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The New Deal, Social Security, The Great Society, Medicare, Medicaid - concern for the welfare of "the little guy." These are the things which have defined the modern Democratic Party and have been the essence of its commitment to its constituency for decades.  Great Presidencies have been built on these sorts of acheivements and the good that they have done for Americans.

An article entitled, "Defining the modern Democrat," lays out the basis of the identity of the Democratic Pary:

The modern Democratic Party was born, just over a century ago, when another young orator from the Midwest—William Jennings Bryan—rocked the national convention in Chicago in 1896.  Because of its stirring climax, Bryan's address is widely known as the "Cross of Gold" speech and, in most histories, is accompanied by an arcane explanation about the gold standard and 19th-century monetary policy.

Unfortunately, the focus on gold obscures Bryan's real import. His candidacy redefined the Democratic Party as the voice of the common man. It ultimately led to Woodrow Wilson's election and the formation of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal coalition, which dominated American politics for most of the 20th century. ...

Bryan and his Democrats promoted a wide, rich menu of reforms — a graduated income tax, the Federal Reserve, women's suffrage, direct election of U.S. senators — that became law in the Progressive Era.

The Great Commoner, as Bryan was known, was "the first leader of a major party to argue for permanently expanding the power of the federal government to serve the welfare of ordinary Americans.

The ambitions of William Jennings Bryan were carried out by other great Democrats and enacted with the enthusiastic support of Americans.  They are the bedrock of our social contract and a legacy of the 20th century that most Americans would like to keep vital and secure.

The Democratic Party has not always been the party of the common man, as the article about points out, Grover Cleveland had a notably different approach, more consistent with the 1% ass-kissing agenda of Republicans as this incident illustrates:

To the House of Representatives:

I return without my approval House bill number ten thousand two hundred and three, entitled "An Act to enable the Commissioner of Agriculture to make a special distribution of seeds in drought-stricken counties of Texas, and making an appropriation therefor."

It is represented that a long-continued and extensive drought has existed in certain portions of the State of Texas, resulting in a failure of crops and consequent distress and destitution.

Though there has been some difference in statements concerning the extent of the people's needs in the localities thus affected, there seems to be no doubt that there has existed a condition calling for relief; and I am willing to believe that, notwithstanding the aid already furnished, a donation of seed-grain to the farmers located in this region, to enable them to put in new crops, would serve to avert a continuance or return of an unfortunate blight.

And yet I feel obliged to withhold my approval of the plan as proposed by this bill, to indulge a benevolent and charitable sentiment through the appropriation of public funds for that purpose.

I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the general government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadfastly resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that, though the people support the government, the government should not support the people.

Cleveland's attitude towards the 1% was considerably more compassionate and deferential, as reported by the New York Times:

"No harm shall come to any business interest as the result of administrative policy so long as I am President. I intend to surround myself with the best and broadest minds in the party, and then bend all my energies toward making an Administration that shall at least assure every element that a transfer of executive control from one party to another does not mean any serious disturbance of existing conditions.

It is almost incredible to me that there should be any feeling of uncertainty whatever as to the future, so far as the result of the recent election is concerned. ... It would be unnatural for the party not to be actuated by a desire to continue in power by demonstrating that it deserved the highest confidence of the people. ... Naturally they will be careful about pronouncing for a policy inimical to the interests of the very class which more than any other. has thus honored us with its confidence.

Howard Zinn offers this eerily revealing thumbnail sketch of Grover Cleveland's administration in his People's History of the United States:

When Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, ran for President in 1884, the general impression in the country was that he opposed the power of monopolies and corporations, and that the Republican party, whose candidate was James Blaine, stood for the wealthy. But when Cleveland defeated Blaine, Jay Gould wired him: "I feel ... that the vast business interests of the country will be entirely safe in your hands." And he was right.

One of Cleveland's chief advisers was William Whitney, a millionaire and corporation lawyer, who married into the Standard Oil fortune and was appointed Secretary of the Navy by Cleveland. He immediately set about to create a "steel navy," buying the steel at artificially high prices from Carnegie's plants. Cleveland himself assured industrialists that his election should not frighten them: "No harm shall come to any business interest as the result of administrative policy so long as I am President ... a transfer of executive control from one party to another does not mean any serious disturbance of existing conditions."

The presidential election itself had avoided real issues; there was no clear understanding of which interests would gain and which would lose if certain policies were adopted. It took the usual form of election campaigns, concealing the basic similarity of the parties by dwelling on personalities, gossip, trivialities. Henry Adams, an astute literary commentator on that era, wrote to a friend about the election:

We are here plunged in politics funnier than words can express. Very great issues are involved.. . . But the amusing thing is that no one talks about real interests. By common consent they agree to let these alone. We are afraid to discuss them. Instead of this the press is engaged in a most amusing dispute whether Mr. Cleveland had an illegitimate child and did or did not live with more than one mistress.

In 1887, with a huge surplus in the treasury, Cleveland vetoed a bill appropriating $100,000 to give relief to Texas farmers to help them buy seed grain during a drought. He said: "Federal aid in such cases .. . encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character." But that same year, Cleveland used his gold surplus to pay off wealthy bondholders at $28 above the $100 value of each bond-a gift of $45 million.

The chief reform of the Cleveland administration gives away the secret of reform legislation in America. The Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 was supposed to regulate the railroads on behalf of the consumers. But Richard Olney, a lawyer for the Boston & Maine and other railroads, and soon to be Cleveland's Attorney General, told railroad officials who complained about the Interstate Commerce Commission that it would not be wise to abolish the Commission "from a railroad point of view." He explained:

The Commission ... is or can be made, of great use to the railroads. It satisfies the popular clamor for a government supervision of railroads, at the same time that that supervision is almost entirely nominal. . . . The part of wisdom is not to destroy the Commission, but to utilize it.

Cleveland himself, in his 1887 State of the Union message, had made a similar point, adding a warning: "Opportunity for safe, careful, and deliberate reform is now offered; and none of us should be unmindful of a time when an abused and irritated people ... may insist upon a radical and sweeping rectification of their wrongs."
It's interesting to see so baldly exposed above how politicians see the art of boiling frogs, that the heat may be applied to the pot gently by the 1% and their government lackeys are quite happy to do so and warn the 1% to be judicious in their demands.  Too great a theft at once may induce powerful rebukes endangering both the 1% and their lackeys in government.

The politicians game of being, "the only thing standing between you and the pitchforks" is a double game that it is about time that we shut down.

For comparison and contrast to the pre-modern Democrats, here are some statements from modern Democrats about the duty of government to provide for the common man:


In broad terms, I assert that modern society, acting through its government, owes the definite obligation to prevent the starvation or the dire want of any of its fellowmen and women who try to maintain themselves but cannot. To these unfortunate citizens aid must be extended by the government, not as a matter of charity but as a matter of social duty.

That principle which I laid down in 1931, I reaffirm. I not only reaffirm it, I go a step further and say that where the State itself is unable successfully to fulfill this obligation which lies upon it, it then becomes the positive duty of the federal government to step in to help.

In the words of our Democratic national platform, the federal government has a "continuous responsibility for human welfare, especially for the protection of children." That duty and responsibility the federal government should carry out promptly, fearlessly, and generously. ...

We must economize in other ways, but it shall never be said that the American people have refused to provide the necessities of life for those who, through no fault of their own, are unable to feed, clothe, and house themselves. The first obligation of government is the protection of the welfare and well-being, indeed the very existence, of its citizens.

"Thirty years ago, the American people made a basic decision that the later years of life should not be years of despondency and drift. The result was enactment of our Social Security program. . . . Since World War II, there has been increasing awareness of the fact that the full value of Social Security would not be realized unless provision were made to deal with the problem of costs of illnesses among our older citizens. . . . Compassion and reason dictate that this logical extension of our proven Social Security system will supply the prudent, feasible, and dignified way to free the aged from the fear of financial hardship in the event of illness."
Jimmy Carter
"The Social Security program is a pact between workers and their employers that they will contribute to a common fund to ensure that those who are no longer part of the work force will have a basic income on which to live. It represents our commitment as a society to the belief that workers should not live in dread that a disability, death, or old age could leave them or their families destitute."
In modern times, the Democratic Party's identity has been as a party of the people, a party that supports the creation and maintenance of government institutions to aid the citizen in all walks of life.  The Democrats have been the party of the social safety net for decades now.

Now that President Obama has placed the social safety net on the negotiating table for cuts the question is, is the Democratic Party redefining itself, or are those that support this stab in the back of their constituents defining themselves as something other than Democrats?

Obama said this in an interview with Univision:

"The truth of the matter is that my policies are so mainstream that if I had set the same policies that I had back in the 1980s, I would be considered a moderate Republican."

So, what do you think?  Can you work to diminish the social benefits that millions of average Americans have paid for and still call yourself a Democrat? Is being a Democrat a matter of adhering to the ideals of the party and working to benefit the party's traditional constituency; or, is it a matter of slavishly following the druthers of the currently elected leadership?

Originally posted to joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 06:33 AM PST.

Also republished by Team DFH, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, The Rebel Alliance, and Social Security Defenders.


Can you work to cut the social safety net and still call yourself a Democrat?

15%15 votes
20%19 votes
2%2 votes
0%0 votes
48%46 votes
2%2 votes
10%10 votes

| 94 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  No. (35+ / 0-)

    But all too often on this site, I hear that we should sit on our hands and let the Democratic signature legislation victories be chipped away to answer the needs of austerity.

    The problem with accepting the need to cut social programs now is that we are not even discussing ways to cut the military budget or eliminate corporate welfare or any other ideas that would make sense regardless of whether or not we accept the "fiscal cliff" theme.

  •  Nope (28+ / 0-)

    But as long as I've been able to vote, I get the choice of an extreme libertarian with an R behind their name or a moderate republican with a D behind their name.

    This isn't my grandpa's Democratic Party.

    At the DNC, I was listening to the young, new voices of our party and hoped that there might be a revitalization of old-school Democratic ideals. I think we'll see small, incremental shifts towards that over the next four years, but I'm not sure what good it will do if we allow such a crack in our foundation to go unchecked.

    P.S. I am not a crackpot.

    by BoiseBlue on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 06:56:46 AM PST

    •  if there's a democratic brand... (17+ / 0-)

      i believe that it will be indelibly tarnished by this current president and his "democratic" allies in congress that are willing to go after the social safety net with a pruning shears.

      there can be little credibility for a party of the common man after it has made a direct assault on the heart of the contract between the common man and the party.

      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

      by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:00:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think that is where I part ways with others (12+ / 0-)

        here. I don't think this was Obama's doing. Note that I said "as long as I've been able to vote" the party has drifted rightward with the republicans.

        Al Gore is a progressive hero now, but he was also quite moderate when he was a politician. He didn't get all of this progressive love UNTIL he left politics and became.... progressive.

        Clinton certainly wasn't a Democratic saint until just recently. Remember, he did quite a lot of work with Newt Gingrich- including DADT and DOMA, things that are reviled by today's Democrats are things that a Democrat did.

        And if we want to go even further back, I live pretty damn close to Minidoka. Anyone who praises FDR while bashing Obama for drones needs to brush up on their history. Even FDR wasn't an FDR. (If you don't know the signifgance of Minidoka, google it.)

        So, yes, Obama is flawed. But I'm certainly not going to lay the demise of our party at his feet. This has been happening for a few decades now. To pretend it starts and ends with him is pretty short-sighted, IMO.

