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I can't expect to live in a democracy if I'm not prepared to do the work of being a citizen.

This was my  signature line for much of last year.  Some of you admired it, for which I give you thanks.  Others wondered where I got it.  In fact, the above is the one thing I thank George W. Bush for: teaching me that lesson.  I thank George Bush, and I thank you in this community for teaching me what I know of how to be a citizen.  

Now, however, it seems time to offer up some of my own thoughts in repayment.  I see cynicism and a sense of betrayal in the air here about a Democratic administration which hasn't yet begun -- an administration in which many of us take a proprietary interest out of long work, sacrifice, and the vulnerability that comes from hope.  I understand these feelings well, but fear they are born of long disappointment and cynicism which are the other gifts George Bush has given us.  

I offer some thoughts on where we are and where we might go from here below the fold.  Please share yours too.  I hope the conversation we have will help move the community forward at least a little.

During the Bush years the extremist Republican party did its best to rob the nation of everything it could and trash the rest.  Prying its grasping hands away from the levers of power was the one great imperative of the era which closes on Tuesday.  Electing more and -- when we could, better -- Democrats was our overarching job.  Beginning the dismantling of its power structure in the media was our other great project.  Finally we can enjoy our successes in our primary goal, though the secondary one is still far from realized.  The progressive movement is not alone in accomplishing the victories of the past two years, but without our hard work and our willingness to tell the truth, to each other and to everyone else in our lives, those victories might never have occurred.

With our primary goal achieved we must now set new goals.  With Democrats in the majority it is time to learn how to better advocate our views in the new political world.  We share our big tent party with Blue Dogs, Corporatists, Washington Insiders and even moderate Republicans exiled from their own party.  In order to make the Democrats in Congress and the White House represent us we must learn to play party politics.  We must in short become Progressives and Liberals rather than merely Democrats.  The time is at hand to make the Progressive movement an effective, powerful grassroots political machine.  The question, of course, is How?  Answering that question, I submit, should be the main preoccupation of this community in 2009.

What does a Progressive Movement need?

The Progressive Movement already has the essential ingredient for success: the American people agree with us.  Poll after poll show broad support for progressive issues such as universal health care, more progressive tax policy, emphasis on diplomatic rather than military approaches to foreign affairs, reproductive choice, and unionization.  Yet the propagandists continue to insist without evidence that this is a "center-right nation."  They can do this because progressives are not organized to enforce public will on our politicians.  It is they who are center-right, not us.

The progressive movement needs several basic structural features we currently lack:

  1.  A limited, discrete set of political goals.
  1.  An infrastructure which can exert pressure on government to meet our demands.
  1.  A common language, so that we may communicate clearly with each other and the public at large.
  1.  Prominent scalps, to instill fear -- or at least respect -- in the Beltway Aristocracy.

The conservative movement that grew up after Goldwater's defeat can teach us many tactical lessons in how to build our infrastructure.   The Obama campaign showed what can be done with such an infrastructure, though its aims were to elect a president, not to build an issues-based political movement.  Progressives are beginning to  learn and adapt those lessons for our purposes.  Adam Green unveiled a promising new electoral tool just last week here at Daily Kos.

We are weak in the areas of prioritizing our goals and coordinating our messages.  What do we stand for?  In short, everything and thus nothing.  We must build an agenda with strategic and tactical sophistication, paring our goals down to a manageable few.  Basing those goals on a small number of easily communicable values is also essential to success.  

Framing our values and goals in compelling ways is also part of the process of selling our movement.  When I first came to Daily Kos, after the 2004 election loss, George Lakoff had just been discovered and "framing" was the rage.  But framing without a coherent set of values and goals to frame is putting the ads before the product: a fool's errand.

What does the progressive movement stand for?  How do we make our power felt in government?  Why should our opponents fear us?  These are the questions we must learn to answer.

What is it to be a citizen?

In his speech in Baltimore today Barack Obama again reminded us that America has always been built by the efforts of its citizens.  He called upon us, today, to respect that tradition and continue the work of our ancestors.  He was right.  He is teaching the same lesson Bush did, though in a positive rather than a negative way.  We, here and elsewhere around the country, are responsible for the government we elect.  It is our task in our day to fight the battle for democracy by seizing power back from the entrenched interests long used to calling the shots in Washington and state capitals.  

What can we do?  I'm no expert, but here are some lessons I've learned and can pass on.

  1.  Put your congressfolk on speed dial.  Learn the committees and subcommittees they serve on, and watch Congress Matters, the House and Senate websites for action on important legislation.  Pass the word so others in your area can call too.  Phone calls matter more than emails or faxes, from what I've heard from most congressfolk.  Watch their websites or call their offices to find out when they appear in your community, and go meet them to let them know of your support and your views.
  1.  Join at least one progressive organization.  MoveOn, Democracy for America, and Adam Green's new Progressive Change Campaign Committee are examples of progressive organizations that can meet this need.  Issues-based organizations are also helpful in connecting us with progressive action.
  1.  Pick a progressive candidate (or several) to support.  Money, time, phonebanking ... any of these can be very helpful to a candidate.  Early support means the most, so start watching for someone to help late this year or early next.  Remember who you've supported, because those who win office should hear from you when when important issues come up.  (Remember speed dial.)
  1.  Talk to friends, family, coworkers, and conservative blowhards.  Gentle persuasion, confrontation, no matter the style:  changing people's minds is retail politics of the highest order.  Most people have their opinions handed to them by the corporate media but think those opinions are their own.  Challenging the usual lies and phony assumptions of the media is the first step in converting people to our side.  This is perhaps the most important thing we can do.


It is not the job of Barack Obama, Jeff Merkley, or even Russ Feingold to make what we want happen.  They are politicians: creatures of a system built to balance competing interests.  They have large constituencies which extend far beyond our own views and interests.  They exist in a comprehensively corrupt and corrupting environment, and hold onto their ethics only against the greatest odds.  Barack Obama keeps pleading with us to remain active in the political process, because without pressure from the grassroots that put him in the White House he will be unable to meet the goals he shares with us.  The politicians we supported need our continued support.  They also need our questioning, our criticism, continued reminders of our views, and the sight of our faces and the sound of our voices.

These are all questions too big for a single diary.  They deserve much more conversation, debate, argument and strategizing.  I hope this modest effort helps redirect our preoccupation with outrages du jour, insoluble arguments, and inevitable feelings of disappointment and betrayal.  In a democracy it's up to us.  It's always been up to us.

UPDATE:  Thanks to brjzn, Barack Obama announces "Organizing for America."  It is his effort to harness grassroots support in his presidency.  This is much like what I'm talking about, but as I hope is clear, I feel we need to build an independent infrastructure apart from Obama's.  Not to compete with his, but to maintain our independence.

UPDATE 2:  Thanks to all who have read, commented, and especially disagreed with my take on this.  Without vigorous conversation and debate this process will not move forward.  To those who say I don't want us to criticize Obama, I say read the diary again: criticism of Obama is a very important part of exerting pressure as a movement.  What I do object to is fatalistic cynicism that paralyzes any effort to effect real change.  The greatest reason to love America is that our system gives us a chance, with hard work and smart strategizing, to make our voices heard.

Originally posted to Dallasdoc on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 08:51 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Please leave tips (265+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jbou, claude, Ed in Montana, vicki, catdevotee, alyosha, ORDem, assyrian64, rhfactor, native, RunawayRose, Emerson, dengre, Shockwave, LynChi, cotterperson, Sui Juris, rightiswrong, eeff, Sandy on Signal, DFWmom, Carolina On My Mind, ZAPatty, bethcf4p, MarkInSanFran, bumblebums, mataliandy, givmeliberty, sardonyx, RubDMC, rasbobbo, concernedamerican, bronte17, missLotus, mentaldebris, nyceve, understandinglife, srkp23, CoolOnion, stevej, javelina, peraspera, Larry Bailey, nargel, Miss Blue, semiot, dksbook, Eddie C, wader, bigmama, Oke, psnyder, BarbinMD, TexDem, jlynne, jzso, pat bunny, Ophelia, attydave, hazzcon, riverlover, alizard, Pohjola, sleepy professor, outragedinSF, Panda, econlibVA, shadowplayer, OrangeClouds115, CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream, kd texan, Irish Patti, murrayewv, wolverinethad, TexMex, rapala, nailbender, Fabian, Bluesee, radarlady, 3goldens, bellevie, BluejayRN, Elise, Nadnerb in NC, JanetT in MD, JaciCee, SherwoodB, mjd in florida, Bodean, irate, YucatanMan, trinityfly, reflectionsv37, lennysfo, CWalter, sodalis, Thea VA, bruised toes, LithiumCola, JanL, murasaki, Land of Enchantment, soyinkafan, noweasels, Jim P, begone, pico, esquimaux, Icy, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, vigilant meerkat, 417els, testvet6778, BlueInARedState, martyc35, buhdydharma, Loonesta, abe57, deha, Naniboujou, Albatross, kck, goodasgold, nonnie9999, imabluemerkin, NC Dem, FireCrow, NearlyNormal, boatsie, ER Doc, doinaheckuvanutjob, llbear, rage, doingbusinessas, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, va dare, Lovo, Dreaming of Better Days, Mash, FMArouet, CharlieHipHop, Friend of the court, ms badger, AllanTBG, Leap Year, Aaa T Tudeattack, Bobjack23, DBunn, seabos84, One Pissed Off Liberal, marykk, out of left field, BeninSC, dotsright, Cronesense, jessical, possum, SharonColeman, Tailspinterry, mamabigdog, Wino, FishOutofWater, LillithMc, tbirchard, Matt Z, ezdidit, Tenn Wisc Dem, brjzn, Seneca Doane, jayden, jnhobbs, gchaucer2, ImpeachKingBushII, keikekaze, TomP, alkalinesky, rogerdaddy, mconvente, TX Freethinker, wyvern, indyada, Wes Opinion, CDH in Brooklyn, Rick Winrod, lineatus, Its any one guess, hedgeapple, Happy Days, pamelabrown, dewley notid, happymisanthropy, Jeff Y, temptxan, KttG, SmileySam, BlueStateRedhead, nzanne, MinervainNH, mary13L, DixieDishrag, Quilldriver, In her own Voice, HoosierDeb, dmhlt 66, ludwig van brickoven, shortgirl, cameoanne, 1BQ, BennyToothpick, rsmpdx, deMemedeMedia, eltee, be the change you seek, Gwen12, sweeper, velvet blasphemy, earicicle, redtex, Ivey476, NWTerriD, DClark4129, elropsych, Bene Gesserit1, Dichro Gal, deviant24x, unfinished60sbusiness, oohdoiloveyou, awcomeon, marabout40, RevolutionRock, miss SPED, stegro, LaughingPlanet, been fooled more than twice, UTvoter, TheWesternSun, on board 47, Obamacrat, your neighbor, Lady Libertine, Yasuragi, addisnana, abrauer, MsGrin, Floande, txcatlin, jeanma, sociald123, Onomastic, kktlaw, kerflooey, PMN from PA, etbnc, FarWestGirl, The Son of the Devil Himself, princesspat, Carolyn in Oregon, HappyTexan, sjr1, Jenny Cash, BlackBandFedora, Glory Days, Edgewater, Wayback

    ... in the form of ideas to further this discussion, or in lessons learned in effective citizenship.

    Thanks for reading.

    Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

    by Dallasdoc on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 08:53:02 PM PST

      •  transition towns coupled with the base (9+ / 0-)

        of mybo coupled with local progressive group plus get out and get out and find out how your neighbors are doing ...

        "Imagine better than the best you know." Neville Goddard.

        by boatsie on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:10:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Plus that builds the "bench" (31+ / 0-)

        Ya never know when a pit bull with lipstick's gonna emerge.  (So to speak.)  The Republicans spent a few decades getting people on school boards and so on.  Or when a Republican candidate for US Senate's gonna self-immolate, leaving the field open for a skinny community organizer from the south side of Chicago to rise to the occasion.

        "The river always wins" - Mark Twain

        by Land of Enchantment on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:27:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Democracy is local ... first (24+ / 0-)

        I spent most of my life as a non-citizen.
        A US passport holder living overseas. I returned to the US to a small town with big political battles, and a local newspaper that can barely hang on.
        Blogs are great, but who will report the city council meetings, the planning meetings, the school board meetings, where votes take place that then work their way up the food chain to policy?
        Get involved locally where you can have an impact.

        •  Local party committees are vital (25+ / 0-)

          In most areas the Democratic party apparatus is quite thin.  A small band of progressives just showing up at meetings and voting can make a big difference in party decisions and candidate recruitment.

          I'm fairly new in my area, and its politics are a matter of generational and family interests.  That's not true in most places, though, so local action is the easiest and best place to make a real difference on issues that matter.

          Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

          by Dallasdoc on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:47:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Our local Dem apparatus is thick as a brick wall (7+ / 0-)

            get elected to the city council, with developer money, and you are on your way up. This leaves out a lot of people who want to get involved on local issues. Our local is big money Dem developers vs local neighborhoods.
            I wish we had Republicans here, I don't like fighting Dems.

            •  Money prefers to own both parties (14+ / 0-)

              That way it never loses.  Until we have a party to work with we can't make any headway.  Seizing the local Democratic party is the first step in change in any community.

              Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

              by Dallasdoc on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:59:49 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Whether you are active... (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Dallasdoc, va dare, ms badger, LillithMc

                  on the local, state or national level, one of the key foci's of our efforts needs to be on government competence. We must make government work for the common people. Not big business. Not national politicians. Not military contractors.
                  Our government should be efficient and cost effective. Tax the populace at a progressive rate. Provide benefits to all but share more fully with the aged, poor, disabled, the vets who served out nation, and the handicapped whether mentally or economically who just need a hand up to begin to survive.
                  Our government should teach social responsibility for each other. It could finally come from churches, non-profits, or local government action but it must be coordinated by state and national government to make sure it is fair, proportional, and sustaining as we lift our nation back up. Unions must examine themselves before intense pressure comes from outside to make sure it is just as effective in providing for its members. This is essential if we are to expand unions in this nation.
                  No more Katrina's. No more hiding our warts and illegal activities. Complete and open transparent government. Admit mistakes and move forward with a better agenda to solve problems. Make our government harness our nation's immense "goodwill" and desire to succeed and use our energies to move this nation forward again.
                  Question all decisions. All amendments. All signing statements. All Executive Orders. Challenge the entrenched power brokers of both parties who look out for special interests, big business, Wall Street, or the military complex. Watch carefully how the Diane Feinsteins and Chuck Schumer make their decisions and who they work for. I know and neither represents me that neither represent the "common people" in this country. They have a different agenda. We must challenge them with our efforts.
                  A progressive competent government will shine a bright light on these germs and spray disinfectant on the people and issues that neglect the common good in this nation. We must insist that Obama and Biden bring in the best of the best who work hard and strong for our government and help us "care for the common people" as described above.
                  Great ideas and thoughts, doc!

                •  Even though all men are created equal, (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Dallasdoc, NC Dem, marykk

                  we recognize that each individual has special talents.  Some people, for example, are really good at caring for others; others can't stand close physical contact, especially with relatives.  Which is why we have evolved a system of juvenile and elder care that relies on paid professionals, rather than relatives who aren't any good at it.

                  How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

                  by hannah on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 05:16:58 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  You can crash that wall. (14+ / 0-)

              knocking on lots and lots of doors is the key.  Those guys aren't going to get off their asses and do it, and this gives you a tremendous edge.

              I wrote a diary last summer about my experience in running for city council, and I included some specific resources for guidance.  The meat is in the last half of the diary.

          •  Get involved to build local (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            party infrastructure.  Our county organization is locked into the ideas and tools of the 80's.

            We are organizing to change that - raise money for an executive director, appropriate technology and developing events to engage members.  We can do this.  And we must.

            The constitution does not provide for first and second class citizens - Wendell Wilkie

            by ms badger on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 09:14:30 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, thank you. At your school board, especially (6+ / 0-)

          As we're all facing cuts between 14% and 20% for the 09/10 school year here in California.  

          Last week I listened to an Asst. Sup. of HR and an Asst. Sup of Business Services candidly inform the teachers and classified employees of the new financial assumptions.  All temps and sub would be gone next year.  Pink slips for teachers (K-3) by March 15, classified by late April.  Probably sooner.  Possibly eliminating the buses.  Update your seniority.  Assume the worst.  

          Your local education unions need you at the school board meetings and in close communication with your state legislators.

