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From the  NY Times a few days back, an important conceptual story:
But the politics of one core dispute between Democrats and Republicans — what to do about Medicare — are changing. And some of those changes complicate President Obama’s agenda, even as he continues to flex his postelection muscle.
One shift is the shrinking magnitude of the Medicare spending problem — a consequence, at least for now, of a recent slowdown in the rise of health care costs. That diminishes the willingness of Congressional Democrats, and perhaps the administration, too, to accept the sort of Medicare curbs that Mr. Obama has indicated that he favors.

Another is a moderation in the public stance of Republican leaders. In recent weeks, they have advocated smaller changes to Medicare than the “premium support” or voucher plan that Mitt Romney advocated and that Mr. Obama denounced in last year’s presidential campaign.

As a result, Mr. Obama’s ability to deliver a bipartisan compromise on entitlement spending may be waning even as Republicans edge closer to one.

The reduction in Medicare spending levels is the more drastic change.

You see, if the entitlement deficit isn't what they say, nothing else is either. Not that it doesn't exist (it does), but the terms and urgency just ain't there.
Post poll: 52% of moderates will blame Republicans for sequester; only 24% will blame Obama: http://t.co/...
@ThePlumLineGS via TweetDeck

Maggie Fox:
Four thousand children in Georgia who won’t get free vaccines. More than 2,000 food safety inspections cancelled. Four million meals that won’t go to homebound seniors.

The Obama administration is scrambling in the last few days to gin up pressure on Republican members of Congress who increasingly look like they will willingly let what was supposed to have been unthinkable – a budget sequester – happen by Friday.
The budget sequester was designed to be a consequence so dreadful that members of Congress would come up with more sensible budget cuts instead. Now it’s been delayed so long that if and when it does hit, it will mean a 5 percent across-the-board cut for government agencies, squeezed into the seven months left in the fiscal year.
“It will affect all disease areas, all research areas,” says Bill Hall, a spokesman for the Health and Human Services department. “Because it is across the board and deep down in every single institute, it would affect virtually everything. It is a five percent cut on everything.”

What makes you a Republican is not caring what happens to kids and seniors. And no, that's not an exaggeration or hyperbole. Alas.

What's whacky is the end game. The GOP is going to lose on this like they lost on the 2012 election, the fiscal cliff, Benghazi hearings, Bush tax cuts for the rich, Hagel nomination, etc... And they are also going to lose on immigration and gun legislation. So what's their brilliant plan? Delay their future losses by inserting some current losses. No wonder America hates them. The only question is how often John Boehner has to break the Hastert rule and let Democrats vote to get anything done. More below the fold.

NBC/WSJ co-pollster Fred Yang (D): "If POTUS needs some tweaks and adjustments, GOP is pretty much in need of a major makeover."
@mmurraypolitics via Twitter for iPad


Greg Sargent:

President Obama traveled to Newport News, Virginia, today to highlight the damage the sequester will do to the military-heavy area. He took special care to give a shout out to GOP Rep. Scott Rigell, who was at the event, having previously called on Congressional Republicans to consider new revenues to avert the sequester cuts.
The highlighting of Rigell contained a clue as to how Democrats will proceed in the sequester battle, and as to why they are content to wait Republicans out in hopes that they’ll cave in the end. Democrats are hoping that the sequester deepens the divide between defense hawks and spending hawks in a way that makes the GOP position untenable over time.
Harold Meyerson:
At least the leaders in power in 1930 had an excuse when the economy began to collapse. Then, there was genuine bewilderment among economists and governmental chieftains across the political spectrum about how to induce a recovery. From British Laborite Ramsay MacDonald to the German centrist Heinrich Bruning to American conservative Herbert Hoover, leaders cut spending to bring their budgets into balance.

These austerity policies proved an unmitigated disaster. By reducing government spending while business and consumer spending were tanking, these heads of government constricted all economic activity. In turn, unemployment continued to soar. Frustrated with the inability of mainstream political parties to stop the collapse, voters in some nations turned to extremes — most notably, of course, in Germany.

Unlike their predecessors, today’s leaders have models on how to revive depressed economies. The example of Franklin Roosevelt, whose public investments in jobs and defense turned the U.S. economy around, and the writings of John Maynard Keynes, who demonstrated that the solution to depression is boosting demand, are plain for all to see. Seeing isn’t believing, however, when ideology dims the eye.

Austerity doesn't work. How hard is that to grasp?

