The federal budget brawl

Moderated by Rick Badie
Today, we address the U.S. government shutdown, the nation’s first in 17 years. Who’s to blame? And was it “completely preventable,” as President Barack Obama wrote in a letter to federal government employees? Our guest writers share their perspectives on the budget brawl between Democrats and Republicans.

Democrats: Set pride aside

By Lynn Westmoreland

The two major political parties in this country have different opinions on how best to govern, often leading to disagreements. In the past, disagreements were resolved through communication. Unfortunately, both President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to negotiate and communicate with House Republicans to stop the government shutdown.

In an interview earlier this week, the president told NPR that he “shouldn’t have to offer anything” when it comes to the budget or debt ceiling debates. Sen. Reid told reporters he is “not going to negotiate.” There are reports he has urged the president to not meet with House Republicans at all.

I have said time and again that House Republicans don’t want a government shutdown. This is evident by the number of bills we have passed to try to stop the government from doing it. The House has passed four full appropriations bills and three separate continuing resolutions. They would have responsibly funded the government while protecting the American people from the harmful impact of the Affordable Care Act. Senate Democrats have rejected all of our attempts, not just by voting them down but by refusing to even debate and vote on two of the three.

The House sent the Senate legislation that would allow the two chambers to hold a conference to negotiate. Traditionally, when the chambers in Congress create different pieces of legislation, a “conference,”  of  both chambers is formed so the two sides can hammer out differences. Once again, Sen. Reid refused to debate the bill.

Twice this week, House Republicans tried to ease the pain of the shutdown by passing several, small, short-term bills that would reopen national parks and memorials, end the delay of veteran benefits and give the District of Columbia the authority to use its own revenue to continue daily operations. The bills would also provide funding for cancer research and pay military personnel in the National Guard and Reserve.

In all, the House has passed four appropriations bills, four pieces of legislation that could have averted this shutdown over the last two weeks, and five additional pieces of funding legislation that would help ease the shutdown. The Senate has only voted on one.

Because Senate Democrats and the president are refusing to communicate with House Republicans except through the media, it’s unclear what will happen next. However, I want to reassure everyone the House is still hard at work. We will continue to pass small continuing resolutions to try to open up as many portions of the government as we can. But our hands are tied unless Senate Democrats are willing to set aside pride and come to the negotiating table.

Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, a Republican, represents Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District.

House Republicans don’t get it

By Hank Johnson

House Republicans control just one-half of one of the three branches of government, but they seek to impose their will on the majority.

Love it or hate it, the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land. It was passed by Congress, signed into law by President Barack Obama, declared constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, and ratified by a majority of Americans when they re-elected the president for a second term.

The tea party wing of the Republican House caucus is holding America hostage in a selfish and reckless attempt to undo what has been lawfully done. Shutting down the government unless Congress kills Obamacare would destroy the extension of health care to 50 million uninsured or underinsured Americans. This attempt to kill this hard-won victory is undemocratic and destructive to the nation’s economic recovery.

A resolution funding the government sits in the House awaiting a vote. If Republican leadership would allow a simple “yes” or “no” vote on the “clean” continuing resolution already passed by the Senate, it would pass, and the government could reopen.

Even though they’ve already voted 45 times to defund or delay the health care law, this group of House Republicans is so obsessed with sabotaging the ACA that they’re willing to take the nation’s economy hostage.

While the shutdown is bad enough, we now face the prospect extremists will repeat this plot with the upcoming vote on raising the debt ceiling, which could cause the U.S. to default and cause a global economic crisis.

The consequences of the shutdown are already being felt: 800,000 government employees out of work, more than a million working without pay, offices that provide important services shuttered, and hungry children who depend on nutritional programs cut off from assistance. Some in Congress think it’s a good thing to shut down the government to exact ideological demands — costing the nation $150 million a day and about $1 billion a week.

Why? So we can put insurance companies back in charge? So we can prevent 50 million Americans from getting affordable insurance? So insurance companies can discriminate against women and people with pre-existing conditions?

Since going live at midnight Oct. 1, healthcare.gov has been visited more than 3 million times. Enrollment for 2014 has officially begun.

To all of this, my Republican colleagues say, “No.” They do so at the nation’s peril.

According to a new Quinnipiac poll, 72 percent of Americans are opposed to Congress shutting down the federal government to block implementation of the ACA. Nearly 60 percent of Americans reject cutting off funding to stop the law.

The obsession of the tea party with destroying health care reform and wounding the president has led Republicans astray.

A new United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection poll shows a plurality of Americans say that causing political problems for President Obama is now the GOP’s top priority in Washington.

The American people understand. Why don’t House Republicans get it?

Hank Johnson, a Democrat, represents Georgia’s 4th Congressional District.


51 comments Add your comment

Change

October 3rd, 2013
10:56 am

Sadly the two major parties DO NOT have different views on how to govern this country – and therein lies the problem Both believe that it is appropriate to steal a large portion of your income and distribute it to others. Both believe that it is appropriate for the federal government to be involved in activities far beyond what is clearly defined in Article 1 Section 8 of the US Constitution. Both believe in a massive overseas foreign empire that costs hundreds of billions of dollars a year to support. Both believe that the federal government should be micromanaging education, both believe that the federal government should be backing up loans so as to alleviate banks from responsibility, both support the Federal Reserve, which enables their massive deficit spending, destroys the value of the dollar and the purchasing power of savers (the backbone of a strong economy), and has been the cause of every financial crisis since it was created in 1913. Both support the failed war on drugs which has filled our prisons with millions of non-violent persons, destroyed families, created a massive black market filled with violence, high profits for criminals, and the corruption of the justice system at every level. Both support massive welfare programs for business – although each party hands out the welfare only to certain “favorites” while opposing the ones the other party hands out. I could go on for hours and hours.

