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Back from the brink?

Mark Mardell | 04:23 UK time, Friday, 8 April 2011

The president has cancelled his travel plans and says he expects an answer on whether a government shutdown can be averted by Friday morning, Washington time. He says: "I'm not yet prepared to express wild optimism", but sounded stern about the consequences of failure, particularly damage to a fragile recovery. "For us to go backwards because Washington couldn't get its act together is unacceptable."

He could be simply preparing the way for failure and claiming the moral high ground. But If that was the case I think we would have heard from John Boehner, the Republican leader in the house. They appear to be on the edge of a deal. What to look for next is how enthusiastic or otherwise are the Tea Party about any such agreement. If there are very few moans then the Republican leadership will have pulled off something of a coup.

Both sides looked over the brink and didn't like what they saw. Or rather they couldn't peer through the fog of competing narratives to see what was at the bottom of the abysses. I tend to think that at the start the American people would blame "politicians" in general without bothering to distinguish their party.

Some Democrats think it would be a straight replay of the last shutdown in 1995. Newt Gingrich badly miscalculated, was blamed for the shutdown and was forced to give way. It was seen as a turning point in the Clinton presidency which had been in the doldrums until this victory. Incidentally it had another huge impact. During the shutdown, in an understaffed and quiet White House, one intern was at work and had an opportunity to be alone with the president. Bill met Monica and the presidency was never the same.

That aside, many think this wouldn't be a straight repeat of 95. Bill Walker, who's still close to Newt Gingrich, was an influential deputy chief whip at the time. He told me: "I think in many ways it would be different than 95, because I do get the feeling, when I'm back home in Pennsylvania, that people have come to the conclusion that when a country reaches the point that its debt is equal to its gross national product, that country is in trouble.

"I think the blame is likely to vastly more divided. Clearly, the partisans are going to come down on the side of their party affiliations, so the question is - where do the independents come down?

"And, by every measure, so far the independents have said they are extremely concerned about the situation we're in with regard to debt, so if they come to the conclusion that Republicans have stood on principle, i think the Republicans will get at least a percentage of the independent vote."

Perhaps this is so. But there are huge risks on both sides. Even if a breakdown is averted today, there are many more moments yet to come over budget, debt and deficit. Late night crisis meetings at the White House may become a fixture.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    "... Both sides looked over the brink and didn't like what they saw ..."

    It is good to learn that they can agree on something.

  • Comment number 2.

    Bill met Monica in '95 during to cure shutdown blues? I wonder how Barak is going to cope. At least Hillary will be in a different position this time. Maybe she and Michelle should start a reality show name "west wing" (as if that hasn't already been done).

  • Comment number 3.

    The danger is that if the machine of state is not kept oiled it will malfunction.

    People will not be paid, contracts will be broken, private businesses will suffer and may go to the wall, and unemployment will increase. This is a problem being faced by many countries, not least the UK. If an economy is in the process of fragile recovery and is suddenly hit by dramatic decreases in public spending, 'negative growth' (weird expression, that) could take over once more. It all depends on whether production outside the public sector can grow and buck the trend. That has happened in Germany but they have a strong industrial sector.

    Enough of my amateur economics. I wish the Administration well: the world needs a prosperous USA.

  • Comment number 4.

    Obama has proven to be a failure as a leader and his waffling to play the fenceline to appease everyone possible has worn extremely thin. In his press conference this week, his comments were faltered, long winded, and pointless as he avoided answering any plan of action. Instead he cracked some jokes when at a loss for words and like a 5 yr old - said he agreed with the Republican and has democrats mad at him. Now he says in print that he will veto any bill they suggest.

    REALLY TIRED OF THE CRAP MR PRESIDENT ! Step down or Congress needs to impreach. You've run us into historical debt that you answer with phantom money. You ask Americans to tighten their belt while YOU CONTINUE TO SPEND TRILLIONS UPON TRILLIONS!

    All I heard during your campaign was Hate Bush, Get out of Iraq, and 1.3Trillion debt. Just what the hell is going through your brain! 14 trillion in debt and you keep adding. You think a false .2% increase is jobs from people running out of unemployment benefits is progress? Those figures will improve again in June when college and high school students get summer jobs.

    You'll probably retire to France and live off their government while collecting US benefits. I think you if you continue to ruin the USA, you may be the next MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY.

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    It's no coincidence that the last shutdown occurred with a Democratic president and Republican House, as we have today. In 1995, though, the Senate was also Republican. The Democratic Senate may make the difference. Let's hope.

  • Comment number 7.

    The difficulty with the extension bill, by the way, is not merely a matter of a small difference in money. It is that the House is trying to use it to remove funding for some programs which they oppose, rather than merely maintaining the status quo.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/both-parties-continue-talks-over-elusive-2011-budget-deal/2011/04/07/AFB1Z2xC_story.html

  • Comment number 8.