        P.S. I am not a crackpot.

        by BoiseBlue on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:22:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  oh, i would certainly agree that the corporate... (11+ / 0-)

          takeover of the democratic party has been going on for decades.  on the other hand, there is a tipping point in any serial incremental change and i believe that we are currently there.  i believe that if he is allowed to president obama will perform the coup de grace on the social safety net.  that is not to say that it will all disappear at once, just that he will set the direction and enable further depredations by successive congresses.

          as to your other point, in this diary i intentionally left out the democrat's war record and other awful things that they have done.  frankly, that is also part of the deal.  the democratic party is the party that takes care of the little guy and that is what allows liberals and leftys to look past their warmongering, despicable behavior and pull the lever for democrats.

          so, looking at this, yes it might be short-sighted to blame this all on obama.  but really, it's not about obama.  it's about us.

          i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

          by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:35:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  It has been happening for at least (13+ / 0-)

          two decades now. Clinton did an enormous amount of damage to the party. But we've crossed new lines now with Obama.  He gets no pass for destruction of the party from me.  He doesn't get all the blame.  He had a lot of foundation building done before him. But the party was well on its way back to a more traditional working class support party when Dean was the head of the DNC.  Oh we still had a hell of a long way to go then but at least the ship was turning in the right direction.  Obama, within days of getting the nomination and again withing days of being elected, wiped out those gains and put us right back on the Third Way, DLC, neoliberal and even neocon path.

          What Obama has done to continue and codify Bush/Cheney policies is more damaging to the party than anything I have seen in my lifetime.

          And FDR, for all of this flaws, is in a whole different league.  The FDR bashing and defensiveness that goes on around this site is very fascinating to me. I've seen it since the Obama primary days.  Why is that?  We are all smart enough to know that no D president was perfect, far from it.  So why the concerted attempt to tear down FDR?  That's what the Republicans have been doing for 70 years.  It's really odd to hear so much of it from Obama Democrats now (not aimed at you BoiseBlue, I don't disagree with your points about imperfecton of FDR, I take that as a given.  Just a general observation of what I've seen around here for years and what I think we will see an explosion of in the next couple of months).

          "Justice is a commodity"

          by joanneleon on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:22:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I am in no way trying to tear down FDR (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joe shikspack, tardis10

            I realize you understand that, but I just want to make it clear. I want Obama to be like FDR economically, no doubt about it. FDR, despite his flaws, was a great president.

            History will be the ultimate judge of Obama. I don't mean that in the ridiculous way the Bush/Cheney defenders meant it. I just mean that there are some things that I agree with him on and others that infuriate me. But I think people need to keep everything in perspective. Ya know, some of our most liberal congress-critters are all about cap and trade, which was another right wing idea that I never thought our guys would adopt! Especially the good guys.

            This is what he has to work with. I don't like it and you don't like it, but it's the reality. The ENTIRE party has shifted rightward, so even if Obama was a proud, strong progressive, how do we know our "allies" in congress would support him? I'm not so sure that they would.

            P.S. I am not a crackpot.

            by BoiseBlue on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:37:35 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  It doesn't start with him. But it ends with him. (12+ / 0-)

          He's there to finish off the last of the Democratic party of the working man.

          Clinton started it. I know people say it started with Carter, but I disagree. It all depends, you see, on where you draw the boundaries of terms like "liberal" and "progressive." Clinton is a pretty clear departure from the ideals of either the New Deal or the Great Society. He and his friends created NAFTA, deregulated the financial sector, and took the Democratic party to the right. Now Obama is taking it to the right further with the attack on earned benefits and the abandonment of climate/environmental policy in favor of fossil fuel interests. Also in his amazing, Bush-transcending transformation of our understanding of the rule of law and civil liberties.

          if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:22:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I think you're making the case that "liberalism" (7+ / 0-)

          has been redefined.

          Gore is a fiscally conservative Dem, and one of the founding members of the DLC.  He is a corporatist Dem from the 'get-go.'

          Whereas I admire his work on climate change, and was heartened that he recognized that Iraq was a fiasco, IMHO that alone doesn't make him a progressive.

          [It was not a shock to many folks in TN, when he didn't carry his own state.  There was a great deal of lingering resentment that he was 'not from' Tennessee.  IOW, he actually grew up in D.C., only very occasionally "visiting" Carthage, TN.  That's according to the locals, anyway.]

          As for "Clinton certainly wasn't a Democratic saint until just recently."  I don't believe that all progressives or liberals necessarily share that view.

          Many activists that I know pretty much blame him and the policies that he signed into law (with the help of Robert Rubin, Summers, etc.) for the Crash of 2007.  [repeal of Glass-Steagall Act, etc.].  And many folks were not at all happy with NAFTA and other trade pacts that he implemented.  

          Eviscerating the old cash-assistance program wasn't particularly popular with a lot of liberals.  According to the WSJ, the average benefit in 2006, which reflects the most current data collected by the government, was $372.  Here's the link.

          I heard on NPR (The Diane Rehm Show) that under the current TANF program, just over a quarter of the folks who qualify monetarily for assistance, receive it.  Apparently, that's because it was written 'to whittle down the number of beneficiaries,' not necessarily improve the lives of the very poor.

          I recently wrote a diary based upon the AP story entitled:  'Dismal' Prospects': 1 in 2 Americans Are Now Poor Or Low Income.  Here's the link.

          I thank you for bringing up this matter.  I believe that the most critical question facing Democratic Party activists is, "Do we want to be the party of the common man, or the corporatist party of the DLC."

          IMHO, we are at a very critical "turning point," as we are faced with the impending enactment of austerity measures, unlike any I've seen in my lifetime.

          Now is the time to put out a "clarion call" to all liberal activists.  We desperately need to unite, in order to stop the shredding of our social safety net.

          I just hope that we can do it.


          “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

          by musiccitymollie on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:04:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  BTW, joe shikspak, excellent diary. Thanks. N/T (5+ / 0-)


            “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

            by musiccitymollie on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:11:22 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  thanks! (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              aliasalias, joanneleon, Lucy2009

              i think that you're correct about liberalism being redefined, i think that it has been going on in modern times really since mcgovern was nominated and then stabbed in the back by the party insiders.

              the party apparatus has been the property of a group of 1%ers for quite a number of years and the heretics have been slowly weeded out to the point that they are largely irrelevant to the party.  they tolerate a certain small number of them to keep the liberal/progressive voters from bolting the party, but they have no role allowed them.

              i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

              by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:33:00 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  In many aspects I do think liberalism has (4+ / 0-)

            been redefined, although I'm not trying to make that case here. I completely agree with your assessment of Gore and Clinton- that's kind of my point. But here, on this site, we had a lot of people in the "draft Gore" movement, which I didn't understand at all.

            At the same time, we have way too many people here NOW who are hoping Hillary runs in 2016. I personally can't think of anything more demoralizing to me, as a Democrat, to have a Clinton on the ticket again. Yes many people (who are, in fact, liberal in every other way) are wanting Clinton 2.0

            My point is not the definition of liberalism, my point is that this is a party-wide problem. The Clintons and Obama are still highly approved of by most Democrats. This is what I think the struggle is, because our party picks our leaders, and it looks like our party would be more than happy for another Clinton presidency.

            It's also why I don't fully understand the angst against Obama. He's the leader of our party, and our party picked him. Our party supports him and approves of him. Shouting about him seems pointless- I think we need to direct our criticism party-wide. WE are the problem.

            (By "we," I don't mean you and I and everyone else in this thread, but we as Democrats in general.)

            P.S. I am not a crackpot.

            by BoiseBlue on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:19:59 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks for your reply, BB. Agree with pretty much (3+ / 0-)

              everything you say.

              You've nailed it totally, here:  "This is what I think the struggle is, because our party picks our leaders, . . . "

              James Carville actually declared on a Sunday show a couple of weeks ago, that if Hllary Clinton has the party nomination IF SHE WANTS IT--PERIOD.

              He DECLARED THIS.  Which is the problem.  Since the DLC took over in the 1908's, whether or not we want to admit it, the Democratic Party lost its "grass roots," and is now a party 'run top down' out of D.C.  We have no say, really.

              You know, we can all laugh at Tea Party types, and right-wingers in general, but at least there are genuine grass root factions (or several, for that matter) in the Republican Party.  And the Republican leaders quake in their boots when they speak.  What do we get from our leadership?  Well, I think we all know the answer to that.

              We have got to overcome being "marginalized."  

              I sometime fear that some of the Democratic Party base has fallen prey to "learned helplessness."  [And I'm not speaking about you BB.  Sounds like you definitely grasp the situation.]

              It's one thing to be reasonably conciliatory, and quite another to be a 'door mat.'

              But guess that's a discussion for another day.


              “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

              by musiccitymollie on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:39:46 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I don't understand people's LACK of angst with (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              joe shikspack, fuzzyguy

              Obama, after all how do things like the following become ok for ANY Party to engage in... indefinite detention, a personal Kill List above and beyond anything in powers granted by the Constitution, Drone strikes including those called 'double tap' where the second bombing of a place only happens AFTER rescue efforts for victims are underway, or 'signature strikes which are based on info about people's patterns of behavior nothing more, not just the renewal but an expansion of the odious Patriot Act, warrantless wiretapping, refusal to prosecute torturers instead promoting people like John Brennan, Mr. Assassination Czar, while sending to prison a person that spoke out against torture, prosecuting more whistle blowers than all presidents before him...combined..and a host of other things just on the human rights front.

              Yes Clinton inflicted us with NAFTA and the repeal of Glass-Steagal (telecom act, derivatives deregulation and more) which people rightly criticize, but are silent on Obama appointing the same Clinton people for advisors, protecting the Wall Street criminals whom Sen. Levin's committee found had committed "massive fraud and abuse", and Obama's present 'behind closed doors (except for over 600 lobbyists) crafting of what has been revealed by leaked documents to be NAFTA on Steroids. In fact the 3 NAFTA deals that failed under GW Bush (cries by Dems of 'no more NAFTA!) passed quickly under Obama (with most the Dems that voted against it now voting FOR it)

              Yes I have problems with all those things and many more that anyone calling themselves liberal or progressive should be ashamed of to support. (I'm not saying YOU support those things, I don't know)

              without the ants the rainforest dies

              by aliasalias on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 01:26:56 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  let me update just ONE thing and with John Brennan (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                TheMomCat, joe shikspack

                and what I said about 'double tap' strikes targeting first responders which btw is a war crime. Angst? Yeah I got it.
                Brennan Attacks First Responders Again

                In a sane world, John Brennan would be on his best behavior while his nomination to lead the CIA is pending approval in the Senate. Sadly, the world we inhabit has become so insane that Brennan’s “best behavior” appears to be a return to drone strikes that come with alarming frequency and include so many missiles fired at each target that it seems likely Brennan has returned to the war crime of attacking first responders who are attempting to rescue survivors at the attack site.
                I had noted last May that at least some US drone strikes appeared to have underpinnings that were as political as they were strategic, and my belief in that premise was strengthened as Brennan and the CIA escalated attacks to near daily at the time when US-Pakistan relations had reached a low point during negotiations to re-open NATO supply routes through Pakistan. Although some of the attacks I have described as political seem to have been very poorly targeted, especially the attack that killed 42 people gathered for a jirga just after the release of Raymond Davis, I was encouraged as the attacks slowed and appeared to be targeted on stronger underlying intelligence last fall and this winter.
                However, it appears that the pace of attacks is picking up once again, both in frequency and in the number of people killed in each attack. Bill Roggio noted in Long War Journal that the attack on Sunday was already the fourth attack of January in only its sixth day. That attack left 17 dead, although it appears that three separate compounds were targeted in the attack. Today, we have yet another strike, bringing the total to five in eight days. Today’s attack, at least according to the Express Tribune, came in two separate waves, and raises the question of whether the US is once again targeting first responders who are trying to rescue survivors:

                US operated armed drones fired missiles in Mir Ali and Essukhel area of North Waziristan in two sorties early on Tuesday morning killing at least eight people, Express News reported

                According to Express News, the CIA-operated drones first fired at least eight missiles at a compound in Haiderkhel area of Miranshah  killing five people. Four people were also injured in the attack.

