The Mentality of the Wealthy Minority

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The Mentality of the Wealthy Minority

Postby WalkerARCHITECTS » Thu Oct 03, 2013 9:03 pm

One of the greatest dangers in negotiation is to assume that how you see the world is also how others see it. There is nothing about “Obamacare” to negotiate, this legislation has been enacted. yet the opportunity to inflict a punishment on the working class exists and consequently they must strike out at us.

Two weeks ago, Republicans in the House of Representatives passed a bill that slashed $40 billion in food assistance to men, women, and children in need. Soon after, they refused to approve a spending bill to keep the government operating unless the bill contained provisions to cripple the Affordable Care Act, a law that will provide health care to more than 50 million uninsured Americans.

A threat is an expression of intention to inflict harm on others unless the target of the threat agrees to do what the person making the threat demands. Where the potential of the threat will result in somebodies death this is a very serious matter. A threat uses coercion rather than persuasion to effect change. As a general rule, democratic governments do not negotiate with those who threaten their people with harm. The reason is simple: Democracies should not make public policy in response to threats, and those who threaten should not be rewarded for threatening harm to the nation.

We need to take action and purge the poison embedded in the Congress of the United States.

Democrats did not cave in to these demands, and the government was forced to shut down all nonessential services at 12:01 a.m. yesterday. Because of the shutdown, nearly 9 million low-income mothers and their infants stand to lose essential benefits from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, or WIC, which provides money for baby formula and food.

Modern Republicans' callousness and willingness to overburden the poor evokes another act of state villainy -- one that is especially pertinent because Republican leaders so often invoke the Bible. The suffering that the American people are forced to endure because of the GOP leadership's actions calls to mind the Israelites in Egypt under the unjust rule of Pharaoh. It was before the Exodus, and Pharaoh had forced them into hard labor making bricks. Despite long hours of backbreaking work, the Israelites were barely able to meet the required daily quota. Then, Pharaoh made their lives even harder, ordering their supervisors to stop supplying them with straw, a basic ingredient in making bricks. Instead, the Israelites had to gather their own straw wherever they could find it and still meet their daily quota.

It was an impossible task, but Pharaoh pretended otherwise. While overburdening the Israelites so they wouldn't be able to listen to Moses talk about uprising, he complained about their idleness and had them beaten.

That is the mentality we are faced with.

Turn the clock ahead 3,000 years, and you'll find a swarm of modern-day Pharaohs in Washington visiting cruel punishments on innocent people. When it comes to denying food assistance, some of them proclaim falsehoods with the whip in their hands. Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN) and other Republicans even had the gall to quote the Bible in defending cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, citing 2 Thessalonians 3:10: "For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: Anyone unwilling to work should not eat."

The answer of course is where are the jobs? There are not enough jobs and certainly the shortage of good family supporting jobs continues to shrink!

Jon Stewart masterfully depicts the Republican Party as having "left the plane of reason" in presuming that it gets to reject laws in force. But that depiction makes sense only in a context where rational is defined as following the rules. It would be wise to stop thinking that Republicans have lost their minds. They believe that there is something to negotiate. Such assumptions weaken negotiators, however in this case, more than meets the eye is going on here. The reality of criminal intent and criminal conduct exists.

Aside from the fact that Rep. Fincher and his faux-moralist buddies completely misinterpreted this scripture passage, they are glaringly ignorant of the actual work status of millions of SNAP recipients. About 45 percent of those who get SNAP benefits have earnings. Furthermore, Republican insistence on work requirements for SNAP recipients is disturbingly out of touch with a post recession America in which every job opening has several people fighting for it -- and in which the gains from the economic recovery went to the top 20 percent of people. The outrageous conduct is at the root of America’s economic problems. Too much of the wealth in America is in the hands of too few and those who sit in the Congress feed from the table of these wealthy citizens and ignore the needs of the working class.

What makes the House Republicans' decision to shut down the federal government an immoral and unconscionable "threat" rather than an ordinary political disagreement? The answer is simple. House Republicans who do not have the votes to repeal Obamacare through the processes of democracy threatened to close the federal government, to throw hundreds of thousands of innocent government employees out of work, and to damage the nation's economy unless the Senate and the President acceded to their demands. This is certainly not a necessary move. This is tantamount to revolution and a violation of the Oath of Office each of them has sworn to uphold. The ethics of this action alone justifies expulsion from the Congress of each and every one of them responsible for this effort to stop legislation lawfully enacted. This is a threat to democracy. This is actually just that serious.

