If you look at what's been happening at the federal level of our government at least as far back as W's two terms, you've been wtf'ing yourself silly for over twelve years. You keep asking yourself, "Why do Democrats keep allowing this nonsense to happen?" Seriously, stop a second and take note of how many times you've been bewildered and befuddled, enraged and outraged, not at what the Republicans have done, but at what the Democrats have allowed to happen, in the last three Presidential terms.
Always it's the same excuse, "Those big mean Republicans won't let us x, y, or z." "Those big mean Republicans forced us to a, b, or c."
Over and over and over.
Then, when Harry Reid has the chance to fix the filibuster so it finally works as intended; one of the most powerful Democrats in Washington can obliterate the Republican's #1 tool of obstruction, he doesn't. He says he trusts the Republicans to behave more responsibly.
The reason you feel that rising tension in your chest right now is that you know this is bullshit. You know there's something very wrong with how the Democratic leadership is doing business.
Here's a clue, you are confused because you believe in a false paradigm. You believe in the left/right, Liberal/Conservative, Democrat/Republican view of politics.
And you, and everyone else on this site who thinks likewise, are dead freakin' wrong.
And that's why this Sequester bullshit makes absolutely no sense to you.
◆ You're wrong because:
Corruption Trumps Ideology.
Many of you are so desperate to root for your team, to stand with your tribe, to fight with "Us" against "Them", that you cannot conceive of the possibility that a significant portion of your leadership is so corrupt that they not only have no regard for your Progressive ideals, they actively sneer at you, look down their noses at you, and hold you in the highest contempt.
I remember when the White House laughed in the faces of the stalwart Progressives, the "Professional Left", and I thought, "Dude, this sounds just like Karl Rove mocking the Evangelicals."
Look what Rove is doing now; scooping up Corporate money so he can go to war against the Republican base. Why? Because they've stopped being duped by the Republican leadership. The Limbaugh/Beck Conservatives have figured out that their party wants their votes, but holds their ideology in contempt. Why? Because:
Corruption Trumps Ideology.
They've been played.
And so have you.
◆ There are three areas to watch here,
and several to ignore. First, always focus on fiscal policy. This is where the heart of corruption beats. Who gets taxed? Who gets tax breaks? Who gets subsidies? Who gets contracts?
If the love of money is the root of all evil, the flow of money is the tell of corruption.
Second, pay attention to efforts to alter the system to allow the repression of dissent. Corruption's natural enemy is an informed, activist populace. The Bill of Rights supports an informed, activist populace. Therefore, in a corrupt system, the Bill of Rights must be neutralized, and the populace must be pacified. Do-gooders must be squelched, rapidly, before they can cause an anti-corruption movement to develop. Any movement that does develop must be marginalized, either mocked or attacked as terrorists.
Do I need to itemize the myriad ways in which the Bush administration, the Republican Congress, the Democratically controlled Congress, and President Obama's administration have actively sought to attack civil liberties, invade privacy, crush whistleblowers, declare any citizen a terrorist, and then imprison or execute said "terrorists" with little or no oversight or due process?
I would posit that the reason New York City is now Fortress NYC is not to protect Americans from Islamic terrorists, it's to protect bankers from Americans.
Third, notice policies that disempower or outright dissolve the middle class, and thus create a desperate, compliant workforce.
"Free Trade" agreements cripple American unions and drive down the American standard of living, while causing corporate profits to skyrocket. Deregulation of the financial industry allows rapid boom and bust cycles which decimate small investors, suck the wealth out of pensions and IRAs, while exploding the relative wealth of the super-wealthy.
◆ Now, here's a quiz question:
Which President started the Free Trade free-for-all that dumped American manufacturing jobs into poverty stricken countries, and also gutted financial regulations, allowing the super-wealthy to run amok?
Was it W? Nope. The "evil socialist Kenyan"? Nope. W's Dad? Nope. The Conservative demigod Reagan? Nope.
It was Bill Clinton, in cahoots with Republicans in Congress.
Not only did Bill Clinton sign the trade agreements that decimated American manufacturing, he championed them. Not only did he sign the bill that undid the financial protections that kept our economy stable since the Great Depression, he championed that deregulation.
You can argue fifteen ways from Tuesday, but you cannot avoid the fact that we are in Clinton's Recession.
We have W's deficits. We have W's elective wars. But we are in Bill Clinton's Recession.
So we have three areas to watch, corporate friendly fiscal policy, the repression of dissent against corruption, and the elimination of the middle class. Anything that supports these three efforts passes seamlessly through Congress and gets a quick signature from whichever party's President happens to be in the Oval Office.
◆ What's the point of this corruption?
To break the social democracies of the West.
The super-wealthy don't want a lot, they don't want more, they want it all. Social Security, health care, unions, these things make a workforce less desperate, and thus less controllable, and they use money that the super-wealthy believe rightfully belongs in one of their Swiss or Cayman accounts.
Furthermore, the super-wealthy have no patience for the possibility that some democratic nation might pass a law that interferes with whatever it is that they want to do. Democracies are fine, as long as they pacify the workforce, giving them the illusion of justice, but they are disposable the moment they tax the wealthy to take care of the poor, or threaten to put a few billionaires in prison for fucking people over.