Dana Milbank:

Minutes later, Jim Inhofe (Okla.), ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, repeated the allegation that Hagel had claimed “Israel committed ‘sickening slaughter.’ ”

There was something sickening about this, but it wasn’t Hagel’s quote. As Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) pointed out, what the nominee had in fact said, during a Senate speech on the 2006 Lebanon war, was this: “The sickening slaughter on both sides must end.”

It was one of many moments from the past few weeks that Joe McCarthy would have admired.

And , no, both sides don't do it. Republicans do it. How hard is that to grasp?
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Comment Preferences

  •  What are the odds of sequester? (20+ / 0-)

    I may be furloughed for 22 workdays days if it actaully happens (that's over a month's pay)

    •  Well the biggest problem… (13+ / 0-)

      …from my point of view is that Senate still hasn't passed a bill ending or repealing the sequester. If Harry Reid would take action then the pressure on Noehner would be immense.

      Union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone: DemSign.com.

      by DemSign on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:09:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The problem is (10+ / 0-)

        Republicans in the Senate will block anything Reid wants to do. That way House Republicans can just throw their hands up and say 'well they don'y have a plan either'.  Also, as Pelosi pointed out yesterday, appropriations are the responsiblity of the House not the Senate.

        •  That's why Reid (5+ / 0-)

          needs to bring it to a vote, so that it is clear who is obstructing.

          If the Republicans ever find out that Barack Obama favors respiration, we'll be a one-party system inside two minutes. - Alan Lewis

          by MadRuth on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:21:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's why Reid (9+ / 0-)

            needs to grow some fucking balls and end the fucking filibuster.  He should have done it at the beginning of this year but like the noodleback wimp he is he gave in, hoping that just this one time McChinless wouldn't pull the football away.

            This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

            by DisNoir36 on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:24:03 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Don't be a prisoner to the moment (0+ / 0-)

              If the Dems lose the Senate in two years you'll be incredibly happy that he showed such restraint.  Should he have gotten a little more? Probably, but Reid is a lot smarter than people give him credit for.  Remember, nobody thought in 2008 that the Dems were going to lose the House and almost lose the Senate in 2010.

              •  Don't be a prisoner of fear (6+ / 0-)

                you can't worry about 2 years from now.  For all we know the GOP will go nuclear and the Dems will expand their hold like they did in 2012.

                Plus last I checked, even if they did win the Senate which is a very tall order, there is still the problem of the POTUS and his Veto.  

                Besides only a fucking fool believes that if the GOP takes over the Senate that they will honor any prior rules.  They'll blow up the filibuster in a New York minute and all the caving by Reid would have been for naught anyway.

                This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

                by DisNoir36 on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:43:20 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  And if Harry Reid did something to the Filibuster (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  BlueEyed In NC

                  would it matter now anyways? Would Republicans in the House suddenly start voting on bills that came from the Senate? No.  So yeah, you do worry about two years from now because maybe in 2 years you have a democratic house and then you can enact real reform.  It would be a complete waste to do it now.

                  •  If popular bills were passed in the Senate it (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    floydgrant

                    would put pressure on the House to do something, or at the least, boner couldn't claim he was waiting on the do nothing Senate. Having the Senate tied in knots keeps the Dems from using it to show what is possible if the repugs are voted out of power in the House.

              •  So it is OK for Harry and the Dems to throw the (0+ / 0-)

                poor, whom they claim to represent, to the wolves, needlessly causing real american families to slide needlessly into poverty JUST SO THE DEMS CAN WIN A FEW SEATS?

                Yeah, that is am AWESOME democratic message.

                The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

                by xxdr zombiexx on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:44:40 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Don't be a prisoner of expectations for Repub (4+ / 0-)

                consistency or honor.  The second they get control of the Senate, the filibuster is DEAD DEAD DEAD.

                The past 50 years we: -Ended Jim Crow. -Enacted the Voting Rights Act. -Attained reproductive rights (contraceptive & abortion). -Moved toward pay equity. Republicans want to take our country back. I WON'T GO BACK!

                by petesmom on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:56:48 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  I don't think so (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                floydgrant

                If the Democrats showed some balls for once, and stood up to the Republicans, and called them to their faces on what they are doing, Americans would vote for Democrats in droves. The spineless, do-nothing, we don't want to upset the system Democrats make everyone throw up a little. That's why the tea party message made such inroads last mid-terms. At least they had a clear voice. People are dying for a clear voice, not a namby-pamby, can't we all get along, but oops, we can't do anything since we don't agree, bunch of losers.