Rep. Fincher and his colleagues should start reading the news. They would learn about Americans who hold two jobs and still live in homeless shelters because of low pay and the lack of affordable housing. They would discover how difficult it is to survive on a food budget of $4.50 per day, the SNAP allotment. And they might realize that slashing nutrition assistance for millions of Americans is the modern-day equivalent of forcing a vulnerable population to make bricks without straw.

Or they might not have the intellect to actually understand the message.

It turns out that self-righteousness and hypocrisy go hand in hand with this crew--particularly with Rep. Fincher, who personally collected $3.48 million in taxpayer farm subsidies from 1999 to 2012. In 2012 alone, Fincher received $70,000 of our tax dollars, an amount 44 times greater than the annual SNAP benefit of about $1,586 in his home state of Tennessee.

By threatening to wreak havoc with the national interest and inflicting serious harm on hard-working, loyal public employees, they are attempting to coerce rather than to persuade the government into doing what they want. The House Republicans, in short, are holding the nation itself hostage to their demands. This is not democratic governance. This is extortion, plain and simple. In any other circumstance, this would be criminal conduct.

Of course, as the House Republicans glibly say on the talk shows, the Senate and the President can "solve" the problem any time they want by giving in to those who are inflicting ongoing harm to the nation. But if they do so, they will inevitably invite similarly destructive behavior in the future. When dealing with a blackmailer, extortionist, or kidnapper, it is never a wise response to give in to the demands if the blackmailer, extortionist or kidnapper is a repeat player.

There is no negotiation taking place today or tomorrow. Those who believe there is something to negotiate are engaging in fantasy the legislation has been enacted and the solution is to repeal the legislation. If this was a negotiation there would be only two branches to pursue. The "win-win" approach (aka "integrative negotiation") is marked by collaboration and creative problem solving. Most of the popular books on negotiation emphasize a win-win approach. The Republicans are not interested in anyone winning unless they are wealthy, the intent is to hurt the working class as much as possible.

What we haven't heard so much about is "distributive negotiation." That's where someone must win, and someone must lose. It's exactly the approach House Republicans have chosen. This approach inflicts harm on those who would benefit from “Obamacare”

Of course, the House Republicans have every right to try to get their preferred policies enacted into law through the democratic process. They have opted in place of that to overthrow the democratic process and use extortion as a tool of non-violent revolution. They seek to take control of the Government process outside of the law and in the process inflict damage on the working class.

They have tried to do this politically, electorally and judicially. They have failed at every turn. They have lost every time they have tried to repeal Obamacare through the legislative process. They have lost in the Supreme Court when they challenged the constitutionality of the law. They have failed politically with the electorate when they were soundly defeated in the 2012 election. Indeed, the only reason House Republicans can play this cruel and criminal game at all is because they gerrymandered congressional districts to enable them to control the House even though they were defeated by the Democrats in the national popular vote for Congress. Nonetheless, they are free to keep trying to achieve their goals in every legal manner. This action is not legal and what they cannot morally do is to attempt to get their preferred policies enacted into law by threatening to inflict harm on the nation and its public servants. As soon as they do inflict harm the law has been broken and damage have been inflicted on the people. The people are entitled to defend themselves against such action driven by craven interests.

When winning or disruption is all that matters, then all other values must take a back seat. The rational course then is more a matter of achieving your priorities than adherence to ethics, truthfulness, accepted rules or common practice. Think about the concept of fairness. People are supposed to respect fairness, right? ("Supposed to" being the key term here.) But an argument based on fairness only has persuasive power if the people accused of being "unfair" care enough about that label to have it influence their actions. They do not in this case care about anyone except those few who already have the lions share of the wealth. If there is a higher concern, such as being perceived as a team player even among bad guys, fairness takes a back seat. Any negotiator who keeps trying to apply the fairness argument with such opponents is doomed to failure. Reason of course is aligned with a purpose and in this case the purpose is to continue to inflict economic damage on the working class. To deprive 50 million people of healthcare.

