s happening Amphiox.

    seriously, the tiger is just there to catch your attention, and it is made of paper.

  31. Nick Gotts says

    The goal is to terrify the masses with the belief that they can’t survive without the government – A Masked Avenger

    Ah, I think I see what’s wrong with you – you’ve got your head on backwards. These are the very people who have for years been doing their utmost to destroy all the functions of government that actually help the masses.

    Ichthyic,
    I think you’re ignoring the individual selfishness of House Republicans; they are simply afraid of being deselected by the Tea Party dominated party base next year if they treat Obama as if he was the legitimate President.

  32. Randomfactor says

    “Something else is being missed here, while this circus show grabs our attention.”

    The sequester is now permanent.

    Know what ISN’T shut down this morning? Obamacare. The exchanges are open despite the shutdown.

  33. says

    Keep in mind that the people doing these “essential services” will not be paid until the budget is passed. Republicans have effectively turned “essential” government employees into slave labor.

  34. I've got the WTF blues says

    If it’s a legitimate government, the GOP has ways to try to shut that whole thing down…….

  35. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    My friend has been deemed essential staff and so has not been sent home during this shutdown. Instead he’s working without pay, for the promise of being paid at the end of this. Whenever that end is. In the meantime all of the ordinary bills of life keep coming and he doesn’t even have the free time to try to make some money on the side.

    Here he is, helping get benefits out to people–which are absolutely vital and I’m glad he’s able to still do this–while not getting paid himself. Please remember when you look around at all the stuff supposedly still running: just because people are managing Veteran Affairs or Social Security doesn’t mean the employees still working are actually being paid. If they’re paid out of appropriations, they’re fucked.

  36. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    PZ: “Anarchists are much, much nicer than Republicans.”

    Archduke Franz Ferdinand might disagree.

  37. Nick Gotts says

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space@49,

    Franz Ferdinand’s assassin, Gavrilo Princip, was not an anarchist; he was a Serbian nationalist from Bosnia, recruited by the head of Serbian Military Intelligence, and of the Terrorist group “The Black Hand”, Colonel Dragutin Dimitrijević.

  38. A Masked Avenger says

    Nick Gotts, #44,

    Ah, I think I see what’s wrong with you – you’ve got your head on backwards. These are the very people who have for years been doing their utmost to destroy all the functions of government that actually help the masses.

    I don’t exactly disagree or agree, because your statement presupposes that helping people was ever anyone’s real intention. I.e., that the government used to be a benevolent helper of the poor, and the GOP came along and decided to put a stop to it.

    It seems clear enough, reviewing the history, that the rulers always served their own interests, by serving their cronies’ interests, and helping people was only ever a lucky side-effect. If you go back to the depression, you’ll observe that FDR’s largesse was not distributed according to the poverty and suffering it was ostensibly aimed at addressing; it was distributed according to the votes FDR needed for reelection. Similarly, social security was not distributed to needy seniors, because on average people died before they were old enough to collect. Today many seniors do depend on social security, but that happened because of lengthened lifespans on the one hand, and the political danger of raising the age accordingly, not because anyone in Congress particularly gives a damn about needy seniors.

    You’re absolutely right that programs that happen to benefit the poor and needy are targeted by Republicans, and you’re also right that Republicans don’t exhibit much interest in doing anything to help them. Where we differ is that I would say that neither side cares about the vulnerable, and the help that the Democrats do give to the vulnerable is mostly a coincidental side-effect of serving their own vested interests. If we have to have one or the other, I’d rather have the ones who enrich themselves through the welfare state, than the ones who enrich themselves through the warfare state–but I’d much rather have an option (C), where the vulnerable are fully protected, the endless warfare is ended, and the self-enriching assholes in Washington can go fuck themselves.

  39. Nick Gotts says

    A Masked Avenger@51

    your statement presupposes that helping people was ever anyone’s real intention

    No, it doesn’t presume anything at all about that.

