The Cliffhanger, Feb. 28

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…

** Legendary journalist threatened by White House goons: The complete implosion of Barack Obama’s Sequestration Terror continues, as Bob Woodward – who is at least the coffee table of Washington’s journalistic furniture, if not the armoire – reports that a “very senior person” at the White House emailed to threaten him for daring to defy Dear Leader’s narrative, by reminding America that sequestration was Obama’s idea.  “You’re going to regret doing this,” the senior apparatchik told the guy who brought down Nixon.  That might have been a tactical error, although a number of young Obama-supporting “reporters” rallied around the White House – firing off hilarious lectures and snarky Tweets about how this Woodward guy doesn’t really understand journalism – and Bob himself was remarkably sporting about presuming that Obama himself had nothing to do with the thug tactics.  Poor Barack – a sweet, gracious, loving man surrounded by nothing but screaming harpies and hatchet men, over whose intimidating ranks he can exert not the slightest bit of control.  How did the Empty Chair come to be surrounded by so many iron maidens and thumbscrews?

** Sequestration Terror walkback: Meanwhile, a remarkable parade of Administration officials has been rolling through briefing rooms to walk back their previous sequestration hysteria, admitting that it won’t really be so bad after all.  The latest is the unfortunate Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, who wailed, “There are literally teachers who are getting pink slips, who are getting notices that they can’t come back this fall!”… but then had to admit he could only think of a single county in West Virginia that was issuing any pink slips, and “whether it’s all sequester-related, I don’t know.”

Other officials have likewise been conceding that sequestration’s effects won’t be as severe as threatened, and won’t be felt at all for over a month.  “Nice of them to tell us now,” said one of Speaker Boehner’s aides, presumably his Director of Eye-Rolling.  Even the puny $85 billion in sequester cuts Obama-bots have been short-circuiting over turns out to have been mostly hype – the actual effect on this year’s budget, according to the Congressional Budget Office, is a paltry $44 billion.  Chicken Little had more restraint and self-respect than this.  And he didn’t dispatch goons to warn Henny Penny that she’d better shut up and play along, if she knew what was good for her.

** Gun-control zealots make very special exceptions for Hollywood: You didn’t really think the aristocracy was going to live under the gun-control rules they forced on the rest of us, did you?  New York’s wild-eyed gun-controlling governor, Andrew Cuomo, just announced those pesky laws will not apply to rich Hollywood big shots, because “we spend a lot of money in the state bringing movie production here, post-production here, so obviously we would want to facilitate that.”  And you can’t film the endless barrage of ultra-violent action movies that rake in billions of tax-favored dollars for the Democrats’ top Tinseltown contributors without shooting off full-auto bursts from the kind of weapons that real criminals don’t actually use, but whose fearsome appearance keeps the public nice and nervous about “assault weapons.”

Cuomo himself, of course, will continue to enjoy armed protection, as do the big gun-grabbing Hollywood stars.  Life will be so much easier for you peasants if you just stop expecting leadership by example, and do as you’re told by your betters.  And if life remains tough, well, you can still enjoy a few hours of ultra-violent escapism at the movies!  Provided you’ve got $100 for tickets and snacks, that is.  Somebody’s got to pay for those multi-million dollar actor salaries, not to mention the prop guns and fake explosives.

** Joe Biden continues his quest to get unwitting Americans arrested, and possibly maimed: Soon after advising Americans to violate various safety laws by firing shotguns in the air to scare of trespassers, Vice President Joe Biden doubled down by explaining that shotguns are better than semi-automatic rifles for home defense, “because if you want to keep someone away from your house, just fire the shotgun through the door.”  Public service reminder: Following Joe Biden’s advice on anything is liable to get you arrested or injured.  Stay safe, America.

** The Pledge of Allegiance is fine, as long as it’s not to America: A 15-year-old girl in Texas, whose mother immigrated from Mexico, is suing her school because it compelled her to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing the national anthem… the Mexican pledge and anthem, that is.  Oddly enough, the same school district forbids compelling students to recite the American Pledge of Allegiance.  (Okay, that’s not really odd, I was just being polite.)  This was all supposed to be part of a Spanish class assignment, because reciting the pledge and anthem of a foreign country is essential to learning a language that happens to be spoken there.  No doubt German and French classes across the nation are re-enacting the “dueling anthems” scene from Casablanca at this very moment, although probably with a different German anthem.

The Texas high school student, Brenda Brinsdon, was actually punished and humiliated by her teacher for refusing to pledge allegiance to Mexico.  Bu her spirit remains undaunted, because while proud of her Mexican heritage, she considers herself  ‘true-blooded American” who found it “un-American to pledge a loyalty oath to another country.”  Here are a few ideas for settling her federal lawsuit: She should immediately be placed in charge of a civics class, and her Spanish teacher should be required to attend, in order to receive her severance pay.  Then, as soon as she’s old enough to pass the civil-service exam, Miss Brinsdon should be appointed our Heimdall to guard the rainbow bridge at the beginning of the “pathway to citizenship.”  (Note to her school administrators: if she doesn’t know who Heimdall is yet, it will not be necessary to make her recite the pledge of allegiance to Norway when you teach her.)

** Hugo Chavez, quantum dictator: The leftist strongman of Venezuela is either alive or dead at the time of this writing.  Nobody is really sure, because the normally loquacious dictator hasn’t been seen in nine days, since he entered a military hospital to deal with possible complications from his fourth round of cancer surgery.  Like other Maximum Leaders, he has a creepy personality cult, which immediately began attacking Bob Woodward for daring to tell the truth about his role in designing sequestration.  No, wait, wrong cult.  Chavez’ cult likes to wear red shirts and goofy Hugo Chavez masks while holding signs reading “I am Chavez.”  They held a rally yesterday to commemorate the violent uprising that kicked off the socialist revolution, a revolt prompted in part by… rising gas prices.  In unrelated news, the price of gas in America continues to soar, heading towards a national average of at least $3.90 according to analysts.