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The door is being slammed on the American dream and the politicians, including the president and his Democratic allies on Capitol Hill, seem not just helpless to deal with the crisis, but completely out of touch with the hardships that have fallen on so many.

So writes Bob Herbert in the 2nd graf his column, THey Still Don't Get it.  It is a powerful and blunt piece of writing.  You should read it.  I will explore it, offering some thoughts of my own, but I am not going to cover every point Herbert makes.  For me the column is a starting point, an occasion to share some additional thoughts of his own.

So read the Herbert.  Then if you want, join me below the fold.

The American Dream.   That our kids will have better lives than we did.  That we will be able to own our homes free of the fear of foreclosure, will have secure jobs, will be able to dream still further of other things.

52.9% of those who voted in 2008, a record 69,456,897 people, voted for a message of hope.   Dreams are built on hope.  Now they worry that there is no hope, that their dreams are not being addressed.

Herbert describes the Democrats in the Senate as "unruly toddlers" who produced their "monstrously ugly plan" through

shady alliances, disgraceful back-room deals, outlandish payoffs and abject capitulation to the insurance companies and giant pharmaceutical outfits.

 and then offers this one-liner:  The public interest? Forget about it.

He quotes from a Brookings Study which notes the increase in poverty began well before the crisis of 2007, with a 15.4% (5.2 million) in poor people during the time 2000-2008, poverty growing twice as fast as the population.  But that study does not include the devastation of last year.

I know - without the too-small stimulus package, it could have been far worse.  But I see everyday among my students and their families the impact of the financial crisis, the increase of economic pressure.  I have gifted students only applying to state schools because of costs, others applying to schools that might offer them a full ride because they and parents worry about stability of family income over the ensuing years.  Even state colleges and universities are cutting staff because of the loss of funding from legislatures, and in some cases that staff includes the parents of my students, who no longer feel secure in their jobs.

A pox on both your houses -  that is an increasing political attitude.  They may not expect much from Republicans, but they are bitterly disappointed in what they have received from having the three political legs of the government in the hands of Democrats this past year.

Most of my families qualify as as suburban and middle class.  The Brookings study notes that almost half of the increase in poverty took place in the suburbs - not surprising considering the increasing percentage of our population that lives in suburbs, but perhaps alarming considering that this is supposed to be the hometurf of our upper middle class and those who are upwardly mobile.  

Herbert thinks the Democrats are blowing it.  He asks

whether there is anything that will wake them up to their obligation to extend a powerful hand to ordinary Americans and help them take the government, including the Supreme Court, back from the big banks, the giant corporations and the myriad other predatory interests that put the value of a dollar high above the value of human beings.

predatory interests ... what an appropriate phrase.  The government already was increasingly in such hands, even before the decision Thursday which will tilt the political playing field even further in their direction.  

When bankruptcy was "reformed" it tilted the process in favor of the lenders.  

When Glass-Steagal was erased, so were financial protections for the people, and for the nation.

When the government refused to regulate the derivatives market, it legalized gambling without accountability, only the stakes were the homes and savings of millions of Americans, and of others around the world.

When public facilities, including public schools, are increasingly privatized, the public benefit gets short shrift as compared to the profit motivations of the corporate masters and the "investor class."

When companies that are losing billions are still offering golden parachutes and giving obscene bonuses to executives and "star" performers, even being a small cog in the "investor class" does not protect one from the ravages of our economy.

We hear attacks on meaningful health care reform described as socialism.   Folks, wake up.  We already have socialism for the rich and the corporations with their government bailouts, the protections for credit card companies who cut limits and jack up interest rates, and so much more.  What capitalism is left is only for the less well off, the ordinary people, the suckers and jerks who actually thought the government they were electing would help them through these difficult times.  They are left at the mercy of market forces, only the market is not free - it is rigged on behalf of the wealthy and the corporate class, who do not pay their fair share in taxes and instead shift the burdens to the rest of us and our progeny.

Think about it.  Socialism for the rich and the worst aspects of capitalism for the rest of it.  There may be real audacity there, but there is little hope.

Herbert notes increasing mentions of deficit reduction in Washington, and the consequence

that new large-scale investments in infrastructure and other measures to ease the employment crisis and jump-start the most promising industries of the 21st century are highly unlikely.

He does not say what I will.  We have a serious need of deficit reduction, but it is not of the government's financial balance sheet.  Instead we should be reducing the deficit of morality, compassion, and concern for ordinary folks.  

Even with Thursday's decision, corporations do not yet officially vote, although they may through their spending tilt the system so much more that the votes of the rest of us will become totally irrelevant.

Totally irrelevant -  we are not there yet.  In 2004 we moved in the direction of a Democratic Congress.  We achieved that in 2006, but were still stymied by a Republican administration.  We changed that in 2008, and increased the Democratic majorities in both chambers.  And then what?

I am not saying the past year achieved nothing.  We at least for now avoided a total economic collapse, here at home and around the world.  We bought some time, which has since then been being frittered away by people who apparently do not understand how perilous things remain, that the tired rhetoric and failed policies and practices that got us into this mess were going to be insufficient to address the crises - plural - before us.

That rhetoric and those policies and practices not only failed economically for most of us, they fail the Democrats politically, and yet some still don't get it, because they continue to operate as if nothing has changed.

Herbert bluntly writes

What we’ll get instead is rhetoric. It’s cheap, so we can expect a lot of it.

.

He notes that those towards the bottom "seem all but doomed in this environment."  There is our deficit of morality and compassion - we are no longer including them in the social contract, we are denying them - and their children - access to the American dream.

Why focus on the failures of the Democrats?  Herbert's final paragraph frames it clearly:  

The Republican Party has abandoned any serious approach to the nation’s biggest problems, economic or otherwise. It may be resurgent, but it’s not a serious party. That leaves only the Democrats, a party that once championed working people and the poor, but has long since lost its way.

once championed working people and the poor, but has long since lost its way

If a party fails to meet the needs of those upon whose votes it depends for its electoral success, it will find decreasing electoral success.  Not because people believe that Republicans will give them anything better - they won't.  But because when their needs are not met, and their voices are not included in the discussions shaping policy, they have no choice but to do something that may even seem contrary to their better interests by rejecting the Democrats and allowing the Republicans back in power.  It may be active - such as Obama voters voting for Scott Brown.  It may be passive, such as young people staying home in droves.

Of course the pundit class is by and large as dense on this as are most of the Washington officials.  They are too removed from the lives of ordinary people, in part because of all the time they spend among the rich and already powerful, even if those officials are Democrats.  Chuck Schumer looks out for Wall Street, Chris Dodd looks out for banks and insurance companies most of the time, Carl Levin advocates for the auto industry, Bob Byrd for coal, Mary Landrieu for petroleum. . .  some of these are not bad people, and some even occasionally think of the ordinary people, as Levin does for the auto workers and Bob Byrd in his reverence of the Constitution and the Senate as an institution.  

But it is not enough.

William Greider once used as a title "Who Will Tell The People?"  We don't need to be told, because we know.  We are not listened to, our needs are not being addressed, politicians seem unwilling to risk their political careers.  So to get their attention people seem willing to put those careers at unexpected risks.  That is part of what happened in Massachusetts on Tuesday.

And yet, They Still Don't Get It.

We voted for a different kind of politics.  We have not gotten it.

We voted for hope.  It seems to be disappearing.

We voted for transparency in the making of policy, especially on health care.  We got the Senate Finance Committee gang of 6 that destroyed most hope for meaningful reform.

And now?  Some will no longer vote.  Others will not give from their decreasing financial resources.  Still more will not make the phone calls, knock on the doors, write the letters and emails to friends and strangers alike.

"the dream will never die" -  so said Teddy, but his dream is dying before our eyes, as health care reform is being strangled in its crib as we watch, and for all our protests our voices are still not heard.  Even the vast majority of Obama voters who voted for Brown who want a public option are not being heard.  If that message cannot get through, what can I wonder?

They Still Don't Get It.   And if they don't, what hope do the rest of us have?

I have not yet abandoned hope, because then I would not still be writing, still be teaching.  I use what ever powers of communication I may have to try to make a difference - in my classroom, in my communications on line and in person to policy makers.

I am tired.  I am almost 64, do not have children of my own as part of my part of the American dream.  That I may not be able to afford to retire is of my own doing, and I do not blame that on the politicians.

Teaching depends upon hope, upon dreams.  It is the dreams and hopes of the future generation.  And if they see the dreams of parents and other adults being shattered, why should they commit to an effort that depends upon hope and dreams?  

And if our young people begin to abandon their hopes and dreams, will this country survive for another generation?

How can anyone not get it?  I do not understand.  I write these words in frustration as well as anger.

I am a Democrat.  I will not cast a protest vote.  But if I begin to believe that my vote will not really matter, why should I vote, or give money, or offer advocacy?  

If hope is disappearing, why should I continue to teach, at less pay and and for more hours than other kinds of employment?

If I am at the point of losing hope, how can I serve as an instrument of hope to others?  How can I encourage students to have what I no longer do, hopes and dreams for a better future?

So why don't they get it? Why can Herbert write of the Democrats, and so many of us agree, They Still Don't Get It???

Will they "get it" before it is too late, for them, for us, for this nation?

I wonder, and cannot answer that question, which means I cannot say I am at peace.

Originally posted to teacherken on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 03:13 AM PST.

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    do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

    by teacherken on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 03:13:59 AM PST

  •  as always I welcome your reactions (57+ / 0-)

    I suspect this may not draw much traffic.  So be it.  

    I did not plan to post this morning.  I read Herbert.  I started writing.  This is the result.

    Do with it what you will.

    and here, if not in the diary, I offer my usual final salutation

    Peace.

    do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

    by teacherken on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 03:27:22 AM PST

    •  They get it a different take (6+ / 0-)

      Is to 'punish them severely' right? Elect MORE republicans and that'll show em?

      I have a much much different take on what is happening. Yes, they do very much 'get it".

      I well remember when President Obama met with the Pharma and insurance industries and made a 'deal' with them. He did it to take out his main opposition as Clinton had faced when his bill was killed. We thought that a good idea back then, and it appeared he was for a time.

      Then there was the conservative dems and all that idiocy. We got over that hump, a Senate bill was passed FINALLY one we didn't 'like' but could still live with.

      If Kennedy were alive right now he'd say to pass that Senate bill right away BUT not the 'progressives or liberals' right? They STILL are pushing for a 'better purer bill' and all the while putting out all this angst because the 'dems don't 'get it' and all this is doing, all that is being said right here right now are the GOP talking points. I've seen it from the beginning right after President Obama was elected.

      I am so sick and tired of all of this!

      it's happened historically with the Democratic 'base' over and over, at the first whiff of not getting all we want fast when we want it, we fold. In 68, 72, 80, 94, 2000.

      We don't stick or support our elected Dems we want to use terms of 'violence' against them, we want to fold in after ONLY ONE YEAR???

      Well, I'm stronger than that, I'm a Proud Democrat and not tied to a worthless ideological view that I feel I must hang onto or whimp out in public to bring down the ONLY hope our nation STILL has!

      All along the republicans were telling us their strategy, a 1994 one, and that's what they've done, they know how to work our base.

      Now this needed to be said so HR me is you can't stand a different paoint of view.

      This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. Barack Obama

      by Wary on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:46:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Unfortunately, It Hasn't "Only One Year" (29+ / 1-)

        Democrats have screwed their "base" for decades.  And we are always told to "hang in there, don't give up."  

        You know what?  I'm through with being a cheerleader for a party that considers its base to be irrelevant, except to get them re-elected.

        I'd never lower myself to vote for a Republican, but I can save myself money, aggravation and heartache by choosing to stay home.  

        •  Decades? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nina, sherijr, ahumbleopinion

          Yeah, I very well remember, very well rember ALL those decades!

          AND through all those decades I couldn't BELEIVE the Democratic base was so WILLING to give up so easily to the Republican Party! I can;t believe we're the ones who haven't learned to be smarter either!

          Well, I hope you enjoy whining again when we had over the reins to the GOP AGAIN--the base that is, we're telling people hey vote Republican because we don't like to hang in there and help our party out, we give UP in an extremely short time where the GOP ALWAYS hangs in their to give their folks REAL time to either mess up or do good.

          This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. Barack Obama

          by Wary on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:09:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No Whining, But Your Ad Hominem Comments (8+ / 0-)

            sure sound like it.  I'm simply stating that saying that when they choose to go back to Democratic values like fighting discrimination, poverty and corporate greed, then I'll vote for, give money to and campaign for them.

            I have a pretty comfortable life and I spend many hours a week helping those who don't.  I thought that's what the Democrats we elected were all about or at least that's what their campaign promises pledge.

            And yes, decades.  Clinton did very little. Carter did very little.  And Congress for the past 25+ years has been kowtowing to lobbyists in an obscene manner.

          •  Nice rhetorical strategy here (5+ / 0-)

            Wary.  I'm sure it's highly effective.  Here we are facing a massive electoral crisis where the base is getting truly fed up and contemplating taking their ball and going home and where the middle is becoming increasingly cynical about both parties and wondering why they should bother at all, and you're berating them.  Yeah, that'll bring'em around buddy.  Smart thinkin!  Hey, while you're at it, why not lecture that middle and base about the pragmatic virtues of eating shit sandwiches?

        •  For 33 years I supported the Democratic Party (10+ / 0-)
          and never once asked what was in it for me. Then the one time they could do something for me my president slams the door and sells me out for the vote of asshole he didn't even need.

          Truth is I'd have a better life if instead of spending my time running to the voting booth to support the Democrats if I spent that time picking up aluminum cans off the side of the roadway or dumpster diving.

          There's no difference between our politicans and those snakeoil selling TV preachers, in fact their promises are identical: "Wait.... And it will come". Well, that isn't enough today. It wasn't enough yesterday. And it won't be enough tomorrow.

          I'm tired of beating my head against a wall of complete indifference. I'll give Obama and the Democrats one last chance and that's healthcare with the public option by the State of the Union or I'm joining about 90% of the people I know who don't bother with voting.

          Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power. - Benito Mussolini.

          by b181947 on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:22:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you for all your work in the past (0+ / 0-)

            and future.

            The only way to change things is to stay in the game.

            If enough people agree that the team is hopeless, then they will join a new team.

            I don't know if we have quite reached that point, but with the internet activism, and progressive potential that was develoepd over the past 6 years being tossed out the window, we might be getting there.

            Rick
            -9.63 -6.92
            Fox News - We Distort, You Deride

            by rick on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 08:37:54 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Once you do that . . . (2+ / 1-)
          Recommended by:
          Nina, DavidHeart
          Hidden by:
          rick

          I'd never lower myself to vote for a Republican, but I can save myself money, aggravation and heartache by choosing to stay home.

          Then you're no longer "the base." The base VOTES. The fringe stays home.

          Do what you gotta do, just don't kid yourself about what you become when you decline to participate. When you disengage, for whatever reason, then it's meaningful only to you. Quantitatively, a nonvoter, for whatever reason, is a nonvoter.

          So in my mind, by withholding your vote for some perceived principle, you're lowering yourself to the level of some dumb gomer who doesn't even know there's an election going on.

          I find it disheartening that 19 people recommended this comment. But I persevere, even in the face of such pants-staining cowardice.

          "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

          by Ivan on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 08:17:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  HR'd with extreme prejudice, because (0+ / 0-)

          if advocating "choosing to stay home" during elections isn't demoralizing and contrary to the core tenets of this forum, then everything from this point is morally and functionally relativistic.

          Support progressive ideas or lose to teabaggers.

          by DavidHeart on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 12:09:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The HR is outside the rules. n/t (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          out of left field

          Don't tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 02:50:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  A note on MA polling (7+ / 0-)

        I just heard that a Kaiser Poll about MA showed that the President was still very popular there, but the MA electorate were 'tired of back door deals' which is a Republican talking point, right? They also said that Health care SHOULD be 'bi partisan' another Republican talking point.

        A different poll we all know said the people wanted a 'public option' overwhelmingly right?

        Now after the Senate bill we had people like Howard Dean say to 'kill the bill' we had many and tons of 'progressives' ALSO say to 'kill the bill' right? Hamsher, SW, come to mind.

        Progressives, liberals all saying to 'punish the Dems' 'dems are worthless'.

        Think of those messages all coming together in an electorate that is not reflective of folks like us who know what's going on that it's the GOP who has refused to work with the Demsand all.

        viola, the GOP has produced 1994 all over again, haven't they? The elecotorate will do as the 'progressives' say and punish the Dems' and to get those bad old Dems to work in a 'transparent mode' then they'll elect more Republicans, it makes sense to them, doesn't it?

        After all who wants to vote for  a party who's base is eating it's own elected officials right?

        Oh, I know, it's ALL those we elected fault isn't it? Yeah, let's join that circular firing squad and show the voter exactly WHY they shouldn't join up with the MISERABLE Democratic base, right?

        Yes, let them join with the 'entusiatic' crowd who don't have a 'leader' because those folks with this extremely popular leader just HATE their own party so we'll just help them out and elect more REPUBLICANS right?

        I can't believe we're reliving history, I so had hoped this time around we'd be smarter, but we're not, are we?

        This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. Barack Obama

        by Wary on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:04:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  obviously, you don't get it, either, (39+ / 0-)

        seeing as how the Herbert piece and TK are talking about the economy (stupid) and what the Dems are not doing about it.

        In fact, careful reading of Herbert's piece will reveal that his dismay is over the Dems focusing (and squandering leadership (Obama) opportunities over HCR while ignoring economic reality for average Americans, who ought to be Dem voters, if the Dems would attend to their needs.

        don't always believe what you think...

        by claude on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:05:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed (34+ / 0-)

          It was Obama who chose to make HCR the signature issue of his presidency.  The tactics he chose to prevent another Clinton disaster did not work.  Passing something, anything, may provide a little bit of cover politically but it will not make unhappy, struggling Americans change their minds.  Mandating unaffordable and, therefore, unusable insurance with no price controls, no drug reimportation, nothing outside of preexisting conditions will not fix much of anything while Americans are drowning in debt, losing ground in real wages, struggling with unemployment, and watching their homes become foreclosed while the banksters hike their credit rates and fees without fear of reprisal.

          We need Obama to become the populist president he promised he would be.  We need it now.  Period.

          •  But wait Goober (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Brooke In Seattle

            weren't the "pragmatic liberals" telling us this is the most significant piece of social legislation since the New Deal?  That it's golden egg?  You mean Americans aren't convinced and this might spell trouble where future electoral success is concerned?

        •  Connected (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Chi, cameoanne, thethinveil

          These things -- along with green energy and meaningful education -- are connected.

          I had the hope that Obama saw that and could address a menu of interconnected areas. That he would lead the Congress to act on more than one front with connected goals.

          Nance

          •  BUT the GOP plabok was always (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ivan, ahumbleopinion

            To SLOW things down, right? To make HCR Obama's WATERLOO right?

            How come you left that out? How come you're giving the GOP a FREE PASS and doing NOTHING but BLAMING Obama and the DEMS???? HOW COME?????

            Oh, sur then it's those 'conserva dems' they're the real problem right? BUT let's NOT say a bad thing about the GOP and what they did, right????

            After all, we don't want to put the GOP on the sot do we like telling the WHOLE story?

            Oh, no, we must'nt say one thing about the REAL politics of what happened, we like this blame the Dems and Obama game, we have for DECADES which is why the Democratic Party loses!

            This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. Barack Obama

            by Wary on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:24:13 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Wary, stop the b.s.: to want progressive change (24+ / 0-)

              is NOT to be objectively pro-GOP.

              People like you are divisive and try to take our eyes off the goal.

            •  Hmmm Wary, here's another (4+ / 0-)

              rationalizing excuse for what's happened that provides nothing constructive to turn things around.  All you do is excuse the failures of congress and the administration while blaming the discontent of the voters.  Smart thinkin'.  Yes, we all knew the republicans would try to slow things down.  Part of what makes the administration's strategy so egregious is that apparently they did not know this and have been trying to work in a bipartisan way with those same obstructionists.  Sheesh.

            •  Well, I see others (0+ / 0-)

              have already replied and said it better than I did.

              But now I see a new "Hurray, Plouffe is here" post and yes, that's nice. Let's see if he can connect the dots and remind Obama to sell something big. And do something big.

            •  How are 41 people (0+ / 0-)

              in the minority slowing things down? Explain please.

              I agree that this process is dragging on needlessly, that this bill is sub par. But I fail to see how the minority party is affecting any of the results or lack thereof that we've seen to date.

              Explain your position please.

            •  Actually, the GOP playbook is (0+ / 0-)

              to maneuver the Democrats into creating a bill that would please no one except the insurance companies and they succeeded.

              I believe that this is the cornerstone of the Republican strategy to retake Congress and the White House. (And it reeks of Karl Rove.)

              For all their public ranting and gnashing of teeth over the Senate version of HCR, they privately are praying that it passes and is signed into law.

              To do this they had to make sure that the bill was gutted of all the provisions that were popular with both the public and the Democratic base and they succeeded.  And the Senate Democrats did some of their work for them by throwing in the universally loathed excise tax.

              The Senate version of HCR does everything that the Republicans hoped it would. It splits the Democratic coalition, alienates independents, and energizes the conservatives.

              It's a win-win for the Republicans.  They pay off big to their corporate insurance industry patrons by maneuvering the Democrats into creating a bill that is nothing less than a mandatory transfer of wealth from the middle-class to the insurance and pharmaceutical industries.  And yet the blame goes to the Democrats as the Republicans can say, hey, don't blame us for this abomination, none of us voted for it.

              I live in a swing district in Illinois, a hard-pressed blue collar area with over 13% umemployment.  There are very few liberals or progressives in my community, no one here has heard of Jane Hamsher, few visit DailyKos.  Yet the rage I hear from my neighbors about the HCR bill could put the most "purist" DK progressive to shame.

              I hear the same things over and over: "The Democrats bailed out Wall Street but not Main Street"  "The Democrats are no different than the Republicans"  "Democrats will say anything to get elected at least with the Republicans you know where you stand."  "The Democrats sold out to the insurance companies."

              The elderly fear that medicare is going to be robbed to pay for HCR. Union people are still seething about the "cadillac" tax, recent concessions notwithstanding.  

              Passage of the Senate HCR bill would have guaranteed a Republican takeover of my Congressional district and very possibly have led to a Republican sweep of the Senate seat and the Governorship in Illinois.  It's that unpopular.

              Karl Rove is laughing.  Why no one in the Democratic Party leadership has realized that this is the Republican strategy is beyond me, though it appears that thanks to Massachusetts, some have at least realized that the Senated HCR bill is the kiss of death.

               
               

        •  Oviosly You don't understand either do you! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ivan, Nina

          I MORE than 'get it' I've LIVED it for decades, I didn't wait for now to understand what politics is all about.

          Yes, I know ALL about that HCR bill and how the Democrats were so worried about their 'base' and wanted to do everything they could to show us that they got it, like a LONG PROTRACTED debate in Congress to get the public option in hopes the Dem 'base' would be pleased with their efforts.

          Yeah, President Obama and the Dems were so busy concentrating on getting in HCR what their 'base wanted' they didn't focus upon the economy, HCR sucked all the oxygen out, JUST LIKE THE REPUBLICANS WANTED, right?

          Do YOU remember that? Did Herbet and all those talking heads on tee vee remember that important DETAIL??????

          Oh, no that's something the BASE should be remembering and reminding people about, but oh, no, the 'base ' is join this circular firing squad who's doing NOTHING but using the GOP interpretation of things to shoot down the Democratic party.

          I know all about it, I fought it all during the Bush administration, and opps here we are again, the GOP is controlling the message, and the media is taking it AGAIN

          Enjoy you're little feel good feeding frenzy of eating your own elected officials and helping th GOP take over in 2010! Oh, this is the GOP playbook, remember?

          This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. Barack Obama

          by Wary on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:19:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Oh please, meaning WHAT exactly...? (18+ / 0-)

      The only thing they'll understand is if their current path is certain doom.

      Doom.  Doom.  Doom.  Like the drums in Khazad Dum.

      If we do not accept the most signifcant challenge of our times and TAKE TO THE STREETS to demand our goverment be returned to we, the people, we are doomed.

      Screw being nice.  What has "nice" gotten us, but a bigger screw?

      The time has come.  We either accept the mantle of responsibility or we shirk and cower from it and deserve EVERY bit of approbation we get.

      TO THE STREETS!!!

      There is now no other way.

      What separates us, divides us, and diminishes the human spirit.

      by equern on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:32:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Meaning exactly that (12+ / 0-)

        my last few diaries have been about that very thing

        Oh no, the dead have risen and they're voting Republican. - Lisa Simpson

        by LaFeminista on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:40:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Torches and Pitchforks (7+ / 0-)

          Seriously.

          I think we're just about there.

          A few more million on long-term unemployment, a few more failures on the part of Congress to punish anyone for anything (especially when they're caught red-handed in the act), a few more taxpayer bailouts for the wealthy - and we'll be there.

          People in this country are apathetic, and arguably, foolish to the extreme.  But even a foolish, apathetic people will eventually wake up one day and say, loud enough that even the idiots that The People keep sending to the halls of power in Washington D.C. will have to hear them, "enough, no more".

          That's the day that we'll see every major city in this country with the streets full of marching, chanting people who no longer give a shit whether they are Republicans or Democrats - but only that they can no longer stand to be trampled by the wealthy and powerful.

          I'd like to say that I think we still have a chance to avoid this scenario, but with each passing year, my hope fades more and more.

          I keep a couple of pitchforks in my garden shed (and a couple of long rifles locked up in the attic) for just this reason. And I'm not fucking kidding about this last part, either.

          •  De la guerra (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Angie in WA State, thethinveil

            When it comes to war or confrontation, you either lead the charge or are a victim of it.

            There is no alternative.

            It is your choice.  Choose.

