The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

The Sequester is a Good Thing

… because it’s about time people understood what government does.  This was agreed to by both parties, there are other options Obama could use to get out of it, he has chosen not to.

This is bipartisan, and Americans need to understand that.


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  1. Pathman

    Austerity, American style. It should be interesting to watch. You know, in a horrible car crash kind of way.

  2. John Puma

    What the US “government does” is spend about half of every tax dollar on perpetual war.

  3. “This is bipartisan, and Americans need to understand that.”

    Unfortunately, they won’t. You’ll have the Republicans blaming the Democrats and vice versa. As always. Two peas in a pod and neither of them can see it.

  4. 4

    I wouldn’t say that they can’t see it. Pointing it out resulted in my IP getting blocked at Hullabaloo dozens of times. Suggesting that a permanent power duopoly isn’t the inevitable consequence of a plurality-win system resulted in an instant ban at Mahablog. A lot of people seem intent on maintaining Kayfabe at any cost. I strongly suspect Hullabaloo has dropped its comment section largely due to the difficulty of doing so under the present circumstances.

  5. @4: if you haven’t been banned at Hullabaloo you should be ashamed of yourself, and if you haven’t been banned at Mahablog you should crawl in a hole somewhere and give up since you have no functioning brain. Anyone who thinks for themselves is highly unwelcome at either place, especially so at the latter.

  6. Ian Welsh

    Didn’t realize Digby got rid of her commenting section.

  7. 1. For once, I am actually mostly in agreement with you on the direct political mechanics of this. The American system of government shields the public from the immediate consequences of their political choices. The sequester is a rare opportunity to point out that given significant power to anti-public-sector/anti-tax/anti-deficit/etc dogmatics has a tangible price.

    2. I’m *quite* sure I agree with the commenter above that a plurality system does *not* in itself guarantee a duopoly. What *does* tend to duopolies is the fusion of the head-of-government role with the head-of-state role *in combination* with a system like the Electoral College, all largely design by people who were suspicious of strong political disagreement.

  8. To (1) I will add that *of course* I include both parties as participants in the anti-public-services ideology, although how that *happened* and what to do about it is another story.

  9. Hamfast Ruddyneck

    @ 4 & Bill H: I wasn’t able to comment on the Hullabazoo for some time before the comments disappeared. (I called myself “Monster from the Id” at the time.) I e-mailed Digby about it, and she said she didn’t know why my comments weren’t being posted. I think she’s a lying sack of crap. She and Spoony claimed that some software glitch made the comments disappeared. I call bullshit; if she really wanted comments, she could have found another blog hosting system.

    It is damn depressing how quickly the “principled” progressives fell in line behind the Obamessiah.
    Before 2008, I thought we were the “cats”, who couldn’t be herded like those silly reactionaries. It turned out that the Malefactors Of Great Wealth simply hadn’t thought we were worth spending the money on, for a full state-of-the-art propaganda blitzkrieg, before 2008.

  10. wowza

    @4 Kayfabe is a great term for all this horseshit that’s going on. If Digby banned comments, that’s just utterly cowardly and disgusting. Anyone who permabans or censors comments that contradicts a blogger’s viewpoint is a scumbag coward.

  11. wowza

    Black Jesus supporters simply cannot put forth a cogent argument without either lying, obfuscating, using ad hominems, or ignoring reality altogether. I always wondered how leftists became dictators, and it all makes sense to me now. It also puts into perspective the experience that my dad had with SDS when they kicked him out for having short hair and disliking the music of that time.

  12. Chaz

    As a guest to your country and thus a new and innocent naive entrant into the murky world of America politics, I would have really appreciated the author spelling out exactly what “Obama could use to get out of it” (after the fact)…

  13. @ Chaz “Remember that Sequestration was Obama’s Idea” by Glen Ford.

    This was the plan or scheme as Ford calls it to get a crack at cutting SS and Medicare benefits. Ford points out what he could have and still can do to protect those programs, but it won’t happen.

  14. Ian Welsh

    Almost every blogger moderates comments, I do sometimes. But the prog-blogosphere ain’t what it used to be either, the Obama wars ripped it apart.

  15. I might be a good think in a better country than this one. But even if people do start to realize that government employees actually do things that need to be done, I still don’t see how any good comes of this. This whole farce of a hostage situation is Obama’s making so that he can get a grand bargain. At best this will be resolved with some government spending cuts which contribute to the deficit, plus unrelated cuts to social security and the rest of the safety net. The Dems will pass it with just enough support from the R’s, and we will be expected to be grateful we didn’t get even more austerity out of the deal. Then the D’s will get trounced again in 2014, just like in 2010, and the R’s will thank them for doing their dirty work for them, and then fuck then we’ll repeat the whole cycle again in 2016. Just as in Yerp, we’ll get to choose whatever color austerity you want, but there will be no small “d” democratic alternative to austerity, until democracy, or the illusion of it, is also gone.