    Where we differ is that I would say that neither side cares about the vulnerable

    No, we don’t differ on that point. I’d say there are individual Democrats – possibly even individual Republicans – with some genuine concern for the vulnerable, and many more whose primary concern is with their own re-election, but both parties represent the interests of the oligarchs who fund them. However, the oligarchy itself is faction-ridden: current Republican shenanigans may please the ideologically-driven faction around the Koch brothers and the various “free market” think-tanks, but will alarm the more realist oligarchs, who recognize that a collapse of the social security system would threaten the economy and thus their own interests. Whether the latter have the clout to rein in the House Republicans is perhaps the key question.

  40. ledasmom says

    Oh, fuck them. Fuck them.
    There’s lots of words to be used for someone who deliberately takes action that hurts others but not themselves. Start with bully and go right down the list through coward and end up at evil. But it all pretty much comes down to fuck them and their asshole behavior. This is kicking the helpless, this is running over puppies with tanks, this is cruelty with impunity.
    No decent country would continue fighting wars while children went hungry. I am aware that by this standard we have probably never been decent, but I do not understand why we are deliberately getting worse.
    There have been weeks recently when our children have only been fully fed because they ate lunch at school. I do not know what we will do.

  41. A Masked Avenger says

    Nick Gotts #52,

    That’s extremely well said! I agree with you in every respect that I can see, and couldn’t have said it better. Which makes it puzzling where we might disagree between post #36 and post #44, so I suspect I expressed myself poorly in #44.

    When I referred to “the belief that they can’t survive without the government,” I wasn’t referring to survival in the narrow sense of paying for groceries. I meant that in the broadest possible sense: every politician wants the masses to believe that the government is essential to their survival, without any regard whatsoever to whether they actually do anything to benefit anyone, because they require the masses to be supportive, or at least apathetic, in order to keep getting away with what they’re getting away with. It doesn’t matter that some of the suspended programs are ones the Republicans oppose; both parties are hurt equally if the masses lose their belief in the necessity of an expansive role for government.

    They’re fixing to pass a trillion dollar budget, and both parties are bursting at the seams with the pork they’ve stuffed into that budget. Both parties require us to uncritically beg them to approve a budget–any budget!–so the suspended programs can resume. Both parties are holding the needy hostage to secure their pork. Without these dramas, we might start asking why we need to be spending a trillion fucking dollars a year, in a country with serious economic and social problems going completely unaddressed.

  42. Nick Gotts says

    A Masked Avenger@55,

    I suspect where we differ is that as a democratic socialist, I advocate an expansive role for government. I’m an ex-anarchist, and owe my conversion to Margaret Thatcher: I noticed that the anti-statist rhetoric of my youth suited the British ruling class very well, and has been used ever since she came to power (including by the “New Labour” administration of 1997-2010) to erode most of the gains ordinary people had made in the three decades after 1945. I benefited from free medical care and education to PhD level, among other things. You can’t, in fact, run an industrial society without a government – or at least, no-one has ever shown it to be possible, or put forward a convincing blueprint for doing so. The trick – and it’s certainly not an easy one – is to make that government serve the interests of the mass of people.

  43. says

    Ichthyic, I’m still waiting to read what, exactly, you think is going on, and your evidence for it. Until then, I’m sorry, but there are hints of conspiracy theorism in your posts. From what I’ve observed over the past few years, it really is just the Tea Party taking over the GOP, preying on the ignorance of the masses, manipulating them emotionally, and getting just enough power to do some real damage. If you think “something else” is going on, something sinister “behind the scenes”, or if you’re going to use some other conspiracy-theory-esque turn of phrase, at least be specific about your claims, please.

  44. Scientismist says

    My government scientific agency is shut down. As of 30 minutes ago, I am on furlough (we were allowed 4 hours this morning for an “orderly shutdown”). Incoming email messages of congratulations on the completion of a large project, and its data becoming available to the public, were answered with an automatic reply stating that I will be unable to respond. Automated systems will keep some projects running, others are on hold. Scientific research around the world may be impacted.

    As a government employee, I cannot comment on the situation, as that might constitute political lobbying, but these are the bare facts.

  45. A Masked Avenger says

    You can’t, in fact, run an industrial society without a government – or at least, no-one has ever shown it to be possible, or put forward a convincing blueprint for doing so.

