Breaking Bad wind and shutting down the government - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Breaking Bad wind and shutting down the government

Tuesday was the day when the federal government came to a screeching halt. October 1, when V.A. benefits and Social Security checks stopped — except that the checks vets and old people were expecting to be directly deposited in their accounts were processed before the budget deadline of September 30. In fact, if you are a vet or an old person and you are lucky enough to have a semi-cool bank, that check showed up in your account on Monday, September 30.

Walter White in his prime, played by actor Bryan Cranston. (Photo courtesy of the Breaking Bad Facebook page)

Walter White in his prime, played by actor Bryan Cranston.
(Photo courtesy of the Breaking Bad Facebook page)

No such luck for me. My bank didn’t post it until the first.

But, before we get to the government shut down and eventually defaulting on our national debt … the hit AMC TV series Breaking Bad came to a bloody end. All the loose ends were tied up, Walt killed off the last of his enemies and he saved Jesse.

Who would have thought, five years ago, the high school chemistry teacher would become such a national icon? He goes from being an average guy diagnosed with cancer, to becoming a murderous thug with the purest methamphetamine ever created.

It takes a special kind of person to make such high quality shit, a chemist for instance, or at the very least, a chemistry teacher. You know those scientific types: type-A personalities that need to have everything perfect, or as close to perfect as possible.

Only Heisenberg could cook up true Heisenberg. Well, his sidekick Jesse could as well, as we found out.

The real Heisenberg wasn’t a chemist; Werner Heisenberg was a physicist who discovered the Heisenberg Principle, the principle of uncertainty. I have no idea how that applies in quantum physics or mechanics, it’s more thinking than I wish to put into it, but in Breaking Bad Walter White started his chemistry experiment uncertain of where it was bound to end.

But that’s probably not why Walter chose “Heisenberg” as his nom de guerre.

It’s over; Walter White is no more. Heisenberg is gone and Jesse is in the wind. We can watch it via Netflix or order the entire five seasons, with all kinds of extra goodies.

That is if the government shut down doesn’t stop the postal service from operating. Maybe Sony television ships by UPS or FedEx, who knows.

  • Ted Crus wrapping up the end of his 21-hour talk-a-thon, as covered by FoxNews. What did he accomplish? Notta. (Photo is a screen grab)

    Ted Crus wrapping up the end of his 21-hour talk-a-thon, as covered by FoxNews. What did he accomplish? Notta.
    (Photo is a screen grab)

    Since the USPS operates entirely on its own income and is not a part of the federal budget, the post office will operate as usual through the shut down.Well, it’s been brought up now, so back to the shut down and the impending battle over the debt ceiling.

As we saw through the luxury of cable news and C-Span, Texas Senator Ted Cruz staged a faux filibuster, eating up 21 hours of Senate time … no one really knows why. Actually we do, but we’ll get to that later.

Cruz pulled his little stunt in the time before a scheduled vote on whether to pass Cruz’s budget amendment to fund the government with a provision to defund the Affordable Care Act — “Obamacare.”

Cruz read Green Eggs and Ham, which is all about accepting change. Ironic. (Photo courtesy of Word Press)

Cruz read Green Eggs and Ham, which is all about accepting change. Ironic.
(Photo courtesy of Word Press)

In it Cruz read from Ayn Rand, he read Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham, a story about accepting change (irony abounds); Ashton Kutcher and Toby Keith came up in the 21-hour ramble. Apparently Kutcher gave a great speech that Cruz retweeted to his followers.

  • It’s the Teen Choice Awards speech in which the actor said opportunity looks a lot like work. There go all my hopes and dreams.

In his epic fail Cruz said what the American people want are jobs! Jobs, I tell you … is that why the GOP has brought up over 1,100 state and federal bills to limit and all but outlaw contraceptives and abortion in the past two-plus years?

We found out Ted Cruz likes White Castle hamburgers … who doesn’t? Okay, vegans don’t like White Castle, but you know what I mean. I buy the boxes of them at Costco in the frozen food section. M-m good!

Finally, Cruz is confident that 20 years from now he will be an answer in the Trivial Pursuit game of that time. Really? Is that what this was all about? Publicity? Yes, but not for Trivial Pursuit or any other (legitimate) game.

Publicity Cruz can use come 2014 when he begins his presidential campaign for 2016. Is he crazy? Crazy like a Fox, i.e. future Foxnews commentator? Or maybe, crazy like a teabagging idiot.

After Teabagger Cruz had his little 21-hour grandstand, the U.S. Senate conducted their vote on Cruz’s bill that Cruz said he was trying to block. And that set the stage for the 2013 Government shutdown, 17 years after the last shutdown.