    I'm a registered independent, and yes indeed, I am extremely concerned about our growing national debt. Those people in Washington have been "kicking the can down the road" for years without doing anything meaningful to address the problem and bring our national finances into balance. Maybe it didn't matter so much when times were better and the national debt was a smaller percentage of GDP and "we owed it to ourselves". None of that is any longer the case, and that road has a cliff at the end of it, which we are rapidly approaching. It is time for serious action. This is not to say that drastic cuts must be done overnight. A credible long term plan to bring us back into balance will do. However, if this is not forthcoming, then those drastic overnight cuts WILL be forthcoming.

    As it stands at the moment, the Republicans seem to be the only ones putting anything that comes close to a serious proposal on the table. The Democrats - both in the congress and in the White House, seem to be totally disinterested in making any sort of serious proposals whatsoever.

    As distasteful and inconvenient as a "shutdown" may be, it may turn out to be a blessing in disguise. This may be the only way to actually begin to terminate the "non-essential" spending that is bankrupting the US. What people need to realize is that if (or when) we do have a real fiscal crisis, what we will experience with this shutdown will look mild in comparison.

  • Comment number 9.

    1. Chryses:
    "... Both sides looked over the brink and didn't like what they saw ..."

    It is good to learn that they can agree on something.

    **********
    Yes, they can all agree that they don't want to lose the next election. Sometimes a bigger fear is a wonderful motivator.

  • Comment number 10.

    8. Stefan Stackhouse:

    I agree. All this fight has done is distract from the primary fiscal problem. What's also lost is the relatively small amount they're arguing over.

    I really hope the democrats are not going to pull this every time there's a cut they don't like. Will they consistently need to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to the budget table? Let's hope not.

    Why Planned Parenthood had to be inserted at this point is beyond me. Yes, democrats attach riders promoting their priorities. No, they don't care whether they are acceptable to the other party. It seems to me, though, that this particular item could have waited.

    But, as previously mentioned, elections have consequences.

  • Comment number 11.

    Stefan Stackhouse (8), what "serious proposal" are you talking about? Can you be specific? The sticking point lately has been funding for Planned Parenthood, which the Republicans have been trying to remove as part of their continuing resolution bill. The amount of money there is a pittance. It is a purely political difference with no significance fiscally.

  • Comment number 12.

    Patty wrote (in capital letters: too much shouting Patty): "I NOW SERIOUSLY DOUBT HIS LEGITIMACY AS PRESIDENT. I WANT TO SEE HIS DAMN BIRTH CERTIFICATE ! HIS REAL BIRTH CERTIFICATE ...

    I'm British but even I know that the Birth Certificate has been made publicly available online. And the birth was announced in 2 Hawaii newspapers in the usual way back in 1961. The papers announced the parents' address as "6085 Kalanianaole Highway, Honolulu". I just don't get all this birthing nonsense. Silly things like this detract from the very real problems facing Americans.

  • Comment number 13.

    Your only outside opinion comes from a Gingrich partisan? I'd have expected that from American news, but would hope for better from the BBC.

    I might have also hoped you might contradict said analyst and ask whether Americans would remember that it was Republicans who created the debt in the first place. The last time an American budget was balanced, it was done by a Democrat. How is it the GOP has any moral authority for claiming to be deficit hawks?

  • Comment number 14.

    There's nevertheless hope for the USA. Monsieur Trichet of the EBC has again had the inspired idea to raise the interest rates on the euro. I have a feeling that Europe will be glad to see the back of him..

  • Comment number 15.

    14 nostrano -

    The euro, now as you imply, may well hold or even increase its value against the dollar, making American exports to the Eurozone more competitive (likewise for UK exports). An export-led recovery is just what the UK and the USA could do with tho' there's no guarantee that this will automatically follow. Unfortunately for the UK, a strong euro will also bring the danger of an increased rate of inflation 'imported' into the UK from the rest of Europe.

    A good thing: my French savings account will keep up more with inflation (selfish but true).

    A bad thing: on the macro-economic scale of things, poor old Portugal and Greece will really struggle with the higher rates of interest. A bad situation there may get even worse.

    Anything to get the USA back to work will be great. Just think how Detroit has lost 25% of its population. Export or die.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    Republicans push forward with their "moral" agenda that they have not been able to win in courts or elections. they have targeted programs they don't like not programs that are ineffective or inefficient. Of course they continue to seek tax breaks for the wealthy and big business. Citizens continue to pay health benefits and tax breaks for the largest corporations while the Republicans attack the poor. Maybe people will see through the lies that the Republicans continue to master and recognize that the Republicans will cause great harm to the future of the US with their big business and big banking agenda. Saw Rep. Bachman talking about Obama's three wars....apparently she doesn't remember that the biggest two were started by Geo. Bush and that US involvement in Libya is very limited. But the truth has never been her strong point... she just assumes her followers are ignorant and she is probably right.