            What separates us, divides us, and diminishes the human spirit.

            by equern on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:27:51 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sadly, too many have been lured into (4+ / 0-)

              believing that they are part of the upwardly mobile.  Fox has propagandized in such a way that they have convinced so many that they have power because they resist "socialism" and hang with the elite.  They wave the flag, parade CW singers onto the screen, and perpetually sneer at even the most worthwhile efforts of the Dems.  They seek out like-minded third-rate actors and athletes to convince folks that they think like the "real Americans" amongst us.
              Because of this you will not get your platoons into the streets. Those who took to the streets in the 60's will not be there now because our knees are shot and we can't run like we used to.

              I am not without hope: I taught for 34 years in an alternative education program for high school kids.  They were always interesting and challenging because their IQ's were all over the place, as was their behavior in many cases, but I always took heart in the fact that they would likely never be brainwashed or propagandized into conformity and apathy.  Most of the kids that I have had later contact with have served in the military, been homemakers, become artists, and a significant number have small businesses. Only a few have ended up in the clink.  I believe the founders of our nation, like those students, were non-conforming types who pulled together to launch the ship of state and then went about their business. Real citizens question and resist and make trouble when necessary.  

              •  Thanks, Judyms9! (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Angie in WA State

                You offer some intriguing insight.  Yes, Faux has brainwashed many into think they are "upwardly mobile."  But let's be fair...that trend started long before Faux hit the airwaves back in the early '80s when Reagan started.

                I think that's part of what has so many riled now, is that they are confronted with the reality that they really are NOT as upward as they had previously thought.  And that may prove to be the key to crowdraising.  That the whole idea of the "American Dream" has vanished for so many.

                Many elders in the LGBT community here in CA were wringing their hands for many years about the lack of activism among the young.  Then Prop 8 happened, and my goodness!  Night has turned into day.

                Younger people today can be activists too, they just need the right spark lit under them!

                Hadn't really thought about it in that context...thanks!

                What separates us, divides us, and diminishes the human spirit.

                by equern on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:53:37 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  I think it's 'echo chamber' more than 'evil' .... (7+ / 0-)

      ... and I don't find that a reassuring thought.

      I don't think our Dem elected officials - or even a good number of the Republican ones - are somehow committed to being corporate sell-outs, or even greedy or venal.  

      Sure, some are - but I think most got into the game partly to do good things.

      But the f'ing echo chamber you live in once you get elected - hell, once you even start to work for the gov't as an employee at a certain level [my experience] - is an overwhelming driver behind what you do and don't do.

      They don't get "it" because they can't even f'ing hear "it".  Random ideas become magnified into 'conventional wisdom' thru repetition, until they become 'obvious necessities'.

      Corps and major donors don't so much control the system, but they have the biggest megaphone to shout into it and hope their words get thru.

      It's the worst case scenario, because even well-meaning and intelligent people can't make good decisions if all the info they are getting is repeated bullshit.

      "The sudden disappointment of a hope leaves a scar which the ultimate fulfillment of that hope never entirely removes." Thomas Hardy

      by Timoteo on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:55:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, it's not deliberate evil (12+ / 0-)

        The problem is the economic ideology that economists call "neo-liberalism." An unfortunate choice of moniker, since economic neo-liberalism is what Reagan and Thatcher cemented in place.

        Obama is, on economics, a "neo-liberal." He believes that "markets" are the most efficient way to allocate resources in society and are best left to their own devices. The only difference between Obama and Reagan (on economics) is that Obama - supposedly - believes that there has to be a bit more government regulation to curb the worst abuses of the markets, and that government should do more to help the dis-advantaged. But note that so far all Obama has done is talk; there has been no real action.

        There should have been waves of arrests of hundreds, even thousands, of bankers, lawyers, analysts, and executives on Wall Street in the first half of last year. So far as I know, there hasn't even been grand juries impaneled. Two weeks ago, the U.S. District Attorney for the Southern District of new York (which has Wall Street in its venue), complained

        We had a lot of trouble with the Treasury Department" in his recent case against Credit Suisse, in which the bank coughed up $536 million and admitted to aiding Iran and other rogue nations in violating economic sanctions. The feds, as they did in a similar settlement with the British bank Lloyds, wanted only civil penalties.

        In fact, the evidence of Wall Street's criminality is so overwhelming that in September of last year, a federal judge rejected the SEC's proposed settlement with Bank of America:
           

        [T]he parties were proposing that the management of bank of America – having allegedly hidden from the Bank’s shareholders that as much as $5.8 billion of their money would be given in bonuses to the executives of Merrill who had run that company nearly into bankruptcy – would now settle the legal consequences of this lying by paying to the S.E.C. $33 million more of the their shareholder’s money.

           This proposal to have the victims of the violation pay an additional penalty for their own victimization was enough to give the court pause.

        Then Judge Rakoff starts talking like a regular person. . . about fairness:

           

        It is not fair, first and foremost, because it does not comport with the most elementary notion of justice and morality, in that it proposes that the shareholders who were the victims of the Bank’s alleged misconduct now pay the penalty for that misconduct.

        Then, he calls a spade a spade:

           

        Overall, indeed, the parties submissions, when carefully read, leave the distinct impression that the proposed Consent Judgment was a contrivance designed to provide the S.E.C. with the façade of enforcement and the management of the Bank with a quick resolution to an embarrassing inquiry..."

        The beast of Wall Street should have been - and could have been - beheaded. We should have been, right now, in the middle of the process of breaking up Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, and a few other giant financial firms. Instead, we get the Treasury Secretary undercutting the President's rhetoric (never mind actions) about "too big to fail," and Banks already finding ways around Obama financial reforms.

        And some people around here are still wondering whether it is really possible that voters in Massachusetts are so angry at the lack of action that they gave Ted Kennedy's seat to tea-bagger moron?

        A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

        by NBBooks on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:19:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I agree with you (24+ / 0-)

      They get it and they blatantly ignore us because they think they can get away with it.  It isn't anything more complicated than that.

      I'm the Left that Rahm's mother warned him about

      by Militarytracy on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:06:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Long time coming... (14+ / 0-)

    long time going away. Hope must be bolstered by patience. It is not just the number of democrats in Congress, it is the quality of those democrats. Some of them are getting it. More of them need to or need to be replaced. That is not going to happen if hopelessness becomes the order of the day.

    Some of the tendency towards hopelessness at this point needs to be laid squarely at the feet of the hopers. There are many who elected a President while hoping for a King.

    It is going to take a long haul and a long time to get out of this mess, if we do at all. Hopelessness will guarantee we don't.

    Heads in the clouds are just as detrimental as heads in the sand.

    by A Voice on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 03:37:30 AM PST

  •  My dad, growing up in the depression... (18+ / 0-)

    ...in Southern Ohio, which was particularly hard-hit, tells me of the excellent teachers he had.  Presumably, they continued to teach because they felt a duty to the next generation, not because of the great pay :-)  

    No future generation is doomed to repeat the mistakes of the present one.  So, chin up, sir!

  •  Unless/until we realize (38+ / 0-)

    that half of the Democratic Party is Republican lite, we will continue to be disappointed with the Democrats.  With the media continually warning about the Party being too far "left" and the politicians backing away from the liberal/progressive side of the Party, we have become the ugly stepsister that must remain hidden from sight.

    •  Reccd and tipped btw. n/t (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JanL, blueoasis, LWelsch, nandssmith
    •  When Democrats began to lose (27+ / 0-)

      the control that they had had since FDR, they decided to lose their core values rather than wait for the GOP to fail.  That's been going on for a long time.  There aren't that many of us who remember what real Democrats are (or should be).

      What I find intriguing is that the threat of socialism/communism has such resonance now that the worst example of it (the USSR) has been gone for two decades.  Think about how many people who are coming of age today view that only as an historical thing.  It's no more real to them than the Weimar Republic, and yet it's being used pretty effectively to scare them.  Weird...

      -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

      by luckylizard on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:17:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm always taken aback (6+ / 0-)

        by how even here people freak out over Marx and socialism.  On the one hand, they seem to have no clue as to what Marx is-- a theory of economic relations not a political philosophy or theory vis a vis Locke --while on the other hand they seem ignorant to the socialisms of Europe that do not remotely resemble the failures or horrors of the Soviet Union.  It's sad to see these attitudes in the United States as even today Marx's Capital provides the most compelling explanation and understanding of our collective woes.  Absent that understanding it's very difficult to effectively respond to our historical moment.

        •  yeah... he didn't write a book titled "Socialism" (0+ / 0-)

          it was titled "Capitalism" because that's what it was about... and still is, as you note, as huge and compelling an explanation as has ever been written.

          Marx and Keynes...

          and Adam Smith if you readd ALL of him and not just the "pro" capitalist part Wall Street likes to emphasize.  Smith had a lot of moral integrity that was thrown away during the past few decades run to greed.

          Excellent comment.

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

          by bigchin on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:19:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  remember Smith's academic position (0+ / 0-)

            which was professor of moral philosophy at Glasgow, during which time he wrote "The Theory of Moral Sentiments.

            And of course, his great work also reflects his background, if one quotes the ENTIRE title:  "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations".  That is, he was by training a philosopher, and while we might consider him the first modern economist (well before the existance of econometrics and the heavy reliance upon mathematics) we should never forget that he was by training a philosopher.

            do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

            by teacherken on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:26:09 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  well, maybe that is because (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JanL, BachFan

      half the country (at least) is Republican, or R Lite, or conservative or however you want to label them.

      The Us vs. Them attitude (with Them always being classified as morons) completely shuts down discussion of where we, the American people as a whole, want to go.  And dKos and its right wing counterparts like RedState are rife with that attitude.

      "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

      by Skeptical Bastard on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:21:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  not hardly (31+ / 0-)

        if you probe on what matters, the conservative agenda is NOT what they want.  But too many Democrats will not articulate a clear vision, or even run with a sense of commitment to a set of values for which many people long.

        do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

        by teacherken on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:29:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  many Democrats have too many masters. (7+ / 0-)

          eom

        •  That's what is missing (8+ / 0-)

          No one is articulating a clear vision for the future....not Democrats OR Republicans.  America looked for Obama to give it some direction since he promised Hope.  What he needs to do is be the leader he promised he could be.  And to me that includes shedding some of the advisors he's taken on like Rahm....maybe if he followed his own wisdom, things might be going in a better direction.

          It is yet to be seen if his administration can change course....I still think they can.

          •  I've stopped laughing at teabaggers. (13+ / 0-)

            They're going to win seats.  Brown was not a fluke.

            Both party's ratings are in the dumps because they're not DOING anything in timely fashion.  Republicans aren't doing anything, period, and Dems are squabbling over far too little far too late, rather than moving forward.

            Teabagger candidates likely will be equally ineffective at solving any of our problems, but they're simply not the 'inside the beltway, out of the loop' people already in DC.

            Incumbents are going to start dropping at much higher rates to challengers, any challengers, promising to DO SOMETHING, or just simply NOT being seen as the insiders.

            And if we don't start running candidates in EVERY open or Republican seat and primary (almost) EVERY incumbent Dem, we're going to see a really nasty shift.  We need OUR candidates to be the firebrand outsiders.

            Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God. - Thomas Jefferson

            by Ezekial 23 20 on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:37:24 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Pragmatists are unhappy - consequences to come (3+ / 0-)

              Most voters are pragmatists, not ideologues.  They may or may not align emotionally with the Democratic Party.  We pragmatists want our government to achieve.  Right now, it isn't producing satisfactory results.  The evidence of this is as plain as can be, and no amount of arguing that the results are better than nothing can undo the verdict of voters.  Defeat of incumbents, or the incumbent party, is the final verdict after all.  People who rail here about defeatists, etc. are demanding a different sort of democracy, and an argument about that is pointless.  Nevertheless, it is worth thinking about what we who are pragmatists can do about this unhappy state of affairs.

              It could not be more obvious that our government is run by people unwilling or unable to achieve much of anything, focusing instead on maintaining and enhancing their power (think about Rahm, Geithner, Reid, and of course the entire Republican establishment).  Astonishingly, Republicans are willing to proudly proclaim they will give us nothing - as if utter lack of achievement is a virtue.  Playing to their base, and diverting attention from the consequences of that enough to win elections, they continue hold and wield power despite epic failure.  The "Not Republicans" (i.e. Democrats) do the opposite.  Democrats seem to have learned, or accepted the wisdom of the Washington insiders like David Broder, that actual achievement is dangerous - that making policy all by themselves, and defending it, gets them run out of power.  So, Democrats do not wield power even when they have it in Washington.  In a self-selecting process, those who are perfectly willing to give up achievement in favor of getting and holding power come to dominate such a system.  

              If that is an accurate diagnosis, then the cure follows logically.  Correction starts with communicating as clearly as we voters can in a democracy that performance matters, and so far is it insufficient.  (That is why Washington insiders like Chris Matthews and Fred Hiat despise the netroots - it is a means of communicating that power is not an end in itself, but useful only when it leads to actual achievement, which is the exact opposite of what our political elites believe.)  Ultimately, voters will render a verdict on the success of incumbents to achieve meaningful change in a little more than nine months.  If strong words now induce the Democratic leadership to enact laws and direct expenditures that favor the middle and working classes before the voters speak, they will get to keep power.  The truth of that will speak more loudly than all of the corporate cash our Supreme Court has loosed.  If not, the incumbents will be turned out, and the violent swirling motion we will feel is the republic we thought we had swirling down the crapper.  For those of us who already donate to politicians, and who have already become involved in local, state and national elections, speaking up in forums like this and in communications to our elected officials is an absolute necessity if we are to avoid that result.

        •  what values? (0+ / 0-)

          I would disagree that most Americans long for an America that matches some vision of the Democratic party.

          The current polls indicate most Americans think the Dem Congress is overreaching, over spending, and trying to control too much.

          I might agree that perhaps they don't want a "conservative" agenda.. But, what agenda do you think they want?  What would be that clear agenda?

          "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

          by Skeptical Bastard on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:02:54 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  They want (5+ / 0-)

            an opportunity society that stays out of their personal lives, allows for some risk-taking, but has a safety net.

            But above all, they want the wrongdoers punished.

            America: our highest paid profession is thief.

            by Paul Goodman on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:23:33 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  not how I read the polling on health care (6+ / 0-)

            where once they understand it most people want a public option of some kind

            and most who think the Senate bill unacceptable do not understand how much they gain even from that monstrosity

            you must look below the topline numbers when examining polling data.  What are the questions, what does that tell you about the respondees?

            do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

            by teacherken on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:27:20 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  They want equal justice for humans. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            emal, wonmug, bigchin, DawnN

            If they'd get arrested for something, they want the rich and powerful arrested for it.

            They want safety nets to keep them out of poverty when jobs disappear, and to be able to go get health care when COBRA has run out.

            They want dignity, and peace, and a sense of worth that comes from being able to do something, to make something, to change the world in some small way to make it better for their families.

            They want Congressmen and women who are working to bring opportunity to their neighbourhoods every single day.

            Not sitting around playing silly games over egos.

            Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God. - Thomas Jefferson

            by Ezekial 23 20 on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:41:54 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Most Americans want single payer. Even (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            miss SPED

            more Americans want Medicare for All.  And further more Americans want a public option.  In what ways did the congressional Democrats overreach on those issues?

            Having a policy does not mean receiving care. -- Tzimisce

            by Miggles on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 09:03:08 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  This is not only about health care (0+ / 0-)

              On health care Congress just plain botched it... and then lied to us about the cost and lied to us about how much it would save working Americans.

              "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - G. Marx

              by Skeptical Bastard on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 09:25:52 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  radical and militant, community oriented unionism (27+ / 0-)

    I keep coming back to it. It was the few times in American history that working people were acknowledged and could actually say they had control over their lives. It gave us the so called American century. Now that we move into the unknown, it may even be time to call for a new renewed international alliance of workers to take on the mulit-nationals who will have thanks to our Supreme Court so much control that we could barely call ourselves a democracy.

    "What is the robbing of a Bank compared to the FOUNDING of a Bank?" Bertolt Brecht

    by thethinveil on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 03:43:46 AM PST

  •  I'm kind of sad. (36+ / 0-)

    Although I have $100K+ socked away for retirement in a few years, I figure that I don't have enough to take care of myself -- particularly if the medical bills mount up -- and my children won't be able to care for a sick old fuck like I'll become.  

    Since there's no social safety net, I need to leave something behind and that means an early exit.

    A lifetime of voting and working for Democrats, and we get wall street bailouts and blind subservience to the most malevolent corporate practices.  

    I'd like to think it's redeemable.  Maybe in a generation or two, but I don't expect to see much improvement in my remaining years.  Hope my grandchildren can fix it.  My generation has failed.

    I'm in a crappy mood this morning.

    "With all the wit of a stunned trout, prodigal stumbled clumsily into the midst of a discussion . . . " -- droogie6655321

    by prodigal on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 03:43:55 AM PST

    •  I hope your day improves... n/t (7+ / 0-)

      Torture: An act... specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering upon another person within his custody or physical control.

      by MsGrin on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:20:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  u have my sympathy (18+ / 0-)

      beyond the now decreasing equity in my house, I have little that would allow me to "retire" -  of course, so long as I have the energy I want to continue doing what I do, which is teach.  I think I can if they allow me to keep it up until I am at least 70.  We had one teacher in our building who was, I think, in her 80s.

      We'll see.  If I am effective and can teach with integrity, if I feel I am being useful, I still get enjoyment from what i do even with the many frustrations.

      Not everyone is as lucky as I find myself.

      So gain, u have my sympathies.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:31:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have 15 years of education and no job (5+ / 0-)

      Thanks to the combined force of Democratic and Republican Party's corrupt mismanagement of public higher education.

      I made 2300 dollars a class (that's 4 months of pay, folks, total), teaching at the college level. I nearly lost my cheap apartment trying to teach those that our leaders regard as prey. And they school didn't even make payments into my social security account. And I was a public worker in Massachusetts.

      As I said to my so-called 'union leaders': who's gonna pay for the dog food I'll be eating when I'm too old to work?

      He just asked me for my dues money.

      That's what happens when you let corporations take over public resources. 10 full time teachers, 200 adjuncts. Only those adjuncts with money-making spouses were not working poor. But - of course - that educational model requires more administrators than teachers. And all but one of those full-time teachers had been there since the last 1960's or early 1970's. That's how far back we have to go to find the root of our problems.

  •  I don't blame Obama. (13+ / 0-)

    I blame Americans.

    You can't help a country that is so intent on destroying itself.

    More than half of our citizens are voting in people like Scott Brown now, despite what he and his war criminal party did under Bush.

    A nation of people like that aren't going to make it, and they certainly aren't going to get healthcare. Not even people like Obama can save a nation like that from destroying itself.

    If Americans are still voting in people like Brown, there's very little hope that Democrats can do much if anything to save this country. A nation of people this clueless hasn't proven it deserves to be saved.

  •  I am losing hope because I think (34+ / 0-)

    that our political system is broken. No one is looking out for the little guys and gals, and the middle class is being hollowed out. Congress, both the Republicans and the Dems, is paid for by corporate interests such as the banks, coal, and oil. I support the Democrats because I believe in things like public education, science, and reproductive choice, but I have watched these values erode away during my lifetime.

    I have three kids. They are bright, enthusiastic, and well educated. I worry about their futures.

    Thanks for posting this, TK--tipped and recommended. And thanks for doing what you do. I appreciated your diary yesterday. As I said yesterday, my youngest son's high school US history and AP Government teachers have made a real difference in his life.

    •  musical chairs (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Paul Goodman, Midwesterners, fernan47

      Political system? Dude, the USA as an entity is broken. It's FUCKED. If you want to see what the USA will be like in the next decade, look at Russia in the nineties.

      Right now the USA is playing a very big game of musical chairs. The losers will be  those who are left - in what will be the FORMER United States - with no way to leave when the music stops.

    •  Apart from a letter or two early on (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      irmaly, blue jersey mom, JanL

      I never bothered to contact my Rep, because he's that tool, Boehner.  I'm beginning to think I need to start calling both him and my Senators, daily and asking them what they've done for the district/state, TODAY.  Each and every day.  And then writing LTE's maybe once a week with the week's take.

      I'm betting I won't get a single positive step for the district out of Boehner, ever, and people in the district need to see that he's doing nothing worthwhile.

      It's long past time to send his sorry orange butt away from DC.

      Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God. - Thomas Jefferson

      by Ezekial 23 20 on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:58:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I actually think the Dems are starting to get it (7+ / 0-)

    If though losing MA was a body blow to Dems, it was also a wake-up call to them to be on the side of the people.

    Well it is time to act as such.

    Obama 7/09: "Don't bet against us" (unless the Dems screw it up).

    by Drdemocrat on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 03:51:01 AM PST

  •  Jobs, Jobs, Jobs (10+ / 0-)

    I have written about the need for more jobs and people here didn't get it when I did. Time to get more jobs through a jobs bill. If we dems don't get it, then we will lose in November 2010

    Practice tolerance, kindness and charity.

    by LWelsch on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 03:54:42 AM PST

  •  What is the absence of hope (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Creosote, thethinveil

    but despair.

    I will be attending the PA Progressive Summit 2010next Friday/Saturday in Harrisburg.

    I expect there will be a lot of discussion directed at the issues - especially in light of the MA Senate loss, and the SCOTUS decision to unleash corporate financing for political campaigns.

    The work must still be done, the fight is not over.

    I used to sign my posts - "In Hope and in Peace"

    I think you can't have one without the other.

    "I think 2008 is going to be a good year." Senator Barack Obama - Des Moines, Iowa, January 1st, 2008

    by PoconoPCDoctor on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:00:06 AM PST

    •  you can start by beginning to do what few here (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fernan47

      want to do. That is analyzing the real political forces at work in this country and the world since one of the things missing for discussions around here is the international dimension of our national politics. If we refuse to look up close at the powerful forces including the Wall Street (global finance) military, the intel services, the "security" apparatus, the private armies, the criminal gangs (Misha Glenny says that 15 to 20% of world GDP involves the illegal or rogue economy and some feel that is a conservative estimate), the FIRE sector etc. We have to understand that these groups and others use force not persuasion to get what they want. Also we need to understand that these forces are willing to kill anyone that opposes them. We know that they can commit crimes with impunity we have to understand that we are being ruled by an organized crime syndicate that Democrats and Republicans are shadow puppets.

      If I'm wrong then give me some alternative explanations "spinelessness" means nothing. There has to be an understanding of the political dynamics otherwise you just end up confused like almost everyone on this site.

  •  This (8+ / 0-)

    If I am at the point of losing hope, how can I serve as an instrument of hope to others?  How can I encourage students to have what I no longer do, hopes and dreams for a better future?

    is the most unbearable part.  I know, I have struggled with it for several years now.  I'm so sorry, I wish it was different and I wish I could offer some optimism, but I just came from this diary Naked Capitalism Guest Post: AIG Bailout Secrets Exposed!

    It's nothing surprising, but horrifying none the less.  

    "Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it." Robert F. Kennedy

    by enough already on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:02:45 AM PST

    •  "Maybe God threw the dice once too often"... (3+ / 0-)

    •  RE: This (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      enough already

      How can I encourage students to have what I no longer do, hopes and dreams for a better future?

      Simple. Tell them to leave the United States and establish themselves and their families in other countries before it's too late.

      •  balderdash - (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassandra77, wonmug, enough already, JanL

        I'm glad most of them are not as cynical as that.

        If that is what you believe, when are you moving?  And to where?

        do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

        by teacherken on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:56:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        out of left field

        if the situation were as utterly hopeless as you suggest, do you really believe anyone could successfully run away from it by moving to another country?  I don't.  Where the America goes, the world follows.  And besides, the forces behind our problems are globalists who do not recognize or care about the labels and borders by which the masses like to define themselves.

        "Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it." Robert F. Kennedy

        by enough already on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 12:41:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  my advice (0+ / 0-)

          Move to a country with a smaller percentage of the population in jail than the USA (hint: that's anywhere). Because jails do not produce happy well-adjusted people. And you know what happens when the government stops paying the jail power bills? Those doors all open.

          Move to a country that hasn't been putting its servicemen and women through an ultraviolence mindfuck for ten years. For some time the US government has one primary industry: war. One of the outputs of that industry is mentally unstable people with military training and guns. You know what happens when the government stops delivering the paychecks? Those people start looking for work. And the sorts of industries that attract mentally unstable people with military training and guns are not pretty.

          Move to a country that hasn't let its police force develop the mindset of an occupying army controlling the populace. Because when the paychecks stop, all those angry ex-cops with guns are going to be looking for "innovative" ways to pay the bills too.

  •  Honestly, now that 'they' can rely on business (9+ / 0-)

    ..to fund every step of their re-election, why would they need to listen to anyone ever again?

    I imagine most House and Senate offices are being converted toa two-line switchboard.. the business line goes through, and the constituent line goes to a 1970's answering machine with no tape on the spool.

    Well, the Democrats are converting over, anyway.  The Republicans have always had that setup, of course.

    "To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well." Justice Robert Jackson, Chief Prosecutor, Nuremberg.

    by Wayward Son on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:06:25 AM PST

  •  Another Bob said it best (6+ / 0-)

    "Money doesn't talk, it swears."

    The folded coffin flag is nothing but a receipt from the Masters of War to the pawns in their game.

    by BOHICA on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:06:43 AM PST

    •  "Big money got no soul" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      polar bear, Miggles

      Big Money make mistakes
      Big money got a heavy hand
      Big money take control
      Big money got a mean streak
      Big money got no soul

      The Big Money - Rush

      Support Fair Trade. Buy American! Keep jobs at home. Political Compass Economy -6.62, Social -4.82

      by John Lane on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:47:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Are you a progressive "purist"? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda, JanL, DBunn, CoExistNow, Escamillo

    Since we are directing people to go read commentary elsewhere, I'm going to step on your thread to direct progressive purists who are into diluting support for the Obama administration to go read this from Sully.  If we are going to confront the proto-fascist forces conspiring to cement their vision of the future into place, it is imperative that reasonable people leftward and rightward recognize what is at stake.  Not very long ago at all, Andrew Sullivan was defending George Bush.  These are the kind of people we need to reach and listen to.  You know, the reasonable conservatives.

