Tuesday, October 1, 2013

So John Beale appeared before a Congressional committee this morning - uh, wait a minute...

Famous political commentator Robert Plant once observed that "sometimes words have two meanings." This used to make me wonder, but now I pretty much take it for granted.

For the past decade, we have been engaged in something that is called a "war" on terror. However, no one has been drafted to serve in this war, there has been no rationing, and most importantly, Congress has not actually declared any such war. (Of course, Congress has not declared war since 1941, despite a number of post-World War II incidents in which the American military has shot at people.)

Another instance of these multi-meaning words was revealed in passing in this item from Fox News:

A high-ranking federal Environmental Protection Agency official who admitted to cheating the government out of nearly $1 million by pretending to be a secret agent, smugly refused to answer questions from lawmakers Tuesday, invoking the

Uh, wait a minute. This Congressional committee hearing occurred this morning. As in the morning of Tuesday, October 1.

In other words, the hearing itself was taking place despite the fact that we were under a government "shutdown." As I've noted previously, the government does not shut down, even when it says it has shut down. Fox News itself refers to the current government status as a "slimdown," because so much of the Federal government is still operating. Many parts of the Federal government - including, ironically, the health care exchanges - are unaffected by the current budget squabbling.

Now perhaps a case can be made that we should continue to pay our military who are in war zones. And perhaps a case can be made that we need to pay for law enforcement at National Park sites.

But do we need to pay to hold a Congressional hearing for some loser who claimed to be a CIA agent for years - and for all of the people who believed him?

Heaven help us if some crisis occurs in one of the sports leagues, and Congress sees fit to hold hearings on it during this so-called "shutdown."
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