                Locals are sifting through the rubble to recover the bodies of the dead and rescue the injured.

                In a second attack in as many hours, drone attacks killed at least three people.

                (all emphasis mine)

                without the ants the rainforest dies

                by aliasalias on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:04:46 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  What do you think that Obama could do to change (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joe shikspack, aliasalias

          the party's direction, just as a start?

          To pretend it starts and ends with him is pretty short-sighted, IMO.

          "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

          by allenjo on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:47:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  What gets me (31+ / 0-)
    Obama said this in an interview with Univision:

    "The truth of the matter is that my policies are so mainstream that if I had set the same policies that I had back in the 1980s, I would be considered a moderate Republican."

    What gets me is he's proud of this.  He's waiting to get another medal.  

    The truth is the social safety net got trashed when Bill Clinton signed welfare reform.  Nearly 20 years later, welfare reform worked out exactly how we liberals at the time said it would.  There is more poverty today and the class divide is worth than ever.  

    But, hey, as long as Barack is proud of his policies and where they fit in the party of Reagan, that's all that matters.  Real Democrats would have gagged at the words.  

    •  from the standpoint of the democratic brand... (23+ / 0-)

      clinton's idiotic "ending welfare as we know it" pandering affected a smaller constituency of the party and redefined the democratic brand as a middle class focused party.  it did damage but, i think that there was a cynical calculation about "who votes" made.

      the current "democratic" idiocy spearheaded by president obama cuts across all of the 99% - there is an enormous constituency affected by the broader social safety net and people's earned benefits.  this one is going to leave a mark, a big honking mark.  

      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

      by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:06:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You nailed it, joe. Clinton did succeed in (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe shikspack, aliasalias

        carrying out Al Fromm's and Bruce Reed's 'vision' of making the Democratic Party the party of the professional class.

        We need to figure out how to return the Party to its original roots--the party of the common man.  [Which is only going to get more difficult, I fear.  With unions so much on the decline, I find it hard to imagine that there will be even a "patina" of working class roots, in a few years.]


        “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        by musiccitymollie on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:07:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  that's another problem of its own... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aliasalias, fuzzyguy, BroadwayBaby1

          obama has done nothing for the unions, well, except to accept their support and do nothing for them.

          mr. comfortable shoes has never found a good time to support labor's #1 priority from 2008, efca.  i had thought that it was pretty short-sighted to screw a constituency that contributes enormous amounts of money and gotv volunteers, but i guess obama figures that the 1% will be so grateful to have the labor unions gone, that their gratitude will forever compensate the corpodems for their stabbing the unions in the back.

          the unions still seem pretty slow to catch on that they are being screwed and that there will be nothing but the knife in the back from this neoliberal administration.  if they don't figure this out pretty soon, they are dead meat.  on the other hand, workers are starting to organize outside of the big unions and have their own actions, so maybe the big unions that have sold out their members time and again are organizations that need to go away.  remains to be seen,

          i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

          by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:27:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ditto. But, of course, the union (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joe shikspack, aliasalias

            leadership is totally aware of what's going on.  It's the rank-and-file who apparently don't have a clue.  And it's understandable, in that some of the leaders make a point of keeping members distracted with useless little "busy work."

            A bit pushed for time, or I would post a video clip of one union leader literally scoffing at the idea that President Obama would "listen to her coalition."  Will try to post it sometime later, when this topic comes up again.  

            I tried several times to Tweet this video clip to several union Twitter feeds.  Guess what?  It showed up on NONE OF THEM.  Can't be a fluke.  I tried too many times, on several feeds.  So they surely must be censoring the information (in this case, the Tweets) that their members see (on union websites, anyway).


            “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

            by musiccitymollie on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:56:02 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Not in this parallel universe. (11+ / 0-)

    In Lieberman's, maybe, but not this one.

    The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries. -WiA "When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill..." - PhilJD

    by Words In Action on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:02:01 AM PST

  •  Beginning to wonder (30+ / 0-)

    if there is a party that actually stands for traditional Democratic beliefs when we are watching the chipping away of the very foundation of the Democratic Party which is the social safety net.  Once this happens, I am gone from the Democratic Party.  I am wed to policies, not people.  So where are the people standing for those policies?  Sadly I see very few at nearly every level of govt.  Most of our elected officials have been co-opted and corrupted by big money which now makes our government at the national and many state levels a wholly owned subsidiary of corporations and the banks.  

    "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

    by gulfgal98 on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:02:43 AM PST

  •  Hell no (23+ / 0-)

    I voted "Hell no".  

    If today's Democrats want to fundamentally change the nature of the party, they should get the consent of the members of the party and I seriously doubt that the members of the party would agree to the destructive Third Way policies that work against the 99% rather than working in our best interests.  

    The fact that one set of Democratic leadership and their cronies have hijacked the party for their own purposes and for the benefit of their high dollar donors and industries does not mean that the rest of us want them. After all, they got there by deceit, by using many progressive and populist ideas strictly to get nominations and to get elected, and then tossed those aside the minute the voting was over.

    If Obama and his cronies and the Dem leadership that carries out his will really want to become the Third Way party, why do they not get in there and change the party platform?  Because they can't, I assert.  Because the vast majority of the party does not want the things they are doing.  

    What Obama is doing now and has been doing for his entire term is in opposition to the stated goals of the party.  And yet, other than imposing his will on the party platform regarding the use of the words "God" and "Jerusalem" for his own political purposes and against the declared vote of the delegates at the convention, he has not otherwise tried to change the planks of the party platform and instead he just ignores and violates them on a daily basis while using the platform and the party and its people to gain power.  

    If he plows forward with his plans to cut Social Security and Medicare and his desired austerity policies, I'm not sure the party will survive the era of Obama, especially if the people in power in the party bring someone with similar ideology and policies to follow him in 2016.  It's long past time for the members of the party to fight against this.  But will they?  This party has become largely a group of blind followers.  

    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:02:54 AM PST

    •  exactly... (10+ / 0-)
      It's long past time for the members of the party to fight against this.  But will they?
      i'd like to see the democratic rank and file grow a spine.

      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

      by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:15:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  yes and no (12+ / 0-)

      actually yes to about 99% of what you're saying here, especially:

      It's long past time for the members of the party to fight against this.
      I take exception to "blind followers" though. Yes of course, there's plenty of those out there, heh. But... a few things.

      One, dailykos is not a microcosm of... America's left or even the Dem party. In fact, kossacks on the whole are better informed as we are the political junkies. There are plenty of well informed (if you count MSNBC as a reliable news source) folks here who are what I'd consider centrist Dems. Theyre not blind or namby pamby "followers", rather they are willfully enabling and defending, some of them, the right-ish coup of the Party. Most of them in good faith. They see themselves as "left" because they are to the left of Rand Paul. In that sense, they're correct, but it is a different definition of left than mine. Two (as of this moment) votes in joe's poll for "flaming pie" give some validation to my point here, I think.

      Two, the kind of democracy that I believe in requires an informed citizenry, first and foremost. Our country and culture at large, beyond DK or the left blogosphere, is sadly deprived of propaganda free information and analysis. And they don't have the kind of time to ferret out the kinds of news that you so faithfully post every day in What's Happenin', for example. So, many of those folks, yes they are blind perhaps but, more significantly, they are blindED.

      So. Where do we even start?

      Get out there and get peace, think peace, live peace, and breathe peace, and you'll get it as soon as you like.” ~ John Lennon

      by Lady Libertine on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:39:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would agree (8+ / 0-)

        with your comment in toto.  Categorizing all of the rank and file as blind followers is wrong, though there are plenty of them who are just yellow dog Dems and are not much about issues and are all about the blue team rah.

        And yes, there are a lot of Third Way Democrats on this site and they are just fine with Obama right-wing austerity policies.  This party probably picked up a lot of moderate Republicans over the years as that party went batshit insane.  

        But on the point of the informed electorate.  What I see going on in the Democratic party is a massive effort to deceive the party rank and file, and as many Americans as they can. As the party is driven further and further to the right and as it increasingly forms policies that benefit the 1%, it becomes harder and harder to convince people that they are the party of the people.  This requires enormous efforts in marketing, propaganda and political kabuki.  I think that this party now spends more time scheming about how to deceive the people than they do on crafting the policies themselves.  It takes a lot of effort to do this and the political actors have to carry it out and that part is their responsibility, imho, while the unelected think tanks and lobbyists create the actual legislation.  This is modern day politics, imho, and it's totally f'd up.

        I agree with joe above where he says that the D rank and file need to get a spine because this bogus party of the people will make sure, with their vast sums of bribes campaign money will do their damnedest to make sure that the choices we get are Third Way #1 and Third way #2 almost every time in the primaries too.  So if we become complacent, this party will just keep marching into the arms of the 1% while the sports fans Dems cheer them along, happy simply because the blue team won, paying little attention to what they do after they win and just moving onto the next election cycle immediately afterward, playing the oppo research/cheerleader role all over again.  Do they ever step back and look at the trajectory or at what we have really accomplished (beyond the marketing lists)?

        "Justice is a commodity"

        by joanneleon on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:36:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  In other words (5+ / 0-)

        party reform seems to be a foreign concept to most Democrats right now.

        I suspect that will change very soon when that Obama idea of shared sacrifice kicks in and as he keeps his promises to the 1% campaign funders and not to the little people who supported him and gave him their votes whom he was elected to represent.

        "Justice is a commodity"

        by joanneleon on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:38:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree, successful propaganda plays a major (4+ / 0-)

        part in the political direction of a party. Controlling the message is given more attention it seems than the message itself.

        ❧To thine ownself be true

        by Agathena on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:54:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  they just cynically (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe shikspack, joanneleon, aliasalias

      don't give a damn about the party platform. It's just words. Like laws are. Like the Constitution is.

      if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:24:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  that (14+ / 0-)

    is the question of the week! decade maybe.

    is the Democratic Party redefining itself...
    and another question would be, as you say, are we the citizens mere spectators? or what.

    Get out there and get peace, think peace, live peace, and breathe peace, and you'll get it as soon as you like.” ~ John Lennon

    by Lady Libertine on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:03:14 AM PST

  •  Just as the paleo-cons were exiled from (20+ / 0-)

    their tea-addled Republican Party, so too will the paleo-dems be exiled for adhering to the old-school party of the people platform.  The Obamas, Clintons, Rahms etc. of the party have successfully taken it over.  Who gets plum administration posts?  Who holds Democratic congressional power?  At best you could say there are a handful to a dozen of progressives at that level of power.  Not near enough to cause trouble for the masters of both parties.

    And it's disheartening to see so many people, on either side, so caught up in red v. blue that they casually cast aside any sense of morality or ethics to further that sideshow distraction.

    Obama: self-described moderate Republican

    by The Dead Man on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:06:19 AM PST

  •  Well, (4+ / 0-)

    LBJ lumped S.S. surpluses into the general fund, Jimmy Carter cut benefits to Notch babies and Clinton raised taxes on benefits, so, I guess, by your standards, there are no democrats.