          Schools have kids who are newly homeless, and looking at fewer education professionals to be there for them at the same time.  Demand that we avoid this.

          Are we still routinely torturing helpless prisoners, and if so, does it feel right that we as American citizens are not outraged by the practice? -Al Gore

          by soyinkafan on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 12:15:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Great suggestion. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dallasdoc, Panda, Rick Winrod

        ~Let me taste your unfathomable tears of sadness - oh, yes, mm, they're so good~ Cartman

        by CWalter on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 10:19:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Start with a definition of progressive. (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dallasdoc, zett, NC Dem, ms badger, Edgewater

        It's not a static directional concept like right or left.  Consequently, it's a mistake to try to pair it with those.  Progress refers to forward motion, a natural behavior for mobile organisms whose visual organs are located at the front.  But that still leaves the question of the goal--what is it we're moving towards and, when it's a political question, the answer would seem to be the realization of individual equality.  In other words, progressives are moving towards greater equality.

        That may seem strange since, as Americans, we're supposedly committed to the proposition that "all men are created equal."  But, just because all men are something, doesn't mean they like it.  Indeed, there are many men who want nothing less.  They yearn to be special and, if it means beating someone else down, so be it.

        So, progressives are moving towards what we are all meant to be, rather than settling for what some people want us to be.  
        How do we achieve that?  Perhaps by giving those who want others to be subservient something else to aim for.

        Beyond that, citizenship is the acceptance of the obligations of participating in governing by voting, holding public office, serving on juries, enacting legislation and, when necessary, enforcing the laws.  What citizenship is NOT is a privileged status.  The Constitution demands that services be delivered equally to all persons within its jurisdiction, regardless of nationality, etc.  (This is an important consideration as we structure a universal health care program.  Of course it will be easier, if we understand that the social benefits of healthy people are greater than any individual gets).

        How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

        by hannah on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 05:11:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You raise some very interesting points (5+ / 0-)

          and make me wonder if the big task facing Americans right now is most accurately contained within the idea of "Progressive movement".  You're right and the definition of Progressive should, to some extent contain the idea of forward motion.

          But right now, after 8 years of constant attacks on our Constitution and the rule of law by our elected leaders I think we need to be patching the leaky boat rather than rowing faster toward new goals.

          I feel that if we don't do this, if we don't patch the leaks, the boat is going to sink no matter how great our new goals are and no matter how much energy we put into rowing toward them.

          I wonder how we can reconcile the forward motion you so correctly assign to the idea of progressivism with the need to look back in order to rectify the damage that has been done to our nation.

          It's sort of the issue that was brought up when Obama said his instinct was to look forward.  He wants to be progressive and move forward.  But we've got some serious old business that needs to be taken care of before that can happen IMO.

          "The time for justice is always right now!" - Samantha Booke, Wiley College debate team, 1935

          by Edgewater on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 05:46:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Any definition of progressive ... (0+ / 0-)

          IMHO has to revolve around the key issues of equality, peace and justice.

          That being said, I am no longer willing to belong to Progressive groups that tip-toe around I/P issues. Justice for Palestinians and fighting anti-Muslim bigotry is essential to helping create a more peaceful and progressive world.

          Any suggestions for groups that have a progressive domestic and international agenda?

          "We will learn an enormous amount in a very short time, quite a bit in the medium term and absolutely nothing in the long term." Grantham on 2008 Crisis

          by Bronxist on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 06:33:01 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Personal responsibility, that's it (22+ / 0-)

      Believing that the obligations of the Founders are not ancient history, but continuing.

      •  With rights come responsibilities (26+ / 0-)

        True patriotism to me involves reminding myself of all those who came before who sacrificed so much for the ideals they bequeathed to me.  To honor them, and to pass those precious ideals to future generations, we carry the obligation to meet the challenges of our day and continue the quest to form a more perfect union.

        Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

        by Dallasdoc on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:23:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hospital Floor 3C: Colored Only (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dallasdoc, ms badger

          My Mother remembers when maternity patients were segregated. She is 75 and worked as a Nurses Aide back then. She tries to explain her joy about Obama to my fourteen-year old niece, who only knows about those times from history books and what we tell her. My niece is incredulous about what Black people tolerated and says she would never have put up with such indignities. Mother tries not to shock her too much in telling her how the societal norms were enforced. Unequal justice and opportunities,  beatings, lynchings, etc.
          I hear the joy in Mother’s voice when she speaks of Obama. She says he is a God-sent man and we all need him. And he needs ALL of us to help make "change" real and fair and lasting.

          If WE do not hold them accountable, who will? Vigilance.

          by Up to here on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 08:34:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  And the direct corollary: (12+ / 0-)

        walk your talk.

        "Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it." ML King

        by TheWesternSun on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:46:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  "Personal Responsibility" is a conservative (25+ / 0-)

        talking point.

        Let me tell you some stories about "personal responsibility:"

        My 72 yo mother saved scrupulously, clips coupons, paid her mortgage, invests conservatively (Savings Bonds, CDs, a $20,000 IRS in an index fund).

        In the meantime, run~amok assholes on Wall Street drive the US financial markets into the ground, destroying the savings and interest rates that lower-middle income people depend upon to live after a lifetime of work.

        My mother, who has exercised 72 years of "personal responsibility" is scraping by on pennies now because greedy "personal responsibility" proponents in the US government did ZIP to regulate the Greed, Avarice, and Gluttony of their rich friends.  Greenspan. Bush. Bush Junior. That turd-faced Phil Gramm.

        What did her Personal Responsibility get her? Zero. Her lifetime of work was destroyed by Republican "Free Marketers."

        Well, I guess she should have been MORE personally responsible, huh?


        Another story:

        Myself and my neighbors in our tidy little (literally, small, affordable house) neighborhood borrowed what we could afford to pay back. We lived within our means. We didn't run up credit card debt. All-in-all, we were personally responsible citizens.

        In the meantime, a few blocks over, run-down houses were bulldozed, set-back variances were granted to fly-by-night developers, 'townhomes' costing 3 to 4 times the value of our homes sprang up by the dozens upon dozens upon hundreds. Who could afford so many ritzy, high-priced homes?  There had been no change in employment to speak of.  There had been no huge in-migration of residents.  Where were all these fabulously wealthy people coming from???

        Turns out: Nowhere.  They were regular workers, regular people, just like you and me. Except: They borrowed on ridiculous mortgages with absurd terms.  Now it's time to dance with them what brung ya, except they cannot make the payments.

        So, the townhouses are going empty. One after another after another are in foreclosure. And property values all around are crashing.

        ...including OUR property values.  All of us "personally responsible" people have been F-d-over again, by the fools who wanted to be $19,000 millionaires AND the bankers / financiers who enabled them.


        No. No. No.
        Fucking No.

        "Personal Responsibility" doesn't mean jack, without Fair and Effective Government Regulation to back it up.

        I could tell you similar stories about "electricity deregulation," about "telecom deregulation," about banking deregulation," about "securities deregulation," about "aviation deregulation..."

        It goes on and on and on.  

        There is a role for government in our lives.

        People get up on this "personal responsibility" high horse, but that is just a smoke screen for "Let us rape and pillage at will. If we take advantage of you, why then, you weren't 'personally responsible,' were you?"

        Fuck that conservative talking point once and for all.  Fuck it. It is a lie. It is total bullshit.

        It is nothing more than a blame the victim answer to the criminally negligent approach to government that has been taken since 1980 when the stupid fucking Gipper was elected.

        It is time for that lie to die!

        droogie6655321 lives!

        by YucatanMan on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 10:11:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Two definitions (27+ / 0-)

          To Republicans, "personal responsibility" means you are on your own, and they aren't responsible for you when their greed causes you to suffer.

          To Democrats, "personal responsibility" means that we are all in this boat together, and we must each take responsibility for helping each other personally. Corollary to this:  To whom much is given, much is required.

          I'm rather fond of the Democratic definition, although you rightly point out that it is the Republican one that is currently the norm in this country. Let's change that, shall we?

          •  Agreed, except that the Republicans have (7+ / 0-)

            been using this meme for a long time.

            Redefining the words "Personal Responsibility" to mean something will be awfully difficult to accomplish, as they are set in the minds of some of the most stubborn people in the world, particularly the last 22% of Bush's support. They truly believe we'd all be better off if every road were a toll road, etc. F that. F it. There's no way to change them, and repeating the phrase only reinforces their beliefs.

            "We are all in this together," "Live the Golden Rule," or some other phrase needs to be floated.  

            Because "P R" is done. Stick a fork in it.

            droogie6655321 lives!

            by YucatanMan on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 10:24:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  "Personal Responsibility" (8+ / 0-)

              the new bipartisanship.  Seriously.  Define it properly, and then shove it down their greedy throats as bipartisanship.  

              Steny Hoyer = a slam dunk argument for term limits

              by jlynne on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 10:27:43 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I totally agree with that intention (0+ / 0-)

                but listen to any right-wing talk show host (am I being redundant?) and it is all about "personal responsibility:"

                Those kids who got run over in the street? Their parents didn't exercise "personal responsibility." Tough luck.

                That elderly person who was scammed out of her life savings?  She didn't exercise "personal responsibility." Tough luck.

                Need a bone marrow transplant to cure your cancer yet you can't because you don't have health insurance?  Tough luck, any decent person would have exercised "personal responsibility" and bought insurance before cancer came along.

                That's the way it plays for all the wing-nuts, red staters and Bush lovers. Yeah, supposedly they are "only" 20% of the nation, but they are a giant pile of sand in the gears... The meme lives on with the wingers.

                That's why I have a huge prejudice against "personal responsibility."

                droogie6655321 lives!

                by YucatanMan on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 01:34:07 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  "Personal responsibility"="We are our brothers' (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              keeper. We are our sisters' keeper."

              "It's not enough to be right. You still have to use your nice voice." -said by my then six-year-old daughter; "Love binds us all."-willb48

              by be the change you seek on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 12:49:05 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  The democratic version you're describing (6+ / 0-)

            is better labeled "social responsibility".

            The word personal doesn't tend to convey a "we are all in this boat together" kind of feeling and it is difficult to apply to organizations of people.  For instance, I wouldn't expect a corporation to have much in the way of personal responsibility but I think it's fair to demand that they act in a socially responsible way.

            I know it's semantics but IMO the words social responsibility more accurately convey the sense that all people, and groups of people, coexist in a social milieu and that what they do in that milieu will affect others.  The term more adequately expresses the thought that what we do will not only affect us and our community but also generations of Americans yet to come.  

            It also tends to further the idea that each of us needs to reach beyond ourself to engage with others to carry out stated goals for our community and that each of us should be able to demand that other people and organizations act in a socially responsible way.

            Personal responsibility demands that an individual work to take care of themself.  Social responsibility demands that individuals work to take care of their community.

            "The time for justice is always right now!" - Samantha Booke, Wiley College debate team, 1935

            by Edgewater on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 02:54:31 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I think that you may have personal responsibility (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dallasdoc, tbirchard

          mixed up with personal irresponsibility.  The former -- taking responsibility for the fate and welfare of the nation -- is good.  The latter is commonplace.

          •  No, I am talking about the Right Wing Talking (0+ / 0-)


            If you haven't heard talk radio - the winger shows with local hosts PLUS Rush Limbaugh and the other 'stars' - all across the nation, then you haven't heard what "personal responsibility" means to far too many people.

            I'm not blaming you or saying you are at fault in any way.  

            What I am saying is that this phrase -- personal responsibility -- has a certain meme; a certain accusatory tone that comes from the wingers.  Those are code words used be wingers day after day.

            As someone noted above, "social responsibility" is much more compatible with progressives' goals.

            droogie6655321 lives!

            by YucatanMan on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 01:39:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Of course I've heard how the term is used (0+ / 0-)

              But that use is a misuse.  We're reclaiming it, starting today.

              "Social responsibility" is good too, but it allows for diffusion of responsibility.  We are all responsible, individually and collectively, for the welfare of our nation and it's citizens.  Go with it; you'll get used to it.

        •  I want leaders who think like you. (n/t) (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          39 Years Of Yellow-Dogging And Then 1 Year Of WTF

          by Larry Bailey on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 07:40:41 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  get a copy of your Constitution... (9+ / 0-)

        ...actually READ it! You'd be surprised how many American citizens have never even drank from this well-spring from which all of our blessed rights and freedoms flow. That document was written in the blood of true patriots, who knew the price of freedom is never free! You'd also be amazed how many laws are passed by our Congress, especially in the last 8 years, that conveniently choose to by-pass it. It's hard to tell when your rights are being trampled upon if one doesn't take the time to learn about it and bury it in one's heart where no one can ever rob you of its rich treasures. The greatest document ever written isn't worth two cents, if the people living under the thumbs of an oppressive government take advantage of an uninformed populace. It shouldn't take a Constitutional law professor like Jonathan Turley to tell us torture is a prosecutorial war crime, that warrantless wiretapping is wrong,or that the Writ of Habeas Corpus prevents a despotic government from scooping you off the street without any right to challenge the charges in a court of law.

        "Great men do not commit murder. Great nations do not start wars". William Jennings Bryan

        by ImpeachKingBushII on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 11:10:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The key to citizenship in a democracy (18+ / 0-)

      Is to realize that you and only you can produce the outcomes you wish to see. That nobody will do it for you.


      Including Barack Obama.

      Change happens because you demand it, not because you voted for some guy.

      Citizens do not cede their power to any politician. They instead force politicians to bow to their own power, because the citizen is sovereign.

      Too many Kossacks have forgotten that. Let us hope they remember what citizenship means before it is too late.

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day
      Neither is California High Speed Rail

      by eugene on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:55:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm tired of hearing whining about Obama (50+ / 0-)

        Obama has been pleading with us to stay involved, to push him in the direction he wants to go.  Yet too many here sit back and wait for the man to do all the work.  

        Entrenched power in Washington is precisely that: entrenched.  Obama will have to compromise with the insiders a lot more than we want, and a lot more than he wants, until we get our shit together enough to act as a powerful countervailing force.  

        We will create the space for Obama to be a progressive, or he won't be one.  It's that simple.

        Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

        by Dallasdoc on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 10:02:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  This hits the nail (24+ / 0-)

          on the head, Dallas Doc - this comment and your whole diary. With Obama as president we have an extraordinary opportunity to change things for the better...but not if we expect Obama to do it on his own.

          •  How do we "rid" our media of the (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dallasdoc, Edgewater

            neocon "tools" that still get their speaking time that reinvent the Bush/Cheney years or continue to lie about their crimes?  I was furious while watching Frank Gaffney on "Countdown" this week spitting out the neocon lies.  How do we stop the corporate networks from airing liars or how do we expose/stop "evil" like Gaffney?  

            Obama/Biden '08 "to represent all Americans"

            by mjd in florida on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 05:45:09 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The question should read (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dallasdoc, mjd in florida, miss SPED

              how do we rid "our" media of the neocon tools.

              I put the quotes around the word our because the media does not belong to the people and isn't working for them either.  The media is owned by large corporations and it works for them.  Where corporate interests diverge the interests of Americans the media will tell whatever story is needed for corporate interests to win.

              I'm not sure how to get rid of the corporate-owned media but that's what will need to happen before we have a media that tells the truth.

              "The time for justice is always right now!" - Samantha Booke, Wiley College debate team, 1935

              by Edgewater on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 05:54:21 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Wish I could rec this 1000 times. (14+ / 0-)

          I'm also weary of hiply cynical or cynically hip lefties who badmouth this administration before it even begins. For some reason, one of these holds forth at every gathering I've attended lately. What's worse, this attitude is the wrong message for people who are new to activism.
             I worked very hard for this, understanding that the election was just the beginning.
             Our Nevada gov is the second worst in the nation thanks to Blago. Thanks to tanking tourism and an antiquated tax structure, the economy is in a tailspin and he proposes brutal cuts to social services. I'm trying to organize other progressives to lobby our state lawmakers.

          ....the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. FDR 1933

          by Tailspinterry on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 10:12:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Perfectly said Dallasdoc....Thank you a (5+ / 0-)

          million times.

          "After all, enough is enough." - Jiminy Cricket

          by Onomastic on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 10:23:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I agree with the core of your comment (8+ / 0-)

          If we want progressive change we must organize to make it happen. Absolutely.

          I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day
          Neither is California High Speed Rail

          by eugene on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 10:35:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  As I agreed with yours (5+ / 0-)

            Rereading mine, I hope you didn't take it as criticism.  I agree with you as well, as I usually find myself doing.

            Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

            by Dallasdoc on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 10:41:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  What you call whining (13+ / 0-)

              I call pressure. What you call whining, I call us, the people, being good citizens. If I used your definition, I would have to conclude that our founding fathers were all a bunch of whiners. Politics, in a democracy, is nothing if not conflict. And without conflict, we have something far worse than whiners, we have fascism.

              One of the stupidest arguments made by Obama's mindless defenders, which does not include all of his defenders, is "His presidency hasn't even started yet." This betrays an extreme naivete about the American presidency.

              Not only has Obama's presidency already begun - it began months ago - but this is one of the most critical phases of it. He is laying the foundation upon which the rest of his term will rest - or act as the case may be. In a democracy, and especially the kind of open source democracy many of us have long advocated, the primary challenge we face is building a consensus for our ideas. It is very much a war of ideas in that the corporatists have mobilized a massive propaganda operation using nothing less than the entire mass communications system of the country to do one thing: defeat us "lefties".

              We only have a chance because, if it be known, the corporatist agenda is so radically harmful, so inexplicably monstrous, that good citizens, upon grasping its sheer insanity, recoil from it.

              I am glad you reposted your 4 "structural features". You posted them in a comment to my Dead Horse diary and I had decided to repost them myself if you didn't (fully accredited of course).

              But, again, it omits what I think is our primary function and central challenge - win the war of ideas. We, the people, finally have a way to reach our fellow Americans that has been unavailable under the corporatist media monopoly. We have to seize it, as we already have to some extent, and use it to change minds, inform the uninformed, and win the war.

              As Obama said when he first posted here, the American public is not with us yet. What he failed to mention, however, is why they are not with us --they are brainwashed by an onslaught of rightwing, corporatist propaganda-- and the responsibility of Democratic leaders is to battle the lies and win the fucking argument for a change. The presidency is the best opportunity to build a consensus available to the left. And yet he refuses to engage, pandering to the most absurd, failed ideologues in the country.

              We don't need a president who can rush through bogus legislation, written by lobbyists, brokered in back rooms, that will accomplish "what can be done" with the current political lineup.

              We need a president to lead, go to the people, and build a consensus for real reforms. He has the bully pulpit. He has a willing and ready army of supporter of all stripes, ready to fight with him against the entrenched power. And yet, by all indications, he appears unwilling to harness that power.

              I don't believe in hope. And I don't believe in optimism. As I said in an earlier comment, I try to be accurate.

              If you're on a bus, and you see a sign on the side of the road, perhaps obscured somewhat by trees, and it's dark, but you see it - "BRIDGE OUT AHEAD", is it whining to relay that information to the driver?

              What would you think of a driver who would respond with, "Stop your whining"?

              Humans do have the ability to see into the future. It's called extrapolation. And based on what I have seen so far, I can extrapolate that Obama's presidency will be a failure before he's even left the gate.

              You don't "unite" good and evil. You don't "come together" with mobsters who have been reaping the rewards of corruption for decades and expect them to suddenly want to do the right thing. It is absurd.

              I have postulated the 'keep your enemies closer strategy'. That Obama is playing chess. But if he is, it's already a failure. As I said, he needs to build a mass consensus for real reforms and we don't have time for baby steps. And I have seen no indication he is attempting to do anything of the kind. Instead, all I see it a reshuffling of the same corrupt players in the same corrupt game.

              Another theory I have postulated is that the reason so many of the big Wall Street corporatists backed Obama, sometimes in secret, is they see him as a Trojan Horse. A way to neutralize the populist uprising they so fear from the left. If so, they couldn't have picked a better candidate - judging by the fawning and adoration of so many here.

              I see everything in probabilities. I take the information, and calculate the odds one way other the other. Right now my bet is leaning towards the Trojan Horse theory. That's how my extrapolations are playing out. I pray I'm wrong.

              I know everyone is exhausted from the Bush years. Everyone has a right to be optimistic. We would all like to believe a dark era has finally ended and the good guys are now in charge. But this optimism is unrealistic and dangerous.

              But the dark era has not ended. The bad guys are still in charge. And it will take nothing less than a mass uprising to defeat them. They cannot be defeated with backroom deals. And they will not go quietly into the night. Trillions of dollars are at stake.

              Obama needs to rally the American people. He needs to use his justice department to expose the criminals and war profiteers so that the American people will finally know what has been done in their names. He needs to defeat failed ideologies with better ideas and use the bully pulpit of the presidency to do it.

              He needs to fucking fight. And I'll be the first to have his back when he does. But until he does, he's just in the way.

              If he's not willing to defend our people, our country, and our way of life from traitors who are more loyal to Davos than they are to America, from people whose vision of the world is billions living in servitude to a corporatist profit machine, then we'll just have to defend it without him.

              I'll change my mind in a heartbeat if I see the fight. But until then, my only loyalty is to my family, my community, my country, and the American people.

              •  We don't disagree in essence (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JanL, Floande, kktlaw

                I find a very large difference between what I call "whining," pointless complaining without any sense of responsibility, and pressure, which you and I are both advocating.

                What's going on in the Obama administration is opaque to us in very many respects.  I see a tactician thinking several moves ahead, where others see a cynical sell-out.  I suspect none of us really knows at this point.

                What both of us can safely predict is that without firm, effective pressure Obama won't move in our direction.   It's up to us even more than it's up to him.

                Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

                by Dallasdoc on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 12:10:28 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  If you recommended this comment... (9+ / 0-)

                  ..."I'm also weary of hiply cynical or cynically hip lefties who badmouth this administration before it even begins. ", then we disagree far more than you suggest.

                  Your diary wasn't written in a vacuum. You are responding to OPOL's diary. I agree with OPOL, and not because he cited my comment. Obama is wrong. He was wrong to defend George Bush. He was wrong to support TARP. He was wrong to cave on FISA. He is wrong to assume that he can tame the beast of the radical right and their corporatist sponsors.

                  There is no half way to fix a flat tire. You either fix it right, or you don't drive. Likewise, there is no compromise on fixing what is truly wrong with our country.

                  Our government has been overthrown. The main conduits of power have been overtaken by enemies of the American people.

                  You say we don't know if Obama is a tactician thinking several moves ahead or a cynical sellout.

                  There's another possibility. He's just wrong.

                  I have given him the benefit of the doubt as long as my desire to remain attached to reality will allow. At some point, I must revert back to calling things as I see them, based on hard evidence, and not my hope and optimism.

                  And all I can see, based on evidence, is Obama wasting an opportunity. All I see is someone who is not willing to fight a very real evil- at least not in the public square where it must be done.  As I said, even if my hope that Obama is playing brilliant chess is true, it's still going to fail. Our people have been misinformed. Our entire political discourse in this country is framed within fictitious parameters.

                  Obama's job is to correct the misinformation. To use the power of his office, and his bully pulpit, to defeat the lies that have allowed our people to make gravely mistaken decisions.

                  If he can't defeat the propaganda machine that has so poisoned our national debate, he cannot build a concensus for the kind of real reforms that our very survival depends upon.

                  The greatest threat to our democracy, and our future is not  bad legislation, the Republicans and and corporatist Democrats, or even the radical corporatist who hold all the wealth and power. The greatest threat is the control by these parties of our primary conduits of information.

                  CNN, NBC, Disney, these are the primary threats. They control what people think. And in a democracy, that is the ultimate power. It is no coincidence that the corporatists control these outlets. This, among other means, is how they control America, and the world.

                  Opportunities like the one we have now with Obama don't come along often. We may be able to defeat our true enemies without him. But our odds go way down.

                  And if all my language like "enemies" and "corporatist" sounds extreme, read Naomi Klein's book. I used to have to link to 25 websites to convey just how evil these people are and how much we are truly under siege. Now I can just refer people to the book.

                  •  Obama on the need for humility when facing evil (0+ / 0-)

                    REV. WARREN: ...let me just ask you one about evil. Does evil exist? And if it does, do we ignore it, do we negotiate with it, do we contain it, do we defeat it?

                    SEN. OBAMA: Evil does exist. I mean, I think we see evil all the time. We see evil in Darfur. We see evil, sadly, on the streets of our cities. We see evil in parents who viciously abuse their children. And I think it has to be confronted. It has to be confronted squarely.

                    And one of the things that I strongly believe is that, you know, we are not going to, as individuals, be able to erase evil from the world. That is God's task. But we can be soldiers in that process, and we can confront it when we see it.

                    Now, the one thing that I think is very important is for us to have some humility in how we approach the issue of confronting evil because, you know, a lot of evil has been perpetrated based on the claim that we were trying to confront evil.

                    REV. WARREN: In the name of good.

                    SEN. OBAMA: In the name of good.

                    REV. WARREN: Yeah, okay.

                    SEN. OBAMA: And I think, you know, one thing that's very important is having some humility in recognizing that, you know, just because we think our intentions are good doesn't always mean that we're going to be doing good.

                    REV. WARREN: Okay, all right. Let's move on...

                    This was Obama's time to expose himself. If Obama picked this moment to give a lesson to Warren then it was a mistake imo. In 2009, taking over from the last 8 horrible years, humility in the battle with entrenched, now defensive evil is an odd value to highlight...No doubt DeLay, McConnel, Newt, Rove, K St, would relish encountering humility...After imagining all of the cockamamie reasons he could have chosen to say this, I still find it frightening coming form a secular leader.

                    HR 676 - Health care reform we can believe in.

                    by kck on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 06:15:02 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  ROI - WHAT is in it for me & the community? (3+ / 0-)

                What is the probability that my LIMITED time and my LIMITED money is going to support:

                - ANOTHER political incompetent,

                - ANOTHER sell out,

                - ANOTHER combination from Door #1 and Door #2?

                While I was ... glad ? grateful ? to read about framing in the 2003-ish time frame, it really really REALLY pissed me off.

                When I was 20 in 1980 making 4.25 hour as a cook, a high school grad poli sci major drop out with a TON of loans cuz my welfare family didn't have MONEY, I knew RayGun and Falwell were lackeys to fascists, AND I knew their messages, while complete lies (DUH!), were working too well 29 years ago.

                Today, there are 50 odd Dem U.S. Senators & a few 100 Dem Reps HIRED to be leaders outta 300,000,000 -- and so far we got:

                - holy joe the traitor gets a pass,

                - NO oversight on 350,000,000,000 stolen in the last 4 months of their reign of terror,

                - NO holding lying fuckers accountable for blaming the UAW for 3 decades of gross Big 3 management mismanagement,

                - too many of the Dem shitheads who BLEW the opportunities of the Clinton years back in charge,

                ... ugh.

                I HOPE Obama's change game isn't just a new chapter of The Big Lie.

                I've been reviewing some history this weekend -- Richard III, Julius Ceasar, Hamlet, MacBeth ...

                maybe Obama is acting ... ????? he's setting them up ... ugh. I Hope I Doubt.


                Because I cannot flatter and speak fair,
                Smile in men's faces, smooth, deceive and cog,
                Duck with French nods and apish courtesy,
                I must be held a rancorous enemy.
                Cannot a plain man live and think no harm,
                But thus his simple truth must be abused
                By silken, sly, insinuating Jacks?

                Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

                by seabos84 on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 12:25:27 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Obama always said back in the campaign... (6+ / 0-)

                  ...that one of his most important abilities was bringing people together. Now, think of those Enron guys caught on tape talking about how they fucked a little old lady, Millie I think, out of her retirement by gaming the price of electricity. One of the unreported facts that followed that scandal was that those Enron people, not necessarily those two specifically, who knew how to rig markets like that, became highly sought after on Wall Street. They were the new stars and joined some of the top firms.

                  This is who we're talking about here. Sociopaths. Madoff wasn't an exception. The lower East Side is nothing but Madoffs. And those Enron scumbags aren't exceptions. They represent the "best and the brightest."

                  Who exactly is Obama going to bring these scumbags together with? In what fairy tale?

                  •  Corporations are pyschopaths (4+ / 0-)

                    "The operational principles of the corporation give it a highly anti-social "personality": it is self-interested, inherently amoral, callous and deceitful; it breaches social and legal standards to get its way; it does not suffer from guilt, yet it can mimic the human qualities of empathy, caring and altruism."

                    "...the institutional embodiment of laissez-faire capitalism fully meets the diagnostic criteria of a "psychopath."

                    "Corporations have invested billions to shape public and political opinion. When they own everything, who will stand for the public good?"


                    LINK Here

                    "The time for justice is always right now!" - Samantha Booke, Wiley College debate team, 1935

                    by Edgewater on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 05:11:12 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Hi seabos (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Dallasdoc, seabos84

                  Good on you for slapping some heads here :)

                  I see your quote and raise you one:

                  I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country. Thomas Jefferson

                  Obviously that hope didn't work out too well for us as the fascists are only more secure now than they were then.

                  "The time for justice is always right now!" - Samantha Booke, Wiley College debate team, 1935

                  by Edgewater on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 04:56:48 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  it's so nice (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                to see your own thoughts articulated so well by someone else. thanks for your comment(s). i hope you learn how to talk about the convention clause of article v. we'll really need you in about ten to twelve months. maybe sooner. read the articles by justices van sickle and brennan on this website:

                Billion dollar presidential campaigns are still for losers.

                by john de herrera on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 02:39:48 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Absolutely right (6+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Dallasdoc, zett, JanL, kck, expatyank, keikekaze

                The bad guys are still in charge. And it will take nothing less than a mass uprising to defeat them. They cannot be defeated with backroom deals. And they will not go quietly into the night.

                And your point below:

                The greatest threat to our democracy, and our future is not  bad legislation, the Republicans and and corporatist Democrats, or even the radical corporatist who hold all the wealth and power. The greatest threat is the control by these parties of our primary conduits of information.

                CNN, NBC, Disney, these are the primary threats. They control what people think. And in a democracy, that is the ultimate power. It is no coincidence that the corporatists control these outlets. This, among other means, is how they control America, and the world.

                Opportunities like the one we have now with Obama don't come along often. We may be able to defeat our true enemies without him. But our odds go way down.

                The opportunity I see with Obama is the opportunity to build the uprising you talk of and take it to DC without having the full force of the government come down on the backs of our head.  He isn't going to do it for us, I think that has become more and more clear over the last couple months.  But I also think that he will not bring out the storm troopers against us.

                Did I hope for more - yes.  Is this the best he can do? - probably not.  Will it be sufficient? - only time will tell.  But until all of us are in DC marching and demanding justice we won't know.

                As far as the media goes I absolutely agree that it has sunk into the depths of being a propaganda machine for the corporatist-right.  And it is currently in "ignore the left" mode.  We haven't even begun to fly on their radar to the point where they are in "fight the left" mode.  Until we get thousands of people on their feet in the streets of DC demanding justice  that isn't going to change.

                I really think we're past the point where simply working at the local level to get progressives elected to low-level offices is going to get us justice for the depredations of BushCo that  represent the massive takeover of our government by the corporatacracy.  And even if this weren't true working through the system that way would take years when what we need is to:

                expose the criminals and war profiteers so that the American people will finally know what has been done in their names

                as soon as possible.

                Until the American people know this absolutely nothing will change.  And the longer it is left to fester the more entrenched the problems become and the less likely it is that we can take back our Constitution and regain the rule of law.  If Obama isn't going to tackle it willingly head-on then it's on us to bring the demand to DC.  

                To me the question isn't whether we, as citizens, need to demand justice.  To me the question is how can we go about getting ourselves organized to make the demand.  We'll know in a pretty short amount of time whether we need to start working to answer that question.

                "The time for justice is always right now!" - Samantha Booke, Wiley College debate team, 1935

                by Edgewater on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 04:31:22 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  I hear you and am troubled by your (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Dallasdoc, Edgewater

                comment that until Obama fights, he is in the way.  I still think that he will fight, but I agree with Dallasdoc that he has to have help.  Obama is human and the pressures him to cave are both subtle and enormous.  As you so aptly say:

                But the dark era has not ended. The bad guys are still in charge. And it will take nothing less than a mass uprising to defeat them. They cannot be defeated with backroom deals. And they will not go quietly into the night. Trillions of dollars are at stake.

                I think we can and should celebrate this victory and on Wednesday, recommit to fighting.  We may have to fight Obama to get him to see our points, but in way that is "having his back".  Friends and supporters have the duty to tell you when you're wrong.  It's a huge part of being a friend, as I see it.