                Obama argues for "a pragmatic and patriotic progressivism." David Brooks

                by Katydid on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:50:57 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  rec'd for "noodleback wimp" n/t (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Stude Dude, TerryDarc
            •  There is no way for Reid to end the filibuster (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Amber6541, floydgrant

              or even tighten the rules governing the filibuster now, as doing so would require a 2/3 vote of the senate, which would be impossible.  The time has passed that a simple majority could make rules changes.

              If and when the Republicans take control of the senate, I doubt they will even hesitate to tighten filibuster rules on the first day of the session.  McConnell has already threatened Democrats with the "nuclear option," and he'll carry through with that threat at the first opportunity.

              "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

              by SueDe on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 06:23:42 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Harry is deeply and professionally committed (7+ / 0-)

            to the Kabuki.

            he has had opportunity after opportunity to stick it to the GOP but what's he do? He THROWS the fight and laments how sad it is.

            Part of the problem.

            The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

            by xxdr zombiexx on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:24:35 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  There's nothing to BRING to a vote (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bernie68

            Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zero.

            The House hasn't passed a single thing concerning the sequester in THIS Congress.

            They passed stuff in the LAST Congress, but those bills DIED when the new Congress came in.

      •  It's the responsibility (7+ / 0-)

        of the House to pass a bill to the Senate regarding matters of spending and budget. The two bills Boehner keeps whining that they've already passed were in the last Congress and therefore null and void.
        Boehner needs to read the Constitution.

        “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

        by skohayes on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:57:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  He's playing to the base (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          skohayes, floydgrant

          Anyone with half a brain knows that he's just flailing around; he tried to pin the blame on Obama for not proposing a package that the House GOP will agree to (Answer: there isn't one), and when that didn't work, now he's trying to blame the Senate Democrats for the same thing.

          The good news is that outside Fox Noise and the deep-red constituency, his strategy isn't working.

          •  Skohayes comment is right on the money... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            skohayes

            ...first Boehner blamed Obama for not submitting a budget and then the senate! It's the job of the house to pass on spending. It's their job and Boehner is not getting away with blaming others for not doing his job for him.

            Of course with the suicidal Teapubs in the congress, he probably can't do shit anyway.

            Time is an enormous, long river, and I’m standing in it, just as you’re standing in it. My elders are the tributaries, and everything they thought and every struggle they went through & everything they gave their lives to flows down to me-Utah Phillips

            by TerryDarc on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 11:05:26 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          skohayes, floydgrant

          It's not hard to understand.

          What happened in the last Congress STAYS in the last Congress. They're GONE. Dead and buried.

          And Boehner has done NOTHING in this Congress.

          And spending bills have to originate in the House. This is a one of those.

          So until the House does something, there's NOTHING either the Senate OR the President can do.

          This is ALL on them. Every bit of it.

          Professor Obama needs to give the House a remedial course in Constitutional Law, because they don't seem to have ever read the damn thing.

          •  Of COURSE they have! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            floydgrant

            Don't you remember the first day of the last Congress when they all stood around and read the Constitution?
            Well, all might be a bit of an exaggeration:

            Republicans read the constitution photo republicansreadtheconstitution1-2011.jpg

            “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

            by skohayes on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 03:09:27 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  100% (11+ / 0-)

      That the sequester will kick in.  How long it will last is the question.  The key thing (as pointed out in the round-up) is how long it will take Republicans living in districts with military bases to start screaming for a deal.

    •  I think it is all 100% bullshit like (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wintergreen8694, aaraujo, DRo

      absolutely everything else our fucking government is producing currently.

      It will be magically resolved with a solution that will recapitulate the current bullshit in 3-4 months, so we can go through it all again.

      It;s Charades and Kabuki all smooshed together.

      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:23:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  We got told (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Remediator, floydgrant

      that no one knows what the effect will be on my dept.

      "You'll know when we know" is what we were told, but everyone is in freakout fear anxiety mode.

      does any one know if congressional staff will suffer?

      •  Congressional staff (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Remediator

        will be furloughed, Congress and the WH are exempt.

        “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

        by skohayes on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 06:01:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I sooooooo want that to happen. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TerryDarc, skohayes

          I want Congressmen to start answering their own phones, reading their own mail, replying (ha) to constituents.

          I want them to have to read the damn bills, not get some summary from a much less well paid staffer who's 10 times as smart as their boss.

          But mostly, I want them to have to clean their own offices, bathrooms, and empty their own trash.

          •  And Sequester Their Own Pay? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            skohayes, floydgrant

            Can we please add that into the mix of cuts to be made?

