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Katy Burns

Katy Burns: Enough is enough!

The U.S. Senate chaplain’s prayer was more like an order, barked out by the retired Navy admiral.

“Lord, when our federal shutdown delays payments of death benefits to the families of children dying on far-away battlefields, it’s time for our lawmakers to say enough is enough,” Barry Black said during his morning prayer, a daily Senate ritual.

But the good reverend touched only the tip of the problem. Death benefits to the families of dead soldiers were far from the only obligations that went unmet when the U.S. Congress shut down most of the nation’s government.

And Black also addressed the wrong people. The Senate has been relatively (and surprisingly) sane during the latest Capitol crisis. At least if you don’t count Texas’s Ted Cruz and his small band of allies.

It is the House of Representatives – more specifically the Republicans and most specifically a group of perhaps 40 zealots among them – who brought most of the business of the federal government to a screeching halt.

Yep. In a tail-wagging-the-dog triumph, they managed to bully and intimidate the majority of other House Republicans and their hapless “leader,” Speaker John Boehner, into going along with a crackpot scheme to do away with the funding for their bête noir, Obamacare, known officially as the Affordable Care Act, and to shut down most of the federal government to achieve that end.

It was a foolish, doomed-to-failure idea, that the president and the Democrats in the Senate would go along with deliberately destroying the three-year-old law that attempts to achieve a goal that has been a Democratic (and sometimes Republican) goal for decades. But the Republicans bulled ahead in a maneuver that amazed and appalled much of the watching world.

As the BBC’s Anthony Zurcher put it, “For most of the world, a government shutdown is very bad news – the result of revolution, invasion or disaster.” Even Syria – Syria, in the midst of a violent civil war! – is still paying its bills and workers, he said.

That politicians from “one of the most powerful nations on earth willingly provoked a crisis that suspends public services and decreased economic growth is astonishing to many,” he added. “Now . . . policymakers in other nations are left to ponder the worldwide impact of the impasse.”

As the rest of the world ponders our fecklessness, our country’s citizens are dealing with the shutdown’s ever-widening fallout. Suddenly we see how much we take for granted all the things we expect of our national government in the 21st century – and how fragile our economy still is.

An outbreak of possibly antibiotic-resistant salmonella food poisoning? Sorry, most of the CDC’s foodborne illness analysts are on mandated furlough. Planned a nice Columbus Day weekend trip to a national park or monument? Tough. They’re closed. From veterans’ cemeteries both here and abroad to important medical research in government labs, we are closed indefinitely.

Nearly a million government employees are shut out of their jobs. Hundreds of thousands more are working for reduced or in some cases no pay. The economy is losing many millions of dollars. State and local governments are feeling the effects of reduced or vanished taxes and fees. Businesses and merchants dependent on government contracts and the patronage of federal workers are suffering.

And this misery is brought to us – to you – by Republicans. Not by “both sides.” It is one side, one party, which is determined to undo, or at least to cripple, a law which benefits millions of American citizens and doesn’t care what collateral damage it may wreak.

And as I write this, the same people are also threatening not to pay the nation’s bills – to default on our collective debts, to become willful deadbeats – if they don’t get their way. It would be the first time in our 229-year history that we would have failed to pay our lawfully incurred bills. We would join the ranks of such illustrious nations as Angola, Cameroon, Dominica and the Solomon Islands.

But in the case of other such nations, they were forced into bankruptcy by often awful economic circumstances. If we default, it will be because we chose to do so, heedless of the consequences. Well, by “we” I don’t mean myself or, most likely, you. I mean the small pack of intransigent House Republicans, virtually all from safe districts, who are driven by a loathing for this president that has become almost pathological.

They are not really Republicans as the nation has known them. They are self-styled Tea Party warriors, beholden to no one, who are seemingly heedless of the damage they have already done to the Grand Old Party. They seem driven by profound alienation from many of the social, cultural and political trends over the last few decades and seem to believe they’re making a last stand for an apparently vanished America.

