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View Diary: Walter Cronkite's Letter to the NYT: An Idea for Dems (281 comments)

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  •  Excellent suggestion (4.00)
    Plan carefully.  Involve Cronkite, too.  Money well spent.  Develop a clear truly democratic agenda.  Show that their is a clear alternative to corruption and destruction of our country.

    Step up to the plate.

    •  Let's hope (4.00)
      that Cronkite gets a call from Howard Dean!

      "I'm not interested in that same liberal claptrap. That meow, meow, meow, ironic detachment." -- Stephen Colbert

      by SneakySnu on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 05:36:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Gets my vote, too (4.00)
        I'm going to send this to DNC and ask for Gov. Dean to seriously consider this.

        There is a massive power vacuum in Washington (hear that giant sucking sound?)...we need to get it filled immediately.

        •  i pledge $100 to the dnc (4.00)
          If this goes forward
          •  me too (4.00)
            and my poverty sticken single mom butt has never given to the dnc
            •  I'm not even a democrat... (4.00)
              and I will give money to the DNC if they would attempt something like this.

              They could even present the plan shortly after the convention to keep themselves in the media spotlight for a good while.

              Cronkite's suggestion is brilliant!

              •  Is the DNC separate from the DLC? (4.00)
                If so, this sort of convention might make sense, but why limit it to 2004 conventioneers?  These were the bozos who lost to the Worst President Ever, and tiptoed around the Iraq quagmire so much that they never spoke clearly against one of Bush's worse actions, invading Iraq.

                Forget the 2004 DINOs, have a convention of the Democratic wing of the Democratic party, don't invite DINO Joe Lieberman, or anyone else who has kissed or sucked up to Bush and his fellow Bushite scum.

                Can the Dems be a real opposition party?

                I doubt it, Lieberman isn't even being primaried.

                •  Well said... (none)
                  How about Boxer as the host?
                  •  love boxer, (4.00)
                    but not here.  how about trippi or the google guys or ron reagan, jr?  someone who can interface with the blogs simultaneously?
                    •  Reagan Jr... (none)
                      is a good choice for his views, but he isn't a Democrat.  I'm fairly certain hes a registered independent like myself.
                      •  give him an idea like this (none)
                        and he'd be one.  open process, open democracy, open door policy --is just too tantalizing.  hey,that reminds me of my husband's senior class motto from 1970:  "open minds, open doors."
                      •  not all independents are created equal (none)
               i'm sayin is, that shouldn't in itself be a disqualifier from participation.  considering the pandering the democratic party has done to the right, alienating their base, it would stand to reason they've created a lot of independents therefore needing to do a bit of outreach to those individuals whose ideals we share.
                  •  Cronkite as moderator..... (4.00)

                    Walter Cronkite is inspired.   His presence in the American psyche was born from dedicating his life to journalistic integrity.  I would think he has been experiencing some gestation of this idea for some time.  He should be encouraged to participate in the construction of the format.

                    I would suggest it be structured as a public exercise in the formulation of a new American mission statement.  Not .. 'mission' .. in the sense of being a people blessed by God to bring light to the darkness ... but rather .. 'mission' in the sense of exploring within our selves and collective imagination what it is we can do to grow a healthy civilization and protect this sacred planet.

                    The dedication of a cable channel to the experiment ... with a different topic addressed each night in a symposium like atmosphere with an audience and live participation encouraged through telephone and internet.  Similar to C span.  

                    It is time to hear from other cultural, educational , spiritual leaders to share their thoughts on the future of our country.  Inove the best minds of our times.  Transcend political borderlines.

                •  If you don't know (none)
                  the difference between the DLC and the DNC, you've got some spadework to do. Suggest Wikipedia.

                  "It's the Supreme Court, Stupid!"

                  by Kestrel on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 07:56:33 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I suspect (4.00)
                    that the poster does know the difference but was facetiously suggesting that the DLC agenda is dominating the party's policies, ergo there is no difference. I personally do not agree, I think that with opposition to the war and to Bush's policies growing, the DLC is becoming more marginalized from the Dem mainstream.

                    What we always have to keep in mind is that it's the greatest total number of votes that's win (not counting the 2000 pres election!)so we need the DLC, peaceniks, greenies, farmers, cityfolk, workers and intellectual effete liberals to unite around a core set of shared values and vision to offer as an alternative to what the Repugs have given us.

                    •  Separate the DNC from the DLC (4.00)
                      You are correct, I hang out here way too much to not know about the DLC, but I think the big-money influence of the DLC has led to defeats in just about all of the recent elections.  The past DNC head was congratulating his crew on "all the money they raised" in 2004, while the Dems suffered a humiliating defeat to the Worst President Ever.

