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Bloggers have learned some hard lessons about engaging with right-wing nutcases who leave nasty comments: "Don't feed the trolls." Starve them of the attention they seek. Ignore them and move on. This advice also applies to the right-wing nutcases threatening to bring down our economy by refusing to raise the debt-ceiling limit. They won't get any traction on this unless Democrats engage with them. So ignore them, isolate them and scorn them but do not engage with them. Their billionaire & Wall Street funders will stop them and the pubic will see them for what they are, but only if we all just leave them alone. They aren't really going to hold their breath until we all die.

And if they actually did take down the economy (they won't), the country will be better off in the long run because it means the end of the radical right as a force in our politics.

So let them hold their breath until the country turns blue.

Crisis To Crisis, Destruction As A Tactic

Our country is now governed by crisis. We go from crisis to crisis because causing a crisis and making everyone panic works. But it only works if we let it work.

Look at the obstruction and destruction of the last few years.  Obstruction has kept us from hiring millions to modernize our infrastructure, making our buildings and homes more energy efficient, helping people with things like the Dream Act and Medicare-for-All, sufficiently stimulating new industries like wind and solar energy production, and SO MUCH more.

And the accelerating, destructive hostage-taking has cost us so much! Giving in to hostage-taking in the first place has only meant more and more of it, with bigger and bigger costs.  We gave in when they held back from authorizing unemployment benefits for millions. We gave in when they threatened to shut down the government, including denying elderly people their Social Security checks. The fiscal cliff "crisis" was just more hostage-taking.

Now they are actually threatening again to take the entire economy hostage, if we don't give in and hurt our people even more.

Crisis to crisis.  Hostage to hostage.  Destruction to destruction.  And always obstruction and destruction of the things We, the People to do make our lives better.  

Again and again.  They hold their breath and threaten to do damage, and we give in and let them hurt us a little so they don't hurt use a lot. And so they do it more.

Crisis to crisis.  As long as we engage, it works for them.  Each time a bigger hostage, demanding that we hurt ourselves even more before they will take the gun away from the hostage's head.

Now the biggest hostage, the debt ceiling.

What The Debt Limit Is

The process of raising the debt ceiling is basically a mistake in the law. Raising the debt ceiling authorizes Congress to pay the bills that Congress has already committed to paying. But since the Reagan tax cuts and then the 'W' Bush tax cuts the country has not had sufficient revenue to meet the needs of our people without borrowing, so the debt keeps increasing.

What the Republicans are threatening to do is refuse to honor our debts and pay the bills that the United States has already promised to pay. They would default on our bonds - most of which are held by Americans. This would ruin the credit of the country, dramatically increase all future borrowing costs, and forever end America's status as a "safe haven" place to keep money. It would end our status as the "reserve currency." It would be a vote to tell the world that the US dollar is not worth the paper it is printed on.

This would crash our economy and take the world's economy down with it.

That is what they are threatening to do. They are literally threatening to hold their breath until they die because we are afraid we will die, too.

What Is Their Real Power?

The Republican Party is threatening to take us all down with them unless we hurt ourselves even more. But they only have power on this IF we engage. If we don’t engage on this they have no power.  If we don't engage they are just a bunch of crazy people threatening to kill themselves if we don't kill ourselves, and that's crazy.

They can’t be serious, so don’t take them seriously. Ignore them. Don't feed the trolls. They have no power this time if we just ignore them.

And ignore the corporate media that feeds on crisis and feeds panic, and the "Fix the Debt" corporate-funded propaganda that tries to convince us to engage.

The debt ceiling is not a crisis unless we help them make it into a crisis.  If we ignore them they have to go away.

Not A Crisis Unless We Make It One

This is not a crisis unless we make it a crisis.

Are we really afraid the 2-year-old will actually hold its breath until it dies? Seriously?

And haven't we learned yet what happens later, after we give them what they want when they hold their breath?

Do we really believe the Republicans would take down the whole economy?  Really?  Do we really believe Wall Street and their billionaire funders will let them do this?

They only have power if we engage with them on this.  Their only power is making us afraid.

What To Do This Time

Ignore them. No negotiations, not even any conversations.  Don’t fall for it this time.  If someone even says the words "debt ceiling" just tell them to go away, you have things that need doing, that deserve attention. Just let them spout their nonsense and don’t respond.  Like the crazy guy who stands up at the city council meeting and talks about how UFOs are shooting energy waves into his brain, when he gets done say “Thank you” and just move on to the next item.

Seriously, they threaten to destroy the economy if they don't get what they want? And what they want is things that make our lives harder and less healthy?  Really?  Then just let them shout it, and let the voters see it, and hold them accountable.

They won't really do that. And if you think they will actually vote to do that -– and the people who fund the Republican Party won’t stop them at the last minute -– then just let them this time.  And let them own the reaction.  Because if they do that, our country’s minority-party obstruction/destruction/hostage-taking/extortion/intimidation problem will be over.

If debt-ceiling day comes and they are still threatening to do it, just sit back and watch their Wall Street and billionaire funders panic.

Do not engage. Let them hold their breath until the country turns blue.