The bottom line is that both major parties have absolutely NO respect for either the constitutional limits on government power or the hard working taxpayers that are being stolen from to pay for it. We are told at each election not how great each candidate is or how much they will stand up for freedom and liberty and the restoration of American political values, but instead how much worse the other guy is and how horrible it would be if a voter were to vote for a so-called third party’s candidate (as this might cause the other guy to win). We were told to be terrified of Al Gore and yet Bush got us into two unnecessary wars, one based on lies, and with the support of GOP representatives and senators, increased the national debt by trillions. At the same time, the police state, the NSA spying programs, the destruction of the 4th amendment protections and so much more got so much worse. We were told that McCain would be horrible and that Romney would be horrible and yet here we are with even higher national debts, a healthcare takeover that is destroying the system and jobs across America and the supposedly “civil liberties” and “anti-war” democrats won’t even oppose massive NSA violations of law or the numerous wars Obama continues to wage/start.

Really, there is a difference between the two major parties? Really?

We don’t have the Libertarians to blame for any of this mess. Certainly not the Constitutionalists, or the Greens, or the Peace and Freedom folks, or the American Independents, or any of the dozens of parties that have been trying against all odds to even get past the massive hurdles the two major parties have put up in their way to getting on the ballot.

If this shutdown has taught anyone anything, I hope that it is that the so-called two-party system in this country is a complete failure. That it is clearly designed to prevent competition, push both to the lowest common denominator, and create an environment in which principled stands are no longer tolerated.

This nation no longer wants to remain “united.” I am sick of being the victim of legislation passed on behalf of special interests (be they fellow citizens or their businesses). I would imaging that most people are to this point.

When the country was founded, the Constitution specifically said that there would be one member of the House for every 20.000 persons (yes, I know the whole 3/5 thing). Without any amendment to this document that number slowly grew. Finally, an Act was passed (not an amendment, just a congressional bill) during the same progressive era that gave us the Income Tax, the Federal Reserve, and the direct election of Senators, that fixed the number at 435. Now each house member “represents” over 750,000 people (and some over a million). That is not representation. Why do we continue to pretend that these folks in any way represent US, or that such a large country based on this kind of system is even still workable?

Fundamental change needs to come from this and it begins by withdrawing your support (for that is the foundation of every political system). It must begin with a mental change that recognizes that government cannot solve the very problems it has caused and that neither the republicans nor the democrats are on anyone’s side but their own. It will take a leap of faith in yourself and your neighbors, but ultimately if you do not have faith in them on a personal level, why do you allow them to have the power over you that comes with the guns and force of government? And wouldn’t it be safer for all involved if government itself had far less power over you and your life?

Bernie

October 3rd, 2013
11:55 am

Very Good Points and some things to seriously think about and consider. However, None of this addresses our most pressing needs presently. This proposed change must provide Who,What and issues to b presented for support. Presently America is far too divided along Racial,economic,Social and Class lines to find a happy medium for ALL. Your comment describes and explains the need and we ALL get that part. But How do we get there from here is the MILLION DOLLAR Question?

The Current Actions of The Tea Party is not an acceptable example of an IDEAL option. Mob like intimidation which has been a core strategy of theirs has proven to be a unworkable and unacceptable option for consideration. How do you propose to appeal to the needs and desires of a wider population without infuriating others? Answer that one and I will be the first to support a NOBEL PRIZE for you or anyone. :)

Sky_Blue2013

October 3rd, 2013
12:08 pm

Yes, it was preventable. Boehner had the opportunity to allow a clean vote and he has failed to do so, because he clearly wants to keep his job as Speaker of the House. I think most americans would support a vote on a clean bill. Why do the Republicans want to keep a clean bill off the floor? Clearly they know it would pass, which would eliminate their chance to continue to “Shutdown” the government.

What the Republicans fail to realize when they say they represent the people, is that they do not represent all of the people and the majority of us voted in the last election to re-elect President Obama.

Allow the “clean” vote and let’s move forward.

Jack ®

October 3rd, 2013
12:22 pm

Well said, Change. But what you are suggesting ain’t gonna happen. Too many, way too many Americans have been feted with systematic and destructive dependence on the “system”. The guns of government are once again pointed at responsible citizens saying we must support those that are considered not able to support themselves; there’s the rub. Again, way too many have voluntarily placed themselves in that category simply because they can and knowing full well they’ll receive righteous support and sympathy from true believers in egalitarianism. I vote Republican instead of Democratic because I truly believe the Democrats want to give away the entire store while Republicans do not.

Bernie

October 3rd, 2013
12:26 pm

Jack ® @ 12:22 pm – Your view as usual, mirror those of one of our most famous despots of the World, Adolph Hitler.

“All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach.” – Adolf Hitler

Dg

October 3rd, 2013
1:27 pm

Most people don’t realize, Obama is ultimately responsible for this economy, shutdown, and all the corruption amongst the elite politicians whom are except from Obama Care. Boehner just wants the American people to have a choice, like congress does; instead of a mandate forced upon us. Obama Care was voted down at least twice by the American people but unfortunately behind closed doors shady deals took place that allowed this misuse of power. Forcing people to buy your product that ya have a monopoly on is extreme blatant arrogant ignorance of the constitution.