    The new sig line is stalled in the sloganeering committee. We apologize for the delay; we want to get it right.

    by peterborocanuck on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:10:24 AM PST

    •  B.s statement; issue isn't "diluting", it's all (14+ / 0-)

      about the leaders of the party standing up for what they signed off on.

      Blaming the victim does nothing for true believers.

      •  So, if the leader of the Democrats (0+ / 0-)

        don't "stand up for what they signed off on", the only thing to do is hand power back to those who stand outright opposed to those very things?  I must need a cup of coffee, because I'm having a hard time parsing  "Blaming the victim does nothing for true believers."  What are you trying to say?

        The new sig line is stalled in the sloganeering committee. We apologize for the delay; we want to get it right.

        by peterborocanuck on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:06:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  False dichotomy, dude; no-one is suggesting (19+ / 0-)

          that anyone give the government back to the Republicans. An argument like that just shows you support the man more than you support the cause.  And the cause is all that ultimately matters.  The man doesn't matter all.

          [By way of example: why is FDR held in high regard? Because the cause mattered more than what people thought of him (since the pundits of his day didn't think much of him at all at the start of his presidency; many of them hated him throughout his entire administration). In fact, much of the modern GOP is simply the hatred of FDR's critics institutionalized.  Right now, President Obama is neither FDR or even TR.]

          The Democrats - and the President - control their political futures.  They campaigned on all sorts of things that the American people would welcome, even many Republicans.  

          All that anyone is asking them is to try as hard to advance their agenda as the Republicans are in advancing theirs.  They just haven't done it. They haven't demonstrated the same devotion to their causes as the GOP does to theirs.

          And folks like you declaring that pointing this out is "diluting" support is sheer b.s., and no amount of coffee will alter reality.

          Put another way, folks thinking as you seem to be are the problem, not the critics.  The age of messiahdom is so over.  If the President wants to lead, then he damn well better start leading. Otherwise, he's in danger of spending his long life after the presidency as a caricature of change. 30+ years as a laughingstock is no price to pay for wasting a presidency trying to negotiate with the flaming assholes of the minority party.

          •  I agree with much of what you say. (0+ / 0-)

            Except the idea that progressives advancing the notion that nothing will ever change so why bother doesn't constitute a dilution of support for this administration.

            The new sig line is stalled in the sloganeering committee. We apologize for the delay; we want to get it right.

            by peterborocanuck on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:01:21 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not all progressives, here or elsewhere... (8+ / 0-)

              think that way. The Democratic base wants the President and the Congress to advance the core agenda, not continue the snipe hunt for bipartisanship with those who have no intention of being bipartisan.  Frankly, the progressives are the ones who put Obama in the White House and gave the Democrats their majorities in Congress. Independents looked at the competing agendas and gave their support to the progressives.  Obama and his centrists then deliberately marginalized them, and they're paying the price now.

              Frankly, the Democratic Party is quite prepared to fracture over this in similar manner to the GOP. Base voters in both parties suspect the loyalty of their leadership; the main difference being that most voters are still more favorably disposed toward the essentials of the Democratic Party because those essentials are perceived as meeting the needs of the voters.  Correspondingly, support for the Democrats is slipping precisely because of the failure to support and advance their own agenda. Support for the GOP is still abysmal and for all the reasons that cost them the elections in 2006 and 2008.

              Obama and the congressional Democrats (especially the Senate) can still turn this around. They simply have to decide at last that they want to.  The nation will get itself straightened out, simply because we cannot afford not to. The question remain when that will occur and who will be the true agent of change.  Right now, Obama is simply in the way.

          •  I agree with you completely, but I would also (0+ / 0-)

            add that if Obama becomes a failed president it will be a long, long time before another person of color becomes president.  In fact I think that there may be a backlash against electing people of color all over!

            •  And that, my friends, is the reason for this (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Nina, Brooke In Seattle

              unprecedented obstructionism.  It wasn't until a person of color was elected that we see this degree of nihilisitc lockstep obstructionism from his political opponents, throwing all notions of "loyal opposition" out the window.  The GOP is deeply invested in seeing that the first minority president is unsuccessful, to set some kind of precedent.

              You guys can talk about the greatness of FDR, Truman, LBJ, or any other past president all you want and use them as measuring sticks, but the problem is that no president in history has had to deal with the nihilistic obstructionism that the current one has had to face.  And we all (well, most of us) know the reason for that.

    •  TK is a well-respected (9+ / 0-)

      diarist and educator.  The tone of your comment is not appropriate.  If you really need to bash some bashers, there are plenty of Obama = FAIL diaries in which to do it.

      -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

      by luckylizard on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:44:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Pardon me? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        luckylizard, Escamillo

        What is inappropriate about my "tone"?  Would you care to address the content of the link I posted, instead of reflexively trying to "defend" teacherken, who doesn't need defending from anyone, least of all the likes of me.  My subject line was a rhetorical question designed to attract the eyeballs of progressive litmus-testers, not a query directed at tk, anyway.   But thanks for the "who's who and what's appropriate on dkos", Mr 125766.  Sincerely, Mr 34663.

        PS Your political compass coordinates indicate a) you are probably usually insufferably self-righteous, b) you're either 19 years old or an inefficient learner, and c) you really should read the Sully link.

        The new sig line is stalled in the sloganeering committee. We apologize for the delay; we want to get it right.

        by peterborocanuck on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:58:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  How do you like my "tone" now? nt (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        luckylizard

        The new sig line is stalled in the sloganeering committee. We apologize for the delay; we want to get it right.

        by peterborocanuck on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:59:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  If There Were (5+ / 0-)

      "resonable conservatives" They would have been the ones attacking what was being done while using their banners during the previous administration and even the congresses before that. What was heard as to that, crickets, as they fell behind and marched in lockstep, in Silence against!

      Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase.--Martin Luther King Jr.

      by jimstaro on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:47:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  How do you think Obama got elected? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ivan, Fabian, LynneK, Escamillo

        Do you really think self-styled "progressives" elected the President all by themselves?  Good grief.

        The new sig line is stalled in the sloganeering committee. We apologize for the delay; we want to get it right.

        by peterborocanuck on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:01:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank You (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blueoasis, fernan47

          For another idiotic reply added to your first!!!!!!!!!!

          My guess is you're one of those "responsible conservatives" who kept your mouth shut!!

          You're showing your true colors!!

          Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase.--Martin Luther King Jr.

          by jimstaro on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:05:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Care to put any substance in your attacks? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LynneK

            What is idiotic about my reply?  Here you are, lashing out at me, who's politics are likely waaay to the left of yours,  (me being a Canadian  lefty) and making baseless assumptions to shore up your shaky rationale.  What has gotten into people around here?

            The new sig line is stalled in the sloganeering committee. We apologize for the delay; we want to get it right.

            by peterborocanuck on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:14:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Boy You're (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Superskepticalman, fernan47

              Really showing that idiocy you're trying to run from!!

              First, You Can't Read!! Where do I say anything about your, in quotes, "progressives"?

              Second, Where do I say anything about the election?

              What I did say is there are no "reasonable conservatives", like you're now trying to say, apparently, You Are!!

              There aren't even any "conservatives" nor "republicans", that follow those long followed ideologies, true ideologies!!

              And I also said You're One Of Them, that isn't!!

              Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase.--Martin Luther King Jr.

              by jimstaro on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:23:27 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Jim, (0+ / 0-)

                If it weren't against the rules to HR someone you're "engaged" with, I'd HR the comment I'm replying to for ad hominem argument, or insults.  Apparently I've inadvertently pushed some of your buttons, but calm down.

                The new sig line is stalled in the sloganeering committee. We apologize for the delay; we want to get it right.

                by peterborocanuck on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:30:53 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  You Didn't Push My Buttons (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Superskepticalman

                  But Ken pushed yours, and like I just said, Read First!!

                  HR away if you think it'll satisfy you!

                  Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase.--Martin Luther King Jr.

                  by jimstaro on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:36:58 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No, he didn't. (0+ / 0-)

                    I'm a little disappointed by the whole "losing hope/despair is setting in " hysteria around here, though.  If this is what you sound like when you're calm and reasonable, do you turn green and burst out of your clothes when you get upset?

                    The new sig line is stalled in the sloganeering committee. We apologize for the delay; we want to get it right.

                    by peterborocanuck on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:56:58 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Jim, please tone down the rhetoric (3+ / 0-)

                labeling someone else in the middle of a dispute is not helpful

                do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

                by teacherken on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:39:24 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Ken I'm not even sure what the dispute is. (0+ / 0-)

                  Your preferred modus operandi is to deconstruct third party commentary.  I simply pointed out some interesting (and damned close to spot on) commentary from a self-styled conservative.  I'm completely non-plussed by the reaction.

                  The new sig line is stalled in the sloganeering committee. We apologize for the delay; we want to get it right.

                  by peterborocanuck on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:08:43 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Hows This (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              blueoasis

              Since we are directing people to go read commentary elsewhere

              That type of argue back would come from one who thinks they are "reasonable conservative" and or "republican" {libertarian even comes to mind} who frequent those like minded boards, on this technology, and actually think they speak for both those ideologies.

              With Out Giving Any Backtrack As To Where Their Written Opinions Come From Or To Back Them Up, and they even think that's called "debating" when they are confronted!

              Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase.--Martin Luther King Jr.

              by jimstaro on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:01:11 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  OK I see I'm definitely out of my depth here. (0+ / 0-)

                You got me.  I'm secretly part of Beck's army.  Fellow trolls, retreat!  They're on to us!

                The new sig line is stalled in the sloganeering committee. We apologize for the delay; we want to get it right.

                by peterborocanuck on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:06:05 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  There were, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LynneK

        they supported Ron Paul.

        Any more baseless assertions?

        America: our highest paid profession is thief.

        by Paul Goodman on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:17:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  thanks for that link. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peterborocanuck
    •  Are you a troll stirring up internecine flames?nt (0+ / 0-)

      Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God. - Thomas Jefferson

      by Ezekial 23 20 on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:05:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  i no longer (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JanL, thethinveil

      give a damn about anyone 'conservative'

      and i do not care about people like you on this board.

      i am over you and your cohort.

      completely.

      if you can't respect teacherken who is about as mild and reasonable a person as you would find anywhere, you are irredeemable.  

      we are going down and going down hard because of those of your ilk.

      you have your ears stopped shut and cannot hear a damn thing.

      too bad.  we all will suffer.  mightily.  

      We must practice `pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.' Antonio Gramsci

      by fernan47 on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:54:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sully rocks (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Escamillo

      much of the time since the beginning of '08 imho.

      and I don't think Ken is a purist.

      •  depends on what (0+ / 0-)

        I am very much a purist on the importance and saving value of music and poetry, for example   :-)

        do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

        by teacherken on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 09:00:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Sully's writings, especially that one, have been (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nina

      brilliant over the past week.  Much more insightful and productive than Herberts' warmed-over pablum and the "woe is us" diaries that dominate this place.

      I hope that Obama does what Sully prescribes.

      P.S.
      This place is so depressing.
      Do you guys realize that the Dems have more members in the Senate AND in the House than when Obama was inaugurated?  Yes, even after the MA loss.  So we no longer have "60" seats; well, we never did.  And ten months is a lifetime in politics.  The mood can turn around if the Dems don't give up.  I was depressed after wallowing in this site yesterday, but before I went to bed, I went to Sully's site, and my mood changed 180 degrees.  It's a shame that I have to go to a "conservative's" site to get a real perspective on things.

      P.P.S
      Herbert says, "They still don't get it"?  Well, does he think that the GOP "gets it"?  They're a bunch of nihilists that don't care about the country at all, willing to block everything just to damange poitical opponents.

      P.P.P.S
      Herbert's "they still don't get it" statement is nothing new.  He's been saying that for decades.  When has he ever believed that anyone "got it"?  Sully has more cred because he's able to change his point of view, and even write mea culpas admitting he was wrong.  Herbert's never done such, which is why I tired of him loooong ago.

  •  To any student of history... (24+ / 0-)

    ...it is all too obvious that the United States has entered a period of decline, or at least substantial changes, not for the better.

    By the end of the decade (2020), I envision a US of A that will look somewhat like via hybrid between Russia and Brazil. If you don't make at least in the low to mid six figures today, it is very likely that your children will be paupers, or wage slaves, unless somehow they strike it rich.

    OVER HERE: AN AMERICAN EXPAT IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE, is now available on Amazon US

    by Lupin on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:13:42 AM PST

  •  Good diary, Ken. (6+ / 0-)

    There's a lot of us wondering what we've been fighting for the past few years.

    There's a voice in my head that says to not be so mean to the conservatives. I work very hard to ignore that voice.

    by djtyg on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:28:04 AM PST

  •  our country is so screwed (13+ / 0-)

    I agree that many of us, myself included, placed unrealistic expectations on Obama.  Still, I am deeply disappointed that he's not doing enough to fight for change - his strategy of appeasing the powerbrokers and slimebags who messed things up to begin with has been a big bust. But I save most of my ire for Congress, and the Dems in Congress, who truly are acting like nothing has changed.  They wouldn't know how to provide true leadership for this country if it bit them in the ass.  Our political system is broken, and given the recent SCOTUS ruling it's not going to get fixed anytime soon.  I voted for hope last year, but now I feel increasingly hopeless and helpless.  

  •  TO THE STREETS!!! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassandra77, gmb, thethinveil, nandssmith

    If we do not rise up and protest we deserve what we get.

    There is only ONE thing our government will understand and that is public demonstrations of its discontent.

    Those who think that this plays into the GOP are WILDLY insane.  In fact, doing so would strike abject TERROR into the hearts of the GOP because it would be a viable, responsible, immense repudiation of everything that the teafreaks and their ilk stand for.

    There is NOTHING that could help the Democratic party more than public demonstrations that demand it ENACTS ITS PLATFORM.

    How can we sit and do nothing??

    Amoebas have more spine than we do.  We complain that our leaders lack a backbone.  What a surprise!  That our leaders should take after their followers.  We are a bunch of POND SCUM if we do not rise up and demand what is rightfully ours.

    What separates us, divides us, and diminishes the human spirit.

    by equern on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:36:05 AM PST

    •  I don't think our government at (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gmb, fernan47

      this time pays much attention to protests.  The media certainly doesn't unless it is a 40 person tea bag get together.  The protests have to get large and actually disturb the flow of life around them enough that they have no other option outside of listening and taking actions to remedy the crisis. I fear people will be hurt though in the beginning clashes.

      I'm the Left that Rahm's mother warned him about

      by Militarytracy on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:56:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Huh...? (0+ / 0-)

        You blatantly admit that the teafreaks are a viable media item, and then rapidly, if not vapidly proclaim that whatever we do will be subject to derision.

        It sounds like the derision is a self-fulfilling prophecy that is generated by our own disbelief in our ability to make a difference.

        Sorry, but that kind of defeatest attitude is pathetic.

        The only world you will leave for your children and your children's children is one populated by ostriches.

        What separates us, divides us, and diminishes the human spirit.

        by equern on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:56:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I have protested (0+ / 0-)

          I was at a protest that was enormous in D.C. and it got almost no media coverage.  I also demonstrated in Crawford TX with the Sheehan protest.  We got media coverage then I guess because it was almost freakish to challenge the White House at that time and we called their bluff on arresting us.  And I got to witness first hand how the rightwing "creates" its media and its news.  It makes its own video and then provides it free of charge to the networks.  Many huge left leaning protests get almost zero coverage in this country though at this time. I'm not against protesting, I've been out there myself.  But all protests do not get equal media coverage and some are blatantly ignored by the media and our political leaders.

          I'm the Left that Rahm's mother warned him about

          by Militarytracy on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 02:35:16 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Like this protest (0+ / 0-)

            Remember this one or is this the first time you've seen this footage or heard about this protest?  Has any tea bag protest had this many people in it?  And where does the tea bagger footage all come from?  Did the networks show up for all that or was someone kind enough to float them free footage?

            I'm the Left that Rahm's mother warned him about

            by Militarytracy on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 02:42:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  millions will lose their homes (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gmb, Paul Goodman, fernan47, thethinveil

      in the next few years and be in the streets anyway.  So I guess every cloud does have a silver lining.  We will already have an angry core for the revolution.  If only we could figure out a better type of government to demonstrate for.

      •  Snark...? (0+ / 0-)

        We don't need a better TYPE of government, we need a more RESPONSIBLE and RESPONSIVE government.

        What separates us, divides us, and diminishes the human spirit.

        by equern on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:07:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  mostly snark (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gmb

          The problem is, we have had huge demonstrations many times in the last 10 years for a more responsible and responsive government, and they don't do crap.  Even the media basically ignores them.  I really don't know how to influence the people we elect.  They don't seem to give a damn about anything other than corporate largesse.

          •  And the alternative is...? (0+ / 0-)

            Demonstrations for a more responsible and responsive government?  Since 2000?

            We were mostly moribund and shellshocked when GWB was handed the presidency by the SCOTUS, and then 9/11 happened.  The only demonstrations I remember from that time were in SUPPORT of the government.

            Derision is an unforgivable evil.  

            How can you deride the teafreaks and at the same time ignore the huge impact they've been able to have politically?  And they got it by taking to the streets.  Many Kossacks made fun of them.  Kos made fun of them.  Look who's laughing now.

            Besides, what is the alternative..?  BLOGGING??  BOYCOTTING???  Surely you jest!

            The only better alternative I can think of would be a general strike.  One day only...everybody stays home...goes back to work the next day.

            Doing nothing just plays into the hands of the oppressors.

            You have a choice.  Waiting for your duly elected representatives to get the hint is an exercise in futility.  You might as well hold your breath until you turn blue.

            What separates us, divides us, and diminishes the human spirit.

            by equern on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:24:39 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Almost (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gmb, equern, fernan47

      what would strike terror in them is if they saw the left and right populists put aside their differences; they would know then that their divide and conquer strategy wasn't working anymore.

      They have no other strategy.

      America: our highest paid profession is thief.

      by Paul Goodman on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:15:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's not a bad idea! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gmb, vankestral

        You'd be surprised at how much common ground exists between the far-left and far-right.

        I spent a LOT of time in my younger days with the nascent born-again community.  The LANGUAGING is different, but many of the concepts are essentially the same.  Both see the country as moving away from cherished beliefs and ideals.  True, some of those beliefs and ideals are starkly different in both camps, but there is lots of middle ground, and if we stop vilifying each other long enough, we might find we are essentially fighting for some of the same things.

        But there is a strong underlying current of commonality between us.  We both believe in a more just, fair, and less exploitive society.

        In fact, if we could frame many of our concerns in language that they could identify with, we could not only grow extremely quickly, but steal some of the base of the GOP under their own noses.

        What separates us, divides us, and diminishes the human spirit.

        by equern on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:14:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  They Don't Get It Because....... (18+ / 0-)

    They all think alike, and there aren't as many of them leading in that thought process but they do have the ability to force the masses to follow, many willingly against their own selves!

    The past couple of decades have destroyed that which was being built and still had a ways to go, by these few leaders of business and politics.

    When I was a kid the con meme, as the consumers started seeing the innovations and pride in the work done here and envied around the world, was that with the technology advances, well before the computer and internet were even thought of, companies and investors would prosper and workers would be working shorter hours and weeks and have the ability to enjoy all the advances with their families and communities, and we did for a while, a short while.

    If you want to witness the mentality of the corporate mind today, and their political partners, there was a debate the other night. Go over to the Real Networks Site and listen closely to how one corporate head talks as to manufacturing and the workers etc., take what he says as not only on the issue of this debate but the mindset he comes from justifying what his industry does as to any industry or profession. You need just watch a part of or the whole of part one to see what I mean. I also have the video's posted here.

    The dream of ours to leave a better world for those to follow is dead as far as these so called leaders is concerned, their only thoughts are of themselves and probably not even their own kids.

    It doesn't matter if you have a piece of paper from the now Higher Education Industry or you're Educated on what you do and the varied interests you have, with a curiosity, to seek out more knowledge of, with no piece of paper, we're all just tools to the few that can be replaced or not needed as they seek more and more even well beyond the greed and it's definition we once knew!

    This corporate head, about the same age as me, in the debate has thrown out what his granparents and parents worked so hard to build and he isn't the only one, they're idea now is there's no need to share, while they aren't the ones doing the work, in what's produced from the hard work, as they want more done with fewer bodies to worry about doing it and at a much lesser compensation so as to grow the bottom lines!

    Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase.--Martin Luther King Jr.

    by jimstaro on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:42:16 AM PST

    •  Best comment...Bravo! (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gmb, jimstaro, blueoasis, fernan47, thethinveil

      This corporate head, about the same age as me, in the debate has thrown out what his granparents and parents worked so hard to build and he isn't the only one, they're idea now is there's no need to share, while they aren't the ones doing the work, in what's produced from the hard work, as they want more done with fewer bodies to worry about doing it and at a much lesser compensation so as to grow the bottom lines!

      •  There was (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teacherken, gmb, Annalize5

        An awful lot that Blankenship was saying that Royally was pissing me off, even though I already had been watching what was going on and knew how they thought over these decades of growing up in and witnessing it's destruction to benefit the few.

        The hardest part of that growing up was watching what those that did the work lose rapidly their pride in what they did, the family type atmosphere of their work places and the growing lack of respect shown them for their hard work and pride. Once envied worldwide, not just the work ethic but the products produced, slipped away rapidly as those running the companies started buying up others becoming huge corporations of emptiness in feeling or concern and being helped along by those we hire to represent us to make it easier for them to gain even more, and that same mindset still exists even though they collapsed what they themselves had built to benefit the few!!

        Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase.--Martin Luther King Jr.

        by jimstaro on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:01:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's very strange too right now (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      claude, gmb, ScienceMom, Fabian, jimstaro, fernan47

      I support our efforts in Afghanistan, but I at least expected to have to tolerate some serious constant questioning from the left.  But Nope, because questiong those in authority and asking for explanations from people with D's after their names is now not acceptable behavior. There are some voices on the Left determined that we will not be in Afghanistan one day longer than we need to be, but they are very very very few.

      I'm the Left that Rahm's mother warned him about

      by Militarytracy on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:51:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Third party candidates have a difficult (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SarahLee, LynneK, Leo in NJ

    time with viability, but times of crisis like this will make them more viable.  That will also provide incentive to the Democratic party to wake up and represent its constituency again.  Things are very difficult, easier times are not on the horizon, in our perceived mostly two party system no party is responding or responsible.  In such times and in other political systems, this is usually when a third party emerges strong enough to compete.

    I'm the Left that Rahm's mother warned him about

    by Militarytracy on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:46:27 AM PST

  •  Great column (6+ / 0-)

    Especicially love this graph:

    While the nation was suffering through the worst economy since the Depression, the Democrats wasted a year squabbling like unruly toddlers over health insurance legislation. No one in his or her right mind could have believed that a workable, efficient, cost-effective system could come out of the monstrously ugly plan that finally emerged from the Senate after long months of shady alliances, disgraceful back-room deals, outlandish payoffs and abject capitulation to the insurance companies and giant pharmaceutical outfits.

    Big tent leads to big fail.

    by Paleo on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:48:43 AM PST

  •  He's preaching to the choir IMO (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ivan, heart of a quince, Escamillo

    Of course they don't get it!

    Why do people think that something as simple as regulating insurance companies like the monopolistic corporate utilities they are has created this level of ugliness and shitstorming.

    I have news: this country started off wrong, and has had to struggle to insert common decency on multiple levels fighting intrenched interests every step of the way.  We're still struggling.  News at 11.

    Dems need to pass HCR and get onto jobs, pronto.

    •  Passing the senate bill is political suicide (10+ / 0-)

      It isn't too late for HCR. The 4-6 weeks off may be a good thing, or it may be the death of HCR. We'll see. However, it is obvious at this point that shoving the senate bill down the public's throat is the WORST possible move right now.

      I agree they need to get onto jobs, pronto.

      "I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobody above the law" -Obama

      by heart of a quince on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:57:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes it is (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ivan, shrike, heart of a quince, Escamillo

        They will pass the senate bill, or the status quo prevails.  People suggesting otherwise are not telling the truth in my extremely strong opinion.

        We fought hard but did not get everything to which we are entitled.  Welcome to America!

        We got the notion that companies dealing with sick people are public utilities and will be regulated as such.  Unlimited profits and wasteful overheads are freaking OVER.

        If this senate bill passes and we are able to get a Medicare age of eligibility lowered via reconciliation, we're light years ahead of where we were.

        Ends discrimination based on pre-existing condition. Insurance companies will have to take all comers.  They can’t deny you coverage or jack up your premiums based on your health status.

        Ends gender discrimination. Insurance companies will no longer be able to charge higher premiums based on gender.

        Caps out-of-pocket expenses. Insurance companies will have to abide by limits on what they can charge you for out-of-pocket expenses like deductibles and co-pays.

        Prevents dropping of coverage for seriously ill.  Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping, watering down, or refusing to renew your coverage when you get sick and need it most.

        Prohibits caps on total coverage. Insurance companies will no longer be able to limit the total amount of coverage you can receive.

        Allows children to stay on their parents insurance until age 26.

        Limits premium differences based on age. Currently insurance companies can charge older Americans up to 5 or 6 times as much as younger Americans.  The bill will limit that ratio to 3-1.

        Provides seniors with relief from prescription drug prices.  Seniors in the so-called "donut hole" will immediately receive a 50 percent discount on prescription drugs, and the size of the donut hole will be reduced by $500 in 2010.

