You say Shutdown. I say Treason.

otweet3The federal government, as I’m sure you all know by now, was forced to shut down today, over conflicts arising from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, better know as Obamacare. All government services deemed “non-essential” in accordance with the Antideficiency Act, were suspended, and more than 818,000 federal workers were furloughed, meaning that they were told to stay home without pay until such time that Congress is able to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government.

Here, by way of background, is an email sent out this afternoon by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, explaining how we got here.

Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to solve a real, honest-to-God problem.

Our health care system was broken. 48 million people in this country had no health insurance. Women couldn’t get access to cancer screenings. People with diabetes were denied health insurance because of pre-existing conditions. People with cancer hit the caps on their health insurance spending. And health spending in this country was growing far too fast.

So we worked hard, we compromised, and we came up with a solution. A solution that will substantially improve the lives of millions of Americans – because that’s the way a democracy works.

It’s time to end the debate about whether the Affordable Care Act should exist and whether it should be funded.

Congress voted for this law. President Obama signed this law. The Supreme Court upheld this law. The President ran for reelection on this law. His opponent said he would repeal it – and his opponent lost by five million votes.

Right now, Republicans are taking the government and the economy hostage, threatening serious damage to both unless the President agrees to gut the Affordable Care Act. For days, they even tried to change the law so that employers can deny women access to birth control coverage.

I am the mother of a daughter and the grandmother of granddaughters. I will never vote to let a group of backward-looking ideologues cut women’s access to birth control. We have lived in that world, and we are not going back. Not ever.

I see things like this and I wonder what alternate reality some of my colleagues are living in.

So let me be very clear about what is happening in the real world: The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land. Millions of people are counting on it – people who need health care coverage, people who need insurance policies that don’t disappear just when they are sickest.

The law is here to stay, and it will stay.

Now the government is shut down. We haven’t fixed the sequester because of all the obstruction. We haven’t finished a budget because of all the obstruction. We haven’t even passed a single appropriations bill because of all the obstruction.

The least we can do – the bare minimum we can do – would be to pass a “continuing resolution” to open the doors back up and turn the lights back on. We could ensure that over a million federal workers aren’t staying home for no reason. We could end the government shutdown.

But the Republicans have refused to do even that. They have shuttered the government unless the President agreed to de-fund the Affordable Care Act.

The threats may continue, but they are not working and they never will. In a democracy, hostage tactics are the last resort for those who can’t win their fights through elections, can’t win their fights in Congress, can’t win their fights for the Presidency, and can’t win their fights in Courts.

For this right-wing minority, hostage-taking is all they have left – a last gasp of those who cannot cope with the realities of our democracy.

The time has come for those legislators who cannot cope with the reality of our democracy to get out of the way – so that those of us in BOTH parties can get back to working on solving the real problems faced by the American people.

We have real work to do.

[Brilliant video of Elizabeth Warren saying pretty much the same thing on the floor of the Senate, just as the shutdown was going into effect, can be found here. If you only watch one video today, make this the one.]

995501_678113782199603_287479132_nThis, in other words, despite what you might be hearing in the media, is not just another instance of Washington gridlock. This isn’t a case of two intractable factions going head-to-head to the detriment of society. This is about the GOP refusing, after over 40 unsuccessful attempts to kill Obamacare, to accept that it really exists, and that there’s no legal recourse left to them. As Warren notes, it was passed in accordance with law and it was upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States. It is, as she says, “the law of the land.” And, yet, because a certain faction within the Republican party doesn’t agree with it, they’ve decided to bring our nation to its knees, putting our tenuous economic recovery in jeopardy and setting in motion a series of unwelcome events that will reverberate for years.

Among other things, I was just reading that, because of the shutdown, the NIH has stopped accepting patients for clinical trials, and the NASA Mars mission has been delayed until 2016. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here in Michigan, our State’s budget director is estimating that this gambit by Republicans in Congress will cost us approximately $18 million per day… funds, by the way, which we require to run Michigan’s food stamp and school lunch programs. So, it’s not just the families of the 818,000 federal workers who will feel “a little bit of discomfort” for a day or two. All of us will be effected by this, for years to come. (For those of you in academia, there’s an interesting conversation between scientists taking place right now on Reddit about how this shutdown will alter funding cycles and negatively impact their research, even after just one day.)