Change

October 3rd, 2013
1:49 pm

Why do we need to not infuriate others? Some of us are being stolen from and our natural rights are being violated on a daily basis and others are the recipients of that theft and are doing the rights violating. Why should I care if my plan upsets the immoral ones?

There of course is a solution that would respect the rights of everyone. A voluntarist society. I know what makes me happy. You know what makes you happy. I know what my property is. You know what your property is. If I wish to have some of your property, I have 3 choices that respect natural law. I can purchase it from you by meeting an agreed upon exchange amount. You can simply give it to be voluntarily as a gift, or you can will it to me upon your death (an extension of #2). You have the same options for any of my stuff (or services). Anything else is a violation of natural law.

Plenty of people (sadly, far too many), think otherwise at this point. The feel that if they want some of my stuff, all they need to do is vote for people they can appeal to to come and take my stuff from me (or force me to contribute my services, etc.). If they are a business, they might not want to take such a bold approach so they might have the government get rid of their competitors through regulations, licensing requirements, permit fees, zoning regulations or the like (what is known as “rent seeking”) so that I have little to no other choice but to purchase from them (give them my money).

In such a voluntarist society, everyone’s wishes are fulfilled, they are just not fulfilled though the force and guns of government. They are fulfilled through voluntary interactions. Some will not have their wishes fulfilled, but the morality of society will be maintained.

I am not sure what Utopian paradise of which you speak in which we can find a “happy medium for ALL.” Socialists, Communists, Progressives and similar have been speaking of such a thing for an awful long time and hundreds of millions of people have lost their lives opposing those who have promoted such ideals. Is the Democratic Party offering up such a society? Are the Republicans?

I know that the Libertarian and Constitution parties and libertarians (small L type) are promoting a society far closer to my thoughts in which everyone’s rights are respected but charity, cooperation, voluntarism, respect for the law and natural rights, etc. are paramount to proper functioning of society.

In the end, I really don’t care about the feelings of those who have been the “takers” for all these years. That does not matter if they are individuals or the massive defense contractors, big Agribusiness corporations, bigPharma, banking cartel members or whatnot. They know which side of the moral equation they have been on. Our interactions have not been voluntary and thus they have been violating MY rights (whether directly or through their agents in government). To the extent that I have benefited from government services, etc. (one cannot choose otherwise when there is a government monopoly on the service – or one is forced to use the service) I apologize to everyone who was financially harmed on my behalf. I had not other choice and freely will give up this “taking” in favor of paying directly to a private company that provides an alternate.

If everyone would realize the harm that has been done to our country through our immoral approach to society, we could change this overnight. The means to move from here to there is present in our technology and motivation, but people need to change their hearts and their minds.

It is not sufficient to simply say “but here is where we are, what are we going to do about this” and never work towards an ultimate solution. What we have is unsustainable and will NOT end well. No empire in history nor any fiat currency has survived forever and their ends were horrible for everyone involved.

Bernie

October 3rd, 2013
2:09 pm

Change @1:49 pm – The definition of change is do something different! your initial comment throws US back to the very TRAP we are currently in “Why do we need to not infuriate others?”

You have My time as well as the many readers. I am done! what you are advocating is MORE of what we have. WHEN you REALLY have MEANINGFUL CHANGE IN MIND…get back with US!

Right NOW you are only JERKING US around…..I thought you were serious!

My BAD!

Bernie

October 3rd, 2013
2:10 pm

correction:

Change @1:49 pm – The definition of change is do something different! your initial comment throws US back to the very TRAP we are currently in “Why do we need to not infuriate others?”

You have WASTED My time as well as the many readers. I am done! what you are advocating is MORE of what we have. WHEN you REALLY have MEANINGFUL CHANGE IN MIND…get back with US!

Right NOW you are only JERKING US around…..I thought you were serious!

My BAD!

Change

October 3rd, 2013
2:50 pm

So getting back to civil society where people pay their own way, don’t steal from others through the mechanism of government, contribute voluntarily to help others, etc. isn’t allowed if it upsets some and I am ok with that? Again, what kind of utopia are YOU proposing? You somehow expect the victims of theft to smile and say “thank you sir, may I have another.” Not going to happen buddy. I am certainly not going to continue appeasing my attacker. I don’t know what kind of morality you believe in, but I am not going to enable any more violence against me, no matter who it upsets. If that let you down and you were hoping for Utopia, maybe you need to read Mao or Marx or something more consistent with your typical posting. I am advocating a peaceful approach to human interactions. Yes, that will upset many people. No apologies.

Change

October 3rd, 2013
2:53 pm

And by the way, what I am advocating is absolutely NOT more of what we have. Again, not sure what reality you are living in, but what we have is government force invading every aspect of our lives at every moment. Change from that is exactly what I am advocating.

Dusty

October 3rd, 2013
2:56 pm

Million dollar question? NO! It is the trillion dollar question. SEVENTEEN TRILLION DOLLAR question to be exact and growing. That is the looming US debt if you did not know.

If you want bankruptcy, please move to Greece, Spain or Portugal. Don’t stay here and bankrupt the USA for “free” healthcare. That’s not healthy! It’s a killer!.
.

MANGLER

October 3rd, 2013
3:11 pm

I know, let’s hold the one signature item that the administration has never wavered on against them in this argument. That’ll get ‘em to negotiate for sure!
So Lynn, using that concept, the Dems will give up the ACA (despite it actually being a law) if the GOP agrees to never to touch abortion or or anything related to reproductive rights ever again. Deal?

