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The United States Capitol dome at dawn.
The forced austerity of the budget sequester has been with us since March 1 and it's having a real impact on people's lives, whether you're in a family that depends on Head Start, a cancer patient who needs access to treatment near where you live, a senior who depends on Meals on Wheels, or a public servant who suddenly faces a smaller paycheck thanks to budgetary furloughs.

If you fall into any of those categories or the many others facing sequester impacts, you're out of luck: political paralysis is screwing you. But if you're an air traveller confronted with the potential for flight delays, never fear, because Congress has got your back.

The Senate moved quickly Thursday evening to help ease the Federal Aviation Administration's ability to handle automatic spending cuts set forth in the sequester.

Senators unanimously approved the "Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013" — a patch to fix the deep cuts that have furloughed air traffic controllers and delayed flights across the country.

The bill gives the FAA authority to spend up to $253 million of money already in the FAA's budget — but not allocated to pay for other things -- to keep employees on the job and make sure more flights a on time.

It was passed by unanimous consent, which means no senator objected.

The House could take the bill up tomorrow and pass it with 2/3 support of that chamber.

I'm certainly not in favor of the arbitrary flight delays imposed on the traveling public by the sequester, but it's wrong to give political priority to certain groups of people just because senators and members of Congress are more likely to know people impacted by flight delays than people suffering from other consequences of the sequester.

The way this is playing out puts the lie to the whole sequester charade. The sequester was sold as a poison pill that would force Congressional compromise on long-term fiscal policy, but now that preferred interest groups are getting exemptions to the sequester, the whole thing merely reinforces the fact that if you want Congress to serve your needs, it pays to have power. The only real solution to the sequester is to simply get rid of it—pretty much everything else is just a debate about who should get punished by austerity.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The United States Congress is, without a shadow (29+ / 0-)

    of a doubt, the biggest cesspool, the highest concentration of the criminal element in one place (h/t Mark Twain) at one time that the world has ever seen save the Roman Catholic Church and the Red Sox pitching coach staff.

    What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

    by commonmass on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 07:33:59 AM PDT

  •  Join Me in Venting (6+ / 0-)

    If you want to join me in venting about this, go here.

    Sorry, Shameless Diary Pimp.

    "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?"

    by Doctor Who on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 07:34:17 AM PDT

    •  Make sure your congresscritter hears from you too. (4+ / 0-)

      Venting at DKos is fine, but let your elected representatives know what you think.

      Recognize that this was passed by the US Senate without a vote this is just about as anti-democratic (small D) as a piece of legislation gets.

      If the sequester is bad for the traveling public, it is also bad for the poor, middle (and falling) class, young, old, it should just be ended.

  •  #ScumbagCongress <n/t> (4+ / 0-)

    This space for rent -- Cheap!

    by jds1978 on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 07:34:39 AM PDT

  •  President (21+ / 0-)

    It would be nice if we had a president that sided with the needy--a president in his second term, unafraid of political consequences, who had the spine to tell congress he won't sign any bill that only protects the wealthy from the sequester.  A president who would issue a signing statement in the event of an over-ride--putting the money where it's most needed.

    Apres Bush, le deluge.

    by melvynny on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 07:35:01 AM PDT

    •  It would be nice if there were a single (15+ / 0-)

      politician who was not bought and paid for.

      What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

      by commonmass on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 07:38:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It is pretty clear that this president (19+ / 0-)

      supports the erroneous notion that economic austerity is a reasonable approach to economic problems.

      Business travelers are the people who are being heard here.  It is important to understand that.  I am one of them and have experienced the delays and shortages in the past few weeks.  The travelers who are going on vacation and visiting family members don't have a clue about what it was like before the sequester vs after its effects started to take place.  They don't have the depth of experience and most of them really believe that having a TSA agent search their own bag makes them somehow safer...

      The irony is that his speeches telling people that "just like balancing the budget at the kitchen table" should apply equally to businesses.  He should be telling businesses not to fly so much or something.  Of course, he can't do that.  That is a politically untenable position for him.  So, he chooses instead to placate this elite group of people without even striking a deal on behalf of the people sitting around their kitchen tables trying to figure out how to pay for potentially life-saving cancer treatments.

      As much as there is a corrupt ideology at work, it is also a superficial and ignorant economic approach.  Nobody died because one of the key players in my program could not get to an important meeting.  We worked it out.  You can't say that about life and death issues of cancer or scarcity of food for the poor.

      •  Austerity politics is going to make the President (0+ / 0-)

        rich post-term.

        He has more of an incentive to follow through and hold strong than to actually take action on behalf of the people that voted him into office.

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

        by justmy2 on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:13:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Such simplistic tripe. (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ichibon, inclusiveheart, indie17, gof, Albanius

          Barack Obama will be rich no matter what policies he supports after he leaves office, like most other presidents.  he will write memoirs and get millions.  He's written books before.  

          I think he is wrong to the extent that he has supported deficit reduction while the economy was still weak, althoyugh I'm glad for the Keysian things he did in his first two years.  

          One could even argue that his class world view influences his actions.  But simplistic crap that he does this so he will be rich when he is out of office is jsut that: simplistic crap.  

          And not understanding the real dynamics of power means you will never change much.    

          Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

          by TomP on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:19:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I believe it is your view point that is simplistic (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            chrississippi

            here...

            Jimmy Carter is an ex-naval officer, former Governor of Georgia and former President of the United States, with a net worth of $5 million.
            http://www.celebritynetworth.com/...

            Nothing is guaranteed.   The President has a legitimate and real reason to not get on the bad side of elite, the Pete Petersons and Robert Rubins of the world.

            I choose to recognize reality. You can call it tripe. But you have provided no evidence to the contrary.  You have simply projected you personal wishes and image of the President on to him.

            And let's be clear.  I am not implying the President is evil.  I am implying that he is taking his own post-office self interest into account more than many are willing to accept.  I will give you that simply saying "He wants to be rich" is a bit hyperbolic, but it is shorthand for he wants to remain part of elite circles after office, the same quest for affirmation that seems to be a major part of his political tenure.

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

            by justmy2 on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:27:20 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think he can be wrong or even evil without (0+ / 0-)

              "taking his own post-office self interest into account more than many are willing to accept."

              You say this, yet you provide no vidence and project your own personal viewes of the world on Obama:

              You have simply projected you personal wishes and image of the President on to him.

              Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

              by TomP on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:58:35 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I was a bit harsh. I apologize for that. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              justmy2

              I think the argument is simplsitic, but calling it tripe was too harsh.  Still, I disagree with your fundamental premises.

              Finally, the biurden of proviing evidence is not  on me.  Since neither of us can read Barack Obama's mind, it is not possible.  You asserted the proposition and have no evidence.

              Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

              by TomP on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 09:06:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thanks Tom... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                TomP

                I appreciate it.  And you are correct, we can't read the President's mind.  So we are both making assertions that are tough to prove.  

                Instead of highlighting where we differ, let's end on agreement.

                I agree with your statement.

                I think he is wrong to the extent that he has supported deficit reduction while the economy was still weak, althoyugh I'm glad for the Keysian things he did in his first two years.  

                One could even argue that his class world view influences his actions.

                I have made an assertion of self interest being part of the influence as it is directly correlated to maintaining his class.  But I will admit, as you have stated, that this is an assertion on my part based on my reading of his actions.  There is no way to provide definitive proof of this.