              •  So (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Dallasdoc, Floande

                And yet, by all indications, he appears unwilling to harness that power.

                He is not on that bullypulpit just yet so I would withhold judgement until he is sworn in and can make the decisions that need to be made.  We know that the bridge is out ahead and so does he.  We may not always understand what he is doing but need to really take the time to understand the man before making judgements.  

                From everything that I have read and seen, he is doing exactly what he has said he would do.  If what he said he would do is what you disagree with, then that is what you should attack, not what he is actually doing.  

                I am an optimist, I am positive we will screw it up

                by whoknu on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 08:10:34 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Today's Best Comment. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                TocqueDeville's, I mean.  Especially this:

                What you call whining I call pressure. What you call whining, I call us, the people, being good citizens.

                And this:

                . . . the responsibility of Democratic leaders is to battle the lies and win the fucking argument for a change. The presidency is the best opportunity to build a consensus available to the left.  And yet [Obama} refuses to engage, pandering to the most absurd, failed ideologues in the country.

                . . .

                We need a president to lead, go to the people, and build a consensus for real reforms. He has the bully pulpit. He has a willing and ready army of supporter of all stripes, ready to fight with him against the entrenched power. And yet, by all indications, he appears unwilling to harness that power.

                And this:

                I don't believe in hope. And I don't believe in optimism. As I said in an earlier comment, I try to be accurate.

                Thank you, TocqueDeville.

                To Dallasdoc, and to all:
                Pertinent criticism of Obama's (or anyone else's) rhetorical and policy errors isn't "whining," Dallasdoc, it's necessary correction, course correction if you will, and it's precisely what constitutes being a good citizen in a democracy.  We've all taken the first steps in being good citizens by getting a better president than the previous one elected; now it is our continuing duty to see that this president stays on course by criticising and correcting him whenever, and however often, he appears to be going wrong.  And you're "sick" of "whining," Dallasdoc?  It ought to be music to your ears.  At any rate, you'll be happier if you get used to it, because you're certainly going to be hearing a lot more of it in the coming years.

                "If elections really changed anything, they would be outlawed."--Emma Goldman

                by keikekaze on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 01:09:47 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not sure I would describe most of what I've (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dallasdoc, JanL, EdSF, keikekaze, whoknu

          heard as whining about Obama but definitely your point about his call to "the People" to stay involved is completely true.

          I've been searching the 'net for his speech where he said something along the lines of "power does not concede" but I can't find it.  So I settled on this quote from Obama which also supports your point:

          "You have shown what history teaches us - that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it..."
          (The American Promise
          Acceptance Speech at the Democratic Convention
          Mile High Stadium, Denver Colorado, August 28, 2008)

          Obama is part of Washington, now more than ever, and I think he would be the first to admit this is true.  And he's basically telling us what he can do is create the space for us to demand change - but he cannot bring it on his own.    

          We need to carry our demands to Washington or we will not get change.  If we want defining moments during this Presidency we must make them happen.

          As I read through the transcripts of his speeches, often with tears in my eyes, I see this theme several times.

          What I see in this President-to-be is a man who wants change and won't turn the firehoses on people who show up demanding it.  I see a man who wants America to again be a beacon of hope, democracy, and high moral standards for the world.  But I also see a man who is realistic in what he, alone, can achieve.  

          If there was ever a time for activism this is it.  If we drop the ball he isn't going to be able to get it through the hoop. Sorry for the mixed metaphor there.  

          "The time for justice is always right now!" - Samantha Booke, Wiley College debate team, 1935

          by Edgewater on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 03:51:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Understanding your statement Dallasdoc (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dallasdoc, Floande

          is the key to understanding everything that is going on.  To often people look at the surface and forget the man's words.  He has stated over and over what he plans to do, how he plans to do it and I don't think he has waivered once from his path.  Who he appoints, what he says, and who he meets with are only the surface.  He can only work within the confines of the current framework.  Your point that he needs us to redefine the framework and make it happen is what should be repeated over and over and over....

          I am an optimist, I am positive we will screw it up

          by whoknu on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 07:55:45 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  YES!!!! (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dallasdoc, Panda, addisnana, Edgewater

        Citizens do not cede their power to any politician. They instead force politicians to bow to their own power, because the citizen is sovereign.


        Steny Hoyer = a slam dunk argument for term limits

        by jlynne on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 10:30:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  This to me is key (5+ / 0-)

      A common language, so that we may communicate clearly with each other and the public at large.

      ...especially given the fact you cite: that most Americans are, and have historically been, on our side when it comes to our most important policy issues.

      We (not just active Democrats here on DailyKos) want decent wages for people who work; we want government to stay out of personal life decisions; we don't want asinine economic fantasy theories which cause us (i.e. me, for one) to lose 33% of our amassed lifetime retirement savings in 12 months; we want the best education and healthcare available; we want the U.S. to reclaim its role as a leader in technology and scientific innovation, just to name a few.

      Reality: we should have far more voters with us. It's easy to blame the media for essentially ignoring the decimation of the middle class, along with countless other travesties of the Bush era. (Aside: simple thought experiment. Imagine Al Gore had presided for the past 8 years over 9/11, skyrocketing health care costs, the Iraq war, and the financial meltdown. If you think the media would have continued coddling him like they have Bush, I have a bridge to sell you.)

      But with reality sucking so hard, and it being so obvious that Bush era economic and social policies are nothing short of a disaster, I have to conclude that we need to do a better job of countering their BS and making it clear to every working person in America (along with everyone who would like to work, but can't, because of disappearing jobs, illness or disability, because they are past retirement age, or whatever), that we are on their side.

      American workers have been trained to be happily browbeaten. How do we convince people of their intrinsic worth? How do we let people know that yes, health care is a right, not a privilege? How can we squelch union-bashing and remind workers that they, and not these Wall Street morons, are the engine of American progress? One of the most depressing realizations of my adult life has been witnessing how easy it has been for the multimillionaire right-wing media hacks, like Rush Limbaugh, to convince regular people to unknowingly root for the interests of their exploiters instead of themselves. How can we get people to turn off these blowhards and start thinking for themselves?

      •  By realizing the root cause (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dallasdoc, zett, Leap Year

        of all of these problems is the same.

        Our government has been bought out by the corporatocracy.

        Our media has been bought out by the corporatocracy.

        We, all Americans are currently subjects of corporate interests.

        This isn't about Democratic and Republican parties.  This is about our entire system of government currently operating to further the goals of corporate interests and increase corporate profits at the expense of the American people and the people of the world.

        This is about 8 years of a corporate-owned administration that sold out our Constitution and the rule of law.  And all the years preceding that of corporate-owned administrations selling out America in a massive race to the bottom.

        As TocqueDeville said above:

        The bad guys are still in charge. And it will take nothing less than a mass uprising to defeat them. They cannot be defeated with backroom deals. And they will not go quietly into the night.

        Until people know what they're up against everyone is going to sit there being happily browbeaten.  Everyone is going to think their failure to hold a job, keep their home, send their kid to college, get good health care for their child, etc. is a personal failing as opposed to the systemic failure it really is.

        "The time for justice is always right now!" - Samantha Booke, Wiley College debate team, 1935

        by Edgewater on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 05:33:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The best tips I know are right here: (9+ / 0-)

      (Great post!)

      For plenty of tips from the men who made our country great in the first place: Google books has a free copy of "The Federalist" writings by the founding fathers who risked everything to create a country that turned out so well and inspired freedom lovers around the world. They wrote down their thoughts and warnings in part so that against the odds of world history, Americans could avoid servitude to a king or any other power and so that we could keep a country with freedom and protections and opportunity. It is high time to pay attention to what they were telling us. Below are some examples:

      "The people are the only legitimate fountain of power, and it is from them that the constitutional charter, under which the several branches of government hold their power, is derived."
      James Madison

      Remember ours is a government of the people. Stay engaged; we can all see by the sorry state of our country that voting is not enough. Be mindful that we are the government. Keep a close watch on Congress as no President can accomplish much good or bad without Congress enabling it or without massive backup from the citizens. (President Bush had plenty of help as many in Congress sat by and shirked their duties to the people they work for)

      I think it was FDR who said something like, "if you want it done, you have to make me do it."  Keep the pressure on your Congress members and the president. Don't lay it all on the president and never divert your attention from what our Congress is doing or chooses to not do.

      Take responsibility as a citizen and go back and read George Washington's farewell address and the writings of our founders. The things these men understood are the main reason we were ever great to start with. We all need the same knowledge if we are going to make our country strong again and keep it that way.

      A few more words of wisdom from the founding fathers:

      "A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce, or a tragedy, or, perhaps, both."
      James Madison

      Action we can take: We need better information than what we get from our corporate owned media. It's hard to find news and opinion sources that include diverse views without hidden agendas these days. is one site that has news and opinion from all over the globe. There are other sites out there and organizations that offer views from many perspectives. Find those sources and judge for yourselves.

      "The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty."
      James Madison

      Action we can take:
      Be skeptical of what you hear and read, do your own research and encourage others to do the same. Do not just accept as fact what one person, news organization or political party tells you without checking into it yourself.

      "The people are the only legitimate fountain of power, and it is from them that the constitutional charger, under which the several branches of government hold their power, is derived."
      James Madison

      Action we can take: Deal in facts, not we'd like to believe or hear. We are the government and if we're not carefully watching with a critical eye, somebody without our best interests in mind will take charge and do as they please. A president and our reps in Congress will only be as good as we insist they be and back them up to be. So do the good ones a favor and hold their feet to the fire. Insist on accountability and transparency. Don't listen so much to what they say, instead, judge them by the effects their actions have on our country and your own life. If they don't deliver positive results that make our country stronger, vote them out at the next opportunity and replace them with more competent and honorable men and women.

      "Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps the most to be dreaded..."
      James Madison

    •  Pay your taxes..... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      my act of citizenship is to pay my taxes.
      My taxes form the foundation of the U.S. government and that is what my country can use to do what it needs to do.  What my country does is what my country is.   For good or ill what my country does is who I am as a citizen.

      by TexMex on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 07:25:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Concentric circles (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Good citizenship grows outward from being a good "citizen" of one's family, of one's community, state, country, and finally the world itself.  

  •  The bottom line: It is OUR country. (12+ / 0-)

    Maybe that old saying is apt: If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

    Democrats promote the Common good. Republicans promote Corporate greed.

    by murasaki on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 08:59:04 PM PST

  •  CHEERS (7+ / 0-)

    Yes! This is what Ive been thinking and totally unable to articulate. see my comment earlier today.

    Whatever you do, or dream, begin it now.. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now. ~Goethe

    by Lady Libertine on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 08:59:45 PM PST

    •  It's a new set of skills to learn (14+ / 0-)

      It took us a long time to figure out how to elect Democrats.  It better not take us as long to figure out how to move them.

      Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

      by Dallasdoc on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:01:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  up until we get our govt straight (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mataliandy, TexDem, Dallasdoc, addisnana

        i don't think we can underestimate the power of operating as if we lacked the infrastructure to support us .... and actually most of it is no longer operating or operating at such a deficit of integrity, purpose and funding that it is sorely ineffective.... we HAVE to look to models of sustainable development being employed in developing regions and take what's working, leave the rest.  

        "Imagine better than the best you know." Neville Goddard.

        by boatsie on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:15:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Look,,, (9+ / 0-)

        I have no problem with this at all.  Demand, urge, beg, suggest.

        But it seems some feel the only way to push our elected Democrats is to beat the hell out of them.

        Bash, bash, bash until they're bloody.  Sorry, but I won't go along with that.  

        "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine 4220+ dead Americans. Bring them home.

        by Miss Blue on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:57:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Obama has to balance the demands of how many (4+ / 0-)

          millions of citizens?  i think some here need a reality check and realize we are not always going to get our way.

          ~Let me taste your unfathomable tears of sadness - oh, yes, mm, they're so good~ Cartman

          by CWalter on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 11:03:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  it is not about bashshing (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dallasdoc, alizard, Lady Libertine, MsGrin

          This is about building a sphere of influence that works to move the party to pass bills that are liberal/progressive.

          We have to take the ideas worked on in progressive think tanks and from progressive thinkers and get them on the desks of our elected Democrats. This means we have to do more than just call, and write emails. It means we have to find out our Senators and congress peoples office hours, and make appointments to see them. We have to go with the ideas in our hands, and say this is what the progressive politically active community wants to see turned into law. We also need to work on influencing public opinion. This means knocking on doors and talking about the ideas you brought to the congress person, and asking them to call or write express their desire to see the idea turned into action.

          We do not have to bash Democrats, we can talk to them and our friends and neighbors, and see if we can get what we want.

          a tent can only be so big before it starts to sag at the seams.

          by jbou on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 11:43:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Get (or stay) into action (2+ / 0-)

    or STFU! YES!!!

    Thanks so much for this. Tip, rec, & hotlisted

    The best way to save the planet is to keep laughing.

    by LaughingPlanet on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:03:17 PM PST

  •  Progressivism has long been fragmented (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fumie, Dallasdoc, CWalter, JanL, bigchin, MsGrin

    Because we don't tend to follow authority we don't tend to be well organized. That's why the right has more power than it should.

    When media owners are actually liberal or progressive and accurately expose Republican corruption we will have won. Until then we will have to keep on develing our own media.

    "It's the planet, stupid."

    by FishOutofWater on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:03:38 PM PST

    •  We don't follow authority (9+ / 0-)

      But if we expect to live in a democracy we have to learn how to build a democratic movement.  How else to maintain democracy with our efforts?  Certainly not by emulating our authoritarian opponents.

      Maybe Barack Obama will retain enough of his community organizer characteristics to help us learn to do this, but we certainly can't count on him.  We have to learn to count on ourselves, to organize ourselves, and to make the government of the people, by the people and for the people spring to life at last.

      Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

      by Dallasdoc on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:16:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I view Mark Green of Air America (14+ / 0-)

    as a leader in the progressive movement and a valuable voice going forward. Here's a great article he wrote recently, outlining some goals for the new administration. His argument is that we should think BOLDLY, something I think we can all agree on.

    President Obama should be guided by the well known ethic, "Make no small plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood." Often wrongly attributed to Winston Churchill, this observation originated with Daniel Hudson Burnham, the noted Chicago architect who designed the 1893 World Exposition and before that helped rebuild the Windy City after its disastrous 1871 fire. So history repeats itself, as another Chicagoan makes big plans to rebuild after Bush's consuming disasters.

    This is a golden opportunity to reboot our movement, under a program he calls "Progressive Patriotism." As an aside, I heard him on NPR tonight - he was surprisingly enthusiastic about the administration that Obama has put together. Says we need experienced hands to actually deliver change.

    •  We have no shortage of arguments (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gooserock, Ivey476, MsGrin, Floande

      I'm wondering whether the Greens are moving Air America forward or not.  I only see it through the lens of their XM channel, though, so don't have a valid opinion.

      I agree with the need for bold plans.  What the plans consist of, and how we plan strategically is a more burning question in my mind, though.

      Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

      by Dallasdoc on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:07:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  it is time for us to draft & submit proposals (7+ / 0-)

    for various substantive issues that we face. whether it be health care, new green sustainable economy, human rights, torture, water pollution and water shortages, etc, i think our ideas and proposals should be on the table in DC.

    why wait until after congress is voting on an issue to try to stop bad ideas? Why not get our plans submitted for debate?

    "Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans." -- Jacques Cousteau

    by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:07:17 PM PST

  •  Well said. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, boofdah, addisnana

    A United States Marine, still fighting for our Constitution and our country! I Support and Defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.

    by DemMarineVet on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:10:52 PM PST

  •  DallasDoc o/t but (12+ / 0-)

    am i right in my recall that you posted awhile back a quit smoking tip diary? Wanted you to know im through one week!!! counting each day as a miracle and each new morning as a venture out on choppy seas.... needing lots of hand holding, doing a lot of reframing ...

    "Imagine better than the best you know." Neville Goddard.

    by boatsie on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:13:00 PM PST

  •  Pretty simple for me (9+ / 0-)

    "Democracy is not a spectator sport."

    It's a full-contact sport, a bit more like rugby than football.  It requires toughness and information.  You don't have to be brilliant to play it, but you have to have an interest (or, more accurately, realize you have a vested interest in any outcome, no matter how small or remote from your circumstances).  I don't expect citizens to be able to recite the Constitution or all of its amendments, but I do expect citizens to recognize the role and supremacy of the Constitution, as well as the role of all three branches of government as its - and our - servants in continuing the rule of law.  I expect citizens to recognize that Constitutional government may not be the most efficient or fastest, but it is the best of the choices we have (arguably, a parliamentary system is as good, but that's not what we have).  I expect citizens to demand a responsive government that does good work with their tax dollars, whether in the post office or the Oval Office.

