Morning roundup — and Open Thread

My very strong sense is that the shutdown will reveal how much of our federal government is inessential.  I’m not the only one who feels this way.  And no wonder, because the shutdown reveals waste everywhere.  This shouldn’t be a surprise.  Monopolies are invariably poorly managed and unchecked bureaucracies invariably grow.

PowerLine takes on a disgusting piece of revisionist history.  (I’d seen the underlying grotesque revisionism myself, but hadn’t had the time to challenge it.)

When it comes to Obamacare, is the government shutdown both a means and an end?  Buzzfeed thinks that the shutdown on its own, without any specific defunding measures, will damage Obamacare quite badly.  Considering Obamacare’s disastrous first few hours, Buzzfeed may be right.

Even in my most atheist days, I recognized that religion, whether or not there really was a God, is a moral necessity.  Dennis Prager’s challenge to Richard Dawkins hones in on that fact.

Britain’s NHS continues to show us just  how coercive government-run healthcare is.  I’m no fan of smoking, but this type of bullying is sickening.

As we already saw in the Balkans, when it comes to Islam, the call to jihad always trumps all other loyalties.

Obama’s foreign policy in a nutshell — sort of.  I actually think there’s a malevolent consistency running through it, which sees Obama’s hierarchy:  Most favored are Muslim tyrannies; second place to Muslim nations; third place to Leftist tyrannies; fourth place to socialist nations; fifth place to free countries and traditional American allies.

Did I mention bullying somewhere above?  Why, yes I did, in connection with Britain’s NHS.  The fact is, though, that leftists are always bullies, as Christian troops in the American military are discovering to their cost.  The First Amendment promises religious freedom.  America hasn’t always been true to that, as with her attack on Mormon polygamy.  (I hold no brief for polygamy, but it was a core Mormon doctrine.)  There are certainly practices one can quarrel with.  For example, I don’t think the First Amendment should extend to human sacrifice.  To the extent, though, that heterosexual marriage is one of the core doctrinal concepts in all of the world’s religions, and that it reflects biological and reproductive reality, the bullying and coercion from the left is unconscionable.

Arthur Laffer (the repeatedly proven Laffer Curve) and Stephen Moore write Obamanomic’s epitaph.  (And one should add that Obamanomics, which is simply Marxist economics has already been repeatedly proven . . . as a failure.)

This is an open thread, so please add anything you’ve found that’s interesting.

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  • beefrank

    I saw this thread today regarding an EPA employee who managed to steal almost a million dollars working a four-day workweek for years claiming to his managers he worked one-day-a-week job for the CIA. He was also allowed to fly first-class on business due to a back ‘injury’.  He was discovered after his retirement and pleaded guilty but pleaded the Fifth during testimony this morning before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.  Isn’t it nice to be a federal employee?  This guy should lose his pension but I doubt that will happen due to the employee union.
    If this is the tip of the iceberg, it’s time to melt the whole damn thing.

  • JKB

    Yes, the hue and cry from DC today is about how much taxpayer money is being wasted doing this shutdown.  As opposed to wasting that taxpayer money on employee conferences and bonuses to reward IRS, EPA and other employees for harassing taxpayers.  
    And this prompts the question as to why it is “taxpayer” money when it is doing something the government and pundit types don’t like and “government” money when voters start pushing to keep some of their money taken in taxes?
    Imagine there is limited government.  It is easy if you try.  Although, you must ignore those in DC’s mournful cries.  They send their SWAT teams to take our property and income by force.  They even demand a say in how we divorce.  But even before, they say whom we can marry and how much health “insurance” we should carry.  They demand that kids attend their government school and tell how we must get in and out of the pool.  They say we may “own” as long as we pay our taxes but live how they don’t like and they’ll come with their axes.  When and where we can work is within their control.  Even when you may pray to God to look out after your soul.  Imagine there is a limited government.  It’s easy if you try.  Just attack their every action, with why, why, WHY.
    The government types are fearful today.  The shutdown is likely to prompt their worst fear.  The citizen asking, “Now why do we have the government doing that again?”

