Taking the ball and popping it

The demerits of divided government are well on display inside the Beltway.  Neither the House nor the Senate can agree to terms to keep the federal government running, and with a deadline just hours away, major creditors of federal employees are scrambling to cover their customer base.

There’s a number of creative solutions to the debt crisis, but the most likely outcome being discussed is a clone of the 1995 government shutdown.  The scenario is this:  you can still get your mail or get arrested, but if you get paid by the federal government for anything, you’re going to be high and dry.

Where normally there’d be some last-minute deal to keep everything afloat, it seems the Senate has finally gotten spine enough to refuse throwing the poor under the bus.  Normally this is where the opposition caves to avoid blowback, but too many House Republicans see a government shutdown as a victory condition.

With unemployment suddenly shocking upwards, and since no one will be around to even count it, things are going to get a lot worse for your average American. Fast.

Count the FDRPMs

Bolivian President Evo Morales has called for the United Nations to move out of New York City, after a string of anti-diplomatic actions on the part of the USA.  If the UN indeed were to move, there’d be a few places on the shortlist; Geneva, Vienna, Nairobi…  Perhaps even Boissevain, Manitoba.  But if the General Assembly were to pick a nation, any nation, today?  It would no longer be the United States of America.

Franklin Roosevelt must be spinning in his grave.  For the United Nations to fall from the cornerstone of the international system and a bulwark of peace, to at best being a over-bureaucratic humanitarian agency, whose institutions are now bypassed when crises like Syria come to a head, is a tragedy of global proportions.

Top of the charts

Healthcare is running high in the national debate, although the FUD is indeed as thick as anticipated.

Having previously gotten their way on health reform and killed any notion of national insurance, having wrestled until the framework looked most like Romney’s Massachusetts, the same victors of the past debate now tell us that the entire concept was never their idea.  Last night’s un-filibuster from a man who was born in Canada can only be powered by vast reserves of hypocrisy.

I don’t look forward to seeing what the Senate does with this House Budget bill, or what the Conference Committee does in its inky, smoky depths.  With a House version that features a wish list of cruel asceticism, it’s now left to the Senate to provide us with a slightly less punishing blow to the least fortunate.

One week

In just one week, the most important parts of the new healthcare law take effect.  If you’re one of the thousands of North Dakotans without health insurance,  it’s about to get a whole lot easier to get insurance on your own.

Most of the new business in health insurance will be conducted at HealthCare.gov, which has plenty of FAQs today, and will have the answers to still more questions next week.

If your household income is less than 4 times the poverty line, your insurance will be subsidized.  If you make less than 133% of the poverty line (that’s $14,859 for single people), you qualify for Medicaid in North Dakota and Minnesota.

Yet with all these important things happening, North Dakota Department of Human Services site still doesn’t have any information for you.  It hasn’t been changed since April.

The Minnesota site also doesn’t seem to be ready, although fragmented information is available on some state of Minnesota websites.

Will our states be ready in time for the deluge of questions on October 1?

Syriasly?

It’s been years in the making, but this summer, the Obama Administration has finally gone off the cliff In its quest to avoid seeming soft on defence.  From its active prosecution of those who warn us of the un-American activities of our own government, to its present course pressing Congress to vote against public opinion for a new misadventure in Syria… our President seems not nearly different enough from the one he replaced.

This cry for new warfare is the fastest way to alienate what’s left of President Obama’s base.  What the President could have been doing this month is running victory laps on healthcare, mere weeks before the most important changes to public health in the United States take effect.  Instead he’s set on making Russia look bad, and risking the rest of his approval rating on a conflict that can’t possibly end well.