            Time is an enormous, long river, and I’m standing in it, just as you’re standing in it. My elders are the tributaries, and everything they thought and every struggle they went through & everything they gave their lives to flows down to me-Utah Phillips

            by TerryDarc on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 11:44:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  well (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tb mare, Stude Dude

      what are the odds of congressional inaction?

      (but then again, how often have we gone to the last commercial break with congress trapped in the burning building and then in the last 15 minutes of the episode they make a fiscal policy out of gum and a paperclip and some battery wire and VOILA! Congress saves the girl.)

      I guess I'm saying they won't do anything until they suddenly do a mysterious crappy thing they've had in their pocket all along.

      If only Michael Phelps hadn't smoked that pot...imagine what he could have accomplished with motivation and good lung capacity.

      by papa monzano on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 06:15:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't get the math (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aaraujo

      I'm seeing "5% cut" -- as I understand it, 2.5% of the annual budget, but since it's all in the last 6 (or 7?) months of the fiscal year, it's 5%. Then I see lots of reports of one-month layoffs (or equivalent in one-at-a-time furlough days), which would be 16% of the last six months budget. Why such a big hit?

      People can adjust to a temporary 2.5% drop in income, comparable to the payroll tax bump. Adjusting to a 15-20% drop is a totally different level of pain.

      Hope someone can explain this.

      •  The Agencies (All of them) have no appropriations (0+ / 0-)

        None of the funding bills were passed before the start of the fiscal year. The Continuing Resolution runs out on March 27.

        So the agencies have to make those cuts in the money they have on hand, whatever funds the CR gave them. That's why the brunt of the sequester is falling on Federal employees.

        It is easier to cut a known cost, i.e. paychecks -- so that's what they do. Believe me, the administrative people are also cutting (or completely shutting down) things like travel and training.

        Some agencies HAVE to keep some training in the budget, because Federal laws require that some job positions have to have 80 hours of training specific to that job over a 2 year period.

        Oh, and if the Feds run on a CR for the rest of the year? Well, the cuts will be even deeper since a CR is always a percentage  of the previous fiscal year monies spent.

  •  Thanks for the roundup, Greg, much appreciated! (16+ / 0-)

    The sequester is going to be a disaster.  Think of all the families who live one paycheck away from catastrophe, because wages aren't high enough to save any money.

    I hate Republicans.  I really, really do.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:10:17 AM PST

    •  I wish more americans had the insights (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tb mare, Stude Dude, floydgrant

      on republicans that you and I share.

      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:32:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  and my Mom, my own 87 year old Mother (4+ / 0-)

      believes every freaking LIE. Yesterday when I called, she was listening to her "old buddy Rush giving Obama the hell he deserves!" No amount of reasoning, no matter how many of her beloved children and grandchildren try to discuss "reality vs the right wing myth" ever penetrates.

      She really believes it all. The other day she started telling me about how "we better get ready."

      "For what?"

      "They're going to take everything."

      "What does that mean?"

      "Obama is going to take everything."

      "How? Why?"

      "You just wait and see."

      Me: sigh.

      She was also convinced that Obama (and Clinton in 96) were not gong to allow the election to take place. When I pointed out that no election had ever been put off, she just shakes her head like I'm so naive.

      She is convinced that Obama wants to cut Medicare and SS benefits.

      Sigh.

      •  My 99-year-old mother is just the opposite. (5+ / 0-)

        She hasn't believed anything the Republicans have said since they took over the House in 1994 and proceeded to shut down the government a year later.  She does believe Bush and the Republicans purposefully started two wars and created the economic crisis during Bush's terms in order to steal money from the American people.  

        Finally, she's convinced that most Republicans hate Obama because he's black.  She's in Oklahoma, so she has good reasons to believe that's true, considering she's surrounded by Republican bigots who don't hesitate to make their hatred clear.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 06:50:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  sounds like my father (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Amber6541, DSC on the Plateau, SueDe

          who would be 98 if he were still alive, son of Russian Jewish immigrants. He always said that in the neighborhood he grew up in (the South Bronx, Yiddish-primary-language), he was bar mitzvah before he knew that "damn Republicans" was two words. He hated straight-ticket voting on principle, but I doubt he ever in his life voted for a Republican.