                      Howard Dean is a breath of fresh air at the DNC, the more he can distance them from the DINOs at the DLC, the better in my opinion.

                      DINO dems like Joe Lieberman have hurt the party badly, the "war-monger wing" of the Dems has prevented a clear message on Bush's Iraq disaster.

                •  the bozos (4.00)
                  I agree that Joe Lieberman is one of the bozos.

                  But I think the way to marginalize his off the wall, crazy policy positions is not to shut him out.
                  I like Walter Cronkite's idea to somehow have input from citizens around the country as to policy goals.
                  But in order that this doesn't then deteriorate into something that is not rigorous but actually creates some "can do" goals, we need to have  people who have good critical thinking to:

                  1. summarize the goals that have been expressed.
                  2. and most importantly articulate how to achieve those goals.
                  IMHO there are very few people with the critical thinking necessary to define where we are, point "A" and HOW TO GET FROM POINT "A" TO POINT "B".  
                  People who I think have this critical thinking and should do this job at the convention include:
                  Wes Clark
                  Russ Feingold
                  Barack Obama
                  In order for this convention not to deteriorate into a mush but instead become a "can do" policy format that appeals to voters as responding to our needs and goals, we need these problem solvers.
                  If you go back to November 2000 and consider how the Democratic leadership failed in Florida one can see why critical thinking is so important.
                  It was IMHO foolish for Gore/Lieberman to call for a partial looked partisan because they called for a partial recount that included only some Democratic-leaning districts. They should have known that the only tenable position they could have taken was a state-wide recount and let the chips fall where they may. They would then have owned the high ground position, even if they then lost or failed even to get the statewide recount. Instead they failed to get any recount and gave ammunition to the other side who complained about their partisan strategy. (What a mess that election was.)  
                •  Because we need EVERYONE on the same page (4.00)
                  A split Democratic party does us no good in '06 and '08
          •  Send a message to the DNC (4.00)
            Use this link, copy-n-past the Cronkite letter above, tell them exactly what you just said, that you'll commit monies if they follow through.


            I just sent it, also posted it in the open thread blog at, asked for consideration.  (If you want to post there, you'll need to register if you don't already have an account or get the email newsletters from DNC.)

            •  Just Did! here's THE PLANK (4.00)
              The DNC is going to be deluged for support and more importantly, promises of more money.   This can be a phenominal boon for rookie congressional candidates to get airtime and cash.   The convention should be hosted by "The most trusted man in America" to avoid the daily Dean bashing from the right.   Daily internet tracking polls can help to create a real contract with America with input from real americans.  
              HERES THE #1 PLANK: Most importantly, the convention can end with all of the 2006 congressional hopefuls marching off the floor with pledges to immediatly call for house and senate hearings on Iraq and corruption in both the congress and the White House.   It is important that Dems make clear that our corruption net will be cast broadly and will surely bring in Democratic pols.   However know that any vigorous investigations will bring in Republicans tenfold.
              •  FABOO!! (none)
                That's the coolest idea!!  Why didn't I think of that???  Uncle Walter as the host!!!

                You know, that is so zen-ly circular; it was Walter who really transcended the line between journalist as observer and journalist as participant when he stated his personal opinion on Vietnam.  It would be the next emergent level for him to not only suggest a solution, but to be part of that solution.

                Damn, I think I have another email to send to the DNC!

            •  I did too (none)
              Here's my letter:

              Walter Cronkite wrote a letter to the editor today that posed an excellent idea.  The DNC should hold a convention to develop a 2006 platfrom.  The need for such is justified by the consistently high "wrong direction" poll results over the past year.  The RNC obviously cannot govern-- the DNC needs to hold a special event to focus the nation's attention on solving our problems in 2006.

              I will personally donate $100 to the DNC if you do initiate an effort to raise money for the event Walter Cronkite described.  You should engage him to see if he would moderate the event and more fully flesh out his vision.  It is an idea on par with the Republican Contract With America of 1994.  Since Cronkite and people like me are asking you to do it, you can tell the media it is a grassroots movement in reaction to the complete failure of Republican leadership on all fronts.

              Drill the Republicans while they are down-- don't let them up.  They're drowning, THROW THEM A GODDAMN ANVIL.

          •  When the DNC Releases their platform I will donate (none)

            hear that DNC?

             - listen to Walter. Unite and give us all your platform asap. We NEED it. Save the USA.