USC-69

October 3rd, 2013
3:54 pm

Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) says that his faction of the Republican Party would be happy to approve the government budget if President Obama would rescind the special treatment provided to large corporations (currently a one year reprieve). That seems reasonable to me. Anyone understand why that cannot be immediately accomplished?

Bernie

October 3rd, 2013
6:20 pm

USC-69 @3:54 pm – Because its a LOAD of BALONEY and All know it!

An observer

October 3rd, 2013
7:06 pm

Washington does not want to reduce any spending. Everyone is happy with the Fed printing money. Right now the Fed is buying $1 trillion dollars a year in bonds to finance more than the entire federal deficit of $700 billion. The party stops when the Fed quits buying bonds. As an investor, I no longer buy US bonds. They are worthless.

Bernie

October 3rd, 2013
8:02 pm

An observer @ 7:06 pm – Strange that CHINA cannot BUY ENOUGH!

I think there is GOLD in them THAR BONDS! Always has been!

Mary Elizabeth

October 3rd, 2013
8:29 pm

As a teacher in my depths, I will always be trying to educate. Jane Mayer’s groundbreaking article about the Koch Brothers, entitled “Covert Operations,” and published in “The New Yorker” on August 30, 2010, needs to be read by all to understand why, in large part, our nation is now so divided and why we are undergoing this government shutdown. I have taken the liberty to select some excerpts from Ms. Mayer’s 10+ page article. I urge readers read the few excerpted passages, below, to learn of one of the main sources of the intense division our nation and about the Koch Brothers’ fervent desire to eliminate as much of our government as possible. Then, please “google” the information I have given, above, and read Ms. Mayers’ entire article. You will be glad you did. Knowledge is power.
============================================

“In Washington, Koch is best known as part of a family that has repeatedly funded stealth attacks on the federal government, and on the Obama Administration in particular.

With his brother Charles, who is seventy-four, David Koch owns virtually all of Koch Industries, a conglomerate, headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, whose annual revenues are estimated to be a hundred billion dollars. . . .

But Charles Lewis, the founder of the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan watchdog group, said, ‘The Kochs are on a whole different level. There’s no one else who has spent this much money. The sheer dimension of it is what sets them apart. They have a pattern of lawbreaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation. I’ve been in Washington since Watergate, and I’ve never seen anything like it. They are the Standard Oil of our times.’. . .

Over the July 4th weekend, a summit called Texas Defending the American Dream took place in a chilly hotel ballroom in Austin. . . .Five hundred people attended the summit, which served, in part, as a training session for Tea Party activists in Texas. . . .David Axelrod, Obama’s senior adviser, said, ‘What they don’t say is that, in part, this is a grassroots citizens’ movement brought to you by a bunch of oil billionaires.’

The anti-government fervor infusing the 2010 elections represents a political triumph for the Kochs. By giving money to ‘educate,’ fund, and organize Tea Party protesters, they have helped turn their private agenda into a mass movement. Bruce Bartlett, a conservative economist and a historian, who once worked at the National Center for Policy Analysis, a Dallas-based think tank that the Kochs fund, said, “The problem with the whole libertarian movement is that it’s been all chiefs and no Indians. . . .’The Kochs, he said, are ‘trying to shape and control and channel the populist uprising into their own policies.’

The Republican campaign consultant said of the family’s political activities, ‘To call them under the radar is an understatement. They are underground!’ Another former Koch adviser said, ‘They’re smart. This right-wing, redneck stuff works for them. They see this as a way to get things done without getting dirty themselves.’ Rob Stein, a Democratic political strategist who has studied the conservative movement’s finances, said that the Kochs are ‘at the epicenter of the anti-Obama movement. But it’s not just about Obama. They would have done the same to Hillary Clinton. They did the same with Bill Clinton. They are out to destroy progressivism’. . . .

Members of the John Birch Society developed an interest in a school of Austrian economists who promoted free-market ideals. Charles and David Koch were particularly influenced by the work of Friedrich von Hayek, the author of ‘The Road to Serfdom’ (1944), which argued that centralized government planning led, inexorably, to totalitarianism. Hayek’s belief in unfettered capitalism has proved inspirational to many conservatives, and to anti-Soviet dissidents; lately, Tea Party supporters have championed his work. In June, the talk-radio host Glenn Beck, who has supported the Tea Party rebellion, promoted ‘The Road to Serfdom’ on his show; the paperback soon became a No. 1 best-seller on Amazon. (Beck appears to be a fan of the Kochs; in the midst of a recent on-air parody of Al Gore, Beck said, without explanation, ‘I want to thank Charles Koch for this information.’ Beck declined to elaborate on the relationship.). . .

‘Ideas don’t happen on their own,’ Matt Kibbe, the president of FreedomWorks, a Tea Party advocacy group, told me. ‘Throughout history, ideas need patrons.’ The Koch brothers, after helping to create Cato and Mercatus, concluded that think tanks alone were not enough to effect change. They needed a mechanism to deliver those ideas to the street, and to attract the public’s support. In 1984, David Koch and Richard Fink created yet another organization, and Kibbe joined them. The group, Citizens for a Sound Economy, seemed like a grassroots movement, but according to the Center for Public Integrity it was sponsored principally by the Kochs, who provided $7.9 million between 1986 and 1993. Its mission, Kibbe said, ‘was to take these heavy ideas and translate them for mass America. . . . We read the same literature Obama did about nonviolent revolutions—Saul Alinsky, Gandhi, Martin Luther King. We studied the idea of the Boston Tea Party as an example of nonviolent social change. We learned we needed boots on the ground to sell ideas, not candidates.’ Within a few years, the group had mobilized fifty paid field workers, in twenty-six states, to rally voters behind the Kochs’ agenda. David and Charles, according to one participant, were ‘very controlling, very top down. You can’t build an organization with them. They run it.’

