Tag Archives: shutdown

More defiance of the Obama administration’s attempt to lock Americans out of public lands.

Occupy America: More examples of defiance of the Obama administration’s attempt to lock Americans out of public lands.

The most telling quote from this story, however, is this statement by a park service spokesman about the first amendment exception they have instituted at the World War II memorial:

Michael Litterst, a National Park Service spokesman, said the First Amendment exception applies only to several Washington and Philadelphia parks related to the government and its history, “due to these parks’ long history of hosting First Amendment events, their expansive outdoor grounds, and their location in major metropolitan areas. You could not host a First Amendment rally at Chaco Culture, Grand Canyon, Manassas or any one of the 395 other parks where such activities are prohibited during the shutdown. They can be held only at the National Mall and Memorial Parks, the areas of the White House administered by the NPS, and Independence National Historical Park,” he said. [emphasis mine]

Since when is freedom of speech limited to only certain places, and those places are determined by the government?

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The Obama administration is shutting down small private campgrounds in Forest Service lands, but allowing big ski lodges to continue to operate.

Shutdown fascism: The Obama administration is shutting down small private campgrounds in Forest Service lands, but allowing big ski lodges to continue to operate.

The forest service is also allowing certain state parks in federal land to remain in open, which I think is the result of Scott Walker’s refusal to shut his state parks in Wisconsin. The big ski lodges have the ability to fight back, as do the states. And like all bullies, the Obama administration is going after the small and the weak, and running in fear from the strong and defiant.

We must all be defiant. Obama and the Democrats will then fold like a cheap card table.

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The public appears to be increasingly defiant about the National Park Service’s closure of parks.

The public appears to be increasingly defiant about the National Park Service’s closure of parks.

Meanwhile, from a commenter here describing the situation at Great Smoky National Park since we left that area on Friday:

I was at the Smokies this weekend (Saturday and Sunday). The parking lot a Newfound Gap was completely open. The road to Clingman’s Dome was open. I did not travel down the North Carolina side of the park. Major trailheads were blocked at the Chimneys and Alum Cave Bluff. Chimneys picnic area closed. All other trailheads along 441 were open and there were plenty of people parked and enjoying the park. Little River Road was closed. We parked a couple of quiet walkways and took some short walks. Never saw an ranger anywhere.

If you are planning a trip to the Smokies then I would say to go for it. You may not be able to access some of the more popular areas of the park but there are plenty of areas that are accessible. I am planning a horseback riding trip (my own horses) in a couple of weeks and I am not going to let the dictatorial government in Washington ruin my plans.

The Chimney Top trail has been closed anyway during the week because of trail work, and the Alum Cave Bluff parking area is located at a spot where road work is presently going on and therefore might have been closed anyway as well.

And then there’s this: Yorktown restaurant owner defies the federal government, “occupying” his restaurant.

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The government shutdown is forcing House lawmakers to reuse their towels in the House gym.

The horror! The government shutdown is forcing House lawmakers to reuse their towels in the House gym.

The important question is why this gym is even open, or even exists. I can think of a lot better uses of taxpayer dollars, especially considering how much money these elected officials make.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has decided that the shutdown prevents them from paying the death benefits to the families of military soldiers killed in action.

Compare and contrast.

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Despite a threat of arrest by the Obama administration, veterans from Ohio plan to visit the World War II memorial on Wednesday.

Despite a threat of arrest by the Obama administration, veterans from Ohio plan to visit the World War II memorial on Wednesday.

I suspect that the park service employee who said the vets risked arrest if they crossed the barricades regrets that statement. I also almost hope that the Obama administration does try to arrest someone, as such action will quite starkly illustrate how fascist the administration is behaving.

And then there’s this story: ‘Gestapo’ tactics meet senior citizens at Yellowstone.

Vaillancourt was one of thousands of people who found themselves in a national park as the federal government shutdown went into effect on Oct. 1. For many hours her tour group, which included senior citizen visitors from Japan, Australia, Canada and the United States, were locked in a Yellowstone National Park hotel under armed guard. The tourists were treated harshly by armed park employees, she said, so much so that some of the foreign tourists with limited English skills thought they were under arrest.