    Yeah, I can’t begin to answer that question. It does seem unclear to what extent a solution has been sought, or even can be sought–rather in the way that the original emergence of life is unlikely to be replicated today, because (a) the raw materials are generally snapped up by already-existing life, and (b) if it did happen, the resulting proto-cell would almost immediately be eaten. If a successful anarchic society were founded, how long before it would be invaded and annihilated? And where and how would it form, since every inch of the Earth’s crust is already claimed?

    The trick – and it’s certainly not an easy one – is to make that government serve the interests of the mass of people.

    Agreed! For the foreseeable future, we’re stuck with the existence of a government in symbiosis with the people that constantly veers toward parasitism. As Americans were once want to say, “eternal vigilance” is needed, because it is a useful but dangerous servant, and a truly terrifying master.

    In this case, the Republicans are to blame for holding the budget hostage to effect a legislative change they lack the votes for–and truthfully, probably are supporting only because they lack the votes, so they need not fear success, and any consequences that might follow from it. So they target this, rather than welfare, or social security, or other programs they so vocally criticize, to motivate their base and force concessions out of the other side, in a purely cynical crusade on an already lost cause.

    At the same time, the Democrats are complicit in the decisions that designate warfare abroad as too essential to suspend, while classifying welfare at home “nonessential,” and using government employees as pawns. Buying fully into the manichean narrative is a bit like becoming invested in a professional wrestling match. The conflict is more illusory than actual, and the heroes and villains meet up when the match is over and share the spoils from the gullible public.

    We can’t make them serve our interests, when we’re falling for their theater in ways that advance their interests.

  46. says

    It is no longer the loyal opposition, … or the cautious, fiscally responsible party

    It hasn’t been any of these things since 1968, when it flipped from being the Progressive party to being the Party of Conservatives; Conservative politics has always been the province of irresponsible lackwits, abetted by the simply cruel and malevolent.

  47. says

    I just saw a news report about GOP being willing to fund the VA, the Parks Service, and Washington DC.

    They’re perfectly happy with that in perpetuity! That’s what they live for! Minimal government! They’d be happy getting rid of all but the most important and privatizing EVERYTHING else.

  48. A Masked Avenger says

    They’re perfectly happy with that in perpetuity! That’s what they live for! Minimal government!

    They say that, but it’s nothing but rhetoric. They are bought and paid for by the military industrial complex, and want a military budget larger than the rest of the world combined. It’s impossible to do that without a massive bureaucracy, massive funding from some combination of taxation, inflation and debt, and a sprawling infrastructure with its fingers in everything from agriculture to manufacturing to oil and rubber.

    Picture a man saying, “I love the simple life!” while sitting on the deck of his yacht; that’s about right. What’s mysterious is why people hear him say that, over the rim of his martini glass, and walk away believing that he’s some sort of monk sitting under a tree. By what hypnotic power can you talk about smaller government while waging a trillion-dollar war, and have everyone believe what you said and disregard what you’re doing?

    Admittedly, they attack certain government functions, but it has nothing to do with shrinking government, and everything to do with protecting special interests that are adverse to those particular programs.

  49. Scientismist says

    ..the heroes and villains meet up when the match is over and share the spoils from the gullible public.

    As always:

    Dass er nur um trüben fische
    Hat der Hinz den Kunz bedroht.
    Doch zum Schluss vereint am Tische
    Essen sie des Armen Brot.

    That only he might fish in troubled waters
    Hinz has threatened Kunz.
    But finally united at the table
    Together they eat the poor people’s bread.

    — Bertolt Brecht, Die Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera) 1928

  50. Amphiox says

    still not buying that’s what’s happening Amphiox.

    seriously, the tiger is just there to catch your attention, and it is made of paper.

    You know where one can score up a reliable supply of matches?

  51. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    The first thing I did this morning after confirming that the shutdown happened was scramble around the NIH’s website and the website of my employer, trying to determine the status of my paychecks and funding.

    Apparently, because my grant is already funded, the funds have been allocated and can be drawn upon – both my supply budget and my salary.

    Nice.

    Still, I know lots of people who are in very different positions than me, and are facing either furloughs of indeterminate length or paychecks in the form of IOUs.

  52. David Marjanović says

    our very limited healthcare proposal

    Not yours. Romney’s.

    and need to be shipped off to Gitmo.

    …no.