            WWOFFD? What would our founding fathers do?

            by leftout on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 06:56:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Ok, I'll buy that. (none)
            I'm currently giving $15 a month to the DNC. If they do something as proactive and visible and positive as a midterm convention, I pledge to up it to $25/month.
            •  Getting the Attention of the DNC (none)
              Part of Dean's campaign was The Bat.  Is there a way to use the same concept, except it would track PLEDGES, not actual money donated?  I think that would get them to notice.  A nice graphic on the front page tracking how much money is pledged ONLY IF they do a midterm convention would certainly grab my attention.  
            •  I'm doing the same, (none)
              And would also increase my pledge.

              Stop mad cowboy disease!

              by wrights on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 06:17:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  i'm down for a hundred (none)
            if they actually pull something like that off. Something to coalesce nationally before '06 is a primo suggestion.

            I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees

            by tinfoilhat on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 10:13:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Me Too! (4.00)
          Sending a letter to the Alabama Dem party and the DLC, the DNC, the PDA, and as many other organizations with a (D) in them that I can think of. Great idea, Mr. Kronkite. I think the DKos community can make this happen if we spread this idea far and wide.
          •  Me too, we could use this at grassroots (4.00)
            We could do this at state and local level, too.

            In Michigan we've got a massive problem with jobs, Repugs thwarting any efforts to stem the hemmorhaging.  We have entire cities impacted by Delphi's bankruptcy and threatened by GM's potential bankruptcy.  Yet Repugs -- who created a multi-billion dollar deficit in this state -- sit on their hands and do nothing about it.

            Time for Dems to get in their face with real solutions.

      •  Bill Moyers (4.00)
        needs to be called too.

        REAL NEWS-"The news you and I need to keep our freedoms." Richard Reeves

        by Oke on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 11:30:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Pledge to America (3.90)
      A MINIMUM Program:

      1. Bring the Troops Home Now.
      2. Abolish Poverty.
      3. Healthcare for All.
      4. Two Years Paid Parental Leave and Free Childcare.
      5. End Educational Apartheid. Equalize School Funding between Rich and Poor Communities.
      6. Tuition Free Public Higher Education.
      7. Invest in Public Transportation and Rebuilding Urban Infrastructure.
      8. Stop Global Warming. Sign the Kyoto Treaty and Raise Gas Mileage Standard. (Eliminate the SUV Exemption!)
      9. Dismantle the Empire. Close Overseas Military Bases and Drastically Reduce the Military Budget.
      10. Make the Rich Pay. Restore Progressive Taxation.

      "Tell no lies. Claim no easy victories." -- Amilcar Cabral (-10.00, -9.28)

      by Christopher Day on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 05:51:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You've got my vote, Christopher! (none)
        I love it when we dream big.

        "I'm not interested in that same liberal claptrap. That meow, meow, meow, ironic detachment." -- Stephen Colbert

        by SneakySnu on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 05:54:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not mine. (4.00)
          This is too aggressive for my taste.  I'm a fiscal conservative.  We shouldn't bite off more than we can chew, and these goals will be more than can be afforded at this time.  I wouldn't argue with them as "long-term" goals, but in the short-term, W and company has already spent us to the brink of bankruptcy.  One of the goals needs to be to get us back to a balanced budget.


          •  But the beauty of his plan... (4.00)
            is that certain of the proposals (drastically reduce the military budget; close overseas bases; retore progressive taxation) pay for the others.  Obviously the exact formula would have to be worked out to balance the budget in the near term & certain of the proposals would have to be phased in over time, but I don't see anything wrong with an agenda that starts the ball rolling on every one of these suggestions immediately.

            I love it.

            Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it. -- Mark Twain

            by GTPinNJ on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 06:14:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It doesn't take into account the ECONOMY (none)
              Without a good economoy, there are fewer taxes and jobs.  While I'm for slashing military expenditures, it will be a huge hit to the economy and counter measures will be required.  Plans need to have NUMBERS.
              •  Counter-Measures (4.00)
                Cuts to the military should target weapons systems FIRST and personnel last, since the former suck up huge amounts of capital for the number of jobs they create. Transferring military spending towards massive investment in rebuilding infrastructure should produce a net increase in employment.

                As for numbers, it seems to me that the first thing to do is to establish the principles that will guide the attempt to produce the numbers.

                "Tell no lies. Claim no easy victories." -- Amilcar Cabral (-10.00, -9.28)

                by Christopher Day on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 07:22:38 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  You've got it backwards (4.00)
                without enough tax revenue to cover the gop's spending gulch and without enough decent-paying jobs to go around the economy sits in the crapper...

                real wages haven't kept up with real costs since the 70s. ever wonder why it's so hard to just make ends meet? why so many folks are losing insurance benefits? why the gap between filthy rich ceos and factory floor workers keeps growing?

                it's because even though everyone's working harder and harder each and every day ... all our hard work is earning more money for corporate profits, stock owners and ceos.

                the economy is upside down. and the gop wants to keep it that way. (helps their "base". and their "base" helps fund their elections.)