Things to ignore; most social issues, like abortion rights or gay rights. The super-wealthy don't really care about your bedroom activities. If it doesn't matter to Corporate interests, the two parties will polarize the issue and fight like cats and dogs over it. That's how they distinguish themselves, and engender loyalty from you, the dupable partisan voter.
◆ WTF is going on?
Good Cop/Bad Cop is what's goin' on.
In order to keep this sham going in America, the bases of both parties have to be desperately, blindly loyal to their parties. So depending on which side of the left/right spectrum you're on, your guy must be the second coming and their guy must be the anti-Christ.
Then, when national elections roll around, both sides poll the middle, figure out what the middle needs to hear, and then start saying it.
When any policy that helps dismantle our social democracy comes up for debate, one side plays Good Cop, and the other side plays Bad Cop. Next time, they switch. So the blame gets spread equally between the two parties, and the base of each party never gets quite enough evidence to prove that they're being played.
Think the R's are always our Bad Cop? Think again. Let's look at immigration. The Corporate R's love the idea of creating a permanent underclass. It will continue to drive down wages for Americans, making everyone more desperate. The R's won't let them vote, so they don't have to worry about cutting their own throats at the ballot box. They'll even make them pay fines. Great, low income workers paying money they don't have to the government. And if they can't pay? We'll slap them in a corporate prison and make them work for pennies! My inner billionaire just splooged on his leg.
But the Republican base, who despises anyone brown, or darker, is furious. "Betrayal!" they scream. And they sound just like you when you don't get a public option, yet hospitals and pharmaceutical companies get guaranteed profits.
That's the beauty of alternating Good Cop/Bad Cop. Keep the partisans too loyal and afraid and confused to figure out the game.
The Republicans fucked up big this last cycle, because they let their crazies voice their real social intentions, and the middle freaked out. Therefore, Rove needs to de-fang the Tea Party and the Evangelicals before the Republican party becomes so toxic to the middle that it cannot be rebranded.
The Progressives, on the other hand, must be mocked and marginalized as extremists, because the middle will agree with us, and force the Democrats to be anti-corruption Progressives. Think Elizabeth Warren, the scourge of DC.
◆ Now, finally, we get to the Sequester.
The Sequester is about austerity, and the purpose of austerity is not to "get a nation's fiscal house in order".
The purpose of austerity is to create an economic crisis that will result in the failure of the social democracy in the effected country.
If a crisis doesn't happen on its own, and our first attempt at a manufactured one (2008) fails to be as bad as we wanted, then we have to concoct another, and get it right this time. But there's a political catch to destroying the economy of the United States so the nation can be rebuilt as a corporate-controlled faux democracy.
When it comes to austerity policy, neither party wants to play Bad Cop.
Thus, the Sequester.
First, the R's say that the Sequester will be bad, and it's Obama's fault. "He started it, ask Robert Redford." They point this message at the middle. Then the R's say that they really wanted the cuts in the Sequester all along. They say this completely contradictory message to their Tea Bagger base. Then the D's say the sequester is terrible. But they agreed to it in the first place, knowing that their opponent was disingenuous.
If you're wrapped up in left/right D vs. R logic, your head's about to explode.
But as soon and you look at it from the perspective of Corporate corruption, it makes perfect sense.
In the case of austerity, neither party can afford to play Bad Cop. It could be the death knell of the party that supports the policy that collapses the American economy, and with it the middle class and the entire social safety net.
They'll destroy America as we know it, because they've been bribed to. But they do not want the blame. They want to be around to stay in charge after the crisis.
◆ The solution?
The Sequester allows each party to disavow responsibility for the coming crisis.
"I mean, we wanted to solve the Sequester, but those bastards wouldn't give on taxes/entitlements! Those bastards."
The leadership of the two parties has concocted a plan that allows them both to be Good Cop, and both to be Bad Cop, simultaneously!
The lynchpin of this plan is that the Democratic base must not be capable of acknowledging the corruption within the leadership of their own party. "I mean, how could a Democrat want to create a crisis that breaks the middle class?"
◆ Why would a Democrat attack the middle class and the poor?
Why would a Democrat dump American manufacturing, hamstring American unions, and then let Wall Street run amok, destroying trillions in wealth, while making the super-wealthy near invincible?
Answer? A Democrat would not.
But a Corrupt Democrat would.
Now, run down that list of all those things that have happened in the last four years or so, when the Democrats you elected were supposed to reform the system and make things better, but did exactly precisely the opposite in the areas of fiscal policy, oppressing dissent, and attacking the middle class. Why would a Democrat do those things?
A Democrat would not.
A Corrupt Democrat would.
Corruption Trumps Ideology.
We are not in an ideological fight. We are in a fight against corruption.
The Tea Baggers and the Occupiers, the Conservatives and the Progressives and the middle, should all be united in this fight.
Unless you buy into this Good Cop/Bad Cop bullshit. Then we're all screwed.
A note to those who cry CT: Name me a country, a government, an economic system, in which the greedy few did not collude, either directly, or indirectly, to co-opt and corrupt that system to their advantage.
It's not a CT, it's the human nature of evil.