                Appreciate the follow-up.  This one, with CCPI, has me pretty geared up.  These decisions impact people, and too often they are simply politics to our leaders.

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

                by justmy2 on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 09:14:10 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Thanks justmy2. yes, we do agree on that. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  justmy2

                  I also agree here:

                  This one, with CCPI, has me pretty geared up.  These decisions impact people, and too often they are simply politics to our leaders.
                  Take care.  

                  Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

                  by TomP on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 09:17:01 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not sure I would be so harsh toward (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            indie17, TomP, tb mare, justmy2, Albanius

            the commenter, but I agree that it is simplistic analysis.

            I happen to think that Obama never really understood basic economic principles to start with (just like 95% of the lawyers I know) and that his grasp of the subject has only evolved within an echo chamber of neoliberal thinkers like the guy that I knew who was working for Clinton in NYC who told me that the "new" Democratic Party was focused on Wall Street and not poor people.  He went on to say that if Wall Street was in good shape then poor people would be better off.  Unfortunately, this era has proven that Wall Street can be booming along and growing at breakneck speed whilst poor folks are falling further down and suffering more and more in this country.

            •  Do you disagree with this statement? (0+ / 0-)
              Austerity politics is going to make the President rich post-term.
              What is his incentive for not instituting austerity?  Clearly economics, support for poor people, and long term party building are not the incentive.

              Legacy and post-term influence/success seem to me to be the largest component of the current economic policy.

              I am simply unwilling at this point to assume a man as smart as the President is simply unable to grasp basic economic theory. Heck, he has made major speeches about it over and over again.

              Sometimes, the simplest answers are the truest.  I have been waiting for the President to prove me wrong.  I want him to prove me wrong.  But he actions continue to demonstrate that his words in speeches don't mean much.  His actions speak to some other motive.  

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

              by justmy2 on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:34:37 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I know a lot of really smart, well-educated (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                justmy2, Chitownliberal7

                people who haven't a clue about economics.  

                Did you know that President Clinton claims Alan Greenspan as his economic mentor?  He tells a story about how he really didn't understand economics until became President and came under the tutelage of Greenspan.  They ate lunch together on a regular basis and Alan taught him almost everything he knows - which explains a lot about Clinton's attack on Welfare and his push to "liberate" business among other things.  I think that the only thing that really kept Clinton from totally destroying the social safety net during his tenure was that he came from real poverty.  Obama lived a very middle class life by contrast - and he went to Harvard where they brainwash everyone into believing that they are somehow all-knowing and superior.

                •  I would be more willing to buy this (0+ / 0-)

                  is the President hadn't given multiple speeches stating the opposite of the policies he is implementing.  

                  I just don't think it is ignorance. He is choosing "family budget" path, and the advisors that support this mindset.  But in speeches, speaks on more well accepted economic theory.  

                  I would be very interested in Christina Romer's uncensored version of what went on in the WH.  He hired her and even to an extent Summers.  Bernstein was with Biden. But those folks, the anti-austerians, were the ones given their walking papers.  

                  I just don't think he "bought" into austerity as much as was given an incentive to.

                  But hey, we will never know.  It is fair to say he has always been a New Democrat, so the instincts were there.

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

                  by justmy2 on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:49:19 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  None of the real progressives or liberals (0+ / 0-)

                    survived his Administration very long.  At this point, one has to assume that he had some hand in that outcome and is responsible for it as much as many people would rather not acknowledge that reality.

                    •  which is where we agree... (0+ / 0-)

                      I guess it is just the difference of opinion on the cause...is he incentivized by a level of self interest...or does he simply not comprehend the impact of his economic policies (or have bought into debunked economic theory).

                      With R&R being a Harvard paper, it would certainly be interesting to see how much of a role the paper played in the major austerity push post 2010 election.

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

                      by justmy2 on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 09:07:50 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I don't really think assigning a motive in (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        justmy2

                        this case serves much of a purpose.  Having said that, I was never really under his spell so to speak.  He didn't "touch" my heart to any real degree.  I always thought he was an insider playing the role of an outsider for the purposes of political gain and I always believed that that served him well.  I did not expect him to be very liberal or progressive and I didn't expect profound genius on the economic front based on his lack of ability to campaign on the issue until he was forced to do so by the reality of the economic collapse.  I did think that the other more liberal older members of the Democratic Party would hold more sway with his Administration than we have seen.  But the other thing that I didn't really know or understand was that there are few to no Democrats who are really economic visionaries.  Elizabeth Warren is one of the only ones I can think of who can make a solid and real economic case for liberal initiatives like Head Start or whatever.  Most of the Democrats who believe in the role of government as an important player in helping the poor and middle class don't really understand that government's role in leveling the playing field by creating checks and balances between the interests of citizens and the interests of business is critical to not only a healthy economy, but also a creative and robust citizenry.

                        •  Great comment... (0+ / 0-)

                          And I think this sentence captures what I was getting at in my earlier "simplistic" statement about post-term interests.

                          I always thought he was an insider playing the role of an outsider for the purposes of political gain and I always believed that that served him well.
                          My point was remaining an insider has benefits. And I am having a tough time ignoring them.

                          You put it very well.

                          (And even though we got into a bit of a spat over Vegas below, you still get my vote for future FPer ;) ).

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

                          by justmy2 on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 09:27:04 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

            •  Your explanation is far better. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gof, inclusiveheart

              Yes, I was a bit harsh.  I'll apologize to him.  I just see comments like that and often ignore them, but this time reacted.

              I think he always adopted a mixed set of views.  Back in 2007, the Edwards people were very critical at times, and I was one of them.  He always was too close to the Hamilton Project then.  He believes that that a large deficit is a threat to progressive chanage in the future, but I think he misjudged the dpeths of the economic problems and the need for Keysian policies for a while.  His austerity-lite polcies after November 2010 are bette rthan teh R full-on auasterity, but they are not good.    

              Like you said:

              his grasp of the subject has only evolved within an echo chamber of neoliberal thinkers
              And this is so right:
              Unfortunately, this era has proven that Wall Street can be booming along and growing at breakneck speed whilst poor folks are falling further down and suffering more and more in this country.

              Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

              by TomP on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 09:03:52 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  and I would like you to provide evidence (0+ / 0-)

            contradicting my statement,

            Austerity politics is going to make the President rich post-term.
            Regardless of intent or psychology, can you provide any evidence that this statement is untrue.  Any?

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

            by justmy2 on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:29:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Actually, I have a good example of the (0+ / 0-)

              anticipated post-service riches NOT flowing in grand style towards a Democrat after retirement: Senator Chris Dodd.

              He got the cushy MPAA job, but he expected to go to Wall Street for all of his concessions to that lobby.  Instead, he ended up with a gig that is not nearly as profitable.

              •  I am speaking specifically of austerity policies (0+ / 0-)

                and the MPAA job isn't exactly chopped liver...

                welcome back by the way...haven't seen you around in a while...

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

                by justmy2 on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:38:32 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Dodd embraced austerity politics (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  TomP

                  and was instrumental in blocking many proposals that would have made businesses be more accountable and pay a greater share of their freight in the aftermath of the economic collapse.  Not sure why you think that those things are in any way shape or form isolated - they could not be more linked, really.  Austerity politics is a necessary response to allowing the elite members of society to live without any financial burden to the state because governments ultimately either have to be funded or have to stop spending.  They chose defunding over spending.  The problem is that government will be irrelevant if it defunds itself sufficiently and that's how people like Dodd get kicked to the curb - he was only "important" to Wall Street when he had a vote - he was a pawn - not considered one of the insiders.  

