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Cliven Bundy and Imperial Washington

While illegal immigrants are over-running and the Obama Administration is going out of its way to avoid any enforcement of immigration laws; they managed to muster hundreds of heavily armed (with real guns, not the beanbag guns border patrol agents are mandated to use), armored vehicles, and helicopters to punish one rancher in Nevada for grazing his cows. (In the process, tasering his son, killing his cows and breaking up his stuff.)

It’s pretty simple really, Democrats don’t agree with immigration laws, so they don’t enforce them. On the other hand, they do believe in environmental laws, and their mentality toward those laws is exemplified by EPA Adminsitrator Al Armendariz; who compared the EPA’s enforcement tactics to those of the Roman Empire: “Kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean: they’d go into little Turkish towns somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they’d run into, and they’d crucify them. That town was really easy to manage for the next few years.” Basically, the idea was to crucify Cliven Bundy as an example to terrorize the remaining ranchers to bend to the will of the State.

It’s alarming, or at least it should be, that Federal bureaucrats see themselves as Roman occupiers, and the citizenry as subjects who need to be terrorized in order to maintain control.

Hostage crisis quieting down?

These past few weeks, President Obama has (metaphorically or morally) held a gun to America’s head, demanding that his profligate borrow-and-spending be fully funded or else he’ll default on America’s debt payments.

Now it looks like the crisis is receding, with the hostage-taker mostly getting his way. It isn’t clear if the GOP achieved anything, except yet another committee to look into the nation’s fiscal turpitude.

Knowing that the Tea Party doesn’t have the votes it needs (yet) to break through that turpitude, I didn’t really expect a different outcome. So, I’m not too upset. But was the time & drama worth it?

I say yes: at least it shed light on these issues. Even if you can’t stop lying would-be dictators from succeeding, it’s still worthwhile to rip their masks off. Seeing Obama lie outright about the debt (as I always suspected he would, when cornered) was priceless.

Perhaps Pascal Emmanuel Gobry at Forbes would feel as I do? He writes about the crisis showing Tea Party mettle, and about the hope he feels from seeing the House GOP at least demand (even if they didn’t win) Congress being put on Obamacare like the rest of us. But he also notes that the crisis may have distracted much-deserved attention from Obama’s other troubles, like Obamacare’s launch failure.

Your thoughts?

Obama threatens to default – again!

While hopes of a government budget deal today flicker on and off, you surely heard the latest example yesterday of President Obama threatening a default:

Talking to reporters at an event in Washington D.C. Monday, President Obama said the U.S. faces “a good chance at defaulting.”

“This week if we don’t start making some real progress, both the House and the Senate, and if Republicans aren’t willing to set aside their partisan concerns in order to do what’s right for the country, we stand a good chance of defaulting. And defaulting could have a potentially have a devastating affect on our economy,” the president said.

Remember, default would be Obama’s choice because he has two Constitutional ways to avoid it:

  1. He could negotiate his differences with the GOP in good faith, like a leader.
  2. Failing that, he could prioritize debt service spending (the U.S. “minimum debt payment”) ahead of other government spending. Tax revenue alone is enough to cover it many times over. If there is a legal issue, he could ask Congress (Democrats) to help.

Thus, Obama talking about any serious possibility of default is Obama planning to default if he doesn’t get his way 100%. That is a very bad threat to be making; in no way fitting for a President of the United States.

In effect, Obama has put U.S. creditors on notice that he will prioritize them last in any real budget crisis. That means U.S. debt (the Treasury bond) is unsafe and unsound whether or not he defaults this time, and investors are fools to hold it (unhedged).

UPDATE via HotAir: Sen. Rand Paul agrees, and pushes the idea of a Full Faith And Credit Act to make prioritization explicit. And even liberal Cokie Roberts (NPR) admits that Obama has been trying to talk the stock market into crashing. “Thanks, Obama!”

UPDATE: Nice piece a couple of weeks ago from Jeffrey Dorfman at Forbes. Key idea: Not raising the debt ceiling means simply that the government must live within a balanced budget until these issues are worked out.

And that, to Democrats, is “a fate worse than default”. Literally. Democrats would literally rather choose default (which means, according to them, the collapse of our economy, the end of the world, yadda yadda) than a 20-25% net spending cutback to live within a balanced budget.

