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Train wreck at Montparnasse - 1895
Politics
The political system is broken. On too many of the most important issues, the debates themselves are backward and upside down. It's a given that the Republicans, after decades of catering to their lunatic fringe, now are completely captive to it, but the Democrats too often respond by co-opting what had been Republican positions. The political game keeps being played on the Republicans' home field, with Republican framing, in Republican terms. Only on select social issues are the Democrats moving forward. It doesn't have to be this way. The lessons of history, the objective facts, and popular opinion demand that Democrats move forward, and yet the politics ignore history, objective facts and popular opinion. It isn't the fault of just one politician or one Democrat, although there are plenty of progressive Democrats who are trying their best to do what's best. It's a systemic failure. The political system is broken.

Joan McCarter last week noted that we should be expanding Social Security, not cutting it. Given that Social Security has nothing to do with the national deficit, and is in no imminent danger of insolvency, it is absurd that we are even talking about chained CPI or other means of cutting it. Given that millions of people on fixed incomes rely on Social Security for mere survival, it is more than absurd that we are even talking about chained CPI or other means of cutting it. It is, in fact, reckless. And dangerous. The political conversation should be about creating jobs, helping people keep their homes and regulating banks. But it isn't.

The political system is broken, in more ways we'll discuss below the fold.

Given that we need economic stimulus, discussing taking money away from people who are most apt to spend it, and thus put it back into the economy, and thus help not only themselves but the businesses on whom they will spend it, is not just absurd and reckless and dangerous, it is also stupid. Discussing cutting federal spending during a still struggling recovery is stupid. Austerity is a continuing disaster in Europe, and hasn't worked anywhere, ever. Keynesian stimulus dug us out of the Great Depression. And given the record low borrowing costs, not only should we not be talking about reducing the deficit, we should be discussing taking advantage of those record low borrowing costs to expand the deficit temporarily to pay for the type of robust stimulus that dug us out of the Great Depression, and that the continuing demand crisis demands. A robust stimulus leading to a robust recovery will then help reduce that deficit all on its own, just as the still tentative recovery already has resulted in the fastest rate of deficit reduction since World War II. And then, once the economy is in full recovery, we can worry about reducing the rest of the deficit. But no matter how overwhelming the evidence— from history, current events, and proven theory— the political conversation continues to be exactly backward.

The political system is broken.

During the health care reform debates of 2009, an idea was floated to lower the age of Medicare eligibility, as a trade-off for dropping a public health insurance option. Which made great sense, given Medicare's overwhelming success both at health care policy and at saving money. But the idea of expanding Medicare eligibility ended up being dropped, just as the public option would be dropped, just as most of the good actual health care reform ideas were dropped. But for a brief moment, politicians actually were discussing the sensible idea of expanding Medicare eligibility. That was then. Now the politicians are discussing Medicare cuts.

The political system is broken.

In his State of the Union Address, President Obama challenged Congress to act on climate change, declaring that if it won't, he will. No president ever had made such a bold statement about climate change. No president ever had made addressing climate change such a priority. Or so it seemed.

The climate itself is migrating. Climate stability is collapsing. The risks and consequences are proving even worse than had been predicted. This is no time for half-measures or compromises, and yet that is what we are getting. Domestic oil production is in the midst of a record breaking rise. Oil-soaked Texas may not even reach its record production level until 2020. More oil leases are being rushed to market, and natural gas production is at record levels, with much more likely to come, including for record exports. The Republicans whine about government spending, yet continue to block efforts to end tens of billions in annual government subsidies to fossil fuels industries that already are reaping record profits. The White House seems likely to approve the disastrous Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline that would define the president's legacy on climate change.

The political system is broken.

Last week, it came out that JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon "misled investors and dodged regulators" as his bank lost $6.2 billion. The corruption was endemic. At the same time it was reported that because JP Morgan Chase is increasing its dividend payouts, Dimon will effectively be getting a $1.85 million raise—which should not be a surprise. After all, corrupt bankers crashed the global economy, for which their companies were rewarded with staggering amounts of government money, which they didn't use to make new loans and get the economy flowing again, but did use to reward themselves with record bonuses. Attorney General Eric Holder openly admits that the big banks are too big to prosecute for their crimes, but Wall Street whistleblowers are open game.

