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2019 Jan 19 - US Government Shutdown

20190119
With Theresa May continuing to run down the clock, let's take a look at America where a government shutdown has been going on for several weeks, long enough that even drum soloists have started to look at their watches and question how much longer it has to go.

Normally budget disputes are solved by both sides coming together and agreeing to get the next year funded on the condition that certain additional chunks of money are set aside for wasteful but politically important job creation schemes. Most famously was when Alaska Senator Ted Stevens became very cooperative after persuading congress to set aside an extra $223m to construct a bridge to Gravina Island which was home to 50 Alaska residents.

This time around however, President Trump has demanded $5bn dollars are set aside to build part of the wall with Mexico and the Democrats have said that there's about as much chance of that happening as there is of Disney building a theme park based on the Human Centipede franchise.

Things have descended fairly quickly with the president refusing to allow house speaker Nancy Pelosi to use a military vehicle to travel abroad and adding that she should perhaps fly commercial out of her own pocket, especially galling given that unlike the president she doesn't own a jet of her own, never mind one with her name written down the side in huge lettering in case she forgets where she left it.

For now, things don't appear to be going anywhere and the president has said that the shutdown could last for months or years, like that half-used jar of dill everyone has sitting in the spice rack, years after the Oregano long since went.

I digress. For now the distraction of the moment is talk of a new round of negotiations with North Korea, an autocracy where I imagine the population pray every day for a government shutdown. And who says the Americans don't do irony?
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