“A Federal Budget Crisis Months In The Planning”

This is worth a read.

It’s a NY Times article.

Suggests that the government shutdown was orchestrated by forces inside and outside the government. Koch Brothers, so-called “grassroots” organizations, and so forth.

It’s also worth spreading around.

Because these people don’t care about you.

They don’t care about the country.

They care about their bottom line. This is a faux-populist movement controlled by corporate interests who are on par with the mine barons — they are comfortable exploiting you, denying you health care, and kicking this country in the gut until it coughs up the results they want.

I don’t know that any of this is actionable in a legal way — I mean, I’m a little tickled at the thought that this is treasonous behavior and punishable as such, though I suspect I’m being woefully naive on that front. I do know that we all can take action.

For one thing, we can boycott Koch Brothers products.

We can also vote (though gerrymandering and other nasty tricks have helped ensure that Tea Party members are almost preternaturally safe). Just the same — peeling away their politicians one by one is a value-add. If this is a game of inches, so be it.

We can write to our moderate Republican politicians and demand they excise this tapeworm from within the bowels of their party.

We can keep up the pressure and spread stuff like this around.

The ACA has already saved lives: Author Jay Lake talks about it here.

Author Kameron Hurley talks about the horror novel you’ll never have to live:

Going without health care.


I’m heading out of the country soon — so, you know, let’s try to keep it together until I get back. I don’t want to fly home to find a dystopian novel made real, jeez.


  • I just want you to know that I began following your blog about a month ago and really enjoy your literary posts. However, you’ve lost my following not because of because of political subject matter but with the hateful way you present it. Granted, this is a blog and you’re permitted to write about anything you want. I just wanted to let you know that it’s your hatred that’s lost this reader. And it’s hatred like that that’s divided this country. It’s not about “peeling” away at the government until all of the GOP is gone, it’s about harmony. And it’s this type of anger and hatred that causes such division and therefore the fall.
    I’ll miss your flash fiction challenges.

    • You will also be missed, Collette.

      One would hope that you could separate those two things — and I’d argue that this post is pretty far from hateful, though I would certainly agree it’s angry.

      But, it’s your time and your dime, and if a subsection of the stuff I talk about turns you off of all the rest of it, I can’t blame you.

      – c.

    • Collette, I totally understand your desire for harmony. Unfortunately, our government was founded on a two-party, adversarial system. The way it is supposed to work is that intelligent, elected representatives are supposed to debate about the way to run our government.

      There are MANY reasonable things to disagree about – regulation for example. Fiscal conservatives argue that we should not regulate business, because regulation stifles economic growth and economic stagnation hurts the entire country. Fiscal liberals argue that a total lack of regulation can directly hard people and so the government should regulate businesses to make sure they protect their workers, the environment, their consumers, etc. Both positions can be effectively argued and it is a reasonable tension that should be constantly tweaked as the country grows over time.

      HOWEVER, you ideals of harmony simply can’t work when there is a small group of politicians that is subverting the fundamental principles of a functioning democracy. I won’t even call them the GOP because there are many reasonable republicans out there, they just don’t control their party right now. Chuck is not the one fomenting hatred and divisiveness, it is this small faction that is refusing to participate in the process of democracy. They don’t like a law that has passed. They have challenged it in congress more than 40 times. The law has survived a supreme court challenge. They have tried and failed to prevent its passage because it is the will of the majority. Rather than accept that the democracy has chosen a law they don’t like and sucking it up, they have decided to refuse to let the government function.

      When bully pushed you down and tries to steal your money, there can be no harmony. Not should there be.

    • Kind of confused how you get hatred from this post. It’s pretty chill given the problems we face as a nation. It’s a shame that you can’t see that, but it’s your choice to leave.

  • Appealing to moderate Republicans is a good thought. Unfortunately, there are none left, at least none with balls. Despite the fact that this country lags behind most of the developed world in health coverage and care and overpays for what we do have, no Republicans voted for the Affordable Care Act, which at best is only a minimal effort to make things better. No Republicans. None. Zero. Zilch. They have no heart. They
    have no soul. They have no guts. They have hands, but they’re either out, palms up, or in the pockets of some industry lobbyist. And speaking of industry, thanks for the link to Koch brothers products. I’ve actually been buying some of that stuff, but I won’t any longer.

  • The gerrymandering of America has made moderate Republicans a rara avis. I think they do exist, but more and more, people are being “sorted”. I don’t think this trend is as prevalent in the blue districts…which means there is more blue-purple than red-purple.

    Even if we default on the debt, the Tea Party republicans will still be safe. That’s the problem.