This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture.  I am a Fellow with CAF.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Republicans don't even have the power of default (8+ / 0-)

    There will be no default. Shutdown, yes, but not default.

    And yet everyone is talking about default. The President did too in 2011.

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 11:39:47 AM PST

    •  Of course there can be default! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, [...] shall not be questioned.
      I have incurred some credit card debt (pizzas, Amazon purchases, a Christmas present for my Dad). The validity of the debt shall not be questioned. That doesn't mean I will pay it. If I do not, that will be default.

      "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

      by Catte Nappe on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 04:53:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Default >is< questioning the validity (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        If you have credit card debt that you don't pay, then the credit card issuer may not get all of the money back, such as if they don't sue or if you declare bankruptcy — you've thrown the validity of that debt into question.

        This is like saying "enhanced interrogation techniques" aren't torture. C'mon, the words mean what they say.

        If not threatening to default, then to what act is "question the validity of the debt" is supposed to refer? Please check through the references in the linked post.

        Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

        by Simplify on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 05:42:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, it isn't (0+ / 0-)

          I do not, at all, question the validity of the debt for pizzas, books and presents that I have incurred. Totally legitimate and valid debts. No doubt about it. But since the guy(s) who cover my overdrafts at the bank aren't cooperating right now, I'm not gonna be able to pay that debt. Too bad, so sad. Doesn't throw the validity of the debt into question whatsoever. It's definitely a valid debt. I certainly owe the money. But, hey...can't get blood out of a turnip, and I got no money to pay it. So sue me. Downgrade my credit. Put my picture all over the papers.

          "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

          by Catte Nappe on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:02:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Then what act would constitute (0+ / 0-)

            "questioning the validity of the debt?"

            Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

            by Simplify on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 12:31:10 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Saying"we don't owe that" (0+ / 0-)

              "It is not our responsibility to pay that". Look at the rest of the section

              But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
              There were foreign governments who had loaned money to the Confederacy, and slave owners who felt they were owed reparation for their financial losses after emancipation.

              "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

              by Catte Nappe on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:10:58 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  I have heard the trillion dollar coin is gaining (0+ / 0-)

      traction in the white house and treasury.

      I thought it was too far out and maybe the white house is leaking the info to obfuscate the wing nut Republican fringe flack flingers.

      What a Supreme court issue that would be.

      Would it come to a point where the justices would know if they found for it then things would settle down but if they found against it their paychecks would stop until the wing nuts got their way.

      Don't know about you but I would never vote to not be paid. Maybe they would have to all say since they had a vested interest they could not challenge the issuance and let it ride!!

      Our money system is not what we have been led to believe. The creation of money has been "privatized," or taken over by private money lenders. Thomas Jefferson called them “bold and bankrupt adventurers just pretending to have money.” webofdebt

      by arealniceguy on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 06:07:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Exactly right. This is a "crisis" only (4+ / 0-)

    if we accept the Republican framing. No negotiations on the debt ceiling is the winning strategy, if the President is willing to stick with it and not blink.

    Just ignore this manufactured "crisis" completely, Presidential hands in Presidential ears, mouthing lalalalala.

    If Mr. Obama does that, he forces the 1% to rein in their teabagger dupes. What choice do they have? A default on the American debt hurts Wall street and the rest of the 1% most of all.

    Some of the stupider House teabaggers are genuine nihilists who would--maybe--carry out their threat. Boehner isn't though; he's a repugnant asshole, but he knows which side his bread is buttered on... and he enjoys eating it.

    He'll raise the ceiling with mostly Democratic votes if he has to.

    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 12:16:31 PM PST

  •  Most sensible response that I've seen. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DeadHead, cotterperson

    For a long time it's bothered me that otherwise intelligent people seem to think that there's some value in engaging batshit crazy rightwing words and behaviors.  It gives them credibility that isn't merited.

    More: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it?

    by blueoasis on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 12:31:50 PM PST

  •  I'm confused. I agree with 95% of all you say (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, llywrch

    and I think it's ok to discuss the topic with other Democrats for reinforcement.  I agree it's not a crisis and the popular media is making it a scripted reality show no matter what Democrats do or say. They do that because they have advertising time to sell.  Along the way a lot of nonsense is introduced and I see Democrats getting divided on the details.  I wrote a diary to debunk the proposed platinum coin solution because I saw a comment under another diary that said it was mandatory for Obama to get behind it.  The user's opinion was that it would be the only way for Obama to prove he isn't a Republican.  I felt it was my duty to point out that the platinum coin proposal is just nonsense.  If anyone disagrees, they're welcome to a fact-based debate about it using logic, reason, and the intellect.  Those are the things that humans  have to keep emotions like fear, doubt, mistrust and anger far away.  

    "Democracy is a life; and involves continual struggle." ---'Fighting Bob' LaFollette

    by leftreborn on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 12:45:27 PM PST

  •  Govt. debt must increase to grow the economy (0+ / 0-)

    On rare occasions private debt grows so rapidly that taxes need to be raised to reduce govt debt to keep the rate of money supply growth within low inflation limits, but, on average, govt debt needs to increase to keep the economy healthy.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 03:56:48 PM PST

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