The political system is broken.

Numerous polls show majority support for a national ban on assault weapons. A ban on assault weapons even enjoys majority support in states with large numbers of gun owners, such as Michigan and Ohio and Pennsylvania and North Carolina and Virginia and Colorado and Oregon and New Hampshire and Maine. An assault weapons ban even enjoys plurality support in deep red Texas. But the assault weapons ban won't even get a vote in the Democratic controlled Senate. The same polls show overwhelming support for universal background checks, yet even that may not get a vote in the Democratic controlled Senate. The Republicans, meanwhile, get their way at continuing to loosen or prevent gun regulation just by attaching measures to unrelated but seemingly necessary bills, which the Democrats really really have to pass, and therefore have no choice but to support. Really.

The political system is broken.

The lessons of history are being ignored. Scientific facts are being ignored. The public will is being ignored. On some social issues, this nation is moving boldly forward. The people are leading and the politicians are following. But on too many critical issues, the people are trying to lead but the politicians are not following. On too many issues where we need political leadership, we are getting none. No one person is to blame. No one coalition is to blame. We are winning elections, and anachronistic Republican lunacy is being slowly relegated to the sewage treatment plants of history, yet we continue to get compromised, bad, and even dangerous policies. On too many issues, we cannot afford to continue getting compromised, bad and even dangerous policies. Too much is at stake. And the problems are systemic. The forces of regression hope to turn the forces of progress away from politics, through a combination of frustration and disgust leading to apathy. That is how they win. But they cannot be allowed to win.

The political system is broken. The politicians will not fix it. The people must. There is no alternative.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 06:30 PM PDT.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders, The Rebel Alliance, and Frustrati.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Nice to see some are waking up. (16+ / 0-)

    We the people need to do what exactly?

    "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 06:38:14 PM PDT

  •  Failure gives direction to success (4+ / 0-)

    and purpose to outrage.

    Bene Scriptum, Bene Intellectum.

    by T C Gibian on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 06:38:44 PM PDT

  •  It all comes down to oligarchy (8+ / 0-)

    And I cannot see how any political system that elects their representation can be anything other than oligarchic.

    To put it another way, our founding notion of government is that it is a necessary evil.  When you arrange a system where people opt in to doing evil, necessary though it may be, you get a disproportionate number of evil people opting in.

    From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

    by Nellebracht on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 06:39:24 PM PDT

    •  our system was designed by the founders (18+ / 0-)

      to protect the propertied at the expense of the bulk of the population. maybe we should try democracy rather than republic. put the little "d" into the Democrats.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 06:54:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's precisely right (4+ / 0-)

        But they used the spirit of a democratic revolution to justify themselves.  When you read Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France, it's a study in deeply profound contradictory thinking, hoping that the French have the right sort of "revolutionary spirit," that they acknowledge the right and responsibility of the People to govern themselves, and in nearly the next breath explaining how they should never be allowed to do so because they're too stupid and greedy.

        From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

        by Nellebracht on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:00:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  the best single book (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          stevej, Nellebracht, 3goldens, lotlizard

          i've ever read on the revolutionary era is americn aurora. it should be required reading.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:09:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  At the end of the day (6+ / 0-)

            I'm not that interested in assigning blame for the current broken system of governance we've got to a bunch of guys who've been dead for more than 200 years.

            I think maybe it's time we start seriously thinking about a system of demarchy, selecting our Representatives by lot, and appointing our Senators from those who distinguish themselves within our States.  The overall structure of our government is sound, the tripartite division, the division of the Legislature into House and Senate and the assignment of responsibilities between those Houses and between the Legislature, the Executive, and the Judiciary is all good.  But the House was never allowed to be what it was advertised to be: the House of the People, truly representative of them.