They are typified by one Ted Yoho, a Floridian (who I suspect was elected in part because people just liked the idea of a congressman named Yoho). Yoho, a birther who had already gained national attention when he compared his determination to do with away with Obamacare and its promise of health insurance coverage to millions of Americans with the ardor of civil rights icons Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. He increased his infamy when he railed against a tanning salon tax as “racist” discrimination against white people.

The large animal vet and, apparently, self-taught economist explained to all who would listen that a national default would be, really, no big deal. After all, he said, “it would bring stability to the world markets. I feel in my heart that this (default) is the right thing.”

Okay, forget any actual, you know, knowledge. He feels, he believes, he knows in his heart.

Do we really want folks like this running the country, determining our future?

I sure don’t, and I am seemingly not alone if the results of an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll are remotely accurate. It shows the Republican Party sinking like a stone even as President Obama’s popularity actually inches slightly up.

By week’s end, as they read the polls, the GOP seemed to be trying to dig themselves out of their hole, but nobody was predicting the ungovernable Republican representatives would go along with it.

It would be funny if it weren’t so serious. The Republican Party elders cozied up to the so called Tea Partiers when they first came on the scene. The GOP’s traditional supporters – chamber of commerce and country club types – were happy to encourage the nascent movement, seeing it as a path to power. But now, when the newcomer’s antics threaten the nation’s economic well-being, those who applauded them are horrified to see that the Tea Partiers refuse to be controlled.

As freshman Tea Party favorite Rep. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana said, “We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”

(“Monitor” columnist Katy Burns lives in Bow.)

Legacy Comments34

Wow, with all the Obamacare Experts here it's amazing they aren't already in office or highly paid consultants. Imagine, with an internet browser they have become ACA content experts. Cost analysis expert and general sources of unbiased information. Please guys, run for office to protect us all from the minority liberal hoards. While you are at use your browser to research your comrades at the Flat Earth Society. Amazing all the facts you can find with google...........

Geez, Sail, using the Town Hall web site to prove your point makes as much sense as me using MoveOn. org to prove mine. It is a conservative web site, what do you expect it to say. All your references are biased to your point of view. Do you understand why they can't be taken seriously?

This writer is a merchant of hate speech. It is legal, and this is a free country. She is only interested in preaching to her amen corner and will find something negative about non-Cool Aid drinkers. Congressman Yoho has a funny last name? The writer is an ignoramus, hate mongering self-centered fool. It is not worthy of ink to make fun of the congressman's, Governor's or the President's names. It is now fair game for The Monitor to criticize any Republican with any name other than Mayflower names. I did not find "Burns" on the Mayflower manifest, but might be wrong; not that I care. Ignore this clown, or commit her, along with Billy "Fugitive Slave" O'Brien. Don't encourage them! Don't have to print every piece of drivel from every nut job!

Whats really funny is that the left have moved so far left in the last 20 years, most democrats find Burns to be middle of the road. In reality...she's out there. Admit it.

Your claim is nonsense--and you know it. It is your party that has moved far to the right over the past several decades. Even RR would not be entirely comfortable in today's Republican Party. You're busy repealing civil rights laws and voting rights laws that have been in place for decades. And raising holy hell about a health care initiative that most other advanced democracies have had in place for as long or longer. Harry Truman wanted a single-payer plan back in 1950.


The country has moved to the right and the liberals remained far left. there has been a conservative opinion shift in every single state across the country. Most of the increases were “statistically significant”; the same held true for regions.

Sorry, but I don't see any hate speech in Burn's column, including the line about liking the idea of voting for a "Yoho". His stance as a birther, and his outlandish claim that a tax on tanning salons is racist are sufficient to demonstrate he's a few bricks shy. And given that the regulars on here who call themselves conservatives routinely can't bring themselves to use the proper name for the president's political party, and frequently misspell his name. Most of the name-calling on this site comes from those who lean so far right they'd fall over if they weren't all tethered together.