This brings us to the Republicans' decision to shut down the government rather than be perceived as having lost. They are choosing to inflict harm on the working class the choice serves no other purpose. They have bound themselves to the win-lose distributive approach to the point where negotiation is impossible. Versatility, creativity and flexibility equal weakness. The ground rules have changed. Winning is everything. Winning is achieving the purpose of expanding poverty in the United States, sustaining increasingly lower wages and depriving people who work hard for a living of healthcare and also those who are already ill and impoverished.

Machiavelli must have had "princes" like those on the far right in mind when he wrote: "Any man who tries to be good all the time is bound to come to ruin among the great number who are not good. Hence a prince who wants to keep his authority must learn how to not be good, and use that knowledge, or refrain from using it, as necessity requires."

The Republicans have chosen not to be good, not to be fair, not to be rational in the common sense of these words. The needs of the "folks" pale by comparison to the distributive demands of the moment. Since they can't win -- and since where they have positioned themselves anything less than a win is a shameful loss -- they have chosen to bring the game to a halt. Their goal is to "win" by disallowing a win by the opposition and then to worry about explanations later.

As for these conservatives' oft-cited argument that the Bible tells us to give to the poor through charitable programs rather than the federal government, the truth is that many charities -- such as Catholic Charities USA and others that conservatives hold up as beacons -- get a significant amount of their funding from the government. Catholic Charities USA, for instance, gets almost 70 percent of its operating budget from federal programs.

Another inconvenient truth: Nearly 9 million Americans work full time but earn such low wages that they qualify for SNAP assistance. The problem could be fixed by raising the minimum wage to a living wage, enabling workers to earn enough to feed their families. Most conservatives in Congress, however, oppose raising the minimum wage, falsely claiming that it is a job killer. But you can't have it both ways.

Evil is a self referencing phenomena, If you refuse to pay workers a living wage, then you need to provide them with assistance programs such as SNAP so they can put food on the table. If the job is not enough then either assistance is necessary or two jobs are necessary. Where is the harm in creating enough jobs in America that pay well enough to empower the nation to scale back the assistance programs?

When Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to slash SNAP assistance two weeks ago -- and when they shut down the government yesterday and denied food to low-income mothers and infants -- they were Pharaohs taking away the straw. Here's a Bible verse for them from Jeremiah 6:15: "Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush."

This is a cheap publicity stunt that inflicts damage on the working class. Not just government workers but people who’s jobs are tied to government activities. These few have paralised the government of our nation for the purpose of hurting ordinary people like you and me. Of course if Republicans take this priority too far, some of them will be punished come election time. But they're not thinking that far ahead right now, and are likely banking on an ability to frame their actions in some favorable light.

The ball in not only in their court right now, they think they own it. Laugh as we might at the ludicrous nature of their behavior, they aren't playing to the same audience as Democrats. They're in an entirely different theater. The show is underway. The die is cast. Now all they care about is how they look on TV.

The behavior of the House Republicans is nothing short of reprehensible. They are not only harming innocent government employees and damaging the nation, but they are also dishonoring the very spirit of their oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Their behavior is nothing less than a perverse and unconscionable betrayal of our democracy. It is in fact criminal. It is in fact the actions of traitors to this great country. It is creating liability and substantial economic losses. Those who are responsible for the government shutdown must be held financially accountable for ALL of the damage they have inflicted with this stunt.

INSANE no…. they know what they are doing… Liable for the damages… ABSOLUTELY!!

We urge the Justice Department to indict those responsible for this attempted coup and to be held personally accountable for every penny of the damages they have inflicted.
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Re: The Mentality of the Wealthy Minority

Postby WalkerARCHITECTS » Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:33 pm

With 2 days until the government runs out of money, House Republicans made their choice. They votied to force a government shutdown unless they get a one-year delay of Obamacare. This is the way they think and obviously it is a serious matter.