Charles and David also became devotees of a more radical thinker, Robert LeFevre, who favored the abolition of the state but didn’t like the label ‘anarchist’; he called himself an ‘autarchist.’ LeFevre liked to say that ‘government is a disease masquerading as its own cure.’ In 1956, he opened an institution called the Freedom School, in Colorado Springs. Brian Doherty, of Reason, told me that ‘LeFevre was an anarchist figure who won Charles’s heart,’ and that the school was ‘a tiny world of people who thought the New Deal was a horrible mistake.’ According to diZerega, Charles supported the school financially, and even gave him money to take classes there. . . .

The Kochs have long depended on the public’s not knowing all the details about them. They have been content to operate what David Koch has called ‘the largest company that you’ve never heard of.’ But with the growing prominence of the Tea Party, and with increased awareness of the Kochs’ ties to the movement, the brothers may find it harder to deflect scrutiny. Recently, President Obama took aim at the Kochs’ political network. Speaking at a Democratic National Committee fund-raiser, in Austin, he warned supporters that the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in the Citizens United case—which struck down laws prohibiting direct corporate spending on campaigns—had made it even easier for big companies to hide behind ‘groups with harmless-sounding names like Americans for Prosperity.’ Obama said, ‘They don’t have to say who, exactly, Americans for Prosperity are. You don’t know if it’s a foreign-controlled corporation’—or even, he added, ‘a big oil company.’ “

InfraredGuy

October 3rd, 2013
8:58 pm

@ Mary Elizabeth, you sure that Mars spaceship is still flying above your house, you should check, they may be back to pick you up again

Dusty

October 3rd, 2013
10:48 pm

When will Democratic Congressmen, like Hank Johnson, stop talking about starving children? I mean where are these famous starving children of America? They are required to go to school and they are served breakfast and lunch and maybe more. The starving children must be hanging out in Washington with the Democrats. Liberal politicians seem to see them quite often.

Nobody wants starving children. But people get tired of having politicians sob over underfed children while uneaten school meals are being scraped into garbage pails, childhood obesity is a problem and 40% of American food is wasted. .

Republicans try to hang on to the last vintage of independence. But their efforts are being trampled by those rushing for the handouts. Democrats hear the voice of their followers: “Give me the goods or I won’t give you my vote.” So they supply the goods and now so-called free healthcare. Cost is not a consideration.

Poor Patrick Henry: He said:”Give me liberty or give me death!”. But what did he know? Democrats say “Nothing! We take care of everything for you.”

.

Bernie

October 3rd, 2013
11:56 pm

Dusty @10:48 pm – There are Thousands of them within (25) twenty-five miles from where you are this very moment. Wondering when and where they will have their next meal. Many of them looking exactly like YOU! with names like DUSTY, jimbob, junior, josh, sara, kelly, tina, and Tricia. Whose Mothers are hard working women who work long hours for very little pay.

You do not see them, for you do not CARE or ever want to see them……as most Christian, Jesus loving following God fearing, family value PRETENDING, red blooded American Republican and their supporters like you.

An observer

October 4th, 2013
6:55 am

Bernie. Feel free to buy the bonds. It is your money to waste if you choose. By the way, China’s total holdings of US bonds has decreased in recent years.

Mike

October 4th, 2013
7:32 am

Mr. Westmoreland fails to mention the Republican party is NOT representing the will of the American people; that the minority party is trying to force their agenda on the majority in gross violation of the Constitution and the democratic process which they proclaim to hold so dear.
If the roles were reversed and it was a Democratic House holding the nation hostage until a Republican President and a Republican held Senate agreed to increase taxes on the rich by 15%, Rush Limbaugh’s head would explode and the wrath of the Republican party would be felt across the ocean.
But somehow, when the Republican party pulls this kind of political blackmail it is acceptable?
Mr. Westmoreland appears to have forgotten it was the House Republicans who brought out the pistol and held it to the Nation’s head. Would he negotiate with a terrorist?
The patent and bald-faced lie that the Republican party is not responsible for the government shutdown proclaims to the world just how stupid they feel the public and their constituents must be.

Whirled Peas

October 4th, 2013
7:55 am

It is Barak Obama and the Democrats who have put their thumb in the eye of the American people. Survey after survey has shown that the American people don’t want this mess called Obamacare.

And wait until they realize that to fund Obamacare they have stolen $700 billion from Medicare/Medicaid. What they have done is shifted (or tried) is shifted the cost of Obamacare to the States who will now have to find the funds to pay for healthcare for the poor. And to Doctors who will bear the burden.

We need to do whatever we can to get out of this mess created by Obama and Reid.

Change

October 4th, 2013
8:00 am

The Constitution was supposed to protect the minority from the will of the majority. So much for that.

Bernie

October 4th, 2013
8:40 am

If The Republican Party were around during the DAYS of JESUS! They would be the first to charge him as being a Liberal Communist Socialist Marxist Traitor Muslim, who would give the Roman Empire’s entire Treasury to take care of ALL of The POOR & NEEDY.

