Sunday, September 29, 2013

Toe in Political Water

I mostly steer clear of politics here. Why? Because that's what I do for a living and when I'm here I want to think/talk/write about other things that interest me. But this morning, a good friend of mine sent me a note about what she thought should be shut down in the government: The NSA (fat chance), Homeland Security (George W's favorite invention) and things like that. I agree with a lot of what she said, though I don't think it will come to pass.
    But at the bottom of her email was a note from someone named Lorraine, in which she talks about what President Obama is threatening to defund if there is a government shutdown--and then goes on to rail against Michelle Obama's expensive vacations. Well, it's such bullshit that I had to respond. So here it is:

Dear T:  What the woman Lorraine wrote is utter and complete hogwash. The president makes no choices about spending money in the United States. All monies are appropriated and spent by Congress and Congress alone. All debt is debt belonging to Congress--including the monies spent for the secret service and Airforce One used by the President and First Family. In terms of presidential and first family vacations, Ms. Lorraine apparently does not know that the actual vacations, the clothes, the food, the house staff, the non-presidential and non-secret service cars, the rent on the places and all party expenses unless directly related to a matter of State--are paid for out of the private pocket of the President and/or his wife. He's made millions on his books, gave the Nobel prize money away to charity, and like other presidents has no problem paying his own way.
   As to Lorraine's claim that the president "threatened not to pay:
    -Social Security Retirees
    -Military Retirees
    -Social Security Disability
    -and Federal Retirees
--well, again it's nonsense. Why? First, because the president does not have a say in who or what gets paid on any level; and secondly, because the things Lorraine mentions are all in the permanent budget: They get paid whether there is a government shutdown or not. As will Obamacare. As will Congressmen, Senators, their aides and so forth. What gets shorted financially are all of the "discretionary spending" items: NEW claims on social security; tens of thousands of non-vital federal employees, the Smithsonian, National Parks and the like. But certainly not Social security or retirees or military retirees. Current military, they get screwed by a shut down, but not retired military.
    I don't mind a good argument. Nobody has to agree with what I believe. But when things like this note from Lorraine get passed around as if there is one iota of truth in it--and then millions of people believe it and pass it on--well, that means there is a lot lot lot of bs flying around. 
    So your idea about getting rid of a lot of the TSA, most of Homeland Sec--just bring back the border patrol, I say--yeah, I can see the value in those things disappearing. But I get put off a bit when I read nonsense and outright lies put out by this Lorraine woman. PS: I'm guessing she's not a real person, but if she is, I'm sure she's nice. So I don't mean to offend her personally. I just wish she would take three minutes to actually look the stuff up before mindlessly copying the abject lies of FOX news, Hanratty, Limbaugh and the rest of the people with a single agenda: Put down that black man cause we whites won't have no black president.
    And have a great great day. It's beautiful here in Texas.

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