Kicking the Can Down the Road
Today, the threat of a government shutdown still looms like Dickens’ “Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come;” A dark phantom warning of misery and chaos unless we keep kicking our impending doom down the road.
Frightened by the specter, the Senate passed a funding bill last night, staving off the government shutdown for the next two weeks.
But imagine for a second that we let the government shutdown occur. What would happen the next day?
Widespread despair and pandemonium?
We wake up all snug in our beds like Scrooge on Christmas morning feeling a bit lighter and happier, that’s what happens!
The truth is that the government doesn’t really “shut down” during a government shutdown.
Millions of government workers keep on truckin’.
NSA agents will keep snooping on you. TSA agents will still give pat downs. Traffic controllers will still try to stay alert with Red Bull. The Post office will still deliver your packages. Border patrol officers, federal prison guards, FBI agents, doctors and the nurses at the VA, and most of our military service men and women will all still show up to work.
Social Security and Medicare checks will get mailed and food stamps will be distributed.
There will, of course, be some agencies and institutions that will have to close for a bit.
Like the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The National Organic Program. The United States Antarctic Program. The Smithsonian Institution. The National Museum of Natural History. And the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Just to give you some examples.
But keep in mind that not all employees will be told to go home from these agencies and institutions. Just the non-essential ones.
Which begs the question: Should non-essential employees be employees in the first place?
I’m gonna say probably not.
A government shutdown isn’t scary. What’s truly terrifying is realizing how bloated we have let the government become. If the government shuts down before Christmas, it might just be the best present of all. And then maybe we can finally address the most chilling ghost of them all—The Ghost of Present Debt Ceiling.
Franken Resigns... Sort of
In 1999, Al Franken wrote a satirical book called, Why Not Me? The Inside Story of the Making and Unmaking of the Franken Presidency.
Yesterday, in the real-life version of the story, Senator Al Franken resigned. Sort of. His announcement came after he drew the short straw and had to be tossed under the #MeToo bus by his fellow Democrat in the Senate. Most of them finally pressured Franken to resign after a sixth woman accused him of being too hands-on in his interactions with her.
It was actually the most non-resignation resignation speech you’ll ever hear. Franken said he would resign “in the coming weeks.” And he did not apologize for anything.
He basically said, “I didn’t do that stuff, but, since they came after me first, I’m taking one for the team. Which is pretty heroic of me to do. But it’s also super-ironic that an upstanding, virtuous Senator like me is getting taken down because those Republican dirt-bags are way worse. And that’s the most important thing I hope you remember from my remarks today.”
Until now, the liberals’ favorite senator from Minnesota was having a great year. He won rave reviews for his performance pretending to care about education while he grilled Betsy DeVos during her confirmation hearing. Then his bestselling book came out in May titled Al Franken – Giant of the Senate. Democrats said Franken was a well-liked, serious policy-maker. There were even rumors of him running for president in 2020.
But everything began unraveling for Franken last month, with that photo of him leering at Leann Tweeden’s chest as if he’s about to grope her while she was sleeping on a flight.
America is better off without Al Franken in the Senate (if he actually resigns). He’s a sleazy guy who spews a lot of crude hate toward conservatives. But we can’t lose sight of the Democrats’ larger strategy here. Franken’s number may have been up first, but he won’t be the last, on either side of the aisle. By sacrificing Franken, Democrats can now bunker in on the moral high ground and lob their bombs about Republicans hating women and electing alleged perverts. They’ve positioned themselves to appear more ethical than Republicans, just days before Alabama will probably elect Roy Moore to the Senate.
In the never-ending political chess match, the Democrats just made a bold move. Republicans, now it’s your move…
Someone Needs to Watch the Watchers
It’s been an interesting week for the FBI and Department of Justice. A veteran FBI agent has been dismissed from the Muller investigation over his anti-Trump bias. We later found out that same agent was the one that interviewed Mike Flynn AND actually signed the initial paperwork that opened the Trump Russia investigation. We also found out yesterday that one of Muller’s prosecutors is a former attorney who has represented Ben Rhodes and the Clinton Foundation. She’s also donated thousands to Hillary Clinton and the DNC.
All of this came out just over the past week, and this list isn’t even complete. A senior official at the DoJ was just demoted for his contacts with Fusion GPS. Fusion GPS… the firm that works for both the Russians AND the Clinton Campaign, AND who’s responsible for the Dossier that kicked this whole thing off.
It certainly feels like the deck has been stacked lately. The Muller investigation has begun throwing down indictments right and left, but where was this intensity for justice with Hillary Clinton? Mike Flynn was nailed for lying to the FBI, but Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin never were. We all knew Hillary Clinton was guilty - at the very least - of mishandling classified information. Why wasn’t she ever indicted? Remember that FBI agent that was just released from the Muller team for bias? He was the agent that interviewed both Mills and Abedin. No charges filed for lying. He was also the one that changed the wording of Comey’s statement on Hillary from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless.” Why is that important? “Grossly negligent” is indictable… “extremely careless” isn’t.
Maybe it’s just me, but the Clinton investigations seem like they were conducted with the intention of finding exoneration rather than finding justice. Why are they treating her differently than Trump? I’m not saying everyone surrounding Trump is innocent, but we’ve got to have a level playing field here. If the FBI and DoJ can’t check their bias’ at the door, it’s time to bring in outside investigators. There’s clearly a problem. Someone needs to watch the watchers.