    What we need are non-partisan competitively drawn districts, nationwide. (California style, perhaps)

    • Hey Paul… We owe about $20 Billion dollars per month in interest payments. We bring in about $220 Billion per month in revenue. The President MUST, under federal law, pay the interest on the debt FIRST before any other “bills” are paid. Ummmm Unless our President breaks the law, we’re covered.

  • So, I dislike both sides, but are you telling me they kept the democrat-controlled legislature and presidency from passing the budget several years ago when they controlled it all? Because this is a problem *years* in the making. (Well, decades, really…)

  • Good words about worthy subjects. I will add only that I am working in my state (FL) to end state gerrymandering by either (or any) party. Ending the gerrymander to be become a national cause, a flaming light on the political landscape. End gerrymandering–Iowa did this, so there are no wasted votes in that state. While you’re in the land of the koalas, talk with folks there about their Australian Electoral Commission, which requires independent, nonpartisan determination of electoral boundaries. The UK does the same sort of thing. Keep writing! Love the blog.

  • Being a Republican (of the above mentioned Moderate variety), I am very used to hearing hateful language. This is not hateful. If anything, it is downright civil. I have been called a racist, bigot, evil money grubber, and many other things because I argue for more conservative fiscal and monetary policy. I must say, that if Collette thinks this is hateful, she must not get into many political discussions. I have to disagree with Paul, however. Maybe it is just my experience, or maybe we disagree on the definition of “moderate,” but it seems that I have met far more moderate republicans (that is to say, social liberal, economic conservative) and far more people like David above, who claim I have no heart and no soul.

    In the particular case of the shut down, I agree with Republicans in that the Affordable Care act will in fact make our health-care system FAR worse by cutting reimbursement rates for medical services (while medical education rates are rising and payment for medical employees is falling). However, at this point, the bill is all but law, and this ridiculous stonewall is helping NO ONE, except perhaps the democratic party by making the republicans look petulant and obstructionist.

    • Kind of confused here…So the ACA will make healthcare FAR worse, but to try to stop it is a bad thing. There ARE two schools of thought. 1) stop it before too much damage is done or 2) Let it wreck what we have, throw TONS of money to “FIX” it and in the process, modify it to eliminate/add all kinds of “problems”that contribute to the high costs, like say firearms… Personally, I’d rather stop it and rewrite the law to be, say, only 500 pages and something less than the 13K regulations it is now.

      • You can have a problem with any law you want. You think it needs to be revised, elect someone who agrees with you. Or run for office. I felt that way about the Patriot Act. I vehemently disagreed with it on just about every level.

        But, that’s how democracy works. You aren’t going to like or agree with every bill that becomes a law. You can’t just decide that you dislike a law that was democratically passed and so you’re going to prevent the entire government from functioning until you get your way. Which is what’s happening right now. Think whatever you want about the ACA, you can’t just ignore the law – change it if you don’t like it.

      • kveldman13, You say “However, at this point, the bill is all but law,”…The ACA has been passed by both houses, signed by the president and ruled as legitimate by the Supreme Court. It IS law unless there is a step I am unaware of. Part of the GOP has stonewalled the bill to FUND the ACA by stopping funds for most of the rest of the government. Do you think it’s the democratic party making the republicans look petulant and obstructionist? I don’t think the democrats need to lift a finger to do that. The republicans are doing a wonderful job of it all by themselves, don’t you think?

        • You are correct. Poor choice of words on my part. Also, I wasn’t saying the Democrats were making the GOP look petulant and obstructionist, just that it would help them in the long run (because the GOP is doing its level best to drive its own voters away).

  • Frankly, this is one of the least characteristic of your posts that could even be construed as aggressive. The only thing I can figure that would produce a response like that is it is someone who puts a lot of stock into the group you are talking about, and really these people should really try to own up to what their representatives are doing instead of throwing a hypocritical hissy fit about “hatred.”

    Because Tea Partiers -totally- don’t hate most of the minorities in this country, much less the poor.

    • Icaramba, leave it to a political discussion for someone to pull out one word and focus on it. My point was simple: that if this is blog is going to include multiple posts about politics, not in a literary sense, but verbalizing a strong inclination to a particular party and a STRONG dislike for another party, it should be stated in the description. It can’t be hard to understand that, as a Republican, to subscribe to this blog under the impression that I will be getting updates about literature, and then suddenly start receiving emails from here that insult my own beliefs, it is a bit off putting. And yes, I have been in many political discussions and you can insult my beliefs all you’d like, that’s the beauty of democracy. But if this blog is more than a literary one, it should state so. And I would hardly call my post a hissy fit. And if you want to talk to “These People,” about owning up to the actions of their representatives, lets first talk about Benghazi and the White House’s complete incompetence about it, lying about it, and then the liberal media failing to report whole heartedly about it.
      And yes, let me tell you, I HATE minorities and the poor. Pure, unadulterated hate. I think they are subhuman entities, and frankly, just plain gross….Really? Come on, give us a little more credit than that. I know you think we’re a bunch of money juggling Kardashian wannabes, but give me a break.