            And you can't tell me that picking someone at random from Michelle Bachman's district would result in selecting someone any dumber or less qualified to be a Representative than she is 99% of the time.  Maybe less qualified at being a mendacious liar.

            From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

            by Nellebracht on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:24:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  "the overall structure of our government is sound" (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              blueoasis

              I'm not so sure.  I had an American history professor who claimed that the seeds of US destruction were planted in its governmental structure--that by separating the executive branch from the legislative, a time would come when political polarization would create broken government at a time and in circumstances when that would prove fatal.  That appears to be the case now.  There's a reason why no new democracies emerging over the past 60 years have chosen the American system of government as their model.  What that history professor said made sense to us since we lived in a parliamentary democracy.  To Americans, however, there is very little reflection--only an assumption that "our system is the best"

      •  I don't think that's happening (0+ / 0-)

        Unless you are willing to really embrace democracy and permit it to select outcomes you think are bad with respect to areas such as race or religion that you would currently expect the courts to rule unconstitutional.

        •  i think democracy (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nellebracht, marty marty, MeToo

          would challenge some presumptions on what democracy would do, on both race and religion.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:29:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Also, that's sort of why we have a Judiciary (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Duckman GR, dinotrac, Laurence Lewis

            Yes, the Legislature and the Executive will sometimes choose to do bad things that infringe on minority rights in unconstitutional ways.  That's why we have a Judiciary, to call foul on those attempts.

            The problem we have now is that our government is insufficiently representative of the People, neither what we really think or feel about issues, nor what's really best for us.

            We could definitely use some more democracy in our democratic republic.

            From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

            by Nellebracht on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:32:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think there is a trade-off (0+ / 0-)

              I've suggested in the past that a good way to get more democracy into the system is to convince social conservatives that their best hope for success against a Republican establishment that holds them back is to get on board with certain process reform ideas, such as instant run-off voting.

              One of my ideas would be to make it possible to amend the Constitution via either a national referendum (with some sort of super-majority requirement) or through a referendum in each state.  I think this makes it easier for good reforms, but also makes it easier for bad amendments to be attached to the Constitution.

            •  The problem is that we now have (0+ / 0-)

              a legislature and an executive that are choosing "to do bad things that infringe on" majority rights . . .

              "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

              by bryduck on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 09:18:53 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I think there's a sucker born every minute (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MeToo

            and no one every went broke underestimating the American capacity for intolerance and rash reactionary response.

            Look at the forces on the loose today, then give people the chance to change rights at the whim of a ballot box?

            I get the same sense of unease when people propose electronic voting and citizen initiative.  Powerful forces sway the masses rapidly. Fervently. The nation would have run off to war against the first "whoever" was suspected after 9/11 at the drop of a hat.  The vengence exacted by "d" democracy would have been ugly and counter-productive.

            At least, those are the sorts of things I fear.

            But more than that, how does a country go from oligarchy with a tightly-knit security state and militarized police departments to a "d" democracy?   I don't see any reasonable path.  

            The unreasonable one is blood in the streets and I don't see that either.  The people are controlled by their fear of losing a job (partly why we cannot have complete health care reform even under a supposedly "D" president) and lulled into passivity by their HBO and Showtime.

            Close the garage door, settle back in the easy chair and ignore the community at large.

            "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

            by YucatanMan on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 08:07:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Here's the path... You look at Sweden, Norway (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              YucatanMan, RJDixon74135

              Denmark, a few other places that have great social systems and little corruption. You borrow their constitutions for a while (just read them through a hundred thousand times) and infuse that vision into our zeitgeist... and you change our limiting constitution, and its malfunctioning parts into something that looks more and more workable.

              Tunisia did it. Yes! We! maybe can too! heh.

              The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution. Paul Cezanne

              by MeToo on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 09:27:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I honestly want that to be possible. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MeToo, blueoasis

                I just don't see "how."  