    •  I don't think it's going to be that bad (0+ / 0-)

      We're talking about $85 billion cut from a $3.6 trillion budget and the CBO said it actually means we're cutting $44 billion from the 2013 budget.
      That's about 1.2% of the budget for FY2013. Half of these cuts are required to come from Defense spending, so we're talking $22 billion from discretionary spending.
      Hard to say what will happen at this point, but Republicans don't seem to be worried about it at all.
      For those who are good at looking at numbers, here's a breakdown in more detail:
      How the Across-the-Board Cuts in the Budget Control Act Will Work

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 06:16:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  repubs may have a plan to restore (0+ / 0-)

        DOD cuts while continue to fuck the safety net.

        That's all I can imagine.

        And I think the cuts, if they actually do happen - it's still several days until the last goddamned minute, where this will be decidec - will wreak havoc. I think they are designed to.

        The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

        by xxdr zombiexx on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 06:19:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, there are now more Republicans (4+ / 0-)

          that think cutting spending is more important than continuing to protect Defense spending.
          I read an article the other day that said that the austerity hawks now outnumber the "national security" hawks in the House.
          The safety net (medicare, medicaid, SSI, SSDI, etc) is not included in these cuts, because that is non-discretionary spending.

          “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

          by skohayes on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:08:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  But there are some social programs in the cuts (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Amber6541

            right? Something affecting the people is getting cut, right? I didn't think SSDI or Medicare was included, but there is some social spending targeted. I clearly am unsure what.

            Repubs would hardly have agreed to just cutting defense and liberals would not be so upset by the Sequester.

            The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

            by xxdr zombiexx on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:24:45 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Education (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              skohayes, floydgrant

              would be hit. So would grants to outside agencies - that's why Meals on Wheels is worried. And Head Start. And any counseling service that's funded by federal money but administered by a non-profit agency.

              That's where the big hits will be. All that funding that goes to private and state agencies.

          •  Only Social Security is off the table (0+ / 0-)

            at the moment. So retirement and disability benefits received under those programs are safe...for a while.

            The sequester DOES mandate a 2% cut in payments to Medicare providers. I haven't seen anything on how it affects Medicaid.

  •  I have to agree with you, (9+ / 0-)
    What makes you a Republican is not caring what happens to kids and seniors. And no, that's not an exaggeration or hyperbole. Alas.
    but why stop at kids and seniors?  Republicans don't care about a whole lot more than just that.  Those are the top two, though.  And no, I'm not exaggerating either.

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:11:13 AM PST

  •  One can only dream that (7+ / 0-)

    the sequester had been invented years ago. Paraphrasing Woodward on morning tv punditry:
    'Can you imagine if President Bush had to say he couldn't invade Iraq because of budget cuts?'

    Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up. A. A. Milne

    by hulibow on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:12:40 AM PST

  •  Erik the Red wants better conservative journalism (4+ / 0-)

    or so he whines for over at Red Snake. For some demented reason I read his piece and found this quote curious:

     "On more than one occasion I’ve seen conservatives treat the GOP Leadership skeptically until a friend is hired by Leadership. Suddenly, the agnostic reporter becomes a believer and often uses his perch to undermine conservatives in Congress on behalf of leadership. Everyone should be questioned and friendship with the Speaker’s and Leader’s staffs should not be a goal. "

    In a piece that is filled with vagaries and adolescent dreams this quote seems very specific and targeted. I wonder who Erik the Fat has an ax to grind about?

  •  If anything comes from the sequester going (12+ / 0-)

    into effect, hopefully it will be an overwhelming and sustained anger at the GOP. They have not been successful in blaming it on the President, and they won't be successful deflecting the blame going forward, I predict.

    I also predict gas well over four dollars a gallon nationally (we're nearly there in Maine now at about 3.80 per gallon) which may turn public attention toward all those oil and gas subsidies.

    It's horrible to contemplate, but it may have some long-term upsides.

    What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

    by commonmass on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:14:38 AM PST

    •  Try $550 - $6/gal gas. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass

      The price-gougers have trained americans to be happy with gas @$3.50, and there are signs the economy might be a little better for commoners which REQUIRES price gouging at the gas pump.

      I imagine they will shoot for $6/gal gas and milk that until the economy cools off, which shouldn't take too long. $15-$18 -$20 a day just to go to work will kill it pretty quickly.

      Once we all have to save our leftover dollars for the gas tank just to get to work, you can kiss 'discretionary income" goodbye.

      I am certain they have wet dreams about this.