    Someone is wrong on the Internet! To the Kosmobile!

    by socratic on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:15:58 PM PST

  •  Applause DallasDoc!!! (7+ / 0-)

    Thanks for reminding us.

    "Rosa sat, so Martin could walk. Martin walked, so Obama could run. Obama is running, so our children can fly." -Author unknown

    by JaciCee on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:17:18 PM PST

  •  In my own area of interest (9+ / 0-)

    The Veterans' Administration

    I have a diary nearly done.  It puts forth my concept of a new Veterans' Healthcare Administration setting forth the ways I can affordably be given much better care.

    Everything I've written speaks to how to deliver that healthcare. Some of my ideas will outrage some of my Veteran friends. They are my ideas, that and no more. I hope the diary causes other Veterans and Healthcare providers to think pragmatically and practicaly about those changes that are needed.

    The diary will go up either Wednesday or Thursday.

    Let's real around here - and really practical. Things don't change unless you lay out specifics, talk about them, and try to do it better.

    President Obama deserves our best. That includes a few Kossacks. . . . waiting, . . . waiting, . . . waiting . . .

    by llbear on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:17:55 PM PST

  •  It will be hard to have a progressive movement (11+ / 0-)

    in a supposed democratic republic where something as basic to its identity and character as the principles of republicanism itself are abandoned and dying forgotten.  If you want to be a citizen in any meaningful sense of the word, first you must be a republican.  Of the small-r sort, of course.  So what does that mean?

    First of all, I think the word republic comes from a phrase in Latin (or Greek, one of them old-time furren things) res publica.  That means, the thing that belongs to the public.  It doesn't belong to the government officials, elected or appointed.  They work for us, not vice versa.  It doesn't belong to the politicians or the parties, their personal and partisan careerist ambitions must always take a back seat to the maintenance of republican liberties and protections, and their grasp always limited by the immunities of the people.  Certainly it does not belong to our legal homunculi such as corporations, legal fictions that serve purposes of economic enablement, but are in the end nothing but abstractions, not entitled to the concrete protections of incarnate humanity.  Thirdly, it means that the social contract by which the state exists is supreme over all the actors and actions emanating under color of that social contract, in the US instance, the Constitution.  As Barbara Jordan memorably said, the Constitution is whole and inseverable.  When any element of it is traduced, it is in its entirety made void.  When those who claim to hold offices and powers under the Constitution act in contravention to its requirements, that not merely break the law, they make the very existence of the government of which they are part, the very office they hold, illegitimate.  The rule of law applies to everyone, or to no one at all.  Moreover, there must be equality before the law.  This does not guaranty equality of treatment, as Anatole France famously observed, "The law in all its majesty forbids the rich as well as the poor from sleeping under bridges." But equality before the law does require that all citizens who have been parties to violation of the law be held equally accountable and responsible for their criminal acts.  Republicanism admits of no classes that are immune from punishment for criminal acts, nor no class that may not seek redress from wrongs perpetrated against them.  The republican also believes that while it behooves the citizens to have delegated individuals to serve as their representatives in government, that the citizen nonetheless is not merely entitled to comment and otherwise make our views and interests known in the process of governance, but that we are bound to do so.  Failing to remain engaged with the process, or offering up some politically hedged version of our actual needs and vision, is an abdication that corrupts the operation of the system.  in  order to enable the citizen to participate most fully in this way, republicanism dictates that political decision-making occur on the closest possible level to the citizens that the issue at hand admits, and be done in a transparent and open process that allows for the expression of the interests and injection of the opinions of the citizens into the process.

    I see all of these basic points and principles at least in decay or disuse, several of them held in outright contempt  by the political players, powers and parties, and all too many utterly beyond the understanding of a citizenry unaware of the demands and requirements of the very system they live under.

    This sig line is in foreclosure. For details on acquiring a credit default swap on this sig line, contact H. Paulson, Dept of the Treasury, c/o Goldman, Sachs

    by ActivistGuy on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:31:10 PM PST

    •  The Constitution is not in force (9+ / 0-)

      ... because the traducers of republican democracy feel free enough in their power to ignore it.  Yet, as I noted above, the ideals bequeathed to us by generations past have a strong hold on us, despite the efforts of recent decades to enforce amnesia.

      The main project of the progressive movement today, to my mind, is precisely to restore our democratic republic by breaking the power of money in government.  We have powerful allies in the Founding Fathers and Abraham Lincoln.  It is our job to reawaken American ideals for today's generations, and raise such outrage that the moneychangers are driven from the temple of democracy.

      Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

      by Dallasdoc on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:41:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  First, the Constitution Was BUILT BROKEN (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The framers anticipated IMPERIAL presidency and defended against it.

        They had no conception of CRIMINAL presidency and so their system is a massively sitting duck against it.

        Bush and Cheney are correct. Not right, but correct. Bush could never be stopped while he ruled. Nor will the next Bush.

        You and I will never live to see the flaw repaired because neither of us will live to see mainstream Americans doubt the received words of the framers as their received wisdom demands.

        Other somewhat unrelated moronic prejudices of Americans prevent us from prosecuting high criminals after they surrender power.

        No problem facing humanity is as basic, or as far off the table for solution, as the never-duplicated American system.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:48:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  We are a juvenile nation (7+ / 0-)

          It is a national sin that we lack the capacity for self-criticism to a great extent.  Without the ability to look at ourselves honestly and admit our mistakes, we are condemned to keep repeating them.  That "Love it or leave it" idea of unquestioning jingoism is the daily manifestation of this comfortable ignorance.

          Still, despite ourselves, we learn lessons here and there after long enough.  Barack Obama's election is a fresh reminder of that.  But here in America it's always four steps forward, three steps back.  All we can do is keep pushing forward.

          Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

          by Dallasdoc on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:55:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  have you heard obama (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            say anything about media reform? wouldn't that be the place to start if we wanted the ability to look at ourselves?

            have you heard obama say anything about electoral reform? proprietary source code? private entities counting public votes?

            all we can do is keep pushing forward? perhaps, if we do we better get on the same page as to what we're pushing towards.

            how about the convention clause of our constitution?

            i'll remember this diary. and i'll be curious what you have to say in six months.

            Billion dollar presidential campaigns are still for losers.

            by john de herrera on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 03:02:48 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  His new FCC chair is for media deconsolidation (0+ / 0-)

              I think the FCC will change direction dramatically from Bush's years with new leadership.  How far that new direction will take us remains to be seen.

              But media trust-busting and meaningful deconsolidation is one of my top two priorities for a progressive agenda.  I doubt I'll be satisfied with what we see, unless we band together to make big change happen.

              Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

              by Dallasdoc on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 09:11:42 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  big change (0+ / 0-)

                is holding a national convention so folks like you can build consensus with others about what amendments need to get out to the states for consideration/ratification. that's big change. if we're going to band together it's got to be something we can agree on. that would be the constitution.

                Billion dollar presidential campaigns are still for losers.

                by john de herrera on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 09:52:25 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  Not entirely true. (6+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          native, Dallasdoc, jlynne, alizard, zett, Edgewater

          "The framers anticipated IMPERIAL presidency and defended against it.

          They had no conception of CRIMINAL presidency and so their system is a massively sitting duck against it."

          There is no reason why the remedy of impeachment cannot be used against a criminal presidency, unless the enforcers (Congress) have been bought off.  At heart, corruption of the system via money is the problem.  

      •  Yes! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dallasdoc, Lady Libertine, addisnana

        " restore our democratic republic by breaking the power of money in government."

      •  The Constitution is not in force (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        because the American people sat there ignorant as it got shredded.

        The issue here is that monied interests have always had power in government but they haven't always been able to trash our Constitution, disrupt the rule of law, officially sanction torture in our name, wire-tap without a court order, etc.

        The Constitution was designed, at least in part, to allow the people to keep corruption out of government.  The Founders knew very well that monied interests were always going to be challenging government, trying to buy it out and take it over, corrupt its power for their own purpose.

        In the past, the Constitution has worked, to a greater or lesser degree, to keep monied interests under control.  That changed during the last eight years and the monied interests won out over our Constitution. It changed because the President, the man sworn to uphold the Constitution, failed to keep his oath and in fact joined into subverting it. If this issue is not addressed we don't have the rule of law.  We have the rule of a President who can choose to follow the Constitution (as I think Obama will) or not (as the next Bush-type certainly won't).

        It could be merely a matter of semantics but I think that the main project currently should be to  break the power of money in government by restoring our democratic republic.

        I think that restoration requires a public accounting for BushCo's crimes of the last 8 years and this is what we need to push for.

        Definitely I agree with you that monied interests are the root of the problem though.

        "The time for justice is always right now!" - Samantha Booke, Wiley College debate team, 1935

        by Edgewater on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 07:32:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I've been researching various aspects... (6+ / 0-)

    ... of the New Deal for some diaries.  Mostly via pix.  I thought I knew a lot about it, but I'm finding that's not through.  There was a lot went on, and it might help stimulate imaginations to learn from what happened last go round.  First of the series likely to go up Monday.

    "The river always wins" - Mark Twain

    by Land of Enchantment on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:32:23 PM PST

  •  the idea of (5+ / 0-)

    this fake idea of a centre-right nation is pushed on us by idiots like tom brokaw and joe scarborough, who get on tv and make the stupid claim and the rest of us are suppose to believe it... makes me wanna throw my shoe at the tv...reminds of something...

    folding@home for dailykos team 48083

    by topshooter on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:35:22 PM PST

    •  The idea of a center-right nation (9+ / 0-)

      ... is pushed on us by the corporations which employ idiots like Brokaw and Scarborough, and which rarely let voices like ours be heard by the masses.  Media deconsolidation is high on my list of progressive priorities, for precisely this reason.

      Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

      by Dallasdoc on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:37:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They Fucking Own the Place (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Please, please fasten your seatbelt, and bend over.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:52:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Gooserock, I've noticed (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dallasdoc, addisnana

          that your last few comments are not constructive, to say the least.  

          We know who owns our society.  We can throw up our hands and say, "nothing can be done", as you just did above, or we can talk about what we can do to change things.  If you believe nothing can be done, what are you doing commenting here?  What a waste of time and energy.  Go party, have a drink, whatever, and stop bothering us. If you want to help the discussion, well, that's not what you're doing now.

          •  bullshit. (0+ / 0-)

            It's not a question of what we "believe" can or can not be done.

            You're the cynic... you postulate that those of us who are bitterly disappointed - FOR VERY GOOD REASON - should go away and stop pushing back through our disappointment and criticism.  You want "happy talk."  

            We are only welcome if we are "helpful?"  ...meaning, we are only welcome if we stop our criticism and "believe" in Obama or "understand" his choices?

            "Belief" is not thinking and "understanding" is a euphemism for, as Goose said, bending over.

            Quite frankly, you're in a much better position to enjoy the drink you're suggesting for us.  You're the one looking for the milquetoast "happy place" of compromise.

            We don't have time to drink,  We're too busy "talking about what we can do to change things"  i.e. - criticizing THAT WHICH SHOULD BE CRITICIZED.

            But you don't want to hear valid criticism.  You want something closer to cheerleading, imho.  

            "History is a tragedy, not a melodrama." - I.F.Stone

            by bigchin on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 06:10:03 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  bigchin: (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I was responding to the following comments by Gooserock:

              " The Owners Have Had a Lifetime Also
              to study how they got defeated by the New Deal.

              They cannot be defeated again. If for no other reason than the mass quantity of their preachings that have become unimpeachable Truth."


              "They Fucking Own the Place.
              Please, please fasten your seatbelt, and bend over."

              This is defeatism.  "They cannot be defeated again."  "...bend over."  Looks pretty plain to me.  Give up.

              This in the middle of a discussion about ways for us to fight back.  And that's what I want--ways to fight back.  I am not interested in "happy talk" or in ignoring the realities around us.  We have plenty of reason to be angry (who was it who said, "if you're not outraged, you haven't been paying attention"), we have plenty of reason for being cynical about our current legislators.  I am all for blunt talk about that reality.  Criticism of our situation and of our, so far, inadequate response to it, is good.  However, the comments by Gooserock, which I have quoted in full, do not amount to anything more than acceptance of our current impasse.  I felt they detracted from the ongoing discussion, and that is why I responded as I did.  

              Perhaps I was too harsh, perhaps Gooserock was just having a moment of snarky cynicism.  I would be glad to find out that was the case.

  •  I like your last two sentences: (6+ / 0-)

    "In a democracy it's up to us.  It's always been up to us."

    That said, we have a lot of work to do.  A major problem is that, aside from a few honorable exceptions (Kucinich, for example), most of our political class ignores not only us, but the general public on many important issues.  A good example: health care.  Polls have shown that a solid majority of citizens would welcome the establishment of a national, single-payer system, similar to what Canada or the UK have, and would be willing to accept additional taxes to pay for it.  But in congress and the media, single-payer is considered a pipe dream.  We know why, too--the insurance industry makes lots of campaign contributions and runs lots of ads.

    The same pattern holds for many other issues--grossly excessive military spending, support for Israel no matter what the regime there does to the Palestinians, bail outs for banks but not for people who really could use the help--name your issue.  At the root of the pattern, you will almost always find the pervasive influence of large amounts of money.  

    Ultimately, we are going to have to change the economic rules of the social game in this country if we are going to make any real progress on the major social issues facing us.  Right now, the game is rigged in favor of a wealthy few, and it is their interests that receive the most attention and support.  There has to be a paradigm shift, in which the interests of the great majority are given first place, with all that implies.

    •  Tbe Game is the Never-Duplicated Constitution (0+ / 0-)

      Earth democracy took a vote. Our idea lost. There are reasons.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:53:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  class war (6+ / 0-)

      I don't mean a war with guns and armies.  But against what Michael Moore calls the "corporate slave society"

      We are in complete slavery to them, our owners.  We don't even know for sure who they are.  Probably a few thousand Cheneys running around making all the rules, keeping all the money.  Wishing they could kill some of us off.

      They keep the system dysfunctional and broken.  Like this bailout thing.  What the hell is going on? Who knows???  The only people that really know are getting hugely rich while the problem is only getting worse.

      Class warfare means this:  tax the rich.  Tax the hell out of them.  And regulate big business.  Regulate the hell out of them.  Make them pay their share.

      The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. Thomas Jefferson

      by Thea VA on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 10:07:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would love to believe the change (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        you describe could occur without guns and armies.  But I'm struggling to think of one important instance of class struggle that didn't eventually, at some point, end up with some element of guns & armies.

        I agree that we shouldn't be the ones to start that way.  But I think that anyone who really plans to work for this kind of change, this kind of "paradigm shift", as out of left field put it, has got to be aware that the corporatocracy isn't going to give up without a fight.  That fight could very well end up with them hauling out our government's enforcement apparatus.

        They call it class war for a reason.

        "The time for justice is always right now!" - Samantha Booke, Wiley College debate team, 1935

        by Edgewater on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 07:48:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hence, the fact that we now have military (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          available for civil unrest.

        •  historically, revolutions (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ms badger

          end up with a power shift, but the newcomers are not any better (and usually worse) than the ruling class that was in there before.  

          Which is why the "Crashing the Gates" idea is better.  Change the existing system so it works.

          Actually, the Bush Administration gave us a good example of how the system can be rigged.  Go in there and unabashedly change every law you can.

          Make rules and more rules.  Nickel and dime corporations to death.  Make it more profitable to be a small business by huge advantages.

          The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. Thomas Jefferson

          by Thea VA on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 08:18:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Thea VA, Edgewater

            that as long as peaceful, legal avenues of change are available, they should be used to the maximum extent possible.  Violent conflict is costly, inefficient, fraught with unintended consequences.  You go to a fighting war only when all other avenues have failed.

            It is worth noting that even Lenin, commonly associated with violent revolution, was adamant that revolutionaries should participate in parliamentary democracy, running candidates for office, even in legislatures with limited power and influence (he was referring to the Russian Duma, under the Czar).  

            We are in far better shape with our government system than the pre-Soviet Russians were with theirs.  The ideals of the Declaration of Independence and of our Constitution may often be honored in the breach, but they are still there, available for inspiration, as guides to action.  We have no excuse not to use every democratic tool at our disposal to force the change we need.