People, over the last 24 hours, have been searching for analogies that will resonate with people across the United States, many of whom, sadly, don’t even know what the Affordable Care Act really says. One of the best, which can be seen below, came from Jon Stewart, who told his audience that it’s like if the New York Giants had demanded 25 more points at the end of their most recent defeat, and threatened to destroy the NFL unless they got their way. My favorite analogy, however, comes from the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein, who had the following to say.

…In May 2007, 140 Democrats in the House of Representatives voted to defund the Iraq war. In September of the same year, Congress voted to increase the debt limit. Imagine if Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats had threatened to breach the debt ceiling unless Republicans agreed to defund the war. At that time, approval of the Iraq war was polled at 33% in favor and 64% against…

Can you imagine how the Republicans would have reacted had the Democrats shut down the government at that time? Pelosi and those who supported her would have been tried for treason. I can almost guarantee it. But, in this case, it’s somehow acceptable, because, I guess, Obama didn’t immediately offer to gut the Affordable Care Act upon hearing that the the Tea Party contingent in Congress didn’t like what the democratic process had given them… And that’s a point worth reiterating. As much as I dislike John Boehner, it’s really just the Tea Party folks that we’re talking about here. The leadership of the Republican party, as far as I can tell, knows that the debt ceiling needs to be lifted, but they just can’t find a way to get the obstructionists in line. Here, with more on that, is another clip from Ezra Klein.

…Boehner isn’t really in control of his House conference, and he has no idea how to get out of this. Remember, Boehner’s initial preference was to simply fund the government. His members forced him to accept Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s defunding plan. After the Senate rejected Cruz’s plan, Boehner again wanted to simply fund the government. He lost again. As the National Review’s Robert Costa reported, “For now, Boehner doesn’t have a plan beyond passing this resolution and waiting to see what happens.”

But we all share blame is this.

What did we expect would happen when we elected people, who openly profess to hate government, to run it?

Of course this was the inevitable outcome.

And, with that, I give you this clip from Esquire’s Charles Pierce, who thinks that this particular strain of mental illness can be traced all the way back to the Reagan administration.

…This is what they came to Washington to do — to break the government of the United States. It doesn’t matter any more whether they’re doing it out of pure crackpot ideology, or at the behest of the various sugar daddies that back their campaigns, or at the instigation of their party’s mouthbreathing base. It may be any one of those reasons. It may be all of them. The government of the United States, in the first three words of its founding charter, belongs to all of us, and these people have broken it deliberately. The true hell of it, though, is that you could see this coming down through the years, all the way from Ronald Reagan’s First Inaugural Address in which government “was” the problem, through Bill Clinton’s ameliorative nonsense about the era of big government being “over,” through the attempts to make a charlatan like Newt Gingrich into a scholar and an ambitious hack like Paul Ryan into a budget genius, and through all the endless attempts to find “common ground” and a “Third Way.” Ultimately, as we all wrapped ourselves in good intentions, a prion disease was eating away at the country’s higher functions. One of the ways you can acquire a prion disease is to eat right out of its skull the brains of an infected monkey. We are now seeing the country reeling and jabbering from the effects of the prion disease, but it was during the time of Reagan that the country ate the monkey brains…

I noted treason before. Here, for those of you who are unaware of the concept, is the definition:

“Under Article III, Section 3, of the Constitution, any person who levies war against the United States or adheres to its enemies by giving them Aid and Comfort has committed treason within the meaning of the Constitution. The term aid and comfort refers to any act that manifests a betrayal of allegiance to the United States, such as furnishing enemies with arms, troops, transportation, shelter, or classified information. If a subversive act has any tendency to weaken the power of the United States to attack or resist its enemies, aid and comfort has been given.”

Maybe I’m missing something, but wouldn’t shutting down the government during a time of war, and sending 400,000 Defense Department employees home, “weaken the power of the United States to attack or resist its enemies”? Cutting the Defense Department in half certainly doesn’t increase our power to attack and resist enemies, does it? I don’t know if we have any legal scholars in the audience, but I’d love to hear informed opinions as to why what we’re now seeing unfold in D.C. isn’t considered treason.

Maybe it’s a can of worms that we just don’t want to open up, but I’m of the opinion that events, such as the ones we’re witnessing now, call for drastic measures. And I think we’ve pussyfooted around the Tea Party long enough. It’s a cancer to our democracy and it needs to be dealt with now, while we can still salvage what’s left of our country. I know I’ll likely be called an alarmist, but to not take swift action now, in my opinion, is to invite civil war later. Like it or not, that’s where this is heading.