          •  Yep (none)
            We're supposed to be from "the reality-based community", remember?

            Abolish poverty? Let's get real. How about "restore the social safety net"? Whatever comes of this meeting needs to pass muster in large scale focus-group analysis, or we'll be just as ineffective as the Green Party (who have wonderful ideas)

            I'd say job one should be putting the republicrooks on trial for assaulting the Constitution.

            Every [weapon] signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

            by racerx on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 06:57:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  abolish poverty... (none)
              from kennedy to johnson poverty rates plummeted in this country. lo and behold nixon reversed that trend and reagan and both bushes poured fuel on that reversal.

              we could have abolished poverty by five years ago if the gop hadn't screwed it up and reverse engineered the great society ... and the opposite of the great society? the bush society (aka, "ownership" society where the lower and middle classes are practically owned by the filthy rich.)

            •  Yes, "let's go now from the GOP studio (none)
              out to reality, live."  I realise that a few dems are going to have to raise their hands and shout, "yes, I want to lead" and take a step forward.  Damn the political nicities, time to call a turd a turd.  Surely you can feel a growing angst in the public, about many things.  

              Let's have a list of what was done by the GOP: the Treasury, looted.  Our international goodwill, trashed.  Our economic footing, shaky and chock full of landmines.  (yes, say it)  The public's trust in government, non-existent.  Jobs and the stock market -- flatlined or below what was handed over by Clinton.

              This is the reality that the country faces, and I din't even mention Iraq, Afghanistan and the global struggle to shoot ourselves in the foot.

              I would love to see candidates honestly state these problems, and suggest ways that they would remedy these ills.  I understand some, if not all of the solutions may involve sacrifice, but I'm willing to do that if I can see a process, a path or movement toward progress that is more than "faith-based, trust me I know what I'm doing, wink wink..."  Time to stand up.

          •  Minor gripe: (4.00)
            I think we should drop the term "fiscal conservative"-- not only is it generally meaningless, it also supports a positive definition of "conservative."  Even before this administration's off-the-deep-end fiscal disaster, the major substantive differences between the parties were about spending priorities (military & business vs. social programs) and the amount of revenue collected.  Let's go with "fiscally responsible" instead.

            Compromise is something you do behind the scenes. Stop doing it in public. -Atrios

            by latts on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 06:59:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  A-MEN (4.00)
              Conservative is a NASTY word - if you ever say it without spitting, you're helping their image.

              Conservative ideas have failed this nation.

              That's the message.

            •  How about (none)
              "Fiscal realist?" Or "fiscal pragmatist?"

              I think it's what people really mean when they say "fiscal conservative."

              In my perfect world, that's where the real political party split should come -- not between angry regressive weirdos and everyone else, but between more extravagently progressive and more fiscally cautious. With one party to say, "We want to do this marvellous thing!" and another party to say, "Yeah, but how are you going to pay for it?" Some people to say, "Let's try this solution," and other people to say, "Well, that didn't work, let's can the program and try something else."

              I think people on the "practical" side used to feel at home in the Republican party. Which is good, because that's about as conservative as I want anyone to be. Now, only the Democrats are expressing either pragmatism or progressivism. And they're out of power. And our country is...

              Oh, never mind, you all know about the big toilet bowl of history we're currently circling.

              •  REALIST strikes a good tenor. (none)
                I've wondered if the poll numbers are dropping so fast as a result of people watching these turkees stay the course - right into the iceberg.

                to talk about not reducing tax cuts for rich and focus on spending cuts while running an illegal war and having emegency un-preparedness, a national debt of national debt of nearly 8 TRILLION DOLLARS is

                I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees

                by tinfoilhat on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 10:25:28 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  I use "Fiscal Responsibility" (4.00)
              Occassionally: "Fiscal Sanity".

              The Shapeshifter's Blog -- Politics, Philosophy, and Madness!

              by Shapeshifter on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 08:42:47 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I agree (none)
            to agressive - BUT - what I know the people are looking for is accountibility on what we say. Put a timeline to it. If we take control of the Congress in 07' - on the table for that year is
            repeal tax cuts...make the committments doable and do them - accountability and credibility - we just don't talk the talk we walk the walk. America is begging for this kind of leadership.
      •  you missed a HUGE one (4.00)

        Energy independence!