  •  Excellent diary & Recommended (12+ / 0-)

    As for a central set of progressive ideas:

    1)  Health care (not "health insurance") is a basic human right.  No citizen can have "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" without access to good, straight-forward, non-bankrupting health care. All manner of good will flow from Universal Health Care (not "coverage," care).  First off, the nation as a whole will be more competitive with other nations. Secondly, individual citizens will be more empowered to seek their own bliss (pursuit of happiness) in employment or endeavors of their own desire. This will make the individual more competitive and restore some balance to the Employer / Worker dichotomy.

    2)  No war without a Declaration of War by Congress.  No "conflicts."  No "police actions."  No "pre-emptory invasions." ZERO damn "military advisors" anywhere! NONE.  NO MORE military BS.  The nation only goes to war when the Congress VOTES war.  This one should be self-explanatory, but in case it is not, let me just say:  Central America, Vietnam, Iraq, CIA directs Peru jet fighters to shoot down missionaries' plane killing a mother & baby among others, etc.  NO DAMN MILITARY INTERVENTIONS without the express permission of Congress and the American People. Period.

    3) No "Free Trade."  Only Fair Trade. Nations with lax labor laws, lax environmental laws, lax climate change laws will henceforth experience tariffs equalizing their advantages due to slave labor, rampant pollution and political oppression (read: Tibet).  

    4) Free public education for all who maintain their grades.  How to make America competitive in a global economy? Educate the hell out of our citizens - in the ways that they chose to be educated.  Eliminate the preference for well-off and fund a preference for intelligent from any and all income levels, races, creeds, etc.  Set a person free to pursue their most fervent desires, and you set the nation a giant step forward.

    Those are my prescriptions for a Progressive Creed.

    The side effects of those will ripple through the nation, through our economy, through our citizenry and, indeed, through the world. Education, Fair Trade, barriers to war, Universal Health Care. Much will be set straight by these simple, yet profound, concepts.

    Let's get to work (some more).

    droogie6655321 lives!

    by YucatanMan on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:51:45 PM PST

  •  Undoubtedly the sagest Diary I've read here (7+ / 0-)

    at the D Kos. Thanks Dallasdoc. One concern I've discussed with others is whether we, having expended much emotion and energy in electing representatives, can now re-energize ourselves to hold the feet of those we have elected to the fire of the progressive movement. Here's hoping/praying that "Yes, we can.'"

    Dreams have a way of betraying you when you use them to escape. Ask yourself why you dream what you dream.

    by brjzn on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 09:52:07 PM PST

  •  Inner Voice in a Time of the Mighty Wurlitzer (5+ / 0-)

    We are in a daze, reeling from 24 years of post-Carter lies and nonsense.  We are the most sheep-like of the First World, having been blindered and run through chutes and woken up with clanging pots at 2am, incessantly.

    And the beatings leave no mark; the poison is odorless, colorless, and untraceable.  The victim plays the victim, and becomes victimized.  The heart bleeds as freely as tears.

    We forgot what it means to be a citizen.  I watched Doubt last night, great movie.  The opening scene is a sermon about doubt, the doubt we all shared after the Kennedy assassination.  Father Flynn tells us that even that doubt, even the uncertainty the shipwrecked sailor has about his own course to freedom when he finds the clouds obscuring his navigable stars, can galvanize us and give us a shared, meaningful purpose.  Even doubt - perhaps especially doubt - can join us as citizens of a nation.

    We have not needed to come together for a hundred years.  Not the whole nation, not for a common purpose.  Not both the JP Morgans and the Fredrick Douglasses'.  Not all of us.

    Here's a letter to the editor I read just today (coincidence?  or "there are no coincidences"?:

    A true citizen

    It's interesting, I suppose, to read writer's views on who is truly a citizen.

    Should illegal immigrants have rights or be shipped back to their home country? Should they be given amnesty? Should they be allowed to earn citizenship, and so forth?

    Citizenship is much more than finding yourself on this side of the border. Citizenship carries responsibilities. Citizenship requires work.

    A citizen is gainfully employed, pays his taxes, obeys the law. A citizen educates himself to be an informed voter. A citizen serves this country in time of war and peace. A citizen raises his family to love this country, and be good citizens as well.

    If you are in jail or continue to disobey the law and blame society for your troubles, you are not a citizen. If you blew off the advantage of free education or do not speak English, you are not a citizen. If you are a habitual user of drugs, if you habitually use welfare as income, you are not a citizen.

    If your family has been here for centuries or arrived last year, and you are any, or some, of the above, you are not a citizen.

    I am not so blithe and quick with my judgements.  To me citizenship is undefinable in the abstract, kind of like the Socratic concept of "dog" being hierarchically superior to any given and specific dog, and yet the uberdog can never exist.  I am a Citizen of this new Rome, but what a citizen is, what a citizen can be, would only be in the concrete what society allows him to be.

    And currently, society, being comprised of the might Wurlitzers of Convenient Truths, does not allow us to even know what that means.

    •  We must make our own truths (5+ / 0-)

      Of course we have been drugged into poppyfield slumber by incessant consumerist propaganda.  Our political life is little different nowadays in this respect.  But our older political heritage offers us a solution.

      A progressive movement must work against the stupefying forces in our society you point out.  We must revive that foundational notion of citizenship that gave birth to this country, and update it to current needs.  We are in this, as in all other political questions, the masters of our fate if we choose to be.  And that is the gift of being an American.

      Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

      by Dallasdoc on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 10:25:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Dust Off Yer Fringe Leather Jacket (3+ / 0-)

        Dallasdoc, I am simply confused.  I got that way when I realized that I had knee-jerked to immediate distaste for an Obama initiative to reduce taxes.  This of course, having had it beat into my head for well, 24 years, is a prime button to cause me to respond with age-old tried-and-true "OMG, here they go again with the tax breaks"!  Now, that the tax breaks might be well-deserved for the Middle Class (which I had never previously attributed tax cuts, hence the hatred for them) - I am reminded of that chart shown recently comparing real wages to productivity, with the caveat that we have not progressed as a middle class since 1970 - but my immediate reaction was bilious, I assure you!

        Obama to me is inscrutable.  He rebuffed us once over some advise and consent matter that escapes me, but he nevertheless focusses not on us.

        And I think I know why, and I'm going with you here on this Dallasdoc:  I think it is just as that other article - from (I think some Obama campaign aide) - said:  Obama is laying down the gauntlet to us so that we will accept the mantle of leadership ourselves.

        That is what frightened me!  In a time of Imperial Empire one is occasionally cowed into acquiescence and callow obsequiousness in, say, the workplace (you are a real doctor, right?).  I think tens of millions or so, certainly no more, would agree that the dialogue in the workplace the car on the way to the workplace, the hotel you stay at (Hello, Ayers!), all echo an otherwise preposterous notion.  What Rush says.  The Wurlitzer thing.

        But, yah, thinking for myself, pushing mine own agenda, becoming part of a movement.  Yah.

        If that's what Tuesday is really all about, I am frankly scared shitless!

        As we all should be.  It's a lot like the first time you talked to a girl (or boy), no?  It's like falling in love all over again.

        In concrete terms, yes, we can do this thing. This is the best last chance we got.

        •  We have to react to change as well as create it (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bluesee, ms badger, Floande

          The automatic responses we've learned over the years in response to cynical political games may not be appropriate to a new day.  If we are given the opportunity to find power but are too cynical or disillusioned to take advantage, that would be more tragic than never having the opportunity in the first place.

          We can't change the country without changing ourselves.  It is Obama's challenge to us, just today.

          Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

          by Dallasdoc on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 11:38:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  ...but I Love Her... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            You said "cynical and disillusioned".  I said "scared shitless".  The cynicism and apparent disillusionment is just a dodge, doc!

            The change, then, is to gird one's loins.  My wife suggested I hang the new President's picture in my office, just as Right Wing folks proudly hung pictures of, say, Geo Bush praying with American flags flying proudly in the backdrop.  Such objects were loathsome to me, and for that reason intimidating of course.

            My mother-in-law stayed over the other night.  She told me "Your father-in-law and I have decided to support our President no matter who he is."  And I'm thinking (why on earth would you say that?)...

            •  Stay Tuned (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Dallasdoc, just thanks.

              I read and re-read our discourse, and I have come up with one more epiphany, if I may:

              I will hang the picture of Obama in my office.

              That's as far as I got, I had originally meant to say more, but that commitment is all I got.  I hope that it never evokes the same emotions that the picture of Bush did for me.

  •  My plan is to help extend our brand (13+ / 0-)

    in a very red part of California. I am involved in state politics by being the Vice President Orange County Region of the California Democratic Council which is the arm of the state party concerned with the health and growth of Democratic clubs.

    I also ran and was elected a delegate to the State Central Committee representing the 71st Assembly District.

    I also ran for Congress in the 42nd CD.

    In each case, I'm trying to be a representative of progressive ideals and values put on display so that others who are afraid to admit they are Democrats in this country will know that they are not alone.

    With Obama's election we have made huge strides but he didn't win the county though he did come close and won some pockets. We are actively trying to create more pockets of Democrats and giving Democrats more places to go to be involved.

    I'm also a volunteer in Generation Change Food Drive.

    The short version is easy - be the change you want to see. Run for office, hold office, volunteer and proudly wear your values on your sleeve.

    I'm Ron Shepston and I'm not done yet. There's much left to accomplish.

    by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 10:11:18 PM PST

  •  Well written, Dallasdoc (4+ / 0-)

    I agree with everything you said, and especially how you said it.  Too often, our congress critters hear from us only when we've been whipped up into a rage, and too often it's in the form of vitriolic rants.  Well written critisms, and articulate critical phone calls, as well as notes and calls of thanks when appropriate -- all are more effective than f-bomb ridden diatribes, IMHO.

  •  this reminds me of (8+ / 0-)

    the first baby of the year born this year in a town in Utah, happened to be born to a hispanic couple. As the first baby, born a few seconds after midnight, he received a bunch of presents from local retailers as well as his picture on the front page of the local newspaper.

    The next day, the story generated a lot of online commentary on the newspaper site, much of it negative grumbling that the First Baby was hispanic. One noteable comment was "you should only be allowed to be the First Baby if you are an American citizen!"

    Maybe we can start by educating citizens that the First Baby is an American Citizen because he was born here, no matter who his parents are.

    "Your money is still there, it just has a different value"---quote from my financial advisor

    by bruised toes on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 10:17:52 PM PST

  •  My Ideas. (4+ / 0-)
    1.  Adopt a candidate.  If we all picked one candidate to advertise...a support page on Facebook...letters recommending their legislation to other members of state/national Congress...diaries here.
    1.  Listen, learn then ignore the right wing wind machine.  Do not give them their propoganda fight.  Fine, say its a center-right nation all you want.  WE know it is not.  Keep our eye on the ball.
    1.  Recognize that we here on DK will never fully agree and coalesce around a couple central issues.  However, with so many ears we can easily identify and network with likeminded individuals.
    1.  Respect those with opposing views here.  Just because Health Care is my number one issue does not mean I don't think gay rights or Bush War crimes are important.  Like every other facet of life, sometimes energies must be prioritized.

    Thank you for listening.

    ~Let me taste your unfathomable tears of sadness - oh, yes, mm, they're so good~ Cartman

    by CWalter on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 10:18:35 PM PST

    •  Thank you for contributing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I disagree about us not being able to coalesce around a few issues.  Some issues are strategically vital and uncontroversial: public financing of Federal campaigns and media deconsolidation, for instance.  Without advocacy for those goals, our others will be far harder to achieve.

      But as with so much else, we agree on the vast majority of what we discuss.  Finding common ground, and making common cause, is the task at hand.

      Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

      by Dallasdoc on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 10:29:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  sorry for the late reply. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I do most of my posting at work and I had to do my actual job for a

        There are a few reasons I don't think we can unite as a single voice on any particular issue.

        -Too many single issue contributers.  

        -Strong personalities demanding all or nothing thinking (i.e. not regreting the Obama vote because of the Warren invocation or somebody must hate gays if they have different priorities than the Warren issue..yeah I am still bitter about how some very kind people here were treated) See also FISA, Bush War al.
        -"Compromise" or "Prioritize" are sometimes seen as dirty words around here.

        -Because we 'know' eachother, it can be taken personally if one does not find the level of support they personally expect...

        -High/unrealistic expectations.

        Even if we agree on the What, we will never agree on the How.

        All that said...I DO think this site is the greatest resources on the internet to find like-minded people to join your cause and/or educate yourself on an issue.

        I don't think we need to unite as One.  There are so many of us, we can fight and WIN battles on multiple fronts.  See: Nov 4th.  

        So all in all...the very things that may prevent us from uniting under one issue I actually see as our greatest strengths.

        But hey, me being wrong won't hurt us either.  :-)

        ~Let me taste your unfathomable tears of sadness - oh, yes, mm, they're so good~ Cartman

        by CWalter on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 08:36:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Dr. West: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, bigchin, out of left field

    I survived the Bush Administration, 2000-2008

    by Publius2008 on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 10:31:58 PM PST

  •  Breaking: Obama reads and follows Dallasdoc's (11+ / 0-)

    Diary/advice. This Video was emailed to Obama supporters within the last 12 hours.

    Dreams have a way of betraying you when you use them to escape. Ask yourself why you dream what you dream.

    by brjzn on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 10:36:33 PM PST

  •  DD... I would add CREW to your list (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, Fabian, Rick Winrod, Edgewater

    of organizations. It's up to us to show DC that we the people will no longer tolerate corruption by our elected officals. Here's a link -

    I'm sending your diary to our LD e-board.

    •  Agree about CREW (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rick Winrod, Floande, FarWestGirl

      I mentioned them, along with the ACLU, Common Cause, Consumer's Union and unions in a comment above.  There are a lot of worthy organizations we can support.  But they tend to be Washington-based in many cases, and coordination with grassroots energy is a wheel we've yet to fully invent.  

      Thanks for forwarding the diary.  I know I'm preaching to the choir, but until we're all singing the same hymn in the same key, we're a pretty piss-poor choir.

      Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

      by Dallasdoc on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 10:55:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pass Constitution test to get driver license. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    john de herrera
  •  To be effective we have to develop a counter (4+ / 0-)

    to the Dem Establishment's calculation about progressives: "Where else are they going to go?"

    Certainly, we're constitutionally incapable of supporting a Republican. Unless independents could magically coalesce and put up viable candidate, we can't go to a 3rd Party. Nader pretty much put an end to that. Sitting out a vote is the same as voting Republican, so we can't do that either.

    They calculate right: Where else are we going to go?

    My answer has crystalized as "upside their heads." How exactly I haven't been able to scope out. Maybe finance/volunteer boycotts of the organization, and day after day with tens of thousands of calls and mail. Public shaming is very effective and has a history of success with politicians, so I'd be doing a lot to highlight who is bought by which interests.

    But until we make the Dem Establishment either appreciative or terrified of us, they will keep shitting on us.

    Just another nit, in the context of framing: We are not progressives, or the left, or liberals. As you pointed out in the beginning of your essay, we are in fact the real Mainstream America. We need to establish that as the main narrative, imo. And part of that is that we reach out and form alliances outside the "left/right" ghettos mass media has pushed the American people into.

    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 11:29:35 PM PST

    •  I agree with you (5+ / 0-)

      Where else are we going to go?  To their district offices, to their local appearances, to the phones to barrage them with our views, to party committee meetings to stir up more response.

      If they don't listen to the folks back home (i.e., us) they ought to start worrying about a primary challenge.  That's where those scalps I wrote about come in handy.

      BTW, about the nit you picked.  Being progressive and being mainstream are not mutually exclusive concepts.  We are actually a center-left nation, when it comes to the issues, and there's no reason not to push that meme as hard as we can.

      Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

      by Dallasdoc on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 11:43:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But we have to be organized. (4+ / 0-)

        And, regretfully, we have to be fierce, and overwhelming. I mean, no-time-to-fundraise overwhelming. And fierce means asking the finance Dems in public settings what they give banks back when they get 100, 200, 500K from them, for instance.

        Just to add a little sense of perspective and urgency to the matter consider this (a duplicate from another diary comment)

        Monetary union has left half of Europe trapped in depression

        Events are moving fast in Europe. The worst riots since the fall of Communism have swept the Baltics and the south Balkans. An incipient crisis is taking shape in the Club Med bond markets. S&P has cut Greek debt to near junk. Spanish, Portuguese, and Irish bonds are on negative watch.