Read the whole story. It should make you ashamed.

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The world that works vs the world that doesn’t.

The world that works vs the world that doesn’t.

In Washington, penalties for failure are few: Has anyone been fired over the Obamacare launch debacle? Problems are always the fault of circumstances, or the Evil Opposition, or are simply swept under the rug. Of course, that means there’s not much learning from mistakes, and “more of the same, only we’ll try harder!” is a common response. As in The Hunger Games, life is always posh in Capital City; suffering is for the poor schlubs out in the provinces.

In the world that works, on the other hand, mistakes are painful: They cost people jobs, they cost investors money, they result in bad publicity that’s harder to explain away. Thus, people learn from them. Unsurprisingly, the world that works is where the money that Washington spends ultimately comes from.

The problem is that the bigger Washington gets, the less room is left for the world that works. As more and more of American life is taken over by the world of politics — in which wealth is not generated, but taken from one’s opponents and distributed to one’s supporters — a smaller share is left for the world that works.

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22 privately run campsites in New Hampshire are being told to close by the Forest Service, even though they get no money from the federal government.

Obama fascism: 22 privately run campsites in New Hampshire are being told to close by the Forest Service, even though they get no money from the federal government.

According to the Union Leader, while the campsites are situated on federally owned land, they are entirely run by a private company, which has a contract to operate the sites and which pays the federal government a cut of the fees it collects. That means the closure will not only prevent thousands of campers from using the facilities, it will actually cost the federal government money it would have collected if it had simply done nothing.

These campsites were always allowed to operate during previous shutdowns. I should add that they have a legal contract with the government, which it appears the government is now breaking without real cause. If I were them I would be suing the Obama administration for loss of income and a violation of contract.

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The National Park Service is permitting a leftwing rally for illegal immigrants to take place on the National Mall, supposedly closed because of the government shutdown.

Working for the left and the Democratic Party: The National Park Service is permitting a leftwing rally for illegal immigrants to take place on the National Mall, supposedly closed because of the government shutdown.

Much like the favoritism exhibited by the IRS, the park service is now clearly favoring leftwing protest. Want to gather at the World War II monument to celebrate the courage of Americans to free the world from Nazism and fascism? No! Want to gather on the National Mall to celebrate illegal immigrants? Yes!

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Speaker John Boehner on Sunday said that the House will pass no bills to re-open the federal government or raise the debt limit until President Obama sits down to negotiate.

Speaker John Boehner on Sunday said that the House will pass no bills to re-open the federal government or raise the debt limit until President Obama sits down to negotiate.

In his first extended TV interview since shutdown Tuesday, a defiant Boehner placed the blame for the fiscal impasse firmly on Obama, who has refused to sit down with House Republicans until they re-open the government at current spending levels. “The president just can’t sit there and say, ‘I’m not going to negotiate,'” Boehner said. Boehner said that there aren’t enough votes in the Republican-led House to simply re-open the government with no other strings attached. “There are not votes in the House to pass a clean (continuing resolution),” he said.

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The Obama administration has ordered 1100 square miles of open ocean off limits to private fisherman and tourists because of the government shutdown.

Shutdown fascism: The Obama administration has ordered 1100 square miles of open ocean off limits to private fisherman and tourists because of the government shutdown.

The article above also has a link to a story where voluntary unpaid Catholic priests have been told by the Obama administration that they will face arrest if they try to serve mass at military chapels or minister to military personnel during the shutdown.

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A bus tour of veterans today pushed barricades clear so that the Iwo Jima Memorial was once again open to the public.

A bus tour of veterans today pushed barricades clear so that the Iwo Jima Memorial was once again open to the public.

More events like this have to happen, and they have to be done by everyone, not just the veterans.

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Because India depends on the American Deep Space communications network — mostly unavailable due to the government shutdown — the launch of its first Mars probe, set for October 28, might have to be delayed for two years.