        Wind and nuclear each cost $1 million/megawatt, or $1 billion / gigawatt to build.  The cost of the Iraq war -about $250 billion- would have been enough to fund about 250 gigawatts of climate-clean wind and nuclear power, or slightly less and a huge R&D program to bring down the cost of solar (we're almost there) and then bring solar into the build-out mix as we go along.  

        250 gigawatts would be more than sufficient to solve most of our energy problems, and would also be a stimulus to converting to plug-in  hybrid electric vehicles (100 miles on an off-hours recharge, with a diesel engine for long distance hybrid driving).  

        We could have bought energy independence.  Instead we bought a quagmire and substantially damaged the US military, and etc. etc. etc.


        BTW, the rest of your platform there sounds like "old Democrat" to me, stated in "old Democrat" language.  "Tax the rich" doesn't cut it.  "Economic responsibility commensurate with means" does; it's not punitive it's responsible.  

        Close (presumably most or all) overseas military bases also doesn't cut it.  We're in a dangerous world, thems the facts ma'am, and isolationism won't change that.  

        Instead, "strengthen our military where it counts", by increasing compensation to troops, and providing them with the tools of the trade rather than expensive boondoggles.  

        And you also missed, altogether, "respect freedom of religion by restoring and strengthening the historic separation of church and state."

        I could go on, but this is a starting point.  

        •  Old Democrat language is the reason (none)
          why I don't support Cronkite's idea. I have no confidence that many of the holdovers from the old Democratic regime understand what our basic principles are, how framing works, or even what we're fighting against. The idea is appealing, but I can easily see it devolving into a PR mess that leaves voters thinking the Republicans are the lesser of two evils.
        •  Language and Content (none)
          With all due respect, "Tax the Rich" is simply plain speech for your bureaucratese alternative.

          I'm under no illusions that the Dems will actually embrace a policy of dismantling our gargantuan overseas military presence. But without such a commitment, all the other stuff becomes just pie in the sky. We aren't IN a dangerous world. We ARE the dangerous world. The people of the world are not wrong to regard our military as the greatest threat to peace and stability on the planet. Talk of "strengthening" our bloated  military is just pandering to the worst aspects of our over-militarized society. Our overseas bases don't make us safer. (Indeed the only direct military assault on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor was largely a response to U.S. basing in Saudi Arabia!) Rather they make the world safer for profitable investment by multinational corporations in low-wage parts of the world. The U.S. armed forces are today just what they were when Smedley Butler wrote his famous words, "gangsters for capitalism."

          "Tell no lies. Claim no easy victories." -- Amilcar Cabral (-10.00, -9.28)

          by Christopher Day on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 07:40:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  okay, here's a debate for you... (none)

            Looks like this kind of exchange could become part of the overall debate.  This particular diary probably isn't the place to get into those debates, but I'll see you 'round Kos from time to time; we can all take up these topics in various diaries devoted to them.  

          •  YES. (none)
            Do the math and you'll see it for yourself.  I've worked on the engineering side and the planning side in the renewable power industry, utility-scale projects, so I know this stuff quite well.  

            $1-million per megawatt is the standard figure for wind and nuclear, and my own independent calculations (pages upon pages of spreadsheets) were convergent with that figure.  

            And here's something else.  Spending that $250-billion on energy independence would have generated huge construction projects from sea to shining sea, with hundreds of thousands of jobs for skilled workers (perhaps millions if you count the ripple effects?), most of whom would be union members.  

            So not only would it have given us all the energy we could possibly use, and not only would it have de-funded Al Qaeda and let us disengage ourselves from a most unstable & hostile part of the world, and not only would it have put us on the right track in terms of climate issues, it would also have brought back the middle class to stay.

            How's that for a missed opportunity?  And how's that for a contagious meme and a key plank in the platform?  

          •  Hahahahahahaha!!! (none)
            Nice movie reference.  Much needed.
      •  that's right on Number 1 (none)
        any move like this should not hide contempt for the fabrication of a war. Without taking a stand on this issue, against it (however they want to word it), the Dems have got to address this problem and trust the people to stand up for their patriotism.

        Directing Your Grassroots Movement Movie at

        by deantv on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 07:04:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Make the Rich Pay? (none)
        Not the best way to phrase that one.

        Make the rich pay their fair share, perhaps.

      •  That's hardly a "minimum program" (none)
        unless you're talking about the Greens.

        Closing all foreign bases? Not gonna happen, and not a good idea.

        On the other hand, cutting the military budget? There actually is substantial support for that, especially since people are starting to appreciate the massive waste and graft that goes to companies like Halliburton, while we're cutting back on troop pay, veteran benefits and safety equipment.