There were Republicans who didn’t want to the shutdown, Senator John McCain ands Speaker of the House John Boehner among them, but they were over-ruled by their party, led by Ted Cruz and the Teabagger caucus. Cruz went so far as to denounce his fellow Senate Republicans for voting for cloture on the bill.

And then Cruz praised Speaker Boehner for only allowing a budget bill, a Continuing Resolution, that demanded the delay of the Affordable Care Act, knowing full well the Senate wouldn’t vote on it, nor would Democrats negotiate on repealing, defunding or delaying the ACA.

Nor would the Democrats vote for a Continuing Resolution that contained provisions to restrict a woman’s right to choose and access to contraceptives. On Tuesday the House Republicans sent that same bill with these non-negotiable points to the Senate and once again the Senate rejected it.

The GOP House leadership with their jackets off, staging their publicity stunt for the cameras. Conspicuously absent, Besides the Democratic leadership from the Senate: Spokesmodel-Speaker John Boehner. (Photo is a screen grab from Youtube)

The GOP House leadership with their jackets off, staging their publicity stunt for the cameras. Conspicuously absent, Besides the Democratic leadership from the Senate: Spokesmodel-Speaker John Boehner.
(Photo is a screen grab from Youtube)

Then the House Republicans staged a little photo-op in the conference committee room, seated on their side of the table waiting for the Senate Democrats so they could negotiate away women’s health benefits and delay the Affordable Care Act. Even though they knew the Democrats would not negotiate on the ACA or women’s health issues. And despite the fact that the House GOP refused the Democrats offers to negotiate a budget deal in the six months leading up to the shutdown.

Even though Speaker Boehner and a large number of his fellow House Republicans did not want to shut down the government and really wanted to send a clean Continuing Resolution to the Senate to fund the government until the end of the year.

The Teabagger Caucus is holding America hostage, but once their constituents started complaining about lost services, like access to parks and monuments, the House Republicans decided to send three separate bills to the Senate that would fund various parts of the federal government.

To their credit, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and his fellow Democrats rejected those bills, saying they would only accept one CR that funded the entire government, not just the parts the GOP found to be inconvenient.

In a truly cynical act of desperation, some members of the Teabagger Caucus rushed down to the World War II Memorial when some WWII veterans showed up on a visit sponsored by the Mississippi Gulf Coast Honor Flight, a group that flies WWII vets to Washington to visit the monument, free of charge for the vets.

Rep. Michele Bachmann was on CNN with Wolf Blitzer trying to convince him the Affordable Care Act was going to kill women, children and senior citizens. (Photo is screen grab from CNN via Youtube)

Rep. Michele Bachmann was on CNN with Wolf Blitzer trying to convince him the Affordable Care Act was going to kill women, children and senior citizens.
(Photo is screen grab from CNN via Youtube)

There were Steve King of Iowa and Michele Bachmann of Minnesota claiming credit for opening the memorial for the vets. In reality the vets did it themselves. The Teabaggers just took advantage of another photo-op. After voting to shut down the government.

Sarah Palin, the Quittah from Wasilla, posted a ridiculous rant on her Facebook page about how President Obama is punishing veterans and little babies too. Not the babies that depend on government programs like food stamps to survive, Palin’s worried about the children that can’t go on White House tours due to the sequester and shutdown.

Anyway, if you read Palin’s hysterically melodramatic rant (Here), you’d think the president walked down to the World War II monument and put up the “barrycades” (Palin’s cute name for them) himself.

Ignoring the fact that the veterans and their caregivers just moved the barricades and tape aside themselves, like many people did at some of the other monuments around Washington.

Sarah Plain, the Quittah from Wasilla, on FoxNews encouraging Senator Cruz’s Teabagging nonsense. “Bless his heart.” (Screen Grab from FoxNews via Youtube)

Sarah Plain, the Quittah from Wasilla, on FoxNews encouraging Senator Cruz’s Teabagging nonsense. “Bless his heart.”
(Screen Grab from FoxNews via Youtube)

Hey! Sarah Palin and Todd Starnes! Listen up: the entire federal government is shut down and that includes every national park and monument throughout the United States — not just the World War II monument. And Americans being the rebellious, self-interested people we are, said, “Eh, we can just walk around the barricades.”

Now, for the past week there have been a number of Republicans claiming they did not want to shut down government and there are a few that truly did not want to do it. But last week when the GOP made the decision to shut it down, they walked out of their conference room excited and celebrating.

Michele Bachmann breathlessly proclaimed, “We’re very excited! It’s exactly what we wanted and we got it!” You go, girl!