                  •  I see what you are saying... (0+ / 0-)

                    But I don't recall Dodd embracing massive reduction in government spending, as President Obama has (I could be wrong).  I don't recall him being open to poor entitlement reform policies.  I just thought he was a Wall St Dem.  Now, as you say, that could be as bad...or worse...so fair enough on that accord.

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

                    by justmy2 on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:53:33 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  It is the robbing paul to pay peter... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      TomP

                      Eventually, you get to austerity politics.  I remember Dodd saying that people had to tighten their belts.  But more importantly, I remember that Dodd helped soften the blow and prevent changes that should have occurred within the realm of our financial institutions.  Dodd certainly did not embrace the notion that financial institutions exist to serve the public interest and not the other way around.  That's a core value of austerity politics also known as the kingdom-serf model.

      •  He already did this (0+ / 0-)
        He should be telling businesses not to fly so much or something.
        And backed off with Harry Reid and the Vegas mayor read him the riot act.

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

        by justmy2 on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:15:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I remember that really well because he (0+ / 0-)

          absolutely killed my business for a full year after he said that - and he hurt a lot of working people with that stupid fucking remark.  That is why I don't disagree with Congress funding the government's component of air travel - because broken transportation systems in countries have a negative effect on everyone's economic wellbeing.  But so do broken healthcare systems, food programs, education systems and a plethora of other important government programs and support systems that he continually and consistently has dealt away in his interactions with the Republican Party.

          •  I disagree with selectively choosing which (0+ / 0-)

            person's economic well-being is impacted by horrific policies.

            By the way, I would suggest the recession had a lot more to do with the Vegas downturn than a one-off speech by the President.

            Correlation, Causation, and all of that...

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

            by justmy2 on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:36:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You can disagree all you want, but (0+ / 0-)

              I am here to tell you that my entire industry came to a screeching halt after that comment.  No corporations wanted to be seen as spending unwisely and they stopped all meetings for about 18 months.  The Federal government was also ordered to do the same.  Which meant that the airlines (and their workers), the hotels (and their workers) and a whole host of other professionals lost work or did not work.  It was so bad that one company that didn't even have a meeting planned made a point of affirming that they were not going to have any meetings.  That was Obama's first lesson in the power of the bully pulpit.  That was also a really stupid austerity approach on his part.

              •  I think that is shorthand... (0+ / 0-)

                http://www.factcheck.org/...

                And I think it was a convenient excuse.  Remember, there was already a crackdown underway due to the Minerals Management Service scandal.  Austerity had begun to be implemented.  And major companies were looking to cut costs all over the place. Business Travel and conventions simply didn't halt because of the President's statement.  If anything, it was impacted more by the spotlight placed on it over the course of following months.

                We can agree to disagree.  I am sure the downturn it impacted you.  I am just not sure I the President's remarks can be used as the basis for the majority of the change in behavior.

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

                by justmy2 on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 09:03:31 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I kind of don't give a shit what you (0+ / 0-)

                  found on factcheck.org.  This is not an "agree to disagree" fox newsian moment.  The conversations with clients that we all had were pegged to that speech.  You can go research the story of the move of the Wells Fargo and Wachovia merger meeting from Vegas to San Francisco one week out (made explicitly in response to that speech) which cost millions of dollars in kill fees in Vegas and millions in rush and change fees in SF.  Not to mention the fact that Vegas is one of the cheapest places on the planet to do a big conference and SF is one of the most expensive.

                  •  So what you are trying to tell me (0+ / 0-)

                    is the you believe the a Wells Fargo/Wachovia meeting move is definitive proof that an entire downturn in business in Vegas was due to a speech.  

                    You didn't talk to everyone that made a decision whether or not to travel or hold a business meeting in Vegas.  You can choose to curse, but that doesn't make your personal perspective definitive.    I think I am comfortable in stating that while your view is certainly impassioned, it isn't definitive.  You have a specific bias due to how you were impacted.  You are not a neutral observer.

                    I will simply choose to disagree with you, Fox Newsian or not.  But I can still respect your point of view and take it into account.

                    (And no, I am not basing my discussion from news reports.)

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

                    by justmy2 on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 09:22:08 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  No. What I am trying to tell you is that (0+ / 0-)

                      the Wells Fargo merger meeting was moved specifically because of that speech and then there was a lemming effect where corporations either moved their meetings out of Vegas or more often in that first 12-18 months cancelled meetings altogether.  The incentive meeting in Hawaii that AIG had and was widely covered/denounced also contributed to a major industry shift and downturn.  

                      Vegas had other problems, too, which were born out of the fact that average people suddenly weren't able to afford to go on vacation there - like many other destination cities did.  But a big chunk of change comes from the business and association meeting industry in places like Vegas and certainly having them pull out of meetings there for fear of public criticism hurt the city a lot on top of the recession on the private tourism front.  You probably didn't notice that later the Obama Administration started to encourage business travel and that was because all of the convention towns were feeling the pain of the recession in a big way.  I was going places where there used to be like ten guys around to work one room at a property and there were only one or two after the recession - those are working class folks who got hit super hard by the downturn.

                      Regardless of whether or not people think that these meetings are money well spent by corporations and others, the industry actually supports and employs a lot of working class folks.  Both camps in the extremes of the economic debated - the ones for biz and the ones anti-corporate - seem to miss a big and important part of the economic debate which is that we all live on this planet together and we all affect each others lives one way or another regardless of whether or not we understand that.  The idea that crippling business is a good is no less pernicious than the idea that we should not help the poor and working class people in America.  Ideally, we could support all of the players through good government policies - that should be the objective.  We achieved that before in the aftermath of the Great Depression - we still aren't on track for that now - lots of work to do, I think.  None of which will get done with short-sighted knee-jerk reactions on the part of government or business along the lines of what we saw in the 2008/2009 timeframe.

                      •  I understand your point. I fully do. And I agree (0+ / 0-)

                        with it.

                        My only point is that I do not believe that one line in that speech dramatically changed corporate behavior.  I also happen to have insight via variety of personal related avenues on travel decisions, private and public.  I simply do not believe based on the information I have access to that the speech itself was the primary factor in the behavior changes.  I believe it was the excuse used to take action that was necessitated by the economic/political environment at the time.  Yes, there were some people who directly made decisions due to the line.  But that anecdotal evidence is not proof of broad correlation.   In some cases, there were ulterior motives.

                        We agree on austerity policies, and the idea that we are all in this together, the idea that government plays not only a role, but a critical role in keeping the economic and social engine moving.  We simply disagree on the impact of the President's line in the speech in question.  

                        Regardless of the small disagreement, I still highly value your opinion, thoughtfulness, and ability to articulate your opinion, values, and compassion through your comments.

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

                        by justmy2 on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 11:20:37 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

      •  This shouldn't still be happening in our country (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ichibon, inclusiveheart, tb mare, melvynny
        people sitting around their kitchen tables trying to figure out how to pay for potentially life-saving cancer treatments.
        How can we call ourselves a civilized society when access to affordable healthcare isn't even a basic right?

        “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

        by musiclady on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:17:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Fixing that now that we've agreed to (0+ / 0-)

          the less-than-stellar route of continuing to prop up the for-profit health insurance industry is going to be about two decades down the road from now.  Just like the last time healthcare was addressed...  Took twenty years for it to really get attention in Washington and we still got a poor response.

