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If it looks like a coup and smells like a coup...

From the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

a sudden decisive exercise of force in politics
Wikipedia has a more extensive definition:
A coup d'état(ˌkuːdeɪˈtɑː; plural: coups d'état), also known as a coup, a putsch, or an overthrow, is the sudden deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to depose the extant government and replace it with another body, civil or military. A coup d'état is considered successful when the usurpers establish their dominance. When the coup neither fails completely nor succeeds, a civil war is a likely consequence.

A coup d'état typically uses the extant government's power to assume political control of the country. In Coup d'État: A Practical Handbook, military historian Edward Luttwak states that "[a] coup consists of the infiltration of a small, but critical, segment of the state apparatus, which is then used to displace the government from its control of the remainder." The armed forces, whether military or paramilitary, are not a defining factor of a coup d'état. (emphasis mine)

Speaker John Boehner has said that there will be no clean continuing resolution without "negotiations". Despite what the country said in November of 2012, he insists on negotiating over Obamacare or the full faith and credit of the United States will no longer be guaranteed.
Appearing on ABC’s This Week, Boehner continued to assert that a stopgap government funding measure would not pass the House without GOP supported provisions like delaying the implementation of President Barack Obama’s health care law.

"White House calls on Boehner to hold vote on 'clean' funding bill" by Tom Curry, NBC News, October 6, 2013

Senator Ted Cruz has just stated that the only leverage they have to get what they want is to use the threat of default over debt ceiling. Here is what he is trying to justify this latest coup attempt:
"Since 1978, we raised the debt ceiling 58 times," said Cruz. "Twenty times Congress attached very specific and stringent requirements, many of the most significant spending restraints. So the president's demand to jack up the nation's credit card with no limits, no constraints - it's not reasonable."

"State of the Union with Candy Crowley", CNN, October, 6, 2013

Tell me, though this is a metaphorical pointing of the gun at our government, what makes it so different from actually doing that?

By the way, like with many a coup attempt, the basis of Ted Cruz's argument is a bold-faced lie.

Here is a link to the Scribd article detailing the most recent debt ceiling hikes. 26 of them included very minor adjustments to certain laws already enacted. One increased the debt ceiling (the one around the 2008 crash), and one made drastic cuts to the budget (2011, that one is not included in the document provided).

If you look at the timeline, the vast majority of these hikes in the debt ceiling that Cruz claims dealt with paring down the deficit and debt occurred when Democrats had control of Congress, and between 1997 and 2008 there were only stand-alone increases. In other words, Republicans have had next to nothing to do with these "serious adjustments" that Ted Cruz says we as a country have made.

Lies, distortions, political pressure through the creation of instability are all hallmarks of a coup.

Jonathan Chait has written an excellent article about the coming crisis. In it he posits how Juan Linz, a Spanish political scientist who died last week, prophesied this very event because he felt that someday something like this would happen because he felt our system was inherently unstable. This was because, unlike a parliamentary system, the executive branch and the legislative branch were separate. Jonathan also writes:

Instead, to the slowly unfolding horror of the Obama administration and even some segments of the Republican Party, the GOP decided that the alternative to finding common ground with the president did not have to be mere gridlock. It could force the president to enact its agenda. In January, Boehner told his colleagues he’d abandon all policy negotiations with the White House. Later that spring, House Republicans extended the freeze-out to the Democratic-­majority Senate, which has since issued (as of press time) eighteen futile pleas for budget negotiations. Their plan has been to carry out their agenda by using what they call “leverage” or “forcing events” to threaten economic and social harm and thereby extract concessions from President Obama without needing to make any policy concessions in return. Paul Ryan offered the most candid admission of his party’s determined use of non-electoral power: “The reason this debt-limit fight is different is we don’t have an election around the corner where we feel we are going to win and fix it ourselves,” he said at the end of September. “We are stuck with this government another three years.”

"The Shutdown Prophet" by Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine, October 4, 2013

Note to Paul Ryan, you are stuck with this because the American people stuck you with it.

If it looks like a coup and smells like a coup...

So, what can we do to stop this? (And we must stop this. If they win this battle, what makes you think they'll stop?) Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi has one idea: a discharge petition.

It is a very bold, but solid move and we should embrace it with both arms. You need to write your congress person (in bold caps, if you have to), "Vote for this thing or I will make it my life's work to defeat you!" If we all do this, it will have an effect. Recent polling shows that it may have already started. Dave Weigel also has some recent Fox polling on the shutdown. Scroll towards the bottom of the page from a post he wrote on Slate on October 3. Yes, I said Fox News. Which way do you think their polls are skewed?

The other idea is, of course, to write the President and your members of Congress to invoke the 14th Amendment, either by minting a big, fat coin or by a signing statement.

Tell your friends about this. We need to stop this attempted coup and stop it now. Then, stay focused and get people to get their butts out the first Tuesday in November of 2014 to shove these coup plotters out.

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