Two Cents...Op/Ed

Be the Change...

by Elizabeth Fann at

Do we focus too much on politics as a vehicle for change? Are we barking up the wrong tree, promoting our guy or gal to just win that election, and save us from evil doers and a tyrannical government?
After way too much involvement in politics, this is where I’m at. I’ve been too disappointed, seen way too much compromise, and compromised for myself at the voting booth. Did my votes really matter?

Ah. I won’t go that far into the “to vote or not to vote” debate. Instead, I’d like to discuss a different solution. While reading Ron Paul’s “The School Revolution”, I learned the concept of Voluntary Replacement. This term spoke to me and has been attaching itself to my thoughts lately. It embodies the spirit of being the change, an idea I’ve always held dear.

So we have a problem. Our liberty is being threatened, by government control over our lives and our property. Look around you right now. How many representations of government interference surround you? Here a tax, there a tax, a regulation, a subsidy.

Has voting for your favorite politician lessened the government intrusion surrounding us? It hasn’t, so even if you still feel voting is important, what else can we do to affect change?

We can BE it.

I don’t want the government involved in my child’s education. So I’m choosing to homeschool, hopefully by next fall. I’m replacing a system I do not agree with. If I’m successful, and the homeschool movement continues to grow, my state will have to adjust accordingly.

I don’t like the government regulating my food. So whenever I can, I buy local and grow my own. I’m choosing to inspect and take responsibility for what I consume.

I am not comfortable with the government knowing what I spend and where. (Thanks NSA). So I’m opting out of banks and using more cash. Hopefully adding bitcoin here soon.

I don’t think welfare really works. What can I do to help the people in my community get a needed boost and back on a prosperous path? I have an idea my daughter and I are working on right now to help in one small way. More on that later.

What else can we do to voluntarily replace government functions? How can we help each other and ourselves better than government? Can we put more active in our activism, make our philosophy reality?

Can we be the change we wish to see in the world, and put our faith in ourselves and not politicians? Bringing solutions, even bad ones, has worked for the democrat party. If we want solutions that minimize government and maximize freedom, then let’s show the world how it’s done.

While we still (sorta) can.


The Shutdown: Important Terms and Timeline

October 6, 2013 at 11:27pm
Peter Vigh

I'm starting to see smarmy one-liners get pasted onto photos of government buildings, so in an effort to combat the intellectual version of Oreos (eat three to lose a minute of your life!  And yes, I did just finish another box) I am writing this.

So, first off: what is happening?

This article explains far better and more thoroughly than I could:

There's a lot of information flying around, so here are some important terms:

Congress: The Legislative Branch of the government.  There are two houses in Congress; each can propose and vote on legislation, and can approve, reject, or amend legislation passed by the other house.  Once both houses have approved a piece of legislation, it is sent to the President, who can veto it or sign it into law.

The Senate: The Senate is half of the Legislative branch, and has 2 Senators from each state.  It currently has a Democratic majority.

The House of Representatives: The House is the other half of the Legislative branch, and has Representatives proportional to the states' populations.  It currently has 432 voting members, and a Republican majority.

filibuster: In the past, this used to involve someone talking for so long that the legislature ran out of time to vote on something.  However, these days, 60 votes being required forcloture (or ending a filibuster), any time 41 Senators decide to filibuster something, they can essentially just say that they'll do it, and if the vote on cloture fails then everyone pretends that they do it, and the legislation is killed and business moves on.

budget: Each year, Congress is supposed to come up with how much the government can spend and what it can spend it on, and then both the House of Representatives and the Senate vote on that budget, and then send it off to the President to be signed.  If any one of these three refuses, it doesn't go through.  Without a budget, the government is not allowed to spend money.  This is bad.

Continuing Resolution (CR): This is basically a piece of legislation that allows the government to assume that the new budget will be the same as the old one and that it can keep spending at the same levels.  It's meant to give Congress some more time to come to an agreement on a "real" budget.  A "clean" CR is one that does not contain any extra legislation, but just allows the government to keep spending.  Several proposed CRs have attempted to force through legislation by using the threat of the shutdown to get the Senate and the President to approve them.

debt limit: The U.S. has a limit on how much money it's allowed to have borrowed.  When that limit is reached, the government can't borrow any more money, which means it cannot pay for anything.  This is really, really bad.  Usually when it comes time to raise the debt limit (which used to happen automatically), you'll hear a lot of people comparing the government to a household and the debt to a credit card.  This is bad and they're relying on the fact that you don't know how economics work (you don't, and I don't either, but that's no reason to let others convince you that you do so they can take advantage of us).