    Jon Stewart, as always, skewered the news and roasted it to a fine turn:

    My jaw joints hurt. And I didn’t even get all references. :-)

    it’s outrageously outrageous.

    Makes me think “Overton Window”

    Yep.

    I think you’re ignoring the individual selfishness of House Republicans; they are simply afraid of being deselected by the Tea Party dominated party base next year if they treat Obama as if he was the legitimate President.

    That much is clear.

    If it’s a legitimate government, the GOP has ways to try to shut that whole thing down…….

    That’s what I’ve been thinking all this time; I didn’t manage to put it into words that well…

  53. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    David:

    If it’s a legitimate government, the GOP has ways to try to shut that whole thing down…….

    That’s what I’ve been thinking all this time; I didn’t manage to put it into words that well…

    You do get the reference, right?

  54. carlie says

    So all of the churches in the US immediately put out statements that they will gladly support anyone who is going to be missing food stamps or payments or paychecks during this time, what with all the money they save by not paying taxes in the first place, right?

    Right?

  55. unclefrogy says

    if you just look from the outside a little and look long term the only thing that is consistent here is the basically undemocratic results of everything the conservative forces strive for. The blockage will only stop when the “republic” is abolished and we install the new Caesar to bring order and restore the “True Ideals” on which this country was really settled and founded. power and wealth.
    Few came across the ocean and braved the hardships of the frontier for self determination alone.
    It has always been an after thought maybe a rationalization that it was for freedom and democracy and the dignity of man or even salvation of the heathen who were already here.
    the conservatives are the inheritors of the tory mentality and will vote a king given the chance.
    despite all the word salad to the contrary they are the royalists in this time that is the long time direction they lean.

    here is something
    To quote Jonathan Cainer:

    “Why do we love the idea that people might be secretly working together to control and organize the world? Because we don’t like to face the fact that our world runs on a combination of chaos, incompetence and confusion.

    uncle frogy

  56. Doug Hudson says

    The plutocrats (led by the Koch brothers) want to return the country to the pre-populist “Age of the Robber Barons” of the mid to late 19th Century, when the rich ruled with limited government interference. The last thirty years have seen the gradual dismantling of the Great Society and the severe weakening of the unions; now we are close to the endgame, crippling the government and rolling back the last vestiges of the New Deal.

    Conspiracy theory? Hardly–look at the money that plutocrats have poured into the Tea Party. They are using the nativism and racism of a significant minority of white Americans (roughly 23%) as a bludgeon.

    Child labor, company stores, pinkerton detectives–yknow, the Gilded Age.

  57. unclefrogy says

    the golden age you know before the idea of a republic was born before any 18 century revolutions occurred may not before the Magna Carta so long as the rich and powerful get a say who cares about the rest. you know the market will take care of them even if the majority are reduced to little more than serfs who own nothing but debt.

    uncle frogy

  58. dianne says

    If I were a terrorist, I might think that this was the moment to strike, while the feds were distracted, furloughing the people who might catch me before my evil deed was complete, and generally less effective than usual. Then again, I might decide that an attack was redundant and just spend my time campaigning for the Tea Party candidates instead.

  59. spandrel says

    I would have thought Republicans would love Yosemite. Sam’s always recklessly shooting guns into the air, he’d fit right in.

  60. A Masked Avenger says

    The plutocrats (led by the Koch brothers) want to return the country to the pre-populist “Age of the Robber Barons” of the mid to late 19th Century, when the rich ruled with limited government interference.

    I can’t speak to what the Koch brothers are about, but the “Robber Barons” are at least partly shrouded in myth: they were not rugged individualists engaging in free enterprise. They were aided and abetted by the government they bought and paid for.

    The transcontinental railroad is a decent example of that. The Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads were funded by large government subsidies. The subsidies were $16,000 per-mile for normal grades, or $48,000 per mile for some steep grades and $32,000 per mile for others, plus a land grant of 10 square miles of free land for every mile of track laid (later doubled to 20 square miles). They found collecting these subsidies to be more profitable than actually running a railroad, so they built shoddy, unusable track on grades too steep for actual use, mile after mile. They even laid track on top of ice and snow, rather than stop for winter. The railroads ran track parallel to each other across Utah, to avoid meeting up and ending the subsidy. In addition, rival work gangs attacked each other and destroyed each other’s trackage, which was rebuilt with additional subsidy. The President eventually intervened and ordered the railroads to join their tracks, which they promptly did. After completion, much of it had to be rebuilt, because it was unsuitable for use. The Union Pacific railroad went bankrupt a few years later, having essentially done a great deal of business laying subsidized track, and very little actually operating as a railroad.