        ...A great ring of EU states stretching from Eastern Europe down across Mare Nostrum to the Celtic fringe are either in a 1930s depression already or soon will be. Greece's social fabric is unravelling before the pain begins, which bodes ill.

        ...This week, Riga's cobbled streets became a war zone. Protesters armed with blocks of ice smashed up Latvia's finance ministry. ...In Lithuania, riot police fired rubber-bullets on a trade union march. Dogs chased stragglers into the Vilnia river. A demonstration outside Bulgaria's parliament in Sofia turned violent on Wednesday...

        2 weeks ago, in Iceland, a mob with torches shut down the PM's annual broadcast. Off the air, cause the cables were burned. Parliament was stormed the previous week. And you've likely seen the news that CA isn't going to pay welfare, tax refunds, and student loans just announced.

        In other words, this is rapidly becoming a not-business-as-usual kind of situation. All the more reason the Dem Establishment needs a good caning.

        Back to the nit: Yes, but we are the Mainstream. It's not that being progressive is significantly different, it's that the members are basically identical. Except in how the "conventional wisdom" treats them. It's going along with that treatment, our acceptance of it, I'm not liking.

        Thanks for the diary Doc. Always like to hear the angle you bring to a thing.

        Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

        by Jim P on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 12:13:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The answer (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dallasdoc, Lady Libertine

      to where do we go? also comes from the Conservative movement. We mount primary challenges. We let people like the Blue Dogs and the DLC know that, if they insist on being conservatives, they will have to defend that position against us every day they're standing up. 40 years ago there was a majority of moderate Republicans. First they learned that, to stay alive they had to become conservatives. Then they retired. We can do that too.

      "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

      by johnmorris on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 07:50:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I want to expand on your ideas (5+ / 0-)

    I would like to see us find out when the office hours are for elected officials. I would like to see us make appointments an show up with ideas in hand. We talk about ideas here on Dailykos, we have very good thinkers on the left, and it would be nice if we put their ideas in the hands of the people who can take action.

    We can also canvass our neighborhoods in order to get the ideas out to the public. Start neighborhood groups that encourage people to contact their local congresscritter and senator to make sure ideas are turned into action.

    The only time you see anyone canvass now a days is around election time, or you see these underpaid kids begging for money for the PIRGS. We can turn door knocking into an art form, and we can show our elected officials that we are in touch with voters and that our opinions matter because we can get people out to vote.

    Basically, we become our own lobbyists. We are going to need people to take charge in each district, and we are going to need state by state heads. We are also going to need to raise some money. Asking people to do all of this voluntarily might be asking too much.

    a tent can only be so big before it starts to sag at the seams.

    by jbou on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 11:54:05 PM PST

    •  Outstanding additions (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ms badger, Floande, FarWestGirl

      I hope this conversation continues with other contributors.  The descent into ephemera around here since the election has me more than a little disheartened.

      I'm no expert in citizen action, as I admitted in the diary.  Many others can speak to these issues far better than I can.  I only hope the community is listening more intently, which is why I wrote this diary.

      Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

      by Dallasdoc on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 12:02:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  problem as I see it is... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dallasdoc, Fabian, FarWestGirl, Edgewater

        the Obama team is set to use their influence over the million plus email list they have. They sent out an email today with a video explaining a little about their idea. If we want to do grassroots lobbying we are going to have to compete with the President.

        a tent can only be so big before it starts to sag at the seams.

        by jbou on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 12:08:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  It can NOT be o.k. TO YOU to live where (4+ / 0-)
    - someone, like your boss or your neighbor or some nameless bureaucrat can have you locked up in jail without charges,

    - you aren't allowed to be brought promptly to a judge to hear the charges against you,

    - you aren't allowed to see the evidence against you,

    - you aren't allowed to know or question the witnesses against you,

    - you don't have access to legal assistance that is affordable regardless of your income,

    - the cops can investigate you without process and without a warrant,

    - the Bill of Rights is something people might or might not have a fucking clue about.


    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 12:04:52 AM PST

  •  This is a great diary... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If this was inspired in any part by OPOL's diary, I would like to say one thing in his defense: he was worked tirelessly attending and organizing anti-war efforts.

    We all can get a little cautious given all that has transpired. My sig still shows some of that cynicism that the democrats taught me in 2006.

    I vowed after 2006 I would not give another dime to a politician, so that means I only contributed about $700 to various elections this last cycle. I am hoping for more than spam mail for my rewards.

    We said we want change, and they gave us a handful.

    by MouseOfSuburbia on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 01:04:02 AM PST

  •  Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, out of left field


    Starship Troopers is a political essay as well as a novel. Large portions of the book take place in classrooms, with Rico and other characters engaged in debates with their History and Moral Philosophy teachers, who are often thought to be speaking in Heinlein's voice. The overall theme of the book is that social responsibility requires being prepared to make individual sacrifice. Heinlein's Terran Federation is a limited democracy with aspects of a meritocracy based on willingness to sacrifice in the common interest. Suffrage belongs only to those willing to serve their society by two years of volunteer Federal Service — "the franchise is today limited to discharged veterans", (ch. XII), instead of anyone "...who is 18 years old and has a body temperature near 37°C"[15] The Federation is required to find a place for anyone who desires to serve, regardless of his skill or aptitude.

    There is an explicitly-made contrast to the democracies of the 20th century, which according to the novel, collapsed because "people had been led to believe that they could simply vote for whatever they wanted... and get it, without toil, without sweat, without tears."[16] Indeed, Colonel Dubois criticizes as unrealistic the famous U.S. Declaration of Independence guarantees concerning "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". No one can stop anyone from pursuing happiness, but life and liberty are said to only exist if they are deliberately sought and paid for.

    The GOP has resorted to Cannibalism. Please send Condiments to GOP HQ

    by JML9999 on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 01:26:27 AM PST

  •  Dear DallasDoc (6+ / 0-)

    First, get out of my head! :-) I was having a discussion on this with a friend and their take was 'if I vote I am doing my duty as a citizen, and I guess too I should pay taxes."

    Here's what it means to me to be a citizen:

    1. Vote.
    1. Pay taxes. Ensure your tax money goes to fund correct priorities by questioning and using tools like adding initiatives and referenda to ballots (locally for example if the government folks are using your tax money poorly)...
    1. question your government and don't believe everything they say. be informed so you can question properly.
    1. call your reprs - local, city, state, feds. ask them  to do what they say they will do, to be accountable, esp when they fail or change direction.
    1. involve your family and friends as much as you can. an informed citizenry is a strong one.

    by LokiMom on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 01:34:54 AM PST

    •  Wow..... (0+ / 0-)
      1. Why?  So we can keep enabling corrupt politicians controlled by corrupt lobbyists who want things done which are not in the best interest of Americans?  So we can continue to protest actions by our government only to be ignored again?  So we can beat ourselves up over our supposedly informed but wrong decisions?  Jesus, the list could go on forever.
      1. Why?  So we can continue to fund the myriad bloated, disgusting bureaucracies and corporations?  So we can "bailout" bankers and wall streeters?  So we can continue to not have adequate education for our children, not have adequate health insurance, not have a functional rail system?  So we can continue to build the monsterous war machine?  WHY?!!!!!!!!!
      1. Why?  So we can continue to have their heads nod at us only to turn around and completely ignore us?  To talk to walls or to ourselves?  They'll do as they please and you will like it.
      1. Your "optimism" is turning into delusion, now.  The only effective way is protest and Americans simply do not have what it takes to protest effectively anymore.
      1.  I absolutely agreee.

      "The erudite are not wise and the wise are not erudite." - Lao Tzu

      by TheKost on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 08:22:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for a measured, thoughtful diary. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, etbnc

    And it is absolutely true that we have to be the engine of the change we want to see. We must work to elect the people we want on all levels from local through to federal.  It is, in fact, imperative that we do this.  We must also make sure to put a system in place that will identify, encourage and promote the types of candidates that we need on an on-going and continuous basis.

    "We come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly."

    by Bene Gesserit1 on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 02:44:29 AM PST

  •  corporate powers, and those who speak for them (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    want us to "organize." change is not coming from the bottom up. it's got to come fromt the top down or it won't come at all.

    Billion dollar presidential campaigns are still for losers.

    by john de herrera on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 02:51:01 AM PST

    •  I don't agree at all (10+ / 0-)

      Corporations DO NOT want us to organize because it threatens them. Just look at how hard they work against our right to unionize. Unions are one of the most effective organizations that citizens and workers can join.

      None of these changes can possibly come from the top down because the corporate lobbyists and big industry fat cats have ensconced themselves amoung the top tiers of government where they can observe and control much of the daily routine.

      The number one effort of any grass roots organization attempting to influence and change how our government behaves must start by tearing down the incestuous relationship big business and government now have. Corporations influence legislation at all levels of government, nationally and locally, and to stop them we must get our government to stop recognizing them as citizens. We have to overturn corporate  "personhood" which is used to grant corporations constitutional protections and liberties they neither deserve nor are legally qualified to possess.

      •  Thank you n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        "The erudite are not wise and the wise are not erudite." - Lao Tzu

        by TheKost on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 08:25:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Right on! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        (Oops, I'm dating myself. :-)

      •  it was late (0+ / 0-)

        but think about what you said. members of congress going to strip corporations of personhood?

        unions are shot, their vitality diminished every day.

        if we are to organize, it would be to do so to get fundamental change governance requires. from the top down means one thing, organizing around the constitution. it means the Article V Convention or the republic will die, while we "organize."

        Billion dollar presidential campaigns are still for losers.

        by john de herrera on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 09:45:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree that change has to be at the top (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          but there is no way to get there other than from the bottom.  Also, the top tier of the government is crowded with the corporate big spenders who are willing to buy, if necessary, the legislation they need to make it easier to keep what they have and get more while making it nearly impossible for anyone else to do the same.

          Also, Congress can not strip personhood from corporations because they never actually possessed it. Read Thom Hartmann's book "Unequal Protection" for an eye opening history of the manipulation of the legal system required to attain this bogus "Personhood".

          Lastly, Unions are virtually diminished thanks to massive efforts by corporations to kill them. Only citizens can salvage them and to let them expire without anything to replace them would be to kill off the very thing so many lost their lives bringing to fruition. Every right wing military coup had a common aim of murdering high level union officials. It is because the corporate world is so afraid of the common citizens ability to organize that they have willingly committed atrocities to prevent us from doing so

          •  one amendment (0+ / 0-)

            to the constitution could abolish all the ills we face. can we agree on that? how exactly that amendment should read is beside the point.

            a critical distinction needs to be made: corporate power is afraid of our ability to organize, if it's for--the Article V Convention. they're happy to have us organize for anything else but this:

            Billion dollar presidential campaigns are still for losers.

            by john de herrera on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 12:18:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The Article V Convention. as it stands (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              invites US citizens to the table to vote on constitutional amendments. At this time that include corporate interests who carry a greater voice through their organizing than any individual citizen.

              Unless and until corporations are refused recognition as persons and therefore citizens, they will dominate and usurp control of any constitutional convention and the ooutcome will be fewer liberties for individuals and greater freedoms and powers for corporations

              •  enormous presumption (0+ / 0-)

                do you know what happens after congress is coerced to issue the call?

                your presumption is not only irrational, but illogical. not saying this to be rude, but attempting to have you look at what you've just said.

                once the call goes out, the states then hold special elections.

                special elections are not your regular repub/dem corporate elections. proof of this is the special election we had here in california for governor. there was a field of 50+ candidates. corporate interests will not be able to corner all those cats.

                once the convention convenes, the delegates will surely be aware that whatever they want to send out to the states, it had better be worthy of the approval of 38 states or it's going nowhere.

                think about this. how can corporate interests take away liberites out in the open? they like it just fine the way things are. that's why congress has never issued the call. if corporate interests control the legislative branch, and as you believe, they'd benefit from it, then why haven't we had one?

                the delegates are not there to legislate, simply to put ideas on the table and go home. they will not be beholden to raising money, doing favors, worrying about polls. they will be there to build consensus about the 28th Amendment should look like.

                what conclusion do you think they'll likely reach?

                Billion dollar presidential campaigns are still for losers.

                by john de herrera on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 01:32:10 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  We just had an initiative here (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  in Connecticut to hold a constitutional convention and the entire effort was propelled by corporate interests. A lot of money was spent on trying to convince Joe and Josephine Citizen that this was an opportunity for them to voice their opinion and amend the state's constitution to their benefit.

                  All of the Liberal and Progressive organizations in the state saw this for what it really was just by looking at those who championed the action. Had this gone through, the people of Connecticut would have been left out of the loop because all seats at the convention were in the hands of corporations which is exactly what I believe would happen on a national level.

                  As for corporations doing their dirty work out in the open, they don't give a damn what individuals think of them and why the hell should they. Do they stand for re-election on a regular basis? As long as they can generate profits for the major stock holders their jobs are secure. That won't change until the judicial system actually holds corporate officials accountable for false advertising and faulty products that harm and even kill consumers. What chance is there of that happening when legislation is written by lobbyists for elected officials all too happy to live off the fat of the corporate largess and shoot down any real regulating initiatives.

                  •  subjective/objective (0+ / 0-)

                    we can agree to disagree about our subjective opinions of the outcome, even though history and over 600 "constitutional conventions" indicate a productive gathering:

                    has it ever occured to you that liberal and progressive groups are also part of corporate structure? did you know that about once a decade the issue of a "constitutional convention" is floated in the mainstream media only to be shot down by both the aclu and the john birch society. isn't that odd? nationally recognized groups from across the political spectrum make strange bedfellows on this issue?

                    you say change won't come until the judicial system holds corporate interests/officials accountable. the robert's court is not going to reverse the course of handing power to legal fictions.

                    legislation is written by the lobbyists who pay for legislator's campaigns, i.e. corruption has become institutionalized.

                    the objective fact is this: our high law offers two choices for change: congress or convention.

                    your logic: we're fucked, but let's not rally around the convention clause of the constitution because we might get fucked. or, the house is on fire, but we better not hold a convention because it might set the house on fire. or, our boat is sinking, but we better not get in the other, because it might sink. just doesn't make sense. i hope you think about this more as the days go by. perhaps ask yourself why the convention clause was placed into the constitution in the first place, and consider that of all the variation of the fifty state constitutions they all have one thing in common--they contain a convention clause.

                    please read through the articles by justices van sickle and brennan at this site if you get time:

                    any questions or comments, i'm here.

                    Billion dollar presidential campaigns are still for losers.

                    by john de herrera on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 02:27:07 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

    •  Are you on FUCKING CRACK COCAINE!? n/t (0+ / 0-)

      "The erudite are not wise and the wise are not erudite." - Lao Tzu

      by TheKost on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 08:24:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'll take that for a sig line ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I hope this modest effort helps redirect our preoccupation with outrages du jour, insoluble arguments, and inevitable feelings of disappointment and betrayal.  In a democracy it's up to us.  It's always been up to us.

    ...if it weren't a little long. Better, I'll take it to heart. First to rearrange my Monday schedule so I can fit in some service....

  •  Sorry, but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    why should we believe that "change" can be made to happen through public pressure?

    When the bailout was first announced, the "people" were against it 90 to 1 and every Democrat in Congress knew it.  There were screams from economists around the world that it wouldn't work.  There was a massive response from "the people" and it was ignored.  Yet, we were right.
    So too the Iraq war:  I surely remember the push back, the huge demonstrations against attacking and the accurate rejection of GOP talking points about an "easy" and "welcome" victory.  We were ignored. and we were RIGHT again.

    The WORLD, not just progressives, is APPALLED at the US's continued support of Israeli killing spreees.  Everybody in Congress knows it.  And yet we get near unanimous votes in showing "solidarity" by our elected officials with the slaughter of innocence.  Meanwhile, most of our "progressive" leaders here at DKOS won't even get close to that issue - which I hold up as an essential choice for the progressive agenda

    The notion that Obama's center right cabinet picks and appointments happened because we "progressives" didn't frame our issues correctly is wrong.  Those picks and appointments happened because Obama wanted them and there was NOTHING that "progressives" could have done to change that.  "Progressives" have been PROVEN right time and time again only to see the accuracy of our vision TOTALLY IGNORED by the CORPORATIST DEMOCRATS in Washington, i.e almost ALL of them, and until THAT happens - taking the corrupting influence of private money out of politics - no amount of "framing" and "pressure" will make a difference.  Instead we got an autumn full of diaries here gleeful over the fact that Obama raised so much money (never mind that most of it came from Citigroup and Goldman Sacs and AIPac, etc...).

    yeah... hooray... not.