      •  Not in the reality-based community, (none)
        are you?  How are you going to pay for all that?  Item #2: need to be way more specific on steps we would take to reduce poverty (raise minimum wage, job creation incentives, etc.) I say "reduce" poverty because realistically I don't think it will ever be completely abolished.  Still, it is a goal to strive for, I guess.

        Re Item #4:  Just not gonna happen.  Businesses would never in a million years go for two years paid leave, and quite honestly I don't blame them.  Since we have zero now, maybe six months would be a more feasible goal?  And free child care---again, how will you pay for that?  Subsidized, maybe, according to ability to pay.

        Re Item #6:  I don't even think this should happen, even if we could finance it, which we can't.  It's well known that people value things more when they have an investment in them.  I would expect with free college, you'll get a lot of dilettante kids taking up space even though they are not really serious about getting an education.  More practical would be increasing grants, loans, and scholarships, and maybe some kind of tuition cap on public universities to help deserving students afford it.  Or maybe a kind of sweat equity deal, like the Habitat for Humanity concept.  If people want the education, they should be willing to work/pay for it; the trick is to make sure it is accessible to anyone who wants to put in the effort, not just to anyone whose daddy makes a big donation.

        •  Crackpot Realism (4.00)
          These comments only reveal the complete and utter poverty of vision and imagination that exists among many liberals.

          The real question isn't whether it can be paid for. The real question is whether people have the guts to really articulate a vision of a society organized in the interests of the majority rather than for the present corporate ruling elite, and then have the determination to fight for that vision.

          Lets be absolutely clear. We are already paying for all of these things in one way or another. We have the highest per capita health costs in the world, not because we have the best healthcare but to feed the profits and bureaucracy of the insurance industry. The lack of time that parents get to spend with their children early in life has all sorts of invisble costs. Lots of countries offer paid leave. Almost all the OECD countries offer between two and five months. Cuba offers a year. I don't see why the richest country in the world can't afford to offer double what Cuba offers. As a society we are already paying through the nose for childcare. The question is whether or not a greater good is served by taking the burden off parents and  socializing those costs. Similarly we are already paying to send a large number of people to college. The question is whether we get better results by making people hold down jobs while they are student and/or acquiring huge piles of debt OR again by socializing the costs. All of these things could be paid for EASILY by restoring a generation of tax cuts to the rich and significantly reducing our investment in the instruments of mass murder.

          "Tell no lies. Claim no easy victories." -- Amilcar Cabral (-10.00, -9.28)

          by Christopher Day on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 12:02:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hey, who ya callin' a crackpot!!! (none)
            First of all, I'm not debating the health care issue.  I agree we're already paying for that in a number of ways, and it's gotten to the point where I think businesses will jump on board too.

            But I think you're way off base with the other comments.  There is simply no way businesses are going to offer two years paid leave to employees, period.  As just one unintended consequence, I would foresee a sudden drop in the number of women of childbearing age being hired for jobs.  Six month leaves, while long by current standards, might be sellable.  Subsidized, regulated childcare?  Sure.  But free?  Not unless you can get Grandma to do it.

            And read what I said about college (apparently you leaped to the wrong conclusion.)  I am not in favor of huge piles of debt for students.  Holding down jobs while in college?  Why not?  Part time during the school year, full time in summer.  I did it, so do many (most?) others.  Look at my suggestions, which were just off the top of my head, for tuition costs.  Maybe we could cap public university rates, make loans and grants accessible, maybe offer some kind of payback-through-work program---don't know what that is called, but it's been done for teachers and doctors, for example.  You get your tuition paid by Podunkville, then you are required to work for them for two years or four years or whatever the agreement is.

            I refute your accusation of "complete and utter poverty of vision and imagination" and raise you a "complete and utter cluelessness about real world economics," plus I'll throw in a "no clue about motivating desired behavior among individuals", you just aren't very polite.

      •  can we have pie too? (none)
        earth to chris, earth to chris....

        we'll stand him up against a wall and pop goes the weasel /rufus t. firefly

        by 2nd balcony on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 08:41:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  HA HA HA!! LOL! (none)
        /wiping tear from eye...

        That was TOO funny.

        I have a number 11 for you:
        Little red books for all citizens

        •  Give me a break with the Red Scare stuff. (none)
          How many of the federal programs, particularly ones created in the New Deal, were born of Socialist politics?

          Truth is, there is very little reason why any of Christopher's points need be related to Communist or Socialist policies of the past in other countries.  

          "I'm not interested in that same liberal claptrap. That meow, meow, meow, ironic detachment." -- Stephen Colbert

          by SneakySnu on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 09:07:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  OH... (none)
            I agree with many (but not all) of his points.  My beef is that such a list of lefty wet-dreams would lead to an ass kicking in the polls.  When Republicans sweapt Congress in 1994, they didn't include half the shit they acually ended up doing in their contract with America.