      • I don’t have a strong dislike for Republicans. I have a strong dislike for the Tea Party embedded in the GOP, an opinion I share with many of my GOP friends.

        I often vote Republican in local elections, though tend to favor Democrats in larger ones.

        Regardless, as this is my blog, I don’t actually have to tell you what’s in it. If you were paying money to access it, I might disagree, but I am under no mandate or obligation to provide you with content you enjoy. This blog is mine, and I will talk about things I want to talk about it. Ideally, that lines up with what people want to read.

        That said, I do make it known that I blog about more than just writing.

        Above every page of this blog is the text: “Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. This is his blog. He talks a lot about writing. And food. And the madness of toddlers. He uses lots of naughty language. NSFW. Probably NSFL. Be advised.”

        So, I clearly talk about more than just writing in this space.

        — c.

      • Totally off the wall but I lived the first 25 years of my life in Central America. Please, it is not “Icaramba” but “Ay! Caramba!” Means something like “Oh! dadgummit!” but just a little stronger. Just want to keep the lingo pure, you know? ;D

  • I’m not saying in any way that the Tea party and other such groups are not controlled by corporate interests. But let’s look at the entire picture. How can you be upset about the Koch brothers and not be upset by the Insurance companies.

    Pulled from the NY Times piece — “The law’s supporters are also getting huge assistance from the insurance industry, which is expected to spend $1 billion on advertising to help sell its plans on the exchanges.”

    This seems an awful lot like corporate sponsorship to me. I am happy that there are some stores about people who got help because of the ACA. But I am absolutely furious that the government has now put a health insurance company between my doctor and me.

    Again, i am not saying you shouldn’t be upset by the fact large sums of money is the driving force behind the government shutdown, quite the opposite, we should all be very upset. But we must realize that the large sums of money are poisoning both sides and demonizing one side so heavily leads to a de-facto belief that if one side is evil then the other side must be good. If we are on a hunt to root out and expose all of the corporate interests, lets expose them all.

    • “But I am absolutely furious that the government has now put a health insurance company between my doctor and me.”

      Um…. Now?

      You *are* aware of how the health care system has worked for pretty much a century, right? The government didn’t put insurance companies between you and your doctor.

      …and for those who still don’t know this: Democrats wanted a single-payer system: A European-style system where health care is a public service like police, paid for with our taxes and available to everyone as a right of citizenship. The ACA, which maintains the existing private insurance market, was the *compromise*, because there’s no way that the Republicans would’ve gone for a health care system like the rest of the developed world has. So the ACA, which was based on a Republican plan from the 90s, was proposed.

      Of course, they flipped out anyway.

      • And just what was Democrats’ proposal to abolish 100s of legal businesses? And what was their plan for the half million people who would be put out of a job? Oh yeah, they didn’t have one. What they want in a perfect world isn’t always possible, and because it is impossible doesn’t mean it was blocked by Republicans.

        • I have to ask – why are you under the idea that it’s a “one or the other” thing? I’m in a country with a single-payer system, and we still have private health insurance companies. I’m guessing they still manage to do very well for themselves, given that my last job was in a private hospital owned by one of those very companies.

          • I’m not under that impression. I was responding to the above post.

            Unrelated: I just listened to Bad FanFic Theatre; very, very entertaining. I will be looking for more!

  • The most direct way to deal with all of these raw political emotions, in my opinion, would be to work on expanding your state’s direct democracy rights (referendum, direct voting, etc). History tells us that the peoples’ rights usually come from local/state up to federal. With luck, the general public will someday form a 4th check and balance to the other branches of government, or (a thought that makes me giddy) replace the legislative branch altogether. It’s harder to bribe the entire American people, and even if you do, we still benefit.

    • Yeah….I’ll pass. The general public, “The Mob” will vote for the Kardashins to run the government, Jon Stewart as their News source, and probably round up the “old people” into camps ’cause they get in the way.

      • We already have the power to vote the Kardashians into office, I wasn’t aware that anyone voted on any sort of official News source (other than C-Span) and added direct citizen voting rights wouldn’t eliminate the Judicial branch so an “old people” camp wouldn’t happen.