        Tax credits for individuals, families, and small businesses.  The bill provides tax credits for small businesses, as well as middle- and low-income Americans, to help them afford health insurance.

        Makes preventive care completely free. Insurance companies will be forced to fully cover – with no co-pays – preventive care like colonoscopies or mammograms.

        Significantly reduces the federal deficit. The Congressional Budget Office reports that the bill will reduce our deficit by $132 billion over the first decade, and by as much as $1.3 trillion by the end of the second decade.

        Creates new health insurance Exchanges. The bill creates new health insurance Exchanges where individuals, families, and small businesses can compare plans and choose the one that works best for them.  These Exchanges will lower premiums by increasing competition and reducing administrative costs.  They will also provide consumers with unprecedented information.

        Extends the life of the Medicare Trust Fund. The bill roots out waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicare and adds 9 years to the life of the Medicare trust fund.

        Controls skyrocketing health care costs. The bill contains a wide range of cost-control measures, such as rewarding quality of care, and encouraging health care providers to work together.

        Protects patients’ choice of doctors. Individuals will be allowed to choose any participating  primary care provider, prohibiting insurers from requiring prior authorization before a woman sees an ob-gyn, and ensuring access to emergency care.

        Ensures Americans get value for their premium payments. Insurers won’t be allowed to gouge consumers or funnel dollars that should be spent on health care to line their executives’ pockets.  They will be required to spend 80 percent of small group and individual premiums and 85 percent of large group premiums dollars on health benefits or provide customers a rebate.

        Expands community health centers. An immediate and substantial investment in community health centers will expand access to health care in communities where it is needed most.

        Lowers premiums for retirees and employers. The bill creates access to re-insurance for employer health plans providing coverage for early retirees.  This re-insurance will help protect coverage while reducing premiums for employers and retirees.

        http://democrats.senate.gov/...

        That's the senate bill.  The House bill was better for several reasons, including a (albeit weak and underfunded and restricted---not available to the vast majority of people) public option but many of which don't pertain to the public option (I've said over and over that this senate bill expands Medicaid, which is good and beyond needed, but doesn't give NY enough money to cover that which scares me so much because so many people are going to sign up for this; the system is going to be overwhelmed and we're already freaking broke).

        But people need to stop pretending that the senate bill is evil.  That was useful when something slightly better was on the table.  Now it is not.  The MA results gave the freaking Dem leadership all the excuse they need to TACK RIGHT which is what they wanted to do in the first place.

        Why can't people see how purity trolling is doing nothing but entrenching the status quo?  Have we all just lost complete perspective here?

        •  Your argments have failed (13+ / 0-)

          The country doesn't believe you. I don't believe you. 33% support. You can't even convince your allies. You can keep cutting and pasting the same stuff, or you can wake up. Whichever.

          The senate bill, as is, is dead. If you want HCR you can help push the senate bill + reconciliation or some other path forward.

          Or you can keep calling me a purity troll. Your choice.

          "I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobody above the law" -Obama

          by heart of a quince on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:19:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I know that you're earnest here (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Christin, heart of a quince

            But I really don't think so.

            I think that there is a ton of disinformation out there, some of it designed to appeal to right wingers, some of it designed to appeal to liberals, which has caused a messaging problem and misperception.

            This is why something as basic as putting controls in place and regulating insurance co's like utilities hasn't been done ages and ages ago.

            I'll give it to the insurance industry and other interests on the right: they are astroturfers par none.  Wow.  What I'm witnessing leaves me near-speechless.

            But again, the time for attacking this bill is simply over.  Those telling people otherwise are simply selling a fantasy.

            This is with me admiring the effort to change the narrative and make upsets cause Dems to tack left, not right.  That's an awesome effort and I enjoy those who are making it (at least those who are making it in good faith, like Mr. Herbert; others, not so much).  But this is the Democratic party.  We're getting the senate bill, or we're getting the status quo.  Nothing that I have read coming out of the mouths of our leadership in DC indicates otherwise; true to form.  They needed an excuse to tack right and they are latching onto this.  How people imagined otherwise is simply beyond my comprehension at this point.

            •  And you're just pushing the same stuff (11+ / 0-)

              I don't agree. Not one bit. Your claim that it is "right wing" is bullshit AND insulting. Your claim that I'm deluded is bullshit AND insulting. Your claims that I'm a purity troll are bullshit AND insulting. Your claims that I'm a victim of astroturfing are bullshit AND insulting.

              You. Have. Failed. Face the fucking reality. People, including your allies, hate this bill. Hate it. Lots of them even voted for a god damn teabagger just to stop it. THAT is how bad people hate this bill.

              The senate bill IS a bad bill and the whole country knows it. You want to push it down our throats? Fine. But don't expect me to help you. And expect 2010 to be a repeat of Coakley.

              I am NOT ok with the senate bill, and I am making calls every weekday to make my voice heard.

              "I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobody above the law" -Obama

              by heart of a quince on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:49:59 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I really don't mean to be insulting (4+ / 0-)

                but I think reality is staring you in the face no matter how you try to spin it.

                GOP in the MA senate seat=big fat fail for progressives, on multiple levels.  Just a fail.  Anyone who thinks that we're going to pursue our objectives via the GOP is simply pursuing a fantasy in my extremely extremely incredibly strong opinion.  I'm not saying that it's right or okay, but a teabagger in the MA senate seat, sent by a collection of people who have convinced themselves that the senate bill is evil, not a sellout or disappointment, but an evil transformation of their relationship with insurers and the government----people on the right and the left think this for different reasons; sending a teabagger to DC to kill this bill is doing ZERO other than cementing the senate bill as the only alternative to doing nothing.  

                These people will leave HCR in the trash and get onto a jobs program to save their seats.  Ted Kennedy said he wished he hadn't walked away from his deal with Nixon, which itself was SO much better than the senate bill.

                Mark my words, people in hindsight are going to be like, "wtf was I thinking."

                •  And I think it is staring YOU in the face (9+ / 0-)

                  Nobody, anywhere thinks we'll pursue anything through brown. They think that the dems are blowing it, badly, and need a wake up call. If you piss people off, they'll go with the other option. Every time.

                  Dems should have listened while we were raising hell on here. YOU should have listened. Instead we get Brown because you are all so damn tone deaf it is infuriating.

                  Two thirds supported a public option. ONE third supported the senate bill. Despite an absolute avalanche of media against the public option, teabagging rallies and town halls, lies in the media, it is STILL, even now, twice as popular as the senate bill. Face that reality.

                  Dems screwed the pooch here, and people who cheerleaded this travesty as the "best we could do" need to take a good look at what they've accomplished. Worse than nothing.

                  "I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobody above the law" -Obama

                  by heart of a quince on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:05:37 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Um (4+ / 0-)

                    empowering the GOP...bad idea.

                    Fail.

                    I really do understand your arguments.  But participating in the GOP's governing coalition because Dems are milquetoast (News at 11!) with boring asshat candidates with egos the size of mount kilamajaro (dog bites man!) is a fail.  An epic fail.  Making FL close enough for Bush to steal by voting for Nader fail.

                    Because for all of their flaws, Dems are the clear lesser of two evils.  And for all of the senate bill's flaws, and those flaws are enormous, it is the lesser of two evils between having it and having the status quo.

                    It's just that simple.

                    Progressives have been trying, for years, to pull this party to the left by sending rage votes; it has failed every time.  Seriously, it has failed every time.  We join in on attacking Dems and the party lurches right in fright!  At what point do we stop?  What we need is a complete infiltration from the grassroots up into the machinery of this party.  We need to get rid of the stale machine and replace that shit.

                    But in terms of HCR, it's over.  Senate bill, or zip.  This is simply my opinion, but it is based on traditional Democratic behavior and indications that this behavior is not about to change at the moment.

                •  Progressives weren't invited to the party. (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  GN1927, darkmatter, thethinveil

                  Do you know who Tim Kaine is? Barack Obama? Martha Coakley? These aren't progressives, at best they are the liberal wing of the Corporate Party.

                  America: our highest paid profession is thief.

                  by Paul Goodman on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:07:01 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Give me progressives to vote for in (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Ivan, Christin, LynneK

                    primaries who can win seats and you will not have to deal with any of the above again.

                    Run our mouths on blogs and simply join the right in character attacking Dems and their weak assed initiatives which still help people and I'm walking away and out the door.

                    I will never participate in the GOP's governing coalition.  Ever.  I will never play progressive spoiler to the GOP's benefit.  Ask me why and I'll show you this country responding to Katrina, and then I'll show you this country responding to the crisis in Haiti.  I'll show you this country rushing to war on Iraq and I'll show you this country not taking the opportunity of Iran's problematic elections to escalate and fabricate a war.

                    I'm thinking of people in my city working two jobs who are about to be able to sign up for Medicaid where as before they could not.  I don't know how we're going to pay for it, but this is a good thing.

                    I'm done with attacking the senate plan and I'm not kidding.  Where there was opportunity for even marginal improvement, it was my worst enemy.  That opportunity is gone and that ship has sailed IMO.

        •  one by one (0+ / 0-)

          "Ends discrimination based on pre-existing condition."

          HIPAA ends it after 18 months for employees.

          "Insurance companies will have to take all comers.  They can’t deny you coverage or jack up your premiums based on your health status."

          They may decide not to take any newcomers for say 18 months. Or 20 months. Or 22 months.

          "Ends gender discrimination. Insurance companies will no longer be able to charge higher premiums based on gender."

          They'll charge equally high premiums for all.

          "Caps out-of-pocket expenses. Insurance companies will have to abide by limits on what they can charge you for out-of-pocket expenses like deductibles and co-pays."

          For the cheaper doctors. "Premium" doctors might be 20% to 40% more.

          "Prevents dropping of coverage for seriously ill.  Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping, watering down, or refusing to renew your coverage when you get sick and need it most."

          No sick income support coverage required as with German insurance that enables continued premium payment.

          "Prohibits caps on total coverage. Insurance companies will no longer be able to limit the total amount of coverage you can receive."

          That is going to make employer-based insurance more difficult to supply.

          It means purchasing surplus coverage which means less money for wages.

          "Allows children to stay on their parents insurance until age 26."

          And wages will be frozen long enough to compensate.

          "Limits premium differences based on age. Currently insurance companies can charge older Americans up to 5 or 6 times as much as younger Americans.  The bill will limit that ratio to 3-1."

          It's good for 55-year olds, bad for 25-year olds.

          There's no free lunch.

          "Provides seniors with relief from prescription drug prices.  Seniors in the so-called "donut hole" will immediately receive a 50 percent discount on prescription drugs, and the size of the donut hole will be reduced by $500 in 2010."

          Good idea. Why not just do it in the next 24 hours.

          "Tax credits for individuals, families, and small businesses.  The bill provides tax credits for small businesses, as well as middle- and low-income Americans, to help them afford health insurance."

          So big companies and high income individuals like doctors will be taxed more.

          The doctors and big companies will simply raise their prices to compensate.

          "Makes preventive care completely free. Insurance companies will be forced to fully cover – with no co-pays – preventive care like colonoscopies or mammograms."

          It's not "free", just cost-shifted.

          "Significantly reduces the federal deficit. The Congressional Budget Office reports that the bill will reduce our deficit by $132 billion over the first decade, and by as much as $1.3 trillion by the end of the second decade."

          The ten years of taxes for six years of coverage starting in 2013 is an indication that the taxes as proposed will be insufficient in the long-term.

          "Creates new health insurance Exchanges. The bill creates new health insurance Exchanges where individuals, families, and small businesses can compare plans and choose the one that works best for them.  These Exchanges will lower premiums by increasing competition and reducing administrative costs.  They will also provide consumers with unprecedented information."

          I've shopped on the Massachusetts exchange. It is easy to buy a poor policy.

          "Extends the life of the Medicare Trust Fund. The bill roots out waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicare and adds 9 years to the life of the Medicare trust fund."

          The hospitals and doctors are complaining about Medicare rates now as being too low.

          "Controls skyrocketing health care costs. The bill contains a wide range of cost-control measures, such as rewarding quality of care, and encouraging health care providers to work together."

          When the sky is the limit for individual coveage, then system costs will be even more massive.

          If it controled costs, doctors, drug companies, and hospitals would be up in arms.

          "Protects patients’ choice of doctors. Individuals will be allowed to choose any participating  primary care provider, prohibiting insurers from requiring prior authorization before a woman sees an ob-gyn, and ensuring access to emergency care."

          Doctors are independent businesspeople generally. To have a better selection means paying them more.

          "Ensures Americans get value for their premium payments. Insurers won’t be allowed to gouge consumers or funnel dollars that should be spent on health care to line their executives’ pockets.  They will be required to spend 80 percent of small group and individual premiums and 85 percent of large group premiums dollars on health benefits or provide customers a rebate."

          Germany uses a 97%+ medical loss ratio. We have a way to go

          "Expands community health centers. An immediate and substantial investment in community health centers will expand access to health care in communities where it is needed most."

          Is there going to be a problem seeing doctors in private practice for poor people?

          "Lowers premiums for retirees and employers. The bill creates access to re-insurance for employer health plans providing coverage for early retirees.  This re-insurance will help protect coverage while reducing premiums for employers and retirees."

          There is some benefits to retirees.

          The $10 billion (?) of the program won't go far. Maybe it will compensate for increased provider pricing.

          A poor retiree won't be free to marry a high-income retiree.

          Many large employers will be forced to pay for expensive qualified coverage if they aren't forced to close up shop.

  •  The good news is that it isn't too late (5+ / 0-)

    Mass should be a wake up call. This will probably be the last chance though. I see signs that the administration got the message, but it needs to be more than talk. I am less convinced the senate got the message, especially the usual villains.  

    "I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobody above the law" -Obama

    by heart of a quince on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:54:27 AM PST

    •  For whom? Only the administration? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ivan, gmb, heart of a quince

      What about the blogosphere and the left generally?

      Some of us pointed out quite rightly, that the proper response o the right-wing populists wasn't to spit on them, but to reach out to them to find areas of common ground, and to prevent their capture by GOP astroturf campaigns.

      "We" failed on both counts: now it's harvest time.

      Why did "we" fail: arrogance.

      I still encounter that arrogance, so The Humbling will continue (Nov 2010, Nov2012...) until we get it right.

      America: our highest paid profession is thief.

      by Paul Goodman on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:05:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Unlike Krugman (9+ / 0-)
    who often gets lost in the fog of economic models, Herbert understands what's going on "out there."

    Big tent leads to big fail.

    by Paleo on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:02:20 AM PST

  •  When you think of what it began like... (7+ / 0-)

    We had men that left the home 'farm', went to serve in Washington, but eventually, had to go back home because they had to eat.  There wasn't any money to be had in being a Representative.

    Now, we have people who do literally stay in the halls of power forever.  It is an aristocracy and it is passed from fathers to sons.  It is a career, it is a job.  It supports them forever!  Why do they get 'retirement' benefits?  Because they will be there that long.  What they should get is x amount of dollars per year for x number of years and then return to what they 'do' for a living.

    In this life long position, there is more than enough room for greed, power, and position to poison them and make them pawns for the people with the real money.  

    This is perhaps the link in the chain that needs to be severed.

  •  They do get it Teacherken; They just don't care (6+ / 0-)

    They work for K Street and they do what K Street wants and there is no Political Party in America that actually works for the people.

    There is some great writing in this Diary and in Herbert's column as well but a Presidential Candidate told you all the same things a few years ago and got nowhere.

    His name was Ralph Nader.

    We called him unelectable and that is part of our problem.

    We are like wrestling fans.  We know the game is rigged but we still desperately want our wrestler to win - even if means that we lose.

    But things may be coming to a boil

    K Street loves War but it abhors Revolution because Revolution kills the Stock Market.

    Of course they might just short the Market when things get too hot.

  •  I think Obama gets it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, CoExistNow

    he has no major support in the cynical governing caste that runs this country.

    Save yourself, screw the public, they have to come back to us anyway.  Who are they going to vote for otherwise? Sara Palin?

  •  This country needs a Socialist Party (9+ / 0-)

    like the other civilized nations of Europe and elsewhere.

    The corporatists have succeeded in making "socialism" a dirty word (like "liberal"), but how many would be willing to give up their socialist schools, fire & police departments and paved roads? No, Socialism does not involve government ownership of the means of production (that's Communism, dear; not the same thing at all), but it does involve taxing Wall Street tycoons and others who can afford to pay. Socialism simply means that the government provides services to citizens.

    What else is government for?

    •  The European model, exemplified by France (5+ / 0-)

      allows for a happier (see the recently published index called the Happiness Scale, or something like that) and more fulfilled and less stressed out citizenry.  I know this to be true anecdotally as I lived there and in Belgium and I was much happier - enjoying simple things - good leisurely meals and sitting around discussing everything from politics to fashion to world cuisines to the role of religion in society.  That this (this joy of living in society)  was taken away from Americans since the Reagan years is one of the saddest things to have happened during my lifetime.  Many Americans long for such a life.  Many ignorant and misguided ideologues on the right don't have a clue about how life could be if we pursued policies to bring about a greater happiness and respect for workers and families (not "family values" bullshit as defined by the right wing conservatives in the Republican party)into American society.

    •  I can't recc you. By site rules, I think that (0+ / 0-)

      comment probably crosses the line, though I'm not sure.

      But I still think I agree, even if only to serve as a means to pressure the Dems to the left against the unchecked pull to the right that we have now.

      Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God. - Thomas Jefferson

      by Ezekial 23 20 on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:15:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ridiculous. No site rules were broken. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ivan, Leo in NJ, thethinveil

        Stop trying to suppress free thought. That's the absolute worst thing we could do right now. We need more than ever people who are honestly thinking and discussing possible solutions to the deep, deep problems we face.

        --Free thinkers shouldn't go around thinking just anything. (Terry Pratchett)

        by HPrefugee on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:29:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Advocating 3rd parties is against site rules. (0+ / 0-)

          I'm not sure his comment crosses into 'advocating' since it was so vague, so I didn't HR it, and despite your cries of 'trying to suppress free thought*, said I agreed with it.

          So don't make a ridiculous comment yourself.

          'Help, help, I'm being oppressed!'

          Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God. - Thomas Jefferson

          by Ezekial 23 20 on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 08:48:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  All rightie then. (0+ / 0-)

            Seriously, just what do the Dems believe in anymore? Can anyone tell me?? Because they spent all of 2009 casting away their entire party platform.

            If anyone is still adhering to the Democratic Party platform these days, it is in those who are calling for a third party that might actually have the balls to back up the Democrats' own talking points.

            I will allow this humorous videoto make the rest of my point for me.

            --Free thinkers shouldn't go around thinking just anything. (Terry Pratchett)

            by HPrefugee on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 09:51:51 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Part of the problem (0+ / 0-)

      You know, it is explanations of "socialism lite" that is part of the problem. For every post with "Socialism simply means that the government provides services to citizens", there can be found a post extolling Marxism, the abolition of private property, 90% tax rates, nationalization of virtually all industry, and so on.
      What does a day in the life of your utopia look like.
      Is it Sweden, or is it North Korea?

  •  USA Is History's Most Powerful 3rd World Society (14+ / 0-)

    They DO get it. Both parties are conservative parties.

    Both parties policies sustain the transfer of wealth from the people to the rich, and both are ushering the American people from their position below the people of the advanced democracies on a continuing path downward.

    Minimum policies of holding steady ground are radical leftwing in this country.

    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 23, 2010 at 05:30:45 AM PST

  •  Unemployment Rises (5+ / 0-)

    Where's All that Private Capital of the Free Marketers and their new 'capitalism' {extremely teeny tiny 'c'} we've been following, which stagnated wages and benefits as well as safety, these past couple of decades? That was supposed to build a strong economy, instead it did as it was forecast to do!!

    Unemployment rises in 43 states in December

    Report shows the economy is recovering at a pace too weak to create jobs

    Unemployment rates rose in 43 states last month, the government said Friday, painting a bleak picture of the job market and illustrating nationwide data released two weeks ago.

    The rise in joblessness was a sharp change from November, when 36 states said their unemployment rates fell.....>>>>>

    Us little folk can't keep trying to invest our treasury, you big folks don't pay enough in taxes, to get our brothers and sisters at least to hold what jobs there are as well as the small businesses, we're the ones loosing the income!!

    Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase.--Martin Luther King Jr.

    by jimstaro on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:34:32 AM PST

  •  George Carlin said (10+ / 0-)

    "It's called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it."

    The blog that mixes pop and politics - The Great Leap Forward. -5.75, -4.72

    by TheGreatLeapForward on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:34:32 AM PST

    •  the line is clever, but not true (8+ / 0-)

      even though I rec'd the comment for the Carlin video.

      I am a product of the American dream.  My father's father came to this country in his late teens from Poland, without a high school education.  He was a tailor.  He never had any money.

      He had six kids.  5 graduated from Cornell, one (the brightest by far, graduating from high school at 15) from Utica College.  Two of them had doctorates.  One, who developed polio in her teens, was later one of the first female vice presidents of a major NYC ad agency.  One as a research chemist stopped counting his patents after he passed 100 of them.

      My generation - my sister, me, and 6 cousins, grew up in general in nice neighborhoods, not wanting, got lessons for things like music and art and whatever else interested us.  We went to colleges like Amherst and Sarah Lawrence and Cornell and Haverford.  Most of us have at least one advanced degree.

      We are the product of the American dream.  But we have also watched that kind of opportunity begin to disappear for later arrivals, and in some cases for our own progeny.

      It is possible to believe in the dream while awake, because we experienced it.  

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:45:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Carlin saw the con game (9+ / 0-)

        Yes, because of the changes that occurred with the New Deal and the era that ended in 1978-80 (if you look at statistics) was an era of growth such that the obvious contradictions of society could be resolved through economic advancement. Around 1980 all the trends started down. The gap between productivity and wages grew (more profits for corporations) the real cost of living went up steadily (as measured by what is required to live -- see the work of Elizabeth Warren, who is largely ignored on the left). We work longer and harder than anyone else and Teacherken, that was not the case when you and I were brought up. This is a thoroughly different world we live in -- Carlin was right.

      •  You are a product of the American Dream TK and (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheGreatLeapForward, thethinveil

        so are my parents, but my parents grew up in a country far different than this one. We have moved backwards in the last thirty years. I look at our situation today and marvel at how much it mirrors the time of the Great Depression. The difference is, politically, I don't see an FDR on the horizon..

  •  How can anyone in this country expect any (6+ / 0-)

    better from this administration? Barack Obama has packed his administration with the very people who played the games with the country's economy and brought it to its knees. He has given positions to the Wall Streeters who knew what was going on when it was going on. They knew that mortgages that we doomed from day one were being bundled and sold over and over as good investments. They knew that GS was frontrunning the markets thereby cheating investors out of billions by beating them to their purchases by seconds and then reselling them at a higher price per shart. (THIS IS STILL GOING ON FOLKS.)

    I was no Obama fan. He was not my first choice. I sit her still wondering if we'd be better of with a guy who is a slut because he screwed some woman other than his wife, or the whole country being screwed by a guy who's in bed with corporate America. All I can say is at least that chick probably got kissed before ...

    But I digress. I ABSOLUTELY KNEW we were screwed when Obama chose Senator Citibank for his running mate. All those cute stories about running for the Amtrak every morning did nothing to detract from this man and his sleezy tactics and support of the credit card industry. And the Bankruptcy Bill, well Senator Citibank probably did more singlehandedly to ensure the horrific escalation in the numbers of homeless Americans that any other crooked politician in this courty.

    Herbert asks if they 'learned'. Sheesh, learned. They've always known. They know what is most important to them. How to feather their own nests and shit on the people of this country so that they too can join the ranks of the elite that are destroying America.

  •  Bottom line: We are in pain. (13+ / 0-)

    My mortgage, my husband's job, my new business, fears about the medical debt created by Bush's high deductible plans that every company in my town switched to, fears about my children going to war, fears about terrorism, about the global warming, fears about a gov't that is not following and implementing it's own laws, deep down I worry that it means that another Bush president and this gov't can do whatever it wants to me and my family.

    These worries, and realities are painful. Until we are no longer "hurting" so deeply we ARE going to be fickle. Many Americans are in crises. I don't have time to "think" about whether Obama is playing 5th dimensional chess (5th dimension...get it?) I am too worried about daily survival.

    Obama does not seem to understand that corporate America is EATING, cannabalizing the middle class and it's really uncomfortable.

    The greatest gift you can contribute to the goal of world peace is to heal.

    by wavpeac on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:42:51 AM PST

  •  I won't cast a protest vote either, (9+ / 0-)

    but many that came out in 2008 will if nothing is done.  Speeches go so far, and when you don't deliver the public turns a deaf ear and will listen to anyone, even in some cases teabaggers who GET THEIR ANGER.  David Axelrod missed the boat here, totally miscalculated the anger and frustration out here.

    •  The good news is that it isn't too late (3+ / 0-)

      Coakley needs to be a wake up call. This loss could be what the needed to avoid a TOTAL disaster in 2010.

      "I think a basic principle of our Constitution is nobody above the law" -Obama

      by heart of a quince on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:55:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I recced, but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        heart of a quince

        if you're talking about a total 'political' disaster, that doesn't worry me as much.  The country is headed for a total disaster as it is, and we need people who see that, and will work their asses off to fix it.  If the Dems we elect aren't willing to do that, it's still going to be a total disaster, even if we get 100 Dem senators and 435 dem reps.

        Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God. - Thomas Jefferson

        by Ezekial 23 20 on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:20:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  perhaps we can phrase it differently (9+ / 0-)

      some historians have noted the oddity that the European nation with the most severe revolution and disarray in the 18th century was France, because prepared to other European nations people in France were relatively better off.  In terms of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, it may have been because their basic needs were being met that they were more readily riled up for more.