    When you look at the fraud and corruption, on the one hand, and the callous disregard for the Irish and Chinese workers’ lives, on the other, the owners of these railroads were the very picture of the “Robber Baron.” However, they were not free market capitalists; they were wholly dependent on government to finance their operations and to create their monopoly through land grants and preferential treatment.

    I’d suggest that we don’t need to “go back to” that Gilded Age; little has changed. The mantle has passed from railroad tycoons to defense contractors, but otherwise the status is pretty much quo.

  61. Esteleth, statistically significant to p ≤ 0.001 says

    Right, exactly. They like feeding off of the government teat. That’s awesome. It’s those pesky things called “labor laws” that prohibit them from paying 5-year-olds 50 cents a day to climb into blast furnaces naked that are bugging them.

  62. pHred says

    Ah – my students can’t do their homework. They have to download data from government websites to do the activities and some of them are down now. Fun wow!

  63. says

    Ichthyic #11

    Sorry, but this is NOT as simple as a group of crazy extremists trying to extort the government for some ill-begotten ideology.

    Seems pretty obvious that this, and the previous “sequester” are merely distractions for some much larger issue.

    Yes and no. The endgame is a fascistic oligarchy, fronted by a dictatorial strongman. That’s always the endgame of conservative politics. The shutdown kills almost all the parts of government they don’t like, while allowing them to continue to exercise authority and apply force at home and abroad. The endgame is to keep things this way, because that’s how fascists operate.


    A Masked Avenger
    # 51

    If you go back to the depression, you’ll observe that FDR’s largesse was not distributed according to the poverty and suffering it was ostensibly aimed at addressing; it was distributed according to the votes FDR needed for reelection.

    And also (explicitly) according to where Communists were beleived to be gaining a foothold; staving off a communist revolution was one of the stated reasons for the New Deal.


    unclefrogy
    #72

    the conservatives are the inheritors of the tory mentality and will vote a king given the chance.
    despite all the word salad to the contrary they are the royalists in this time that is the long time direction they lean

    Fascists. The word you’re looking for is fascists.

  64. Mark Heil says

    Why keep anything running? If they’re going to shut down the government, they should be forced to SHUT EVERYTHING DOWN. No Social Security, no military pay, no air traffic controllers, cease military operations, FBI, etc. Then we’ll see how popular they are.

  65. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    Fascists. The word you’re looking for is fascists.

    Oh, come now, just because they try to defend “tradition”, fear the stranger, try to appeal to the middle class’s fear of the poor, are obsessed with plots, believe in constant warfare, show contempt for the weak, engage in selective populism, and use an impoverished vocabulary in order to limit critical reasoning, surely we can’t call them fascist.

    Am I right, Umberto?

    Um, Umberto, why the facepalm?

  66. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Huh, this list says food stamps will go on. USA Today. I don’t know of anyone who actually gets benefits on the 1st (A last names get it then) but my mom gets hers on the 4th (her husband’s H last name) so I guess we call her card (or try to use it if the number doesn’t work) and see if she got this months food stamps.

    We don’t get ours til the 7th and because I’m so freaking paranoid about everything, I actually have a bit to last the next week or two. Beyond that tho? I shudder to think. If this lasts longer or if we really don’t get our stamps, I’ll update ya’ll in The Lounge.

    For now, I’ve got calls to make on my Safelink phone while I can (Does that program get screwed too?) to update my food bank list and go cry for awhile.

    *mutters* Goddamn stress, goddamn insecurity, goddamn depression, goddamn fucking shit…*mutters*

  67. says

    @peptron #8

    What is going on in the US? The GOP seems to be becoming more and more extreme as time passes, and at an accelerated rate. Why is that? I doubt it’s the recession because the trend started way before that.

    Somebody (Maybe around here? I forget) recently posted this video, which points to the effects of congressional districting as fueling extremism. While I’m no expert, it does sound like a plausible explanation, or at least a partial one.