    "Fascism is attracting the dregs of humanity- people with a slovenly biography - sadists, mental freaks, traitors." - ILYA EHRENBURG

    by durrati on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:13:48 AM PST

    •  lbj's action doesn't bother me... (10+ / 0-)

      there's a lot more hoohah about the social security trust fund than there needs to be if you have any clue about how the system really works.  if you're curious, see this article, Why Social Security Can't Go Bankrupt.

      i abandoned my membership of the party due to clinton's immense corruption (and i'm not talking about a blowjob).  there have been democrats that have done damage before and they should rightly be excoriated for it.  that is the job of the public.

      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

      by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:24:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  that article is silly (3+ / 0-)
        It is a logical impossibility for Social Security to go bankrupt. We can voluntarily choose to suspend or eliminate the program, but it could never fail because it “ran out of money.” This belief is the result of a common error: conceptualizing Social Security from the micro (individual) rather than the macro (economy-wide) perspective.  
        okay, technically, so long as people are working the program isn't "bankrupt."  but if it's only able to pay out 75% on its obligations, there is a huge problem.

        the SS trustees have just recently bumped the securities depletion date ahead another two years to 2031.  basically, if nothing is done, that's all gen x can hope for.

        It’s not a pension fund into which you put your money when you are young and from which you draw when you are old. It’s an immediate transfer from workers today to retirees today.

        ...And this is where money comes in. Its function is to enable the transfer of output from current workers to current retirees in a world where we are not all neighbors. Money does not, to reiterate, have anything whatsoever to do with whether or not we can support retirees, how many they can be, or how much they can have. That is 100% a result of productivity.

        all well and good, except that the only reason the SS trust fund has those securities is from running a surplus for a number of years.  the days of SS funds running a surplus are GONE.

        boomers = 79 million or so
        gen x = 53 million or so
        millennials = 70-some million
        gen z = less than gen x

        millennials are, so far, not having children at the same rate as their boomer counterparts.  so boomers retire; gen x and millennials already in the workforce replace them.  no new net jobs.

        the rest of the millennials will be in the workforce within 10 years; gen x will start retiring within 20.  still no new net jobs, as the boomers will have finished retiring in 10 years.

        then gen z starts working, only they, so far, don't have the same numbers as gen x.  net loss of workers, and payroll tax revenue, for the millennials' retirement.

        the population drop from boomers to gen x wreaked havoc on SS; the drop between millennials and gen z will be worse.  even the author recognizes this fundamental problem, though he doesn't acknowledge it:  productivity is a function of -- and limited by -- the number of workers.

        population dynamics have us by the short and curlies here.  the only real solution is to open the floodgates on immigration reform.  because raising the minimum wage (which should happen regardless), raising income caps and the like only go so far in the face of a dwindling workforce.

        Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

        by Cedwyn on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:30:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  wrong. thanks for playing. (12+ / 0-)

          the reason that there is a shortfall projected all those years out is this. income inequality. the way that the formula for fica taxes is set up it needs for a certain amount of income (90%) to be exposed to the tax.

          since enormous income inequality has been occurring, largely because about 93% (if i recall correctly) of the economic gains of productivity growth have gone to the top 1% of income earners over the past decade roughly, the amount of income (due to the cap on fica) that is exposed to the tax has diminished.

          there are a couple of ways to fix this.  the easiest is to raise the cap on fica until 90% of income is exposed to the tax again, or, the harder but fairer method - income redistributive measures that reverse income inequality.

          thanks for playing.

          i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

          by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:42:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Heh (6+ / 0-)

          "that article is silly".   Well it doesn't surprise me to see that attitude is here but I believe that if things are laid out honestly, you'd be in the minority in terms of the beliefs and sentiment of the majority of the party.   But I emphasize the idea that things have to be laid out honestly.  A lot of the less informed party members have probably been convinced by the spin and propaganda.

          "Justice is a commodity"

          by joanneleon on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:49:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Given that wages for the vast majority of (6+ / 0-)

          workers have stagnated for decades while productivity rose, he just divorced his own argument from reality.

          The lesson from this is that if we want Social Security to “be there” when we retire, our efforts must be focused on increasing productivity and making sure in particular that these increases get passed on to workers in the form of higher wages.

          If I'm not mistaken we already have the highest productivity rate of any industrialized nation. Productivity has consistently risen while wages were stagnating or falling.

          It's a huge factor in income inequality.

          Why he thinks that is suddenly going to change given the historic record and Republican actions is beyond me.

          Does it need too? Of course.

          But how much more blood and sweat are American workers supposed to be able to give when so many are already doing work that was once done by two or even three people?

          I'd love to see a minimum wage that was actually a living wage and that is something we're not even close too.

          Anyway, just some thoughts.

          "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." Hubert H. Humphrey

          by Onomastic on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:52:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  that income inequality is a byproduct (4+ / 0-)

            of the capture of the government by the 1%.  it is indeed the key to understanding the shortfall in revenue for social security.

            if you understand the concepts in the article, the author points out the tension between "current workers having a higher standard of living" and the number of retirees the system can support at what quality of life.  the author does not expressly lay out who it is that gets the higher standard of living.  he sets out a simple example to illustrate the process, an intelligent reader could supply further variables.

            i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

            by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:07:32 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              joe shikspack, Cedwyn

              For example his focus on productivity as the base line for Social Security's continuance.

              But, as he notes, that premise is affected by -

              First, we would need to agree on how many people get to retire, what the criteria are, and what their share will be. As that’s more politics than economics, however, I won’t say too much about it other than to say that there is no reason to assume that the retirees should get exactly the same cut as the workers. We could decide they get more, less, or the same. The possibilities are determined by productivity, while the specifics are a function of our sense of justice and our national philosophy (and, if we are realistic about it, the distribution of power).

              Productivity is all well and good, but as far too many workers know, that does not mean that productivity is rewarded, except for the fortunate few, or that it is the only factor in play.

              Obviously, if wages had not been kept stagnant over the last four decades, in spite of steadily increasing productivity, then more would have been paid into Social Security.

              But since they were, I don't see how his argument for productivity as the savior of Social Security makes realistic sense. Productivity does not occur in a vacuum obviously.

              The distribution of power would seem far more relevant to me. Without a change in that, we're not going to see wages that reflect increased productivity, a living wage, job creation, or much else that addresses the issue.

              I find the focus on productivity somewhat irksome as it again focuses on the worker but not the environment that the workers has no choice but to operate within.

              I'm old enough to remember the "we just need more productive workers" drum being beaten loud and long.

              It put all the responsibility on the workers and no where else, a shell game of a kind. Workers worked harder and harder, while getting less and less.

              I'm not saying that is what the writer is doing, but it does smack of that old game. I would have liked to have seen more stress placed on wage stagnation, its affects and the need for living wages.

              But then perhaps I missed something. Wouldn't be the first or last time.

              "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." Hubert H. Humphrey

              by Onomastic on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:29:21 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  i think that the author is defending the mechanism (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Onomastic, tardis10, aliasalias

                there are always these dramatic, hyperbolic calls to "fix" social security which is always just a few days decades away from utter destruction.

                pointing out that there really is nothing wrong with the mechanism allows the reader to understand that a) politicians and pete peterson are lying through their teeth,  and, b) that the fix that is needed is an rebalancing of power/equality.

                he comes close to spelling that out in the paragraph you quote above, but i guess there are probably some things that you can't say in forbes magazine. B)

                i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

                by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:44:21 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Possibly, though Forbes has had a few (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  joe shikspack, tardis10

                  articles over the last months that left me wondering what had happened to them. :/

                  Thanks for the conversation

                  "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." Hubert H. Humphrey

                  by Onomastic on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:51:00 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Was reading the latest CBO analysis of the (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  joe shikspack, Cedwyn

                  Social Security Trustee report and a couple things came to mind.

                  Obviously, Social Security is not going to disappear. However, as Cedwyn noted, it will start to run short on funds in 2037. The issue is how to prevent that from occurring.  

                  On August 5, the Social Security Board of Trustees issued the 70th annual report on the program’s financial and actuarial status. [1] The trustees’ report shows some mild deterioration in the program’s short-term outlook — a finding that was widely expected — and a mild improvement in its long-run finances, thanks largely to the recent enactment of health reform.

                  Several key points emerge from the new report:

                      The trustees continue to estimate that the trust funds will be exhausted in 2037— the same date that they forecast in last year’s report.
                      Even after 2037, Social Security could pay more than three-fourths of scheduled benefits using its annual tax income. Those who fear that Social Security won’t be around when today’s young workers retire misunderstand the trustees’ projections.
                      The program’s shortfall is relatively modest, amounting to 0.7 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the next 75 years (and 1.4 percent of GDP in 2084). A mix of tax increases and benefit modifications — carefully crafted to shield recipients of limited means, potentially make benefits more adequate for the neediest beneficiaries, and give ample notice to all participants — could put the program on a sound footing indefinitely.
                      The 75-year Social Security shortfall is about the same size as the cost, over that period, of extending the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for the richest 2 percent of Americans (those with incomes above $250,000 a year). Members of Congress cannot simultaneously claim that the tax cuts for people at the top are affordable while the Social Security shortfall constitutes a dire fiscal threat.
                      Preserving and building upon the cost-control measures enacted in the health reform law will be important not only to Medicare, but — to a lesser degree — to Social Security as well.


                  I think you and Cedwyn were both bringing up aspects of the issue that need to be discussed. She was correct in saying that funding for SS was going to drop if nothing changes.

                  The article in Forbes laid out one possible option that could prevent a decrease in funding for Social Security.

                  There are others or course, raising taxes, eliminated tax breaks for off shoring jobs, big oil, etc, all of which we have to get through a Republican House.

                  That is why I think we need to be pushing back hard for stimulus spending, aka, grow the damn economy, etc, NOW, before we get to the sequester, and debt ceiling nonsense.

                  Everything, job creation or lack there of, livable wages, eliminated tax breaks, etc, will affect the future of Social Security, along with everything else.

                  Was just reading a commentary at the Office on Budget and Policy Priorities on the so called Fiscal Cliff deal, etc, and it is alarming.

                  Granted it is one view point, but even so.


                  Commentary: Next Round on the Deficit
                  Big Dangers Ahead for the Economy, the Budget, and Low-Income People

                  By Robert Greenstein

                  January 7, 2013

                  In recent days, policymakers, pundits, and the media have debated whether the “fiscal cliff” budget deal was a victory or defeat for the President or congressional Republicans, progressives or conservatives, rich or poor, the economy or the deficit — you name it.  Most of the commentary is unpersuasive, however, for one basic reason:  the fiscal cliff deal is only one stage in a broader budget battle, and you can’t render a legitimate judgment on that effort until the next stage — which includes the scheduled across-the-board spending cuts known as “sequestration” and, especially, the need to raise the debt limit — is completed.

                  What’s important at this point is not assessing winners or losers but, instead, understanding what lies ahead.  That’s because what lies ahead is truly frightening.  Indeed, it could (though it doesn’t have to) produce outcomes that are far more damaging to the economy, sound fiscal policy, and low-income and vulnerable Americans than anything that policymakers and experts feared from the fiscal cliff.

                  So, let’s look ahead to the next 60 days and their potentially monumental ramifications for our country, our economy, and our people.


                  This of course ties in with our conversation on the future of Social Security, so I thought you'd find it interesting.

