Streams

Monday Morning Politics: Sequester Week

Monday, February 25, 2013

The automatic spending cuts known as the sequester kick in at the end of this week -- and the chances of a deal to avert them seem slim. Steven Dennis, White House correspondent for Roll Call, discusses the last-minute bargaining, the effects of the cuts, and the emerging blame-game in Washington.

Guests:

Steven Dennis

Comments [22]

Noach (Independent, Anti-Corporate Traditionalist) from Brooklyn

Bob from Brooklyn wrote,
"The country is too big and too diverse to be properly managed from Washington."

This is certainly a major problem with a country as large, spread-out and diverse as ours.

At the same time, however, the challenges and problems that arise when laws differ from state to state can be no less vexing/intractable, etc. (And, if anything, I would think that these would be even greater today, where technology has made state lines almost an anachronism in many cases.)

Doesn't this conflict, between federalism and anti-federalism, date all the way back to Jefferson and Hamilton?

"Reducing the size of the military would be terrific because we would be in fewer conflicts and stop exporting our own injustice to other areas of the world."

I oppose these endless wars of empire that seem to only benefit the ruling elite and have nothing to do with national security.

But I don't know if what you suggest would work the way you suggest it would, and making _arbitrary_ cuts in _anything_, even -- or _especially_* -- our military, doesn't seem at all rational or prudent to me.

(*I'm not sure which)

Feb. 25 2013 01:26 PM
Noach (Independent, Anti-Corporate Traditionalist) from Brooklyn

@RUCB_Alum, 10:34 a.m.:

Clinton and his admin are far from blameless.

See Robert Scheer, "The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street" (Nation Books, 2010)

(BTW, 20 seconds of Robert Scheer speaking to truth-to-power on "Left, Right and Center" is often worth more than hours of other WNYC,NPR, etc. programming. I love the way Scheer stands-up to the "centrist" Matt Miller, who, at best, displays naivety and ignorance, and at worst, lubriciousness...)
.........

@Bob from Brooklyn, 10:38 a.m.:

"I use to be a Republican and I voted for Bush (only once!) and I'm former military. I regret both decisions."

Were you drafted?

Because, if not, then you listed /three/ decisions: Joining the Republican Party (1) voting for Bush (2) (G.W., I assume) and enlisting in the military (3).

"My personal strategy is to pay as little taxes as possible (I don't make purchase beyond the basics & work for cash when possible),"

So you're admitting to tax evasion?

The problem is that whatever excesses and evils tax revenue may fund (and it no doubt funds a great deal), taxes also fund virtually countless services, programs, and institutions that are no less than critical and essential. If you think you don't benefit and even depend upon any of these, then you are only fooling yourself.

"I no longer vote, I don't support any political party or candidates (I believe they are all corrupt),"

The problem with not voting at all is that there is no way for those keeping the records to know whether you abstained from voting on principle or out of mere laziness, apathy or ignorance.

The way to register a protest is to vote for third-party candidates and/or do write-ins. That's what I do. (I'm also registered as an Independent, on principle, despite this making me inelgible to vote in primaries-- which often are the _de-facto_ main election here in New York.)

"the only way I see a fix to the capitalist ripoff and the injustice is to boycott. To stop participating."

1.) Shouldn't "capitalist" be in quotation marks? Or are you against even the capitalism of Adam Smith? (many of whose statements would be denounced as "socialist" by the bandits in power today who claim his legacy, including, I must point-out, Mitt Romney.)

2.) How can one survive without actively participating in the fundamentally corrupt financial system that we have? If only it were possible...

"I truly believe this whole country is mentally ill and greedy."

1.) The _whole country_?

2.) Mentally ill would be to evade responsibility, accountability.

"But I also realize there is no hope for the future. So I'm just here to watch the train wreck."

As a certain legendary, (in)famous figure in the world of talk-radio has been known to say,

"When I say it's over, I mean, _IT'S OVER_!!!"

Feb. 25 2013 12:59 PM
Noach (Independent, Anti-Corporate Traditionalist) from Brooklyn

Bob from Brooklyn wrote,
"I like Brian Lehrer and I think he's a very responsible journalist."

