"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Government Shutdown Update - This is Bad

Two stories are starting to get a lot of play.   One is the story of how the Obama Administration shut down the World War II Memorial, only to have Honor Flight vets break down the barricades.   The shutdown of the Memorial was completely gratuitous -- the Regular Son and I went there a couple of years ago; you walk right up to it just like you're walking down the street; there are no gates, no tickets, no guards.   In short, no reason to have to "close" it because of any budget issue... there's nothing to pay for there.   The closing was purely for political drama, but I don't think it's going to dramatize what Obama thinks it will.   I think it will dramatize what an asshole Obama is.   Deny an aged vet the ability to see his memorial?   Are you nuts?   Who thought that was a good idea?

The second story is maybe even worse:

Navy football fans, alumni and boosters packed a banquet room at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Tuesday afternoon for a luncheon preview of Saturday’s showdown against service academy rival Air Force.
They listened to head coach Ken Niumatalolo answer questions about the sold-out, nationally televised game in Annapolis.
But the celebratory atmosphere was abruptly interrupted when Naval Academy Athletic Director Chet Gladchuk rose to address the audience. He had just received word the Department of Defense was suspending all intercollegiate athletic events at the three service academies.
The Air Force-Navy game may be canceled due to the government shutdown.
“The emotional toll it would take would be incalculable,” Gladchuk said. “The financial toll it would take would be incalculable.”
The potential revenue loss to the Naval Academy Athletic Association would likely exceed $4 million, he said. That money comes from ticket sales, sponsorship, parking and concession revenue. The largest revenue stream is the payout NAAA receives from CBS Sports Television.
A record crowd in excess of 38,000 is expected to pack the stadium for Saturday’s 11:30 a.m. kickoff. Flights and hotels have been booked. About 200 football recruits and their families made plans to come to the game.
Roger Staubach and other members of Navy’s 1963 storied team are also scheduled.
The Department of Defense did not issue an official statement about the suspension of service academy sports and did not respond to telephone and email requests for comment.
However, the Naval Academy Superintendent’s Office received the order on Tuesday morning and Scott Strasemeier, associate athletic director for sports information, announced Tuesday night’s men’s soccer game between Navy and Howard had been postponed indefinitely.
“We are also hopeful for a last-minute reprieve,” Gladchuk said. “Right now, we are taking things a half day at a time and holding our breath that the government can bring this thing (the shutdown) to a resolution.”
The Naval Academy Athletic Association is a private organization not funded by the government. Gladchuk said the Air Force-Navy game could be held without any “appropriated funding.” Air Force recently created a similar athletic association that operates using private funds, donations and revenue from intercollegiate contests.
“We could run our entire athletics program and conduct events as we always do without any government funds,” Gladchuk said. “In talking to the Air Force athletic director, their football team could execute the trip without government funding.”
Asked why the Department of Defense was suspending intercollegiate athletic contests if government funds are not required, Gladchuk said he was told it was about “optics.”

Wow.   Why on earth would they do this?   Again, it's completely gratuitous.   As the story explains, no government funds are required to play these games.   I'm surprised someone doesn't make the argument that this is, in fact, an illegal order by the Commander-in-Chief, because he's denying a liberty interest belonging to the students and athletes of the academies without any reasonable government purpose.   Regardless, this makes Obama looks petty and mean and, frankly, evil -- if you define, as I do, evil as the propensity to look at other persons as means to your ends and not ends-in-themselves.   (Contrast with the statements of Pope Francis in the interview I discussed earlier today... wow.... it's like a moral giant standing beside a pygmy.)

This is why I think the shutdown this time will be different.   In 1995 the GOP was up against a master politician in Bill Clinton.   This time they are up against the Tin Ear Gang, led by Nasty Pete.

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