                  "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." Hubert H. Humphrey

                  by Onomastic on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 12:12:31 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  sure it's interesting... (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    aliasalias, triv33, Onomastic

                    but projections that far out are based upon assumptions that will invariably be incorrect.  the trustees assumptions are based upon a no growth scenario.  there are a lot of variables out there, growth, inflation, unemployment, wage growth or compression among them.  it's a fair bet that the projections are horribly wrong, because the chances of nothing changing over the next few decades is slim to none.

                    i think that the best, easiest fix, is to make a legal arrangement that no matter how unequal income becomes, 90% of income is subject to the fica taxes which will virtually  guarantee that the system can pay out as it goes barring a complete economic collapse or an economic contraction just short of said collapse. (which of course i wouldn't entirely rule out, but in that case there will have to be enormous adjustments made to everything and all bets are off.)

                    i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

                    by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 12:23:36 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Yes, the CBO projections are based upon current (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      joe shikspack, Cedwyn

                      conditions and subject to change as conditions change.

                      But I don't see how that means that their projections shouldn't be a factor in discussions about Social Security.

                      If that's the rule than we wouldn't have anything to discuss on the site, given that things are changing all the time.

                      I'd like a good conversation about what can be done to change course to prevent what the Trustee Report outlines.

                      It would be nice to take proactive action for once instead of knee jerk reaction.

                      Hope you  write a diary on the legal argument for increasing FICA to 90% of income.

                      "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." Hubert H. Humphrey

                      by Onomastic on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 01:49:39 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  i'm not saying that we should ignore them... (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Onomastic, aliasalias, triv33, allenjo

                        but there is a certain perspective that one should view them with.  when people say with certainty that the trust fund is going to run out on a tuesday at 8:13am in October 2031, there is a problem.  (either that or they are better than nostradamus)

                        i tire of people making those pronouncements in high dudgeon and expecting me to take them seriously.

                        yes, certainly there will need to be some adjustments made in the future, but, there is no need to worry about them today and certainly not in the context of the federal deficit or the entirely made up fiscal "crisis" that the politicians are on about.

                        i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

                        by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 02:13:39 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  yes, things do change (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          and the SS trustees do revise their projections from time to time.  

                          the last two updates/revisions have pushed the securities depletion date ahead by a total of 6 years or so.

                          Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

                          by Cedwyn on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 05:18:24 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Oh, I don't think Social Security should be part (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          joe shikspack

                          of this self created "crises" either.

                          But it is.

                          So how do we push back against MSM and Republican BS?

                          They're the ones spinning this crap for all they're worth.

                          I'd think that repeatedly pointing out how wage stagnation/income inequality/tax breaks for big oil, off shore tax havens, etc, have created all of this - the deficit, Social Security short fall, the economy crashing, - would resonate hugely with most Americans.

                          It's all part of the whole. At least that's the way I see it.

                          "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." Hubert H. Humphrey

                          by Onomastic on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 06:29:42 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

        •  Just FYI (5+ / 0-)

          The date of supposed "securities depletition" was "bumped up" because Obama helped to deplete program resources via a "payroll tax holiday".  I and a lot of progressives opposed the PTH for just this reason.  But it's certainly fair to argue that it was a necessary move for a struggling economy giving the available options.  It is not, however, fair to create a crisis and then scream "hey, look, a crisis" in order to dismantle a portion of the social contract that you've always intended to dismantle in the first place.

          That said, the unadjusted date of 2033 was never regarded as real by the SS trustees, but is based upon the assumption of absolutely no economic growth between now and then.  If there is no economic growth between now and 2033, we've got bigger problems than Social Security funding.  The trustees themselves rejected the 2033 date as improbable (I think their declarations were even more definitive than that).  Other estimations from the trustees were, roughly, 2050 and 2090, based on a different set of assumptions.  So lets stop kicking around those 2033 or 2031 years as though they're gospel.  They were rejected by the very people putting them forward.  I expect that sort of thing from Rethugs, not from Democrats.

          "Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will."—Frederick Douglass

          by costello7 on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:58:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  just FYI that is wrong (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The payroll tax holiday had zero to do with the change in Trust Fund depletion date.

            The PTH was a shitty idea and yes a lot of Social Security policy experts opposed it because of its POTENTIAL threat to solvency. But as it happens transfers from the GF held the SS TF harmless. This time.

            But if you look at Monthly Trust Fund Reports and/or the 2012 Annual Report the transfers are clear as day.

            And your "absolutely no growth" assertion is crap as well. Many people who have looked at the numbers would agree that the Trustees Reports lowballed growth estimates not just in the last Report but consistently back to  at least 1997. That is you are absolutely on the right track.

            Just overstating things. If you examine the actual data tables. Kind of a Maxwell Smart "missed it by THIS much" moment. Low growth in Real Wage is not No Growth. Either looking back or per the Trustees looking forward.

   - SocSec.Defender at - founder DK Social Security Defenders group - (hmm is there a theme emerging here?)

            by Bruce Webb on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 05:10:17 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Right (12+ / 0-)

        It's a funny game played here. People respond to criticism of Obama's conservative moves by pointing to bad conservative moves by other Democrats, supposing that we'd be shocked to hear that other Democrats did bad shit! You mean FDR wasn't perfect?!. (Like you JS, I became the activist-citizen I am today during and in opposition to Clinton's crappy presidency.)

        In other words, they're eager to criticize former presidents but reluctant to criticize the current occupant of the White House. The logical result, if not the purpose, is the normalization of conservatism, and apathy.

        •  absolutely... (5+ / 0-)

          we are told that all leaders are flawed.  sure, that's a fact of life, but it doesn't mean that we should accept flawed policy. it's one thing to accept a leader's flaws and say that he is not an evil person, it is quite another to accept the bad things that he does as inevitable, unavoidable and irreconcilable.

          i guess i just don't get the attitudes of a lot of the more vociferous supporters of obama.  i thought that we were here to make things better, not to just accept whatever the guy we vote for does.

          i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

          by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:11:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  the only occupant that can actually do something (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joe shikspack, aliasalias, gulfgal98

          now is the one that some do not want to criticize......

          In other words, they're eager to criticize former presidents but reluctant to criticize the current occupant of the White House.

          "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

          by allenjo on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:24:54 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  It's an expansion (3+ / 0-)

          of the lesser of evil school of politics. It's useful to denigrate the former Democratic administrations or the persona's of Democratic  presidents as they were not perfect and therefore this administration and it's executive are implementing the good. LBJ for instance was personally not what I would call particularly nice and his 'foriegn policy' was horrific. His Democratic administration however implemented needed social change. Did this occur because of him personally or was it not because the Democrat's were responding to the pressure of the citizens through sweeping social movements and coalitions that demanded needed change.        

        •  David, David, (0+ / 0-)

          I am merely saying if you set a benchmark, stick to it, the diarist lauds former democrats and  selects quotes that are pretty much the same as standard Obama rhetoric - for the purpose of denigrating the current President by comparison, while not stating that LBJ and JEC did real opposed to this President who, so far, has not damaged SS at all beyond using chained CPI as a Defensive Bet in a hand he expected to win.  

          "Fascism is attracting the dregs of humanity- people with a slovenly biography - sadists, mental freaks, traitors." - ILYA EHRENBURG

          by durrati on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:15:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting question (14+ / 0-)

    Is Tip O'Neil still considered a democrat? Does teaming up with St. Ronnie to destroy Social Security beyond Obama's wildest dreams deserve a posthumous re-writing of history?

    Is Bill Clinton still considered a democrat even though he caved to Newt Gingrich and wrecked many people's lives and futures by lighting aflame the safety net with "Welfare Reform"?

    •  in my book, no... (9+ / 0-)

      the greenspan theft was particularly egregious.

      i personally think of clinton as a dlc-dem or a third way dem, when i am not using more colorful epithets for him.

      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

      by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:26:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So you still call him a dem then (4+ / 0-)

        but with qualifiers?

        •  until there is a generally accepted terminology... (8+ / 0-)

          for people who were elected as democrats who have disgraced themselves and the people that voted and worked for them by selling out to big corporate interests, i generally use a modified terminology like "dlc-dem" or "corpodem" or "schmuck," to identify them.

          there is a good chance that, due to the actions of the current crop of "democrats" the very name democrat will become deprecated to the point that the additional terminology is unnecessary and further hordes of rank and file dems will desert the party and become independents.

          i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

          by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:42:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Just out of Curiosity (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            What percentage of elected Democrats in the last thirty years would you consider "dlc-dem" or "corpodem" or "schmuck" vs. "True Scotsman," or whatever it is you call "real Democrats?"

            Too Folk For You. - Schmidting in the Punch Bowl - verb - Committing an unexpected and underhanded political act intended to "spoil the party."

            by TooFolkGR on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:51:55 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  the best democrat i know is bernie sanders (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              costello7, shaharazade, aliasalias

              i like kucinich, though he had his flaws and keith ellison, raul grijalva, barbara lee.  i liked howard dean, even though i frequently disagreed with him on important issues, i always felt that his heart was in the right place and that he was the sort of person who would actually engage with the public.

              anyway, if i racked my brains i could come up with a list of modern democrats that acted like democrats going back to george mcgovern.  they would all have flaws that i could point out, but they would all generally speaking have certain traits evident that most folks would agree, define them as democrats.

              i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

              by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:20:03 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  FDR, the corporatist hack (5+ / 0-)

      FDR talked up old-age pensions during his 1932 presidential campaign, but they were far from being a major Democratic issue.

      Developing some form of “social security” system only became urgent when the Townsend Clubs, a multi-million-strong movement, focused attention on the dire condition of the elderly and gathered nearly overwhelming grassroots support for generous guaranteed old-age income payments. Bankers, conservative lawmakers, and mainstream economists were alarmed when the Townsend plan came close to passing Congress.

      The president had to offer a counter-proposal – yet he had to structure it so as to reassure fiscal conservatives that it wouldn’t break the bank. This political reality, as much as any deeper inclination, may have underpinned FDR’s desire to make Social Security strictly self-funding in 1935.

      ...In the resulting 1939 Amendments to the Social Security Act, everyone got some of what they wanted. The benefit formula was liberalized. Initial payments moved up to 1940. Spouses and other dependents received coverage. Payroll taxes were reduced and a scheduled increase was rolled back from 1940 to 1942.

      teh cuts.  teh cuuuuuuuts!!!  

      Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

      by Cedwyn on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:52:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wonder if one needed ration coupons (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Deep Texan, Cedwyn

        to buy cat food back then?

      •  naturally social security has not been improved (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tardis10, joanneleon, aliasalias

        since 1942, it has not been important to democrats and the american people could take it or leave it, they have little interest in it.

        i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

        by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:19:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Snark? Must be (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Progressive Pen

          Because anyone who doesn't think the Social Security Amendments of 1950 (which introduce the concept of COLA) and the Social Security Amendments of 1956 (which initiated Social Security Disability) were improvements is a moron.

          And since Joe clearly isn't THAT I must be on a severely irony deficient diet and have my snark detector turned down to zero.

          Joe throw me a life ring here. Because I am drowning in a sea of wit over my head. At least I hope so.

 - SocSec.Defender at - founder DK Social Security Defenders group - (hmm is there a theme emerging here?)

          by Bruce Webb on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 04:52:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  And for another contribution (7+ / 0-)

        toward a realistic history of the social safety net, I recommend, "The Echoes of Slavery: Recognizing the Racist Origins of the Agricultural and Domestic Worker Exclusion from the National Labor Relations Act," published by the Ohio State Law Journal of the Moritz Law School at Ohio State last year.  This piece discusses the general exclusion of Blacks and Latinos from the New Deal, and is a must read for anyone who wants to discuss current circumstances in a manner that does not romanticize the New Deal.