      •  Wonderful comment (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        inclusiveheart

        This could be a good diary in its own right.

        Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

        by Nowhere Man on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 09:16:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's a huge mistake (24+ / 0-)

    to agree to the concept of "fixes" for individual problems caused by sequester.  After all, causing across-the-board problems was the whole point - because that would force both parties to work for across-the-board solutions.

    (I thought, and continue to believe, that the whole idea is stupid - but at any rate that was the idea.)

    But once the discussion becomes about individual fixes then essentially we've agreed to the sequester as the new baseline - which is the right wing's dream scenario.

    “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

    by jrooth on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 07:37:31 AM PDT

    •  If Obama has any sense (7+ / 0-)

      He'll veto it, and force the dipshits in Congress to actually do their job.

      Click here for all your political gear, including new laser etching technology! Don't like mine? Make your own!

      by sgilman on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 07:46:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  reading comments, one would think he already had (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass, citizenx, sgilman

        ...signed it with great flourish and then applauded himself

        "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

        by Sybil Liberty on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:09:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I've given up (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ichibon, tb mare

        on him having any sense. In fact, with this episode, I've pretty much given up on him altogether. The whole sequester debacle could have easily been avoided with a simple vote in the lame duck to raise the debt limit in '11. But even with the sequester in place, the White House has done a terrible job of using it against the Republicans, and in typical fashion, have managed to hand the Republicans an opportunity to make hay out of a turd. So now we have the unexpected result of the Republicans using it against the White House, because the WH have botched it so bad. They're playing Obama like a fiddle. The Sequester is here to stay at this point, so get used to it. Right now, it's all muddling through the next 3 1/2 years and hoping Hillary does a better job, assuming she gets to be president.

    •  The Dems are allowing the Rethugs (8+ / 0-)

      to put patches in place to cover up the harm done by the sequester. They have told people for decades that government spending is the problem so when they cut spending and it causes visible problems they want to bury those. It disproves their entire philosophy of government and they can't have that.

      The ones you can't see as easily such as Head Start cuts or any cut that only affects poor people they don't give a $hit about.

    •  so (0+ / 0-)

      A piece meal approach is wrong.  But I've also seen him roundly criticized around here for trying to forge a grand bargin.  But aren't those the only 2 possible approaches[though the details can vary greatly in either of the approaches]?

      Really if people thought all the other pieces would be eventually addressed they'd be fine with the piece meal approach.  But I still can't get past the idea that opposing this sort of small measure isn't cutting off your nose to spite your face.  Would this really be leverage in a larger package?  I find that hard to believe.

      •  My problem isn't a piecemeal approach per se (0+ / 0-)

        it's a piecemeal approach which uses the sequestered budget as a baseline.  Because we're starting with basically the "drown the government in the bathtub" option as the default.  We've given the right their cuts and now we're trying to patch up just the most visible problems.

        “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

        by jrooth on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 10:02:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The Sequester should be canceled outright. End of (0+ / 0-)

        story.

        NO cuts to the Social Security, Medicaid and/or Medicare.

        We have no crises!

        We need a 'massive spending package' to spur the economy.

        We absolutely do not need 'austerity measures,' which the Administration has been trying to orchestrate (remember Gene Sperling's emails) through the use of the sequester.

        If deficit spending if such a major crisis, why on earth we ALL the Sunday Talk Shows (4/28/13) focused on more 'war spending' by dragging us into Syria's civil war?

        Not a single word was uttered regard 'the deficit.'  It never is, when it comes to the MIC.  IMHO, that belies the fact that the entire crisis is a manufactured one.

        I'll have sympathy for this Administration WHEN they get their priorities straight.  Not that I expect that to happen any time soon.  At least not 'short of a miracle,' LOL!

        [Sorry, realize that you weren't addressing me.  But IMO, the solution is very straightforward--cancel or repeal the darn 'sequester.'  And for Pete's Sake, show anyone else the door who comes up with such an idiotic idea in the future!!!]

        Mollie

        "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible."-- Frank L. Gaines


        hiddennplainsight

        by musiccitymollie on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 12:02:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  A million individuals being screwed (19+ / 0-)

    and hurt is a lot easier to hide, and a lot quiter, than a few pissed off priviledged folks whose weekend getaway may interrupted.  

    Also the fact that Congress is taking next week off, whic means they are heading towards the airport this afternoon has NOTHING to do with it.

  •  No surprise. (5+ / 0-)

    Republicans are only able to feel compassion for people they know, people who are like them.  Why would this be a surprise?

    “The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day.” Gloria Steinem

    by ahumbleopinion on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 07:37:36 AM PDT

  •  I came here from reading the Krugman column (9+ / 0-)

    linked in the APR, and given his analysis -- that austerity responds to the political interests of the 1% over the rest of us, regardless of the actual economic success of the policy -- somehow it is not at all surprising that the one impact of the sequester that might slightly impact on the 1% (those who choose not to travel on their own private planes...) is the only one Congress sees fit to address.

    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

    by litho on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 07:37:42 AM PDT

    •  And the Democrats aren't smart enough (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ichibon, indie17, sunny skies, tb mare, litho

      or committed enough to respond by using this air travel problem as a bargaining chip for another constituency that also needs relief from the effects of the sequester.

      That's the really angering part of this fiasco.  I personally do not think that crippling transportation is a smart economic strategy on any front so I don't have a problem with the Congress attempting to fix the problem, but I do have a problem with the fact that they are not even slightly motivated to fix other problems they have created for other people with this stupid fucking sequester idea.

  •  And why the hell didn't Senate Dems say to GOP (11+ / 0-)

    "OK, you want to relieve this point point that is the source of all the calls you're getting from pissed off constituents, fine.  But we also get to rearrange the rules so we can keep moving forward on Head Start and/or Meals on Wheels and/or cancer treatments"????

    Oh yeah, because they're Senate Dems.  That's why it didn't happen.

  •  BTW (5+ / 0-)

    As an aside, in watching the House on C-Span now, they are debating a bill on the Nations Helium reserve.  No I'm not kidding.

    Seems obvious to me that we don't have to worry about our Helium reserve with all of the available HOT AIR in Congress!

    "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?"

    by Doctor Who on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 07:40:25 AM PDT

  •  So will Obama sign it? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass

    I wonder what will happen after the grandstanders and self-interest only congress passes it.

    Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

    by yet another liberal on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 07:41:47 AM PDT

  •  4-25 (7+ / 0-)

    The Day The Democrats Lost The Sequester Debate.

    And the date the President became a lame duck.

    Dems and the President have not shown their is no principle they are unwilling to compromise in the face of Republican intransigence and pundit pushback.  With enough push, they will fold.  And in this instance, they have given away the game.  They don't believe their own rhetoric and willingly give away leverage.

    What would be the rationale for Republicans to do anything outside of their interest at this point?

    Filibuster when they wish with no repercussions, and get what they want otherwise.

    This version of the Democratic has no fight in them.  None at all.  The only question is how long with the citizens of the country have to pay for the lack of conviction in the party and leaders they voted for.

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

    by justmy2 on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 07:44:48 AM PDT

  •  If I were Obama (5+ / 0-)

    I wouldn't sign that piece of shit. I'd tell them its either all or nothing. There are folks losing head start out here and these bafoons are worried about flight delays. Fuck em'.