The example I cited with David Brooks is just one of countless similar incidents I have heard where B. Lehrer allowed outrageous statements to go completely unchallenged. Any and all number of establishment apologists and propagandists are effectively handed a platform to perform their villainy.

"We the People no longer believe in the myths and lies coming from Washington, Wall Street and Hollywood."

Unfortunately, enough people, to enough of an extent, still _do_ believe in the very myths and lies that keep the ruling corporate-financial-military sector in power.

The educational system and media both seem quite effective in keeping the masses ignorant and diverted. (And, I'm sorry to say, WNYC plays no minor role in this.)

"Stop supporting everyone in power, everywhere, right down to the crap middle managers in and out of government."

I certainly agree that as long as people continue to support what one considers to be the "lesser evil", both parties (more like both _wings_ of the ONE party of the aforementioned ruling sector that we effectively have)

Worse, as people like Glenn Greenwald made a compelling case around/after November's election, the lesser evil may not be what people think it is.

"The gig is up."

I see no sign of that. Not anytime soon, at least.

Feb. 25 2013 11:55 AM
Noach (Independent, Anti-Corporate Traditionalist) from Brooklyn

Followup/addendum to my previous post:

1.) I meant to write,

"...individuals who support, defend AND PROMOTE what can only be described as..."

2.) I meant to include the following URL with my final paragraph:

http://no-violence.info/

"If you oppose militarism, the death penalty, and call for greater public attention to the plight of the poor, read on: you will be challenged to apply your principles consistently. If you are at home in the politi[c*]al Right, read on: you will see that the idea that human life should be protected in all its stages is one that transcends politics, and demands a response beyond legal protection."

*Unfortunately, it seems that this site is no longer maintained. I had emailed to correct this obvious spelling error but received no response.
______________________________

Even if registered and logged-in, the primitive, unwieldy software in use on these comment pages does not allow one to to edit or remove one's posts!

Feb. 25 2013 11:29 AM

@Noach, Other than the use of the word "killing" and "delight"(hyperbole for effect in my opinion),I think Nick can substantiate everything he posted.

...But that's just my two cents. I still respect your opinion :-)

Feb. 25 2013 11:25 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

@RUCB The country is too big and too diverse to be properly managed from Washington. Reducing the size of the military would be terrific because we would be in fewer conflicts and stop exporting our own injustice to other areas of the world.

Feb. 25 2013 11:19 AM
Noach (Independent, Anti-Corporate Traditionalist) from Brooklyn

@ Nick from UWS, 10:19 AM:

I oppose abortion and find the use of the term of "pro-life" by individuals who support, defend what can only be described as rank, vicious predation in the economic as well as military realm, to be rather Orwellian.

Nonetheless, I find comments such as yours gratuitously and unhelpfully inflammatory. They generate far more heat than light (Much like dreadfully overused Nazi comparisons; "Godwin's Law").

I also suspect that were a similarly off-topic and provocative mention of abortion to be made /from the _other_ side/-- i.e., from an _opponent_ of abortion-- that you would not take kindly to it.

I will take the opportunity to point-out that contrary to media-perpetuated stereotypes and the (unfortunate) way the political landscape is aligned in this country, not at all opponents of abortion are right-wing or religious and plenty are anti-war and even anti-capital punishment. (For the record, I support capital punishment on _principle_ but am inclined to support a moratorium unless and until the serious flaws in _implementation_ can be corrected.)

Feb. 25 2013 11:18 AM
Joe from nearby

@ Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan-

Obama isn't destroying the GOP- they're doing it themselves quite nicely. Just look at their November wipe out.

Feb. 25 2013 11:11 AM

@Bob from Brooklyn

"Can't we all just put a fork in this fake, phoney, corrupt nation and start over? I think we should break up the union, make into regions and cut the defense budget by 50%"

That makes no logical sense....why would the cost of defense for many smaller regions be less than a single large nation. We overspend on defense because we are paying to maintain defense postures and weapons systems that are no longer relevant.

Feb. 25 2013 11:06 AM

Bob, I respect your candor, even if our political ideologies are incongruous.

Feb. 25 2013 10:47 AM
Noach (Independent, Anti-Corporate Traditionalist) from Brooklyn

JoeCorraro wrote:
"We need to cut government size."

