The Cliffhanger, Feb. 18
Ever since the language of the “fiscal cliff” was appropriated to describe the political battle over a tax increase, it’s become increasingly clear that every issue is a “cliff” now. Here are today’s snapshots from the edge…
** Sequestration asteroid enters atmosphere, target Washington D.C.: “Let me be very clear – and I’d say this to the president as I say it to you – these spending cuts are going to go through on March 1,” Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday. A nervous CNN reported this doomsday news with every preferred narrative trope of the White House, including such popular talking points as calling the sequestration spending cuts “massive” (even though they’re only equal to 10-15 percent of the annual deficit, and a mere 3 percent of overall government spending) and this priceless paragraph straight from Barack Obama’s political officers: “Democrats want to replace the budget cuts, which Pentagon officials say will have drastic effects on the military, with a combination of increased tax revenue from millionaires through the closing of loopholes, ending agriculture subsidies, and reducing defense spending after the war in Afghanistan ends.” If only those greedy “millionaires” would pay their fair share, we wouldn’t have to issue food stamp cards to so many brave soldiers!
It’s all part of a desperate bid to use the sequestration program Obama insisted upon as leverage to pin the American taxpayer to the mat, using the dreaded Balanced Approach Leg Lock, in which the private sector is twisted into submission while irresponsible Big Government whispers that it might think about some tiny spending cuts someday. Besides, trillions of dollars in spending cuts already happened, according to Obama – we just didn’t see them. You’ve got to be at the White House at precisely the right hour of the day if you want to watch them feed the unicorns.
** More fun with asteroids: A literal meteor struck the Ural mountains of Russia on Friday, causing hundreds of injuries and shattering over four thousand windows. Scientists are confident it had nothing to do with the large city-killing asteroid that whizzed by in a cosmic near-miss, separated from Earth’s atmosphere by a mere 17,000 miles of vacuum. The combination of the two events has prompted an international meteor-defense freak-out, resulting in an assortment of $5 million to $10 million plans for improved meteor detection. The threat of a devastating meteor impact is the same as it has been for the past several years – and by “several” I mean “hundreds of thousands,” although a larger and more widely-dispersed human population increases the chances of property damage or injury from any given impact – but it’s remarkable to watch a headline-news event focus the government mind, and bring forth ready-to-roll seven-figure solutions. “We must remember that the surveys that are going on are doing a fantastic job, as we can tell by the fact that we’re now at more than 800 new objects every year… without those, we’d know of very few of the more than 9,000 objects we have on our books,” an astronomer told the BBC.
But the chairman of a company with a $10 million proposal for asteroid-surveying satellites declared, “The hundreds of people injured in Russia show it is time to take action and no longer be passive about these events.” An advocate of a different, less expensive system based on terrestrial telescopes said it might be able to give a one-week warning for “city killer” asteroids, or three weeks for larger “country killers,” promising this would be enough time to “evacuate the area, take measures to protect buildings and other infrastructure, and be alert to a tsunami danger generated by ocean impacts.” Three weeks is enough time to evacuate a country?
** Obama addresses gun-control utopia about the need for more gun control: And only a few hours after the President finished thumping the tub for his gun-control agenda in Chicago, an 18-year-old girl was killed by a stray bullet during a gang war. Even Obama conceded that Chicago has the equivalent of a Newtown massacre every four hours. But those useless gun control laws will work in other cities. Place your unquestioning trust in the President as he works to bring the level-headed, squeaky-clean politics of his hometown to the rest of America.
** Jesse Jackson Jr. checks in to the Gray Bar Hotel: Speaking of those awesome Chicago politics, former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is looking at up to five years in the slammer and $250k in fines for abuse of campaign funds, wire fraud, mail fraud, and making false statements. He’s only doing a max of five years because he threw his ex-wife, a former Chicago alderman, under the bus in his plea-bargain deal; she’s looking at three years and $100k in fines for tax fraud. Jackson Jr. apologized to the constituents that voted him back into office by forty points, while he was hiding in a mental institution, for what he described as “errors in judgment.” These errors included a $5,000 souvenir football, a $4,600 fedora once owned by Michael Jackson, a $43,000 Rolex, about twenty thousand dollars in celebrity memorabilia, $10k in children’s furniture, $1500 in porcelain collector’s items, a $4,000 guitar once used by Eddie Van Halen, and $5,000 in fur coats. “While my journey is not yet complete, it is my hope that I am remembered for the things I did right,” said Jackson Jr. Hang on, America – your journey to Chicagoland is not yet complete, either.
** His Majesty does not wish to be observed while golfing: Meanwhile, the imperial presence took his second vacation in a super-exhausting year to go golfing with Tiger Woods, and decreed that the press should not disturb him during his revels. This left the White House press corps in a state of “extreme frustration” over “having absolutely no access to Obama,” as related by Politico. The only real coverage of the President’s outing has come from a Golf Channel contributor who happens to be a member of the club where Obama is playing.
Look, people, you’ve got to understand that Obama’s going to roll out of this millionaire playground and start demanding the rest of us make more sacrifices to fund the big-spending agenda of his utterly bankrupt government. There’s no need to make everyone feel bad and complicate the agenda by talking about his luxury vacations. The road to Chicagoland utopia is paved with the acceptance of such cognitive dissonance.
** Terrorist mastermind sues over solitary confinement: Ramzi Yousef, mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, is upset that his 15 years of good behavior have not earned him a ticket out of solitary confinement. He also hates being locked into handcuffs and leg irons when he’s moved outside his cell. He says this treatment has led to “severe psychological trauma,” including “a degree of paranoia and a degree of fear that would not be normal or expected if he was in the general population or had more contact with other inmates,” according to his lawyer. No word about the degree of paranoia and fear among survivors of al-Qaeda terror attacks, including the families of the six people killed in Yousef’s bombing. Maybe this big terrorist crybaby should just shut up and take the remaining 225 years of his sentence like a man.
** Country singer Mindy McCready commits suicide: After years of substance abuse and personal strife, onetime country music sensation Mindy McCready – a chart-topping sensation when she was only 20 years old – reportedly used a gun to kill herself on Sunday night, at the age of 37. She had made at least three previous suicide attempts. The father of her 9-month-old son, who McCready described as her “soulmate,” apparently killed himself on the very same porch only a month ago, although police are still investigating the circumstances of his death. It’s a heartbreaking end to one of the great Cinderella stories of the Nineties, reminding us that Cinderella still has decisions to make after she dons that glass slipper, and even the most charmed road passes through some unexpectedly cold and empty places.