      Years ago I predicted - on December 31, 1975 at about 11:30 PM - that Jimmy Carter would be the next President.  At the time, well before the Iowa caucuses, he was drawing perhaps 3-5% in any polling.  But he was speaking to what Americans wanted to her4e -  "I won't lie to you" - which in the aftermath of Watergate was powerful rhetoric.

      But I also noted that if people perceived that he was not delivering on that, they would eat him alive.  And they did.

      I think we are seeing something roughly parallel.  Many voted for a different tone in Washington -  and yes, it is the Republicans and the tea-partiers who are responsible for most of the current harsh rhetoric, I know that.  Many voted for what they thought was a fundamental change in economic policy.  Many voted for getting out of Iraq much sooner than will now happen.  Many thought they were voting for accountability for the misdeeds of the previous administration.  And many voted for transparency in policy making, particularly on health care/insurance reform.  

      They do not think they are getting what they voted for.  And that creates major problems.  And while the Republicans have been obstreperous and obstructionist, the Dems have more than done it to themselves, pace Baucus and the gang of six, never considering single payer, sending more troops to Iraq, cutting backroom deals with Pharma, and so on.  

      It is not just that people will turn a deaf ear.  Either they will give up and stop participating - not turning out to vote, as Dems in Virginia and Massachusetts did not - or feeling that they must do something to express their rage.

      It may be the equivalent of burning down your own neighborhood in protest and anger and rage.  It may be from a rationale perspective more than counterproductive.

      But it is also fueled by something visceral for many people, not all of whom should be labeled "teabaggers."  Some are those drawn into the process because they thought - and hoped - that an Obama administration, supported by strong Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress, would be something different.

      They wanted something bold, on the order of the New Deal or the Great Society.

      Granted, our financial house was a mess, and there was an immediate crisis to be addressed.  We needed a functioning financial sector.  But the price of bailing that sector out should have guaranteed relief to Main Street, to ordinary people, to mortgage relief.  We have not gotten that.  And people feel rage and frustration and anger.  

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:57:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  That's why barring some "outside the box" actions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amor Y Risa

    America is destined for civil disorder followed by fascism: in other words Hell on Earth.

    And yet people are focused like a laser on the center of the box: why?

    America: our highest paid profession is thief.

    by Paul Goodman on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:56:32 AM PST

    •  We need to find out why (0+ / 0-)

      and not just ask the question. There are reasons for the situation we are in, let's find them. Why must we throw up our hands and give up. We can't take intelligent action until we understand the lay of the land -- and I assure you we don't, particularly here on DKOS still in love with an America and a Democratic Party that no longer exists. Here it is forbidden to go in the direction of "deep politics" known here as "conspiracy theory". Of course, since few people in America read the history most don't realize how essential conspiracies are to understanding politics particularly in complex societies.

  •  70% of Americans want Medicare option. (6+ / 0-)

    That number is so consistent over time. The Democrats failure to deliver it is why they lost Massachusetts. Similar to Democrats failure to deliver is why they lost in '94.

    Americans overwhelmingly support substantial changes to the health care system and are strongly behind one of the most contentious proposals Congress is considering, a government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurers, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

    Democrats can't deliver it as long as US conversion to minority rule of the filibuster continues.

    •  How does that work, exactly? Higher FICA tax? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nina

      People already pay a FICA tax, which funds Social Security and Medicare, which they can take advantage of when they reach the age of 65.  Wouldn't "Medicare for all" make the FICA tax skyrocket?  Or would people below the age of 65 have to pay FICA plus some extra fee?  How would this work?

      Also, I agree that the (abuse of) the filibuster is the problem.  It should be nuked, IMO.  No democracy in history has required a supermajority to pass laws as a general practice, until this one, and it's made the country ungovernable (which the nihilists on the right couldn't care less about).

  •  With the Supreme Court ruling this will get worse (4+ / 0-)

    I can't believe the hell this country has descended into.  I don't see this being fixable by the political process.  It will take people in the streets and they won't be asshole astroturfed teabagging fucks who are being used by the enemy of the people.

    The shortest distance between two points is never a straight line.

    by noofsh on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:05:05 AM PST

  •  Thought provoking, Dear Friend (3+ / 0-)

    and I am only a couple of years younger than you.  I have already given up and I have left the rat race and surrendered to a life of near poverty - but I am not unhappy nor am I resentful.  I took early retirement several years ago.  I have a small retirement pension (under $500.00 monthly) and a SS Disability benefit of just about the average amount.  I can pay my utility bills and rent.  I have cable TV and high speed internet. I don't own a car.  I don't have nice clothes (I never wear anything but shorts and jeans and mostly T-shirts).  I live a completely causal lifestyle (Tampa, FL). I rarely eat out.  I spend a great deal of time onlne.  I belong to a support group for veterans with PTSD/MST which I attend weekly.  I receive medical care through the VA.  I have a therapist and a Psychiatrist.  I recieve all the medications I need - though I pay a copy of $8.00 on each Rx.  I have a son and daughter-in-law - both work at good jobs, and two smart and delightful granchildren, a girl 13 and a boy 8.  They are artistic and sweet and intelligent - such beautiful young people.  They all are living with maternal relatives due to the high cost of living (health insurance is outlandish) and due to their desire to buy a house.

    Look, anyone who turns away from Democrats or Progressives and votes for any Republican, is, in my view, making a horrible mistake.  Since Reagan the effects of conservative Republican policies have been felt across this nation.  My father was a proud steelworker in the '50's and '60's.  He supported a family of seven and we wanted for nothing.  He was secure due to being in the union.  He had long vacations, great pay, worked hard and had pride in his job and had co-workers who were truly like brothers to him (by the way, it was an integrated work place).  That was a result of Democratic party policies and programs.  That is why I have been a lifelong Liberal/Progressive.  My mother was a feminist - though she was a stay at home Mom.  She was educated and appreciated the arts and music and culture.  She was a fascinating woman.  

    But my devotion to what are all the positive results of pursuing a progressive political agenda in the US is unwavering.  Even though my personal life is one that is lived "under the radar," as my friend who is my age always says (he is poor and living on SS Disability also), I am still a believer in Hope and progressive changes under Democratic leadership. I personally have lead a rich and satisfying and exciting life.  I want my son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren, as well as all Americans now active in our collective life, to prosper and to know happiness and love and a life free from excessive stress and worries.  Universal health care helps the French and others to live happier lives than Americans.  That is something that must happen soon in the US.  It is absolutely necessary.

    Continue to fight, those of you who are energized and smart and quick on your feet.  The Republican party is a pathetic group of disingenuous corporatists, chickenhawks,  and right wing christian fanatics aligned with the some of the most ignorant and bizarre people (Teabaggers and Palinites) on the planet.  They must not gain power in the US.  We were almost destroyed under Bush/Cheney.  

  •  What happens when "they don't get it" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sillia, greengemini, Ezekial 23 20

    So there is a very common theme that runs thru the the discussions of both the conservatives and the liberals; "The people in Washington don't get it."

    This feeling is what swept Obama into office.  I think it is also what got Brown elected.

    Americans seem to be paying far more attention to what Washington is doing than ever before.  Some of this is because of the new distribution channels for information, some because the baby boomer generation is aging and people get more politically active as they age, and some because Washington just seems to get worse and worse as the years go by.

    The good news is there is a solution.  If enough politicians lose their jobs due to poor performance the ones that are left and, hopefully, the new ones, will understand that they need to serve the people 1st and their own career aspirations 2nd.  A few "elder statesmen" will provide the leadership to get things done and critically important issues like health care, immigration, and energy policy that have languished for decades through multiple changes in leadership in Washington will finally be addressed.

    Leadership is what is lacking.  There can be no other explanation for the failure of the democrats to pass important legislation when they have the white house and the significant congressional majorities they currently enjoy. They have wasted an opportunity that is unlikely to reoccur for a very long time.

  •  Problem is... (5+ / 0-)

    It's not "the Democrats" who don't get it.

    it's a handful of Democrats who don't get it. We're talking 15%-20% of Democratic elected officials who have the ability to prevent the rest of the party from doing what's right.  

    The result is that people blame "the Democrats" because they don't understand it's just a small subset of Democrats who actually can be weeded out through primaries.

    "Journalistic conventions make it hard for reporters to deal with a big, complicated lie." -- Michael Kinsley.

    by dcg2 on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:18:07 AM PST

  •  Bread and circuses (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ivan, gmb, airmarc, Midwesterners

    Don't worry, be happy, look at blackwaterdog's pretty pictures.  Then go back to sleep.

    We guarantee 40 million more customers to the insurance companies, then claim it's a good thing because the poor get a cup of coffee and a doughnut. - Jane

    by itswhatson on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:21:55 AM PST

  •  The new poor and umemployed are being disappeared (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scorpiorising, Amor Y Risa

    there is no doubt.  To me, it looks like W's third term, with corporate and banking power in firm control, Fox News blustering away, and all the Washington pronouncements cheery.  If you notice, the monthly unemployment figures are being reported not as 480,000 in December, but 'only 80,000' more, comparing to an average of 400,000 a month---the 480,000 total new claims for December is not mentioned.  

    Read the Financial Times, especially the Weekend FT, to see how up in arms this fundamentalist newspaper is about the possibility that Obama might regulate the banks.  Why, what will the banks DO if they are regulated by this president?  

    Many have been writing for months and months about the massive foreclosures, unemployment numbers, personal bankruptcies, and the utter indifference shown by the White House and Congress to the plight of citizens  (I prefer citizens to 'ordinary Americans,' since I believe citizens are the key to the country and that there is nothing ordinary about American citizens)

    So the banks get welfare and citizens get market forces.  Socialize the risk and privatize the profits.

    Obama will have to do a heck of a lot to convince me that he's not just a suit for corporate and banking interests---he's been in that camp solidly so far.  I think his teleprompter should be president.    

  •  "This is a Democratic blog" (4+ / 0-)

    I'm surprised you haven't gotten that automated, insipid response to this excellent diary. Thanks for this.

    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

    by Grassee on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:36:41 AM PST

  •  the Senate is toilet. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dhshoops
  •  The dream needs changing (7+ / 0-)

    It is impossible for the 6.8 billion folks on this planet to live the American dream. We would need 3 or 4 extra planets to accomplish that.

    So ... Americans are expecting to live far "better" than the rest of humanity, by for example using 25% of the world's oil, but only having 5% of the world's population, and complaining about the price at that.

    As the rest of the world develops it becomes harder and harder for the US to sustain its "grip" on the better life (we do live on a finite world after all).

    For the last 30 years (since Reagan) the dream has been stretched using debt. The inheritance has been spent and the future mortgaged. Its the end of the road for the old ways, sorry.

    The "solution" is a different dream. It is a dream based on looking inward and away from consumerism. It is a dream based on enjoying the simple things in life, and having the time to do so. Mechanization and information technology have given us time to explore our lives, but we have instead filled that time with working for more stuff, a bigger house, more time spent watching TV etc.

    Today is not yesterday. Yesterday's dream does not have to be tomorrow's dream. As hard as it may be to adjust it is time (for our benefit and for the planet's benefit) to really realize that less is more.

    I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

    by taonow on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:43:16 AM PST

    •  I'll settle for a dream of equality. (5+ / 0-)

      No more hedge fund traders making millions of times what the janitor does, no more CEO's making tens of thousands of times what the secretary does and paying a smaller percentage of their income in taxes.

      I don't mind having less, but I sure as hell mind having it simply because the greedy few are stealing it through 'legal' means.

      Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God. - Thomas Jefferson

      by Ezekial 23 20 on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:24:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk, Midwesterners, LynneK

        But to the landless peasant in India or Rwanda or Brazil you are the "rich", living in a house with running water and electricity, and a car while they fight to find any food to put on their table (if they even have one). We all live on the same planet, countries are just an artificial creation.

        I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

        by taonow on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:28:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          taonow, Midwesterners

          ...been pushing this point of view for months on here to little effect.

          The view on DKos (mostly) is that the rich control everything and that the reason why we're in such economic trouble is that we don't tax them enough, or we don't do enough to reditribute, or whatever, that things would be 100% hunky-dory if we could just find some proper formula of trade and tax policies to support the 'middle class' (i.e. the global wealth class).

          The idea that American living standards are falling and will continue to do so because of uncontrollable external factors is anathema. The fact that our outsized living standards are just a fluke and a byproduct of the now-60-year-old World War II and will go away as the situation readjusts itself is an idea that most DKosers will not accept.

          Now, I'm not arguing that we have optimal policies at all (we don't), but it seems to me to be a highly entitled mentality when people complain about people who don't get regular access to food taking 'their' jobs.

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:56:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Well, ya know (0+ / 0-)

          you start locally.  In rescue training, you're always taught to make sure you stay safe first.  You can't help anyone if you can't help yourself.

          If I can keep fed and a roof over my head, I can work to donate to groups sending walter filters, solar panels, and the like to help those peasants in India.  If I can't, I can't help them at all.

          Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God. - Thomas Jefferson

          by Ezekial 23 20 on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 08:46:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Simple math (0+ / 0-)

          An estimate of the Global net Wealth is $100 trillion.
          There are about 6.7 billion people.
          Confiscate the entire global net worth and distribute it to the people. Everyone winds up with $14,925. That is at the moment of distribution. What will it look like one year later. Do you confiscate and redistribute annualy?

          How many Americans do you think are going to accept this?

          •  IF (0+ / 0-)

            If you put it to a vote I'd bet the majority of the planet's population would agree.

            I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

            by taonow on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 10:33:15 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  depends upon how you frame that dream (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SmedleyButlerUSMC, orlbucfan

      it does not necessarily have to be the accumulation of more stuff.   It can be living in a home you own, but that does not need to have an acre of lawn.  It can be having a secure retirement.  It can be having enough to eat, but learning to eat more sensibly.  It can be to have more than one set of decent clothes, but not being obsessed to the point of Imelda Marcos with hundreds of pairs of shoes.

      And it certainly can be equity and fairness, regardless of "race," national origin, gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or religious affiliation/lack of affiliation.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 09:04:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If we don't address the massive discontent..... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hear Our Voices, Ezekial 23 20

    ...the teabaggers will because the people are thisclose to saying "a plague on both your houses".

    The Democratic party is standing on a chair with a noose around its neck.....

    Sanctimony thy name is Joe Lieberman.

    by roguetrader2000 on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:45:25 AM PST

  •  Brit banks seem to have atleast a minimum decency (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LynneK, CoExistNow

    Barclays is to defer paying bonuses earned this year to its directors and senior staff for up to three years.

    The bank said the payments for last year had not been set, but when they are they will be paid out mostly in shares in staggered form up until 2013.

    Two days ago President Barack Obama proposed significant curbs on the size and scope of banks operating in the US.

    Barclays did not receive any money directly from UK taxpayers during the financial crisis.

    ....

    The bank will tell its 130,000 staff over the next few weeks that while they will be getting a bonus, almost all of it will be deferred over the next three years - and this will be the new ongoing policy.

    Barclays will publish exactly what bonuses are to be allocated in March.

    Deferred bonuses are expected to be ongoing and built into staff pay deals rather than simply a one-off measure.

    In response to mounting public anger over enormous profits enjoyed barely a year after the near collapse of the entire banking system, Britain's third largest bank is going further than any rules imposed on it by either the UK government or the G20.
    President Obama announced plans to limit the size of banks and impose restrictions on risky trading on Thursday

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/...

    Emphasis mine.

    Between birthers, deathers and mouth-breathers, the gop has got 'teh crazy' and 'teh stoopid' covered.

    by amk for obama on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:46:17 AM PST

    •  We lost one seat in the last election. The Brits (0+ / 0-)

      are about to lose their entire government.  The general election is in a few short weeks and Brown, if polls are believable, will lose heavily to the Conservative Party under the leadershiop of David Cameron.

      I hazard a guess that fact is playing a large role in whatever decisions the British government makes on bank regulation. Obviously President Obama does nto beleive that American banks can be trusted to regulate themselves!!! surprise, surprise.

      •  Fortunately for the UK (0+ / 0-)

        The Conservative Party is still a sensible party, well to the left of what passes for a party inhabited by Republicans in the US.  

        David Cameron has been vocal in his support for the NHS, encouraged by the care and support given to his late son, Ivan.

        He's certainly not all good, but compared to the likes of Palin, he's rationality itself.

        Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle by God's grace in England as shall never be put out.

        by Bollox Ref on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 12:10:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Organized, sustained civil disobedience (5+ / 0-)

    is now called for.

    They don't understand our votes.  They don't understand our petitions.  They don't understand our calls and letters.

    It seems to me they don't want to understand.

    The next step is civil disobedience.  It is the most gentle way to honor our founding tradtion

    Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security

    "The Universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it." Marcus Aurelius

    by Mosquito Pilot on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:49:11 AM PST

  •  Is Haiti our future? (5+ / 0-)

    Starvation. Not enough medical assistance. Folks dying by the thousands for lack of aid. Militarization. Troops pouring in and aid has to wait. "Looters" being shot as criminals.

    Some of the above is already here.

    "Revolutionary Road" was a brilliant film.

    by scorpiorising on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:51:45 AM PST

  •  What can a person do (7+ / 0-)

    Last night in Darcy Burner's great diary, a poster asked what we can do and her answer was something about sending faxes & calls to Dem legislators. (There may have been more later on, I didn't read the whole thread.)

    Well, none of my representatives need another call from me (Ben Nelson (!), reptillian Republican Mike Johanns, and my cartoon Republican representative in the House. Generally I don't fax or call reps from other states, as I presume they listen primarily to their constituents. I do make exceptions to this once in a while but it seems a waste of time to me.

    I vote, attend local political events, donate selectively to good progressive candidates, volunteer on campaigns.

    I see a call upthread for taking to the streets, demonstrations to urge the Dems to enact their own platform. Well, I support this and I would attend such an event but I don't believe it would change anything. What message would they decide to take from such a demonstration, if any?

    So what I am saying is I feel helpless and frustrated. I can't see any constructive action I could take. I feel utterly powerless, more so than I can remember feeling before, even during the 60's.

    "We did not come here to fear the future, we came to shape it." --BHO "Grab a mop." --BHO

    by sillia on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:52:39 AM PST

    •  Call them. Every day. Ask them (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      princesspat

      what positive step have you taken TODAY, to address the problems of the district?  What specific actions have you taken?

      Tell them you'll be publishing the results, and that you don't want pablum generic nothingness, because you're going to be spreading the word about what they're doing or not doing.  Write LTE's weekly or every couple weeks summarizing the results of what they said.  Spread the word, and let them know they need to be actively doing something every single damned day, because their constituents are watching them.

      They need to be under the microscope, or out of office.

      Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God. - Thomas Jefferson

      by Ezekial 23 20 on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:27:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Call who? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        princesspat

        Your strategy may apply to anyone who has decent representation. The Republicans from Nebraska don't care about my viewpoint--the bulk of their constituents want them to stop any gov't legislation and make abortion illegal, promote free trade for ag products. So in that sense, they are doing a good job and people like them.

        I do call Ben Nelson a lot, and write to him. I feel that's my duty, at least. But I can assure you it does no good whatsoever. Republicans & conservative independents are furious at him right now for his support for the health care bill; we few on the left are furious that he got them to pervert the bill first before he would agree to vote for it; mainstream Dems are all thanking him for his support...ugh! My only hope is that through reconciliation Ben Nelson's position will just become irrelevant.

        So frankly, not much is to be gained by my calling, though of course I do it out of a sense of obligation.

        "We did not come here to fear the future, we came to shape it." --BHO "Grab a mop." --BHO

        by sillia on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 08:18:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The point is to shame him in public. (0+ / 0-)

          Just let him know you're spreading around what he's telling you, and that people don't give a crap about any mumbo jumbo, and want to hear specific steps he's taken.  Every single day.

          My Rep is John Boehner, and I'm thinking I'll do the same to him.  Not because he gives a crap what I say, or ever will, but simply to ratchet up the pressure on him.

          Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God. - Thomas Jefferson

          by Ezekial 23 20 on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 08:44:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  There's plenty of pressure on Nelson (0+ / 0-)

            but it's from the other side, overwhelmingly. There are good people here who write good LTE's but they are a glimmer in the darkness.

            "We did not come here to fear the future, we came to shape it." --BHO "Grab a mop." --BHO

            by sillia on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 09:04:40 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  We need leadership (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gmb, airmarc

      Sadly, Obama's giving us none!

      Dr. Aaron Roland is a family physician in Burlingame, CA. Follow him on Twitter @doctoraaron

      by doctoraaron on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:32:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  here's an idea (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle

    LIMIT the do-nothing, know-nothing, hear-nothing

    SENATORS to 2 terms.

    If they can't get it right in 12 years --

    they should go home,

    and con the People of their Districts,

    more up close and personal!

    In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act -- George Orwell

    by jamess on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:56:46 AM PST

    •  This stupid idea (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ivan

      gives even more power to the corporate interests, who are immortal.  We need to give life to free thought, not strangle it.

      Dr. Aaron Roland is a family physician in Burlingame, CA. Follow him on Twitter @doctoraaron

      by doctoraaron on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:31:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  my idea would put an end to (0+ / 0-)

        the "entitlement positions"
        that Senators think they have.

        Maybe they've start making dicisions,
        based on "what's good for the people",
        instead of "what's good for the next election cycle".

        Besides, "corporate interests" ALREADY control,
        much of the Senator's calculations and capitulations --
        just look at the "end result" of HCR.

        In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act -- George Orwell

        by jamess on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 08:06:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The dream (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scorpiorising, LynneK

    may have been just that all along, an unreality.  The dream that capitalism will allow a truly just society, that is.

    Perhaps we need to wake up and stop dreaming.  Perhaps the facts are inescapable:  meaningful change through our current system is not going to happen.

    What does that mean in practical terms?  I don't know.  It scares me.  

    "Never trust a rich man when he offers you a truce."

    by KibbutzAmiad on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:57:43 AM PST

  •  wow. I'm wealthy. Sure doesn't feel that way (6+ / 0-)

    this fact just blew me away:

    In 2008, a startling 91.6 million people — more than 30 percent of the entire U.S. population — fell below 200 percent of the federal poverty line, which is a meager $21,834 for a family of four.

    My family of four feels broke at the end of the month with an $80,000 annual income to support our life in a small house and driving two older cars.

    How does a family at poverty level (10,000 a year) survive?  

  •  There are worse things for your "gifted" students (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    revsue, DawnN

    than going to state school or expanding their search beyond the handful of "top universities". Not that they should be cheering this economy, but as an Ivy league grad, I have to say I think they may look back on that particular hardship as a blessing in disguise.

    •  An ivy league degree opens many, many (10+ / 0-)

      doors for you.  Yes, you still have to walk through that door on your own and make something of yourself, but which doors get opened makes a real difference. As a parent of two college students, one who got a scholarship to Harvard, and one who did not, it's been a real eye-opening experience for me to watch essentially two very bright young people who both did extraordinarily well in college have extremely disparate opportunities opened up for them. The ivy leaguer with a humanities degree landed a full-time job with a prestigious think tank in the middle of the worst job market ever. The state school physics/ mechanical engineering student could only find a part-time job in a retail store.

      --Free thinkers shouldn't go around thinking just anything. (Terry Pratchett)

      by HPrefugee on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:20:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Interesting dichotomy (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LynneK, HPrefugee

        It always pains me when I hear of an engineer being underemployed, and I hope your engineer finds better times soon.

        Both my kids are engineering grads of a state university. They did put in some time after graduation working in non-engineering capacities, but when they did decide to start looking for work they ended up in jobs in their fields which they love. That was about a year before the current downturn started, however.

        One of their childhood friends got a full-ride scholarship to Harvard, but let his grandfather talk him out of going there because "it would turn him into a liberal". So he went to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology instead. I had never heard of that school before, but apparently it is one of the top engineering schools. 40K per year, and that was about 10 years ago.

        Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

        by billmosby on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 08:51:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  As opportunity collapses... (4+ / 0-)

        As opportunity collapses, only the most privileged will enjoy opportunity. We are already dominated at too many levels by people who were born on third base and think they hit a triple. Inbreeding among the privileged has produced the vacuum of ideas to address this problem.

        This is very dangerous.

        •  On the contrary- (0+ / 0-)

          There are tons of people out there moving and shaking the world into new configurations with new ideas all the time. There is no idea vacuum in terms of quantity and quality of ideas.

          What there is is a paucity of leaders willing to put up with the frustrations and lack of personal rewards of government service. The highest paid government official makes something like one percent or less than the income of the kind of leaders I have in mind. Plus, and I think 10 times as important, if one of these "mover and shakers" has a bright idea of some kind, they have a small cadre of like-minded help they can turn to to get it done in relatively short order (employees, partners, even competitors).

          Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

          by billmosby on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 10:14:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  But what of the gifted students (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      emal, joanneleon, Brooke In Seattle

      (and there are many) for whom obtaining a college education at all is a hardship? What about those students who, through no fault of their own, simply can't afford to further their education without being heavily in debt once they have obtained their degree? This is happening across the nation. Even our President worked for years before he was able to finally pay off the debt he incurred in the furtherance of his education. Higher education should not force someone to be in debt for years after graduation.

      "Truth never damages a cause that is just."~~~Mohandas K. Gandhi -9.38/-6.26

      by LynneK on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:33:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  it is a difficult conundrum. I work at a state (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LynneK, billmosby

        school where we try very hard to keep tuition quite low. even if you subsidized the entire bill with loans, you would still come out ahead compared to a semester at a private school.

        however, the lack of state support in this financial crisis is whittling what little state support we had (!) at the rate of 20% per year. And yet people in our state don't want more taxes to help subsidize higher ed. Of course the majority of those people are the new poor, based on the article we are discussing.

        And so what choice do we have but to raise tuition. sigh......

        and i miss governor huntsman. republican that he is, i miss him. he had a tremendous commitment to education at all levels. i worry that our new governor doesn't quite get it.