At its core, the dispute over the budget and the debt ceiling isn't complicated at all. But it is full of misconceptions and urban myths. Here are the 10 facts worth remembering past all the obfuscation:
1. Democrats have already agreed to fund the government at Republican levels. This truth is etched in stone.
2. Despite what you might have heard, there have only been two serious government shutdowns in recent history, and both were the result of Republican ultimatums.
3. Democrats in the Senate have been begging the House to negotiate over the budget for the past six months, but Republicans have refused. They continue to refuse.
4. That's because Republicans wanted to wait until they had either a government shutdown or a debt ceiling breach as leverage, something they've been very clear about all along. This is about seizing power.
5. Republicans keep talking about compromise, but they've offered nothing in return for agreeing to their demands—except to keep the government intact if they get their way. Extortion in place of Design Intelligence.
6. The public is very strongly opposed to using a government shutdown to stop Obamacare.
7. Contrary to Republican claims, the deficit is not increasing—it peaked in 2009 and has been dropping ever since, declining by $200 billion last year with another $450 billion drop projected this year.

8. A long government shutdown is likely to seriously hurt economic growth, with a monthlong shutdown projected to slash GDP in the fourth quarter by 1 percentage point and reduce employment by over a million jobs.

9. No, Democrats have not used debt ceiling hostage taking in the past to force presidents to accept their political agenda.

10. This whole dispute is about the Republican Party fighting to make sure the working poor don't have access to affordable health care. Evil is as evil does.

Make no mistake about it -- this entire fight is about taking affordable health insurance away from millions of Americans. You can't even accurately say that it was ever even about "stopping" Obamacare, because no matter what the Tea Partiers told their followers, the Republican bills could not actually stop the Obamacare funding which was already in place -- a mark of the silliness of the House Republicans' entire position.

What is the fair thing to do?

Obamacare exchanges opened for business Tuesday, and they were overwhelmed with people eager to sign up for health insurance they could afford -- without being told they weren't eligible because of a pre-existing condition. That's really all "Obamacare" ever was, folks. Far from being the "trainwreck" prophesied, the exchanges are now being upgraded (by adding more capacity) to being the equivalent of "bullet trains" -- capable of signing up millions of peopleon the same day. Think about that for a minute. And with every passing day, more and more Americans are signing up. So, from this point on, we're not talking about "delaying" or "defunding" anything. What we're talking about is taking affordable health insurance away from Americans who desperately want it. Denying it to them, in other words. Ask any cancer survivor who has now signed up on an exchange what the Republicans are fighting against -- they'll tell you.

Some Nine Democrats have actually embraced the ideas of the Tea Party. Nine Democrats in Congress voted with the Tea Party to defund “Obamacare” and helped cause the government shutdown. This is largely the result of impacts on Unions who have existing Health Coverage in the Union Contracts that will actually increase in cost as a result of “Obamacare”. More than 40,000 people have signed a petition already. We think these nine Democrats have made a mistake. The government shutdown has already closed HeadStart programs, furloughed workers and even closed medical trials for young cancer patients. And that's just the beginning -- the longer this shutdown continues, the worse it will get, for all of us. Politicians on Capitol Hill need to remember they work for real working people. The working class counts, it is imperative to serve the interests of the working class. All the profits are created by the workers! Voters didn't send these Democratic Members of Congress to Washington, DC to vote with the Tea Party to shut down the government. The intention is to best serve the working class in America by making affordable Healthcare available for everyone.

Nine Democratic members of the House of Representatives have voted to delay Obamacare’s individual mandate. The nine are as follows: Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Dan Maffei (N.Y.), Sean Maloney (N.Y.), Jim Matheson (Utah), Steven Horsford (Nev.), Ron Barber (Ariz.), John Barrow (Ga.), Raul Ruiz (Calif.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.). The Republican-controlled House passed the 1-year delay of the mandate, in connection with funding the federal government, by a tally of 228 to 201.

Tea party Republicans have held our government hostage for days now! During that time, more than 800,000 government employees have been unable to work, 3,200 children have been locked out of Head Start, and 401 national parks have been closed to the public. Because this shutdown may not be the end of tea party Republican hostage taking, it is likely to get worse not better. In less than two weeks, we're going to hit the debt ceiling, further threatening the livelihoods of people all over the country and the nation's long-term economic stability.

Throughout America, there are people out of work. There are kids who want to go to college but can't afford it. There are bridges literally in danger of falling down and schools with leaking roofs and out-of-date textbooks. The House and Senate laid out different budgets six months ago, assuming different levels of spending and investment. For the last six months, Republicans in the Senate have repeatedly filibustered every attempt to negotiate an agreed-upon budget. More recently, to avoid a shutdown, the Senate simply agreed to the House level. Unfortunately and incredibly, House Republicans refuse to accept their own budget unless we accept their ransom demand of gutting or delaying the Affordable Care Act. It has been widely reported that a majority of the House would vote to pass the bill passed by the Senate and re-open the government, but Speaker Boehner refuses to let the House vote. It's incredibly irresponsible.