  • Comment number 18.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 19.

    Since our House of Representatives is fiscally incompetent, it seems to me that there's only one answer to our country's financial problems. Send a bill to every man, woman and child for his/her share, and let THEM figure out how to pay up.

  • Comment number 20.

    What I find interesting is that in all this talk of budgetary crisis, the idea of a (even very modest) tax increase seems to be anathema.

    Why?

  • Comment number 21.

    15. Ad

    Trichet seems to have systematically adopted the Bundesbank policy ever since he took over the ECB decision making. It 's probably exactly what Germany wants. Historically a strong money has always been favoured by Germany, but it certainly has never suited any other country, especially the poorer, southern, exporting countries and those out on a limb like Ireland. During the crisis he was far too slow to reduce interest rates, to the detriment of everyone, and now he's raising them too quickly, to the detriment of all the countries who are still trying to recover from the crisis.
    Ironically the euro is already overvalued, and although it's only a 0.25% increase, it still seems to be senseless and inopportune.

    It's time more democracy was brought in regarding ECB economic decision making. That one 'élite' body has this responsibility, and above all Trichet, who should have already twigged that he did nothing to improve the dramatic state of affairs (Greece, Portugal, Ireland) with his strong euro policy, isn't normal and doesn't seem to work. Obviously decisions regarding interest rates concern the whole of the European community and not just a minority of pretentious bankers in Germany who seem too short-sighted to see beyond Germany's borders.

    Results, America's exports might improve, European exports are less likely to. But no doubt Germany will be ok.

  • Comment number 22.

    12. At 14:22pm 8th Apr 2011, Ad wrote:
    "I'm British but even I know that the Birth Certificate has been made publicly available online"

    Except he didn't, he has in fact spent about 2 million dollars trying to keep his records private. What you saw online was a Certificate of Live Birth which is a very different thing.

  • Comment number 23.

    Government shutdown stories=borrrring. Mark, please go back to the BBC's usual abuse involving our passport ownership rates and our excessive religiosity. It gets some folks riled up but at least it's more interesting.

  • Comment number 24.

    20. At 15:29pm 8th Apr 2011, chronophobe wrote:

    "What I find interesting is that in all this talk of budgetary crisis, the idea of a (even very modest) tax increase seems to be anathema.

    Why?"

    Because all they will do is increase spending and call that the new normal and any cuts to that new rate of increase* will lead to howls of outrage from the left.

    * In America if you cut the rate of growth you are considered to be actually cutting spending.

  • Comment number 25.

    Here's a link to a short tutorial on federal government shutdowns:

    http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/federalbudgetprocess/a/Government-Shutdowns.htm

    All that is necessary to avoid a shutdown is a continuing appropriations resolution. In 1995, as today, the Republicans in Congress attached policy riders to the continuing resolution in an attempt to get controversial parts of their agenda passed which they were unable to get in the regular way. I don't believe the Democrats have ever held the country hostage in this way. If someone thinks I'm wrong on that point, I'd like to see some actual documentation.

  • Comment number 26.

    So, far the Repubs have been willing to keep the gov operating as proven by their action of writing checks to keep it functioning. ONLY the Dems have threatened to shut it down.

  • Comment number 27.

    19. At 15:26pm 8th Apr 2011, You wrote:

    Since our House of Representatives is fiscally incompetent, it seems to me that there's only one answer to our country's financial problems. Send a bill to every man, woman and child for his/her share, and let THEM figure out how to pay up.

    ------------------

    I forgot to mention that the House (supposedly) controls the nation's purse, and that the Republicans are the majority in the House.

    But you already knew that, right?

  • Comment number 28.

    25. At 17:29pm 8th Apr 2011, GH1618 wrote:
    "If someone thinks I'm wrong on that point, I'd like to see some actual documentation."

    http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=In+past%2C+Democrats+embraced+policy+riders&articleId=e0d910e1-8a30-4e0d-84a9-2faa78d20568

  • Comment number 29.

    1% of the population have 20% of America´s wealth. 10% has 90% of the wealth.

    --the poor are parasites and should be declared as dispensable, if this country is to maintain its moral superiority. They even refuse to pay more taxes !

    In God we trust --but the poor should pay more taxes if they want anything from us --do they think they live in Europe ?

  • Comment number 30.

    csgators (28), thanks for that link. Riders are, of course, common. The question is holding the country hostage by means of the continuing appropriations resolution, the lack of which shuts down the government. In 2009 the Congress and the President were Democratic, and there was no threat of a shutdown.

    A better example is 1981. Republican president Reagan vetoed a continuing resolution from a Congress with a Republican Senate and a Democratic House. The disagreement was fixed within hours, so it was a half-day shutdown.