        •  my intent is not to romanticize the new deal... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shaharazade, joanneleon, aliasalias

          or to point to a "golden age" when democrats were democrats and things were good(tm).

          my intent is to show that there has been a deal that was struck between the democrats and a constituency and that they are now at the point of breaking that deal in a way that will be impossible for their constituency to ignore because it will be painful for that constituency.  when they feel the pain, they are going to be looking for who caused it and while i'm sure that the corpodems will be happy to piss on their legs and tell them that it's raining, they will probably not go for that.

          there are lots of democrats on this site that are smart enough to figure these things out.  it's up to us to make the party do the right thing for its traditional constituency or truthfully stand up and say that we are abandoning them.

          i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

          by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:56:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  And it's "traditional constituency" is (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            puakev, tardis10

            who?  White working class people, or the multiracial working class that the Democratic party long treated as second class citizens, at best?  I suggest that an uncritical discourse organized around the benefits of a Herrenvolk democracy is not the path forward in this discussion.

            •  the common man (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              the group of its stated ambitions.  the marquee group.

              parties are judged on the coincidence of their rhetoric and their actions as you are doing above.  that is what i am doing as well.

              trust me, i have not for a moment thought of the democratic party as some paragon of perfection.  your attempt to point out that the democratic party is imperfect is unnecessary.

              the question is, do you want to make them do the right thing or do you want to spend time explaining that they have always been a bunch of gas bags and liars, they have rarely done the right thing for everybody and we can't really expect any better out of them - or do you want to step up and do something about it?

              are you a democrat?  do you vote for democrats?  why are you participating in this racist, flawed institution if you have such a clear-eyed view of their many faults?  because it's always been that way and doggone it, you like it like that?

              i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

              by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:44:38 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  In comparing the SS Act 1935 with the (4+ / 0-)

        amendments of 1939, let's all hope that any changes this admin. keeps signaling are as favorable. I'd forgotten how much was added before Ida May Fuller even received that first check. Handy-dandy chart here:

        "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

        by tardis10 on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:50:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  In answer to your question as (7+ / 0-)

    posed in the diary title,absolutely YES. It has been happening for years. Chipping away to pay for wars,chip some more to make the rich even richer. Call yourself whatever ya like,boyo.You are the lesser of teh evils. Pass the Cristalle.
    Yet,now,in this era of greater transparency,it may be more difficult to do.If enough of the electorate cares.

    "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

    by tardis10 on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:25:26 AM PST

  •  depends on who wins the battle (14+ / 0-)

    for the soul of the party.

    Obama is trying to eliminate all remaining vestiges of the populist-progressive Democratic party of FDR/Truman/LBJ and remake it into a Wall Street-friendly Tory Democratic party of balanced budgets and deficit reduction, a party that faithfully represents the interests of the 1% without all the insane culture-war bullshit the Republicans bring to the table. In this way he hopes to bring bipartisan harmony to Washington.

    He sees this as the central struggle of his presidency. When he says that Democrats were too partisan in the past, he's alluding to the populist past of the Democratic party, in so many words. When he criticizes the "little single-payer activists," it's in the context of this project.

    He is a "New New Democrat" who hopes to find a Fourth Way between the Third Way and the modern Republican party.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:29:21 AM PST

    •  Strongly agree (5+ / 0-)

      and the lock step tearing down of FDR that is seen frequently around here is evidence of that.  

      "Justice is a commodity"

      by joanneleon on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:51:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Did the populist-progressive (0+ / 0-)

      Democratic party of FDR/Truman/LBJ include the Dixiecrats who supported lynching and segregation?

      •  certainly not the progressive wing of the party... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shaharazade, aliasalias, fuzzyguy, triv33

        the democratic party was home to racists and warmongers and lots of awful ideas at times, hell it had grover cleveland whom i pointed out above was a total jackass.

        your point?

        i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

        by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:23:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  My point is that the search (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tardis10, tytalus, poco

          for a useable past should not lead people to talk about "Democratic Party" values, as if that were some kind of monolithic category.  The racist, warmongering wing of the Democratic Party was always central to its identity, at least from the viewpoint of my family, which is African American.  My parents lived through the Depression, and also my father fought in World War II, only to return to a segregated  hateful society.  And their families, which were filled with domestics, ended up without any retirement funds.  Your search for a useable past upon which you can base your critique of the current Democratic Party can never be based on romance, or else you dishonor my ancestors.  That is all.

          •  one way of seeing our history as a nation... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            aliasalias, fuzzyguy

            (among many) is seeing a gradual expansion of whom the constitution grants full rights to.  it took a long time for poor whites to have any meaningful rights, people of color, immigrant minorities,  women, lgbt, etc. all have gradually come to be included to varying degrees as having rights.  who knows, maybe one day native americans will have rights that our government is bound to respect, too.

            we as a people (and as activists) need to continuously expand the rights profile of people and the kinds of people who are accorded those rights.  it is a constant battle against people who want to climb up and kick down.  it may even reflect human nature.

            i have deep objections to the way that your ancestors have been treated.  my ancestors have their own stories.  the best way that we can honor them is to acknowledge that things in the past have been bad, wrong, etc., but to move forward and make them better.  perhaps to me the most effective rhetoric of the antislavery movement was provided by our founding fathers.  when the downtrodden and outcast would read the lofty words of jefferson and others aloud in public, it was a direct challenge to the hypocrisy of the system.

            i propose that we need to still hold the system accountable for its rhetoric and throw it in its face.  when a party calls itself, "the party of the common man," we can hold them accountable for that.  we can make them face up to their words.

            no human institution is ever as good as its pr, but its pr is a powerful weapon that can be used against it.

            my $.02

            i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

            by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:15:51 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Did Obama (7+ / 0-)

    put his standing as a Democrat in jeopardy when he reduced the cost of Medicare by $716 billion? Did he do so when he shielded safety net programs from the sequester (except for a 2% increase to Medicare providers)?

    The fact of the matter is that both Republicans and Democrats have been making changes to the safety net for over 60 years. You need to be able to distinguish between the end goal of those changes. That's where the difference between an R and a D show up.

    A bit of discernment is required.

    Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by NLinStPaul on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:32:13 AM PST

  •  Rhetorical device - the questioning... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, Quicklund, puakev, sviscusi

    So many people, left brainers especially, dislike politicians (for example) specifically because they depend so much on capitalizing off the fact that there are as many definitions for a term as there are people. You attempt here to create a systematic syntax that sets boundaries Obama can't inhabit but no politician, or voter for that matter, will confine themselves to such a convenient lot and instead will expertly weasel around with further "explanation".

  •  You're so old fashioned, joe. (7+ / 0-)

    Don't you know that the DLC changed all that attitude toward the social safety nets though somehow we've forgotten to take them out of party platforms.  Of course that was what Howard Dean and others were concerned about with the oft repeated "democratic wing of the democratice party."

    Of course anyone who registers as a Democrat, or says he has, can use that label; whether or not it has any meaning beyond that is subject to interpretation about core values.  I always am always amazed, but especially with the last election how many people registered as Democrats vote for Republicans.  Especially in the last election given Mill Romney's continual outright lying.  But if the polls are correct then about 10% voted for him.  So those people call themselves Democrats.  Everything from there up the scale I would assume would be the number of positions in the Party Platform that one supports.

    The Platform has to be the only definitive measure of the values of the Party at any given time.  Any individual may have any ideas he or she wishes of course, just as any individual may self-identify as anything at all.  So I don't see any other reasonably objective measure.  The platform does still include what I see most often described as traditional Democratic Party values so that would be my standard of measurement beyond the act of registering as a Democrat.

    In the context of Dkos we do place an emphasis on electing Progressive candidates and those are invariably the ones who advocate the most values outlined in the platform.

    In this evaluation, I think Meteor Blades' sig line is also applicable to Democratic Progressivism.  But since it is literally impossible in terms of both time, energy, and personal resources for anyone to advocate actively for all the Platform positions, I fully respect those who have to limit their scope, as long as they don't work against others.

    So that's my position, and I am what I suppose would be called a yellow dog democrat, but by default since I've never been presented with a choice where another would be better except once in the eighties when what we would call today a Liberal Republican running for County Commissioner was clearly superior to the Democratic candidate.

    More: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it?

    by blueoasis on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:41:20 AM PST

  •  Yes. It's Been a Conservative Party for Years. (11+ / 0-)

    It's come to support under-taxation of the rich, market and income concentration, free trade and outsized military spending among other conservative policies.

    There's plenty of room in the Democratic Party for social safety net cutters.

    The question is can progressives take back the party? I don't know. I do know that we don't yet have a progressive infrastructure for creating progressive Democratic candidates. Till that begins to happen, I don't see much chance of the party becoming progressive again.

    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 Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:43:01 AM PST

    •  The first question is can progressives have any (4+ / 0-)

      leverage in the party.  I mean I can handle the big tent idea if we've all got an equal shot at center ring.  As it is, progressives seem to be relegated to cleaning the animal cages while the show goes on out front.  

      If the Progressive Caucus cannot muster the will or the power to be in the show then it's time we find a way to take our show outside the tent and give the circus some competition.

    •  When your tent gets too big.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10, joe shikspack, shaharazade

      This is also a function of the republican party going too far right. When moderates of the party didn't like where they were going they became "Democrats," but didn't change any of their views.

      And we welcomed them.

      P.S. I am not a crackpot.

      by BoiseBlue on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:57:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You nailed it. The mistake is when the tent gets (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tardis10, joe shikspack, shaharazade

        too big.  These corporatist, so-called centrists Republicans and Democrats should have formed their own party.  Apparently, liberals were asleep at the wheel.  And look where they are now.  Totally "marginalized."

        Here's one of the first of many pieces, I'm sure, that's beating the drum for "liberals" to shut up.

        "Liberals Nip Obama As He Battle Republicans," Bloomberg View, by Jonathan Alter.  Here's the link.

        So predictable . . .


        “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        by musiccitymollie on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:22:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So, do we shrink the tent? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tytalus, poco

          Create one's own?

          I'm wondering how that would impact electoral wins and subsequent progressive policy being implemented.  

          "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." Hubert H. Humphrey

          by Onomastic on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:42:21 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  that would be a very interesting (4+ / 0-)

            topic of discussion on DKos I think. Seems like the Party's Tent will get shrunk, or shift if/when teabuggers nudge moderate centrist GOP's over to a moderate centrist Dem party. Do we progressives stay and fight for "our" party or do we bail? And for the people who already have been bailing or are considering it, where is there to go? Occupy 3.0? I dont know.

            I do know that my teenage daughter, who will be able to vote in 2016 as will her agemates, they do not feel the same kind of party loyalty, history, that me & my agemates (the children of the FDR gen) do. My kid's generation will be staring Climate Change Crisis square in the face and it is their prime of life adulthood & beyond that's at stake there. I would hope for their sakes that they arent forced to choose* between an ineffective moderate Dem Party OR taking it to the streets, but I fear thats what it will come down to for them, if progressives fail to address much needed core values party issues now.

            *GOP's just not even an option... on social issues, this next generation is way way left of "center" for the most part.

            Get out there and get peace, think peace, live peace, and breathe peace, and you'll get it as soon as you like.” ~ John Lennon

            by Lady Libertine on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:06:31 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I share the same concerns for my children and (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Lady Libertine, joe shikspack

              grand boys.

              But I tend to look at the electorate as the key. How we reach the majority of people is something I still don't have an answer to but to keep on slogging away, one conversation at a time, LTE, etc.

              We just don't have the infrastructure that the far right has had for decades and building that, imo, is key.

              The country still seems badly divided to me and until and unless that is healed, I'm not sure how we get anywhere nearly fast enough.  