                As soon as you start trying to get other people to look at other ideas, there is a mighty machine ready to drown it out by calling upon their unthinking ditto-heads and mindless followers to shout it down in bitter scorn.

                And that's outside the powerful overbearingly controlling money forces tied directly into government.

                How?

                "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

                by YucatanMan on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 09:57:25 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  A general strike might work, but only if everyone (0+ / 0-)

                could be certain that business wouldn't immediately outsource their jobs.  There are right-wingers at my work -- hundreds in fact -- who'd still come to work, making any effort on my part to walk off the job for a day or a week completely irrelevant.

                And a right-winger or outsourced contractor would simply take my job.  I'm not in a union. I'm in lower "management" which is what they call people who do their bidding at any hour of the day or night without overtime and without any representation or negotiating capacity over job conditions.

                "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

                by YucatanMan on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 10:00:16 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You think that's the general strike (0+ / 0-)

                  that would work?  Stop working for a day, or a week?  Big money barely needs us as it is.

                  The general strike that would work is to get everybody to stop paying their bills.  Stop paying their utility bills and their credit and loan payments.  TPTB will sit up and take notice of that in a hurry.

                  From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned. -Immanuel Kant

                  by Nellebracht on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 10:19:44 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  JMO (0+ / 0-)

                  You don't strike because the only person that hurts are those willing to take that stand. What you do is cut off the pennies we spend to the fuckers and force them to survive on the dollars they already get from the masters. The trick is the masters don't have that many votes.

                  Elect people that aren't looking for status tell me when you find one

                  There are no sacred cows.

                  by LaEscapee on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 10:31:10 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  I understand (0+ / 0-)

                  But let me try to say this in a different frame: Knowing the "How" is not important. Knowing the "Why", or the imagination- that's the important thing.

                  This might be fun for you.  http://bigthink.com/...

                  It's like having an open minded approach. You wish for things, and you let them manifest. We do this all the time, but sometimes we are too cynical to see just how they manifested without allowing that they did because the imagination was the driving force, not real, hard, practical things like "work" and "situation" because those things are only real in our minds (and generally as prisons, although they might actually be nice places... given a different perspective.)

                  So, we just need to know the Why- we want to be like Blank... So, we start looking at Blank, and then learning about Blank, and then insisting we we treated like Blank, and things start going in Blank's direction. If we wait to figure out "How", we will just get twisted in the work of it, or the rescue of it, or the... blah, it will be someone else's vision- and that won't work as well.

                  This will give you some ideas:
                  http://gigaom.com/...

                  Click on the link in the fist paragraph to connect with the draft of this new constitution.

                  The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution. Paul Cezanne

                  by MeToo on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 10:31:29 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Link at he bottom of my post is about Iceland's (0+ / 0-)

                    new constitution. Didn't see that the link description was cut off before posting!

                    The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution. Paul Cezanne

                    by MeToo on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 10:33:30 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  It wasn't crowdsourced, and it's still just a bill (0+ / 0-)

                      And even the bill won't necessarily give us a constitution the same as the proposal.

                      That said, it's a nice draft.  Not happy about the lack of change in the church and state issue, but apart from that, quite nice.

  •  Montparnasse derailment (12+ / 0-)

    That train wreck photo is so well known and so iconic, I had to post this link to the Wiki article that details how it happened.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    _"Love is the rosebud of an hour; Friendship the everlasting flower."_ Brook Boothby

    by Keith930 on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 06:39:49 PM PDT

  •  You are so right. (3+ / 0-)

    But this article just makes me want to crawl back under the covers. Some good news would be welcome.

    Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

    by Boundegar on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 06:42:04 PM PDT

    •  marriage equality (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marty marty, Lucy2009, Boundegar

      is sweeping the nation, from the ground up. there's good news on social issues.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 06:55:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have a theory about that... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Laurence Lewis

        It (or at least, some, of the emergence of greater tolerance,  and even normalization) is driven by the young who see it as a most excellent vehicle for teen rebellion (it gets a reaction!) plus, as an extra added attraction, kids can't get pregnant from gay sex and there's an outlet for the hormone storms that doesn't have the pregnancy consequence.