Because India depends on the American Deep Space communications network — mostly unavailable due to the government shutdown — the launch of its first Mars probe, set for October 28, might have to be delayed for two years.

This is unfortunate news indeed. However, if I was India (as well as other countries) I would consider this a call to develop their own deep space network.

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“Government shuts down, nation descends into riots, looting and cannibalism.”

“Government shuts down, nation descends into riots, looting and cannibalism.”

“The government shut down! We can do anything we like,” shouted Sam Hasbley of Grassley, Iowa, while tearing the tag off a mattress despite an explicit warning label forbidding such a dangerous course of action. “Tear yours off. The government is shut down. It can’t stop you.”

Eyewitnesses spoke of further horrors. On a quiet street in suburban Massachusetts, a man brought out a set of highly illegal lawn darts. In Maryland, there were allegations that an entire family had begun digging ditches to collect rainwater runoff. With the fall of the government, citizen activists took it upon themselves to chronicle the culture of lawlessness. Men played Gibson guitars made of wood imported from India, but not finished by Indian workers. Women bought cold medicine without a photo ID. Children went hours without hearing lectures about the environment.

Heh. Read it all. You will be horrified.

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Even as the military announces it must eliminate TV broadcasts of sporting events for the troops overseas because of the govermnent shutdown, it continues to operate the golf courses and Camp David for President Obama’s entertainment.

Even as the military announces it must eliminate TV broadcasts of sporting events for the troops overseas because of the govermnent shutdown, it continues to operate the golf courses and Camp David for President Obama’s entertainment.

Posted as we crossed the Tennessee-Virginia border on I-81, heading north.

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The Obama administration is now beginning to reinforce the barricades at the World War II memorial to prevent access.

Shutdown fascism: The Obama administration is now beginning to reinforce the barricades at the World War II memorial to prevent access.

Why is this madness beginning to remind me of the Berlin Wall?

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NASA has decided to exempt its Mars probe, MAVEN, from the government shutdown, allowing preparations to resume for its November launch.

NASA has decided to exempt its Mars probe, MAVEN, from the government shutdown, allowing preparations to resume for its November launch.

NASA Headquarters in Washington determined that Maven’s preparations should go ahead on an emergency basis — not because of its scientific objectives, but because of its expected role as a communications relay satellite for the Opportunity and Curiosity rovers on Mars. “Both Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Odyssey have been acting as communication relays, but they’ve passed their design lifetime,” Jakosky explained. “Maven carries communication equipment to take over that job as necessary. Getting us launched at this opportunity is a way to preserve that ability to communicate.”

As I’ve said before, as much as I am in favor of launching this kind of science mission, the number of arbitrary decisions relating to this shutdown makes the whole thing look ridiculous. NASA can act to protect its investments on Mars, but the National Park Service is required to interfere with the normal actions of private restaurants here on Earth?

The truth is that these science missions really don’t fall under the intended definition of “essential operations”. The federal bureaucracy, under the direction of the White House, is simply stretching that definition for their own convenience, wherever they like.

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Freeing the Smoky Mountains

Maddron Bald trailhead during the federal shutdown
The Maddron Bald trailhead on October 3, 2013, during
the government shutdown.

Today we did our last hike in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As I described yesterday, we decided to go to a place where we could park on private land and easily hike to a trail in the park. That way, we would reduce the level of power any fascist-minded ranger from the National Park Service might have over us should they confront us for being in our park.

As it turns out, there was no evidence at all of a shutdown at the trailhead we choose. We went to the Maddron Bald trailhead, just off state route 321. The parking area here is small, capable of holding no more than 5 or 6 cars. When we arrived there were three cars there, so we had no problem finding room, as you can see from the image to the left.

There were also no signs indicating the park was closed. Nor were there any barricades or cones. As far as we could tell, it was a normal day in the national park, which to me proved that the restrictions the park service is imposing on New Found Gap Road (as well as elsewhere across the nation) has absolutely nothing to do with their lack of funds. This particular trailhead is not as well known or visited, and is off the beaten track. Moreover, it would be hard to monitor. Thus, the park service chose to make believe it wasn’t there. Smart tourists could come here and enjoy the park, as intended, despite the shutdown.