So what's happened?

  • February 27, 1860:
"But you will not abide the election of a Republican president! In that supposed event, you say, you will destroy the Union; and then, you say, the great crime of having destroyed it will be upon us! That is cool. A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, "Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!" To be sure, what the robber demanded of me - my money - was my own; and I had a clear right to keep it; but it was no more my own than my vote is my own; and the threat of death to me, to extort my money, and the threat of destruction to the Union, to extort my vote, can scarcely be distinguished in principle." - Abraham Lincoln

  • March 23: The Senate passed a budget, which means it's time to have a budget conference with the House so that they can come up with the budget that they'll both agree on.

  • April 23 - June 26: Senate Democrats tried 15 times to start a budget conference with the House.  Each time, one of the Republican Senators McConnell, Cruz, Rubio, Paul or Lee blocked the conference.

  • September: Speaker Boehner tells Senator Reid that he will support a clean CR bill in exchange for funding levels that keep the sequester in place.

  • September again: Senator Cruz undermines Speaker Boehner's attempt at a clean CR, and at his urging the House passes a CR with the additional stipulation that Obamacare's implementation be delayed for a year.

  • September 24: Senator Cruz talks for 21 hours to pretend to filibuster the CR he encouraged the House to pass, accidentally admits that the real fear Republicans have about Obamacare is that Americans will like it once they try it.

  • September: Representative Walden accidentally admits that this is all about keeping people from losing their Congressional seats on account of the Tea party.

  • September 26: Speaker Boehner attempts to present a plan to tie a delay of Obamacare, a jumpstart for the Keystone Pipeline, and a variety of cuts to the debt limit increase.  This was the Republican's original plan before Senator Cruz, backed by an impatient Tea Party, got involved.

  • October 1: The government shuts down, hooray!

  • October 2: Republicans start realizing that Senator Cruz doesn't know what he is doing.

  • October 2: Republicans also start realizing that they don't know what they're doing.

  • October 2-3: House Republicans start passing bills to fund the parts of the government they wish to keep open.  Senate Democrats and the President say they won't pass these bills, because doing so is effectively the same thing as allowing the Republican half of the House to dictate what is and is not funded.

  • October 3: Representatives McConnell and Paul accidentally get caught on camera talking about how they're going to "win" because they're sounding more reasonable.

  • October 3: "We're not going to be disrespected ... We have to get something out of this. And I don't know what that even is." - Representative Stutzman

  • October 5: "Republicans have to realize how many significant gains we’ve made over the last three years, and we have, not only in cutting spending but in really turning the tide on other things ... We can’t lose all that when there’s no connection now between the shutdown and the funding of Obamacare ... I think now it’s a lot about pride." - Representative Ross, as he adds his name to the list of House Republicans willing to support a clean CR.

  • October 6: Speaker Boehner refuses to allow a vote on a clean CR or debt limit increase, despite the fact that enough Republican Representatives have publicly stated that they will support a clean CR that it would pass.

Speaker Boehner conveniently forgets, in the above clip, that a clean CR at sequestration spending levels is ALREADY a compromise, and that the Affordable Care Act has been amended several times, both in the House and in the Senate, and that that is the correct way to go about altering legislation.  Except now those things aren't what the shutdown is about, it's about spending.  And they weren't even planning on starting this yet, the plan was to "give" on the CR but then refuse to raise the debt limit, except Senator Cruz had a better idea.  And quite honestly, it may accidentally be a better idea, since a shutdown is still preferable to a default.  But House Republicans are starting to threaten not raising the debt limit anyway.

So that's where we stand, folks.  Over a million people with their paychecks withheld, federal agencies closed or running on skeleton crews, the national economy becoming more and more damaged each day, all because suddenly the Republican party changed its mind about holding pointless symbolic votes about repealing Obamacare (43 times!) and wants to talk.  About something.  Anything.

  • October 7: The Senate may try passing a clean debt limit increase in order to spur the House onto voting on a clean CR (and, hopefully, a clean debt limit increase), but will need at least 6 Republican Senators, along with every Democratic and Independent Senator, in order to get the 60 votes necessary to bypass a filibuster.

No comments:

Post a Comment