Crucify Him, NOW!…They would ALL scream.

zeke

October 4th, 2013
9:06 am

WERE YOU FOOLS IN THE 4TH DISTRICT STUPID ENOUGH TO HAVE RE-ELECTED THIS MORON? NO SURPRISE AS YOU ELECTED COMMIE MCKINNEY MANY TIMES! DID YOU EVER HEAR WHAT THEY WERE SAYING? I know you probably listened to their speeches, but, DID YOU EVER HEAR THE STUPIDITY THEY WERE PROMOTING???

Mary Elizabeth

October 4th, 2013
9:31 am

A small group of intensely ideological members of Congress can never be allowed to control an entire nation through their devious means. They could conceivably destroy America’s economy and thereby the world’s economy if they are allowed to get away with it. In our democracy, with its strong governing system of checks and balances, a strong Presidency is essential. That is why President Obama will never yield to this radical group of extremists. This cannot become a predecence for the future in governing.

Daria Essex

October 4th, 2013
11:32 am

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Dusty

October 4th, 2013
11:57 am

Bernie,

I don’t know where you live and you don’t know where I live. But if any that live within twenty five miles of you and me are starving someone must have tied them down. Children get breakfast and lunch at school., Food banks are open for many, Medicaid is supplied by Georgia but you have to enroll, Grady and state and county clinics are open for health. Most churches have funds or resources for begging indigents who come every day. The Salvation Army, The Mission, and many other organizations offer help and free food. Some even offer lodging. There is a very long list of people and agencies helping the poor and needy.

You will help the poor and needy much better if you act responsibly instead of wild guesses to promote your personal politics.

Dusty

October 4th, 2013
12:18 pm

Mary Elizabeth

Those “radical people” in Congress you mentioned happen to be elected officials by voters. They are there because our Constitution offers balance to representatives of the people to offset any single power rulers of this country. You seem to forget that in your devotion to a one man rule.

Try to remember.. President Obama was elected by the people but so was Congress. You cannot dismiss Congress just because you don’t like their actions.

Balance of power is essential. America is noted for that because it is essential for freedom.

Bernie

October 4th, 2013
12:42 pm

Dusty @11:57 am – The very programs that only address the issue around the edges while totally disregarding the WORKING POOR. The same programs You, your Governor, Political Party and its supporters would be DELIGHTED in Glee, if those programs were terminated and ceased to be funded by the STATE as well as the Federal Government funding. Thank GOD we have a President who has more compassion that a chunk of COAL like those you endear yourself too so much.

As stated before you do not care to see or know!

Dusty

October 4th, 2013
1:28 pm

Bernie,

I see you have changed your emphasis from the “poor and starving” to the “working poor”. Those two are not wholly the same as you now try to say. The working poor are WORKING. Their problems are not the same as homeless.and starving which you picture. Theirs is a problem of income and affordability which present many difficulties in these hard times. But they are trying.

What you want is total support by government for the poor. That concept has almost destroyed the American principle of overcoming adversity by sheer strength and perseverance of the individual. It is a killer of advancement.

There has to be a center policy that helps but does not control. Americans have a long history of helping the poor. They will not approve of total support which destroys any thought of independence and independence is the strength of America.

It has raised the personality of “why work when you can get it for nothing” .

LVG

October 4th, 2013
1:35 pm

The esteemed Mr. Westmoreland says:
“”"”"”The two major political parties in this country have different opinions on how best to govern, often leading to disagreements. In the past, disagreements were resolved through communication. Unfortunately, both President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to negotiate and communicate with House Republicans to stop the government shutdown.

In an interview earlier this week, the president told NPR that he “shouldn’t have to offer anything” when it comes to the budget or debt ceiling debates. Sen. Reid told reporters he is “not going to negotiate.” There are reports he has urged the president to not meet with House Republicans at all.”"”
Mr Westmoreland- how much has the President and the Democrats conceded already by reducing tax increases they wanted and by instead agreeing to the seq

LVG

October 4th, 2013
1:43 pm

Wetmoreland:
“”"”The two major political parties in this country have different opinions on how best to govern, often leading to disagreements. In the past, disagreements were resolved through communication. Unfortunately, both President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to negotiate and communicate with House Republicans to stop the government shutdown.

In an interview earlier this week, the president told NPR that he “shouldn’t have to offer anything” when it comes to the budget or debt ceiling debates. Sen. Reid told reporters he is “not going to negotiate.” There are reports he has urged the president to not meet with House Republicans at all.”"”

Sir- how much has the President already negotiated in the sequester and the budget? How much more was cut in the Senate budget you and your fellow anarchists refuse to adopt?
How much have you and your cronies cut out of Obamacare so that the working poor get no coverage under Medicaid unless provided by their employers who you claim to be championing? or would your rather that 40-50 million working poor just go to an ER or community clinic and who do you think pays for that in the end??????????????????????????
Where was your outrage under George W when he spent over a trillion dollars for a war that was based on a lie with no funding source other than a Chinese credit card?
and surely you had no problem giving free drugs to the elderly under George W so he could get reelected with no funding source.
Mr. Westmoreland – you are a prime example why Bobby Jindal calls the GOP the stupid party.

ncgreybr

October 4th, 2013
2:35 pm

Dg said on the 3rd: “Obama Care was voted down at least twice by the American people but unfortunately behind closed doors shady deals took place that allowed this misuse of power.”