Please be specific: Which agencies and programs would you like to see cut?

The EPA?

Do you think that would _reduce_ cancer rates, etc.? _Slow_ the oncoming catastrophe of global warming? etc., etc.

The USDA and/or FDA?

Do you think cutting those would result in _fewer_ E. Coli and Salmonella outbreaks?

Maybe the CDC?

Would that _help_ epidemics such as the ones we've seen of flu, Pertussis, etc.?

Maybe you'd like to cut Medicare?

Even if it means _you_ or your loved ones would suffer?

Homeland security?

Would you like to see even _fewer_ of the cargo ships that enter our ports be inspected?

These are the types of questions that Brian Lehrer, incredibly, declined to ask the lubricious David Brooks when he said he'd "adopt the deregulation program of the Republicans" (First show of 2013).

Feb. 25 2013 10:41 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

First off, let me say, I use to be a Republican and I voted for Bush (only once!) and I'm former military. I regret both decisions.

My personal strategy is to pay as little taxes as possible (I don't make purchase beyond the basics & work for cash when possible), I no longer vote, I don't support any political party or candidates (I believe they are all corrupt), I threw out the television to cut down the propaganda entering my home. I do support the ACLU, but that's about it.

Otherwise, I don't support this government at all and the only way I see a fix to the capitalist ripoff and the injustice is to boycott. To stop participating. I truly believe this whole country is mentally ill and greedy. Not much different from the past, I realize. But I also realize there is no hope for the future. So I'm just here to watch the train wreck.

Feb. 25 2013 10:38 AM

During the Aughts (aka the Bush Administration), Congress and the President added $5T to the national debt when Clinton/Gore had left the budget on track to be $0 in ten years. A general inflation that normally would have signalled that it was time to END the OVERSPENDING was basically isoltated to our housing market...and we all know what happened when that bubble finally popped.

Cutting the federal budget at a time when the economy is still in recovery is wreckless and there is one thing I know for certain, NO ONE can predict exactly what impact these cuts will have on the country's future state. We can only make educated guesses. And some of us make guesses that aren't even all that educated.

Feb. 25 2013 10:34 AM

@Nick. I agree...I call it very very very very late term abortion.

Feb. 25 2013 10:28 AM

Bob, Anarchy aside, could you elaborate on your strategy for this current state of affairs?

Feb. 25 2013 10:24 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

I like Brian Lehrer and I think he's a very responsible journalist. But he should know We the People no longer believe in the myths and lies coming from Washington, Wall Street and Hollywood. Quite frankly, the only fitting outcome for those in power is utter self-destruction. Stop supporting everyone in power, everywhere, right down to the crap middle managers in and out of government. The gig is up.

Feb. 25 2013 10:22 AM
Nick from UWS

The conservative right is not interested in killing children before they are born, with abortion. They're only interested in killing children after they're born, with cuts in education, health care, food programs, adoption services, housing programs, runaway gun crime.... There are so many more ways of destroying poor people after they are born, to their delight.

Feb. 25 2013 10:19 AM
sp from nyc

President, House, Senate are all pushing a cynical agenda, trying to frighten the populace (whom they should be protecting)by announcing cuts that would have the most idiotic effects. I am sick to death of them all.

Feb. 25 2013 10:18 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

Can't we all just put a fork in this fake, phoney, corrupt nation and start over? I think we should break up the union, make into regions and cut the defense budget by 50%.

Feb. 25 2013 10:16 AM

http://www.unitedliberty.org/articles/12754-rand-paul-on-the-sequester-there-are-no-real-spending-cuts-happening

no real cuts...cuts in proposed increases. We need to cut government size.

Feb. 25 2013 10:16 AM
JT from NJ

And as La Rochefoucauld said - as it is the mark of great minds to convey much in few words, so small minds are skilled at talking at length and saying little.

Feb. 25 2013 09:48 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Brian - Obama’s strategy this week (and the last one and the week before) is to demonize and destroy his opposition and anyone who stands in the way of his complete control of the discussion. He leaks proposed bills, not negotiates them.
Do even his followers want this obliteration of any opposition as the new normal?

As Montesquieu said – the absence of any countervailing power is itself the very definition of tyranny.

Feb. 25 2013 07:54 AM

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