        "For the cost of deploying one soldier for one year, it is possible to build about 20 schools." N. Kristof

        by UTvoter on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 08:20:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  depends upon the state school (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      revsue, LynneK

      and whether or not it is cutting back because the legislature has cut its funding, thus eliminating classes and programs and support institutions.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 09:06:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think the bottom line (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scorpiorising, FishOutofWater, LynneK

    is this: We will get nothing they don't fear we will take, and they do not fear us.

    Only through organizing in mass numbers will this change, it's the only thing that has EVER worked.

    "Never trust a rich man when he offers you a truce."

    by KibbutzAmiad on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:01:54 AM PST

  •  A bad person is as a bad person does ... (0+ / 0-)
  •  A small ray of hope from NPR yesterday-- (6+ / 0-)

    one commentator noted that last year at this time we were still having a national discussion over whether or not it was "torture" to hold someone down on the floor and pour water into their mouth until they nearly drowned. This year, we are finally having a national discussion about social justice issues. And that can only be a good sign, because once we start discussing the right things then we at least have a chance of making some progress.

    --Free thinkers shouldn't go around thinking just anything. (Terry Pratchett)

    by HPrefugee on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:14:46 AM PST

  •  They don't get it on so many levels! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle, LynneK

    Obama wants money invested in charter schools.  School districts are setting up charter schools and modeling them after business structures. Districts are paying consultants from Bank America etc. to tell them how to run the education system.  I guess if  they make the schools big enough they can't fail either!

    After years of teaching, I still don't know the answer. I will say that during the Clinton years our teen pregnancy rate was much lower and we had more parent involvement. I really think the economy and feeling hope for the future was a big factor then.

  •  It sure would be cool to drag all 300 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tom Taaffe

    or so Democrats in Congress into a hall, and make them defend their indefensible haplessness for about 2 straight weeks.. We sit out here and we wail and gnash our teeth, but ultimately there's no reason to suspect that the objects of our frustration have the slightest fucking clue what is going on. Or even that they care.

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:24:39 AM PST

    •  How about the Republicans? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ivan

      Don't give those fucking rat bastards a pass because you are frustrated with the Dems!  I want the GOP destroyed.  They are a cancer.

      The shortest distance between two points is never a straight line.

      by noofsh on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:30:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Republicans are irrelevant (0+ / 0-)

        The only reason Republicans are even a factor is because the Democrats keep trying to be like them. They were elected to oppose Republican politics and they spent the last year trying to get back in bed with them.

        But the Republicans won't have them, unless they are on top.

        If the democrats get back to their roots - new deal social democrats - the Republicans will wander the wilderness for a generation. And their lunatic fringe will be the reason why.

        They are only a factor because the Democratic elites make them a factor, by their incompetence, cowardice and by acting like Republican-lites. Who needs the imitation when the real thing is on offer?

      •  Possibly (0+ / 0-)

        Untimely was thinking of the Dems because as the article states, they are supposed to be working for us while we know the fucking rat bastards won't.
        Isn't it funny how the fucking rat bastards used to be for fiscal responsibility? And how the last admin ran up the largest deficit. Do any of them remember they voted for the bailouts, wars, ect?
        Fucking Rat Bastards, indeed

        Disgusting that the people we most count on to represent us, represent big money. RIP America.

        by snoopydawg on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 09:48:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  What we have is fascism (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Wizard, Ezekial 23 20

    and it isn't what the fucking asshole teabaggers think it is.  It's not that Obama is "socialist" or that the Dems are socialists; it's that they are not!  The Republicans are a filthy bunch of corporate blood suckers.  they should rot in hell.  Unfortunately, the Democrats have not been an effectove counter-influence because of rat bastards like Kent Conrad and Ben Nelson.  This country is in deep trouble; it's even worse than I thought under Bush.  With the SC ruling it may be impossible to reverse this damage with rebellion in the streets.  That's how bad it is.

    The shortest distance between two points is never a straight line.

    by noofsh on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:27:16 AM PST

  •  Thanks for the diary. not what (0+ / 0-)

    i wanted to read with my morning coffee, but i saw your post before i found the garden bloggers. :)

    "Politics is the entertainment branch of Industry" - Frank Zappa

    by blueoregon on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:32:23 AM PST

  •  There is one MAJOR fallacy with this diary... (5+ / 0-)

    American Dream = that our kids will have a better life than we did...

    Unfortunately, that's simply not true for far too many voting Americans today.

    Not surprisingly, a vast majority of those vote/side with the Republican party.

    Their American Dream has nothing to do with their kids. It has nothing to do with leaving the world a better place for anyone other than number 1. It has everything to do with winning arguments, hoarding money, amassing power through wealth, and isolating themselves from the poor/helpless/underprivileged masses by any means necessary. Private schools and exclusive, gated neighborhoods. All-white churches and urban flight. And soon perhaps, a mass exodus outta here.

    Democrats FREQUENTLY bungle the how to get there and where to stop first part of this trip to the American Dream. But at least nearly all of them, Blue Dog and activist alike, want to get there. Republicans have no interest in getting there, and do everything possible to set up a playing field where only a very very few have the ability to even hop in the car. That preserves power. Preserves wealth. Because even the simple-mindedest among us knows there is not nearly enough to go around for ALL, without bringing the top folks down a notch or three.

    I have seen no more poignant message of why we Democrats missed the point altogether in 2009 than this diary and Bob Herbert's column. Although substantially overused throughout time, the message of not letting the perfect get in the way of progress could not have been more on point. We lost our common purpose. We lost our perspective of what's truly important versus the little details that inevitably get bungled when you are trying to redirect a country on a dime. We blamed each other, mistrusted each other, and simply fell into a well laid trap of dividing among ourselves as the power players sat back and played a time tested game of "just say no" to their benefit. That is, of course, how the hopes and dreams of the masses have ALWAYS been thwarted throughout time -- divisions are created to turn factions of the masses against themselves, so that the elite never have to face the one true threat to their power and control. Numbers. Masses. United.

    Please do not give up Teacherken. You ARE the hope - the true American Dream. Instead, join me and a scant few others on here and out on the streets continuing to refocus our fight and pound home the one true message that makes this better:

    Stand united in the end at all costs. Iron out the details in private, take down the true obstacles in public. Organize. Demonstrate. Vote. And do so knowing that you first build on the numbers that share your broadest mission before you perfect those within your ranks. Time for that will come. And nothing exerts more pressure on fencesitters than becoming irrelevant because the NUMBER of better Dems has grown to the point where things are getting done one way or another. That is how we reclaim the definition of, and potential for, the true American Dream.

    Stay and fight. For our kids. For those without a voice. Voting on November 4, 2008 was step one -- an easy one. We failed to realize that with that vote, we didn't end our work, but were simply beginning an arduous, difficult journey towards something we care about immensely.

  •  I Too Get Discouraged - But (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fury, CoExistNow

    I try to remember that there are some periods in history when things do move backward before they jump ahead again.  We seem to be living in one of those regressive periods.  What enables society to move forward again is that people keep hope alive and they keep trying and teaching even during the darkest times.  It is sad but maybe that is all we can do right now, but rest assured that progress and improvement are inevitable over the long term and we all have to do our part to keep the dream alive.  That is why I became a teacher and that is why we teach.

  •  Personal gain trumps public service... (3+ / 0-)

    nearly 100% of the time, in nearly 100% of our public servants, IMHO.  Even if they initially want to do the right thing for the people they represent, by the time their staffs and handlers screen their contacts--giving priority to the lobbyists and corporations--and by the time they realize that they are beholden to the lobbyists who fund them, and provide jobs for their families, etc, they are caught up in the swamp that is DC politics.  

    There are some politicians who buck the trend and who do their best to represent and serve the public that elected them, but as individuals or as small minorities within the system, their powers are limited.  

    I've continued to hope that the system could be changed, and even now I'm not ready to completely give up, but the SCOTUS's recent green light to the lobbyists and the corporations they represent, makes it just that much harder to drain the swamp.

    •  Just vote em out, dammit! (0+ / 0-)

      How else do you drain the swamp? There's no use having a political philosophy if all we do is just keep reelecting people based on what they say. A few elections of voting for performance instead of voting for "performances", and they will start listening to the people again instead of to the highest bidders.

      Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

      by billmosby on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 09:20:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  They get it. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Copp, gmb, ronny mermaid

    As you say here:

    We have a serious need of deficit reduction, but it is not of the government's financial balance sheet.  Instead we should be reducing the deficit of morality

    People are not immoral by mistake or from a lack of knowledge or from being unaware of the consequences. It's tempting to repeat the government's narrative:

    We at least for now avoided a total economic collapse

    But the real story is probably more like we simply passed this biggest, latest caper.

    The transition from the Bush administration was a very big event. Cataclysmic. What we refer to as the "missed collapse" smells, sounds, and tastes like a manufactured "balloon payment" of sorts, theatrics playing out in the background designed to act out the quintessential pecking order ritual whenever a new guy show up. And the threatened "collapse" sure got the attention of the two maverick candidates the parties were running. In the little remaining tension between DC and Wall. St. the pecking order with the two teams was complete before the election and the next president's hands tied.

    Great diary. Thanks.  

    HR 676 - Health care reform we can believe in - national single-payer NOW.

    by kck on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:50:53 AM PST

  •  "They" are "we", you know (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fury, Escamillo

    We are Democrats, they are Democrats. We have a wide range of opinions about many things, including priorities. I think that the priorities of our fellows in the administration were to address two priorities: to keep the Great Recession of 2008 from sliding into the Great Depression of 2009, and to implement changes in regulations to get rid of the practices that caused it to happen. Healthcare is a tremendous part of the problem too--if a reasonable level of healthcare became a right, then the effects of recessions and depressions would be less (as they were in Europe this time around), and it obviously would also improve the lives of 10% or so of the American people.

    About one point I will agree: in terms of mob psychology, it is very important for a political party, and this is especially true of the party in power, to pander to the populace. Whatever else we may be trying to accomplish, it's true that we've forgotten this fact, already well known by the ancient Romans.

    So, keeping that in mind, I agree that government creation of jobs should be a high priority, and that it should be done soon. Some of it has been done; if we can do more, we should.

    Greg Shenaut

    •  The division (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Copp, SpecialKinFlag, Tom Taaffe

      is horizontal not vertical. We are the societal equivalent of the teabaggers as far as many Washington DC Dems are concerned.

      Generally speaking a Washington Dem would be much more comfortable in the company of a Washington Repub than with any of us.

      Hero-worship is strongest where there is least regard for human freedom
      -Herbert Spencer

      by stevej on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 08:15:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Doubt that. Given the repubs total lack of (0+ / 0-)

        cooperation, I doubt they can even look each other in the eyes these days.

      •  That's what some of them *want* to be true (0+ / 0-)

        but from my point of view, they are just guys who got elected. They are gifted at gladhanding and creating an impression, but I don't thing they are necessarily more clever or really all that different in any way from you or me. (Obama is an exception, I think, but possibly only in degree.)

    •  Until they start addressing my needs & concerns (0+ / 0-)

      and stop pushing policies that destroy my life and the lives of those I love, it's 'them', not 'us'.

      Bamboozling and/or fearmongering me doesn't work anymore. I think MA made it clear that neither cyncial strategy works anymore. Those that might vote democratic are largely immune to cheap political tricks and the socio-economic stakes are way too high for anything less than substantial and profound change.

      •  That's exactly what the teabaggers are saying (0+ / 0-)

        well, using slightly different emphasis, perhaps. For the teabaggers, it's all "take care of me first" and "throw the bums out". A policy of "no". That can't possibly work in the long run (although it's often pretty effective at getting into power).

        What will work is getting a sufficient majority, keeping it, and moving forward in incremental steps.

  •  This loss in Mass. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fury, CoExistNow, zenox

    Is like the climax of a movie. What will they do? Will it be a wakeup call to do the people's work or will they crawl into a corner and hope things don't get any worse. The President is moving in the right direction, it's on Congress right now.

    "I don't want a line in the Sand lines can be moved. They can be blown away. I want a six foot trench carved into granite."

    by theone718 on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 08:08:24 AM PST

  •  Truth (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Quequeg, SpecialKinFlag, lightshine

    This is why the Democrats won't retain office:

    Some will no longer vote.  Others will not give from their decreasing financial resources.  Still more will not make the phone calls, knock on the doors, write the letters and emails to friends and strangers alike.

    It sums up my current mindset, shared by many of the Cause's common foot soldiers, perfectly.  Why should I door-to-door for Move-On, or give to the 21st Century Dems or the Party, or engage in hostile debates with blind tea party family members?  What is the sense, when the outcome is the same?

    If I am at the point of losing hope, how can I serve as an instrument of hope to others?

  •  Teacherken, you are making a difference in the (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SingleVoter, Fury, CoExistNow, zenox

    lives of your students, even when neither you nor they are aware of the impact.  I honor your decision to go into teaching "later" in life, which suggests that you have high hopes and maybe expectations about the profession and your role in it.  This is a turbulent time, and I hope you can keep your courage and vision.  And I always appreciate what you have written, as do many other people.  Thank you for this diary.

  •  I think they get it all too well, Ken. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fury, amk for obama, CoExistNow, zenox

    The war between the haves and the have nots has only been quieted by periods where those who have risen up, have been bashed back down.

    Obama threatens wealth and wealth is striking back.  They are going to take the country back the way they know works, by buying the government back.

    We should not underestimate the strategy of the right.  Jim DeMint's objection to unionizing TSA is not an aberration.  Obama's suggestion on taxing the banks has raised an immediate reaction.  

    This is the real long war.  And we didn't win the first battle in the SCOTUS.

    "Progress" is the core of progressive. Two steps forward. One step back.

    by captainlaser on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 08:23:22 AM PST

    •  Leave the bankers alone! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CoExistNow

      How soon before we start hearing that from the right?  After all, the stock market doesn't like it.  Absurd?  Just watch!  A potential opening for democrats.  If this was easy, everybody would be doing it.  And I think though disappointed, we must keep slogging...probably not for ourselves (things are too far gone) but for our children and grandchildren.  Nothing great has been achieved overnight.  There will be lurching back and forth for awhile, because everyone is so frightened, confused and discouraged.

  •  Prosperity kills with fat and self-indulgence (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Billdbq, zenox, Tom Taaffe

    There are some Roman parallels here.  The fat of the body politic from corporate gluttony has clogged the nations heart and head.  There are many needs in this nation, but foremost is self-control tempered with altruism.  Cruel imbalances do not last, the question always is how quickly or violently the universal harmonic reasserts itself.  Progressives are never the enemy--they are the warning bells that precede a mass conflagration that are unwise to ignore.

  •  kids better than we had? Hell how about (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle, Fury

    equal to what we had?

    "be a loyal plastic robot boy in a world that doesn't care" - Frank Zappa

    by Unbozo on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 08:38:14 AM PST

  •  Well, it's good to see it (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fury, Nightprowlkitty, Tom Taaffe

    put so bluntly in the New York Times.

    He's about six months too late, but hopefully it will have an impact.

    The speeches are all fine, but as Herbert said, rhetoric is cheap, and we'll get a lot of it.  Personally, I'm immune to the rhetoric at this point.  I want action.  Real action.  Nothing less will do.  And I don't think I'm alone in this.

    Not even the world's best marketing team could sell the people of this country right now.  The only thing that will work is a complete shift of attitude and action.  Real action.  Real reform.  Big reform.  FDR-like policies.  Now.

  •  Corruption is the main problem. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SpecialKinFlag

    Too many members of the congress do not work for the voters anymore. And why should they? We keep hopefully voting on the basis of their ostensible political outlook. The present state of affairs shows the futility of this approach.

    I say use our votes while we still have them. Vote the corrupt ones out at every opportunity no matter what they say they believe in. Eventually that will have the effect of reminding those who contemplate running for office who they work for.

    Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

    by billmosby on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 08:39:10 AM PST

  •  Thank you teacherken (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    carolita, princesspat

    And sorry to hear that you had to teach that early this morning. I too am a teacher and thus am able to relate the many emotions and the frustrations you are talking about. It is a fact that teaching requires hope. The hope that what we do will make a difference. Without it, I would be frozen solid, not knowing what to do next. Before every class teacherken, I put my students' faces in my mind, faces that I am responsible for. And no matter what happens in the world, I walk into the room with defiance, for their sake. Will it make any difference? I don't know. But I will defy fate until my last breath. That I know. What gives me the strength? Knowing that there is no other choice. Quitting and giving up simply is not on the list of choices. I think sooner or later we all understand this.

    This diary is excellent as usual teacherken, and thank you especially for the following

    We have a serious need of deficit reduction, but it is not of the government's financial balance sheet.  Instead we should be reducing the deficit of morality, compassion, and concern for ordinary folks.  

    because you nailed it...

    •  don't be sorry (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zenox

      I am getting well paid to offer help to AP students from other schools.  It increases my income without having to do much additional planning, which is nice.  And I get to feel more useful.

      It takes some time, but I think the time is worth it.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 09:08:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bernanke was one of the guys that set fire to my (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    revsue, Tom Taaffe

    Bernanke was one of the guys that set fire to my house and now he wants credit for lending me his garden hose.

  •  Well said (0+ / 0-)

    No they don't get it, they still don't get it and no, they don't want to get it. There's just too much profit in the current path.

    But I don't care what those in power want. I have no problem forcing politicians to do things they don't want to do. I've teabagged Republicans and Democrats. If they betray my interests, I am happy to turn on them like an angry wolf. And I will bring the pack with me.

    My daddy always said, "politicians do their best work when there's a mob outside their door and they brought rope."

    We need to march on Washington to force these clowns to do the right thing. We'll have to stand over them like an angry parent the whole way - and they will cheat if we give them a chance - but if that's what it takes, that's what we need to do.

    Top-down economics needs to be opposed by bottom up social economics. Until I hear Democrats say loudly and in unision "the poorest must come first," everything they will do will be to avoid what they know needs to be done.

    No, they still don't get it.

  •  when Herbert poses this: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    triv33, lightshine

    The question for Democrats is whether there is anything that will wake them up to their obligation to extend a powerful hand to ordinary Americans and help them take the government, including the Supreme Court, back from the big banks, the giant corporations and the myriad other predatory interests that put the value of a dollar high above the value of human beings.

    he really gets to the core question we all need to be asking.

    Thanks, teacherken!

    "Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle." -Helen Keller

    by ridemybike on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 08:52:50 AM PST

  •  If they don't figure this out, and fast, (0+ / 0-)

    Ron Paul or someone from his movement is going to be our next President.  Good or bad, its that type of movement that is gaining steam as people grow despondent.

    Expose the lies. Fight for the truth. Push progressive politics. Save our planet. Health care is a right, not a privilege.

    by lighttheway on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 08:58:29 AM PST

  •  has the president failed (0+ / 0-)

    or are we forgetting that he can't fight this alone. or is America a nation of whiners, like that other guy once claimed?

    how is your water treated: http://water-treatment.questionpro.com/

    by WateringTheRoses on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 08:59:34 AM PST

  •  Retirement in Norway: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    carolita, Tom Taaffe

    I've said it before, but America is in a fog of delusion...
    Living in Norway I can actually see what a difference a little socialism can do for society.
    I won't talk about the very low cost high quality health care here.  I want to tell you a little about my two parents-in-law who are both retired teachers. Beyond the great pensions and health care, they own their own home (worth above a half million dollars), have numerous investments, a new Volvo (paid for), and travel all over the world.  They're heading off for a month in Spain in a few days.
    This is typical here.
    America can have the good life too -- the old American dream -- but it will have to stop giving all its wealth to those who already have more than they need.

    "I quote others in order to better express myself." ~ Montaigne

    by Andhakari on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 09:06:31 AM PST

  •  1000 radio stations, invisible to the left, domin (0+ / 0-)

    ate.  coakley may have been a twit but all scott brown had to do was repeat the limbaugh/hannity talking points, like every other GOP pol.

    US social and political reality is largely determined by 1000 radio stations blasting coordinated UNCONTESTED repetition all day long.

    by certainot on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 09:07:56 AM PST

  •  Another so called Democrat (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nina, amk for obama, Escamillo

    Letting the Repugs slide and helping the enemy..

    I am really tired of Dems going after Dems..

  •  Everybody needs to realize (0+ / 0-)

    that this is structural.  We can't just make a few adjustments.  We can't just avoid the excesses of the Bush administration.  There is a basic problem with our society, economy, and political system.  The result will be corporate oligarchy and a majority of people living on the edge and just getting by.

    The Obama administration has not realized this.  They seem to think we can just repeat the Clinton administration and everything will be ok.

    What is worse, the great majority of Americans has not realized this.  It is a scary thing to think about, and fear distorts judgment.  

    Part of the problem is that no one really has the answers, not even progressives.  But we better start trying to figure it out.  We can't start on that necessary task until we realize just how big the problem is.

    The Obama administration needs to realize what is happening, and then start to educate the people about it.  Then it needs to start to try to propose changes that have a chance to improve our society.  Tinkering around the edges won't do it.

    "For the world is changing: I feel it in the water, I feel it in the earth, and I smell it in the air."

    by Thutmose V on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 09:16:33 AM PST

  •  And they should "get it" how? (0+ / 0-)

    Through their churches which seem to be a bastion of "I've got mine, too bad about yours" and folks who get a hard on when it comes to torture.

    Or maybe through the media that refuses to cover important issues, instead focusing on any available T & A they can find or shiny sparkly things to take your mind off of the important things.

    Or maybe through the internet?  A web of complexities, of isolationism, of egoism?

    We are looking at what happens to the human species in a culture of rotten selfishness.  The C-street house and its insanity offers us a first hand look at how that works.  A circle jerk for jerks!

    How to break out?  We cannot do it being isolationists or stuck in denial.  We cannot do it without some truly creative and heroic measures.  DC literally has a wall around it made of money.  How to blast through that wall?  How to blast through to our complacency without a megaphone?  How to lay out new roads, new ways of thinking, of being?  How to connect and make whole a community coming apart?

    We see glimmers of how to do it:  the Shelterbox idea which was the brainstorm of an Cornwall man and we in this community worked overtime to ask for donations and we go more than 80 boxes I am sure that will provide for a possible 800 people.  Small stuff but it shows us a clue.  We get excited by good ideas.  We get excited by the thought that our COMMUNITY can help.  We join together.  We can do this, we have done this in many ways.  What we need are strategies.  What we need is a way to create a grand strategy and then let us take it apart and create it grand by working to come together in the end.  I feel that the corporatists have done this.  We see it time and again, we are blindsided by the continued attacks on all flanks.  War, torture, eavesdropping, cronyism, turning the law against us, turning the school system against us, turning the churches against us (and by us I mean US Citizens), turning wall street against us, turning bankruptcy laws against us, turning labor laws against us, turning voting laws against us, turning our representatives against us, turning our president against us.

    We have this short window in time, while we have an internet access that is free to create a grand strategy, to map out campaigns, to fix our wealth of talents and creativity to the tasks ahead, to shove off our isolationism, to flex our muscle.  Or we can be comfortable and watch the rest go down the drain.  

  •  Kids will be able to live better than their (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FuddGate, verdastelo

    parents until the world population exceeds available resources.

    IMO the crest has already been reached.

    Save the parrots: Drink shade-grown coffee!

    by oscarsmom on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 09:28:01 AM PST

  •  Everything starts and end with the banks (0+ / 0-)

    They held a guy to our heads and asked for bailout money or else...

    Try credit card reform the same banks raise the gun and say no can do or else so we end up with a useless bill.

    Try to do something real about foreclosures and the same banks raise the gun again so we end up with a toothless mortgage foreclosure plan.

    The only credible response is to break them up. No more to big to fail. Then you can regulate them without threatening to bring down the entire economy.
    This will be a fight galore. The President who wins this fight might not win re-election but the country will be better for it.

  •  The main purpose of a government is (0+ / 0-)

    to protect people from unregulated greed (thievery). If people had enough sense to follow the money this ruling wouldn't be as scary. But even if people can learn to read and vote against it the influence of money, they still have corporate controlled E-Voting to fix elections in their favor.

  •  Outstanding summary of where we are. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini
  •  The myth that the U.S. leads other countries (0+ / 0-)

    in upward mobility must be exposed. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development had a report a couple of years ago showing that countries such as France, Canada, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Denamark, Austria, and Norway excede the U.S. in economic upward mobility for its citizens. The OECD report also showed between 2001 and 2004, the top fifth of U.S. households gained wealth, while the bottom four-fifths lost it. Also beteween 2003 and 2004 income grew nearly twelve times more rapidly among the top 1 percent of U.S income groups than the bottom 90 percent. These were the latest figures available. This trend started during the early 1980s (Reagan) but slowed a bit under Clinton but returned again under Bush II. America better wake up or it will just get worse.

  •  Well done, teacherken. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, polar bear

    Whether or not you are having difficulty with keeping your hopes up (as many of us are), you are and will continue to be a wonderful teacher due to the following:

    You speak the truth and see the problems and the realities that are faced by your students and everyday americans.

    Part of what we are dealing with is trying to help our younger people, family or students, gain understanding so that they can move forward, not be paralyzed, whatever the circumstance.

    In our family, the last year has been trying to have loved ones get beyond their expectations of how their life would be, but deal with their life and work as it is.

    There is strength and a sense of accomplishment in creative approaches to problems which is what you, a good teacher, teaches.  

    Blessed are the bewildered, for they won't notice.

    by trinityfly on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 09:52:18 AM PST

  •  Great diary, as always- Lighten up everyone, it's (0+ / 0-)

    OK to mourn our losses, yet, I'm hoping to read a few suggestions on moving forward. My father replied when asked how long do you keep fighting if the other guy has you down, "You fight until you win, or die trying."

  •  Whoa! We Keep Voting CW 'sellout is better than (0+ / 0-)

    an out and out lying fascist lackey'

    and WHAT did we get since '86 ... ooops! since '06?

    we got sold out. period.

    time for a paradigm shift, and GOOD RIDDANCE big 0, clinton, dodd, reid, pelosi, dukakis, gore, kerry ... fuck all of you.

