The full quote is “Well here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into.” This is the familiar accusation made by the bombastic Oliver Hardy about the hapless Stan Laurel.
Those words popped into my mind as I surveyed our nation’s hapless condition. We had just returned from a month of traveling: Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, Yellowstone National Park, and most recently to the Front Range for archaeology conferences. During this trip I had no way to stay current with our political madhouse, so when I got home and began my investigation for this article it was like a bucket of cold water had been thrown in my face.
So here we are facing a debt limit increase to more than $17 trillion and an unfunded debt of $90 trillion. That particular cold water was the fact the whole world’s wealth only amounts to $82 trillion dollars!
The second bucket was the fight over the continuing resolution and the so-called government shutdown. I am old enough to remember past shutdowns. In fact my research found 17 previous events. All occurred during my lifetime and I was old enough to be affected by them. I don’t recall any effect on my life or on any of my family and friends and seven were longer than the most recent one.
This time was different in both size and intensity. Perhaps this statement by a National Park ranger will provide a clue to the way this particular “shutdown” was manipulated: “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.” So let’s look at some of the ways Obama is making “life as difficult as he can” for his subjects.
The National Mall was closed to the public and World War II veterans who may not get another chance to visit their memorials. However another of Obama’s exemptions allowed illegal aliens to hold a protest demonstration on the mall.
American veterans who fought for this country are barred from visiting by fences and armed park rangers while illegal aliens are welcomed in and Democrats like Princess Pelosi and others are allowed to demonstrate.
Or how about the obscenity of disallowing the $100,000 death benefits to families of fallen soldiers and help with burial costs and flying them to Dover Airbase to welcome their heroes home. Or how about the chaplains being told they aren’t allowed to hold services and if they do so they will be arrested. The Republicans in the House sent a bill to the Senate that would have fixed these travesties but the Senate would not consider the fix. Regional VA facilities will be impacted as will claims processing. And while these “difficulties” are continuing, the congressional gym and heated pool remained in operation — as did the president’s golf course at Camp David. And there is another aspect of the shutdown that I can’t understand. Congress voted unanimously — both Republicans and Democrats — to pay the federal workers furloughed. This amounts to a paid vacation. So why aren’t they working?
Another of Obama’s maneuvers suspends the experimental treatments for children with terminal cancer and he threatened to veto a House measure to keep the National Institutes of Health funded.
When a reporter asked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., why the Senate wouldn’t try to help one child who has cancer by approving such a bill, he replied, “Why would we want to do that?”
The Park Service even shut down parking spots along roads around Mt. Rushmore so people couldn’t stop and take pictures. They forced 80-year-old Ralph Spencer and his 77-year-old wife, Joyce, out of their house that sits on public land at Lake Mead. NPS employees tried to close Mt. Vernon’s parking lot, which is privately funded.
As I noted earlier; Camp David is open and the chefs, gardeners and electricians are not furloughed — nor are the 250 staffers at our Obama’s vacation compound at Catoctin Mountain Park, Maryland. This getaway is equipped with a pool, tennis courts, a skeet range, bathhouse, bowling alley and a horseshoe pit. However, Obama has only spent 78 days there: no golf course! So sad!
Larry Tradlener lives down McElmo Canyon.