Tuesday, October 1, 2013

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Government Shutdown


I went to bed last night as the US Government slowly stuttered to a stop. 

I should have known better than to watch the news before bed, because I kept dreaming of the final scene from Planet of the Apes. You know the one, Charlton Heston kneeling on that post-apocalyptic beach before the ruined Statue of Liberty cursing at the sky, “You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!”

God damn you all to hell. I’d like to stand on the dais in front of a joint session of Congress and shout that into their drooling fanatical faces. God damn you all to hell, you damned dirty maniacs.

It probably wouldn’t make much difference though, what’s one more screeching monkey in the middle of that shit flinging madness, eh?

Portions of this post appeared here on Stonekettle Station back in 2011 during the last government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis. I was going to write something entirely new, but it sure seems like we’ve been right here before, doesn’t it?

With every day that passes Congress more and more resembles a battered old car with broken brakes packed full of hyperactive monkeys waving their little pipe-stem arms and chattering madly while hurtling obliviously towards a cliff edge over a raging sea full of blood maddened sharks. And you? You’re maybe worried that America is about to become a bankrupt third world soccer playing crap-hole where Spanish speaking chickens wander the street and dysentery is the national pastime?

Well of course you are.

But you know, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Becoming a Third World shithole, I mean.

You’ve got to look at the silver lining.




Oh for crying out loud.  Look, stop sniffling. Don’t be a wet blanket.

Sure, there’s no doubt this permanent state of emergency can be depressing, what with the Obamacare Standoff Crisis and the looming Debt Ceiling Crisis.  We were just getting over the Benghazi Crisis, and the IRS Crisis, and the NSA Crisis. Before that it was the previous Government Shutdown Crisis and the Budget Emergencies of 2011 and 2010. Somewhere in there it was the Mayan Apocalypse Crisis and the End Times Crisis. Of course there was the First Healthcare Crisis and the Mortgage Crisis. Let’s see, there was the Bailout Crisis, and the Immigration Reform Crisis and the Energy Policy Crisis and the Gun Control Crisis and the Social Security Crisis and the Medicare Crisis and who can forget my favorite, The Defense of Marriage Crisis?  There was the Election Crisis and the Birth Certificate Crisis and There’s A Stinky Black Man in the White House Crisis and well, hell, I forget, it’s all just starting to blur together.

And, of course, there are the Nazis. Because aren’t there always Nazis?

Today it’s the Shutdown Crisis and the coming Debt Ceiling Crisis.

Crisis, crisis, crisis!  It’s always something. What is it this week? War with Eurasia or war with Eastasia?  What’s next?  Show of hands, who really cares? I mean really? So long as they keep the conflict going, that’s the important thing.  It’s not the battles that matter, it’s the war. Got to keep fighting.  Hearts and minds you know.

And hey, so what if we blow up the government and default on America’s debt?

There are a lot of advantages to becoming a Third World country.  Really.

Think about it.

No really think about it. 

If we’re a Third World shithole, guess what?

No pressure! 

No responsibility! 

No expectations!

It’ll be awesome

Look at Russia, when they were the Soviet Union it was all ideology this and ideology that.  You’ve got to prop up puppet states, you’ve got to keep outspending the other guy, there’s sneakin’ and spyin’ and repressing to do. Hell your Olympic steroid budget alone can run into the billions.  Man, it just never ends. Being a superpower is hard.  Talk about hypertension. Nowadays, since Russia became a Third World shithole?  Nobody cares! Pass the potato vodka, Tovarich! C’mon, turn on the TV, bare chested Vladimir Putin is going to wrestle a python while riding a grizzly bear and defusing a nuclear bomb at the same time! Awesome!

Personally, I can’t wait to see some of our politicians on TV in a cage full of grizzly bears and nuclear bombs.

Hey! Stop that. What’d I say? Quit your blubbering. Take another hit off the bottle and pass it around the burn barrel.  Stomp your feet, that’ll keep your toes from freezing. Mostly. Probably.

You know what the best part about being a Third World country is?  The Debt

No really.

We become a Third World country, we can just forget about the national debt. 

Seriously.  When’s the last time a Third World country paid back their debt? 

When’s the last time anybody actually expected them to?


No, no, stick with me here, this will be great.  Really.  Screw the debt.  We’ll call it the Tea Party Child Support Plan after the congressman from Wisconsin.

Here’s how it works: We just don’t pay it

Screw ‘em. It’s just that simple. Boom! That’s a trillion bucks in our pocket right there.