    IF there is ONLY 1 person running this fall who is any good, then that is the ONLY person I'll give money, time or a vote to -

    and that will be better than supporting another fucking sell out.

    rmm.

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

    by seabos84 on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 10:05:56 AM PST

  •  If anyone here missed Bob Herbert's speech (3+ / 0-)

    when he accepted the Ridenhour award, do check it out here.

    Herbert pointed out then that we cannot simply wait for Obama to fix things.

    For all the talk of change in the last election -- and obviously the Obama era is a big change from the Bush years -- but for all the talk of change, and for all the silly howling about socialism from the republicans, we are not even close to making the kind of fundamental changes in this society that I think are necessary.

    [snip]

    But the point I want to stress here is that these two notions of powerlessness and failure to acknowledge responsibility are particularly dangerous because they prevent ordinary people from seeing the landscapes of their lives clearly, and from taking the steps necessary to improve that landscape. The society's problems are always seen as somebody else's fault, and the person who feels powerless looks to somebody else -- most often a president -- to come along and fix them. That turns the average American into some kind of helpless, hapless figure -- the polar opposite of an informed, involved citizen.  [emphasis added]

    [snip]

    What we need, of course, are steps taken to bring about a fairer apportionment of the nation's wealth and resources. And that won't happen without a sustained demand, amounting to a campaign, by ordinary Americans that the government and corporate elites stop stomping all over the interests of working people and the poor and begin to seriously address their concerns.

    [emphasis added]

    That proposal probably wouldn't sit well with many folks at Daily Kos, because it doesn't mention working for political party campaigns.  Rather, he was suggesting that people put together a campaign of their own to assert their interests.  I'd like to hear from Bob exactly how he envisions that happening.  But, one thing is clear:  he doesn't believe we should sit back and  rely on either party to do what's best for us.

  •  and good luck trying to retire! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    denise b, greengemini, polar bear

    Slowly but surely any money Americans might have for retirement has also been taken away...

    There are very few sane, safe places where the average American can put their retirement savings, if they even have any money now to save.

    With the invention of 401(k)s, Wall Street has managed to lure billions of dollars away from American workers  --- and then stole half of it away just when the Baby Boomer generation was getting ready to retire.

    Retirees currently needing to live on their 401(k)s are cashing them in at a loss. What other choice do they have? Live on their $600/month Social Security checks?

    401(k)s also made corporations think pension funds were no loner needed, so that safety net is basically gone. And, inexplicably, law allows what few pension funds that do exist to be sacked by greedy corporations - so goodbye to any funds you were counting on there.

    Money you put in savings accounts doesn't even keep up with inflation. CDs aren't much better.

    Then there is the devaluation of the dollar - so even if you try to keep your money in a savings account or under your mattress so some greedy Wall Street a-hole won't steal it, your dollars will still be worth less when you need to start spending them.

    And let's not even get into real estate devaluation. My 83 yr old mother is trying to sell her house - now worth about $70,000 less than it was just a few years ago - the Greatest Generation can't catch a break anywhere. That's why she is also working two jobs...

    And then there is health care, which will empty out whatever you had left under your mattress...

    So, way to hog-tie hard working Americans, Congress! We all wanted to keep working until we are 95 anyway - so we can pay your salaries so you can keep going to Capitol Hill and making stupid decisions and screwing us over. Ha ha ha!

  •  They get it, they just don't care (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, polar bear, winebert

    This is 1980 all over again. Only this time many of us don't have another 3 decades to fight it out -- even if it would make a difference.

    "I got mine" has taken finally taken over. In 1980 it was a theme, today it has become a religion.

    We've been a thorn in the side of big business and their allies in government for a long time.

    They'd rather we just stayed home.

    America was turned into a consumer society. We were bred to shop.

    The country was bled dry. Good jobs were shipped overseas  to increase profits. Without those jobs, Americans couldn't spend. So we got credit.

    Now the credit bubble has burst, but that's OK because a billion new global consumers are about to make us redundant.

    At least that's the delusion shared by those whose selfish greed and ambition put us in this spot.

  •  I think the US is too big to have one president (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, verdastelo

    and that the country should be broken into regions with regional governance.  It's clear to me that the Congress and the White House can no longer govern the country.  Sure, they can take our tax dollars and hand it to the banks and DOD, but they do nothing for us anymore.

    Regional governments and state governors can do a better job in my view.  Washington D.C. as a seat of national governance is an obsolete idea.  What are we getting from it?  It's become the seat of corruption, and banking, corporate power, too much personal taxation, too much meddling, and no industrial or employment policy.  Let the various regions of America govern themselves and do away with this one national government---it's not working for citizens, but works great for corporations and banks.  Not what we need out here in the real world.  We have to stop out of touch government.  

  •  Herbert is wrong. (0+ / 0-)

    To borrow and reword candidate Obama, its not that don't get it, its that they don't care.

  •  Herbert is amazingly right. I say amazing because (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, polar bear, lightshine

    I am always shocked when any one at all gets it! You have a statement here I find refreshing:

    Instead we should be reducing the deficit of morality, compassion, and concern for ordinary folks.

    Yes, it is that rare that anyone seems cognizant of the vast millions living in poverty and their needs (my needs come to think of it).

    I really don't understand how bipartisanship is ever going to work when one of the parties is insane. - John Cole

    by Gorette on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 11:10:18 AM PST

  •  awesome diary! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    revgerry

    fantasitc stuff!

  •  Think about a third party. (0+ / 0-)

    That's what you do, teacherken.

    Paradigm shift.

    Nader might've been right all along.

    •  sorry, but Nader helped create this (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      revsue, revgerry, amk for obama, orlbucfan

      He originally, in 2000, promised not to actively campaign in any state where it might make a difference. He was only seeking to get to 5% to get the Greens a ballot line.  

      But when he didn't get into the debates (because he was not doing sufficiently well in any poll), he blamed Gore for not acting to get him in the debate, and he directed his fire in a destructive way.

      He, and his supporters like Michael Moore, have a lot for which they will have to answer.

      It is not that Gore would have been a perfect candidate.

      But you would not have the atrocity of Iraq as it was.

      You would not have had our rights run over casually in the USA Patriot Act.

      The nation would have acted much sooner on global climate change,

      We would not have pissed away the Clinton surplus on tax cuts for the rich.

      Federal judges would not have been picked by the Federalist Society -  and assuming Gore were reelected you would have had at least one if not two appointments that would have made the balance 6 liberals with only Scalia and Thomas on the right, with Kennedy almost certainly voting with the majority on most issues.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 11:56:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you teacherken (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        amk for obama

        for the astute comments about Ralph Nader as well as your diary. Nader's people begged him to get out of the 2000 campaign when they saw the projected voting turnout & numbers. They knew daddy Bush and & gang would pull something. He didn't cos of his ego. He's also a millionaire and was in 2000. We are living w/the results.

        I'm sick of all the hero worship about this clown. Mebbe he was worth it years ago, but he isn't now. We have a major mess to fix. I hope we can.

      •  With all due respect, (0+ / 0-)

        He, and his supporters like Michael Moore, have a lot for which they will have to answer.

        How exquisitely arrogant and blind.

      •  And can we please stop the infantile (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bigchin

        "City on the Edge of Forever" Star Trek time line speculation on what should not have happened if Al Gore wasn't thrown under the bus by evil Captain Nader.

        The height of useless, meaningless "WHAT IF".  The whole exercise is base on a fatal assumption that the forces that brought us the neocon injection wouldn't have found other "tools" to force a military solution anyway.  The Congress brought us AUMF in October of 2002.  So arguments can easily be made twenty different ways on how Iraq post 9/11 would've fallen.  Meaningless.

        •  I will answer you here (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          amk for obama

          it is very far from speculation.  And if you want to offer the bushwa of Nader that there wasn';t a dime of difference between Gore and Bush, you are clearly on the wrong blog.

          You are lucky there are so many comments on this thread that few people will see your puerile comments.

          do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

          by teacherken on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 02:13:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Another red herring made that the Nader (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bigchin

            question was conflating Gore with Bush.

            Another bark up the wrong tree here.  No one claims that.  Ridiculous as the posing of the false question to begin with.  Nader was claiming there was very little difference in terms of impact between the two parties, apart from the red and blue flavor of the day.

            Every knee jerk about third parties and independent movements always have to start with revisiting Nadar's 2000 candidacy as some kind of treachery against the people because it has to be perceived by some democrats as the main reason the Gore candidacy went down in flames.  Has to be.  There can be no other approved explanation.  We must revile.  Even after the Hillary debacle of 2008.  Revile the Nader.

          •  Lucky (0+ / 0-)

            Jeesh.
            I survive another day.  Life During Wartime.

      •  too facile (0+ / 0-)

        much too facile...

        because when all is said in done, Nader was more right than wrong in his criticism of both parties.

        And besides, the idea that, after two terms of "Presdiebent" Gore, we may right now have had a President Lieberman...

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

        by bigchin on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:32:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I disagree that he was more right than wrong (0+ / 0-)

          and do not assume a sitting VP would get elected president.  We went from Martin van Buren to George H W Bush before that happened.  

          IF you think it is "too facile" to presume a different policy with respect to Iraq, the environment, court appointments (including possible SCOTUS appointments), then I suggest you are very warped in your perceptions of Al Gore.

          I don't think Gore was perfect by a long shot. But he was vastly superior to Bush on every issue that mattered in next few years.

          Either of two states, NH or FL, and Bush loses.  And history - not just of the US, but of the world - would be very different.

          do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

          by teacherken on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:36:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Third Party is cop-out for those who don't want (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      revsue, revgerry

      to seriously work on solving the problems of America.  Utopoa isn't going to come that easity.

    •  split the vote? bad idea. nt (0+ / 0-)
      •  I agree. It's time to ditch the one party system (0+ / 0-)

        and get behind a real party for the people.  This could actually happen overnight - as quickly as Brown shocked the nation in little over a month.
        It can be a progressive populism or we can sit back idly and watch the Teabaggers co-opt the anger into a fascist version - take your pick.

        I do believe though that the Democrats may be as wasted as the Republicans with ideas, will and coordination from all outward appearances - and as Herbert points out - are counting on empty rhetorical tricks to wriggle past the angry mob.

  •  The Current Dems Will NEVER Get It (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polar bear

    They're way too stuck in their ways to change at this point.  If you want REAL change, it's going to be a DECADES long process by voting for politicians in primaries and local elections.  The Republicans have been doing that since at least the early 80's.  They've taken control of the public discourse.  Realistically, you can't expect all they've done to be fixed any time soon.  The damage they've done to this country and the world, be it environmentally, socially, economically and politically, has been the result of slowly but surely picking away and taking control of institutions at all levels of government.

    And unlike the left, they've been content with their setbacks.  Look at the Democratic base...they're ready to throw out healthcare because it isn't perfect.  Has that stopped the Republicans in the last 30+ years or so from bit-by-bit over turning abortion?  Of course not.  

    Alan Grayson is the future of the Democratic party.  Or he should be, at least.  He is essentially a "Republican" Democrat... mean that he operates, publically at least, like a Republican and to some degree stays very true to his virtues.

    I don't particularly LIKE Grayson... I bristle at that kind of politics, but it's sadly a necessity in this day and age.  

    Democrats are never going to "get it".  Hell, they already DO "get it" and they're acting accordingly.  
    If you want Democrats and liberal politicians who GET IT get it, find them in the primaries and have a LOT of patience.  

    My style is impetuous.
    My defense is impregnable.
    YOU'RE NOT ALEXANDER!

    by samfish on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 12:01:01 PM PST

    •  We have to start running for local, county, state (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      samfish

      and federal positions.  i wouldn't make a good candidate, for a number of reasons, but I'm sure many kossacks would be fine school board members, city councilpersons, county officials and on up.  

  •  My hope is running on "E" too (0+ / 0-)

    Tired of fighting for nothing, or half a loaf when we could have had the whole loaf.  I think about what else I could have done instead of waste it on false hope and corrupt politicians.

    There is always a better way.

    by Pilgrim X on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 12:05:37 PM PST

  •  Great post (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polar bear

    Herbert is one of my favorite writers.  (Glad he finally stopped drinking the kool-aid.)

    Something about the pres' and the Dems' reaction to the Brown debacle unsettled me, but I couldn't put my finger on it really.  I especially didn't like the pres' smug speech at the rally right before the vote or the smug one after in which he made fun of the punditry and the "panic" of politicos, dismissing the significance of the vote and in turn dismissing real concerns people are having.

    Then I heard Mort Zuckerman (who I'm not necessarily a fan of I must admit) say something today that rung true. He said that the problem with this current White House is that they're too political.  Almost everything they do seems to be for the sake of short-term politically expediency (including the sudden "rage" the president has shown at the banks since the MA vote, lol).  He said that even though there are many similarities in the Clinton WH and the Obama WH (many of the same players in the game), Clinton is different than Obama in that Clinton understood policy, was interested in policy and conducted his tenure from that vantage point.  He said that Clinton focused on policy first and politics second, Obama does the exact reverse.  When I thought about that, I was like, "Dang, that's pretty accurate."

    All that to say, you diarist [and Herbert] are right.  These people don't get it.

  •  I respect Bob Herbert as a columnist and (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KayCeSF, amk for obama

    understand his agenda and perspective. However, I am also a 'pragmatist' - a dirty word around these here parts, so instead of wringing my hands about how bad the American economy is (as it is is reflected globaally with far fewer safety nets than we enjoy) I prefer to see what is being donn, and a great deal is.

    I have been following on CSPAN various presentations by various mayor's of towns, small and large, around the nation, to see what they are doinng, how they are coping and finding them very interesting. They are buckling   down, coming together cin their communtiies and  making  things work.

    I am rapidly losing any respect for the Progressives at this  to even try to seek solutions in this recession, that was prevented from being a depression by the actions taken aand s still beign taken by the Obama administration. Of course I fully realise you can't prove things could have been worse, but I truly believe they could have been completely catastrophic, instead of relatively containable.  

    I am personally using my energies to see what efforts i can make in my 'small world' to alleviate the misery and to help restore the economy.

    Right now i'm listening to Cory Booker of Newark, NJ. Inspirational.  Go see what you can do your your 'community'. That is NOT Daily Kos, its your neighbours, your friends, your schools, your cops, your firefighters, your local businessesses.  Go help out instead of hindering and whining that nobody is helping you. Help yourselves by helping some in worse shape than you.
    One of the wasy I am doignt hat is to stay away from thse doomsday scenarios.  That may bne because I cannot see there is any way in heaven or hell that America can revert to her elfish profligate ways and we must ALL try and  forge a new way of living and distributing prospertiy and security. I also believe that it will take ll of Obama's first term to even begin to achieve this and  will NOT be part of this movement to give the country back to the people who caused this since the reagna years.

    •  I'm with you. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      soccergrandmom, amk for obama

      The blame game is old and useless at this point and going forward.  Nothing is perfect, not in life, neither with our politicians, nor our President, and certainly I've never met one human being who is.  I believe the majority of our Democratic Representatives are trying to do everything they can.  

      I've spent the morning making lists of things I can do, beyond what the politicians do. We still don't get it. Everything takes time.  Especially now.

      Sorry Ken.  You have my respect, and should know it if you've even bothered to read me. But sometimes the complaints get really old.  

      I saw a man on the street this morning.  He sat down on deep snow in a parking lot with a sign that read, "I'm homeless, I'm hungry."  I pulled over to park my car, walked over to him and gave him a $20 that I was going to use for drugstore items.  His hand was shaking when he took it, and cold tears fell from his eyes.  I asked him what else I could do for him, maybe take him to a shelter?  He said, "No, I'm sleeping in the shelter already. I get there okay."  I said, "Then what else?"  He said, "Teach the young kids about compassion." So I went inside the drug store and bought him some glove-mittens and gave them him to warm his cold hands.
      I thanked him for his thought, told him I would, and got back in my car and drove home through the snow covered street crying my eyes out.  

      Who are the teachers in the process of life?  Who do we listen to and what motivates us to keep on plugging along, to continue fighting for people who are desperate?

      We can talk about what's wrong until the cows come home.  We can blame everyone we can think of.  But IT STARTS WITH OURSELVES!  We are in this together.  

      The politicians are working as fast as they can. I do not assume to know what they are doing minute to minute, day to day, behind closed or open doors.  And God knows the media and journalists haven't much more knowledge about how difficult their jobs are either and I'm tired of their opinions and complaints, as well.

      Moan, grown, whine, bitch.  Life isn't perfect. Get off the pity-party and try to make changes for the good. Sitting around writing detailed tomes about how sad life is and how lousy our representatives are... "Throw the bums out!"... just doesn't bring me closer to motivating them or ME to get to the business at hand.  It's a downer!  It's useless mental masturbation.  When you come down to it, we can only account for ourselves and what WE are doing as individuals, hoping that as a group of "compassionate" individuals we can influence our representatives.  One at a time we try to do this. So, keep calling your representatives to let them know what you want them to do.  Give them the respect and time to do it.  And for God's sake, let's thank them more!  In many respects the many Democrats in Congress have taken on public service with a heavy load and hardly get a round of applause when they do things right.  That has to suck!  How do we motivate them when they constantly read they are being called "bums?"

      Sorry for the rant, but we have work to do. And... "Teach your children compassion." Think about what that means, w-holistically!

      •  Right now I am listening to Bernard Jealous, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KayCeSF

        CEO of the NAACP speaking at a breakfast and reminding people how long it took to achieve Civil Rights legislation after the Emancipation Proclamation, 100 years. How long it took to integrate the Armed Forces afte WW2, 30 years, how long it took to abolish Jim Crow, lynch mobs, and on and on and on.  He made the point over and over, that to really affect change you ned a masaive plurality, not a 51 majority. You need blacks, whites, asians, all political parties, all genders, all creeds, in other words 'The American People' not just Progressive American people!!

        Things don't magically change overnight and the greatest disappointment to me is that all those starry eyed optimists who thought their one vote would enable Obama to wave a magic wand and reverse all the years of the republican onslaught since Ronald Reagan and now they see he can't they want to give the ball back to the same people who got us here, aand kik him out.

        I'm so disgusted with the progressive and lazy apathetic Demcrats these days, I could SPIT and frequently DO!!!Thanks for your buckup.  I personally blame the constant drumbeat of 'he can do better' that emanates from these pages, instead of trying to help people find ways they can help make the change they want happen.

        When I first came here i thought DK would be part of the Solution. Now i view it as a distinct part of the Problem. Which makes it even more imperative to stay here to counteract the negative effect it is having on the Democratic process.

        That's how i feel, whether people like it or not.

        •  Well, soccergrandmom, (5+ / 0-)

          I have to disagree with some things you've said here.  You are aware of ALL of the diaries that have advocated so well for us to help the people of Haiti and of the outpouring of support from DailyKos members?  There have been individual diaries as well that have gone up from people who were in desperate need of help and people here dug deep and helped them out.  There is the quilt project that Sara R does and that is strongly supported by many here.  It just seems to me that you've overlooked some very big and very positive efforts here.  

          One meme that has become entrenched here that I also will not let go rolling by without pointing out the fallacy of it is the oft-repeated charge that people expected instant miracles just because they voted for the President.  It is NOT correct and it's not acceptable for people to keep throwing it out there.  I know of no one who thought the President would wave a magic wand and fix everything.  No one who's rational anyway.  Here is where the disconnect is IMHO:  it is precisely in what Bob Herbert pointed out in his article and others have as well when he says

          The question for Democrats is whether there is anything that will wake them up to their obligation to extend a powerful hand to ordinary Americans and help them take the government, including the Supreme Court, back from the big banks, the giant corporations and the myriad other predatory interests that put the value of a dollar high above the value of human beings.


          I just want to be clear that it is the amount of time and money and effort that was spent on the big banks and the giant corporations first while middle-class Americans and the working poor were left to struggle on their own.  That's all that I see.  It was the choice of who/what went first and got the lion's share of the money---while people continued to lose their homes, their jobs, their healthcare.  And, I'm sorry if you and I can't see eye-to-eye on this, but I think it's a valid complaint.  It doesn't help to have this treated as people bitching and complaining when Herbert backed up his words with hard data.

          You can have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, or democracy, but you cannot have both. ~ Louis Brandeis

          by 3goldens on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 01:34:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You have an inalienable right to disagree. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            KayCeSF, 3goldens

            I do NOT require people to agree with my perspectives, I have the right to express them.

            And yes, Daily Kos does a great deal of good, it also does an irreprable amount of harm in my opinion.

            For me, I am sorry to say, the balance has shifted. Also I totally disagree with your premise that President Obama is NOT listening to the 'citizens'.

            You can have no proof that the job situation would NOT have been ten times as bad if corporations, which employ most of the American workforce had not been helped. I trust the president to do what he had to do with what he found when he started the job.

            You have the right to second guess him. I find it counterproductive and it is totally counterproductive for any of us to argue whether what he did FIRST was right or wrong. He applied the tourniquets and staunched the arterial spurt.

            I am willing to give him the benefit, if you are not that is your prerogative too as an American citizen and debate is the heart of a strong democracy. Not being right or wrong.

        •  If it's any consolation, I agree. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          soccergrandmom

          In my lifetime I have never heard such down-in-the-mouth bilious remarks and castigations.  I don't know what is going on anymore. Americans have lost their capacity to give, they only want to take.  Oh, they call voting and giving money and time "giving."  It's more than that!  It's patience and knowing, as you said, that history teaches all things come to those who keep on working together. I can't imagine what MLK would have done if his followers had said, "Hell with it! This is not going fast enough and I'm done!"

          You aren't off the mark at all.

          It's been along haul to get here, we have plenty more to go.  I'm not giving up, and I'm especially not giving up on our Dems in Congress who are working their asses off with all the conflicts and with no dilusions like many of us have, that this was every going to be easy.  And Obama told us it wasn't going to be easy.  But many here and around the country just want to give up and YET they are pissed if they get the slightest indication our Reps are!  Toss the Bums out!  I ask, who are the bums?  The ones standing on the floors of Congress fighting it out, or the ones behind their computer screens giving up?

          The man at the parking lot this morning is just one person, but among many, who need us to keep on fighting with the Democrats in office and get some good things done! Or... we can eat our own and expect to lose voters and our seats in Congress.  

      •  KayCe (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KayCeSF, soccergrandmom

        Don't apologize for your "rant"---because I think it was a good one.  And you gave us a real-life example of human suffering.  It speaks loudly of the kind of person you are that you didn't look away but made a difference in that poor soul's life.

        I strongly agree with you about recognizing that our Congressional reps are not all thieves or crooks.  I make it a point to send my House Rep and my two Senators an e-mail when I read about something they've done that they deserved a pat on the back for, and if I do write to bring a complaint to their attention, I never send an e-mail or make a phone call to their offices without adding at the end "Thank you for your hard work and efforts on our behalf".  I'm very lucky that I've got all Dems-----so it's a lot easier to thank them.  One district over from me is James Sensenbrenner (Repub who prevented John Conyers from having a decent room for a hearing and forced him to have to hold it in the basement!).  Now, good old Senselessbrenner, I'd have a hard time thanking----lol!

        You can have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, or democracy, but you cannot have both. ~ Louis Brandeis

        by 3goldens on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 01:43:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you 3goldens. (3+ / 0-)

          I've literally been in tears all day since meeting that man.  I guess the complaining here in Kos is really wearing me down.  I don't know how much more I can take.  When I go down threads to read heady remarks, I'm stumbling and falling on all the negative, mean comments.  

          I'm too old and too ugly to give up. I too, have great reps.  I like Ben Lujan, love Udall and Bingaman.  I also thank some of the "bad guys" when I see they have gone a step forward and done something good for the Democratic Party.

          But...I'm a triple-Sagg and Irish.  I can take a lot, but when I've finally had enough of the shenanigans, look out!  lol!

          •  Hang in there, please. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            soccergrandmom

            You're heart is clearly in the right place and even though we don't always agree, I appreciate your viewpoint.  One question:  what's a "triple-Sagg"?  I'm Irish too---nobody can beat us when it comes to fighting for what's right---LOL!

            PS  And just want you to know that some of the bitter comments really do get to me as well.  I will not give up on this President.  He came in to utter chaos and the first year of every President is always a tough one.  His was made many times worse by those evil Party of NO idiots and their blatant obstruction.  I will agree with Herbert, by the way, in calling the Repubs "not a serious Party".  They aren't.  They're insane monsters babbling nonsense and unworthy of being listened to.  I think the President is quite capable and he needs to make some adjustments.  I taught leadership and management to healthcare managers of all levels for 18 years.  Leadership is never static---it is always fluid and changing to meet whatever the conditions demand.  Great leaders adapt to that reality----and President Obama will.  Just MHO, of course.  But I do believe he's a quick learner.

            You can have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, or democracy, but you cannot have both. ~ Louis Brandeis

            by 3goldens on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 02:16:14 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Triple Sagg... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              3goldens

              my astrological chart happens to make me a triple sagittarius. Among many traits of a sagittarious, I know I have sharp intuition that sees right through posturing and hypocrisy, and yes, my fighting Irish sometimes gets the better of me when I lash out.  LOL!

              Thank you for not giving up on Obama.  I agree with all you have said.  I do believe he's a quick learner and will adapt.  I do believe he's impatient that Congress is not getting it that we have to get out of the old mind-think and to have the WILL to move forward.  :(

              I'm not giving up on him either, but I do question many a day why I'm here.  I just need to get my bearings back. The negativity is causing me to wilt, so maybe I just need to step back and away for awhile.

