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Streisand writes: "There is no excuse for the obstinacy of Speaker Boehner insisting on renegotiating a law passed by Congress and deemed constitutional by the GOP-led Supreme Court. There should be an immediate vote in Congress to re-open the government of, by and for the people."

Entertainer/Activist Barbara Streisand. (photo: Parade)
Entertainer/Activist Barbara Streisand. (photo: Parade)

Should the Minority Rule?

By Barbra Streisand, Reader Supported News

12 October 13


s we now enter the third week of the unnecessary government shutdown, Americans should remember the words of GOP Representative Martin Stutzman, "We're not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don't know what that even is." This statement reflects a cultural resentment in the land over a changing America. Maybe if the President calls and says he respects the Congressman and the Speaker, the country could move forward.

As the October 1 New York Times front-page story pointed out, this shutdown was conceived in meetings sponsored by the billionaire Koch Brothers and former Reagan Administration Attorney General Edwin Meese. The purpose was to defund the duly authorized Affordable Care Act by holding the rest of the government hostage. Talking points were prepared for members of Congress and tens of millions of dollars were spent on propaganda trying to convince Americans that the health care law was going to ruin America and end their health care options.

President Obama has provided access to health care through private insurers that will both help our economy and millions of Americans. It should be noted that the ACA was based on an idea from the conservative Heritage Foundation. The 2012 GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney signed similar legislation in Massachusetts as Governor. Our country is one of the few major industrial nations in the world that did not provide access to health care for its own people. Many have a simple, single payer system.

The opening days of the ACA showed significant demand for health care access. Perhaps the greatest Republican fear is that their rhetoric about the ACA, including government "death panels," will be quickly proven false. When explained properly, the provisions of the ACA are quite popular. Americans will soon understand that the law provides both needed benefits, and reduces medical costs and the deficit in the long run. This is the forecast by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

There is no excuse for the obstinacy of Speaker Boehner insisting on renegotiating a law passed by Congress and deemed constitutional by the GOP-led Supreme Court. There should be an immediate vote in Congress to re-open the government of, by and for the people. Let the people see the Tea Party Republicans vote.

This government shutdown has had immediate effects. It has delayed the death benefits for survivors and associated funeral costs of the soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan. This is just the most outrageous outcome of the GOP's actions. Embarrassed Republicans quickly tried to pass an ad hoc fix. They pretend the World War II Memorial should be open and ignore that imported seafood is not being inspected. This shutdown is also costing the American people real money -- over a billion dollars so far. The stock market has reacted by shredding over 600 points, as uncertainty mounts and Americans are thrown out of work.

Reacting to polls, the Republicans switched gears and decided that Obamacare was not the issue but federal spending was. A budget sequester is already in effect cutting federal spending in arbitrary ways. The deficit has already been cut in half. Our children are now being denied placement in Head Start programs, and vital other government services, like medical research, have been curtailed. The Senate also accepted the Republican total budget number, but this was not enough. The GOP decided to fool with the full faith and credit of the United States by threatening to exceed the debt ceiling.

Apparently there were enough moderate Republicans left in Congress to pass the Senate bill to end the shutdown and pass an immediate debt ceiling extension, but SPEAKER BOEHNER, fearful of the Tea Party and its billionaire backers, WILL NOT ALLOW A VOTE. The GOP position is, "Give us what we want or we will promote economic chaos." They ultimately want to overturn the results of the last election.

In this country, our elections are supposed to mean something for policy outcomes. In 2012, the President was easily reelected with 332 electoral votes, the Democrats picked up two more seats in the Senate and received over 1.1 million more votes for Congressional seats than the Republicans. The Republicans were able to retain control of the House of Representatives because GOP-led state legislatures redrew Congressional lines after the reapportionment and redistricting following the 2010 census. According to the latest AP-GfK POLL, the approval rating of the Congress is 5%, the lowest figure ever recorded.

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich noted one of the real aims of the Tea Party conservatives is to undermine the faith of the American people that the federal government can solve national problems. Given all the voter restrictions Republicans have instituted on the state level, they hope fewer and fewer Americans are civically engaged and vote. This should particularly concern American women as it took nearly 150 years of struggle to have this "right".

I hope enough Americans draw the opposite conclusion and hold those Republicans responsible for this orchestrated and manufactured crisis fully accountable in 2014. your social media marketing partner


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We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+38 # theory‚Ȇopinion 2013-10-12 21:40
Except that the Republican House changed the rules so that only the leaders of the Republican party can bring up the clean CR. It's essentially a coup orchestrated so that we go into default and the Koch Bros can sweep up the pieces of the devastated country at fire sale prices.
+14 # Helen 2013-10-13 00:43
So it seems the "rules" need to be changed back to the way they were before. As they exist now, we do not have a democracy.
+14 # AMLLLLL 2013-10-12 22:22
The GOP did a big belly-flopin their attempt to keep "blah.." people from the voting booth. It's a gross miscalculation to piss off people who know hardship like many of us have never dealt with.