            There is something to be said for patience.

            •  However (none)
              that was then. This is now.

              NOW we have no increase in standard of living, housing is through the roof, people are paying a fortune for healthcare (if they have it at all), credit card debt is killing us, most families have at least 2 wage earners (and sometimes they each have multiple jobs), and we have NO Guard or reserve to speak of.

              I think a lot of that stuff (like universal health care) will sound really, really good to most Americans.

          •  BTW (none)
            Unlike you, I will not troll rate you because I disagree with you.

            Good day

          •  I AM a Socialist (none)
            No apologies for it either. I know full well that the Democratic Party wouldn't adopt a sensible program like this in a million years. The Democratic Party is effectively dominated by much the same corporate elite that dominates the Repubs. Its purpose, unlike the Republicans, is to absorb popular discontent by making progressive noises without getting too specific. So the folks who are anxious that its going to torpedo the Dems chances in 2006 need to get a grip. My point here is to articualte a simple straightforward set of things that we as a society could really do if we wanted to in order to make it absolutely clear that the obstacles to these sorts of things come from BOTH parties. I think most of the Democratioc Party rank and file would agree in their hearts with most if not all of the things on this list, but would object that such a program is "not realistic." But what really makes it "not realistic"? What makes it "not realistic" is that the political discourse and process in this country (including the Democratic Party) is practically a wholly owned subsidiary  of the Fortune 500. Our responsibility is not to mime the  assertions of our corporate rulers that a peopl-centered social system isn't "realistic." Our responsibility is to make it realistic.

            "Tell no lies. Claim no easy victories." -- Amilcar Cabral (-10.00, -9.28)

            by Christopher Day on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 12:15:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  When the Ass Was Kicking (none)
              Lets look back 60 years at the best jockey the donkey ever had, FDR.  World War II was still raging on two fronts and the depression was still vivid in the country's memory.  Yet President Roosevelt offered nothing less than a blueprint for the future of the United States that has been picked up and used around the globe.  It was a new declaration of rights and responsibilities, and this is what he said:

              "In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident.  We have accepted, so to speak, a Second Bill of Rights under which a new security and prosperity can be established for all - regardless of station, or race or creed.
              Among these are:

              *    The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
              *    The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
              *    The right of farmers to raise and sell their products at a return which will give them and their families a decent living;
              *    The right of every business man, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
              *    The right of every family to a decent home;
              *    The right  to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
              *    The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, and accident and unemployment; and finally
              *    The right to a good education."

              The fact that we can't do everything right away, does not mean we should not start something now.  The test is whether we are moving towards achieving these goals within a reasonable timeframe.  On most of these goals (and the added goals suggested) we are losing ground.  

              Keep at it.  This is what we need.

              "Invest in the Levees or Pay the Storm its Due." Join the New Covenant With America

              by Into The Woods on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 12:35:40 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Nor am I apologizing for you (none)
              I also think your points are sensible AND they belong to a socialist tradition.  But once the "C" word gets trotted out, or is even insinuated, any possibility for reasonable discussion is lost.  That's why I called the commenter on it.

              "I'm not interested in that same liberal claptrap. That meow, meow, meow, ironic detachment." -- Stephen Colbert

              by SneakySnu on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 12:39:52 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Oh.. and a number #12 (none)
        A one million dollar check written to ever man woman and child!
      •  But seriously (1.00)
        Te he...  (catches breath...)

        OK, back to the land of reality, here is what our platform ought to be focused on:

        #1.  A stronger military (via numerous proposals that can be hammered out such as eliminating war profiteering, a bill of rights for veterans, etc)

        #2.  A path towards energy independence

        #3.  A covenant of fiscal discipline with tax payers money.

        #4.  A vow of an ethical transparent government. (With details to be hammered out)

        and... AND... here is the magic bullet

        #5.  In order to heal the country, a public promise to not impeach the President during his remaining, scandel-plagued lame-duck 2 years unless imediate national security demands it.

        (I thought about elaborating on that last one, but I suspect that you kossacks are sharp enough to recognize the win-win that such a public pronoucement would have)

        •  Here's the reason for my rating (none)
          I rarely use this rating, but this one deserved it for the following reasons:

          1.  Sounds like a Republican strategy
          2.  Repeated use of sarcasm
          3.  condescending tone

          And, Irrelevant, don't you think that the phrase "you kossacks" sounds like something a troll would write?  I see that you've been around for at least a couple of months, so I am not accusing you of being such a thing.  