How to rationally discuss the ‘shutdown’ and budget

No discussion is grownup, if the participants don’t know/acknowledge certain facts which President Obama, the Democrats and their media try to have people forget:

  1. The government is supposed to spend by a budget.
  2. Between April 29, 2009 and March 23, 2013, Harry Reid’s Democrats didn’t even bother to pass a budget. Nearly four years!
  3. Under the U.S. Constitution, the budget is supposed to originate in Congress and particularly the House of Representatives. Which means,
  4. The House IS supposed to be able to impose its budgetary will on the President, including by shutting down the government, as Democrat Houses have shut down the government many times before to successfully impose their will on GOP Senates and presidents.
  5. On a district-by-district basis (as required by the Constitution), the American people elected a GOP House in 2012. To coin a phrase, “they won”.
  6. The current so-called “shutdown” only affects 17% of the government. (83% is still open.)
  7. The current House has passed many bills to keep most of the remaining 17% open – bills which the Democrats have rejected.
  8. Obama has given us more debt than any president in U.S. history.
  9. Contra Obama, raising the debt ceiling does indeed mean raising our debt further. And it does cost taxpayers a lot of money.
  10. Contra Obama, there is no reason for the government to default on its debt, even if the debt ceiling isn’t raised. You default only if you fail to make your minimum debt payment. Our ongoing tax revenue exceeds our minimum payment by many times over, leaving lots of money for the rest of government spending after debt service. (Just not as much as Democrats want.)
  11. Which is probably why Obama and the Democrats are the only side talking about having a default happen. (They want to at least dangle the threat – and they might carry out the threat – even if it’s unnecessary.)
  12. Contra Obama, our future spending isn’t “paying a bill”. Spending that Congress has budgeted or authorized (but not yet actually spent) can be stopped or cut any time Congress says so, or under-spent if the money simply doesn’t exist for it.

The people who run GayPatriot welcome intelligent disagreement with our views. If your disagreement ignores the above facts, sorry but it’s not intelligent.

As the adage goes, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.”

NB: Originally, point 2 stated incorrectly that the Senate hadn’t passed a budget since 2009. Error fixed. (thanks Kurt!)

ADDENDUM: 13. Contra Obama, borrowing money “to pay our bills” is NOT paying our bills. When you buy something on credit, have you paid you bill? No, of course not. You’ve merely changed to whom you owe the payment (and perhaps when).

Obama ups his rhetoric (much of it lies) another notch

Now we’re being given the Nuclear metaphors. Current Yahoo! headline: Obama: Default like ‘nuclear bomb’ hitting economy.

President Barack Obama warned Tuesday that Congress would be dropping the equivalent of an economic “nuclear bomb” on the country if it failed to raise the debt ceiling, triggering a first-of-its-kind default…

Obama also described the consequences of a default as dire, quoting economists as saying it would be “insane” or “catastrophic,” spreading “chaos”…

But, as I explained yesterday, even if the debt ceiling isn’t raised, a default is entirely optional. It would be President Obama’s choice. By denying the choice, Obama effectively promises to deliver a default. That is, he threatens us with it (while pretending not to).

In the let’s-break-the-irony-meter department, we also have this:

Obama also pressed Republicans to reopen the government without conditions…

But Obama is the one pressing for conditions: He demands that the Republicans give away every bit of their negotiating leverage, before he’ll sit down with them.

I haven’t seen a full review of Obama’s press conference today, but I’ll bet lunch money that he also couldn’t resist repeating his outright lies about the debt ceiling (that raising it somehow doesn’t increase our debt, or cost us anything). And about future spending (that future spending is somehow all-or-nothing and unchangeable, like “paying our bills” for past spending).

UPDATE: They’ve added to the Yahoo! article.

“I’m not budging,” said the president…

Boehner reiterated his call for the president to negotiate…“The long and the short of it is, there’s going to be a negotiation here. We can’t raise the debt ceiling without doing something about what’s driving us to borrow more money and live beyond our means,” Boehner said. “The president’s position that we’re not going to sit down and talk to you unless you surrender is just not sustainable. It’s not our system of government.”

Good on Boehner!

UPDATE: Transcript here. Obama did keep up his lies about his profligate spending somehow being the equivalent of “paying bills”, and his debt -ceiling- increase somehow not meaning a debt increase. Here, he twists them together:

…it’s called raising the debt ceiling, I think a lot of Americans think it’s raising our debt. It is not raising our debt. This does not add a dime to our debt. It simply says you pay for what Congress has already authorized America to purchase…Whatever it is that Congress has already authorized, what this does is make sure that we can pay those bills.