    Conservative Republicans generally liked President Reagan. Do they now think he should not have vetoed the continuing resolution? If not, and if President Obama vetoes a continuing resolution, will they apply the same standard to the two cases? If not, what's the difference? Will the (Republican) House resolve the difficulty as quickly as did the (Democratic) House in 1981? We'll see.

  • Comment number 31.

    cs: Except he didn't, he has in fact spent about 2 million dollars trying to keep his records private. What you saw online was a Certificate of Live Birth which is a very different thing.
    ----------
    Truth is, each and every Presidential candidate should have proof he or she was born in America checked out IMMEDIATLY- not after the race...

    It should be up to our federal govt to do the verifying appropriatly and accurately, and we should be able to take it as the truth, not wonder about it years later...

    If there was proof President Obama was not born here, we should have learned this when he said he first entered the race, such as the primary- interestingly, Hillary never said anything about his birth certificate and if she thought he was not born here, she would have pushed it, I think...
    -----------
    Nos: Results, America's exports might improve, European exports are less likely to.
    -----------
    USA and Europe should not base our economy on imports/exports- we should base our economies on SELF-SUSTAINABILITY- and imports/exports are a bonus...

    There is no reason why USA or Europe should be dependent on another country...

    We should be dependent on our dependable selves- its up to us to run our country, not up to foreigners to make or break us...

    We make or break ourselves...

  • Comment number 32.

    @GH1618

    Your certainly not going to get me to defend everything the Republicans do but when keep in mind that none of this would be happening if the Democrats has just done their job and passed a budget last year. An election year does not give congress the right to be derelict in their duty.

    When you add in the fact that this new House was elected specifically to cut spending the Dems look even more out in left field on this one. If the government shuts down both parties will take some blame but the reality is much different than last time when we had a booming economy and no active wars.

  • Comment number 33.

    Curt Carpenter (27) is wrong when he writes that "the House (supposedly) controls the nation's purse." There is a Constitutional rule that all bills for raising revenue must originate in the House. All bills must be passed by both houses of Congress and accepted by the President in order to become law, so no one body can be said to "control" any legislation.

  • Comment number 34.

    Is it just me or are corporations running America and advising Congress?

    If President Obama and Congress had not renewed tax cuts for corporations and wealthy, it would have created billions upon billions in revenue for USA...

    I fail to understand why President Obama and Congress are cutting so many spending programs for Middle class Americans yet they renewed tax cuts for corporations and wealthy???

    Clearly, by the Democrats and Republicans choice to renew tax cuts for wealthy and rich while imposing spending cuts on Middle class tells me that in my personal opinion Congress is CHOOSING the wealthy and corporations over Middle class...

    Its like how Blago said at a high school he was giving a speech at that was shown on local tv that many greedy politicians' goal is to make corruption legal...

    How warped and twisted is it that billionaire corporations such as GE legally did not have to pay taxes in 2010 whilst Middle class Americans barely getting by together paid billions?

  • Comment number 35.

    31. At 18:33pm 8th Apr 2011, LucyJ wrote:
    "Truth is, each and every Presidential candidate should have proof he or she was born in America checked out IMMEDIATLY- not after the race..."

    Completely agree with you on that, those that discount this "birther" thing may get a shock when Obama can't get on the ballot in a few states in the next election. So far the list includes Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Arizona, and Tennessee. All will require more documentation this time around.

  • Comment number 36.

    34. At 18:48pm 8th Apr 2011, LucyJ wrote:
    "Is it just me or are corporations running America and advising Congress?"

    Yes, but it as actually the bankers that run the country. Look into the FED and our debt based currency system. Watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qIhDdST27g called the Secret of Oz and it will really open your eyes to the way our system is being run.

  • Comment number 37.

    "Derelict" is a strong word (from csgators at 32). Congress makes its own rules, and if they choose to operate without a budget resolution, it's their choice. The budget resolution is not law, it is something the Congress uses to guide appropriations.

    What shuts down government is the lack of appropriations, not the lack of a budget resolution. The continuing resolution is an appropriation, and it is that which causes the whole country to be held hostage when it is held up by politics.

    Here is a link to a tutorial on the budget process: http://www.cbpp.org/cms/

    It is not only government employees who are hurt by a shutdown. Lots of ordinary citizens will be hurt as well.

  • Comment number 38.

    "22. At 16:11pm 8th Apr 2011, csgators wrote:

    12. At 14:22pm 8th Apr 2011, Ad wrote:
    "I'm British but even I know that the Birth Certificate has been made publicly available online"

    Except he didn't, he has in fact spent about 2 million dollars trying to keep his records private. What you saw online was a Certificate of Live Birth which is a very different thing."

    I beg to differ. My birth certificate also says Certificate of Live Birth and I have had no problem using it to obtain my driver's license, passport, etc. This is pure propaganda nonsense. Stop it, please.

  • Comment number 39.