  •  Wait and see. Future budgets will be... (5+ / 0-)

    everyone gets a massive cut and agencies have to apply on a program by program basis for cut waivers. Kind of a means testing approach to the federal government....where only the connected interest groups and the pain that directly affects the members get a reprieve. Its a workaround to Congress actually having to work for a living or do anything politically unappealing.

    If Obama had an ounce of courage on the issue, he'd veto the fuck out of this thing and tell Congress to send him a deficit reduction plan.

  •  You Pay to have Power (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass
  •  Small-c corruption (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, greenbell

    is when people break the law to benefit themselves.  Big-C Corruption is when people make the law to benefit themselves at the expense of the great majority.  

    Abuse of power was the greatest fear of the framers, but few politicians have the wisdom to see the small-mindedness of their abuses.  The airline exemption to the sequester is just this week's leading example.  

  •  This thinking can actually make the sequester last (11+ / 0-)

    forever.

    Seriously, they can simply pass numerous bypasses to the cuts for specific line items and of course the weakest and quietest and poorest (ie: those without a voice) will be the only ones who feel the effects of the sequester.

    This kind of lawmaking (jury-rigging style) reminds me of how tax laws have grotesquely morphed over the years, like a giant tumor that has grown in all directions, lumpy and gerrymandered and misshapen with loopholes and ad hoc "fixes".

    Ayn is the bane! Take the Antidote To Ayn Rand and call your doctor in the morning: You have health insurance now! @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 07:48:19 AM PDT

  •  House dems need to vote no on this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass

    so the president can veto. I'm not holding my breath though.

  •  By the way (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, brooklynbadboy, cfm
    The only real solution to the sequester is to simply get rid of it—pretty much everything else is just a debate about who should get punished by austerity.
    Guess what Jed, it ain't gonna happen.  I hope you realize this.  They have now given up the most visible leverage they had, multiple times.  They Don't Care.  Money is the only thing that matters to our current leaders in the Senate and WH.

    The WH can prove me wrong with a veto.  And a great moment for a speech and moment of clarity.  Who does Washington work for.  Take is too Republicans and Dems alike.  If they don't, they are complicit.

    Unfortunately, I am not holding my breath.

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

    by justmy2 on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 07:48:46 AM PDT

  •  This was the obvious result of the sequester (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, citizenx, a2nite, tb mare

    From the moment it was proposed and went into effect it was obvious that any interest group with pull that needed something would get something from this Congress and President.  This by design, it isn't an unintended consequence.  

  •  You have to see this in power terms (8+ / 0-)

    The real story here is that Dems in the Senate voted, unanimously, to rescind these restrictions in how the FAA spends within the sequester limitations, so that air traffic could continue unhindered by the sequester.  The jet set can once again set aside all worry that their utter freedom to jet off to wherever they want will in any way be hampered.  Hostage valued by their side successfully rescued on a bipartisan basis.

    You think Rs are going to vote unanimously to let any of the hostages our side values go free?  To restore funds to Headstart, or cancer treatment, or Melas onWheels?  If that were the case, then the news today would not be that both sides acted to let air travelers off the sequester hook, it would be that both sides have acted to let all Amercians off the sequester hook by repealing the sequester.

    Take a step back.  We only have the sequester because the Rs demanded it as the formalized, institutionalized hostage-taking process they wanted as the price for not killing the hostage they had taken at that time, the debt ceiling.  The idea was that, in the sequester, both sides would give hostages, spending that they valued, that would be killed automatically unless both sides could agree to a deficit reduction deal.  No such deal, and both sides' hostages get bumped off.

    At the time this hare-brained sequester deal was made, reasonable people said that, of course, no such deficit reduction deal would be reached (nor should be reached, but that's another post or twenty), so of course we would reach the point at which the sequester would take effect.  The only way to stop the purposefully disastrous cuts the sequester called for would be to have boths sides then agree to repeal the thing, so that neither set of hostages, theirs nor ours, would be slaughtered.

    How, exactly, does our side get their side to let our hostages, the spending we value, live, if we're going to give them back any hostages they value without getting anything in return?  Of course they're not going to agree to repeal the sequester.  Why should they?   We're not even asking for little bits of spending we value in exchange for letting this particular hostage they value more than we do go free.

    What's going to happen next is the gradual release of all their hostages, everything the govt does that they value.  Our side will go along with releasing these hostages because we don't want to see anyone hurt.  Every penny of spending threatened by the sequester is spending that mustered bipartisan support.  That's how and why it became authorized spending, by passing muster with a majority as something the majority thinks the government should be doing.  There's nothing the govt does that fails to command majority support in our party, so if we allow individual spending items to be delinked from the whole sequester trainwreck, the utterly predictable result will be that the only things not restored will be govt programs that only our side likes.

    Government by hostage taking is no doubt a horrible idea.  I've never been for it in general, and I'm not for the particular instance of inflicting pain on air traelers.  But our side agreed to have the govt do its business that way when our side agreed to the sequester.  Having agreed to hostage taking as the way our side would relate to the other side, we now have no choice -- until and unless we muster the bipartisan majority needed to repeal the sequester in toto -- but to do business exactly that way, by taking hostages and being willing to bump them off every bit as ruthlessly as the other side.  From that perspective, we weren't inflicting enough pain on air travelers even before they got their release from all pain yesterday.

    Our side should be tailoring cuts to the FAA to be even more targeted against people who don't vote our way, and we need to do that everywhere along the whole spectrum of sequester cuts.  Wherever possible, red states and red districts get hammered.  As an even higher priority, where possible, 1%ers get targeted even more ruthlessly and above all, as egregiously unfairly as the administration can arrange and stay within this sequester law.  We didn't make these new rules of the game, but we acquiesced to them, and now we have no choice but play as foul as the rules allow.

    The states must be abolished.

    by gtomkins on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 07:51:41 AM PDT

    •  Our congress doesn't give a shit about the (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gtomkins, maryabein, commonmass, Timbuk3

      traveling public but they do care about the 1% who fly into the smaller airports which have really been hurt by the sequestration.   Look below the BS to see what they are really doing.

      •  Exactly (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Timbuk3, lakehillsliberal

        The administration should have bent over backwards, risked legal action, to just shut down a much wider swath of airports in red districts and red states.  This would not only have taken at least some of the funding pressure off blue district airports by targeting the cuts redward, it would hurt the other side more, put more pressure on red Congresscritters.  

        It's not that I believe in "screw 'em" for its own sake.  In the long run, we want rural voters, even well-off rural voters, voting our way.  But that it's quite clear that the only way to keep kids and seniors and cancer patients from being screwed is to screw back, harder, people they care about.

        Okay, "screw 'em for its own damn sake" IS looking more and more attractive every year lately

        The states must be abolished.

        by gtomkins on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:16:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Even if the smaller airports had closed (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gtomkins

          FAA would still have had to furlough ATC personnel. The sequestration cuts are deep enough that only both would have helped them meet the requirements.

          And IIRC the sequester is in effect for TEN years.

          •  It goes without saying (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dhammer5

            The goal of handling the sequester so as to cause maximum pain is to get the other side to agree to end the sequester.  I don't see any other way to accomplish that.  The administration can and should maximize pain in hte other side's direction, but of course this can't be done surgically -- not that even surgery should be our model in governing a country.

            The states must be abolished.

            by gtomkins on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 11:59:46 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Good catch. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gtomkins, Sychotic1, dhammer5

      Unanimous DEMOCRATS in the Senate.

      Republicans cannot ram anything through Congress.
      They might manage the House, but the Democrats have a lot more than the the 41 votes they need to prevent cloture.