Duhhh. I remember Congress voting Yes on “Obamacare ” but never the American people voting it down. When did this happen? Also, “behind closed doors”? I remember the insessant hearing on C-Span…the CONSTANT incessant hearings on C-Span EVERY day for months! There must have been a thousand hours AT LEAST! If someone didn’t see some of it, they just didn’t WANT to see it! It was boring as hell! How did that people keep their eyes open?

Rep. Westmoreland says “The House has passed four full appropriations bills and three separate continuing resolutions.” That’s not true. In typical Republican fashion, he is lying. Unfortunately he sees nothing wrong with this. The appropriations bills were not “full” bills. They were partial bills. They left out the funding for the Affordable Care Act. If they are so proud of themselves, why do they have to lie about thier actions?

Mary Elizabeth

October 4th, 2013
4:46 pm

Dusty, your thinking relative to my post is completely off-base. I mentioned the necessity for a check and balance form of government. That means that I believe that “balance of power is essential.” The radical Congress members to whom I was referring are the under the influence of thoseTea Party diehards who are trying to take away balance in our nation because of their aversion to “government,” as they keep saying, in most of its forms, such as “government” public schools . That is out-of balance thinking, imo, and that is why it is “radical.” There must be a balance between “government” programs and regulations and “free market” enterprise, instead of exclusively one or the other. (See Robert Reich’s film, “Inequality for All.”)

You state that I have a “devotion to a one man rule.” That is simply your perception of my thinking and you are completely wrong about my thinking. I have never stated that I believe, much less that I am “devoted to,” a “one man rule.”

I do believe that the Tea Party members of Congress who are trying to dominate our entire governmental, democratic process through their coercive take-over by shutting down our government unless their demands are met regarding Obamacare are “radical” in their views and in their approach. If they are elected by constituents who believe as they do in governing, then those constituents are, also, radical in their beliefs, imho, because they are extremists. This small Tea Party minority of one House of Congress, within a three-part check-and- balance form of government, cannot be allowed to dominate what this nation will decide regarding its policies, through coercion and threats of closing down our government.

The majority of the citizens of this nation elected President Obama for a second term and the majority of citizens of this nation want his policies enforced. That is not “one-man-rule”; that election decided what the people want implemented.

Bernie

October 4th, 2013
5:02 pm

Dusty @11:57 am – Deflecting your argument does not make any of your claims more True or believable. ALL know it is your political party and supporters are UN-Christian like when it comes to the Poor & Needy of America. If at anyway possible to DENY Government Funding and support for the very programs you speak of Your Party will find it.

Dusty

October 4th, 2013
6:33 pm

Mary Elizabeth,

There are extremist in every political party and Democrats are not exempt from them. In fact, I think Reid and Pelosi are just as extreme as those you label Tea Party. Speaking of Tea Party members, I have no idea who might or might not be a Tea :P arty member in Congress. Nor do I know if there are Democrats who might be socialists or communists. I believe members of Congress have the right to join any legal organization they wish. .

Just because someone does not agree with your views, you label them “extremist”. What does that make you?.

I think the government is getting too big and too controlling. You think we need more so we disagree. You might consider looking calmly at both sides for a change..

Dusty

October 4th, 2013
6:50 pm

Bernie…sigh…

Until you are appointed gate keeper in heaven, I suggest you withhold judgment on who is doing “good” and who is not.

Let me know if you get the gate job. Big trouble! I already know where you want to send Republicans… .

Dusty

October 4th, 2013
6:53 pm

awwww How did I get a smiley face in a comment???? Didn’t do it!. Did not! Did not!

LVG

October 4th, 2013
7:17 pm

Mr. Westmoreland the employer mandate was extended one year to January 2015 to make you folks happy and give states more time to enroll the working poor who have no coverage and make near minimum wage but no he and the ethically challenged governor do not want these folks and the employers to force Georgia to accept excess Medicaid to ensure these folks get covered.What other concessions do you want? no coverage of preexisting conditions? I be that one sticks in your craw too.

LVG

October 4th, 2013
7:17 pm

Mr. Westmoreland the employer mandate was extended one year to January 2015 to make you folks happy and give states more time to enroll the working poor who have no coverage and make near minimum wage but no he and the ethically challenged governor do not want these folks and the employers to force Georgia to accept excess Medicaid to ensure these folks get covered.What other concessions do you want? no coverage of preexisting conditions? I be that one sticks in your craw too.

Bernie

October 4th, 2013
7:34 pm

Dusty @ 6:50 pm – Too Late….:) Halo’s and Wings Revoked! To the Coal Pile you are already assigned, right next to the Fiery Furnace YOU GO!

Forever and EVER!

One thing for sure many of your friends are already there waiting for You.

Like Hitler, Saddam, Osama, Ronnie, Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, Bull O’Conner, George Wallace, Lester Maddox, JB Stoner, Herman & Eugene Talmadge,Richard Russell and many more of your good ole Boy friends. We have standing reservations for a current Crew in the waiting.

Satan sent a message to Saint Pete saying a bit busy handling so many Tea Party members right at the moment. He even inquired if there was sale on SOULS going on, he was not made aware of :)

I sent a message back saying this is a very STUBBORN LOT. Many lean to their OWN Understanding and speak with forked tongues. They also worship a False GOD we are not familiar with. His name is “GREEN JESUS”. Pretty much like the one the Romans served a few centuries ago. Their GOD was called GOLD.

They too, did not LAST!