  16. Z

    I don’t want to get into another huge argument about bill clinton … the evidence is out there as to the very significant damage his presidency did to the country and the democratic party … the carnage is all around you, though he certainly is not the only one responsible for it – bush and obama have been even worse … and you have to be in full demozombie denial not to see it.

    But anyway, I just want to point out in regards to demo-zombie dumbass digby … a fervent supporter of everything clinton despite his wall street deregulation, nafta, his significant contribution to our wonderful burgeoning police state, the concentration of our stellar media, welfare “reform”, etc., etc., etc. … the same bill clinton who tried to cut ss himself but was halted by the Lewinsky situation and his need for support from the fools who will reflexively and voraciously support a democrat over a republican no matter what the circumstances … the same bill clinton that is still adored by demozombie idiots such as digby … the same bill clinton that tellingly walked off into the golden sunset after his 8 years of dutifully serving corporate amerika and our other rulers’ demands and found 100s of millions of dollars awaiting him … well that digby has now FINALLY come to the conclusion that obama actually WANTS to use the sequester as cover to cut ss.

    digby the dumicifient herself:

    Now, I knew before yesterday that the president has often said he wanted to “fix” the “entitlements.” And he has offered up cuts to Social Security and Medicare numerous times over the past couple of years in various negotiations. But I would have thought that he’d nonetheless be open to not cutting them when he had the chance to put an end to this constant budget brinksmanship, if only for the good of the country.

    WOW! And now her question is: why?

    I wish I could understand why it is so important to Barack Obama to cut these vital programs before he leaves office. It seems to be his obsession. But there you have it. It’s not just in the DNA of the sequester, it seems to be in the DNA of this White House.

    HA HA HA. You can’t invent these fools … they would be too unbelievable. Her shutting down her comments is because she’s tired of sticking her fingers in her ears and singing LA LA LA … her voice is hoarse, her fingers are caked with earwax. She’s been doing it for decades.


  17. LC

    @4 I’m just throwing my support in for actually using “kayfabe” to describe the situation.

  18. Aquifer

    Not participating in political blogs much before the ’08 season, i cannot give an opinion on what it was like, but having participated in politics to varying degrees over the past quarter century, I would like to suggest that “the left” itself, whatever that means, has been splintered since long before Obama – splintered by the silo mentality of identity politics, whether those were people or issue oriented – politics which have been successfully exploited by TPTB in charge of the DLC, itself in charge of the Dem Party.

    And the enervating effect of that splintering has been often enhanced by what seems to be a real disdain on the part of many of these groups for real electoral politics as being something done as an afterthought, or as targets for petitions and demonstrations – something to avoid, instead of something to actively seize and run with – something not seen as a valuable, let alone necessary, adjunct in achieving their goals (Occupy being the latest, and perhaps most “out” example of this tendency) – a rather “dirty” business that, at best isn’t worth more than a couple of minutes of their time (as a progressive guru, Zinn, once suggested) or as generally beneath the lofty aspirations of peace, or saving the planet, or gender equality and, at worst, a downright enemy of same …

    Methinks Obama has cast these issues in high relief – the irony being the use of a member of one of those core identity groups of Dem politics by TPTB to stick a knife in the back of the only “force” – any real concept of a left – that, if unified, could dismantle them. But this was only possible because that “left” was really saw the importance of unity in the first place, never had a unified vision of what the world could look like outside of their own “special interests” …

    And, as if to mock MLK, Obama’s rise, given that his total unsuitability for a position for “unifier”, which mantle he claimed, was clear from long before we pulled those levers even for the first time, let alone the second – proved, to me, at least, that we are as far as we ever have been from judging a man on the quality of his character, rather than the color of his skin ..

  19. Strangefate

    Hey, Monster from the Id, I remember you on digby. Surprised you got banned actually. You used to hector some of her more obstreperous critics if I remember right. I think what happened at Hullabaloo is the comment system she used closed down and she simply chose not to get a new one. (Roy Edrosa used the same one, but simply found another to replace it ASAP). I suspect she found it a relief given how often she’d taken to complaining about the mean mean comments — this, ironically, the same person who made fun of Republicans for ‘taking to the fainting couch’ because of the mean things leftists say. You gotta toughen up and learn to take it when in politics. Unless, of course, it’s directed at you, I guess. That’s different! Plus she started getting slightly more mainstream gigs so I suspect the far left radicals inhabiting her comment board had become a source of profound embarassment. Like most bloggers, digby probably just wanted a writing career, I suspect.

    And, really, it’s no great loss. Hullabaloo gave away the game when dday was replaced by that party hack spoonfed, who’s shameless enough to post the sort of raw propaganda that digby is too embarrassed to write herself. At the end of the day, it’s an apologist site of the Democratic Party. It might criticize its behavior ten months out of the year — usually with a naivete tone of shocked dismay (How can they not realize they’re selling us down to the river to rightwing oligarchs? They sure are dumb/cowardly/etc. More and better Dems!!!) — but it spends the other two running flak for them during election season. Hardly a model of progressivism. Like far too many so-called progressive sites, it’s raison d’etre faded when the Republicans lost the presidency. A lot of readers naively assumed there was some kind drive for a stronger independent left behind those sites, when in reality, they were mainly concerned with snarking on Republicans and responding to their policies with melodramatic outage. An outrage suddenly tempered by new found “prudence” and “realism” now that Democrats are the ones implementing or expanding them.