  • Give me evidence that it is the Republican party who is responsible. I’m open minded, but I’m a republican who puts it on ALL of the motherfuckers, ALL republicans, ALL democrats, ALL liberals. Anyone in a washington D.C. chair, holds this. I doubt that one side has “done all they can do” It is way past the time, where we need to hold ever mother fucking politician accountable, until we the people can see REAL compromise. REAL discussion, not just political fucking pandering. Its time that WE THE PEOPLE, quit being lured into this very ficticious argument and start demanding that the fuckers we choose, go in for the better good. BTW…I read your shit everyday. Thanks for the constant inspiration.

  • Thank you, Chuck. I’ve been following your blog for almost a year now, and I’ve been negligent in not commenting on the writing-related posts I’ve loved and certainly benefited from. But I just wanted to thank you for your courage in speaking your mind (and in my opinion) the truth about what’s going on in this country.
    Anyway, have a great trip!

    • Ditto me. I ADMIRE your stance, Chuck, as well as your intelligent responses to this political blackmail the TeaParty “Republicans” (NOT real conservatives at all but just complete selfish ignorant—emphasis on the “rant”—nincompoops in the thrall/pay of corporate thievery). You are now one of my heroes. Keep it going, man.

  • The amount of money being spent to convince Americans that they or other Americans should not have health care blows my mind.

    @Anastasiathe problem would not be with bribing the entire American public it’s the ongoing education problems we have today. We are not teaching kids to think critically or how to do research to get past the rhetoric. So yes having the general public as a 4th check might be nice it’s only as helpful if the people vote & understand what they are voting on.

    • Oh I absolutely agree this would be no utopian fix, but then again what is? You have to agree though that being able to have a direct effect on the running of your country would be a lot better than being subject to a small group of nursemaids who a) don’t reflect the diversity (socioeconomic, race, religion, gender, etc) of their charges, b) mostly come from the upper echelons of wealth and status unlike the majority of citizens, and c) for a large part are more likely to follow the waggling money/power than best interests of their constituents when making decisions. I have more faith in our current decision making than theirs.

      And I can only imagine that this would be the best kind of vicious circle, in that that as we begin to govern ourselves, the disparity between war funding and educational funding would dwindle and the critical thinking skills of our people would rise and we would make increasing better choices for the country. :)

  • @Anastasia. I’m on the iPad today so I can’t reply directly to comments. Hope you see this reply to your comment above.

    Yes I agree each vote having a direct effect beats what we have today. The systems always had its problems. Thanks to technology those flaws are more obvious & exploiting the lack of critical thinking and research skills is way too easy today. I’m constantly amazed at how people can’t figure out how a law will hurt or help them or the people they care about if they used a little common sense when looking at it.

    Healthy people is good for a country. Educated populace is good. Why we want to compete with 3rd world countries instead of1st world on basic stuff makes no sense to me.

    It would be great to see a true democracy that worked and made us the country we claim to be.

    • I definitely agree that the American people have weaknesses like you said that can be exploited; the very same weaknesses that politicians exploit now to get into office. If it’s any consolation, the realistic progression of national direct democracy would most likely start with referendum rights similar to those that the people of Uruguay have (petition for the ability to pass/veto a bill/law, followed by a general vote), which would mean that we could only affect issues we feel very passionately about. And we wouldn’t have any unilateral power so would still be subject to the checks and balances of the other branches.

      It’s a start is all I’m saying.

  • Treason no, sedition yes. Treason is selling your country out to another country, sedition is trying to destroy your own country. The GOP leadership (elected or otherwise) is guilty of sedition. They should be charged with it and tried for it. If found guilty they should do the perp walk for the rest of their lives.

        • Sorry about my “cluelessness”. I hadn’t realized that both parties’ intransigence means that one party is being seditious.

          n. the federal crime of advocacy of insurrection against the government or support for an enemy of the nation during time of war, by speeches, publications and organization.

          From Black’s Dictionary of Law


  • Thanks for linking these. This situation is just so frustrating. We finally got a redistricting measure through here in CA, and I was initially dismayed to find my neighborhood “moved” from the district of a congresswoman I liked and respected and into the district of a very entrenched conservative (not quite a tea partier, but someone who certainly on the same page as them in many regards). But the next election removed this rep from office by the skin of all our teeth. I believe a couple others of his ilk were also dislodged here, and some districts that have been more solidly one way or the other will be more “up for grabs” in future elections.

    While I like to see politicians who are sympathetic to my very blue-leaning views in office, I also recognize that it’s important for there to be a genuine exchange of ideas during elections, and that we need to elect people who can work together and compromise sometimes. Being in a more divided district will make elections more nerve wracking, but it means that whoever ends up in office will maybe be more inclined to want to do something beneficial while they are there rather than just pandering to their base.

  • I’m not under that impression. I was responding to the above post.

    Unrelated: I just listened to Bad FanFic Theatre; very, very entertaining. I will be looking for more!

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