GOP Congressman Todd Rokita of Indiana telling the world the Affordable Care Act is “...most insidious laws ever devised by man ...” Photo is a screengrab from Comedy Central)

GOP Congressman Todd Rokita of Indiana telling the world the Affordable Care Act is “…most insidious laws ever devised by man …”
Photo is a screengrab from Comedy Central)

Representative Todd Rokita (GOP) of Indiana called it “… one of the most insidious laws ever devised by man and that is OBamacare” You’ve got to admire their consistency when it comes to overblown melodrama.

GOP Representative Tim Huelskamp of Kansas said, “It’s the culmination of doing what we said we were going to do.”

By that he meant he and his fellow Teabaggers were elected in 2010 on the promise that they would shut down the government. Even before the 2010 elections conservatives were excitedly talking about it as one of their primary goals if elected.

In August of 2010 Dick Morris excitedly said, “There’s going to be a government shutdown, just like in ’95 and ’96 but we’re going to win it this time! And I’ll be fighting on your side!”

  • For those who may not remember, Dick Morris was a Democratic advisor to President Bill Clinton in 1995-96.

Huelskamp also brought up Mark Twain to make a point, forgetting that Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, was one of the most liberal Americans of all time.

“Mark Twain once said, do the right thing and it will gratify some people and astonish the rest. America’s been a little astonished by us doing the right thing in the last few days here in the House.”

Astonished? Not really. Polls show that 70 percent of Americans oppose shutting down the government as a tactic to get rid of the Affordable Care Act.

The sign people see when visiting the national parks and monuments during the shutdown. This one was at the World War II Memorial teh day a group of WWII vets arrived on a visit sponsored by Mississippi Gulf Coast Honor Flight. (Photo is screen grab from Youtube video)

The sign people see when visiting the national parks and monuments during the shutdown. This one was at the World War II Memorial teh day a group of WWII vets arrived on a visit sponsored by Mississippi Gulf Coast Honor Flight.
(Photo is screen grab from Youtube video)

When veterans show up in Washington, DC to tour the monuments created in their honor; when visitors head to Yosemite National Park to celebrate the park’s 123 birthday — and all are turned away, the citizenry objects. And they object to seeing pregnant mothers and children in poor neighborhoods go without food because of the government being shut down.

Then there are the radio and television pundits that encourage the Teabaggers. Radio blabber Laura Ingraham said the shutdown was, “A dream for conservatives.”

National Review editor-at-large and FoxNews commentator Jonah Goldberg said that the worst thing that happens in a government shutdown is, “… some museums close and someone can’t go to the Statue of Liberty.”

In fact, conservatives are being so cavalier about putting nearly a million Americans out of work and putting millions of poor children at risk by stopping their benefits, they are calling the shutdown a “slimdown.” Seriously. It’s all over FoxNews; on their television graphics and website.

In a remarkable moment of candor, Goldberg said, “The basics of hostage-taking say, if you’re going to take a hostage, take one that the other side doesn’t want to have shot.”

It was a reference to the Democrats not caving in on the GOP’s demands to end the Affordable Care Act and that the Democrats were willing to let the GOP drive off the cliff rather than negotiate the Affordable Care Act and women’s health benefits.

Just to remind the GOP, as many others have for months now: the ACA was passed by both houses of Congress, signed by the president and even declared Constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. As of October 1st, the ACA has gone into effect and people, millions of people, are signing up for the health care exchanges. So many people that the system experienced delays due to the overwhelming traffic on the various websites.

But there are some Republican Congressman calling on Speaker of the House John Boehner to put a clean CR up for a vote in the House of Representatives because they know it will pass both houses of Congress and get signed by the president.

Jesse Pinkman, aka Cap’n Cook (Aaron Paul) turned on Walt, on Heisenberg. But it all worked out in the end. (Photo courtesy of Breaking Bad Facebook page)

Jesse Pinkman, aka Cap’n Cook (Aaron Paul) turned on Walt, on Heisenberg. But it all worked out in the end.
(Photo courtesy of Breaking Bad Facebook page)

Boehner won’t do that of course. He’s afraid of Ted Cruz and the Teabaggers. Makes you wonder what would happen in the House of Representatives if it had a true Speaker of the House. Boehner is nothing more than a spokesmodel for the fringe element of the GOP.

But all bad things must come to an end. Eventually enough reasonable Republicans will force Boehner to do the right thing, won’t they?

Everyone is talking about the shutdown, but the real questions are: how did Walt get the ricin into the sugar substitute packet that ended up in Lydia’s tea? And what about Jesse? He just drives off into night? Could there be a spinoff, or maybe a Breaking Bad movie that tells us what Cap’n Cook is up to after everything seriously breaks good for him?

Apparently there always has to be some mystery left unsolved for the viewers to obsess about … maybe Walt didn’t die …





About the author

Tim Forkes

Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative college newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment issues, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the business of government and business was so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that reality. Contact the author.
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