The budget strategy led by Republican Sen. Ted Cruz to defund Obamacare was destined for failure, and the events that unfolded in Congress last week prove it, New York Rep. Peter King said on "Fox News Sunday." The truth is often over looked in politics. The reality is simply that all Americans need affordable healthcare. However that can be accomplished, it must be accomplished because a healthy America is a stronger America. The wisdom of making healthcare available for all Americans cannot be successfully refuted, morally or economically. If sufficient jobs are created in America we can easily pay for Healthcare as a nation. The number one barrier to a successful America is jobs. Jobs create the power needed to sustain an America where all people can enjoy freedom and lead healthy and productive lives.

But let's turn to what is going on in Washington right now, as we attempt to bring an end this Republican shutdown. The first point worth making is to tell all those Tea Party folks to actually read the Constitution they all prominently carry around in their pockets. I'd like any of them to point out to me where in there it says that a bill can only advance in the House of Representatives if a "majority of the majority party" decides it is worthy. I'll save them some time -- it isn't there. The so-called "Hastert Rule," in fact, isn't even part of the official House of Representatives rules. They manipulate and engage an unlawful and damaging shutdown using a rule they invented in an unconstitutional action that damages the working class and a large number of Corporations and Foundations.

What the Constitution actually says is that the House should pass legislation with a majority vote. That's a majority of all the House -- not just one party.

As the Republican shutdown goes on, the list of House Republicans who are willing to vote for a "clean" continuing resolution to end this Republican shutdown nightmare is growing. The last I checked, at least 18 House Republicans are on record stating that they'll vote for a clean bill. Together with the 200 Democrats, that makes a majority of the House. The only thing preventing Speaker John Boehner from ending the government shutdown -- right now -- is his own insistence on following a rule which doesn't even really exist. It's no longer even a partisan issue -- because the bipartisan support for a clean bill is growing by the hour. As the Republican shutdown drags on, more and more House Republicans will likely jump ship. It's just a question of when Boehner decides to act on what over a dozen House Republicans even now publicly state that they want. There is now a majority of the House ready and willing to end the Republican shutdown -- the only one standing in the way is John Boehner.

I notice that House Republicans thought they were being clever by proposing a conference committee between the House and the Senate to work out our differences. If we weren't in the midst of the pain of a Republican shutdown, this would actually be highly amusing. All year long, Democrats have begged Republicans to set up just such a committee on the budget. The Senate passed a budget, the House passed a budget, and the normal thing would have been to move to a conference committee. Except that the House Republicans hated and feared the idea. They hated the concept because they know Senate Republicans are more reasonable, and they feared that some sort of compromise that falls short of 100 percent of what they want would be achieved. So they blocked the idea. Repeatedly. Harry Reid tried to name members to such a conference committee 17 or 18 times -- and each time, the Republicans blocked it or filibustered it. Ted Cruz voted against the idea. In the House, they tried to tie the hands of any such committee by dictating what they could and couldn't even discuss in the committee -- which is just flat-out ridiculous. So I find it highly amusing that -- all of a sudden -- Republicans are trying to say that Democrats won't work with them on a conference committee. Because Democrats have been trying to do this all year long. Republicans have been blocking the committee's formation all year long. They had their chance at what's called "regular order." They refused to do so -- over and over again. So don't try any revisionist history now, because it hasn't been Democrats who have been against this idea, it has been Tea Party Republicans who have blocked it.

In normal times, Republicans would have declared victory and gone home by now. After all, Democrats made an enormous concession in the clean budget bill already -- because they agreed to continue the hated sequester. The Democratic negotiating position started by restoring the sequester funds, but Republicans refused to budge. So Democrats put politics aside and agreed to the full sequester in the bill, because the economy was too important to halt over one partisan issue.