    •  You do realize that teacherken (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      soccergrandmom, bigchin, lightshine

      is not merely a sobbing "gloom and doomer", I hope.  He IS an active volunteer and has written diaries about his experiences with RAM, Remote Area Medical.  Just FYI.  And I agree that we should all help each other out.  One of the many things this President has said that stayed deep in my heart is that we are all our brother's or sister's keeper----and he repeated that on more than one occasion.  And I do see him demonstrate that on a personal level along with Michelle and the girls.

      At the same time, I think Bob Herbert and teacherken have both jolted us into awareness that there are real issues and problems in this country that are affecting millions of people's lives every single day.  And we need to be advocating for those issues to be resolved.  So, yes, I agree that we MUST help each other out in every way that we can but, I would also state, that recognizing that there are major problems that threaten the very fiber of this country's way of life is not a bad thing.  It's being clear-eyed about the reality of how far the American Dream has slipped away for so many people.  We ignore that as a nation at our own peril because disenfranchised people who believe that the government does not see them or hear them tend to become angry and vengeful and to act without thinking.  We, as citizens, can do our part----but our elected representatives in Congress and those who we pay in the various branches of government also need to do their part.  Herbert used some pretty tough talk and he pointed out the fact that this administration has not focused on the people problems with the speed and effort that it did with the corporations (and Herbert listed those).  That Herbert used tough talk doesn't bother me.  What does bother me is a government that does not listen and act for the citizens.  Herbert is doing his job; the government needs to do its job; and we need to do ours.

      You can have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, or democracy, but you cannot have both. ~ Louis Brandeis

      by 3goldens on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 01:21:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I am very much the pragmatist (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      soccergrandmom, bigchin, lightshine

      and even in this diaryI acknowledge how much worse things could have been.

      But that is insufficient.  Many astute people pointed out the imbalance of bailing out financial institutions without imposing strict requirements for them to lend - that was the entire purpose of bailing them out.  Otherwise we could have taken the hundreds upon hundreds of billions and set up a direct lending mechanism for business and homeowners.

      Similarly, people far more astute than me - say Nobelist Paul Krugman - were saying what I said, that the stimulus was too small, both psychologicially (it would make an impact of how serious things were had it been over a trillion) and in fact to to much more than stem the freefall down; it was insufficient to reverse the bad economic conditions.

      When I write as I do, especially in this piece, I am pointing out a reality, one reflected in the date available from what happened in Massachusetts, from current polling on the generic Congressional ballot, and from elsewhere.  Those figures reflect something critically important - a loss of hope, a feeling of abandonment, a rising tide of anger, the last not just from "teabaggers."  Herbert recognizes that, although I think he missed the opportunity focus on some other issues, so I chose to write about them, specifically this, which has been repeated in a number of comments:  

      He does not say what I will.  We have a serious need of deficit reduction, but it is not of the government's financial balance sheet.  Instead we should be reducing the deficit of morality, compassion, and concern for ordinary folks.

      I think it is precisely because the American people do not see that concern, that fundamental sense of fairness, reflected in the policies enacted to date that they are starting to turn away from the Democrats.  

      I just had an email exchange with an important Democratic figure who tried to argue with me that this is a normal retuning of policy, and that we should be grateful we got the wakeup call now rather than in November.  I disagree.  I told him that unless we get meaningful health care reform and meaningful regulation of the financial sector - including forcing the lending that was supposed to occur when that sector was bailed out, including the mortage readjustments that were intended to save the housing sector - the Democrats are going to get eaten alive in less than 10 months.  

      Don't blame the messenger for delivering a true report of the lay of the land.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 02:26:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Dear teacherken, I don't think anyone is blaming (0+ / 0-)

        any messengers. I certainly am NOT. We are all trying to comprend the 'message' in our own ways. i truly rspect your postings, exactly as i said I respect Bob Herbert's columns.  We are all floundering and threshing around in these turbulent tumultuous waters together, and blaming some one else for drowning won't help any of us to save others from going under.

        All  I am saying is that All columnists and DK diarists have to do is write a daily column or a diary. All President Obama has to do is to try and keep ALL of us afloat and prevent us from sinking beneath his wisdom like a stone.

        Peace.

        •  sorry, but I hold him to a higher standard (0+ / 0-)

          either he agrees with what his appointees and advisers are doing, or he is not exercising proper leadership.

          If the former, he is quite wrong on a number of issues.  He is well behind the curve, when he should be taking charge.

          If the latter, then he is not an effective president.

          Don't get me wrong.  Reread what I wrote.  I give him credit for staving off total disaster.  But that is not enough.

          I am reporting not only what I read from Herbert, but what I see in my own life - from my students, and I could add from my fairly extensive travels around Virginia and connections with a wide range of political types across the Commonwealth.  

          do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

          by teacherken on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:41:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I respect your possition. I just don't think you (0+ / 0-)

            comprehend the magnitude of what you perceieve as 'his leadership position' from your personal and parochial perspective.

            That is absolutely NOT intended as an insult, I view his decisions more from a global, planetary, national and international  perspective.

            Peace.  I am sure we shall both continue to write about our own personal perspectives of the global priorities facing our world, not just our personal bubbles.

            •  I have written positively about him (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              soccergrandmom

              precisely from the global perspective.  In my diary December 10, an appropriate day for Obama's Nobel I wrote the following:  

              I may disagree with Obama's decision on Afghanistan.  I do not think what he did surprised the Nobel Committee -  I believe they were fully aware of his intent towards Afghanistan, which he had made clear during the campaign.

              What I do not doubt is the man's commitment to move towards real peace.  He has spoken of nuclear weapons.  He has spoken of global climate change.  He reminds us of the dangers of religious intolerance, of severe economic inequity.  All of these represent threats to peace.

              Barack Obama is not merely our President.  He is, whether or not we like it, a symbol for the entire world.  He represents the hopes of billions, those who know that without the commitment of the US true global peace is not possible.  He has moral authority, not merely because he is not George Bush, and certainly not merely because he is the first American President who is of color, and thus visibly different than his predecessors.

              If you read that diary, you will see that I do not view Obama merely from my "personal and parochial perspective" as you put it.  

              In this diary my focus is something else, something very important.  That is the real risk of losing the trust of the American people if things do not change.

              So far they still like him - okay, the teabaggers don't, and the Republicans are desperate that he not succeed.  But they are increasingly having doubts about some of his policies.  And their confidence in the Democrats in Congress is plummeting.  Those Congressional Democrats are essential for Obama to be able to achieve his goals.

              Herbert - and in tomorrow's NY Times Frank Rich - are sounding an alarm, giving a warning.  I am taking Herbert's words and adding my own perceptions of what it means.

              Does that mean that I am about to abandon Obama? No.  I think I made clear in my diary yesterday as well as this one that for me I am confronting ever more serious concerns, but that - for now - I still persist.

              But as tight as things are for us financially, we seem about to renegotiate our mortgage down, we are able to meet our current financial obligations, we both have secure jobs, we both have health insurance.  We are not feeling the incredible pressure others do.

              In my writing I attempt to reflect what I perceive, not just my own experience.\

              I appreciate your thoughtfulness in how you write here.  I hope this comment will help you realize that we are not necessarily in disagreement, but that this diary had a different focus, a different purpose.

              Namaste.

              do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

              by teacherken on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:58:55 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  When I say 'global perspective' i am referring (0+ / 0-)

                to the global economic financial meltdown that President Obama averted.

                There is a legitimate debate regarding what he should have done first, Wall Street or Main Street. I do not think the two can be separated, in our economic system they are inextricabley intertwined. Corporations depend on investment capital to provide jobs as well as make a profit.  Investors entrust their reytirment fuinds to corporations so they can live themselves as they are too old to work in the workforce.

                In my small rural community my neigbhiurs are firemen, policemen, plumbers, bank tellers, supermarket staff, small business owners, state government workers, teachers - a normal middle-class community.  Local banks, which also hold the mortgages of these middleclass people, rely on an infusion of capital into their own banks not merely the deposits of their clients to maintain business loans and prevent foreclosures and help businesses   stay afloat int hese turbulent times.

                There is pain, certainly there is pain, there is NOT meltdown.  I believe that the president is being unfairly criticised based on elements thatc annot be proven, whether things would have been worse had he not performed triage as he did and which actually worked as the lending institutions appear to have ecovered nicely and are paying the money back to the taxpayers.

                I don't believe Bob Herbert or Frank Rich (both with constituencies and agendas) are fair in their criticisms that President Obama is ignoring the anguish and fear, now manifesting in anger, of the American public.  I just DO NOT ACCEPT that premise.

                In the great fiancial meltdown when the American economy hit the iceberg oif republician policies he did what the captain is supposed to do when he has a limited amount of deckchairs. The argument is whether he should have saved the officers so they could save the ship first, or the passengers who could nto run the ship without them.

                Anyway, the argument will go on until people stop being so fearful and so angry.  It may be too late to save the ships captain, I hope not. We shall see. Becasaue i sure am bailign myself if the enxt captain is Presdent Palin!!!!

                I believe this populist anger is justified but is directed at entirely the wrong person and party. It should be aimed fair and square at the republicans who are determined to sink this ship so they can make a fortune out of salvage and steer it on the rocks again. They don't care about the American people. they just want the power and the profit.

                And the columnists and bloggers are trying to detroy the ONE person who is trying to turn this ship of state around. I refuse to be part of the firing squad. That is all.

  •  great diary and a great column (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens
    This gets us to one of the core questions of our time:  who will protect us against economic predation?  Without federal, state, and local governments responsive to citizens and independent of powerful economic interests, the answer is no one.

    That, I think, is one upshot of the Supreme Court's decision the other day.  The Bill of Rights was created to protect citizens from federal power.  The current Court is interpreting it so that corporations might protect themselves from democracy.

    A terrible beauty is born. --W.B. Yeats

    by eightlivesleft on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 01:36:53 PM PST

  •  But but, David Plouffe is back (0+ / 0-)

    It's all over the reclist today, complete with Obama eye candy diary. David will spin this sour lemon juice into lemonade. All will 'seem' well again. Votes will turn blue.

    Did you know rat meat is high in protein? C'mon people think optimistic. /snark

    You are witnessing late stage Capitalist Carcinoma. Diagnosis, terminal. Hospice recommended.

    by CitizenOfEarth on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 01:40:22 PM PST

  •  Thanks, tk, for drawing attention (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Anne Elk, lightshine

    to Bob Herbert's article.  The part that really resonates with me is where he wrote this:

    Democrats in search of clues as to why voters are unhappy may want to take a look at the report. In 2008, a startling 91.6 million people — more than 30 percent of the entire U.S. population — fell below 200 percent of the federal poverty line, which is a meager $21,834 for a family of four.

    Ninety-one point six MILLION people fell below 200% of the poverty line is startling information.  I've  heard mention of the fact that the United States is becoming a two-class society:  the wealthy elite and the poor,  and viewing this statistic, I think it says that we are losing (or have perhaps already lost) a true middle class and are looking at a society composed of only the two groups I mentioned.  The loss of a middle class says, also, that he is right when he warns about the loss of the American Dream.  I see around me evidence that those of us with parents from the Greatest Generation will not see the retirement security that many of them did.  I also see a lot of denial of the possibility even  that the middle class has slipped into the poverty level.   I don't know what prevents people from admitting this----pride, loss of dignity for having worked hard and lost ground rather than gained ground . . . . I really don't know.  But I see it around me every single day.  In my own community, the food pantry has had to beg for supplies because of the increase in those coming from middle-class neighborhoods who do not even have enough to put food on their table any longer.  A local charity that provides free meals has also had an increase in participants.  When interviewed in the local paper, one individual admitted to having enough money to pay the rent but not enough money for food for the family.   These increases have all come about in just the last two years.  Prior to that, this kind of usage was unheard of---and I live in an area that is economically very stable (or supposed to be).  

    Herbert's words are tough and blunt.  I appreciate his telling it  as it has become for the silent majority that often gets over-looked in this age of corporate greed and welfare.  Good thing Reagan is no longer around because if he were  to point out "welfare queens" in the populace now, I think he'd be in danger of being lynched.

    You can have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, or democracy, but you cannot have both. ~ Louis Brandeis

    by 3goldens on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 02:05:58 PM PST

    •  That struck me especially too (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens, lightshine

      In fact, the struggle right now is really about the rich trying desperately to hold onto their wealth as the US economy steadily sinks. A point that has been made in the past about other erstwhile liberal societies is that economic crisis makes fertile ground for fascism. To put it in my mother's words, when poverty comes in the door love flies out the window. The anger in the electorate, I think, is coming from the spreading realization in the wish-they-were-working class that nobody is coming to save them together with the rising fear in the caught-in-the-middle class that their turn is coming. I live in fairytale San Francisco and I feel the fear all around me. It's palpable. In a society as basically militarized and brutal as America the idea that a liberal new New Deal is just around the corner is fantasy. What is around the corner is steadily increasing repression driven by the ever-increasing power of the National Security State. So it's not even about Republicans and Democrats any more. That's just a smokescreen. What is going to fall upon us in the next decade is something that looks steadily more like China and Russia and less like "We the People". No, there will not be torchlit parades. It's going to be less Fascism and more Fashionism. You'll hardly notice the needle going in, I promise.

      •  I really agree with a lot of what (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Anne Elk

        you wrote.  I'm not sure we're headed towards a National Security State---but I do believe that this current economic situation is tipping our society towards a future that could be very different from what most of us are accustomed to.  That Supreme Court ruling this week is very concerning.  I think there is still time to pull back and correct course---but the window for that is not going to be open forever.  I think that the next year will be critical in determining which direction we go----towards greater attention to the needs of the people OR towards continuing the current trend of catering to the needs of the billionaires and big corporations.  One thing I feel for sure is that we're not standing still----every decision by the administration, every act by Congress----takes us one way or the other.   The thought of fascism coming to this country is no longer the unlikely event it once was---and just the very fact that this "could" happen, should make us all sit up and pay attention and do everything we can to prevent that.  We need capable leadership like never before.  If we don't get it, the results of that failure are unthinkable.

        You can have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, or democracy, but you cannot have both. ~ Louis Brandeis

        by 3goldens on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 03:08:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  let's parse the situation (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          3goldens, bigchin, cacamp

          I would agree that the current administration would not move towards a national security state, but they have not rolled back the movement made in that direction under Bush.  For yet another illustration, read mcjoan's front page story on AT&T, FBI and NSLs.  That is similar with the refusal to prosecute CIA officials, the willingness to support immunity for the telecomms and the like.

          Having said that, I can fully see if in fact the Republicans took over both chambers of Congress, totally stymied the agenda of Obama, and he were replaced by a real rightwinger as of January 20, 2013, a national security state becomes more than possible, it even becomes probably.

          Is that likely?  It would require a lot of things, but the path to such a situation is now at least visible.  That should scare the hell out of everyone.

          do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

          by teacherken on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 03:16:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks for your thoughts-- (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            teacherken

            quite honestly sometimes I've thought I was losing my perspective on what is going on with our government.  The fact that you wrote what you did here gives me a sort of awkward consolation (what an odd word to use here!) that I'm not alone in my concern about what direction we're going.  The pull to not accept the signs and symptoms is so strong at times . . . I wish I had had the benefit of the kind of course you teach when I was younger.  I had nothing even anywhere near comparable in the private Catholic high school I attended and then went to a small Catholic liberal arts college that back in the 60s did not offer a single political science course.  Still, I'm grateful for that education--but it did have it's "holes". :)

            You can have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, or democracy, but you cannot have both. ~ Louis Brandeis

            by 3goldens on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:28:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  perhaps we're there already? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            3goldens, lightshine

            America has already implemented a "soft" police state. Real descent is no longer allowed as the efforts to peacefully gather and protest at the party conventions proves. Abbie Hofman and/or Bobby Seals would be hounded to death by the FBI political police today in America.

            And me, I led the resistance of my people at Wounded Knee in 1973 where we held out for 73 days.... Today I'd be dead or in gitmo.

            •  you should diary about your '73 experience (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              3goldens

              I think it would be eye-opening and jaw-dropping for many here, who are way too young to have any conception of what that was like.  At age 63 I have still relatively clear memories of the news reports, and how little was heard from your side/perspective.

              do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

              by teacherken on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:58:28 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  The suburbs are becoming ghettos. (0+ / 0-)

    Well, not all of them.

    There are basically two kinds of suburbs now: The uber-wealthy suburbs, and ghettos.

    Any suburb that was middle-class before is becoming/will become ghettos.

    I remember driving through a sprawling suburban housing development maybe 5 years ago, and just shaking my head and saying to myself "in 20 years this will be gangland."

    IMO it's as much due to horrible land-use planning as to the economic situation. But it's happening.

    The Brookings study notes that almost half of the increase in poverty took place in the suburbs - not surprising considering the increasing percentage of our population that lives in suburbs, but perhaps alarming considering that this is supposed to be the hometurf of our upper middle class and those who are upwardly mobile.  

    If you happen to encounter a well-spoken white man in a suit, assume he has no authority whatsoever unless he proves otherwise.

    by VictorLaszlo on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 04:06:13 PM PST

    •  boy are you wrong (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bigchin

      I grew up in a middle class suburb of New York, graduating from high school in 1963.  I last visited for a high school reunion in 2003, and unless the average price of a house in a ghetto is approaching 3/4 of a million, it is not a ghetto.

      Yes there are some inner suburbs around some cities that are decaying, while wealthier people may have moved further out.

      But it is not always a question of race - sometimes it is a question of class.  Northeast Philadelphia functioned in many ways as a suburb, and it has remained heavily white, even as its relatively economic status has declined to in many neighborhoods at best lower middle class.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:30:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not wrong. (0+ / 0-)

        But things may certainly be different in your part of the country.

        If you happen to encounter a well-spoken white man in a suit, assume he has no authority whatsoever unless he proves otherwise.

        by VictorLaszlo on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:35:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  you made a universal statement (0+ / 0-)

          that statement is wrong.

          You also used racially charged language that is not universally applicable.

          do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

          by teacherken on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:37:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I was simply adding my observations to the (0+ / 0-)

            conversation.

            If you're looking for someone to scold, please look elsewhere.

            If you happen to encounter a well-spoken white man in a suit, assume he has no authority whatsoever unless he proves otherwise.

            by VictorLaszlo on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:49:42 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  correcting mistatements is not scolding (0+ / 0-)

              and if you think it is such, I am surprised you choose to engage in a forum like this.  

              do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

              by teacherken on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:52:14 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You're kind of doing it again. (0+ / 0-)

                Look, I know you've been around here a while and IIRC I've read stuff you've written that I've really liked.

                To me, you were (and are) coming across as rather condescending. Maybe I misunderstand your tone.

                But whatever. These things happen. Friends?

                If you happen to encounter a well-spoken white man in a suit, assume he has no authority whatsoever unless he proves otherwise.

                by VictorLaszlo on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:38:34 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  teach who owns the Parties (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lightshine

    and how they came to own them. It took from the old 'robber baron' times until now for the rich and powerful to overcome the democracy brought in by unionization and civil rights.

    First, with the "southern strategy" they were able to both divide working class people along racial and cultural lines and to gain control of the Republican Party. Racism also nutralized those southern populists who once were firmly on the side of workers. Now the GOP is owned lock, stock and barrel by the ruling class which is why they march in lockstep.

    Next, they set their sights on buying and co-opting Democrats. This effort took a long time and billions of dollars but by the 1960's they pretty much had the Dems under control too except that grassroots Democrats were still both liberal and independant which kept the Party from becoming a totally own subsidary like the GOP had become.

    Finally, today, they have gained(bought) control of the Senate Democrats and a large portion of the House. Democrats now parrot the 'Reagan" (and his corporate masters) lines about "free trade" and capitalism with a straight face and get reelected on that bs. Certain Democrats are chosen to "protect" certain interests of the ruling class but they're allowed to support some liberal things like abortion rights or the voting rights act.

    The House, because of the two year cycle is harder to get total control of but they have succeeded in buying enough of the Democratic leadership to feel comfortable that they can thwart any real reforms or challenges to their power.

    Wall Street now rules America on their behalf.

    Teach them this truth 'teacherken' and at least the history of losing freedom in America will be understood even if it's too damn late to do anything.

  •  teacherken, (0+ / 0-)

    you stated that your gifted students are applying to State University instead of places like Harvard and Yale.  I think this is where America went wrong in their thinking that the average student had nothing to offer to this country, only the gifted need apply for really jobs.

    I do know people who have graduated from Harvard and Yale, and while they are great at learning and it comes easily to them, they are sometimes lousy with life skills and common sense.  As a country we have been throwing away average students who understand having to work a little harder and as someone with a learning disability who graduated on the Dean's List with a Masters, I really learned the true meaning of the material I studied.  I wasn't able to just memorize it, I had to learn it, and understand it.

    If we want our country back we need to have average people given a chance and not just the gifted who in some ways are no smarter than just the average.

    Sometimes when life throws you a curve ball, throw a spit ball back at it.

    by zaka1 on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:39:11 PM PST

    •  excuse me - I did not mention (0+ / 0-)

      Harvard or Yale.  And you are totally misinterpreting and taking out of context.  These are students who are going to institutions which do not offer the same opportunities, and I do not mean just prestige or post-graduate connections.

      Look, some go to UMBC as Meyerhoffs, or to the Honors College at Maryland-College Park.  That is a rationale choice over an ivy or a prestigious liberal arts college in the northeast.  

      But the competition to get into Maryland from our high school is so great that not all who want to can go.  Some go to decent state schools - Towson, Frostburg, Morgan State -  but there are places without the range of offerings they would get in private colleges and universities with sufficient endowment that when state revenues get cut programs do not get slashed.  

      And whether or not you think they can get a sufficient education at such a place is actually beside the point.  These are students who do dream of the Harvards, Stanfords, Amhersts, MITs, and the like, who have demonstrated the academic performance to get in, yet who are abandoning their dreams because of financial concerns for them, for their families.

      I think of one of the brightest young ladies I ever taught.  She could have gone to any of those schools, but her father was a retired enlisted man, and she had a younger brother, so she only applied to state schools.  As it happens, she was so outstanding Maryland gave her a totally free ride, and she absolutely flourished being in their honors program from the get-go.  

      I think of students who would like to go to college in a different part of the country, but have to give that up - not just tuition, but travel expenses.

      As teachers we encourage our students to dream big dreams, to imagine possibilities.  Increasingly we find them shutting down their own dreams.  It is to that I am referring.

      Whether or not you think those dreams are appropriate, or that we have misled them, is therefore beside the point.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 05:48:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm sorry (0+ / 0-)

    I did not mean to misunderstand you or insult you.  Your diaries are a gift to Daily Kos.  I understand you did not say Harvard or Yale and I'm sorry I added that.  

    What I'm trying to say is that our current level of government and corporate take over of the country is due to the fact that we have given free rein to people that were thought to be so gifted that no one could question them as they dismantled our dreams.  

    My father was also a teacher, but he was quietly gifted and able to pull himself out of poverty because of his education.  What has happened since the 1980's is everyone wanted their child to be a genius and it seems that at that time the average person lost their ability to pull upward.  Education became so competitive in the 1990's that the average person could no longer earn a living without a college degree.  It killed the true meaning of education.  At present our country now rewards only the gifted who think they are entitled everything and main street can go to hell.  

    I think we do need to be aware of the gifted, but we also need balance and we have lost that balance.  I'm sorry I did not mean to upset you.  But, we need to be aware that many average students have contributed much to society.  As a lowly little social worker who watch hospital after hospital dismantle social work programs because profit was more important than making lives better for the least among us, I'm just blown away at how easy it is for us to throw whole groups of individuals in the garbage.

    Sometimes when life throws you a curve ball, throw a spit ball back at it.

    by zaka1 on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 06:28:25 PM PST

    •  no need to apologize, and I am not upset (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zaka1

      I wrote this in one burst, straight on through.  What I said in my comment above yours clarifies in a way I do not in the diary. It is possible reading that section in isolation from the rest of the diary to interpret as you did. While I think your interpretation fails in light of the overall thrust of the diary, it is on me that one could read that section as you did.

      Peace.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:01:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I jumped to conclusions (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teacherken

        by my own blind spot and I do need to say I'm sorry for that.  I think we are somewhat on the same page.  I interned in an child and teen program in the inner city of Chicago.  We worked with kids who were trying to overcome some of the worst social difficulties one can have.  Violence in their homes, sexual abuse, and a few of my kids had witnessed gang shootings and murder before they were in fourth grade.  A lot of the kids I worked with slept under their beds at night.  Most of America ignored this, these kids weren't important.  But, a lot of them had talent as well as IQ's average and above.  But, the problems they had to overcome silenced their talents, and in the end the program lost funding because no one cared.  I'd like to think that some of the kids I worked with got enough from the staff and a little part of my talent to fulfill their dreams.  

        As we dismantled the mental health system that reached out to trouble kids in schools, we also dismantled opportunity to those less than fortunate to come from stable and secure homes.  We threw all those kids in the trash without even a wink or nod.  So, I still fight for the little guy, in part because I was always the little guy as well.  I know we can't go back to what we had, but if we don't do something things will only get worst.  And I'm not smart enough to have any answers other than to really start making our voices heard as loud as we can that things must changed, period.

        I'd like to think of our country the way it once was, a true land of opportunity for all, and not just for the special among us.

        Sometimes when life throws you a curve ball, throw a spit ball back at it.

        by zaka1 on Sat Jan 23, 2010 at 07:23:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Ken, I'm not without hope. (0+ / 0-)
    But it's not the kind of hope that Obama dreamed of.  I'm still waiting for the movie version of "Health Reform 2 -- The Revenge."  Because the biggest lesson we need to learn from this whole debacle is just how many people in high, important places within the Democratic Party institution have outlived their usefulness and need to be forced out.

    Jane sort of has the right idea, although I worry at times it is too unfocused.  We need to rip the party to shreds from the inside so we can rebuild it as something more responsive and reflective of average Americans.  So I'm looking forward to the next stage, when we do get organized, when some plan of attack materializes.

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