Mary Elizabeth

October 4th, 2013
7:57 pm

Dusty, in all due respect, the “sides” are not equivalent. I do know which Congressional members are Tea Party representatives, and not all Republicans are Tea Party representatives.

You write that I want more government. No, that is not true unless you are referring to Obamacare as “more government.” I simply do not want to have any more government programs, like teachers in public education, stripped from their jobs in public service in the name of “liberty and freedom.” All Americans are advocates of “liberty and freedom.” Democrats understand, in addition, the advantages of pooling our mutual resources through our government for our mutual benefits, such as occurs through Social Security, Medicare, and now Obamacare.

I urge you to see the film “Inequality for all” and to read my first thread on this blog in detail, which will detail for you how the Koch Brothers and others of the top 1% have disturbed the healthy balance that should exist between government and private enterprise. I believe that you have bought into the propaganda of these plutocrats’ message, without seeing that what they are really about is to benefit themselves, at the expense of those Americans like you and me, who are part of the 99%. Their stealthy plan has been to “divide” Americans “and conquer” the power (and wealth) for themselves. Don’t be taken in by words like, “liberty and freedom” which all Americans desire.

I believe that I must stand strong against these new “robber barons” and their intense ideological desire to stealthily transform our nation into a rigid Libertarian state. I do not have their wealth or their power. All I do have is my ability to study in depth through my readings, my insights, and my voice, which I hope to use, as I can, to offset their self-serving agenda. If there is no pushback to their goals through speaking out and through trying to educate the public as to what is really going on, as I am doing, our nation will come to exist primarily to serve the interests of the top 1%. America was designed to serve all Americans, not simply the interests of the upper 1%. And, serving the top 1% is what is really happening today, regardless of how Republican leaders are spinning truth. These particular members of Congress are puppets controlled by puppet masters, as are many of their constituents, as I see it. Look deeper.

Dusty

October 4th, 2013
9:15 pm

Mary Elizabeth,

Do you ever really read what you write? I mean: Koch brothers, robber barons, stealthy transfers, puppet masters, Libertarian state !!!! Sounds like Alice in Paranoia Land.

Then you say that ObamaCare is not more government… Really? Something from the Good Fairy?? I apologize for being sarcastic but such jumbalaya is too much for my appetite. Just too much to swallow

Dusty

October 4th, 2013
9:43 pm

Bernie,

Your imagination is wonderful!! I haven’t seen such action since Bugs Bunny went out of business The amount of fiction and fibrillation you throw on the internet is unbeatable.

Keep up the good work! Everybody appreciates a few laughs now and then…

Mary Elizabeth

October 4th, 2013
11:53 pm

Yes, I always read what I write, Dusty. But, it is obvious that you did not read the Jane Mayer article in the “New Yorker” about the Koch Brothers (of which I gave a few excerpts on this thread) before you responded to my post. The Koch Brothers are self-acknowledged Libertarians and they, themselves, have called their ideas “radical,” as you will read in the Mayer article., when you take the time to do so. Or, you can simply my perceptions names, such as “Sounds like Alice in Paranoia Land,” which adds nothing of substance to the dialogue, as well as being incorrect. The Koch Brothers’ father, Fred Koch, was a founding member of the John Birch Society..

The balance that is an economically and socially healthy one for our nation has swung too far toward trying to eliminate government programs too severely, as indicated through the ideological statement of Libertarian conservative Grover Norquist that he wishes to “cut government down in size until it is so small that it can be drained down the bathtub.” That is the type of thinking that is extreme, imo. What I and others conceptualize is a healthy balance between governmental programs (such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare) and private markets, unlike Libertarian conservatives, such as the Koch Brothers and Grover Norquist. And, what I have presented about the Koch Brothers is valid. Read Jane Mayer’s article, “Covert Operations,” and you will learn facts to support what I have written.

Scrivener

October 5th, 2013
10:33 am

ME, you’re always “urging” people to read things. I would consider reading something someone suggests if I think they are fair-minded and objective. You’re clearly not. I’d like to ask you, have you ever read “Bias” by Bernard Goldberg, or “The Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy” by Byron York? No? How about “Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help” by Mona Charen? Or “Right Turns: From Liberal Activist to Conservative Champion” by Michael Medved? Have you read any books written by conservatives at all?

Scrivener

October 5th, 2013
10:47 am

Oh, and since you frequently recommend Paul Krugman, what about highly acclaimed economist Thomas Sowell? He’s written many books. His recent one is “Intellectuals and Race.” Have you even considered reading that one?

Mary Elizabeth

October 5th, 2013
12:50 pm

Scrivener, I regularly read Mona Charen’s and Thomas Sowell’s columns when they appear weekly in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I rarely agree with the thinking of either of these conservative columnists.

Byron Goldberg and Byron York are regular contributors to FOXNews. Byron York is the chief political columnist for the Washington Examiner. I have heard Byron Goldberg’s give his opinions on FOX News. From Goldberg’s website, the below are his words published on October 3, 2013:

“Barack Obama is rooting for chaos because he knows most Americans won’t blame him.”

That is not only biased thinking, imo, but it is not the type of thinking that shows depth.

I believe that opinions such as mine (and those of Paul Krugman) need to be heard especially in Georgia, where progressive thinking is rarely shared in day-to-day conversations. Conservatism in Georgia has become its own echo chamber. That is why I “urge” readers to read the sources whom I respect and who explore political issues in depth and with validity.

Thank you for your suggestions to me, nevertheless.