        What's not to like about the idea?

        There is a generation of Americans, Teens of the Crash, who,  when they actually look around seriously at their prospects for employment, are gonna be like, "WTF? My freaking parents can't get jobs and I'm supposed to "plan" a "future"?"  What else have they got to do but hang out and have sex. Sex is the best fun you can have when you don't have no money. What is the Democratic Party going to say to them?

        If marriage equality is normalized, as seems to be happening,  then gay sexual expression itself (in its myriad of manifestations) becomes normal between people who want to do it.  Just another way to have sex, which humans do  tend to enjoy if given the chance, and no longer "deviant" or shameful.

        In a truly liberated world, one could have gay sex without considering one's self to be "gay" per se,  with all that follows from that.  I predict trending promiscuity.  

        Egads! This comment has rambled long enough...

        don't always believe what you think

        by claude on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 08:24:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Anything that doesn't obstruct (4+ / 0-)

        the looters in their looting has a shot. And then our "liberal" villagers can get their progressive cards stamped without offending the people who really count.

        The law, in its majestic equality, gives the rich as well as the poor the right to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to eat dumpster donuts. - With apologies to Anatole France

        by chuckvw on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 08:48:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Could that really be an element of (0+ / 0-)

        "bread and circuses"? Of course there are still powerful enemies of this kind of social progress, but I can imagine that governmental agents are "allowing" us these social victories to make it seem as though we aren't doing as badly as we are.

        "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

        by bryduck on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 09:22:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  .. and people die (19+ / 0-)

    In Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy tried to get tougher regulations placed on 'compounding pharmacies' in 2007 - on the same NECC corporation that was implicated in death and injuries in 2002 on forward ..

    He failed, because this action was blocked in the Senate.

    In 2012, Mitt Romney and Scott Brown signed a letter to the FDA asking for regulations to be further eased on companies like NECC, only weeks before bacterial meningitis outbreak that has killed 50 people and seriously injured hundreds more.

    No one questions the 'quid pro quo' of NECC' CEO $10,000 donation to the Scott Brown's campaign: if the poisoning of these people had not come to light, Brown would not have felt compelled to give up that money.

    The corruption is happening in every State, at every level, it's a cancer that threatens the future of democracy and a functional government in the US and the media buries the story on backpages.

    http://www.forbes.com/...

    http://wrentham.patch.com/...

    http://www.salon.com/...

    Where's the Federal inquest into bribery charges for Brown?

    It's not just the political system that is broken.

    Justice is broken.

    Republicans totally abandoned conservatism in the 1980s ..

    by shpilk on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 06:43:39 PM PDT

  •  What can the people do in a broken system? (14+ / 0-)

    Seems like we're all just sitting around, waiting for someone else to go first.

    We've been conditioned to wait for a Leader.

    Well? Why else are our asses not in the street already? It's apparent the system is broken. So what's next?  I can't crash the gates all by myself. What are we all waiting for?
     

    It is time to #Occupy Media.

    by lunachickie on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 06:44:46 PM PDT

  •  you forgot to mention German taxpayers being asked (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marty marty, lotlizard

    to bail out Russian oligarchs and mobsters who have their money tied up in Cypriot banks.

    The system is, indeed, not just broken.  It's smashed to smithereens.

    _"Love is the rosebud of an hour; Friendship the everlasting flower."_ Brook Boothby

    by Keith930 on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 06:44:47 PM PDT

  •  we have reached a tipping point where a growth (9+ / 0-)

    economy based upon cheap fossil fuels is nearing its end.   Fossil fuels are no longer easy & cheap to obtain.   Not to mention that we now realize the true or entire cost of production (the havoc they wreck on our climate and our lives) was never factored into the price.  Nor was the degradation they caused to surrounding environs during the extraction process.