  68. Pteryxx says

    Safelink and Lifeline are run through a company, TracFone, and are NOT funded by the federal government. In any case, JAL, if you end up needing money to buy phone minutes, let us know.

    Despite these claims, often repeated by Fox News, the Lifeline program is not funded by taxpayers or the U.S. Treasury. As FactCheck.org noted in May 2012, “Lifeline is funded by telecom customers who pay a universal service fee as part of their phone bills. The fee technically is not a tax but a cross subsidy, the rules of which are determined by the Federal Communications Commission.” The article further noted that the U.S. Treasury “does not collect or handle the funds” collected by the universal service fee.

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/08/27/fox-continues-falsely-claiming-low-income-phone/195618

    …and to nobody’s surprise, Republicans hate the Safelink / Lifeline program too, claim it’s full of fraud and waste, et cetera et cetera. Damn those poors.

    In September, a video on The Drudge Report showed an Obama supporter explaining why she wanted to re-elect the president. In a misguided way, she pointed to the Lifeline program.

    “Everybody in Cleveland, low minorities, got Obama phones,” she said in the video. “Keep Obama in president, you know. He gave us a phone. He’s gonna do more.”

    For some, the video shows what is wrong with this country. Here was the so-called “47 percent,” the group that Mitt Romney said wouldn’t vote for him because he would not give them government handouts.

    Never mind that the “Obama phone” moniker is belied by Lifeline’s history. The program began under Republican President Ronald Reagan.

    http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2013/jul/04/program-provides-free-phones-to-poor/

  69. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    87
    Pteryxx

    Huh, I had no idea. Thanks! That’s pretty awesome of that company.

  70. robert79 says

    So… have the Republican senator’s/congressmen’s salaries been shut down as well? Technically speaking they ARE government employees, aren’t they?

  71. throwaway, gut-punched says

    So… have the Republican senator’s/congressmen’s salaries been shut down as well? Technically speaking they ARE government employees, aren’t they?

    Several of them, Ted Cruz included, are posturing by donating their cheques to charity. I’d call it an effort at solidarity except that those furloughed do not have million dollar bank accounts and did not make the choice to cut their own legs out from under them.

  72. Ogvorbis: Heading down the Failure Road. Again. says

    This is from Wife:

    If the GOP is so certain that the ACA will be an unmitigated disaster, that it will kill people, that it will destroy the economy, they should let it go into effect and then, if it fails as they claim it will, they can point to it and say, “I told you so.” The problem is, they know that, for most people, it will be popular and will work (to an extent) and that scares the shit out of them.

  73. says

    Oggie:
    Wife is exactly right– my mom said nearly the same thing today. “If they can ruin the entire government, nobody will notice that the ACA is doing what it’s supposed to do.”

    One has to wonder, since the Republican are willing to nuke the government and economy over A HEALTHCARE PLAN THAT THEY CREATED, what they would have done if a single-payer system was put into place?

  74. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Saw Elysium Sunday night. It’s kind of a nice allegory.

    Kruger is the tea party. We just hit the mirror scene. >.>

  75. Pteryxx says

    Bit of Republican background via Krugman:

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/09/house-gops-legislative-strike.html

    But the decision House Republicans made in January has set the party on the course it has followed since. If you want to grasp why Republicans are careening toward a potential federal government shutdown, and possibly toward provoking a sovereign debt crisis after that, you need to understand that this is the inevitable product of a conscious party strategy. Just as Republicans responded to their 2008 defeat by moving farther right, they responded to the 2012 defeat by moving right yet again. Since they had begun from a position of total opposition to the entire Obama agenda, the newer rightward lurch took the form of trying to wrest concessions from Obama by provoking a series of crises.

    The first element of the strategy is a kind of legislative strike. Initially, House Republicans decided to boycott all direct negotiations with President Obama, and then subsequently extended that boycott to negotiations with the Democratic Senate. (Senate Democrats have spent months pleading with House Republicans to negotiate with them, to no avail.) This kind of refusal to even enter negotiations is highly unusual. The way to make sense of it is that Republicans have planned since January to force Obama to accede to large chunks of the Republican agenda, without Republicans having to offer any policy concessions of their own.