In conclusion, here’s one last relevant quote. This one comes form The New Yorker’s John Cassidy.

…Still, there are some worrying parallels. Like their forebears in places like France, Italy, and Germany, a good number of American conservatives sincerely believe that their government has ignored their wishes and betrayed not just them but the very notion of Americanness. History suggests this is a dangerous road to go down. Once an elected government is deemed illegitimate, in whatever sense, normal democratic politics, with its give and take, is difficult to sustain. And that, of course, is what we are now witnessing. On parts of the right, policies on issues such as immigration, gun control, and health-care reform are no longer viewed on their individual merits. They are all part of a Manichean struggle over the future of America. And with the first non-white President nine months into his second term, at least some G.O.P. activists and media incendiaries have infused the fight with a very personal and vindictive tone…

So, that’s where we are today… teetering on the edge of collapse, waiting for Boehner and the Republican powers-that-be to finally stand up to monkey-brain-eating lunatics in their party, and force them to either get in line, or go back to selling snake oil, or whatever it was that they did before. I’m not optimistic. I think we may have already missed our window. I think the cancer may have already spread too far. I guess we’ll see tomorrow whether this is the end of the Tea Party, or our country. One or the other, in my opinion, is inevitable at this point.

In the meantime, here’s Jon Stewart to make us see the whole thing as one big, hilarious joke.

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  1. Elf
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    A group of WWII Veterans tore down fences yesterday to get to the WWII Memorial that had been closed because of the government shutdown.

    The bad press associated with the shutdown is going to kill the Republican party.

  2. Thom Elliott
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    As my friend James Murry said “Allah be praised! The Great Satan is paralyzed!” If only Osama bin Laden could have known the nihilistic forces of libertarian maniacs inside the US govt could do a better job of sending our society into cascading systems failures (over a consitutional health care law) then a full scale attack on our economy. Bin Laden could have just sat back and watched the GOP do his job for him. I’m sure Iman al-Zawhari is laughing his guts out from his goat herding cave in the steppes of Afghanistan.

  3. Posted October 2, 2013 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    This will win them the Senate, and then the executive in 2016. We will be living in a Libertarian paradise before 2020.

  4. anonymous
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    But yet we keep hearing that it’s just as much Obama’s fault for not meeting them half way. The media deserves much of the blame for the current situation. They stopped reporting objectively years ago for fear of being seen as biased.

  5. Thom Elliott
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    I would like some of our capitalist, economically savvy commentators to explain to me how this endless feedback loop of lurching from crisis to crisis, with an ever diminishing time between them, in a thoroughly ungovernerable morasse of mutual loathing amongst both the people and legislators, as anything other than ‘late capital’. MIT predicts the end of the global economy by 2030, could it be that, like the climate change scientists, in terms of rate of change, all predictions are being blown away? This is the result of the fundamental lack of abilty for human societies to exist in electromagnetic time, universal time is too fast for human beings.

  6. Posted October 2, 2013 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Please point me to the study where researchers at MIT have predicted the end of the global economy in 2030.

  7. Thom Elliott
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Can’t hyperlink from my phone, but has an article. Just google “MIT global economy 2030”

  8. Posted October 2, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    OK, thanks.

  9. Meta
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    To your point.

    During an appearance on MSNBC’s Hardball on Tuesday, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) told host Chris Matthews that “probably 30 or 40 Republicans” in Congress reject President Barack Obama’s legitimacy in office and are essentially trying to undo his presidency.

    Matthews told King that he had heard several members of the GOP make incendiary statements about Obama, implying that they couldn’t stomach the reality that he was actually elected president. King replied that there is, in fact, a sizable number of Republicans who think that way:

    MATTHEWS: I’ve had members, they know who they are, they say — ‘I really can’t say with these lips that this man, Barack Obama, was elected president.’ They choke on that. How many are there in Congress on your side that represent that rejectionist front? […]

    KING: I would say there are probably 30 or 40 who are like that. As there were a number of Democrats who felt that way about George W. Bush, and going back to when you and I first met, Republicans who felt that way about Bill Clinton… This is a very dangerous aspect to our government… The fact that we have people who are willing to demonize the president of the United States because he’s from a different party… and now, obviously, with President Obama, it’s definitely there.

    Read more:

  10. Meta
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    On the other side of the aisle, the government servers crashed because so many people wanted to sign up for Obamacare.