Lie, lie, lie.

  1. The whole reason Obama wants a debt ceiling increase is precisely so he can add to our debt.
  2. He will add A LOT of debt (hundreds of billions) within days of the ceiling increase, costing taxpayers a lot of money.
  3. Budgets, made by Congress or otherwise, are not “bills to be paid”. They’re future spending plans. It would be right to under-spend our budget from this point forward, and we badly need to.

Obama threatens America with harm – while pretending not to

Today from CBS:

Mr. Obama…called on Congress to extend the nation’s borrowing authority beyond the current $16.7 trillion limit. Republicans have asked for negotiations…Mr. Obama reiterated a promise to negotiate…only after the government is reopened and the debt ceiling increased.

“We’re not going to negotiate under the threat of further harm to our economy,” he said.

But who is the one actually harming, or threatening to harm, our economy? Answer: President Obama.

First, there’s Obamacare which, as is widely discussed/known, is presently killing people’s insurance plans, job hours, and more. The GOP should refuse to negotiate under the continuing threat of economic harm from Obamacare.

Second, Obama and his minions are fond of warning of ‘disaster’ if the debt ceiling isn’t raised. As Obama said last week:

“As reckless as a government shutdown is … an economic shutdown that results from default would be dramatically worse…”

So, in Obama’s mind, hitting the debt ceiling means automatically that the U.S. shall default on its national debt. But, in reality, default is a choice. You are only in default when you stop making your minimum debt payments. Our ongoing tax revenues of about $2.3 trillion per year are many times greater than needed to make our minimum debt payments.

The deficit is now about $700 billion per year, or roughly 23% of spending. Obama can avoid default by simply under-spending the budget that much. That percent less on federal salaries, Social Security, Medicare, defense, discretionary items and Obamacare all together.

It would be painful for some, but as far as the laws of the Universe are concerned, it’s entirely possible. It could be done. If Democrats are as constructive and helpful as they want the rest of us to believe, they could help minimize or remove the obstacles.

So let’s be clear: When Obama or his minions talk about the dangers of default, they’re actually threatening America with the optional default that they would choose to impose – because they are so far opposed to under-spending any part of the federal budget.

In doing so, they signal the world that U.S. credit is not trustworthy. They signal that, if the U.S. ever has a serious budget crisis, U.S. debt holders will be screwed first of anyone; that Obama & co. intend to hold U.S. bond owners in lower priority than anyone or anything else in the federal budget.

That damages our economy. Conclusion: The GOP should refuse to negotiate under Obama’s (needless) threat of default.

I know that refusal is not going to happen; the GOP feels it’s best to stress their willingness to negotiate. But if the world were more sane – or, at the very least, if the GOP were something more like Obama and the Democrats are – it would happen.

Democrats Hold America Hostage: Updates

Sen. Harry Reid’s refusal to negotiate on anything leads to his own elderly constituents being thrown out of their homes.

America’s veterans will rally October 13 to storm the Barackades at the nation’s war memorials, if things don’t get better first.

Veterans got through the Barackades at the Iwo Jima memorial. But President Obama still has a tight grip on the Jefferson memorial (where the guards physically manhandle the tourists), the Lincoln memorial and many others.

Park rangers, acting effectively as jack-booted thugs, Barrycade an inn that has operated seasonally since 1919.

Mark Steyn is not to be missed, as usual. “The World War II Memorial exists thanks to some $200 million in private donations…But the thug usurpers of the bureaucracy want to send a message: In today’s America, everything is the gift of the government, and exists only at the government’s pleasure, whether it’s your health insurance, your religious liberty, or the monument to your fallen comrades.”

Video of Sen. Ted Cruz reminding his Democrat colleagues that civility is a two-way street, something they need to think about.

Jonah Goldberg reminds us that President Obama has “set out to create problems for the American people, just to prove how great government is” at least since the ‘sequester’ fight earlier this year, when “The Department of Homeland Security announced it might not be able to protect the nation’s borders, and in an effort to prove the point summarily released a couple thousand of immigrant detainees, many of them with criminal records.”

Tweet of the day: from Sean M. Davis, “If you think this gangster gov’t. shutdown nonsense is bad, just wait until these people decide that your medical procedure isn’t necessary.”

UPDATE (from Dan):  Don’t like the hostage-taking rhetoric coming from the Obama White House.  Perhaps, it’s a nice rhetorical trick to turn the tables on the blame-shifting Democrats, but it does not promote a civil debate of these contentious issues.