          Now, to respond to your points:

          1.  A stronger military?  How much stronger do you want it?  No thanks, it's already sucking up too much money.

          2.  A "path" towards energy independence sounds to much like "uh, we'll think about it later."

          3.  "Covenant" has religious connations that I would want to avoid.

          4.  A "vow" of ethical and transparent government is what they should be doing anyway.  The Republicans should be taking such a vow, not the Democrats.  As far as I know, Democrats haven't been involved in any of the scandals of the last 5 years, save their tacit approval of the war in Iraq.

          5.  Why the hell shouldn't we impeach Bush?  The sooner he and his criminal adminstration are out, the better.

          "I'm not interested in that same liberal claptrap. That meow, meow, meow, ironic detachment." -- Stephen Colbert

          by SneakySnu on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 09:39:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  why? (none)
            #5  Why the hell shouldn't we impeach Bush?  The sooner he and his criminal adminstration are out, the better.

            Because lame-duck, incompetent old Bush makes a pretty effective ANVIL around the republican party?

            I agree with you, but that was my take on why  the prior post suggested it.

            •  Fuck that (none)
              Look at what happened when Clinton let Pappy Bush off on Iran-Contra?  

              These GOP powers are older than the republic itself, and slipperier than a snake swimmin' through olive oil.  Ignoring them only makes them stronger.  We must root out the evil from our democracy and force a slow, painful death upon it.  No death is too good for treasonous scum (properly convicted treasonous scum, that is).

              "The care of human life and happiness and not their destruction is the first and only legitimate object of good government." -Thomas Jefferson, 1809.

              by Subterranean on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 08:33:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Pledge to America (none)
        I LOVE the phrase!  I've been thinking for a long time it would make a great catch phrase for a Democratic agenda.  It suggests "promise" but only to the point of "doing our best" instead of "do it or else" (as in "no new taxes").  It suggests patriotism by subtly reclaiming the Pledge of Allegience.

        Contrast it with "Contract with America" - which has overtones of business transaction, is subject to snark as "contract on America", etc.

        I'd love to see the Democratic Party begin to take back the language of the American nation.  Like "Liberty and Justice for ALL."  Not just for some, not just for those who can afford to buy it, for ALL.

        That said, I agree with some other comments that several of your points are way too aggressively worded to be palatable to a large number of Americans who are otherwise ready to give up the Kool-aid.  We aren't going to move them all the way across with one big shove.

    •  It's a great idea unless... (4.00)
      It's a great idea unless it dissolves into an ugly flamefest because no-one can agree on policy and the media plays up the divisions to display the worst of the Democrats because it makes for a good leading story.

      This is most likely to happen on the war because there are no good solutions.  Everything you come up with is going to justifiably be seen as wrong by a significant segment of the party.

      On the other hand if you're holding televised debates where you bring in the most knowledgeable people on Iraq and have them publically try to hammer out the best Iraq policy they can come up with then maybe it would be interesting, informative and practical.

      However what's to stop radical (or even dirty tricks) groups using this as an opportunity to publically advance their agendas and/or embarass the Dems?

      If you can come up with a way to deal with this possibility reasonably then I'm all for it.

      •  strong leadership (none)
        and decisive action really can keep most under control.  (Maybe that's not too much to hope for?) It's not good to plan on the assumption that the convention would be taken over by thugs no one can control; doing worst case scenarios prevents action.
      •  wouldn't happen (none)
        Most delegates are longtime party stalwarts who would figure out a way to come to a concensus -- especially if Dean provided firm direction.

        Republican't Leadership is a dangerous combination of cut-backs and incompetence.

        by casamurphy on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 08:32:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Cronkite (4.00)
      would be the perfect moderator for such a convention. It'd be a great show of respect to one of the better members of the press still alive today.
      •  Plus... (none)
        He's someone the Newz Corps (note that's the "Newz-with-a-'z'-Corps") respects. Whereas they love hurting Democrats in general it'd be harder for them to run nasty coverage on one of their patron saints.

        Of course, the Republicans would push the nasty coverage and so the smear campaign would get into the media anyway--but maybe that would open a few god-damned eyes in the remains of our Press.

        The Shapeshifter's Blog -- Politics, Philosophy, and Madness!

        by Shapeshifter on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 09:04:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  yeah, but they're pretty damn wounded (none)
          He might have a point that if you're going to try to get your message out there and answer questions about who the hell we are, the timing is probably as good as it gets.

          I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees

          by tinfoilhat on Fri Oct 14, 2005 at 10:37:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Wouldn't it be something (4.00)
      If something Cronkite said got us out of two wars: Vietnam AND Iraq?  We need to get some of his DNA in a test tube in freezer somewhere.

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