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General News    H2'ed 10/5/13

Minority Government At Work

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 Why don't we call these people nihilists? 


By William Boardman  --  Reader Supported News


And what do you see as the end?
And what do you see as the end?
(Image by [shriftman.wordpress.com])
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Is the phrase "government shutdown" actually an oxymoron? 


By the time you read this, the government shutdown may or may not be over, and it may or may not matter to you personally, and it may or may not matter to the country -- depending on the criteria you use to assess it. Those who say it's not actually a "government shutdown" are correct in an obvious way -- it's actually only a partial executive and judicial branch shutdown, with Congress very much alive, well, and dysfunctional as ever. 

A real government shutdown would bring the troops home from their dozens  (hundreds?) of foreign postings; it would free all the prisoners at Guantanamo and other prisons (or, alternatively, leave them locked up to starve); it would leave our privacy unmolested by the dozens of federal spy agencies (but not state or local ones); it would prevent the Supreme Court from further eroding personal liberty (leaving it to the states to protect); and so on, as the sky failed to fall, but got a lot closer to the ground.    

A real government shutdown would effectively take us back to a state of nature, or at least to an eighteenth century, pre-constitutional governmental structure, enhanced by all the modern conveniences we could keep working without Washington's help. That might provoke a new constitutional convention, which is what a busy minority has been after for a long time, and maybe that's the point of all this, but we're not there yet. 

 OK, so this is a fight based on "principles" that no one can state persuasively?


The impasse of early October is relatively simple in its essence.  The Congressional majority (all Democrats) passed a law, the President signed it, and the Supreme Court ratified it (with adjustments). That's the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) that is not well understood and is also in the early stages of implementation, so no one knows for sure how well or poorly it may work, but the absolute certainly of predictions that is will be purgatory or nirvana is easy to come by, at least from people whose job it is to persuade you they know what they're talking about (never mind how wrong they were on the last two or three or four important national issues). 


The Obamacare food fight is bogus at a deeper level as well, starting with the reality that it never had a chance to be the single payer system just about every honest broker acknowledges would best serve the American people.  Democrats don't do that any more (seek to serve the American people), but they like to maintain the illusion, so the party brought in insurance professionals to craft a health insurance bill that would benefit the insurance industry in perpetuity and, with luck, would also improve the health care prospects of some of the millions of Americans currently without health insurance, but not all of them (that would be too much like all the other advanced countries in the world and we have our exceptionalism to protect). 

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Vermonter living in Woodstock: elected to five terms (served 20 years) as side judge (sitting in Superior, Family, and Small Claims Courts); public radio producer, "The Panther Program" -- nationally distributed, three albums (at CD Baby), some (more...)
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