Last week, Ilya Somin offered a nice rejoinder to the Democrats’ hostage talk.  (H/t:  Instapundit.)

UPDATE (from Jeff): Dan, I appreciate that we needn’t always agree. For the record: This is not a “rhetorical trick”, it is calling the facts as I see them. Ilya Somin (your link) writes, “Terrorists and hostage-takers are evil because they threaten lives and property that do not belong to them.” I think that definition applies to a group of politicians seeking to withhold symbols and property that belong to all the People, from the People.

Capricious Enforcement: A sign of the times

Back in October 2010, blogger Tigerhawk recalled what one of his Princeton classmates, who was originally from Romania, said about the nature of life under socialism:

One recurring tool of socialist tyranny is the capricious enforcement of unworkable laws.

He quoted the passage in making a point about the “capricious enforcement” which was an inevitable feature of the unworkable mess better known as Obamacare.

But two and a half years later, it’s evident that observation could just as easily have been applied to our byzantine tax code, our environmental regulations, and even laws pertaining to press freedoms under the Obama administration.  As Dan wrote earlier today, the only folks who are surprised by any of these scandals are the ones who haven’t been paying attention to what has been going with our government since January 20, 2009.

In the case of the Obama administration, though, it’s not strictly capricious enforcement, but selective enforcement, always with a partisan goal in mind.  The IRS targeting of the Tea Party and conservative organizations is appalling, but one would have to be naive not to believe, as ABC’s Trey Hardin noted today, that it wasn’t authorized by someone in the West Wing.  Hardin observed (audio at the link):

I will tell you this on the IRS front. I’ve worked in this town for over 20 years in the White House and on Capitol Hill and I can say with a very strong sense of certainty that there are people very close to this president that not only knew what the IRS were doing but authorized it. It simply just does not happen at an agency level like that without political advisers likely in the West Wing certainly connected to the president’s ongoing campaign organization.

And it’s not just the IRS.  Earlier today it came out that the EPA waived fees for leftist organizations and leftist journalists who requested information, but not for conservative ones:   “Conservative groups seeking information from the Environmental Protection Agency have been routinely hindered by fees normally waived for media and watchdog groups, while fees for more than 90 percent of requests from green groups were waived, according to requests reviewed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute.”  Yes, this would be the same EPA that has classified carbon dioxide as a pollutant, making the mere act of exhaling potentially troublesome.

A coincidence?  I think not.  This is the same administration committed to picking winners and losers on most matters.  Hence, it should surprise no one that while oil companies are prosecuted for the deaths of eagles and other protected species, the bird-killing wind farms are naturally given a pass.   Clearly, some energy companies are more equal than others.

It’s the same with journalists.  Just a day after the AP snooping scandal broke, the administration is playing favorites again.  Jake Tapper has gained a reputation as one who can be counted on to ask tough questions of the White House with greater frequency than the reporters at most of the other lamestream news organizations.  Well, today Professor Jacobson at Legal Insurrection is reporting that the White House played Jake Tapper by selectively leaking one e-mail with the apparent aim of creating a diversion in the reporting about the Benghazi cover-up.  Jacobson writes: “Like I said, this entire diversion of leaking a single email out of a chain of emails to Tapper was simply meant to put critics of the administration back on their heels and to provide an excuse for White House defenders to throw around words like ‘doctored.’”

And so what else do we see today?  Well, all of a sudden the administration’s lackeys in the press such as Hilary Rosen are now out expressing their sympathy for poor Jay Carney.  I guess they’re afraid of ending up as the subject of a DOJ snooping scandal or an IRS investigation or a selective leak.

 

AMERICA HELD HOSTAGE:
DAY FOUR

As the international “distractions” keep mounting for President Barack Obama, here are today’s developments in AMERICA HELD HOSTAGE: DAY FOUR.

The Somali pirates stole $30M last year alone through bringing terror to international waters.  And where, my friends, do you think that money is going? 

After the Bush Administration shut down the financing of Al-Qaeda, they had to resort to the Somali pirates.  $30M can do quite a lot of damage when it is used to finance terror training, WMD development and fighting American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So, thanks President Obama.  Not only are you losing a third front in the Global War On Terror “Man-Made Disasters”, but violence has disturbingly increased in Iraq since you took office.

I wonder if Al-Qaeda knows that Obama is weak?   Nah, couldn’t be.

AMERICA HELD HOSTAGE: DAY FOUR.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)