    From the Washington Post:

    The juxtaposition of Tuesday’s two top stories was extraordinary.

    The top story all day was that Republicans had shut down the federal government because President Obama wouldn’t defund or delay the Affordable Care Act. The other major story was that the government’s servers were crashing because so many people were trying to see if they could get insurance through Obamacare.

    So on the one hand, Washington was shut down because Republicans don’t want Obamacare. On the other hand, Obamacare was nearly shut down because so many Americans wanted Obamacare.

    Read more:

  11. XXX
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    How many of these 30 or 40 that Mathew and King speak of are from Michigan?

  12. XXX
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    I answered my own question thanks to Wikipedia. ( We currently have three.

    Tim Walberg, Republican U.S. Representative from Michigan’s 7th congressional district (2007–09, 2011–present) and a member of the Tea Party Caucus.

    Kerry Bentivolio, Republican U.S. Representative from Michigan’s 11th congressional district (2013-present)

    Justin Amash, Republican U.S. Representative from Michigan’s 3rd congressional district (2011–present). In May 2012, Susan Davis of USA Today described Amash as “Tea Party-aligned”.

  13. XXX
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Bin Laden only shut down the US for one day.

  14. anonymous
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Has anyone called the offices of Amash, Bentivolio and Walberg?

  15. KK
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    They don’t care about killing the government. It’s a badge of honor. Look at the organizations hit the hardest. The EPA and the Department of Education. They’ve like nothing better than to kill both. As long as the military is functioning, and they’re getting paid, that’s all they care about. You cannot bargain in good faith with people who want to destroy the government that We the People built.

  16. Meta
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Joan Walsh on Salon.

    On the day the Affordable Care Act takes effect, the U.S. government is shut down, and it may be permanently broken. You’ll read lots of explanations for the dysfunction, but the simple truth is this: It’s the culmination of 50 years of evolving yet consistent Republican strategy to depict government as the enemy, an oppressor that works primarily as the protector of and provider for African-Americans, to the detriment of everyone else. The fact that everything came apart under our first African-American president wasn’t an accident, it was probably inevitable.

    People talk about the role of race in Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy”: how Pat Buchanan and Kevin Phillips helped him lure the old Dixiecrats into the Republican Party permanently. Far less well known was the GOP’s “Northern Strategy,” which targeted so-called white ethnics – many of them from the Catholic “Sidewalks of New York” like my working-class family, in the words of Kevin Phillips. Without a Northern Strategy designed to inflame white-ethnic fears of racial and economic change, Phillips’ imaginary but still influential notion of a “permanent Republican majority” would have been unimaginable.

    “The principal force which broke up the Democratic (New Deal) coalition is the Negro socioeconomic revolution and liberal Democratic ideological inability to cope with it,” Phillips wrote. “Democratic ‘Great Society’ programs aligned that party with many Negro demands, but the party was unable to defuse the racial tension sundering the nation.” Phillips was not trying to defuse that tension, far from it – he was trying to lure those white ethnics to the GOP (although he later broke with the party he helped create.) But his Northern Strategy truly came to fruition in 1980, with the election of Ronald Reagan. Where Nixon swept the South, Reagan was able to take much of the North and West, too.

    Read more:

  17. Posted October 2, 2013 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    I noted yesterday that, as a result of the shutdown, new patients wouldn’t be able to enroll in potentially life saving clinical trials and the like. Well, it’s just come to my attention that one of these folks lives down the road in Brighton. Here’s a clip from Fox 2.

    Each day the government remains shutdown limits the number of days a Brighton father could have left to live.

    31-year-old Mark Howell was diagnosed with stage-four melanoma just two weeks after his son was born about a year ago. The cancer has continued to grow and spread, and Howell’s body is not responding to chemotherapy. Doctors are recommending an aggressive procedure to attack the cancer.

    But that procedure is only available at the National Institute of Cancer – a facility now closed off to new patients as a result of the government shutdown.

    “The number of new patients that are now shut out from being accepted are about 200 patients, I think it was a week. And about 30 of those are children. And that’s the one that I really struggled with is … you know, we have children that are much worse off than our situation. And they’re not going to have an opportunity to get treatment, perhaps at all, and it might be their very last chance to survive,” Howell tells Fox 2’s Erika Erickson.