If the shutdown really required the closure of the park, the park service would have sent a ranger here as well. They did not, proving that their obnoxious efforts are really aimed at causing problems for as many Americans as possible, not securing the park as they dishonestly might tell us.
» Read more

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House Republicans plan to pass more narrow funding bills in an effort to get some of the government running again.

House Republicans plan to pass more narrow funding bills in an effort to get some of the government running again.

In recent days, House Republicans have advanced several bills targeting high-profile areas of the government impacted by the shutdown, such as national parks, veterans’ benefits and the National Institutes of Health. In turn, they have pressed Senate Democrats to take up the measures and ensure that at least some portions of the government can be funded while the two sides search for a broader compromise. Thus far, Senate Democrats and the White House have rejected that approach, pushing back on Republicans to accept a plan to fund the entire government at sequester levels.

Bills to fund the government have been passed by the House, controlled by Republicans. The Senate, controlled by Democrats, refuses to even look at them, even though those bills contain nothing in them that the Democrats specifically disagree with. Whose causing this shutdown then?

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“It’s day two of health care reform, and we have yet to have someone successfully register on the marketplace.”

Not finding out what’s in it: “It’s day two of health care reform, and we have yet to have someone successfully register on the marketplace.”

The story is only one of many, all of which have found that no one has successfully been able to register for Obamacare on the government-run websites.

But don’t worry: President Obama and the Democrats are willing to shut down everything rather than have the disaster of Obamacare delayed for even one second!

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The Obama administration has demanded that hundreds of private venues close, merely because they are on federal land.

Shutdown fascism: The Obama administration has demanded that hundreds of private venues close, merely because they are on federal land, and even if they use no federal funds to operate. Key quote:

“I can only assume their intention is to artificially increase the cost of the shutdown as some sort of political ploy,” Meyer said in his letter. “The point of the shutdown is to close non-essential operations that require Federal money and manpower to stay open. So why is the White House closing private operations that require no government money to keep open and actually pay a percentage of their gate revenues back to the Treasury? We are a tenant of the U.S. Forest Service, and a tenant does not have to close his business just because his landlord goes on a vacation.”

A spokeswoman for the National Park Service told MyFoxDC that it is still federal land, and the rule is that if there’s no Congressional appropriation, no visitors are allowed. [emphasis mine]

That last so-called rule is absolute hogwash. It doesn’t exist. All the lack of an appropriation means is that the federal government should hang a “closed” sign on the door of the buildings and lockable facilities and go home. Public lands are exactly that, public. They have no right to keep the public off them, since it is the public that actually owns them. The park service is merely a maintenance crew. Their attempt to close these parks is like the janitor at the Empire State Building standing at the door and telling its owner he or she cannot enter.

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The Obama administration has ordered the closure of a park that gets no federal funding.

Shut down fascism: The Obama administration has ordered the closure of a park that gets no federal funding.

The park withstood prior government shutdowns, noting in a news release that the farm will be closed to the public for the first time in 40 years. “In previous budget dramas, the Farm has always been exempted since the NPS provides no staff or resources to operate the Farm,” Eberly explained in an emailed statement. “In all the years I have worked with the National Park Service … I have never worked with a more arrogant, arbitrary and vindictive group representing the NPS,” Eberly said.

The park officials should defy the order, publicly and with vigor.

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Shut down fascism wins in the Smoky Mountains

See my October 3, 2013 update here.

The veterans in DC might be keeping the World War II memorial open by defying the Obama administration, but here in the Smoky Mountains the National Park Service has apparently succeeded in shutting down most access to Great Smoky National Park.