    1) Fiscal Year 2011 began on October 1, 2010.
    2) DEMOCRATS held total control of both the House and Senate, along with the Executive Branch from January 20, 2009 through January 8, 2011.
    3) DEMOCRATS FAILED TO PASS A BUDGET ON TIME, even though they had December 2010 to pass other bills, including a (sort of) repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
    4) The TOTAL attempted cuts are less than 3% of the total budget, even though between 2008 and 2010, the Democrat-controlled Congress and White House added over 40% to the budget. In other words, Democrats will not even consider the possibility of returning to FY 2008 levels, just to try to get things under control.

    That the majority of "journalists" who are covering this seem oblivious to any of these items is indicative of the incompetence of journalists to deal with even the basics.

  • Comment number 40.

    Hey....

    All I can say is that for all of you who believe the "Chicken Little" hysteria that Obama, Palosie and Reed are generating... YOU DESERVE IT!

  • Comment number 41.

    That link at (37) was not set up correctly. You need to go to "Policy Basics," then to "Introduction to the Federal Budget Process."

  • Comment number 42.

  • Comment number 43.

    #38 Theowyn wrote:
    "I beg to differ. My birth certificate also says Certificate of Live Birth and I have had no problem using it to obtain my driver's license, passport, etc. This is pure propaganda nonsense. Stop it, please."

    They also sell those online!

  • Comment number 44.

    33. At 18:44pm 8th Apr 2011, GH1618 wrote:
    "Curt Carpenter (27) is wrong when he writes that "the House (supposedly) controls the nation's purse."..."

    Only someone with an over-inflated ego like GH1618 would claim the exclusive right to define the word "control."

  • Comment number 45.

    CC (44), I don't claim that. No need to get snotty. Feel free to elaborate and tell us exactly what you mean.

  • Comment number 46.

    unreported by the BBC and by most outlets is that the Dems did not pass a budget when they controlled both houses

  • Comment number 47.

    38. At 19:17pm 8th Apr 2011, Theowyn wrote:

    Except he didn't, he has in fact spent about 2 million dollars trying to keep his records private. What you saw online was a Certificate of Live Birth which is a very different thing."

    I beg to differ. My birth certificate also says Certificate of Live Birth and I have had no problem using it to obtain my driver's license, passport, etc. This is pure propaganda nonsense. Stop it, please.
    ================================================

    There are MULTIPLE documents in question, and a large part of the problem is terminology.

    Here are at least two documents, sometimes more, that are at issue:

    Notification of birth - it is a document with my length, weight, parent's names, signed by the doctor and nurse. It is a hospital form, not a legal government document. Mine is a negative copy (from 1958). I thought THAT was "birth certificate" until I applied for a passport and they told me it was not. I think that IT IS THIS DOCUMENT PEOPLE WANT TO SEE, because it has all the vital stats and signatures.

    Birth Certificate - Document provided on demand by the local records office. When I applied for my US Passport, I had to contact the county of my birth and get a "birth certificate". It was shiny and new and is nowhere near as old as I am. But it "certifies" my birth in that county. That "Notification" document was sent, with my mothers signature, to the county and they have my birth recorded. When I went to get a birth certificate for my kids for their passports, I ordered 3 for each of them, in case we needed them in the future, and they were computer printouts. The hospital now sends the notifications to the Department of Records for the county.

    There are other documents that were common in that era, including a set of footprints for the baby, and printed "certificates" I have seen that have no legal bearing but look nice in a baby book.

    That all being said, I think the biggest annoyance is that no one, not even Obama, can produce that NOTIFICATION, since the "Birth Certificate" is only an entry in a computer database until it is printed out.

  • Comment number 48.

    cs: Yes, but it as actually the bankers that run the country
    --------
    Then, we need to make the stock market and Main St economy two separate things, so if stock market falls, let it fall, as long as Main St stays intact, that's what important because Main St, not hte stock market, is America...

    Personally, I think Obama should have let the old banks fail, then we could have simply opened new, better ones that set up new rules on lending...its sad we bailed banks out but couldn't use that money to continue our shuttles in space- doesn't America being a space leader mean more than paying bankers?

    Isn't it a warning sign that whilst America is in downfall, CEO's of banks/corps pay was raised last year?

  • Comment number 49.

    45. At 19:52pm 8th Apr 2011, GH1618 wrote:
    "No need to get snotty."

    Wow -- I haven't heard that one in years.

    Feel free to elaborate and tell us exactly what you mean.

  • Comment number 50.

    MagicKirin (46), to be precise, they did not pass a "budget resolution." If you follow the link I provided at 37 and 41, you will find an explanation of how the budget process works. This line from that document applies:

    "Occasionally, Congress does not pass a budget resolution. If that happens, the previous year's resolution, which is a multi-year plan, stays in effect."

  • Comment number 51.