    Progressives have a long track record of being right.  What better frame is there than that.


    Obama spoke some nice "populist" words as a campaigner and wasted NO TIME backtracking from them during the campaign (FISA, Off-shore drilling, etc) and now once elected (taxing the wealthy).  And he spoke them because "progressives" did just what you're suggesting.

    What we got was Clinton, Emmanuel, Summers, Gates, Geithner, Holder, Salazar... it's a long and devastating list.

    We "progressives" apparently can do nothing but sit back and watch our VERY REAL efforts be TOTALLY IGNORED again.

    "History is a tragedy, not a melodrama." - I.F.Stone

    by bigchin on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 05:39:06 AM PST

    •  Your glass isn't even (5+ / 0-)

      one quarter full. The world is far more complicated and hopeful than you paint it. Your list of appointees is highly selective, for example. You are also missing what was said. We need to be organized and active and to push for change and to primary a few established beltway types. It is fine not to have illusions that 'we have won' but saying that we have not gained ground and that there is no chance that 'they' will listen is absurd.

      We are the change. I do not expect to live to see the world as I would like it to be, but for the first time in the 41 years since I left the United states I see a chance that something very positive is possible in my birth nation.

      We have only just begun and none too soon.

      by global citizen on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 07:05:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good God.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        You don't even live here and you're saying we should all be the optimistic change?  Are you effing insane?  Do you know what Americans are going through right now?  We're being ROBBED BLIND!  Tossed in the gutter like some no namer.  And W and O working in tandem to make sure the bankers get those taxpayer funds (MY FUCKING MONEY that should be going to build roads, maintain schools and pay corrupt politicians!) secured.  Then as if to REALLY show us how they feel about us, they throw a party for themselves down in Florida w/ golf, fruity cocktail drinks and luxury beachfront hotels to tell the press corp that they have no plans to do anything with the 100's of millions of dollars they received as part of the stolen taxpayer monies slush fund.  Yeah, we're getting the SHAFT HARD TWO, maybe 1000 ways.  Fuck you and your BS optimism.  The world is being enslaved by these fucking freaks and you talk about optimism.  You don't even fucking live here anymore.  What the fuck kind of opinion should I pay attention to coming from an expat who views America through some fucking rainbow brite prism?  Wake the fuck up.

        "The erudite are not wise and the wise are not erudite." - Lao Tzu

        by TheKost on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 08:10:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Through the wonders of modern communications (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          and transportation I do think I have some reasonable notion of what is going on in the United States. In the 40 some years I have been inside the borders, where you assume some secrets are revealed only to those present, on a hundred or so different trips to 20 or 30 different states.

          Having fled the country and not much regretted it, I am aware that America is imperfect. The odds of it improving are better since clearly you intend to have no part in trying to change it.

          We have only just begun and none too soon.

          by global citizen on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 08:25:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Sometimes, the best way to see a picture (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dallasdoc, TheKost, Bronx59

          is to step back a bit.  One big problem we Americans have is paying too little attention to the perspectives of people in other nations.  We think we are so effing exceptional, so different from the rest of the world, when we could learn so much from them.

          I have been abroad, and I have always found it refreshing to experience the viewpoint and environment of other cultures.  It really is a good cure for terminal cynicism, and can get one thinking in a new way about how to deal with our own peculiar problems

          •  I've lived abroad.... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            In Germany for 2 years and trust me I've seen the light.  Your point is well-taken.  I understand that being on the frontlines of battle isn't ideal for mapping out a path to victory.  People, should be angry as hell with where our government and the establishment of privilige has taken us.  The funny thing is they aren't and it doesn't look like they'll be angry any time soon.  The term "slave to the grind" cannot better describe what the majority of Americans are going through.  Now, on top of that, we are being swindled by the banking industry.  Before that was Big oil and all the while (since WWI) the MIC has grown to obscenely monstrous proportions almost guaranteeing, if we ever find ourselves in the situation, that we will NEVER rise up to face the tyranny that I believe is very close at hand.  Who am I kidding?  If we were faced with it today and everyone still had their 9-5 job, I don't believe anyone would lift a finger or bat an eyelash.

            "The erudite are not wise and the wise are not erudite." - Lao Tzu

            by TheKost on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 11:03:52 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  We might be surprised. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dallasdoc, TheKost, Bronx59

              A few years before 1776, nobody in the colonies thought there was going to be a revolt against the British Crown.  There were many grievances at that point, but the idea of independence, establishing a new nation--that all came together very fast, in just a couple of years.  

              We really don't know what is going on under the surface of our society.  But I do think there is a growing awareness of how the majority of us are being screwed over.

  •  committed citizens can change the world (3+ / 0-)

    Margaret Mead:

    Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.

    It's the only thing that ever has.

    Thanks, Dallasdoc, for this reminder.

  •  My duty... (0+ / 0-)


    Stop voting.


    Stop paying taxes


    Obtain as many high limit CCs as possible, run them to the hilt and when the bank comes to me asking payment say "I thought this was part of the bailout plan."  When they tell me it's not I say "Well, I'm making it part of the bailout plan.  Thanks for playing.  Goodbye."


    After saving a significant chunk of money, stop working.


    Move out of this country for good.

    Ta-da!  This is the plan every responsible citizen should follow.  Otherwise, you are simply an enabler of the rotten and corrupt system which has obviously taken root in AMerica.

    "The erudite are not wise and the wise are not erudite." - Lao Tzu

    by TheKost on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 07:43:53 AM PST

  •  Thanks DallasDoc (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, global citizen, Floande, etbnc

    This is one of the most spot-on diaries of the last couple of months.

    I always said that getting a democrat elected as president was the easy part of taking our country back. Now comes the harder part of actual governing.

    Who will stop this war of lies? Keith Olbermann May 23rd, 2007

    by Ed in Montana on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 07:46:35 AM PST

    •  As I read the diary I began to wonder several (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ed in Montana, Dallasdoc

      things, mostly centred on exactly what the focus of this diary is and what call to action are we being asked to consider?.

      It is about definition, first the definition of 'citizen' which is much broader than the rights conferred through citizenship and has changed considerabley through the evolution of Americsn citizenship rights.  Second, the defnition of Progressive,  a subject that comes up here every once in a while and leads to very diverse definitions ranging from a left leaning social Democrat as opposed to a more centrist Democrat to what in Europe would be labelled as socialist.  Which basically is a third party.

      I would very much like to see both areas debated, the rights and privileges of citizenship vs residency in the US of A and being a a citizen in the broader term, of the world and our obligations as human beings and respoinsibilities to each other.

      I suppose both concepts focus on what kind of a nation we want to live in amd what kind of a world we want to help shape.

      The philosophy is too broad based in this form for me to have any specific answers. As I consider myself a citizen of the world rather than a 'legal' citizen of the US.  The entire legal concept of legal and illegal rights to the rights and privileges of citizenship in America is too narrow for me to  accept as I believe that anyone who lives, works, goes to school or whatever has a responsibility to be a productive and positive member of the society they live in and I look to an inclusive world rather than an exclusive one.

      The sub theme of course is how do we allocate the slices of pie and who get's the crumbs.

      •  The diary is not a specific call to action (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        It is more a call to shift the focus of conversation.  I keep writing the same comment over and over again, about how we lack focus and strategic goals but instead fritter away our energy on arguments about Gaza and Caroline Kennedy.

        This diary is an attempt to get people thinking about how to become effective political agents again, now that the focus of the presidential campaign has been lost.  I offer no definitive prescriptions, but only a plea for a change in direction.

        Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

        by Dallasdoc on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 11:44:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  certainly the 'arguments' over Gaza are a (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          profound indication of our discomfort with the idea of violence and war as answers to disputes, whether they be national, international, religious or political or cultural in nature.  Since it is in our natures to want to blame someone aand make things better the debate inevitably  turns to argument, and that is worldwide, not just American.

          The argument about Kennedy also shows a national split in our understanding of who should lead in the political process, how they should be appointed or elected or chosen etc.  Who has that right?  the people, the law says otherwise in certain cases.  Ergo argument!  Simply the NY senatorial seat is a NY problem, if they don't like the way their senators are appointed they need to change the law. That is the way the system works.

          I cannot see how we can 'focus' on 'strategic goals' in general because there is no such animal as a consensual strategic goal. We can only really be asked to focus on specific matters that require a call to action.

          That is why I find it difficult to focus on 'Progressive    goals and issues' because they are not monolithic, they are basically individual.  I, for example believe fervently in what is more than single payer health care but is based on the United Kingdom version of nationalised health care available to all with private insurance and options available for those who will not be satisifed with the level of service and care they think they will receive.  I am also a profound believer in fiscal resaponsibility, as I practice it in my own life, balancing my checkbook in pay as i go, not living beyond my means, if i do need something i cannot afford I use credit but pay it down responsibly and don't incure more until it is paid off. I want my government to do the same.

          Those are very simplistic responses I know because life is always a great deal more complex but in a sense I think we all need to practice triage and prioritise better. Children tend to learn more from example than they do from edicts.

          There is no simple answer to either political priorities or international disputes that have their roots in circumstances over which we had no control then and have little control now.

          i guess what I am saying is that we need to narrow our focus and broaden our vision.  Nothing is simple, especially an unruly mob all responding to their personal buttons as they are pushed.  There are 200,000 people responding with 200,000 differing ideas. How to focus that?  god alone knows.

  •  I just want to bring this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc, Floande

    to the discussion about our values:

    Harry Dexter White,  at his HUAC hearing

    "I believe in freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of the press, freedom of criticism, and freedom of movement. I believe in the goal of equality of opportunity, and the right of each individual to follow the calling of his or her own choice, and the right of every individual to have an opportunity to develop his or her capacity to the fullest. . . . I consider these principles sacred. I regard them as the basic fabric of our American way of life, and I believe in them as living realities, and not mere words on paper. This is my creed."

    "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

    by johnmorris on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 08:09:38 AM PST

  •  12:01 Tuesday, January 21, 2009 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I end my citizen protest of the Bush Age.  Following the stolen election of 2000, when the Supreme Court committed the first betrayal of us citizens, I began to hate my government.

    After 9/11, when the neo-cons ramrodded an illegal war down our throats and invaded Iraq without cause, breaking international treaties, I withdrew from participating in the support of my government in the style of Henry David Thoreau.  My act of civil disobedience was to cease being gainfully employed in order to withhold my tax dollars from contributing to the Iraq War.

    When the man who did more than anyone thought humanly possible to destroy the economy, mailed the citizen rebate money last year, I set the check aside and refused to "stimulate the economy."  I look forward to cashing it and spending it as soon as possible after the Inauguration.

    Now, I will put Civil Disobedience aside, silly as my efforts were (and that was but one example of my "seditious" behavior) and return to Fully Engaged Rousseauian, once more a full-fledged member of the Body Politic, united with the Sovereign State.

    Born free, chained for eight years, now released from the bands of tyranny, I am ready to get working on helping my country restore itself and its institutions under the Rule of Law once more.

    They burn our children in their wars and grow rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

    by Limelite on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 08:38:30 AM PST

  •  Thanks to Dallasdoc... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...for my new signature...

    " Most have their opinions handed to them by the corporate media but think those opinions are their own." -Dallasdoc

    by wyvern on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 08:43:24 AM PST

  •  The concept of thanking certain others. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dallasdoc  signature line for much of last year.  Some of you admired it, for which I give you thanks.  Others wondered where I got it.  In fact, the above is the one thing I thank George W. Bush for: teaching me that lesson.  I thank George Bush...  

    I sense the potential of some truth and value in your conclusion. However, taking this thinking to an extreme we might end up:

    1. thanking King George III and his ministers for creating the American Nation
    1. thanking John C Calhoun, Robert E Lee, Jefferson Davis, et. al. for eliminating the institution of lawful slavery in the United States
    1. thanking Adolf Hitler and his gang for the creation of the state of Israel
    1. thanking Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev, Leonid Brezhnez, et. al., for creating a globally integrated world economy
    1. thanking President Gerald Ford for the lesson he showed us as to the unrealized potentialities of the presidential pardon

    I'm not sure we want to go there.

  •  Amen and amen. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I watched Obama's train ride to Washington. I listened to him speak. And, then I got the point of the whole thing.

     Obama was bringing all of us to Washington with him. We were all on that train. He wants us working along side him.

     Very important diary.

    Republican concept of labor: "Machines of Meat"

    by redtex on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 11:25:26 AM PST

  •  It is not clear to me how the four... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    structural features we need are realized in the four lessons. How do the four lessons gear us to define a limited, discrete set of political goals for instance? Or how do they help us do develop a common language? The four lessons seemed directed at general ideas around proper citizenship, but the thesis of the diary seemed geared toward something far more specific and compelling.

    Time lost is always a disadvantage that is bound in some way to weaken him who loses it. -Clausewitz

    by Malachite on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 11:33:02 AM PST

    •  to develop... I hate typos! ;) n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Time lost is always a disadvantage that is bound in some way to weaken him who loses it. -Clausewitz

      by Malachite on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 11:34:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for the close reading (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The four structural features refer to the needs of the progressive movement as a whole, though I don't offer a roadmap to finding them.  My ambitions are more modest: to show what we lack and help direct the conversation toward how to acquire them.

      The four lessons I cite are simply things I've learned about more active citizenship.  Others here know far more than me, and many excellent ideas are discussed in the comments above.  

      The thesis of the diary is that we are wasting our time here since the election, and we risk losing focus and power as a political force.  I hope to help turn the conversation toward how to amass and exercise power effectively, though I have no definitive answers.  I trust the community has the wisdom to find them with enough encouragement.

      Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

      by Dallasdoc on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 11:49:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Obama is a communist." (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...more of "the other gifts George Bush has given us...."

    A New Progressive Majority.  He has defined us !!

    Laboring hard for the elites, for the wealthiest classes worldwide and against the needs of people just struggling to work, to live and to breathe, Bush has made me and many others dangerous democratic extremists.

    Never again will I politely tolerate the utter stupidity I have heard in the political 'arguments' of friends and pundits like Gregory. Stupidity like this:

    "Obama is a Muslim."
    "Obama may be the antichrist."

    I may not be the only person ready, willing & able to work to primary an obstructionist Anthony Weiner (NY-09). I will have to check with the Working Families Party, but I think we can do better than Schumer's protege.

    (Schumer vouched for Mukasey. I don't need Schumer as my senator either !! These ruling class patricians think they know courage?  They haven't seen courage YET !!)  

    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -Thomas Jefferson

    by ezdidit on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 12:07:10 PM PST

    •  Heh. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      "Obama may be the antichrist."

      George Bush may be the worst thing to ever happen to this country.  And people who still support him may be unqualified to exercise the franchise.  Perhaps they should have the decency to shut the hell up and stop screwing up our country with their ignorant prejudices.

      Progressivism is going to be especially hard in NY, I'd think, because of the concentrated power of the financial industry there.  You guys have a tough fight on your hands to grab the party, but at least NY has the tradition of alliances between major and minor parties.  That ought to help some.

      Dear Republicans: You can't repeat a lie enough to make it true.

      by Dallasdoc on Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 12:12:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  yes-too many scared 'liberals' (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        in NYC. Bloomberg, a true post-partisan, (a Democrat 'before he was a Republican') has made us all complicit in a movement toward a "governing philosophy," a minimization of the social good that good government can do for education, for our parks, for hospitals & healthcare, for transit, for our water - for the people - a preservation of the status quo at all costs.

        He has little power as a mere mayor, but he has great political power he has not used in D.C. The very definition of a complicit, accommodating patrician - like any good Democrat. Watch him now come at Obama from his left - harder than the people. He tried to pass a bridge toll. He tried to increase the sales tax. F**K HIM! and the democratic governor who has completely left the reservation.

        We have more rich people per capita, more DC beltway types, and such a stupidly undervalued tax base - and Paterson wants to increase every fee and impose every regressive revenue builder he can.

        "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -Thomas Jefferson

        by ezdidit on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 07:26:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I used to assume that people I knew were not (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    interested in government and politics, because they never talked about it. But this last election has revealed that many care a lot more than I realized. It takes momentum and candidates who communicate to bring it out into the open.

    One thing that helps a great deal is to teach civics in school. They stopped it, and it's a shame. It helps when people know what kind of government they have. Education is essential!

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