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Monday, 07 October 2013 07:00

Obama’s “Shutdown” Shenanigans Stir Outrage, Defiance

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As part of what critics have called a presidential “temper tantrum” aimed at extorting taxpayer money to fund ObamaCare, the Obama administration has been hard at work trying to make the partial federal government “shutdown” feel as painful as possible. In fact, according to numerous sources and news reports from across the country, the president is actually going out of his way and wasting additional taxpayer money on petty gimmicks to inconvenience the public by making federal authorities even more of a nuisance than usual. Now, Congress wants answers.

At the same time, the White House and various establishment media outlets are pathetically asking for Americans to submit sad shutdown stories for propaganda purposes. “How has the government shutdown affected you?” asked Obama’s “director of digital strategy” on the White House blog, apparently an “essential” part of government. CNN, meanwhile, which was recently the subject of intense ridicule for attempting to dramatize the partial shutdown, asked readers: “Are you affected by the shutdown?... Send it to iReport and be part of CNN's coverage.” The American people and their representatives, though, appear to be catching on to the games, and outrage over the administration’s antics is growing.

Perhaps the most revealing look at what is going on came from a Park Service ranger quoted in the Washington Times. “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting,” the federal employee said about the harassment aimed at taxpayers, suggesting that bureaucrats have actually been ordered to deliberately do their best to annoy the American people. “It’s a cheap way to deal with the situation.” The comments exposing the administration’s asinine antics quickly made headlines across the Internet in the increasingly influential world of conservative and alternative media. 

Indeed, based on reports from across America, it appears that the administration really is squandering extra taxpayer money specifically to cause as much pain as possible. Consider, for example, the administration’s absurd scheme to shut down the open-air World War II memorial in Washington, D.C., by wasting taxpayer funds to pay government workers to erect barriers — “Barrycades,” as they are being called — around the normally unmanned monument that was paid for overwhelmingly with private donations. In a pathetic spectacle of government gone wild that ended up backfiring on the administration when the public found out, federal employees tried to prevent elderly WWII veterans — ranging from octogenarians up to age 99 — from visiting the site erected in their honor.

The public backlash has been intense. Lawmakers, too, were outraged, using the scandal to paint Obama as a petty, out-of-touch schemer. “Unbelievable!” declared Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) about the news that “some idiot” sent federal “goons” to barricade the memorial as part of a “charade” to extort Republicans and the public. “These barricades are preventing our heroic World War II veterans from visiting a memorial their blood and sacrifice was built to honor. And just this morning President Obama sent seven security guards to the World War II memorial to keep out our veterans. Sadly, that is two more than were present in Benghazi.”

Separately, members of Congress who were at the memorial to greet veterans decided to help them defy the administration’s bizarre scheme, with the visitors simply moving the “Barrycades” to get in as the federal employees watched the civil disobedience. “These men and women didn’t cower to the Japanese and Germans,” said Rep. Steve Palazzo (R-Miss.), who helped the veterans in as the crowd cheered. “I don’t think they’re about to let a few National Park Police stand in their way.” The park police, out of respect for veterans, refused to intervene, though the next day they were ordered to add more “barrycades” that are now wired together.

The ridiculous scheme appears to have backfired, however. Following the news and the public outrage, lawmakers decided to get to the bottom of the matter — and somebody may eventually be held accountable. In a letter to the National Parks Service from House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chair Rep. Darrell Issa (R.-Calif.) and Government Operations Subcommittee Chair John Mica (R., Fla.), the senior Republicans demanded to know by October 17 why the WWII memorial and other monuments were needlessly barricaded during the partial shutdown — apparently at an additional cost to taxpayers.

“The Committee is concerned with NPS’s allocation of resources during this time of lapsed funding. Our concerns are heightened due to NPS’s suspicious decisions during the lead-up to the sequester,” the lawmakers explained. “This past spring the Committee uncovered evidence that NPS’s budgetary decisions were designed to intentionally cause the most disruption to the public in a time of reduced funding.... Specifically, the Committee received information that proposed budget adjustments submitted by an NPS official in the field to deal with sequestration impacts were rejected by NPS superiors in favor of cuts that would be more visible and disruptive.”

However, the federal government’s disruptive and bizarre behavior goes beyond simply trying to stop veterans from visiting their own memorial. In Florida, according to news reports, the National Park Service actually tried to close down large swaths of ocean. Boat captains were informed that rangers would be policing the area in a ham-handed attempt to close down 1,100 square miles in the Florida Bay and Biscayne National Park until the shutdown is over. Analysts say it will probably cost more to shut the area than is normally spent, and that the whole scheme is tantamount to “governing by temper-tantrum.” 

In Wisconsin, meanwhile, the federal government reportedly tried to order state officials to shut down parks, too. State authorities refused, noting that most of the funds for the parks came from state taxpayers anyway. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, citing a decades-old agreement with D.C., also reportedly removed barricades from a popular boat launching spot on federal lands, drawing applause from commentators seeking to rein in the out-of-control U.S. government on a broad range of issues.  