              If nothing else, having the Tea Party, theocrats, big money vampires, etc revealed for what they are over the last months has been a crucial step towards sanity.

              Unfortunately, they still have far too much power in Federal and State legislatures.

              And that's something that has to change sooner rather than later.

              "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." Hubert H. Humphrey

              by Onomastic on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:46:28 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Onomastic and Lady Libertine--Wish I had the (4+ / 0-)

              answer as to "what to do."  LOL!

              I remember hearing Ted Sorensen, a former special counsel to JFK, say on Air America Radio only a year or so before he died, that the Democratic Party base should be aware that the Democratic Party leadership loves "wedge issues," the same as Republicans.  This is because they keep their members distracted, while the Party leadership carries out the agenda of the One Percent.

              I was stunned that someone whom I thought was probably a Washington insider, would be that direct.  

              Guess we'll all need to 'sleep on this one.'


              “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

              by musiccitymollie on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:18:03 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  have to do something... (4+ / 0-)
            “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both.”

              -- Frederick Douglass

            i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

            by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:18:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  jonathan alter wants you to keep it zipped... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aliasalias, fuzzyguy

          what a surprise!

          A few liberals even complained that Obama violated his principles by compromising. They must not have listened to him all year. One of his most important -- and most frequently stated -- principles is that compromise is essential to governing.
          yes, we all know that obama's most closely held principle is that he has no principle that he won't compromise away to appear to have made a deal.

          i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

          by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:52:14 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks for reading the piece. VERY, VERY typical (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joe shikspack

            Jonathan Alter.

            He sure can dish out the 'anti-liberal' propaganda.


            “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

            by musiccitymollie on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:20:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  yep... good article... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              will put it in my news roundup in the evening blues diary tonight for others to read and enjoy.  alter is a joke.  he is one of what i call "liberal opinion gatekeepers."  he and some other pundits are in charge of suppressing liberal outrage at the stupid crap that the democrats (and especially obama) do.

              i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

              by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:31:55 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Obama has the ability to act empathetic (9+ / 0-)

    as this graphic from my most recc'd diary showed


    But producing  transformative results for those most in need, well ..... not so much.

    via Common Dreams

    Published on Monday, January 7, 2013 by Al-Jazeera
    Obama and the Transformation Illusion
    The US president's floundering overshadows himself when the real problems seem to be avoided
    by Paul Rosenberg   
    Optimists yearn for a transformative President to appear in the second term.  26 million, a massive number,  remain unemployed/underemployed yet Obama left for Asia as soon as the election was over and came back to work on the fiscal fail rather than leading on helping the unemployed.

    Our infrastructure is crumbling yet there is not focus, no deal for that.

    Your diary points to Obama as mainly another tool for the Plutocrats.

    via AFL-CIO now


    ...So Can We Focus on Jobs NOW?
    The Plutocrat Agenda Is Cuts
    The agenda of the plutocrats is to get government—We, the People—out of their way.

    The billionaires tell us that the biggest problem we have is too much government. Think about who benefits if we cut government. If we cut government, We, the People, get less of the things that We, the People, do for each other, the billionaires get less of We, the People, in their way.

    If we cut government, we get less regulation of their banks, and they get less regulation of their banks.

    If we cut government, we get less worker safety rules protecting us on the job, and they get less worker safety rules making them pay for those protections.

    Et cetera.

    The agenda of the billionaires is also to limit competition. Government regulations work to increase competition. The billionaires are on top and they want to stay on top. A thriving, competitive, opportunity-creating economy is not important to them, their economy is thriving—they are already billionaires.

    Et cetera. So of course the billionaires want less government. Less We, the People, making the decisions means less We, the People, in their way.

    The Agenda of We, the People, Is Jobs
    We, the People, want good jobs that pay well and provide benefits. We want a modernized, competitive, opportunity-creating economy. We want modern infrastructure that enables our smaller businesses to thrive and grow. We want plentiful good-paying jobs. And when an economy is humming and there are plenty of jobs, more of us can do well.

    Do billionaires create jobs or do jobs create billionaires? Why would a billionaire want to “create jobs,” anyway? This is about who has the power. If you believe that billionaires create jobs, you want the billionaires in charge and making all the decisions. But if you believe that jobs create billionaires, then you want We, the People, in charge, doing things that create lots of good-paying jobs and improve the economy for all of us.

    Do We, the People, still have the power to do the things that benefit our lives and each other? Again, if democracy creates billionaires then you want democracy to be in charge. If billionaires create jobs then you want billionaires to be in charge.

    Who do you think should be in charge? We, the People? Or the billionaires?

    Thanks for the post joe.  T and R .

    Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

    by divineorder on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:44:27 AM PST

  •  The Republicans must be roundly defeated (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe shikspack

    and placed into the dustbin of history with the Whig Party. IMO any legitimate complaints about the Democratic Party being too centrist has its roots in the combination of an extreme GOP, a severe lack of campaign finance reform, and the continued precedent of corporations = people (which did not START at Citizen's United, which I think had to be decided that way given the precedent).

    With exceptions for some issues like Obama's defense and terror policies (which are not roundly opposed by the public or the 'median' Democrat), this would go a long way imo.

    I see what you did there.

    by GoGoGoEverton on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 07:58:25 AM PST

    •  these are surely things that need to be done... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bsmechanic, shaharazade, aliasalias

      but, the democratic party is under corporate occupation, just like the republicans.  sure it may be a different set of corporations, but that's kind of a distinction without a difference.

      imo, the democrats can't win that sort of sweeping defeat against the republicans without convincing the average american voter that they represent their interests.  they're not going to be terribly convincing at that if they cut the earned benefits of the majority of americans.

      the fix to this problem is for the average people to get together and create some representation for themselves.  if the democratic party wants to cooperate in that, it would be swell.  these days, i'm not expecting it though.

      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

      by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:08:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It would in fact take an en masse populist (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe shikspack, Lady Libertine

        movement to refuse to vote for any candidates that took over X amount of SuperPac money, regardless of what that candidate stands for or where that PAC apparently got their funds from. At least until corporations cannot donate to them.

        I see what you did there.

        by GoGoGoEverton on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:22:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Two most important issues have been neglected (8+ / 0-)

        jobs and climate change. At least unemployment is talked about but climate change is barely mentioned. The two items are not separate.

        Two in particular are worth noting. The first is persistent mass unemployment, still affecting tens of millions of families, which translates directly into economic underperformance, a primary root cause of the budget problems, which the "fiscal cliff" drama purports to be about. The second is global warming. It's also worth noting that these two seemingly separate problems are really both just halves of a single solution, as was pointed out by George Soros just weeks after the financial crisis exploded in 2008.
        The social safety net is going to be even more important as unemployment continues and global warming destroys the landscape.

        ❧To thine ownself be true

        by Agathena on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:31:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  too centrist because of too many compromises (5+ / 0-)

      If the Republicans are so bad (and I agree that they are) why compromise with them so much?

      ❧To thine ownself be true

      by Agathena on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:33:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Too centrist because it's always been that way. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe shikspack, Agathena, aliasalias

        The compromises are with people like us.  We are the insurgency, not the norm.

        "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

        by Cassiodorus on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:12:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Because we're in the US and we have a (0+ / 0-)

        political system that has two houses of Congress and 3 branches of government?

        I see what you did there.

        by GoGoGoEverton on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:44:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  because imo (4+ / 0-)

        both parties support and work for the same agenda, their really is not very much difference other then the severity of the by-partisan dismantling any democratic representation, economic equity or social justice. Neither party even represents our 'national interest' anymore let alone the common good of it's citizens. Balanced sacrifice for what, the oligarchical collectivists who like the trader from Goldman Sach's said rule the world? Both sides here are operating on the common ground of Clinton's 'inevitable' corporate NWO. 'Victories for compromise' are in reality the haggling over the picking of our economy's  bones and the degrees of of the austerity they can impose.              

  •  Good God (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan

    Government program fundings are adjusted upward and downward constantly sas time goes on. Changes in funding are not the same thing as dismantling programs.

    What a lame farce.

    Now that President Obama has placed the social safety net on the negotiating table
    Negotiations equal destruction?  Only a fool thinks this way. Life is not a constant. Programs are up-funded or down-funded as circumstances change. Only a fool seeks to handcuff government over adherence to such a simplistic standard.
    •  current social security benefits are not even... (9+ / 0-)

      barely adequate for a very large segment of people receiving them.  for many older folks it is their sole income and average benefits are around 15k a year.

      benefits may be adjusted up and down as you say, but when they are inadequate is not the time to talk about cutting them.

      your objection is ludicrous in light of this.

      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

      by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:13:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You describe my family (0+ / 0-)

        Yet i understand the notion of governance is more sophisticated than the word "cuts".

        According to your diary, it is reprehensible to "cut" the Big Pharma welfare program put in by Bush's prescription drug addition to Medicare.  Medicare is not allowed to negotiate any prices for prescriptions. whatever the vendor demands, Medicare has to pay. But we can't "cut" that, per this diary's philosophy, because fewer dollars will be spent through the Medicare system.


        •  i can fix that... (4+ / 0-)

          a cut is a cut in the benefit value that goes to the recipient.

          if drug prices are negotiated and the same drug is provided at a lower cost to the single payer, that is not a cut to the recipient.

          sure you can probably find some weasly way to make it look like a "cut," hell, if you can't figure out how to do it, i can show you, but your objection is not for reasonable people.

          i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

          by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:24:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  The answer is NO! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe shikspack, aliasalias

    ❧To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:21:58 AM PST

  •  Too few Dems that act like Dems (5+ / 0-)

    and Too Many that act like Obama  (moderate Repubs and servants to the Oligarchs).

    The Dem party is doomed IMO. Progressive Dems would be better off to start their own party with Progressive principles.

    "It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth." - Morpheus

    by CitizenOfEarth on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:22:02 AM PST

    •  IMHO, our parties and our govt. are reflections (7+ / 0-)

      of our values as a society.  Government is a means by which people pool their individual resources to provide common benefits.  Government is also a vehicle by which we, as a society, can ensure that those who need extra help can be assured of having it in times of need.  How we allocate our common resources and where we decide to cut them when revenues decrease says much about our societal values.

      If my party (currently I am registered as a Democrat) says that cutting programs under our social safety net for the elderly and most needy is more desirable than increasing revenues through higher taxes or cutting funding for the MIC, then the Democratic Party no longer speaks to my values as a human being and a citizen of this country.  It is as simple as that for me.

      "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

      by gulfgal98 on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 09:08:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I guess the real answer is (9+ / 0-)

    you can call yourself anything you want. I can call myself a Tibetan Buddhist from Mars if I want to. But it only starts to matter if I have access to mass media and can say it over and over and over again. And it seals the deal when no one calls me on what I'm saying.

    It also helps to have lots of billionaires funneling money and support to me.

    if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 08:30:13 AM PST

  •  I think another thing (8+ / 0-)

    that bothers me about president Obama's Univision statement is that the reason he gives for the fact that he would've been a moderate Republican in the 80s is that his policies are so mainstream.  I feel like the implication here is that more "traditional" FDR-style progressive Democratic policies aren't "mainstream," and the fact that they're viewed that way is part of the problem.

  •  See e.g. Lance Selfa's book (5+ / 0-)

    reviewed here.  The Democrats exist to allow the liberals and progressives to feel that they have a "seat at the table" when the elites who actually run the party are allowed to do as they please.