    22. At 16:11pm 8th Apr 2011, csgators wrote:
    12. At 14:22pm 8th Apr 2011, Ad wrote:
    "I'm British but even I know that the Birth Certificate has been made publicly available online"

    “Except he didn't, he has in fact spent about 2 million dollars trying to keep his records private. What you saw online was a Certificate of Live Birth which is a very different thing.”

    How is it different? Is it perhaps that Hawaii calls a birth certificate a certificate of live birth? Would this mean that NOBODY in Hawaii is a US citizen because none of them has a valid Mississippi birth certificate? Wow, Mr. Klansman, we can get rid of a lot of unreal Americans with that there dodge, U-betcha.

    38. At 19:17pm 8th Apr 2011, Theowyn
    We had better forget about convincing ‘that kind’ about anything they don’t want to believe. They still don’t accept that Abraham Lincoln was elected legitimately and that the Constitution was amended to give those they think unworthy people the vote.

    Then the belief that the Earth was created 5,000 years ago [I’m sure the Egyptians, Sumerians and Chinese were greatly puzzled at having the world created all around them], dinosaur bones are a trick played by God [or in some sources Satan], etc., so there is a long list of things that they don't believe and won't believe no matter how much evidence you show them. Oh, and forget about logic, that definitely won't work with them.

  • Comment number 52.

    #51 JMM wrote:

    #Then the belief that the Earth was created 5,000 years ago [I’m sure the Egyptians, Sumerians and Chinese were greatly puzzled at having the world created all around them], dinosaur bones are a trick played by God [or in some sources Satan], etc., so there is a long list of things that they don't believe and won't believe no matter how much evidence you show them. Oh, and forget about logic, that definitely won't work with them."

    Your intelligence is showing! Don't forget the "Sky is Falling", the "Sky is Falling", the "Sky is Falling" a point of Liberal logic.

  • Comment number 53.

    To those other Liberal logical people so willing to follow Obama, Pelosie and Reed into fiscal recovery of this country. Don't forget to also comply with one of their Obama 'recovery' plans.


    http://yesbuthowever.com/obama-on-gas-rise-5000718/

  • Comment number 54.

    51 JMM -

    And don't forget the world is going to end on 21 May 2011 and if that fails, some time in December 2012.

    What I can't get my head round, is that there are people who don't believe in something even if the evidence proves they are in error.

    For instance about the Obama birth. I'm not American but I suppose there is an entry of birth in the Hawaii Birth Registry (or whatever it's called) and this is in the public domain. In the UK you can apply for anyone's birth certificate just by writing off with the appropriate fee, it's the same in the US? Can't the birthers just write to Hawaii for a copy of the entry of the birth? What's the problem here? Were the newpaper entries of birth put in after the event? Doesn't the local hospital have records? Are the Hawaii record-keepers being paid envelopes to keeo quiet?

    I would think that if the original archive were put on display and the public were invited to file round it during opening hours to see it for themselves, there would be people shaking their heads and saying "It's a forgery. I don't believe what I'm seeing. It's a conspiracy. They're all against us. We trust nothing and no-one. That man shouldn't be President no matter what."

    Personally I think he's doing a half-decent job and should grab your Congressmen-and-women and lock'em all up until they come to an agreement over that public finance. I don't think that's in your Constitution however!

    C'mon America throw those barmy conspiracy theories in the trash-can and look to a better future.

  • Comment number 55.

    47. escapedfromny wrote:

    "That all being said, I think the biggest annoyance is that no one, not even Obama, can produce that NOTIFICATION, since the "Birth Certificate" is only an entry in a computer database until it is printed out."

    I happen to have a Notification of my birth as well, but what if I didn't? The original is probably packed in a box (no doubt unlabeled - this is the government you know) in a huge warehouse in the county where I was born - assuming it hasn't suffered water damage or been eaten by a rat in the last 49 years. We're talking about hundreds of thousands of pieces of paper. No one is going to dig through all that when the Certificate of Live Birth - which is the only thing the government recognizes as an official, legal record - is available, clearly corroborates the public birth announcements (12. Ad) referred to, AND was vouched for by the REPUBLICAN governor of Hawaii.

    I am trying not to be as cynical as JMM, so please, if you can't accept that this is a non-issue then perhaps we can at least agree to disagree and move on to other topics. After all, if this didn't prevent Obama from being elected in 2008, it certainly isn't going to stop him being reelected in 2012. There are surely bigger issues at hand.

  • Comment number 56.

    @Ad

    Do a quick google search this is what is upsetting. No, there ARE NO RECORDS at any hospital. In fact no one in his family even agrees on what hospital he was born in. His grandmother is on tape saying she saw him born in Kenya. Of course his grandparents put a notice in the paper. They wanted to make sure he would be a US citizen, I would have done the same.

  • Comment number 57.

    39. escapedfromny:

    3) DEMOCRATS FAILED TO PASS A BUDGET ON TIME,

    ************
    They were just too busy spending money.

  • Comment number 58.