  18. EOS
    Posted October 2, 2013 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    NIH could be funded. But Harry Reid doesn’t care about children dying of cancer. Loss of freedom and mandated individual insurance is more important.

  19. wobblie
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 4:03 am | Permalink

    the tyranny of the minority is far more important to Boehner and friends. The Dems have already capitulated approving the Ryan budget–but for the haters that is not enough.

  20. EOS
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Most popular question at — “How do I get an exemption”

  21. Thom Elliott
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    “Loss of freedom” that is hilarious, all of us entangled in a technological surveillance state, monitored legally by NIH, forced to encounter literally thousands of advertisements a day, having to work for the rest of your life to pay mountains of student loans, being owned by the legal loan sharking business of credit ect. Our so called founding fathers would be utterly terrified by the technological totalitarianism we have become. What freedom are you referring to EOS? The freedom to be a conservative Republican capitalist faux xtian flesh eating car driving cellphone addicted heterosexual nonreader and nothing else?

  22. anonymous
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Obamacare was drafted at the Heritage Foundation.
    Chuck Hagel is our Secretary of Defense.
    Our civil liberties are evaporating before our eyes.
    The drones keep attacking, and Gitmo is still open.
    The bankers are walking free.

    This is a conservative administration. Just because he identifies as a Democrat, though, and has black skin, he’s seen as a socialist who wants to give things to the freeloading poor.

    You people are so stupid.

  23. John Galt jr.
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    “conservative Republican capitalist faux xtian flesh eating car driving cellphone addicted heterosexual nonreader and nothing else”

    Dad, you should have some business cards made!

    I’d just add “unread bible clutching” and “assault weapon toting”.

  24. Mars
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    CNN has the scoop on why this is pushing the Mars launch back by two years:

    The effects of the U.S. federal government shutdown are threatening to ripple out into the solar system.

    NASA’s next mission to Mars, due to launch next month, is in danger of being delayed.
    “We are just inside of seven weeks to launch and we are shut down,” Bruce Jakosky, the head of the mission, said late Wednesday.

    The project, known as Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN), aims to put a spacecraft in orbit around the Red Planet to study how it lost much of its atmosphere and became a desolate world.

    MAVEN is currently scheduled to take off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on November 18 and has a 20-day launch window.

    If it misses that opportunity, the team will have to wait more than two years for their next chance to launch, according to Jakosky, a planetary scientist at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

  25. Ezra Klein by proxy
    Posted October 3, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    To the White House, the shutdown/debt ceiling fight is quite simple, and quite radical: Republicans are trying to create a new, deeply undemocratic pathway through which a minority party that lost the last election can enact an agenda that would never pass the normal legislative process. It’s nothing less than an effort to use the threat of a financial crisis to nullify the results of the last election. And the White House isn’t going to let it happen.

  26. Posted October 3, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Rest assured, TSA grope downs, VIPR checkpoints, drone attacks, SWAT team raids, tax collection, torturing terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, arming jihadists in Syria and running guns to Mexican drug dealers will all continue unimpeded – as will NSA domestic spying.

  27. Posted October 3, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    What did you expect, Anon? Those are all essential government functions.

  28. Meta
    Posted October 7, 2013 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Coup d’état in America: Details are now surfacing about the coordinated effort to crash our government.

    From the New York Times:

    Shortly after President Obama started his second term, a loose-knit coalition of conservative activists led by former Attorney General Edwin Meese III gathered in the capital to plot strategy. Their push to repeal Mr. Obama’s health care law was going nowhere, and they desperately needed a new plan.

    Out of that session, held one morning in a location the members insist on keeping secret, came a little-noticed “blueprint to defunding Obamacare,” signed by Mr. Meese and leaders of more than three dozen conservative groups.

    It articulated a take-no-prisoners legislative strategy that had long percolated in conservative circles: that Republicans could derail the health care overhaul if conservative lawmakers were willing to push fellow Republicans — including their cautious leaders — into cutting off financing for the entire federal government.

    “We felt very strongly at the start of this year that the House needed to use the power of the purse,” said one coalition member, Michael A. Needham, who runs Heritage Action for America, the political arm of the Heritage Foundation. “At least at Heritage Action, we felt very strongly from the start that this was a fight that we were going to pick.”

    To many Americans, the shutdown came out of nowhere. But interviews with a wide array of conservatives show that the confrontation that precipitated the crisis was the outgrowth of a long-running effort to undo the law, the Affordable Care Act, since its passage in 2010 — waged by a galaxy of conservative groups with more money, organized tactics and interconnections than is commonly known.