Turn out will be key in '14, so the more folks connect the dots between the voting booth and public policy, the better down-ballot results will follow.

People, if you like voter suppression, failing education, cuts to SS, Medicare, and Pell Grants, and privatized prison systems, just stay home in 2014.
+9 # fdawei 2013-10-12 23:46
Thank you for this Barbara.

It's unfortunate that most of the people affected by this brutish attack on American values by the Republicans are not able to read your comments.
Main stream media plays to the Republican owners of the media conglomerates who deprive the average American, who is most at risk, from understanding what the Republicans are doing to them and to the fabric of society which is now thread-bare.

Obama has been unable to articulate the ACA since his voice is drowned out by the Cruz circus and his supporter's hysteria. Obama never seems to get angry or display the force necessary as the Commander in Chief. The Democrats also seems unable to change the stream of virulence directed at dismantling affordable healthcare for all.

By the time the elections come around in 2014, how many people will have succumbed due to their inability to visit the hospital or receive life-saving medication?

Where is Hillary who is vying to be president in 2016? Her voice hasn't been heard.

Appaling nation with lack-lustre and destructive leadership.
-17 # aaheart 2013-10-13 00:48
The House GOP SHOULD pass funding for ACA because it would collapse from the weight of inept coding of the website alone and the effects on people's lives would decimate the Democrats who cannot, will not use critical thinking about their leader.
+11 # unitedwestand 2013-10-13 02:00
Between the oligarchs like the Kochs, Tea Party religious nut cases like Michelle Bachman, Reps. like McConnell, Cantor, Boehner the people of this country should demand that they wear striped suits as they are treasonous. If we had a Supreme Court that was truly following the Constitution it would be an easy case t make because Teapublicans have proven that they hate our system. Somalia is more to their liking, and they should go there.
+6 # hwmcadoo 2013-10-13 03:16
It should be a warning when a sincere author uses the term "should" and "Congress". They are missing the fact that those wishes for a change Congress "should" do can only be made by the corrupt Congress that set these things up for their own benefit-not ours. Why do basically stupid, unprincipled people work so hard to win seats in Congress?

If you said it is to advance causes for citizens -you lose.

If you said it is for power, perks and money you win.

If Congress were caring of the people enough to honor the "shoulds" we wouldn't be having the problem. would we?
-13 # morganism 2013-10-13 05:14
The Federal Government cannot solve the Nations problem, the Federal Government's wasteful spending IS the Nations problem. There should be a hard look at the budget to root out the waste, fraud and redundancy, then take a look at raising revenue. The one good outcome of the Obama/Reid shutdown of the government is the possibility that bills can be passed that address single programs or subjects. This is superior to the monstrous packages with extra pork and payback for the pals of politicians.
+12 # dick 2013-10-13 07:36
De-funding Obamacare was only one tool in their real agenda:
Nuking the "black presidency." AUSTERITY has the same goal.
-4 # MidwesTom 2013-10-13 11:23
U am not sure that is Nuking the Black Presidency, but it definitely is Nuking the big city welfare community which is growing at a much faster pace than the rest of the d=country. That is why four counties in Maryland want to join West Virginia. Add to that the non=Dearborn,an d Detroit residents of Michigan who are now funding Muslims women each of whom average eight children, and have forced some Michigan schools to add prayer rooms; and you have some vey angry U.S. Citizens. Ni the fight is not about just Obamacare, but a much bigger divide that is separating this countries citizens.
+8 # gotsmarter 2013-10-13 08:19
To Barbra Streisand, thank you for this well written and well researched article. You've synthesized and quoted some reputable sources that I don't usually read.
+3 # brux 2013-10-13 09:24
We are not really all the wasteful, the problem is that we have decided to do two very expensive things to maintain America.

1. Have government provide services to people.

2. Have the American government single-handedly provide police forces to the world.

Neither one of these priorities are going to go away, yet everyone is somehow convinced that we cannot do both of them, or that morally one or the other is bad, evil or wrong.

I suggest we realize that Americans are not prepared to change so much as to jettison either side of what has been American priorities, and because of that the real solution is only to fund both. That means that we have to raise taxes and we have to make taxes progressive so that the wealthiest among us and our corporations must pay their fair share. That's it, it's simple.
-6 # skylinefirepest 2013-10-13 10:35
How interesting...t he most intelligent comments here so far are from Morganism and aaheart...well thought out, good what do the flaming liberals, obumma lovers, non-thinking voters do?? Give them the most minuses! Really impressive how much you guys never give a thought to real solutions to our problems, kids. No wonder rsn is broke!!!!
+1 # barbaratodish 2013-10-13 13:21
Barbra Striesand: I hope you are contributing money, in addition to your great writing, otherwise, may go dark!
+3 # MADASHELL 2013-10-13 15:19
Love everything about you, particularly your politics. But the only good thing to come out of this Congress will be when all the Republican Congressmen are voted OUT of OFFICE. Well, most of them. There are probably a few reasonable people in Congress but they haven't the stones to push back against the fanatic freaks. I can't help my vitriol. I'm from Brooklyn, too.

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