  20. Z

    digby is an excellent writer, I’ll give her that.


  21. ZOMG! it’s all Digby’s fault! I said lots of crap on her comments section that I’m sure she didn’t like, and I never got banned. I didn’t even know it was possible (and I still suspect it wasn’t). And how did you get banned more than once? Did she give you big babies time-outs and let you go back to the playground after 20 minutes? Sounds like BS to me. Grow up and get a life. The whining that goes on here about Digby and other stupid topics is what make me hesitate before even clicking the comments link.

  22. Eureka Springs

    I think the sequester is better than any alternative I’ve heard about. At least for now Defense is the top money loser. I’ll drink to that.

    Neither the left or the so-called left has a manifest, a plan, a vision, a platform… whatever you want to call it. Therefore too many are simply playing arm chair quarterback betwixt two corporate war mongering neoliberal lawless parties. There is seemingly not one issue 20 percent of the left will stand for, unapologetically… much less a platform.

    Although… Last time I checked the Green party platform ain’t all that bad.

    Mandos asked:
    ” I will add that *of course* I include both parties as participants in the anti-public-services ideology, although how that *happened*”

    I found this post highlighted one crucial point in history…

    Ominous Parallels: What Antebellum America Can Teach Us About Our Modern Political Regime

  23. Hamfast Ruddyneck

    Howdy, Strangefate. ^_^

    Yeah, I foolishly thought several of the sites where I used to hang out were genuine liberal sites. The Hullabazoo turned out to be what my friend R U Reddy over on The Confluence (Riverdaughter’s blog, at riverdaughter-dot-wordpress-dot-com) calls a “Democratic Veal Pen”. BTW, Riverdaughter is an exile from the Daily Kult of Mucus Moulitsas. (The Daily Kult is perhaps the ultimate Democratic Veal Pen. I thank Haruhi I never tried to settle in over there.)

    @Bill H: thanks for the warning. I don’t think I’ve ever visited Mahablog, but I’ll avoid it.

  24. (The Daily Kult is perhaps the ultimate Democratic Veal Pen. I thank Haruhi I never tried to settle in over there.)

    Except that, you know, it’s a pretty big “veal pen.”

  25. Hamfast Ruddyneck

    ^Who knew the Valar were so literal-minded? -_^

  26. If you’ve read any Tolkien at all or are familiar with any Teutonic myths and folk tales, you’d know that supernatural powers are always extremely literal-minded and legalistic. For instance, Eowyn’s killing of the Nazgûl king in RotK. “But no living man am I!” she said, and slew him whom no living man could kill.

    But anyway.

    The point, in case it wasn’t clear, is that I don’t think that contempt for the Kosian masses is productive. Disliking Kos is one thing, thinking of his site members as “veal calves” is another. He is offering them something you aren’t. I say this as someone who stopped participating at dKos in, I think, the early “aughts”. Well, a long time ago now, eons in Internet terms.

  27. Hamfast Ruddyneck

    ^Thanks for clarifying your point, Mandos, but now that it is clear, I will cheerfully ignore it.

    Speaking of Tolkien, if anyone wants to hear the view from the other side of the wars of Middle-Earth:

  28. 4

    I know I shouldn’t feed the troll, but for the record–

    And how did you get banned more than once?

    By switching IPs.

  29. jawbone

    For anyone else who didn’t know what “kayfabe” means, <a href=" from Wiki:

    In professional wrestling, kayfabe (pronounced /ˈkeɪfeɪb/) is the portrayal of staged events within the industry as “real” or “true,” specifically the portrayal of competition and rivalries between participants as being genuine or not of a worked nature. Referring to events or interviews as being a “work” means that the event/interview has been “kayfabed” or staged, or is part of a wrestling angle while being passed off as legitimate. Kayfabe has also evolved to become a code word of sorts for maintaining this “reality” within the realm of the general public.[1]

  30. jawbone

    BTW, one of the things I will never forgive Obama for is making me hope the Tea Partiers stand strong against him.

    It’s a hell of a situation when the only thing between the beginning of the end of the great social safety nets and keeping SocSec and Medicare intact are those intransigent TPers.

    When they figure out they can use Obama to go after SS/Medicare (which Repubs have been against since before both programs were even enacted) we’re toast.

    Now, maybe, just maybe, they’ve figured out their base exists on SS/Medicare or hope of making it to 62 for SS and 65 for Medicare….

  31. IMO, “kayfabe” is a dodge from the web-weariness of the overly-used term “kabuki.”

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