    With polls showing Americans deeply divided over the law, conservatives believe that the public is behind them. Although the law’s opponents say that shutting down the government was not their objective, the activists anticipated that a shutdown could occur — and worked with members of the Tea Party caucus in Congress who were excited about drawing a red line against a law they despise.

    A defunding “tool kit” created in early September included talking points for the question, “What happens when you shut down the government and you are blamed for it?” The suggested answer was the one House Republicans give today: “We are simply calling to fund the entire government except for the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare.”

    Read more:

  29. Meta
    Posted October 7, 2013 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Best fake headline of the day.

    “GOP to Start Throwing Babies into the Potomac; Blame Dems for Not Stopping Them”

    Read more:–Blame-Dems-for-Not-Stopping-Them.html

    Runner up.

    “Tea Party Leaders Announce Support For Deal In Exchange For Malia Obama”

    As the federal government shutdown stretches into its fourth day, 20 members of the Republican’s Tea Party faction announced this morning they would be willing to support a clean budget resolution bill in exchange for the president’s firstborn daughter, Malia Obama.

    Read more:,34101/

  30. Bob Reich by proxy
    Posted October 8, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    “I would dispel the rumor that is going around that you hear on every newscast, that if we don’t raise the debt ceiling, we will default on our debt,” says Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. “We won’t. We’ll continue to pay our interest.”

    This is crazy talk. While the Treasury Department could prioritize interest payments after October 17 – the day the Treasury Department says it no longer has legal authority to pay the nation’s debts – and not pay Social Security and Medicare, this would buy a few days at most. Meanwhile, interest rates will soar, stock prices will plummet, and the global economy will begin spiraling downward. So why are Republicans talking like this? Because they want to sound as if they’re willing to blow up the economy if they don’t get their way. A crazy person with a bomb is much scarier than someone holding a bomb who looks and acts reasonable. Sounding crazy is part of the Republican bargaining strategy.

    But the President and the Democrats must not give in. If we get to October 17th and the Republicans are still holding the nation hostage, the President has only one option: He must ignore the debt ceiling and order the Treasury to continue to pay all the nation’s bills – relying on Section 4 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which says the “validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law … shall not be questioned.” The debt itself is clearly “authorized by law” because it’s the direct result of laws authorizing the U.S. to spend and to tax. The showdown over the debt ceiling is over payment of the debt, not the legality of the debt itself. If Republicans disagree, let them try to impeach the President.

  31. Nerkle Nerd
    Posted October 9, 2013 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    I wonder too (especially after reading that NY Times article about the advance planning of the shutdown strategy) whether charges of treason could be leveled. It is true that we would literally go to war if an enemy had inflicted this kind of damage on us.

    The only thing that gives me pause is that it sets a precedent, and the Republicans, given the slightest excuse, would play the “Treason” card against the Democrats. Shades of Macarthyism.

  32. Bob Reich by proxy
    Posted October 9, 2013 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    If you have a variable-rate mortgage, your payments are about to increase. If you’re trying to get a mortgage or sell your home, both are about to become more difficult. If you’re saving for your retirement, your stocks and bonds are already taking a hit. If you run a business, your sales are about to drop. And if you’re unemployed, you’re likely to remain that way.

    That’s because financial markets are getting spooked by the GOP’s hostage-taking and potential default on the nation’s debt. As recently as a month ago, investors were happy to make short-term loans to the U.S. government almost free of charge. Yesterday the one-month Treasury bill spiked to 0.27 percent — the highest rate since 2008. The stock market, meanwhile, continues to slide. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost nearly 6 percent of its value since mid-September when the extortion began.

    The practical question is whether those who are bankrolling the Republican Frankenstein monster decide it’s time to starve the beast. The answer depends on which set of GOP patrons is more powerful – the captains of industry and Wall Street who are becoming justifiably alarmed by the pending economic catastrophe, or the far-right Koch brothers and their billionaire allies who are dead set on destroying the U.S. government.

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] the shutdown was going into effect on Monday evening. I know that I already shared a link to it in my “treason” post, but, as it’s still the best piece of video that I’ve seen, as relates to this current […]

  2. […] where I don’t so much care if a particular Republican member of the House was one of 40-some treasonous zealots who, under the guidance of the Koch Brothers, were originally responsible for making this […]

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