In my post yesterday I described how the park service appeared to be setting up barricades at the various lookouts, parking pull-outs, and trailheads along New Found Gap Road — a public highway through the park which they cannot close — in order to prevent access to the park. Such barricades are inappropriate, unnecessary, and are certainly being done for political reasons. The Obama administration is trying to pressure the Republicans to fold in the budget battle by hurting the American public. By blocking access to these pull-outs the administration is increasing the risks to hikers still in the park and to drivers on the road while damaging the local economy.

Today we drove back up to New Found Gap to see how things were developing and found that my suspicions were correct. While yesterday many of the major trailhead pull-outs were not yet blocked, this evening they all were. As we drove past the New Found Gap parking lot the barricades had been moved into place, preventing our entrance. I also noticed some cars trapped in the lot, as well as some people by the barricades. When I had turned around and returned, I found that a wide enough section of the barricade had been shifted, allowing me to pull into the lot. I immediately drove up to two guys standing by their car to ask them what had happened.
» Read more

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Even as the Republicans in the House continue to pass budget bills for funding the government — with some Democratic support — Obama and the Democratic leadership continue to refuse to negotiate.

Even as the Republicans in the House continue to pass budget bills for funding the government — with some Democratic support — Obama and the Democratic leadership continue to refuse to negotiate.

I find it revealing that the author of the article above claims that “Republican unity is beginning to fray” when it is the Democrats who are beginning to vote with the Republicans. For example, in the very next paragraph after making this claim the article states that

The bill to fund the national parks passed on a 252-173 vote, while the measure to fund NIH cleared on a 254-171 vote. In both cases, about two dozen Democrats joined with the GOP. [emphasis mine]

On all these votes it is the Republicans in the House who have been united, while the Democrats unity is failing. It seems to me that if the Republicans keep submitting these bills, the Democrats will eventually fold. For example, today Harry Reid was asked why he has even blocked a funding bill that would fund children’s cancer research and answered most awkwardly, “Why would I do that?”

Politically, the Democrats cannot survive more of these kinds of embarrassments.

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The Democrats today once again rejected Republican efforts to fund the government, rejecting three different new bills.

The Democrats today once again rejected Republican efforts to fund the government, voting down three different new bills.

Remember, they are rejecting the funding bills because they want to support Obamacare. Each vote is also another endorsement of Obamacare.

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Veterans plan to storm more DC monuments today.

Veterans plan to storm more DC monuments today.

More Americans have to join them. These closures are offensive, unnecessary, and clearly a political ploy by the Obama administration. The public has to tell the government it can’t do this.

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Shut down fascism in the Smoky Mountains

See my October 2, 2013 update here.

Today, October 1, 2013, my wife Diane and I went hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We did this despite the news from Washington that the federal government had shut down due to the lack of a funding from Congress and that all the national parks were closed.

The news reports had said that the National Park Service would close all roads into the park except for New Found Gap Road, the one road that crossed over the mountains from Tennessee to North Carolina. They couldn’t close this road because it was a main thoroughfare used by the public for basic transportation. Moreover, my research into the hikes we wished to do told me that several of those hikes originated on trailheads along this road. In traveling the road the day before, we had seen that these trailheads would not only be difficult to close, it would be dangerous and stupid to close them. For one, the road was windy and narrow. If there was a car accident or someone had car problems, any one of these parking areas might be essential for the use of the driver as well as local police and ambulances. For another, there are people still backpacking in the mountains who will at some point need to either exit with their cars or be picked up at these trailheads. Closing the trailheads will strand these hikers in the park, with dangerous consequences.

So, despite the shutdown, off we went to hike the Appalachian Trail, going to a well known lookout called the Jump Off, an easy 6.5 mile hike that leaves from the parking area at New Found Gap, the highest point on New Found Gap Road that is also on the border between Tennessee and North Carolina. It is also probably one of the most popular stopping points along the road, visited by practically every tourist as they drive across.
Smokies from the Appalachian trail

The hike itself was beautiful, if a bit foggy and damp. The picture above shows one of the clearest views we had all day. Nor were we alone on this hike. We probably saw one to two dozen other hikers, heading out to either the Jump Off or Charles Bunion (another well known day hike destination along this section of trail).
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