Seriously, what’s China going to do about it?  Repo?  Bawahaha! Go ahead! Joke’s on them!  Guess what we bought with the money we borrowed from Bejing? Anybody know? I’ll tell you, we bought cheap Chinese goods!  That’s right.  And then we broke them. You want your shit back? Look behind the return counter at Wal-Mart. Help yourself.

What about the money we owe to Social Security? 

That’s the best part, no more musty old people!  Think about it.  You ever hear of old people before Social Security? No, no you did not.  That’s right, Social Security causes old people!  No Social Security, no old people. We’ll live forever!  Get rid of Welfare and we’ll cure poverty too!

Besides, this is about jobs, isn’t it?

That’s what they keep saying, right? Jobs, jobs, jobs, where are all the jobs? Where are they keeping ‘em?

I’ll tell you where the jobs are, they’re in Third World countries. Hello!

Common sense, folks. If we become a Third World country, we’ll get jobs too!

Defaulting will kill jobs? Yeah, in Bolivia! Because all the jobs? They’ll come here! Tell me we can’t out Third World Mexico! USA! USA! Booyah!

By this time next year we’ll be cranking out TV sets and computers and vacuum cleaners and those little shitty cars for consumers in India and Russia!  Made-in-America products will fill Chinese Wal-Marts. Let their kids suck on our lead painted toys for a change, that’s what I’m talking about!

Illegal Immigration. Fixed!  No need for a wall. No need for expensive border security.  Who the heck sneaks into a third world country?  Nobody!  Viva la revolucion, Che! Now, who wants to help me pick these tomatoes?

Seriously, give it a year or two and Columbia will be buying cocaine from us!

Obesity Epidemic? Fixed!  No money to buy food, no fat people! Diabetes cured for free, right there, without any socialist medicine.

And as long as we’re on the subject of healthcare, Third World Countries don’t need no stinking affordable healthcare. It’s survival of the fittest, see? The sick and lame die off as God intended, and only the strong survive. No healthcare, no sick people.  And the best part is that the money we save on not paying for the sickies can be used to buy guns! It’s Somalia Libertarian Utopia!

Hey, here’s something I bet you didn’t think about: Peace!  Yep. 

No shirt, no shoes, no credit? No war.

You want to invade another country? Cash up front.

Looks like you’ll need to find some corporate sponsors, bring in some advertising revenue, and sell those tickets. 

Hot cheerleaders might help, just an idea.  


Now if you’ll all excuse me, I’m going to spend the rest of the day sitting on the couch watching reruns of Planet of the Apes and shouting “It’s a mad house! A mad house!”


  1. I'm pretty sure I checked "I hate you so much" last time, too.
    Totally figured this was going to be market manipulation on the part of congress'es owners, but the market isn't showing that much movement. Yet.
    At least the Death Panels are still funded.

  2. Sadly, Jim, I'm afraid the Anarchists may just win. I've spent my life believing that the Ship of State may zig and zag across treacherous seas, but in the end it reaches port safely.

    Now, I'm not so sure....

  3. Laughed so hard at paragraph 6 that my nose is still running. I almost choked. Thank you for expressing a widely-held opinion so damned eloquently! - not "anonymous", but Roger Barton.

  4. As always pure brilliance Jim. Nice one from a British fan that appreciates your take on the world.

  5. I'm beginning to think that only the hot cheerleaders would help anything around here these days!

  6. Jim, you forgot the source of income associated with being a third world country. Forget writing off our debt, we can get foreign aid! That's right, we will rake in billions in foreign aid from...ah,from...well...oh, shit!


    1. Israel owes us. We can get it from them.

    2. Israel will pretend they don't know us ...

  7. A work of art. Pure genius, it is.

    1. Go Ben! You are right - a work of art indeed. We are rushing towards this ending so fast my head is spinning. A third world society it is! Viva La Revolution!

  8. Thanks again Jim. You seem to make it real for all of us
    From: Mike from Alaska

  9. "A second flood, a simple famine, plagues of locusts everywhere, or a cataclysmic earthquake, I'd accept with some despair. But no, You sent us Congress! Good God, Sir, was that fair?"—John Adams to God, in the play 1776 (courtesy Serge Broom.)

    Ah, but you are wrong about fighting wars. That is all most low-income countries ("Third World" is so TwenCen, dahling) can do well. Why, we can buy black-market AKs with the best of them, and get Israeli aid to fight our wars.