      This is not White Hat Ds vs Black Hat Rs.

      Everybody's been fitted for dark headgear.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:14:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Old news (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dinotrac, dhammer5

        I fitted them all for black hats the day they agreed to the sequester.  That was so profoundly stupid that the difference between it and evil doesn't matter.

        The states must be abolished.

        by gtomkins on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:19:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We disagree on the sequester -- I thought it was (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gtomkins

          a good play by Democrats, but...

          I also thought they might know how to play it, or, at the very least, have some desire to play it.

          So, far, they seem intent on making Republicans look cagey.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 09:03:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I never saw any upside to the sequester (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dhammer5

            For one thing, it gave them a new hostage process, the sequester, in exchange for only a temporary truce on the hostage process they were using, the debt ceiling.  We did indeed have a fresh threat this year to hold the ceiling hostage.

            They didn't follow through on holding the ceiling hostage this time because now they have the sequester, a much safer and more effective process for holding hostages.  The ceiling could have been simply ignored by Treasury, if it came to that, and it would have been as legal as church on Sunday, even without any platinum coin or 14th Amendment footwork.  The sequester is on much sounder legal footing, and much easier political optics for the Rs as well.

            What we're seeing now, the sausage-like cutting up of sequestered spending our side values, while their spending items are rescued, was always obviously how this was going to end.  They didn't want a deficit reduction deal that they would be responsible for.  Instead, they were always going to let the sequester come into effect.  There was never any chance that Ds were going to let any military spending be cut -- everyone who thought about it knew that our side would give in after the sequester came into effect on letting military spending be restored.

            What we are seeing now is that even on the domestic side of the sequester cuts, the stuff our side was supposed to value, the sub-items they value will never be threatened.  Our side will never be so ruthless and vicious as to kcik rural communities, ATC workers and air travelers in the gut for no good reason.  Of course we're going to agree to let any sequester victims possible be rescued.  But the other side won't.  Cancer patients and kids and seniors can go hang for all they care.

            Ths was all completely inexorable and unavoidable once we inked the sequester deal.  If we had had the will to fight the austerity terrorists, we would have fought them over the debt ceiling, far easier ground to defend.  There was never any prospect that the Ds were going to use the sequester to outmaneuver the other side, because the sequester was a retreat to less favorable ground, to ground allowing the other side to delink spending items so that they would hold the veto over any of them being restored, rather than having to kamikaze all govt spending as a whole.

            The ability to delink, to veto spending items on an individual basis, was never going to be anything but a huge advantage for the hostage-takers.  They really couldn't credibly threaten to kill the whole budget, but they sure can, and will, kill Headstart, etc. etc.

            The states must be abolished.

            by gtomkins on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 12:19:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The sequester should have been good for (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gtomkins

              Democrats if they actually meant any of the things they like to say.

              It remains good for the country:

              There is still an opportunity to do good things, but...if not, it shines a little light. Add this to TARP-mania, and Democrats look a lot more like Republicans than they dare to admit.

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 01:12:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Not sure what about the sequester is good... (0+ / 0-)

                ... for the country, no matter how implemented.

                If your meaning is that deficit reduction would be good for the country, I disagree with that idea.  We need stimulus right now, not austerity, more govt spending, not less, at least until we're out of this Lesser Depression.

                But I can't see why even somebody who thinks we need less govt spending, would think that the sequester would be a good way to achieve that end.  The sequester was designed to be a stupid, blind, destructive, senseless way to cut govt spending.  That very stupidity was the essence of the sequester, because the senselessness of the sequester cuts was supposed to terrorize both sides into coming to agreement on a rational plan of spending cuts.

                The states must be abolished.

                by gtomkins on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 03:01:58 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  "Austerity" -- Almost a reflex now (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  gtomkins

                  I wonder if anybody using the word even knows what it means.  My take is that, unlike the millions of Americans who have been thrown out of work and remain unable to find jobs, austerity is used primarily by people who can pay their bills.

                  As to the sequester:
                  No, it's not the way you want to do things, but sometimes you have take the world as it is.

                  The sequester is good because Republicans have been intractible and the sequester hurts Defense more than it hurts domestic programs.

                  That means bargaining chips and lots of potential electoral points to be scored if Democrats actually care to do so.
                  That Democrats refuse to play their hand is shame on them, not shame on the sequester.

                  LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                  by dinotrac on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 03:32:54 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Well... (0+ / 0-)

                    I don't think there was ever any chance that nearly enough Ds to make any difference were ever going to allow defense cuts arising from the sequester.  They said so at the time.  They fell all over themselves apologizing for voting for a plan that even had the appearance of maybe potentially cutting a penny from defense, and assuring everybody that they only voted for the sequester because any cuts to defense were so unthinkable that of course they would never be allowed to happen.  

                    But that was the whole idea of the sequester.  It was supposed to be a consequence so unthinkably horrible that both sides would have to agree to deficit reduction sufficient to keep the sequester from happening.

                    But the Rs knew better.  They refused to agree to any deficit reduction plan, even offers by our side that exceeded their original demands, because they wanted to get to exactly where we are today, where they get to veto spending we value line item by line item, while we get nothing saved that we value, because we're not willing to be ruthless and screw the innocent for the greater good.

                    Ds who aren't willing to vote to keep air travelers hostage in order to protect cancer patients are never going to be willing to keep our troops in the field hostage to protect cancer patients.  There was never the slightest chance of that happening, and it was always in the power of the Rs to create a situation where Ds would have to stand fast on killing military spending in order to protect cancer patients.  And there was never the slightest chance that the Rs would pass up a chance to put themselves in that power seat.

                    Fear of appearing intractible was supposed to deter them?  Are we talking about the same Rs?  They take pride in appearing, hell, being, intractable assholes.  That's a feature, not a bug for those guys and gals, and  for their base.

                    Nor was there ever any chance that our side was going to make their intractibility the highlight of an attempt to go for voters in the middle.  Had we been willing to do that, we would have fought them over the debt ceiling, which was infinitely better ground to defend.  Their side was never going to force the US into default, any more than our side was ever going to let military spending be cut.  Just threatening to cause default could have been used against them, but we decided to let them off the hook with the sequester, which said two things: 1) addressing the deficit is the most important order of business for this country; 2) holding the debt ceiling hostage to force our side to address the deficit was absolutely kosher, to be rewarded with the sequester deal, not decried as radical and intractable.

                    The sequester was our side agreeing to not paint the Rs as intractable, radical, hostage-takers.  The right time to be disappointed in the Ds was back when our side agreed to the sequester, not now and over some imagined failure to handle the tactics of sequester politics well.  The sequester was unconditional surrender, not a military maneuver.

                    The states must be abolished.

                    by gtomkins on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:40:39 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  This funny "our side" stuff... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      gtomkins

                      It's an interesting thing you do:

                      talk about how Democrats are not going to do the things they should do, yet continually refer to them as "our side".

                      I take that to be a natural result of partisanship, and one reason why it's been 30 years since I belonged to a political party.

                      And one more good thing about the sequester:

                      Chips are on the table, and "our side" refuses to play them.

                      Can't help but think of the old labor anthem:

                      Oh workers can you stand it?
                      Oh tell me how you can?
                      Will you be a lousy scab
                      Or will you be a man?

                      Which side are you on?

                      I believe in rays of light, even when it hurts to see what they reveal.  
                      Knowledge is a powerful thing.