    That era in which the Democratic Party was actually "prograssive" is now known to history as the "golden age of capitalism," in which the system's elite rulers were obliged to dole out a few compromises and establish a middle class in America because of what Karl Marx called the "crisis of overproduction" -- the Great Depression was begun amidst this crisis, and said Great Depression solved the crisis by shutting down businesses right and left until America had 25% unemployment.  

    Eventually the elites were obliged to concede that the American "middle class," that portion of the masses trained to consume and to prop up what ordinary people call "sales revenues," had to be granted a more secure financial footing than what they had been allowed to have in the 1920s.  That trend, from FDR through LBJ, is what brought about the golden age of capitalism and allowed Democrats to think that their party was a progressive one.

    And, as for Bryan and the "progressivism" of the Progressive Era?  Your best bet is to leaf through the archives and find out about the strengthening of the apartheid state in the Progressive Era.  The "progressives" only counted Black people as a constituency from the 1950s onward.

    The golden age of capitalism, however, came to an end forty years ago.  The elites have gone back to their right-wing roots, and the rest of us are merely left to pretend that the Democratic Party is our savior when in fact it isn't.  The DLC, the Democratic Leadership Council, was invented for the sake of re-establishing the Democratic Party in the age of Reagan, and to take advantage of the fact that American politics is still pretty much theater for a junior high school audience, as it always has been.  

    So my vote in your poll is "yes."  The DLC Democrats are the norm, and that portion of "progressives" who care enough about policy to complain are the insurgency.  The problem lies not with the Democratic Party but with Kos's insistence upon a blog for the sake of "more and better Democrats" -- if they are going to be "more," the standard for "better" will be established by the likes of Joe Lieberman.  That problem would be solved by a change of mission, or if another blog could be established with a different mission and with a hit count to compete with .

    "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

    by Cassiodorus on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:09:27 AM PST

    •  heh, your points are well taken... (3+ / 0-)

      but until we can arrange a total revision of the powers that be, the redistribution of wealth and land and create a new model of governance that works for a sustainable culture... i'd like the old folks, the poor, the disabled, etc. to be able to hold it together.

      the best way that i know to make the powers that be wince is through pointing out their hypocrisy, loud and long.  so that's my plan for the moment.

      i have no fundamental disagreement with the idea that the dlc democrats run everything and have a lot of support on this site, too.  i'd change it if i could. perhaps there will be a new tent opening somewhere else soon.

      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

      by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 10:34:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The DKos Right does not have time on its side (5+ / 0-)

        We are all supposed to vote for "the Democrat" regardless of what "the Democrat" stands for.  This strategy, of course, amounts to capitulation, which is what the DKos Right wants us to do.  

        What's important here is that time is not on the DKos Right's side.  As austerity deepens, it will become readily apparent that the bogeyman demographic, the demographic of the Republican Right, is shrinking.  The only reason the Republicans control Congress now is that they have a bunch of the districts gerrymandered, and that won't last forever either.  Four years ago Kos was crowing about how the only place the Republican Party is growing stronger is in Appalachia.  They won't be able to use the "if you don't like it you can vote for the Republican" excuse forever.  Eventually there will be a serious revolt, unlike the nonserious one occurring now.

        "Every time you opt in to kindness/ Make one connection, used to divide us/ It echoes all over the world" -- from Dar Williams' "Echoes"

        by Cassiodorus on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:58:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The short, brutal answer to your question is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe shikspack, Cassiodorus


    As your own diary points out, US political parties are capable of redefining themselves to the point of transforming themselves into their opposite. The Democrats began as the party of slavery. The Republicans began as the party of Federal activism via limiting the expansion of slavery and the program of internal improvements. In the present, they have effectively become the opposite of what they began as.

    The question isn't whether one can call oneself a Democrat while repudiating what the Democratic Party has stood for since FDR. The question is whether such folks will be be allowed to redefine the party in their own image.

    Nothing human is alien to me.

    by WB Reeves on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:25:12 AM PST

    •  yep and now they're both the party of slavery... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WB Reeves, aliasalias, priceman, triv33

      debt slavery, wage slavery.

      on the other hand, there is the party and there are the rank and file members of it.  i hope that the latter wake up and smell the bs.

      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

      by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 11:35:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not if you care about what redefined (D) party... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe shikspack

      for the better. The New Deal Democratic platform changed everything and everyone runs around pretending they respect it and that it's why they are a Democrat which is already redefined thanks to the moves towards civil rights that caused most AA to vote for Democrats instead of Republicans who used to be the abolitionists pro civil rights party as you say.

      If people want to redefine the party in their own image let them run on their own platform(in fact that's the rule and how it was done), but no, you can't excuse cuts to SS and then claim you are inspired by the New Deal or Great Society because "Obama is teh awesome."

      I don't negotiate grand bargains with deficit terrorists!

      by priceman on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:48:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hell no (4+ / 0-)

    as far as I can see the Democratic party is dead as dodo. This is definitely not change I can believe in. In hindsight it's easier to see the current Third Wayer's running our party machine and this administration has been a long time in the making.  That in no way mitigates the damage done. Politics are not static, and too say well the Democrat's were never democratic so this is acceptable and 'inevitable' is just plain old Orwellian double think. The people in power of any government will run amok and go too far if they are unchecked.

    Our system while flawed and imperfect was set up with checks and balances along with the separation of powers. We were a nation of laws not men a representational democracy/republic. Granted historically this has been a constant struggle for 'we the people.' At this point the whole system has been dismantled including the electoral two party process. Our government does not function for the common good or even adhere to the universal human and civil rights that took centuries to develop.  

    I'm taking my country back and the vehicle I'm using is the Democratic party' Howard Dean

    A political party has to be a means to an end it has to offer representation and actually work to implement its reason for existing. What we have now is a party that only offers supporters and members a lesser evil then the maniac RW hardliners on the right. The real kicker for me and many is that once they extort your vote with fear they start implementing the same damn anti-democratic agenda.

    We seem all of us to be in a catch 22 where we really have no choice. Pick your poison or Bain vs.Goldman Sachs is not what democracy looks like. This is more then a matter of right center left as it's irrelevant where you stand on a fictional spectrum that has been replaced by a one party corporacracy or what ever you call this farce. Right now I'm a Democrat by default as there is no vehicle, no path parliamentarian path available to stop this slide into governance for and by the 'wealth creators' and their mad vision of a global anti-democratic viscous NWO.  

    There will be blood said Obama in his 2006 speech at the launch of the Hamilton Project. In the same speech he disavowed FDR's new deal and called for a NWO. Even in the Democratic primary we had no choice other then cosmetic. We were offered a two fer either way the Third Way won and so did their by-partisan sponsors. The way forward is no direction any of should support. It is also not inevitable, the poer hungry would be rulers always claim their inevitability.

    My only hope is that they will go too far and people will use their power and withdraw consent. so far nothing seems to far and is rationalized as 'the world as we find it' or it could be worse.  I vote, I'm a Democrat and yet I can''t help feeling that we all are part of the problem by accepting this as reality as our only choice. Quite the existential dilemma. FDR had a good point about fear. It keeps the vampire squid firmly implanted. One thing I will not do is call this Democratic or democratic.      


    •  about Obama's speech to the neo-con festival (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      priceman, shaharazade, joe shikspack
      III. Obama’s Speech to the Hamilton Project.

      Here is then-Senator Barack Obama’s speech at the opening of the Hamilton Project back in April, 2006 as taken from that original Firedoglake diary. Note again that a video clip of Obama’s speech can be found here:
      I would love just to sit here with these folks [Bob Rubin, Roger Altman, Peter R. Orszag] and listen because you have on this panel and in this room some of the most innovative, thoughtful policymakers, people who have both ideas but also ways of implementing them into action. Our country owes a great debt to a number of people who are in this room because they helped put us on a pathway of prosperity that we are still enjoying, despite the best efforts of some. (Laughter)
      I want to thank Bob [Rubin] and Roger [Altman] and Peter for inviting me to be here today. I wish I could be here longer. I am going to have to run after a few minutes because we do have an important issue relating to U.S.-India relations. But when Roger originally called to invite me, not only to this forum but to invite me to engage in this project, I couldn’t help but think that this was the sort of breath of fresh air that I think this town needs.
      We have all known for some time that the forces of globalization have changed the rules of the game—how we work, how we prosper, how we compete with the rest of the word.

      We all know that the coming baby boomers’ retirement will only add to the challenges that we face in this new era. Unfortunately, while the world has changed around us, Washington has been remarkably slow to adapt twenty-first century solutions for a twenty-first century economy. As so many of us have seen, both sides of the political spectrum have tended to cling to outdated policies and tired ideologies instead of coalescing around what actually works.

      For liberals, and I include myself in that category, too many of us have been interested in defending programs the way they were written in 1938, believing that if we admit the need to modernize these programs to fit changing times, then the other side will use those acknowledgements to destroy them altogether. On the right, there is a tendency to push for massive tax cuts, as Peter indicated from my speech at Knox College, no matter what the cost or who the target is, a view that stems from the belief that there is no role for government whatsoever in the challenges we face. Of course, neither of these approaches really works.


      That is what I hope we will see from The Hamilton Project in the months and years to come. You have already drawn some of the brightest minds from academia and policy circles…. So I know that there are going to be wonderful ideas that are generated as a consequence of this project.

      Not every idea will I embrace, and I hope that one of the roles that I can play, as a participant in this process, is to not only encourage the work but occasionally challenge it. I will give one simple example. I think that if you polled many of the people in this room, most of us are strong free traders and most of us believe in markets. …So, hopefully, this is not just going to be all of us preaching to the choir. Hopefully, part of what we are going to be doing is challenging our own conventional wisdom and pushing out the boundaries and testing these ideas in a vigorous and aggressive way.

      But I can’t think of a better start, given the people who are participating today. I am glad that Brookings has been willing to provide a home for this wonderful effort.

      Obama lays it all out: his ties to his friends (Bob Rubin, head of Goldman Sachs; and Peter Orszag of the Hamilton Project who now works in the Obama administration as Budget Chief); his belief in unfettered free trade (making a mockery of his NAFTA renegotiation pledge 2 years later in the heat of battle with Hillary); and, the need for cuts in entitlements.
      (all emphasis mine)

      without the ants the rainforest dies

      by aliasalias on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 02:33:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The answer is hell no, Joe (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Progressive Pen, joe shikspack

    For reasons mentioned above.

    Thank you for this diary.

    I don't negotiate grand bargains with deficit terrorists!

    by priceman on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 03:50:19 PM PST

  •  I say no (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lady Libertine, joe shikspack

    But I also think we should stop calling it the safety net. That plays into the hands of those who would like to means test the programs and make them available to poor people only.

    Countries that have strong social insurance programs don't think of them as a safety net - they consider them rights of all citizens, like public education and libraries. By providing benefits to everyone they level inequality without being socially divisive.

    We don't only want these programs because they keep people out of dire poverty. We want them because they provide things that everyone needs in a more efficient and equitable way than the private sector does.

    Programs for everyone, not a safety net for people in need.

    We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

    by denise b on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 04:02:03 PM PST

  •  Absolutely not. Each time Pres. Obama tries to cut (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe shikspack

    Social Security and Medicare, he betrays the core principles of the modern Democratic Party:

    The New Deal, Social Security, The Great Society, Medicare, Medicaid - concern for the welfare of "the little guy." These are the things which have defined the modern Democratic Party and have been the essence of its commitment to its constituency for decades.  Great Presidencies have been built on these sorts of acheivements and the good that they have done for Americans.
    Obama has labeled himself both a "blue dog" Democrat and, by 1980's standards, a moderate Republican. Both characterizations are accurate.

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