      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:30:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Much of the rise in gasoline prices (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass, Amber6541

        has to do with U.S. foreign policy relative to Iran.  Our policies on Iranian sanctions and sanction agreements with countries in Europe prohibiting importing oil from Iran have caused a shortage of oil on the world market, thereby driving up prices.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 06:57:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  That is why the village (7+ / 0-)

      is not happy with President Obama "campaigning" - he's actually out there doing SOMETHING - explaining, begging the Republicans to come to the table, asking us to step up and contact our representatives.  He's visible and we like him - the NBC poll seems to back up that his approach is working.

      Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up. A. A. Milne

      by hulibow on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:31:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Monopolies and Oligopolies (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      indie17, commonmass, Amber6541, mmacdDE

      I am appalled at the continued subsidies of oil companies, and certainly hope they start paying their way instead of banking all those government handouts.  However, that bit of corporate welfare is just the tip of the iceberg.  We have to pay attention to where the money is, and in the case of the oil companies, that is in their monopolistic and oligopolistic pricing.  With the merger of Exxon and Mobil, the old Standard Oil octopus was back together.  We can see the results every time we drive past a gas station, but damaging as that is, there is much more that should have drawn the attention of the DOJ's anti-trust division.  

      In this and so many more of the corporate friendly policies of our government, we need to find a little more Teddy Roosevelt and a lot less Ronald Reagan in the Obama White House's idea of bipartisanship.  Let us hope that DOJ's current supine policies and lack of enforcement ends.

    •  Hoping for better discussion of Pentagon bloat (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Amber6541, mmacdDE

      which seems to be happening -- NBCNews had a lead article on how the Pentagon spending is so out of control that they can't even account for it, implying that there's plenty there one can cut without affecting VA benefits, troop salaries and housing allotments, or whatever. That's a discussion we desparately need to have.

  •  Now a graphic has appeared at the top of APR (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein, Remediator, skohayes

    Kewl!  Love the "Rockin' Robin" headline!

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:14:59 AM PST

  •  poll (10+ / 0-)
    With automatic, across-the-board spending cuts set to begin Friday, majorities of Americans believe that approach is not a good idea and also say the contentious budget negotiations make them less confident about the U.S. economy, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

    ...

    But the poll also shows that as the nation’s political actors once again quarrel over these automatic cuts totaling $1.2 trillion over 10 years – commonly referred to as sequestration or the sequester – President Barack Obama finds himself in a much stronger position than his Republican adversaries.

    http://firstread.nbcnews.com/...

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:16:21 AM PST

  •  Really? We are STILL thinking 'bipartisanship' (0+ / 0-)

    exists??

    Come on, people. It's over. Our government is nothing but a charade.

    Bipartisan anything has been long dead.

    All we have is kabuki and democrats insisting on not winning.

    And bullshit.

    That's why you can buy a large military-style gun and 40000 rounds of ammo but if you smoke pot, cops are waiting to fuck you up.

    Guns kill, pot doesn't. What do republicans support?

    What do democrats aid and abet them in doing?

    That's fucking stupid and this political system ACTIVELY protects that level of fatal stupidity.

    Well, bipartisanship lives in the war on drugs and the protection of gun regulation overhaul.

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:21:28 AM PST

    •  How will you feel about Kabuki (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skohayes, Amber6541

      if the Dems win big in 2014?  There are two years here for bringing the heat, most of it focused on fiscal idiocy, the destructiveness of Reaganomics, the fact that red states are welfare states.  We don't just need a bluer Congress we need the Tea Party governors and Secretaries of States out on their asses. We need state legislatures that aren't ALEC conduits.  We need Republicans so damaged they can't control school boards or water commissions or judgeships.  

      I don't believe anyone on the left thought the nutters would let this happen.  If they're going to, how about we focus on them and stop the "both sides do it" stuff?  Calling Democrats weak is straight out of the Atwater play book.  Why is it so popular on a Dem site?

      I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

      by I love OCD on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:35:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is still kabuki. (0+ / 0-)

        Another way of stating what you have posted is that it is worth the 2 years of needless pain and anguish in order for democrats to WIN an election.

        Other than that, and the fact that dems are utter weakings in saddle shoes and pink Izod polo shirts, we agree.

        People on the left often have a VERY annoying habit of wanting to be 'very positive' and all happy about things. Repubs are the fucking enemy, nothing less. NOW it seems some are seeing this:

        I don't believe anyone on the left thought the nutters would let this happen.
        Here we are - they are having big ol wet dreams about the damage about to be done to the country.

        Stop viewing republicans as people of any sort of good faith and start realizing they are an insidious enemy.

        They aren't 'neighbors'.