Even homes and private businesses located on federal lands that do not cost the government any money have been declared off limits during the shutdown, according to news reports — again costing taxpayers more money than simply leaving them alone. “You do have to wonder about the wisdom of an organization that would use staff they don’t have the money to pay to evict visitors from a park site that operates without costing them any money,” Claude Moore Colonial Farm Managing Director Anna Eberly was quoted as saying about the scheme. 

Of course, the National Parks Service has engaged in similar shenanigans before, so the childish behavior is not unique to the current administration’s leadership. However, the closing of the memorials — even going so far as to refuse private donations to keep them open — is unprecedented, according to news reports. Also, according to Bush-era Interior Secretary Gale Norton, many of the closures were probably politically motivated — and the orders likely came from the top, in cooperation with the White House. 

“The National Parks Service has a long history of dramatizing budget issues by inconveniencing the public,” Norton told National Review Online. ”They often choose the most dramatic type of action in order to get their message across. It’s something I had to guard against when I was secretary — not letting them play budget games.... Given the fact that they have closed so much, and acted so broadly, I imagine that decision was made at the highest levels of park service leadership, in cooperation with department leadership and the White House.”

It appears that in its fiendish drive to ensure that ObamaCare is foisted on the American people despite the overwhelming public opposition, the administration has gone completely off the rails. Even before the shutdown began, polls showed a majority of likely voters supported shutting down the federal government until the healthcare scheme could be defunded and the budget slashed. Indeed, even now, commentators are calling the shutdown a “welcome development” for exposing some of the myriad problems with a national government that has grown way too huge and far too powerful in defiance of the Constitution. Obama cannot afford to let that sentiment spread.

In what looks to be a sad and desperate effort to ensure that Americans do not realize that aside from being unconstitutional, most of what the federal government does is beyond useless, Obama and federal authorities seem determined to try to make the public suffer as much as possible. What the administration was not counting on, however, is that people would start discovering that much of the effort was deliberate, costly, and unnecessary — and that the president and like-minded senators were responsible for it in the first place by refusing to consider funding bills from the House of Representatives without ObamaCare funds.

Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, politics, and more. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Photo at top shows people — many WW II vets — visiting the World War II Memorial in defiance of the administration's attempts to close the open-air memorial: AP Images

Related articles:

Why the Government Shutdown Is a Welcome Development

Obama Complains About Lack of Same Spending He's Pledged To Veto

Constitution Gives House of Reps the "Weapon" to Destroy ObamaCare

The White House Versus Some World War II Vets

Poll: Most Americans Support Federal Shutdown to Defund ObamaCare

3 comments

  • Comment Link Heidi Preston Tuesday, 08 October 2013 04:25 posted by Heidi Preston

    “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting,” ....Propaganda by Edward Bernays
    1."if we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it."
    me- educate the masses on how propaganda works.

    2."Trotter and Le Bon concluded that the GROUP mind does not THINK in the strict send of the word. In PLACE of THOUGHTS it has IMPULSES, HABITS, and EMOTIONS. In making up it's mind, its first impulse is usually to follow the example of a TRUSTED leader.
    me- show contradictions to allow questions to form in the mind.

    3."Human desires are the steam which makes the social machine work."
    me- lacking now are jobs (to get things they desire), a purpose in life (desire for recognition),something to fight for(desire to belong to a group for betterment of the whole). Digging deeper and deeper into debt not good but examples need to be shown that government is willing to take part in the cuts...won't happen.

    4."The idea of the new propaganda are predicated on sound psychology based on enlightened SELF-INTEREST.
    me- the healthcare system is appealing to the masses because they think it's something for nothing. Through the media,movies, magazines, facebook this idea is reinforced over and over, but the reality of the system/program can be seen in countless examples around the world where social medicine has hindered the desire for a better life by extracting more and more funds from them to secure the minimal services provided by limited physicians. Unfortunately the media is owned by socialist/communist tendencies who bought up all the independent thinking ones...There are 6 media companies that exist today. There used to be 88. These 6 all get their news from Reuters and the Associated Press. Reuters owns the AP and Rothschilds own Reuters.

    One name in particular tells it all..."who controls the purse string, controls everything"...

  • Comment Link William B Monday, 07 October 2013 19:14 posted by William B

    None of this is hurting Obama, either his lifestyle or his image with Democrats. I've spoken with many. Democrats, all of them, blame only the GOP for the things he has done to make the shutdown hurt taxpayers. Note that no welfare program, even Obamaphones, has been affected, and no foreign aid has been stopped. Only things that will hurt or inconvenience taxpayers. But it doesn't matter. The Democrats see the GOP as the problem.

  • Comment Link sirburban Monday, 07 October 2013 11:25 posted by sirburban

    ...which shows there are one too many "federal" or "national parks!" What next close down the "federal" highways?

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