  • Kevin_B

    I don’t really have much, if anything, of interest to add, or even any good thoughts to offer – most I have is questions, possibly up for discusion.
    I must preface this by saying that I am not, as I’ve mentioned before, an American, and that I with great probability am not (really) a conservative or wouldn’t qualify for being such, depending on what one defines as being conservative – and that is something which has never really become clear to me. Perhaps that is the first question – and I may have posed it before: what are the essential characteristics of being conservative, apart from the many differences that exist amongst conservatives?
    I’m not going to able to say a lot about the whole shut-down kerfuffle, as I really don’t know that much about how the American government system works (I can barely comprehend how it works in my own country, and while not being very smart, I don’t think I’m that stupid). I think it’s a good thing that people comment about government bulk, waste, incompetence and corruption. These need to exposed. I also agree that talking about essential and inessential tasks of a government is important. However, how do we define what are essential government tasks and what are not? Some things may be quite clear, like providing security through an army, a police force and a juidicial system. However, many things are not so clear. Is it possible to make a list of which tasks are essential for a government to perform and which are not? Or, alternatively, is there some form of reasoning or some kind of mental tool to determine this?In short, how do we determine what a government should and shouldn’t do? Some things are quite clear, many are not.
    The second issue I wish to comment on came to my mind following some comments mentioning the EPA and its tactics. As I have mentioned before on Bookworm Room, I have a Master’s degree in Environmental Science. I consider myself to be a conservationist (NOT an environmentalist) and the environment matters to me. I, however, also to a fairly large extent agree with the criticisms of environmentalism and the environmentalist movement. Conservatives make many good points when talking about environmentalism. I, however, seem to notice more or less strong anti-environmental , ‘envinronment doesn’t matter’ or ‘any environmental protection hampers xxx’ attitudes on the ‘right side’. I have two questions in this respect. First, what is or should be the conservative approach to the environment? And second, and perhaps more closely related to the shut-down kerfuffle: just how do we go at caring for our environment? I will be first to point out that big government absolutely is not a guarantee for a well-kept environment – the Sovjet Union/Russia and China being very good examples in this respect. I don’t know about small government states. I have read about ‘market-based’ and ‘free market’ solutions to the environment, but in my opinion, most of that is vague and unclear. I wouldn’t mind being all for the market working, but I don’t necessarily see it always working. I can’t shake the idea that perhaps to some extent there must be a task for the government here. How do we go at caring for the environment and who should do what in this respect?
    I read that the shut-down means that national parks and some monuments are now indefinetely closed. Should such things be considered as non-essential government tasks and be considered as up for privatisation? What should happen with these ‘public properties’ and what could privatisation and allowing the free market to work mean in terms of preservation of, say, national parks with high ecological value? 
    I also read that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is largely closed, leading to disruptions in the issueing of gun permits. Starting from this, I have a question regarding the meaning of pro-gun ownership legislation like, most notably, the Second Amendment. What does such legislation mean, or what should it mean, in terms of permitting and other gun control legislation, and what is conservative opinion on such? Should anyone be able to have any gun, without any limitations? I’m all for people owning guns and I think even automatic guns and assault rifles should be allowed, but I do believe that people who have been convicted, especially for crimes of a violent nature, or who are crazy should be kept from having any firearms.
    Even in my most atheist days, I recognized that religion, whether or not there really was a God, is a moral necessity.  Dennis Prager’s challenge to Richard Dawkins hones in on that fact.
    I’m not a religious person and I would consider myself to be deist rather than atheist. I most certainly am not one of the radical new, religion-hating, vocal atheists and in fact detest them. What does this ‘moral necessity’ mean for people like me?
    when it comes to Islam, the call to jihad always trumps all other loyalties.
    As I heard an islamic preacher – whos name I cannot remember -based in London once say in some documentary: “the pinnacle of islam is jihad”. And so it is. Islam and jihad are absolutely inseperable. Despite all of the pure bullshit and claptrap about the so-called five pillars of islam (giving alms, praying 5 times a day, fasting during Ramadan, performing hadj and the pronuncation of the islamic declaration of faith) being the ‘core’ or the essential content of islam, or talk about islam being about true spirituality, bettering oneself and society, jihad is what islam is really about. Everything is subordinate to the goal of jihad, and the ends absolutely justify the means. Anything goes if it is for the sake of jihad. This very much includes for example deception and lying to ‘infidels’, i.e. pretending to be be benign and good towards them, until the chance arises to turn on them. In islam this is known as al-taqqiya and it is a widely used, as well as a widely accepted practice, which is theologically justified by refering to Muhammad using deception himself. This also means that muslims very much cannot and should not be trusted under any circumstances. Infidels should avoid all dealings with muslims to the extent possible. Even the so-called five pillars are not the actual core of islam, but rather methods of control as well as supportive measures to the goal of jihad. For example, mujahedien and jihad are considered to be valid and worthy destinations for zakat (money from alms) by several islamic schools of law. Jihad is the essence of islam, it is inherent to islam and it is also necessary, both internally and externally, for islam to be able to survive, let alone thrive. Jihad is and always will be islam’s core business. 
    To add something to this post, and to keep with the subject of islam, here you have a few nutty fatwas that expose the craziness of islam. If it wasn’t all so bad and so serious, these would be quite laughable. Unfortunately, given the nature of the beast, they are not.