    To csgators #56

    What happens when you can't tell the difference between an American and a foreigner?

  • Comment number 59.

    I am glad to see that the federal government has again been funded, but I am outraged at the lack of respect that the president, congress and the senate have given federal employees. They have used federal employees as ideological bargaining chips with out any regard for how these actions will affect federal employees. That the federal government was able to do this is due to the fact that federal employees have weak government unions.---Do not mix ideology with budget issues.

  • Comment number 60.

    cl123456, (#59. At 06:21am 9th Apr 2011)

    ”I am glad to see that the federal government has again been funded, but I am outraged at the lack of respect that the president, congress and the senate have given federal employees ...”
    As the disagreement between the Legislature and the Executive was over funding of Federal activities, I am uncertain how the action could have avoided involving Federal employees. Can you suggest how that might have been done without capitulation by one side or the other?

    Incidentally, “congress” is a bicameral legislature, consisting of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

  • Comment number 61.

    59. Acl123456:

    "They have used federal employees as ideological bargaining chips with out any regard for how these actions will affect federal employees."

    **************
    They use everyone that way. The "rich", corporations, unions, etc. They (we) are all used at some point to promote one side of an argument or denigrate the other's side.

    Besides, the stakes are very high right now. Spending is coming under the microscope, so be prepared for more scrutiny and criticism. And don't expect a lot of sympathy from the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs and benefits (if they ever had them).

    I wouldn't appreciate being sacrificed for Planned Parenthood funding, but that's just me. But you can thank democratic voters for that.

  • Comment number 62.

    61. At 12:56pm 9th Apr 2011, AndreaNY wrote: "I wouldn't appreciate being sacrificed for Planned Parenthood funding, but that's just me. But you can thank democratic voters for that."

    Or, from my POV:
    I wouldn't appreciate being sacrificed for right wing religious prejudices and social agendas that I not only don't believe in but which violate constitutional separation of church and state; but that's just me. However you can thank FOX/GOP/TEA voters for that **** attempt, which came close to shutting down our national government.

  • Comment number 63.

    JMM, (#62. At 17:33pm 9th Apr 2011)

    ”... my POV:
    I wouldn't appreciate being sacrificed for right wing religious prejudices and social agendas ...”

    Fair enough. Please identify the “right wing religious prejudices” which “came close to shutting down our national government.” No vague generalities now. List the “right wing religious prejudices,” the collection of which you feel comfortable condemning.

    Keep in mind that each item in your list must be a prejudice, that the prejudice must also be religious (no secular prejudices are acceptable), and that these religious prejudices must be right wing. No left wing religious prejudices allowed. OK? Finally, only right wing religious prejudices which “came close to shutting down our national government” are admissible. Reminder: philosophic propositions that a human is only a human after birth are not religious propositions.

    Ready? Go!

  • Comment number 64.

    63. At 18:04pm 9th Apr 2011, Chryses wrote

    Oh ****, another **** conversation with Chryses in a bad ****!
    Actually I don't like abortion, I agree with Bill Clinton about it [Please! No jokes!].
    I think they have to be available, legal but rare. Prevention is much better than this particular cure, but the fanatics want to prevent both education and prevention as well.

    This is no joke to me. I can remember when a coat hanger was a ****** symbol, a warning of things past and, if they get their way, things future.

    The prejudice exists in the assumption that the state must enforce their religious beliefs on everyone, even those who disagree [they are pre judging everyone who disagrees with them]. Another prejudice is that the woman is always responsible for the act of conception and should be subjected to eight months or so of physical discomfort, and possible illness and death because of their beliefs.

    You remember 9 year old in Brazil who was raped by her stepfather, and would have died because her body was not developed enough to bear the twins to term-all three would have died. The **** Church thought three dead children was better than one live one, and excommunicated everyone involved in getting her the life-saving abortion. Of course the step father was not excommunicated.

    Is that enough prejudice for you? Prejudice against people whose religions and beliefs are different. Prejudice against sex education, prejudice against birth control. Prejudice is not strong enough for an attitude that would subject a human being to months of torture [physical and psychological]. Can you imagine being forced to carry your rapist's child?

    What would the courts think if you forced a man to go through the pains of pregnancy and birth for months, what if we did that to male prisoners at Guantanamo? What would the Geneva Convention have to say about that? And I have not doubt it could be inflicted on male victims by drugs and surgery [including ripping open their abdomen like a Cesarian at the very end].

    If that's not acceptable, then that is prejudice against women, isn't it. What's worse, a rape victim is innocent, and those that would inflict this on an innocent woman because of their personal religious views are monsters. And yes, I am prejudiced against religious fanatics, torturers and monsters.

  • Comment number 65.

    So the length of the list of specifics is zero.

  • Comment number 66.