The US government has spent twice as much as it collects since O became president. How much longer does Miss Burns think this train wreck she is infatuated with should continue? Perhaps Katy and the CM could compose a column regarding the imminent tax employees and the government (municipal, state) will soon be paying, because they have 'Cadillac' plans. My health insurance premium has increased 32 percent in the last two years, since the 'affordable' care act became law. I can't wait to also start paying income taxes on my healthcare, so my "Occupy Wall Street" friends can get another handout. maybe O should have put as much effort into balancing the budget as he has playing golf (record rounds of any president) or trying to bomb Syria ... Just a thought.

Van I am sorry to disappoint you but I did not use a personal attack. I did what sail does, gave the "facts." Talking about personal attacks, "you live and breath phony." What would you call that? Any way I thought being called a "ditto head" was a badge of honor for all true believers.

Van, I saw a Wall Street Journal poll. What do you call a credible source, one that tells you what you want to hear? Anyhow, I really do hope you Repubs just keep believing your polls, And please, please don't change a thing. Thanks.

Here are the real clear politics averages and a Gallup poll thrown in: Real Clear Politics average country on the Right Track or Wrong Track 73.9% wrong track, 18.4% right track. Gallup Obama approval 41%, disapproval 53%, RCP Average 50.4% disapprove, 40.4% approve. Economy Real Clear Politics Average approve 39.8%, disapprove 53%. Real Clear Politics Job Approval Obama Foreign Policy 38.9% disapprove, 52.1% approve. Congressional Job Approval Real Clear Politics approve 10.5%, disapprove 82% In July and in the past four years it has been as low if not lower than this. Obamacare approval 38% disapprove 48.3%. Good job Obama!!!

Same Poll has this to say.... "51 percent of respondents in the very same poll said of Barack Obama, "He is putting his own political agenda ahead of what's good for the country"

and that fool Cruz isn't. The shenanigans over funding the gov't cost us 24 billion $$$. I suppose it was worth it though? right

another false post - there is absolutely zero metrics that prove that figure..... it is just a repost of the junk floating around the liberal media

Lets try this again Mr. Moderator. Sail, kindly point out exactly what is false in my post. Unsupported metrics?? Show me or tell me just how you arrived with your comment about junk floating around the internet. Why should we believe that I am the one quoting so called floating junk. Give me one intelligent source showing I am wrong and I will personally apologize for not being factual.

Well, Tillie, that is the mindset of the extreme right. There is an inexplicable and unsubstantiated belief shared by folks exemplified by Van and Sail that they actually represent the views of the majority. This mistaken belief shows up in their counterfactual but oft-repeated mantra that the Republicans would win in a landslide if they would simply nominate a "real Republican" like Ted Cruz or Sarah Palin for president. What I find most disturbing is their unwillingness to challenge their prejudices. A poll comes out that contradicts their beliefs, and immediately they conclude that the poll must have been conducted by scoundrels who put their thumb on the scale, despite that it was done by the NBC and the Wall Street Journal, two respected news-gathering organizations, one owned by Rupert Murdoch, and despite the similar results shown by many other professionally-conducted polls. So they dash off to Breitbart or other unreliable websites that display an obvious agenda and accept the unsupported and unattributed nonsense offered there without question. They appear not to question any information that either comes from one of their favorite sources or that supports their pre-conceived notions, rather than being reasonably skeptical. So, either they are unwitting pawns of the far right propaganda machine, or Bruce is right and they are simply trolls.

From reading Van for years and just reading Sail's constant refrain think they are true believers Rush ditto heads But the money men, like the Kochs have decided to use their constant right wing anger to their benefit. The Kochs are only about money, not right wing causes. They feel if they can get Republicans elected all over the country it will benefit their bottom line and if they can do that by using the tea party, they even told Boehner to forget about Obamcare. Now just like Frankenstein's monster their creation is going to ruin them because they are losing control of it and the result will be default and the Kochs will lose billions.