We can now move forward in one of two ways. The first is for John Boehner to allow a vote on the Senate bill in the House of Representatives. This is a clean bill which uses the Republican target number for the budget with the full sequester still in force. It does not include anything to do with Obamacare, period. The bipartisan support for passing this bill is growing in the House by the hour. So that's our first offer.
But if Republicans really want to extend the Republican shutdown for weeks, then Democrats are going to start from a brand-new bargaining position. And the first thing we're going to include is the restoration of the sequester funds, because it has been so damaging to the American economy. That's just the first thing we'll be asking for, in any negotiations.

The second thing Democrats will be asking for is that any agreement over a budget will be for a full year instead of the paltry few weeks now covered by the clean Senate bill. There is simply no excuse for not passing a full year's budget, unless anyone thinks the American people are going to be somehow eager to see this fight fought all over again right before the holidays this year. Does anyone really want that? We don't. So any bill we agree to has to have a full year's budget -- that'll be non-negotiable.

If a terrorist organization somehow devised a button which, if pressed, could destroy the American dollar's value around the world, who among us would be urging them to make good on their threat? The American dollar, after all, is a big part of what makes the United States an exceptional nation. Since World War II, the American dollar has been the strongest currency on the planet. Other nations, to hedge against their own currency being devalued, stockpile American dollars, just in case. That is exceptional indeed -- the dollar is the world's favorite "reserve currency" for a reason.

The dollar is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States of America. That's it. Just a promise to the world that a dollar will be worth something in the future. But this exceptional standing in the world is threatened, each and every time the "debt ceiling" has to be raised. The entire concept of the debt ceiling, however, is nothing more than a modern fiction which continues to be perpetrated on the American people. No other industrialized nation in the world has such a concept. In all other countries, when budgets are passed, debts are approved. When the American Congress passes a budget that incurs debt, exactly the same thing happens -- they have also approved the debts necessary to fund that budget.

Anyone who reads the plain language of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution can see that the entire concept of a "debt ceiling" -- and, most especially, the threat from some in Congress to refuse to approve debts which have already been incurred-- is nothing short of unconstitutional on the face of it. "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law... shall not be questioned." Got that? Shall not be questioned. That's pretty unambiguous, folks. This language was specifically inserted in order to tie the hands of future Congresses so they couldn't play partisan games with the national debt. That was its purpose. It was placed in the constitution so that one party could not paralyze the Government. That was its intent. All we will be doing is reconfirming what the Fourteenth Amendment already dictates.

Democrats will now insist -- in any budget legislation proposed -- to include plain language which removes the fiction of the debt ceiling, for all time. We will insist on a clause which states "from this point forward, any spending which is approved by Congress as any part of the federal budget will also, if necessary, adjust the national debt accordingly; to insure the continued full faith and credit of the United States of America and the exceptional nature of the American dollar around the world."

If Republicans vote against the exceptionalism of the American dollar, Democrats' fallback position will be -- as a non-negotiable minimum -- a one-year extension for the debt ceiling. We'll be arguing for it's abolishment as a fictional concept forever; but make no mistake, we will not negotiate over extending it for a full year.

Democrats' final bargaining position will be unrelated to the budget bill. Democrats will be introducing an amendment to the Constitution which states that any time a federal budget is not passed and in place at the start of the fiscal year, no member of Congress will be paid. Period. Oh, and no voting to restore any pay withheld during such a period later, either.

Think this is pie in the sky? Think it'd never work? Think again. California used to have terrible problems passing a state budget every year. The legislature was routinely months late in doing so, resulting in state employees being paid with IOU's. So the citizens passed a law by referendum. The law stated that a full budget -- not gimmickry or trickery or "continuing resolutions" -- had to be in place or else lawmakers would not get paid.
Since this law passed, California has not had a single budget delay (except for the first year, when legislators tested the law and the courts cried "foul" on them). Gone are the times when state government shutdowns lasted months or even weeks. Instead, the state legislature passes budgets on time, each and every year. Full budgets. Complete budgets. Every single time.
The threat of not being paid has worked a political miracle in California. We think it would work equally as well at the federal level. So we will be introducing our "No Budget, No Pay" constitutional amendment into both houses of Congress, and part of our agreeing to a budget deal is going to be an agreement by the leadership of both houses of Congress to allow the amendment to be introduced on the floor, to be debated, and to be voted upon.
Our guess is that it'll be hard for any member of Congress to justify voting against such an amendment. Our guess is that it'll be wildly popular out in the state legislatures as they debate ratification. And what's not a guess -- what is absolutely, positively certain -- is that the American people will overwhelmingly support this idea. While we're solving the current shutdown impasse, let's take this step to cut the pay of the people involved in creating any future impasses.