    [...]

    The history is important because much of the news coverage and centrist commentary has leaned heavily on the idea that the crises in Washington have come about because of some nebulous failure of bipartisanship.

    Also see ThinkProgress, among others, sampling the flood of both-sides media coverage.

    And from MediaMatters, What Epic Propaganda Looks Like:

    The permanent misinformation model built to try to tear down Obamacare has troubling implications for future policy fights. Just as the Republicans’ radical attempt to shut down the entire federal government in an effort to defund an existing law has no precedence in modern American history, the accompanying four-year propaganda campaign is likely unmatched, too.

    “Remarkably persistent myths” is how MSNBC’s Chris Hayes last week described the foundation of this campaign. I’d suggest that’s a polite way of describing the determined lies that have been regurgitated robotically across conservative media platforms:

    Obama will allow “forced home inspections” by government agents.
    Obamacare is “sticking it to the seniors”
    Obama is creating a “nationalized health care system.”

    [...]

    But here’s what is disturbing. Unlike sprawling controversies under the previous Democratic administration, in which Bill Clinton’s professional enemies at least pretended to follow a paper trail that eventually led nowhere with regards to Whitewater and Travelgate and other manufactured “scandals,” today’s myth-makers largely turn a blind eye to that model.

    There’s no “investigation” that’s fueling the health care freak out. There are no new revelations that would logically prompt this kind of hysterical strategy for a law that hasn’t even been implemented yet. (In fact, unfolding news about the plan has often been quite positive.)

    Instead, it’s a propaganda campaign designed to inhabit the conservative bubble that has come to define Republican failures under Obama.

  76. says

    The “get a job” thing. He either thinks there are X million empty positions for the x million unemployed, or is there a single job opening the x million are supposed to fight over?

    Uh.. Yes? lol

    One of these days, I swear I am going to use my “unused” blogger account to run satire on some of this stuff, but.. I have almost any damn thing better to do that waste my time getting hate mail from these people’s supporters for it, honestly. My latest thought process would have been something like this – “Elected Board of Directors not going to prosecute shutdown of banking software by other members of the same board. The result is, and continues to be, a lack of access to funds, by everyone with an account with ‘insert_name’ bank, including the paying of wages of most of the employees at their many branches. Discussions with police investigators resulted in them telling this journalist that their hands where tied, and even thought it should be obviously illegal, the board, and the banks president, who passed several new regulations, which benefited low income account holders, leading to the protest and shutting down of the banks computer systems, all insisted that they would not press charges. Questions presented to state authorities, who seemed uncertain about what to do about the issue, included the word terro….

    Editor note: We chose to publish this incomplete article after the authors unexpected need to visit a family member in Cuba. During his flight his plane went down, its unknown at this time if he survived. Our hopes are with him and his family, especially the ailing uncle that the bank, who ones this paper, told us he was on his way to visit at the time of the accident. As an added misfortune, it seems his home is being foreclosed on, and leans have been placed on all of the equipment that he uses to write his articles, before transmitting them to the office. We had no idea he was in such dire financial straits.”

    Or, well.. The version I had in my head like 6 hours ago was actually quite a bit better, but. :p

  77. says

    Why keep anything running? If they’re going to shut down the government, they should be forced to SHUT EVERYTHING DOWN. No Social Security, no military pay, no air traffic controllers, cease military operations, FBI, etc. Then we’ll see how popular they are.

    Such limitless shutdown would be manipulable by the Republican party. The Republican party has so much money flowing about, it could starve out Democrats by living off of their wealth until the Democrats had to resign to get jobs to feed themselves.

    Even if not applicable here, it certainly would be applicable in some situations, enough to still give pay to Congressmen.

  78. says

    @Pteryxx #94

    Thanks for that link. I’ve been arguing that point with the horde of “ERMAGURD CONGRESS” comments I’ve been seeing all day.

    My problem with that blanket rhetoric is that it puts further pressure to compromise on people who absolutely cannot afford to compromise here.

  79. says

    At this point I consider them to be little better than anarchists.

    I strongly resent that comparison. I agree with Nick that anarchist rhetoric has a tendency to over-focus on the government and therefore aid conservative elites, but it’s not actually accurate to say that starving the poor in favor of the rich is “little better than” deconstruction of power structures in favor of genuine self-rule. It’s not any kind of better, in fact; it’s worse.