Tillie, I am disappointed by your personal attack but I shouldn't be personal attacks the Modus operandi for liberals. If you can win an argument you go right straight to personal attacks. It is the liberals who are the trolls guarding their precious ObamaKare so fragile a stepping stone to social medicine must keep it alive at all cost no matter how much it destroys America.

When I read the title of this column in my hard copy of the newspaper I thought Katy was hanging it up. Many of us would have been very happy with that. No such luck.

LOL ItsaRepublic

Well well well, so predictable Obama zealot Katy Burns think that the Republicans are to blame for the shutdown. So closed minded, so consistent never holding her extremist president accountable for anything. This week the Monitor wrote at least 2 stories describing the Republicans but they didn’t publish a single poll showing Obama at an all-time low of 37% Why would the Monitor do that? The answer is the Monitor and the liberal media are not in the business of reporting news they are manipulating the news. I am sick and tired of the Monitor thinking their readership is stupid. American’s are holding Obama accountable for the death benefit scandal because it is consistent with Obama’s activities during the shutdown inflicting as much pain on the military as possible while on the other hand providing political favorites to his friends and allies. Americans expect fairness and Obama the extremist, isn’t capable of that. Katy Burns knows Obama isn’t capable of fairness which is the purpose of this column to mislead those who are poorly informed. This shutdown is the result of 2 rigid dictators one in the White House and one in the senate. Barrycade Obama and Heartless Harry Reid.

Dont forget that the poll that Katy refers to has been debunked as the internals show those polled consist of 20% govt employees along with a 43% to 31% democrat heavy sample

I hope all you Republicans keep on living in your little Fox polling bubble and get taken by surprise in 2014 like you did on election night in 2012.

Tillie, It is the democrats that live in a bubble. They think a poll that consist of 20% govt employees along with a 43% to 31% democrat heavy sample plus was commissioned by NBC (not a credible news source) is legit? LOL

Van, just last week, tillie told us that polls don't matter when it comes to health care. I guess today that they matter again.

Excellent points Sail. The dummycrats think this poll is something real big.

Wishful thinking. You can pretend the poll has been "debunked", just as many Republicans before the 2012 election wanted to believe the polls were skewed then. But making that claim, when multiple polls show similar numbers, and when the poll you disparage was a joint effort with the WSJ, should make anyone with at least one foot in the real world skeptical.

I guess you are not familiar with current events inside the beltway that the poll referenced is under investigation by National Council on Public Polls for violating "the standards of disclosure designed to insure that consumers of survey results that enter the public domain have an adequate basis for judging the reliability and validity of the results reported. " .... probably the same guys that predicted globul warming

Response to sail below: Please provide a link for your claim.

Still waiting for that link from sail.

I think every republican who does any tv interview should have a person there who has either tried and failed to sign up for Obamacare, found out their premiums are tripling, they cant keep their doctor, or is losing their job. It does not matter what the question is, their answer should be.." this is David, he signed up for Obamacare and his premiums are going up 300%"...if they get asked about defaulting, they should answer.."this is Suzie, she cant sign up for Obamacare because the over $1/2 billion dollar web site does not work"..Say it over and over and over and over again because by the 1000th time, people might actually hear it. Look, Obama said over and over and over again "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor"..People actually believed him, and are now shocked to find out it was a lie. Tell them the truth for a change.

Perfect GWTW. They don't even have to have a person they can reference someone in their district. There will be plenty to reference because ObamacKare isn't affordable.

And then you can have a Democrat to respond with people saying just the opposite. SInce each state has a different set of insurers and maketplaces there is bound to be discrepancies in rates and to some degree coverage. It would be nice if everyone had the same coverage and cost but then that would be socialism wouldn't it. You can't have competition without disparity in the insurance marketplace.

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