Seeing the Round Corners

March 20, 2017

For the next few weeks, columns from the archives will appear while this writer takes a break to get a brand new shoulder. Enjoy!


This writer has written more than a column or two about moral extortion, usually that committed by various and sundry politicians as a way of furthering their own agenda. This time, it is more of a joint effort by what is fondly referred to as the “Washington crowd inside the beltway.”

Sequestration is the new whipping boy in use now by both sides of the isle in Congress to scare the American public. Remember when the subject first reared its ugly head? The point of sequestration was to make cuts with only certain areas exempt:  welfare, food stamps, Social Security and veterans programs. All else, even the sacred cow of defense programs were to be cut. But was that what’s been done?

Keep in mind as you read, the particular cuts now being threatened, but give careful thought to what items are left out of all the rhetoric, with only a few included in this edition.

Perhaps the most arrogant moral extortion effort was perpetuated by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. His threat:  proposed cuts would force closure of all U.S. meat production for at least 11 days. Reportedly not even the meat lobby, or of all people, the inspectors’ union, believed Vilsack’s threat, but of course, being at his Department’s mercy, fell lock, stock and barrel in behind with their support.

The payoff was big -- $55 million which amounted to restoration of nearly all that would have been cut as a result of sequestration!

Now, as all reading this probably recognize, once the big and bad back down (i.e., our government), the pack is just laying in wait for that first one to stick their neck out (Vilsack), then the rush begins.

But did sequestration cut aid to Egypt! No, $250 million is the latest amount. Long lines at major airports were “promised” by Homeland Security as a consequence of furloughs, yet the Department saw the need to spend $50 million at the end of February on new uniforms, some being made in Mexico no less. At least those on furlough will be well-clothed.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson who has left, or awaits her replacement, was immortalized with a $40,000.00 portrait; Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley’s portrait cost taxpayers $41,200.00; the portrait of Secretary Vilsack (of the meat production extortion), came in at only $22,500.00.

As written about in last week’s edition of Eye on Gilpin County, many Colorado County sheriffs vehemently oppose gun-control legislation – so strongly as to state they will not enforce the laws. Legislators were expected to introduce a bill to increase the pay for county sheriffs. Now charges are flying back and forth under the gold dome that the bill’s introduction is being “delayed” because the Democratic leadership wanted the sheriff’s association to drop its opposition to the gun-control legislation. Oops! (Note:  Any such bill would be considered a “late bill” as the legislature is less than a month away from adjournment day.)

Make what you will of all the rhetoric, but our government sets a fine example for its citizens in just how the extortion game works – “do as I say, not as I do.”

Sequestration ranks up there with the fiscal cliff back at the end of the year (the impending end of life as we knew it, remember?) Sequestration applies only to those who don’t have the guts to hack the system as Agriculture Secretary Vilsack demonstrated to the whole world, and of course, as we know from the Jack Abrams saga, those who have the most powerful lobbyist need not worry.

   Mark Twain once said:  “The rule is perfect – in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.” 

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