    - – - – - -

    there simply is no way this is all about teaparty asshats taking over government, while the entire majority just sits on its hands.

    I’ll just remind everyone of this essay. Doesn’t matter whether you agree with the classification of the pattern, the pattern seems to be partially what we’re seeing in the U.S. right now, and certainly within the Republican party:

    1)diagnosis the ills of democratic(-ish) society and proposed fixes based primarily on “mobilizing passions”: primacy of the in-group; threat to the social order that had favored the in-group, justifying any level of “defense” against the threat; fear of corruption or “decadence” seeping in from some from of cosmopolitanism and/or liberalism; desire for integration of group into “brotherhood” that is meant to be pure from the corruption; boosting self-esteem through elevation of the group-status/power; charismatic leadership, need for strong leaders; glorification of violence in “defense” of the group as as means of restoration of the “correct” social order.

    2)Taking advantage of perceived failures of existing political structures in protecting the (purity of) the in-group, a gap that comes to be filled with militant citizens’ groups which then become significant players in the political landscape

    3) Access to power via alliance with traditionalist/conservative elites: “polarization within civil society”; “political deadlock because the Right, the heir to power but unable to continue to wield it alone, refuses to accept a growing Left as a legitimate governing partner”; alliance with conservative elites who feel threatened by non-conservative (usually left-wing) politics, shoring up these elites hold on power while giving the populist right-wing a foot in the door of established politics.

    4)A struggle for control of right-wing power between traditional conservative elites, the populist right-wing base, and the populist right-wing leaders who got into power via the traditional elites

    5)Someone wins: either the traditional right-wing elites (re-)gain control (and you get whatever the typical authoritarianism associated with the particular elite is: corporatism, military dictatorship, or theocracy); or the populist right-wing wins, and you get fascism.

    It’s slower than “traditional” fascism because the most powerful elite in the U.S. (business) has its claws in the Democratic party as well, so they’re not quite as freaked out by the possible raise of a genuine left as was the case in 1920′s Europe. And it might mean it won’t succeed as fascism and instead end up as a corporate feudalism of some sort instead.

  80. Nick Gotts says

    Jadehawk@98,

    The biggest difference from Paxton’s analysis seems to be that fascist or “pre-fascist” movements are on the rise both in the USA and Europe, and yet there is no “growing Left”, except in Greece, and possibly Spain and Portugal. (We’ve also seen highly unpleasant though non-fascist right-wing governments come to power in the UK, Canada, Australia and Japan, but presumably this is consistent with Paxton’s analysis – there’s no growing left, so the traditional right-wing elites are not driven toward fascism.) But in the absence of a serious threat from the left, why the rise of the extreme right in the USA and much of Europe?

  81. says

    Nick Gotts #99

    But in the absence of a serious threat from the left, why the rise of the extreme right in the USA and much of Europe?

    Because they can. It’s a natural outgrowth of conservative policies, and a pretty much inevitable result of their implementation. They’ve spent the last 30-40 years thoroughly demonizing what passes for the left in the U.S. (And similarly in the U.K, the Left there seems to have suffered hard since Thatcher; I don’t know nearly enough about Australian or Japanese politics to comment on them), to the point where the high-RWA types who are the usual footsoldiers of fascism sincerely believe that there’s a growing far-left movement that needs to be fought. Then too, bad economic times are good soil for fascism (there’s a study I saw indicating that stress/high cognitive loads tends to encourage ‘conservative’ decision making; I haven’t time to look it up just now, but I’ll try to find it later). They’re also often good fodder for far leftists, because self-interest will often lead people in the direction that says they’ll definitely get food, shelter, etc., but as noted, there’s not really a far-left movement in the U.S right now. There appears to be a great deal of sympathy for a number of far-left ideas, but only when they’re not verbally associated with leftism.

  82. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Regarding Europe: economic crisis + immigration + response to unification under EU are my bet on most prominent factors in the rise of far right wing
    Immigration and response to EU get the nationalist juices flowing and nationalism usually draws the mob in. Then they are loud and proud, and draw in the poor suckers who believe in the promised economic paradise.