        The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

        by xxdr zombiexx on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:41:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There was rejoicing here when the deal (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mokurai, Amber6541

          was made.  Republicans don't allow draconian cuts to Defense, this will force them to deal.  

          Ooops.  They're stone crazy racists who lost to a black guy twice and cannot wrap their heads around it.  They're also destroying individual states and need to be got rid of.  

          There's no two years of suffering here, there's public outrage forcing compromise, then 2 years of making the point that without public pressure we'd be doing jackshit about anything.  Nothing changes until reality sinks in.

          People who watched videos of Romney saying he'd cut SS, Medicare, Medicaid said "He'd never do that.  It's just politics, they say things like that but they'd never do it." Those are the people who need to get it:  Republicans WILL do that, gleefully.

          I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

          by I love OCD on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:16:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Lee Atwater said it decades ago (0+ / 0-)
          It's OK as long as Blacks get hurt worse.
          Only now it's Blacks, other minorities, women, the poor, the young, the old, the sick...and they wonder why they can't win elections without the gerrymander. When (not if) we can de-gerrymander just Texas, replace Scalia on the Supreme Court, and do almost anything real about the filibuster, it will be over for the Republicans. I predict that they will go the way of the Federalists and the Whigs, but that some new pro-corporate party will arise from a split between the Democrats and the Progressives.

          Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

          by Mokurai on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:58:54 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Vulnerable House GOP members (4+ / 0-)

    I find it ironic and absolutely lip smacking delicious that Obama went to Rigell's district.  He only won by 53.8%-46.2%.  He'll likely be a target of the Dems if they want to take back the House in 2014.  Having him show up with Obama is the kiss of death with teabaggers.  He'll either be Lugarded or there will be serious depression in the ranks on the right and maybe the Dems can gin up turnout and beat him.

    I say more of that PLEASE.  Go to EVERY GOoPer who won by 10% or less and hold a campaign type rally talking about the sequester and the damage their GOoPer congressperson is doing.  

    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:29:48 AM PST

  •  The cause (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Egalitare, Mokurai, mmacdDE

    of the housing bubble was the same as all bubbles:
    you draw a straight line on a graph that shows the last 5 years and then extend the line to the next 3 years.  Based  on this graph, you then assume prices will go up, and act accordingly. The problem is that everyone is drawing the same line, and when they all act in the same way, prices become disconnected from the basic fundementals that determine house prices.

    At some point somone should really sit down Simpson and Bowles and tell them that just because you have a really nicely formatted chart (the kind Powerpoint makes so well) it doesn't mean that the data on the chart means a damn thing.  Assuming that the costs of Health Care will increase at the same rate as they have in the past is just that - an assumption - and yet they are willing to demand huge changes based on their pretty chart.

    This should make everyone suspicious as hell.  Their projections - all long term projections - suffer from the problem of starting conditions.  Put another way, the long term costs are enourmously sensitive to small changes in the cost of health care in the first two years.  If the slowdown in costs lasts e years and then resumes its long term growth the difference is in the TRILLIONS....

    The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

    by fladem on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 05:57:10 AM PST

    •  I suspect their "supporting calculations"... (0+ / 0-)

      ...have home health care workers living into their mid 80s. My wife's grandmother outlived two such persons in their  50s and a third, also in her 50s died a year after grandma did at age 92.

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 06:22:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Republicans have done their damnedest (0+ / 0-)

    to dam the stream.  But the stream will prove stronger.

    Evidently Boehner is gambling that he can stay atop the Bagger bronco long enough to reap glory.  I don't think so.

  •  Austerity doesn't work, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xxdr zombiexx, skohayes, Amber6541

    and neither does fighting expensive wars.

    •  But that is what the Best and the Brightest (0+ / 0-)

      in the Bestest Country in the Whole World do.

      Rob the people, fight wars.

      Timeless plan.

      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 06:11:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Neither does repeatedly cutting taxes (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Heart of the Rockies, Amber6541

      while starting wars and creating new programs like Medicare Part D with no funding sources and a prohibition against cutting the program's costs.  Either Republicans lie when they inveigh against creating deficits or they don't understand simple arithmetic - or both.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:08:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The biggest problem with grasping (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skohayes

    why austerity doesn't work when referring to the country's economic problems is that the general public doesn't understand the difference between the effects of austerity on a household or business budget and the effects of austerity on a national budget.  And why should they?  They have never run a country, but they have run a household or a business, and they understand when a breadwinner loses a job or a business loses customers, the household or business must cut spending to keep their budget balanced.