Both the government shutdown and the looming debt ceiling showdown, are a farce. Neither one is necessary. But the Tea Party lunatics want it this way. This is what they do. They manufacture one crisis after another, hoping either that the President or the Democrats in Congress will bend, or America will break. Either way, they win.

Well, we will not bend. And we do not have to bend, because Alan Grayson has a solution. He introduced a simple, two-page bill to END THE LUNACY. It does two basic things:

1. Ends the shutdown by funding the government at least at the "sequester" level for the next year. (I hate the sequester cuts. They hurt poor people, sick people, minorities, women and children. But in order to get everyone to agree to this bill, both Democrats and Republicans, we'll need first to restore the budget at some level, and that means the sequester level.)
2. Ends the debt ceiling crisis by suspending the debt ceiling until the end of 2014.

This bill goes by two names: the "Anti-Self-Destruction Act" and the "Fiscal Sanity Act of 2013." Why? Because if we shut down our own government, and destroy our own credit, we're only hurting ourselves. And that's nuts. (That is obvious isn’t it?)

We can't let Speaker Boehner and the radical wing of the Republican Party (a/k/a the Tea Party) cut our nose to spite their face. As Alan Grayson said recently on national TV, the Republican Party may be the largest suicide pact in history, but we can't let them take us all with them.

It's time to fight back. Sign our petition at Grayson will personally deliver your views to Speaker Boehner's office before the debt ceiling deadline, which is fast approaching.

So, to Speaker John Boehner, we offer two choices. The first is to vote on the Senate's clean budget bill right now. Republicans are defecting from your shutdown hour by hour, and sooner or later it's going to become obvious to all that you are being held captive by a small branch of your own party. You can avoid this by allowing a bipartisan vote on the clean Senate bill right now.

Or, as you have offered, we can continue the Tea Party shutdown, and hash out our differences in some sort of committee. Well, should you choose that route, we've laid out what our bargaining position will be for such a conference: restore the sequester, pass a full year's budget, abolish the fictional debt ceiling forever, and guarantee a vote on a new "No Budget, No Pay" constitutional amendment on the floor of the House.

That's just where we'll be starting from. But I have to warn you, our Democratic membership wants even more. If you continue to insist on attacking Obamacare, then we will begin insisting on attaching the Senate immigration reform bill to the deal. This bill passed with a large bipartisan majority in the Senate, and we are confident that it will pass with an equally-impressive bipartisan majority in the House. So take your choice: violate your own self-imposed Hastert Rule on the clean Senate budget bill right now, or face the prospect that we just might demand you do so on the Senate immigration bill later.

It's your choice, Speaker Boehner. We've laid out our bargaining positions, and it is now up to you to decide what to do next. On Friday, Speaker Boehner told his Republican House members that they’re “locked in an epic battle” with President Obama over the government shutdown.

Well, now Boehner’s got another “epic battle” on his hands:

A brand new poll Saturday (10/6/2013) shows 17 Republican Congressmen LOSING to Democrats after Republicans shut down the government. If Democrats can pick up 17 seats, they will win a Democratic House for President Obama! This will happen if the matter is not resolved immediately. John Boehner can end the shutdown any time he wants. He could have a bill on President Obama's desk in the course of an afternoon.

But right now he won't step up. And it's because he's afraid of challenging the most extreme voices in his caucus (and I don't need to tell you how extreme some of them can be). We need to make sure that those aren't the only voices the Speaker is hearing. John Boehner can end the shutdown any time he wants. He could have a bill on President Obama's desk in the course of an afternoon.

But right now he won't step up. And it's because he's afraid of challenging the most extreme voices in his caucus (and I don't need to tell you how extreme some of them can be).

We need to make sure that those aren't the only voices the Speaker is hearing. If Speaker Boehner brought a clean bill to fund the federal government to the floor -- without any of the nonsense about defunding Obamacare -- it would pass in a bipartisan vote. And every day that goes by, more Republicans, even some in Congress, are starting to say exactly the same thing as I am, It's time for John Boehner to do his job and listen to the American people. Tell him to end the government shutdown!
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