    The United States of America - whether Republican, Democratic or Tea Party - cannot possibly get back from a 14 TRILLION DOLLAR DEBT without stopping its imperialistic pursuits throughout the world. The country itself is going to the dogs (People will soon not be able to use its infrastructure.), but which political party seems to care most about "We the People".

  • Comment number 67.

    BluesBerry, (#66. At 13:22pm 10th Apr 2011)

    ”... cannot possibly get back from a 14 TRILLION DOLLAR DEBT without stopping its imperialistic pursuits throughout the world ...”
    Perhaps that will stop its imperialistic pursuits throughout the world.

  • Comment number 68.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 69.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 70.

    65. At 11:16am 10th Apr 2011, Chryses wrote:
    "So the length of the list of specifics is zero."

    My dear Chryses, I see that we are not, apparently able to communicate meaningfully on this issue.

    Redactions are now deleted because there might be naughty words implied by asterisks and underscores. Since all of the words used [with and without asterisks] were not naughty and have been allowed for other posters, I presume the moderators have taken offense at their eminently mockable actions being made mock of. I am guessing that the next step in this process is total censorship, i.e. to ban me from making any comments.

    Since that is likely to be immanent, I would like to wish you and everyone still able to make meaningful contributions on this site a lovely spring and summer.

    Dear BBC blog contributor,

    68. Your comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.
    69. Your comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

    Regards, BBC Central Communities team

    This e-mail, and any attachment, is confidential.

  • Comment number 71.

    JMM, (#70. At 16:55pm 10th Apr 2011)

    "... 'So the length of the list of specifics is zero.'
    My dear Chryses, I see that we are not, apparently able to communicate meaningfully on this issue. ..."


    Hmmm. It seems more likely that we are apparently not permitted to communicate meaningfully on this issue. While I may be mistaken, I suggest that we need only defer this debate for a few hours.

  • Comment number 72.

    71. At 18:26pm 10th Apr 2011, Chryses wrote:
    JMM, (#70. At 16:55pm 10th Apr 2011)

    You may be right, and I may be paranoid. However, the evidence you want me to provide requires words referring in part to human reproduction, and in part to the prejudicial assumptions related thereto. These references have been deemed anathema by the powers that B[BC].

    I tried twice, once in full and once redacted. Since I don't actually want to be banned, and would miss your entertaining "repartee," I don't think I will try again.

    It is, in any case, rather obvious to me that any group that sets itself up as the arbiter for all other groups' morality and actions, thinking that they know best for everyone, and thus having negative ideas and stereotypes of anyone who disagrees with them is in fact prejudiced.

    Whether this tail that wags the GOP dog is intent on acting in a way prejudicial to other people's and groups' interests, or only appears to be so intent is immaterial. One need not already feel a jackboot on one's neck to resent those who would put it there, and prevention in politics is very much to be preferred to having to cure it ex post facto. Women and African-Americans have already spent centuries removing jackboots from their necks, we Americans should not have to put up with such things in the 21st Century.

    My preference is not to wait to see what they really intend, but to nip it in the bud. If they win, are you planning to invest in the coat hanger industry? I am old enough to remember what the country was like before human rights and liberalism got to the present state, and I have no desire to see the country backslide.

    In any case, this is another diversion to keep the American people divided while our real enemies steal us blind and laugh all the way to the Cayman Is. with their ill- gotten gains. If this post gets through, I will probably have no more to say on the topic.

  • Comment number 73.

    JMM, (#72. At 21:45pm 10th Apr 2011)

    ”... My preference is not to wait to see what they really intend, but to nip it in the bud ...”
    Sooooo, you propose to prevent them from doing what you expect them to do before they actually do it because if you don't act first, they will?

    Sounds pretty much like prejudice to me.

  • Comment number 74.

    My dear Chryses,

    Tricky you are, and not forgetting this am I. I was, however so frazzled by the double if not duplicitous immoderation, that I quite forgot about everything but getting my content across. Yea, yea, I know a debater must not allow outside distractions interrupt his/her concentration, but we all do.

    In the first deleted post, I believe, I made it clear that your Lokian manoeuvres were not acceptable. You know, as well as I do, that in war as debate one should never let the opponent choose the field nor set the rules.

    I wish I had kept a copy of it, because I now have to resurrect it from memory. However, I did try to establish the definition of prejudice, and no, I do not accept what you said because you did not establish the meaning either. And I did make a point about the falsity of your attempt to establish a purely religious basis. A well-known and unacceptable trick that is.

    To be prejudiced is not the same as to be “once burned, twice shy.” Sly you are, but get this trick by me you did not. Prejudice means to pre-judge, i.e. to make an assumption without evidence. Evidence can be either first-hand experience or accurate and generally accepted records. I have seen first, second [televised] and third [published and archived records] hand evidence of what happened when both prophylaxis and termination were illegal.

    Nice try buddy, but no cigar.

  • Comment number 75.

    Right. Got it.

 

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