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Garbage In, Garbage Out

October 1, 2013

“Sorry folks, the park’s closed.  The moose out front should have told you.”

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Russ Lasky (played by John Candy) had no idea what he was up for when he told Clark Griswold that Wally World was closed.

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Punching the moose out front was only the beginning for Clark.

Each year, there are five hundred million visitors to the national parks and monuments, wildlife refuges, and other destinations the taxpayers own.  I don’t have any plans to visit any of these in the near term, but certainly there are many others who had it on their schedules.  It looks like they will have to find another idea for their vacation or weekend break.  Everything is on hold until our federal government’s budget is figured out.  It’s not a national crisis to close the gates for a short time, but just try telling Clark Griswold after he’s saved and planned all year for the family vacation.  It’s embarrassing and a shame that our great nation can’t keep its parks open.

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The US Army and other government services started their furloughs at midnight.

Almost one-and-a-half million people serve in the US military.  Another eight hundred thousand people support our troops and provide other important functions by joining one of the branches as civilians.  Half of them were told to not report for duty this morning.  How would you like to deliver the message that William Lynn, the Deputy Secretary of Defense sent to military personnel a few days ago?

“I want to thank you for your hard work, dedication, and patience, particularly during such a period of fiscal duress.  I know how hard this has been for you and your families, and I regret that a lapse in funding could impose further hardship.”

Let’s all hope that diplomacy stays on track in Syria and all the other hot spots wait for our elected officials to get their priorities straight.  Congress has told the brave and dedicated Americans who volunteered to serve and protect the rest of us to just sit tight, without pay.  How do you imagine that makes them feel?  Just what message do you believe the furloughs send to them?  There is no place for such contemptuous treatment of our service members and it is alarming that the strongest country in the world cannot  keep its military properly staffed.

Nine million women and their children rely on a USDA program called Women, Infants and Children (WIC) for healthy-food vouchers and other nutrition support.  The funding for WIC has been suspended effective today.  The House of Representatives has already proposed budget cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and told those living under the poverty line that they should start planning to do with less.  This program is not affected by today’s events, but it is at risk should the shutdown continue into November.

Representative David Schweikert, a millionaire representing Arizona’s Sixth District (Scottsdale and other areas northeast of Phoenix) told NPR at the end of an interview broadcast today that this is his idea of fun.  I think hungry people would disagree.  The displays of scorn and pure arrogance that these people have for those in need is a disgrace to our government.

My expectations from Congress have been severely tempered the past few years.  They haven’t done a darn thing.  But these recent shenanigans go beyond tolerable behavior.  These people will not change on their own.  We know that, so something else must be done.  Some would say that we get what we deserve.

“Now, there’s one thing you might have noticed I don’t complain about: politicians.  Everybody complains about politicians.  Everybody says they suck.  Well, where do people think these politicians come from?  They don’t fall out of the sky.  They don’t pass through a membrane from another reality.  They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens.  This is the best we can do folks.  This is what we have to offer.  It’s what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out.  If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you’re going to get selfish, ignorant leaders.  Term limits ain’t going to do any good; you’re just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans.”
– George Carlin

9 Comments
  1. I suppose to each one of us, our respective Governments look iike the most self serving , insensitive and possibly corrupt bunch of guys having no concern for the people at large. It thus becomes a fashion to blame.

    The question to be asked is, ” What could I do to change the situation?”

    Shakti

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  2. I don’t think they care Bruce. They would rather see the country go to hell than compromise on their extremely limited view of the world. What’s really sad is that people reelect these folks even though 90% of the time the politicians are voting against their interests of the very people that elect them. –Curt

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  3. Another great piece, thank you, Bruce. we did glean a sliver of silver lining in all this: A weekend Ku Klux Klan rally at Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania had to be cancelled.

    thanks for featuring John Candy, miss that guy, , xo LMA

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  4. As I understand it, the problem lies partly in how your constitution was written – designed to allow minorities to sabotage policies of the majority. I was interested to read that apparently a large part of the argument settling was done by female politicians. Maybe you need a few sensible moms in charge, though not Barbara Bush. I have just seen Spike Lee’s film, When the Levees Broke, and was appalled at what happened, but worst of all, of course was Bush’s response to it. People in the film called him incompetent, but the fact is he just didn’t care. A properly functioning society should be judged on how it cares for its poor and vulnerable.This crisis shows how far away that ideal is. I speak as if Britain was any better…..

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    • The New Yorker had a post on the impact Senator Collins and others played to bring things together.

      The entire affair seems to be a clear case of a minority bringing far too much pressure on the others. It can mess things up when the leaders are not prepared to manage the process.

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