    (The only reason I'm not raving too is because we crossed this line back in 2001, and it was foreshadowed as far back as the Reagan administration. I even wrote about it in 2010.)

    1. We need to *buy* AKs? Don't we have more than enough of them running around loose here already?

  10. WRT Tea Partiers not paying child support: There may have been a congresscritter from Wisconsin who did not pay child support, but I get the feeling you are thinking of Joe Walsh, who was a rep from Illinois.

  11. Just had an exchange with a former co-worker on FB and she wasn't crazy about 'Obama care' because she didn't like that our govt. was so big and felt that we shouldn't be do dependent on it...I didn't want to prod that subject any further. I wasn't sure I'd have the stomach to hear what was coming next.
    M from MD

  12. “Hot cheerleaders might help, just an idea”. You are so correct Jim and it is so unfortunate. The “third rail” of popular culture makes any idea go down easier. Pimp out the women while the peanut gallery drools. Our culture is stuck at puberty. When do we grow up? Our political culture is stuck at the “terrible two’s”. When do we stop throwing hissy fits in the corridors of power?

  13. But Jim... your missing the whole point of us becoming a third world nation. That is where the elite will all move to ... Switzerland... after taking all the money out of the us.



    And what third world country wouldn't be complete without militias?



  14. Why is it that the ones who so loudly and constantly trumpet the un-Constitutionality of the ACA completely ignore the completely Constitutional process that it went through? Congress passed the law? Check. The President signed the law? Check. The Supreme Court ruled on the Constitutionality of the law after it was challenged? Check. Also commonly ignored is the fact that we had a little referendum about a year ago where repeal of the ACA was one of the centerpieces of the Republican campaign. So now, we're subjected to yet another hostage crisis by the folks who lost and lost big.
    Is it just me, or are the teabaggers playing a huge game of Calvinball? "Nuh-uh! We did NOT lose! You forgot to tag ninth base while hopping on one leg and singing 'God Bless the USA!'"


  15. I wrote a little story a year or two ago. It kind of detailed my still current feelings about the majority of our elected leaders.

    In my story, 90% of them ended up shot or hung on gallows on the lawns of their respective houses of legislature.

    In the story, it all ended rather badly for the would-be revolutionaries. As it would when faced with the hammer of the US military.

    I have no point I guess. I still feel just as pissed off at most elected officials who supposedly represent my interests. And I still feel just as helpless to stop them from doing whatever it is that they do. I don't have the money or "face" to run for office myself. I can't seem to vote them out, and put decent people in their place. And armed action is just as big a folly as it ever was.

    So here we all sit. Government shut down, and a lot of other countries that we used to feel smugly superior to, laughing at our dysfunctionality. All hail us.

  16. Who, me? Well, I come from a Canadian family. Ever see the Canadian Parliament in action? Instead of taking the country down in a "shutdown", they call for a new election just like the Brits do. Elections in both countries are damn quick compared to the U.S. Instead of yammering on for years ahead of time, these people are limited to just 6 weeks of public jaw-slinging. Canada also has its "factions" beyond Liberal and Conservative. You can see them on the ballots when you vote. I recall one faction that arose out of far western rural Canada. I also remember religious zealots (???) such as the Dukabors (close as I can recall the spelling). They were also out west and rural. Most owned farms and such. Their protest tactics consisted of burning their barns and when the fire brigade showed up, they shucked all their clothes so the press could get pix of them in their birthday suits. They did not last long as any sort of an influential group. Shucking clothes in public for photo ops is about the only this the RWNJ's haven't done. Considering what some of their top dogs have done in private (diapers, frolicking in the Tidal Basin with a stripper, etc.) I figure that's not too far down the road. Ten to one what that does happen, that will end their little tragicomedy.

  17. "Besides, this is about jobs, isn’t it?
    That’s what they keep saying, right? Jobs, jobs, jobs, where are all the jobs? Where are they keeping ‘em?
    I’ll tell you where the jobs are, they’re in Third World countries. Hello!
    Common sense, folks. If we become a Third World country, we’ll get jobs too!"

    So eloquentl! I am convinced that is the plan of the dastardly oligarchs, to return jobs to our shores when we will accept Chinese wages. Genius, sir, you are a comic writer of genius.

  18. Does this mean we can officially call them Banana Republicans yet? (And if they do reach a deal, please, all you gods, let it hurt the Koch Brothers a LOT to recover from their short positions.)


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