  • Mike Devx

    Book says
    My very strong sense is that the shutdown will reveal how much of our federal government is inessential. 
    Yes, and that is why the Obama ShutDown Show is playing games, making the shutdown deliberately worse than it is supposed to be (just like they did with the sequester).  So far we have heard:
    1. The Veteran’s Memorial is completely unstaffed, and is monitored by DC’s Metro Police, who are still on the job.  Nevertheless, they put up barriers to block entrance to the Memorial.  Veterans who know the score promptly tore down the barriers and went on to freely access the memorial.  Why did the government blockade it?  Solely to cause unnecessary problems, and blame it on the shutdown.
    2. Michelle Obama has shut down her Twitter feed, which has nothing to do with the government shutdown.  Why did she shut it down?  She blamed, in her final tweet (for now) the government shutdown.
    Keep track of these delightful stories!
    Big Government fanatics, and Democrats – but I repeat myself – are required to invent these happenings because they cannot allow the sequester and the “shutdown” to be revealed as essentially meaningless for the vast majority of Americans (or if not meaningless, only a temporary inconvenience).  They raise the hue and cry over how DEVASTATING it will be… and then they’ve got to back up the hue and cry with SOMETHING.
    Some people will be affected.  Staffed national parks will close, and the family of six with reservations who show up at the gate will be turned away.  If Kevin_B is right, and he’s usually on top of his facts, gun permits requiring US certification are shut down.  I’m sure there are other activities that can be reasonably delayed that are shut down, and therefore delayed until the political standoff is resolved.
    But for 99.9% or more of Americans, the effect will be, “Shutdown?  There was a shutdown for six days?  Huh.  I never noticed.”

  • Ymarsakar

    Hope they are shutdown permanently. Because in the future…

  • geoffreybritain

    In an interview just published, Pope Francis declares that each person “must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them” and calling efforts to convert people to Christianity “solemn nonsense.”
    I wonder how he reconciles that POV with Christ’s declaration that, “no man cometh onto the Father but through me”
    Logically, I see no way to reconcile those statements. One of Christianity’s fundamental tenets is the premise of original sin, which posits that all mankind are unable to consistently and reliably choose to “follow the good and fight evil” (the road to hell being paved with good intentions)…
    Personally, I suspect that the Church is so desperate to put behind it the scandals that have accelerated declining attendance, that the Cardinals have inadvertently elected a man who implicitly rejects portions of Jesus’ message. I suspect that schism may now loom distantly upon the horizon.

  • Ymarsakar

    The Leftist agents funneled into Catholic priest schools decades ago did indeed produce schismatic cracks through their agents’ molestation of children.