    The solution to the problem lies in repeatedly explaining the difference between how austerity affects a household or business and how it affects a national budget.  The intrusion of politics then becomes the problem, as politicians, including the president, find short-term political gain in keeping the public from knowing and understanding the differences.

    "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

    by SueDe on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 06:12:24 AM PST

  •  I fear Republicans won't come around (0+ / 0-)

    until they've thrown us back into a recession with this round of cuts.
    Most people around here in this very red district are perfectly happy with all these cuts- they don't see it affecting them, they want government slashed to the bone, and if this gets them what they want, the hell with everyone else.
    Of course, when the economy goes back into recession and the bottom falls out of the market, and we have the cuts from our governor to look forward to this year, they might change their tune. I'm not holding my breath.

    “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

    by skohayes on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 06:24:44 AM PST

  •  We are losing this battle (0+ / 0-)

    But not for the reason you think.

    Dems have the better story and better messaging on sequester.  President Obama is doing exactly what I think is appropriate in the position he is in, far better than he did the first 2 years of his first term.

    But the issue arises from the fact that this is the debate.  We are in the first hundred days, and as far as I know, this is the first time we are debating the losing parties agenda.  

    That is the macro sense is a win for Republicans.  It does two things.

    1. It drags the President into the mud when he has a halo from reelection.

    2.  It diminishes the chances of meeting core promises to his coalition as the clock for the first hundred days is run out.  If certain items are not addressed (I.e. immigration) and Republicans are successful in dragging the economy down,  Democrats will have another bad mid term, which is exactly what the Republican strategy is about.

    The issue was created back when the President decided to focus on debt and winning the future at a time of high unemployment.  Ever since the debt commission was created, there has been no space to discuss jobs.  This is a self inflicted wound that will be tough to get out of.

    They are doing there beat with this hand, but one is left to wonder whether getting into this game was wise for 2012 and beyond.  Maybe he had to to win reelection, but I do not believe this is the case.

    "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

    by justmy2 on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 06:32:09 AM PST

    •  he never had a halo (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ten canvassers, Larsstephens

      there is no hundred days
      background checks and other wins will rewrite the tired 100 day rule.
      partisan non acceptance in the context of R disarray will continue through the next election.

      The new normal.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 06:48:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He didn't campaign on background checks (0+ / 0-)

        That is an incredibly important issue, probably the most important after jobs.

         But I don't think that refutes my point. The hundred day rule is not going to be rewritten.  The time a President is at his most powerful is at that time barring a catastrophic event.

        I can only remember HIR and Dodd frank being passed outside of timeframe last term, and both were seriously watered down over time reinforcing my point.

        BTW-you don't think his approval rating was a halo from the reelection?

        "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

        by justmy2 on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:03:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think that's a new normal as well (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Larsstephens

          it wasn't that stratospheric, it won't drop that much.

          Rs are opposed but divided. I think he has 2 years, not 100 days.

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:11:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hmm...well I certainly hope you are (0+ / 0-)

            right...but with no filibuster reform, and an absolutely dug in house, I don't see how he can keep picking off Republicans when primary declaration season start late this summer.

            We shall see.

            "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

            by justmy2 on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:19:11 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Wingers Claim FDR's New Deal delayed recovery... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude

    Ideological conservatives have, in recent years, tried to push back hard against the notion that Roosevelt's "New Deal" response to the Great Depression were constructive in limiting the economic free-fall, restoring the nation's confidence, and building the foundations for a recovery.  Instead, they stubbornly insist that the New Deal's interventions were counterproductive meddling that retarded the onset and pace of economic recovery, and only the perversely positive economic impact of the industrial ramp-up and military-related employment eventually revived the economy.

    Of course, this ideological stance is totally blind to how their theory of WW2's role in the actual "recovery" totally destroys their own hypothesis: a war government spending boom is Keynsian economics on near-lethal doses of steroids.  There's nothing free-market "natural" or laissez-faire about it whatsoever; it's pure meddlesome government economic intervention on a massive scale.

    •  For anybody who thinks that Creationism or (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens

      Global Warming Denialism are serious problems, the fact that the inmates are running the asylum in Economics is many times worse.

      Republicans are passionately opposed to Keynesian stimulus that helps the nation, particularly investments in education, health, and infrastructure, but passionately in favor of Keynesian stimulus that helps the military-industrial complex or Big Oil or their individual district.

      Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

      by Mokurai on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 08:08:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Austerity? Sequester? Most people don't understand (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541

    what that means and more importantly how it effects them in their day to day.  This is a huge problem.

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