                      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                      by dinotrac on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 01:09:11 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Our side (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        dinotrac

                        Our side is the side that prefers not to take sides.  We want to see all sides to every question.  We respect all points of view, and everyone's rights and interests.  That's the only way to have any success at understanding the world.  

                        But such openness is maddening when it comes time for our side to actually do something.  The other side, with its terrible certainty in things that just ain't so, is infinitely worse, precisely because it is so good at uniting behind the horribly misplaced ideals and mistaken ideas it has to settle on because it has to believe in only one thing, allow only one point of view, or it feels hopelessly adrift.

                        Militancy and rigidity and unity don't come naturally for our side.  We tend to only manage to achieve those qualities in a crisis, such as the Great Depression, when these qualities become obviously needful.  And it goes almost without saying that it's the other side getting into power, and putting into effect its stupid and evil ideas, that creates the crisis.

                        Those of us who want to take the side of the right, are just going to have to wait until the wrong people mess things up so badly that the right people start acting like a side in this fight.  Practically speaking, that probably means that this Lesser Depression we're in gets even bigger than the Great Depression before reasonable people start to realize the need to take sides.

                        The states must be abolished.

                        by gtomkins on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 08:35:45 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  The current Depression is closer to the Great (0+ / 0-)

                          Depression than many people realize.

                          It's not as bad, of course.

                          It's impact isn't as bad (so far), thanks in no small measures to some of the New Deal reactions to the Great Depression.

                          But...as badly as I've been hurt by it, along with my family, we've gotten off easily compared to many people I know. Worse, I know an awful lot of people and small businesses that are propped up like dominoes, waiting to be pushed over the edge by the misfortunes of somebody in the family or by clients who can't pay or by vendors who won't grant credit.

                          Wait! Silly me.  I forgot. All those bailouts avoided a nasty depression, so...never mind.

                          Everything is cupcakes and happy music.

                          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                          by dinotrac on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 09:18:16 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

    •  hostages (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gtomkins

      I agree in general, but I don't see how air traffic control cuts represent a hostage on one side or the other. Air travellers are certainly richer than average, but are they more Republican than average? The main hostage that the Republicans care about in the sequester is the defense cuts.  

      •  Well (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tristram

        Romney won both the $50K to $100K income bracket, and the $100K and up bracket.

        It is more likely that those who travel by air a lot voted for Romney.  But the % is not that much greater.  For the $100K and up, it's 54% for Romney, 44% for Obama.

        http://www.cnn.com/...

      •  The jet set (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dhammer5

        Sure, most folks who read dKos are air travelers.  But, no, we're not the D base.  Maybe we're the pepper of the earth, but we ain't the salt of the earth.  The D base are all of those "urban" voters, people who live in apartments, not homes or even condos, and have 2 or 3 jobs.  They don't fly, much, if at all.  They don't buy stuff that gets flown in, either.

        Of course, the administratiion could have done a better job of discriminatiing in favor of folks like dKos air travelers, and against air travelers more likely to vote R.  Rural airports are the obvious target.  The ideal, if they could have gotten away with it, would have been to close every airport serving red districts and red states.  

        And yes, there would have been innocent victims of even that, of the most surgical strike they could have engineered.  But we agreed to go on a war footing by agreeing -- quite foolishly -- to the sequester.  We have to be ready to accept casualties.  Long furloughs for some ATC workers, longer wait times at airports for blue air travelers seems to me a sacrifice we have to make to save cancer patients and the starving people served by Wheels on Meals.  Have some perspective.

        More importantly, realize that this is a long war.  Let them get away with using the sequester to give the R House line-item veto powers, and all sorts of govt spending items our side values are dead.  Heaaddstarrt and Meals on Wheels and cancer programs are just the start.  The sequester will go on, getting worse and worse, for ten years, unless it's stopped.  It doesn't get stopped until and unless we start inflicting casualties in the other side, and thereby get them to the peace table for talks on ending the sequester.

        The states must be abolished.

        by gtomkins on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 12:34:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  A compleely useless hostage (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dhammer5

        Our side was never, in a million years, ever going to let any military spending be chopped as part of the sequester deal.  The idea that our side would have military spending to hold hostage to counter the domestic spending that is tho other side's hostage, was always ludicrous.  You can't credibly threaten something you value as much as the people you're trying to blackmail.

        The states must be abolished.

        by gtomkins on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 12:36:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The majority of the Senate wasn't even in DC (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      indie17

      if I read the stories correctly. This was probably passed with fewer than 10 Senators in the chamber. The Congressional Record hasn't been published for yesterday after being called into session.

      Looks like the FAA bill was passed with only Reid and Shaheen (acting as Presiding Officer) and maybe Collins in the chamber.

      •  Doesn't matter who was in the chamber, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gtomkins

        it was passed by unanimous consent. If anyone was not in favor, they could have showed up, so the vote's effectively 100 to zero. And therefore zero are in favor of ever reversing the irrational and indiscriminate sequester. A pox on both their houses.

        •  Pox ain't bad enough (0+ / 0-)

          I can't think of any particular worse malady I could mention specifically without causing pain to some potential reader who, unlike these guys, doesn't deserve pain -- so I'll just leave it at that.  The pox is too good for the lot of them.

          The states must be abolished.

          by gtomkins on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 12:40:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Congress loves you. (5+ / 0-)

    All 535 members of Congress are just beside themselves with love for their fellow Americans. Each day presents more opportunities for beautiful, thoughtful, caring and generous acts of sacrifice for their fellow Americans. These members of Congress, what selfless people they must be! Always looking out for us! Let's be sure they stay in office forever! Vote Democrat! Vote Republican! Just vote!

  •  The GOP wanted to give Obama blanket authority (0+ / 0-)

    to do exact that, Jed.  He refused.  Harry Reid refused to even consider it.

    but it's wrong to give political priority to certain groups of people just because senators and members of Congress are more likely to know people impacted by flight delays than people suffering from other consequences of the sequester.
    perhaps you forgot about this part back a few months ago?:

    Republicans want to make the sequester better. Why won’t Obama let them?

    Today, Senate Republicans are pushing legislation that would hand Obama a scalpel rather than a meat cleaver. The Toomey-Inhofe alternative would give the president discretion to allocate the sequester’s cut largely as he sees fit. “If the agencies had the discretion, which they ought to have, [the sequester] can be done,” one Republican senator told me. “But I’d hate to be the OMB director because it would be hard work.”
    So.. Apparently, Obama prefers the suffering so that it will somehow magically make the two sides come up with some other solution:
    The irony is that the support for this proposal to transfer power to the White House is coming from Republicans, while its most committed opponents are Democrats — including the White House, which hasn’t asked for, and doesn’t want, this authority. This afternoon, the White House issued a veto threat against Toomey-Inhofe. “This bill is an effort to shift the focus away from the need for the Congress to work toward a bipartisan compromise that would avoid sequestration,” it said.
  •  i have very conflicting emotions on this - on one (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, schnecke21

    hand, i TOTALLY agree with you about the favoritism shown here - on the other, the risk to the public by cutting air traffic controllers scares the bejeebus out of me.

    i really do think that people are at risk - not from fewer screeners, but fewer eyes on who is flying above ground and how those planes are being guided in and out of both the busy and the small airports.

    if you've never seen it, watch pushing tin - it is an excellent film that will give you pause before you fly again.

    one thing i don't want are fewer controllers or tired ones.  the ones impacted by a plane going down aren't just in them - they live where those planes fall.

    all that aside, i loathe congress inaction on this and i think it may seriously be time to make the republicans own this problem!  the wacko-wonderkids that pushed this through - ryan, cantor and boehner and more - ALL need to be labeled with the sequester tag each and every time their names are brought up!  they are trying to pin this on a presidential action, but the reality is that THEY were the ones who proposed it and pushed it through by refusing to do their jobs in the house (and senate).

    republicans need to become synonymous with sequester!  otherwise, the hostage takers win and we, the hostage, die!

    EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

    by edrie on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 07:57:12 AM PDT

  •  You ain't seen nothin'... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass, Teiresias70, kerplunk

    yet.  wait until you see the exemptions on health care that are soon to roll out.

  •  All right, so now we can see clearly (5+ / 0-)

    that both parties care only about those with means, the rest of us should, as Alan Grayson said, just "die quickly."  For those cancer patients and others who have lost what little hold they had on the safety net, these elected grifters we call Senators will get their wish. They meant to do this, they did it and now they can only "fix" it for the wealthy.  Assholes.

    The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion. Molly Ivins

    by MufsMom on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:03:55 AM PDT

  •  Is there a list somewhere of bills introduced by (6+ / 0-)

    Democrats to relieve those cancer patients, seniors losing meals, etc who are affected by the sequester cuts?

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:04:11 AM PDT

    •  You would think they might have attached (5+ / 0-)

      something like that to this bill, wouldn't you?

      •  Somebody is not appreciating the optics here. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        justmy2, Bon Temps, tb mare

        This bill makes clear that the folks and Washington can work things around even with the sequester in place.

        Failing to protect the vulnerable people who have been hit by it -- and, on a nationwide basis, it's a fairly small (as in cheap to remedy) number -- leaves the administration open to charges of using people's misery to push its political agenda.

        That's what they want to hang on Republicans, but failure to be seen as doing all they can to protect the innocent is going to muddy the pitch.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:18:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  They're all the same people. (11+ / 0-)

    The only reason this got more coverage than other aspects of the sequester is because the media is a bunch of frequent air travelers. But since their kids go to private schools instead of Head Start, who gives a shit whats happening to that.

  •  What a bunch of elitist subjective bastards. (7+ / 0-)

    What's it gonna take to open their selfish eyes? That every single one of them live on food stamps for a 3 months? That every single one of them has a LGBT child or relative? That every single one of them knows someone who's been medically bankrupted? That every single one of them like Gabby gets attacked by some nutbag with a gun? Cancer? Kids in a bad school?
    FFS, these people who are our supposed representatives are not of this world. They live in the stratosphere. We need a lobbyist or ten.
    Until something afflicts THEM, they've never heard of it. Shallow and self-centered much, Congress?

    "He went to Harvard, not Hogwarts." ~Wanda Sykes
    No representation without taxation. Rich and don't pay? Shut up.
    Blessinz of teh Ceiling Cat be apwn yu, srsly.

    by OleHippieChick on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:08:33 AM PDT

  •  Our Country's leadership right now (10+ / 0-)

    is a mixture of the wisdom of the Republicans mixed with the courage of the Democrats.

    The sun's not yellow, it's chicken. B. Dylan

    by bgblcklab1 on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:08:33 AM PDT

  •  More proof that there is no problem in congress (6+ / 0-)

    or govt. It is working as they wish.

    When it comes to the agenda of the 1%, it's a cakewalk.

    Everything else appears to be lip service and frilly words and empty promises.

    Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

    by greenbastard on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:09:04 AM PDT

  •  We Take Care of Our Own (0+ / 0-)

    Congress is again displaying their shallowness by taking another Bruce Springsteen song title and ignoring why he wrote it.

    There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited. The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. - Sun Tzu

    by OHeyeO on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:16:09 AM PDT

  •  The "privileged" are not the only flyers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tristram

    I get that people are pissed that the only impact of the sequester that gets any attention is the FAA, and I wish the Democrats would at least use the Republican willingness to cave on this one topic to highlight their refusal to care about regular people, but I am also getting a little fed up with the "only the elite care about flight delays" meme.

    I happen to work for a non-profit, and my work involves helping to implement some aspects the Affordable Care Act. I know that I am certainly lucky to have a good-paying job with good benefits, and to live in a city with good public transport so gas prices don't impact me much, but I am hardly of the 1% and I fly all the time. I am on the road at least every other week travelling to provide training programs, almost always to providers who specialize in helping the underserved and uninsured populations.

    For those of us whose jobs require significant travel, these delays are a nightmare that only adds to the stress of business travel, which is not glamorous by any measures. It is a succession of cookie-cutter hotel rooms, chain restaurant meals and the stellar customer service from the airline industry we've all come to love.

    The vast majority of fellow road warriors I've met are not of the elite either; they are regular people who are giving up a heck of lot of their personal lives to dedicate themselves to their jobs.

    I agree that the FAA delays should not be the focus of discussion when the stupidity of the sequester becomes clearer all the time, but I feel like it's a bit too easy to dismiss the people most affected by these delays.

    A government that denies gay men the right to bridal registry is a facist state - Margaret Cho

    by CPT Doom on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:16:41 AM PDT

  •  Good post, Jed. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citizenx, indie17

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:20:31 AM PDT

  •  F##k kids and cancer patients, we are Congress. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citizenx

    We have important things to attend to. Like the private jet that had to wait nearly a half hour to take off. Those jets aren't cheap, you know.

    We have only just begun and none too soon.

    by global citizen on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:22:01 AM PDT

  •  If President Obama had the huevos (0+ / 0-)

    he would veto this clap trap and tell these crooks and liars to come to the table to end it all and be done with it.  It is a fraud always was and always will be, why not admit it and kill it?

  •  For people they know? (0+ / 0-)

    Do these guys think that no one is paying attention? Are they that stupid?

    No one can earn a million dollars honestly. - William Jennings Bryan

    by Buddie on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:34:09 AM PDT

  •  "Bail Outs" For The Elite Who Can't Handle The (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1

    supposed across the board "Shared Sacrifice" of the dreaded sequester.

    "I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.” - Arnold Schwarzenegger 2003

    by kerplunk on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:42:03 AM PDT

  •  What a pathetic spectacle. (0+ / 0-)

    Passed in the Senate with no objections.   The Save Our Asses With The Owners Act Of 2013, is more like it.  

    It would be nice if we had a Democratic party that would stand up to this BULLSHIT.  

    But hey fuck it.   People in "fly-over" country can fucking starve, because we don't have the will to keep manufacturing jobs here, or even give assistance after the jobs are gone.  

    What is really important is that celebrities and other assorted rich fucks get to keep jet-setting between coasts, while they pretend that everything is just fucking fine.

    The tent got so big it now stands for nothing.

    by Beelzebud on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 08:44:37 AM PDT

  •  The sequester charade? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1

    Oh....you mean the sequester that Obama negotiated with Republicans and signed into law. The real charade is how many Democrats who praised it at the time conveniently overlook that aspect now that it's time for blame.

    Obama seems to have forgotten all about the sequester too. Could it be because it's what he really wanted all along?

    The modern Democrat is one who promotes old GOP ideas and calls them progressive in comparison to new GOP ideas.

    by masswaster on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 09:11:05 AM PDT

  •  congress is only (0+ / 0-)

    on the side of the people at election time, otherwise they all are 1% at heart and vote that way also.

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