    Without cheap easy fossil fuels that stimulate mfg we now see a shift in wealth from those at the bottom & mid bottom to those at the top and extreme top most of all.  Those at the top have an increased need to vulturize the remaining low hanging fruit: public education tax dollars, SS tax dollars, Medicare tax dollars etc and so we see the destruction of our civilization so that a few may prosper for a short time longer till the goose is killed.

    The time has come to sign onto the American Anti-Corruption Act...help it go forth & multiply! http://anticorruptionact.org/

    by leema on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 06:45:48 PM PDT

  •  Yeah, broken & insipidly boring. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Slightly Wobbly, Yo Bubba, Dallasdoc

    Republicans have turned politics into a bad joke that was never funny, but they can't help telling it over & over & over...

    Who cares what banks may fail in Yonkers. Long as you've got a kiss that conquers.

    by rasbobbo on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 06:46:34 PM PDT

    •  Both parties (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rasbobbo

      It's a team... like Abbott and Costello... Who's on first?

      The law, in its majestic equality, gives the rich as well as the poor the right to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to eat dumpster donuts. - With apologies to Anatole France

      by chuckvw on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 09:07:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Your dairy is spot on... (15+ / 0-)

    I tried to say something very similar in a recent diary but failed to get my point out as well as you did.

    I tried to point out that our elected officials create divisions in the public by using social issues.  I do not believe that elected Republicans care about abortion or gay marriage and I do not think most elected Democrats care really about them either.  I think they all care about money and getting re-elected which takes money and if they are good little soldiers in office, they will gat a lot more of it when they get out of office.

    If we fight with each other about social issues and they toss us a bone every not and then to appease us or do something else to get us riled up then we keep talking about social issues rather than them taking food out of our aging parents mouths or about our crumbling infastructure.  Maybe if we weren't talking about social issues, we might start really asking why we are spending so much on a defense budget when we cannot feed our poor children or deliver mail on Saturday.  Maybe we would notice that the "Job Creaters" are making record profits, record stock prices and paying almost no taxes and yet the solution to all of our problems is to give them more money so they can "allow" to work for them for less money than ever before.

    Our system of government is indeed broken.  It just happens to be broken in just the precise way that the people who broke it benefit the most.  

    Coincidence?  I think not.

    "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

    by Buckeye Nut Schell on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 06:52:23 PM PDT

    •  the good news (5+ / 0-)

      is that social issues no longer work as wedges. the republicans no longer can use them to trick people into voting against their own self-interests, and the democrats soon won't be able to use being good on them as a distraction from their own failures.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:01:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I sure hope you are right on this... (6+ / 0-)

        but I have not seen this yet with my own eyes.

        Obama is coming after your guns.

        Republicans are coming after your birth control pills

        Obama is a secret Muslim taking away your rights to be Christians

        Republicans are taking minority rights away.

        Obama is opening the borders to illegal Aliens

        Republicans want to deny gay people rights

        Obama is a secret Communist and wants to force everybody to rely on the free government stuff.

        Republicans want destroy the EPA

        I know these are not all social issues and I also know that some of them are true.  However, they are distractions that force people to get anngry and afraid of one side of the aisle so they will vote for the other side.

        All the while, both sides are working to dismantle the safety net, protect corporate interests, continue overfunding the defense department, continue to protect war criminals and multi-billion dollar corporations guilty of committing illegal actions that threw our entire world economy into a global recession while making billions of dollars doing it.  

        If you want to find true bi-partisanship, look no further than economic policies actually passed as opposed to the rhetoric shoveled around.

        I sure hope you are right about them not being able to use the wedge issues anymore but I will believe it when I see it.

        "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

        by Buckeye Nut Schell on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:21:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  this is insanely, catastrophically (4+ / 0-)
        social issues no longer work as wedges
        WRONG.

        Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

        by corvo on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:29:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Boy, you nailed it, BNS! ;-) N/T (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Buckeye Nut Schell

      Mollie

      "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible."-- Frank L. Gaines


      hiddennplainsight

      by musiccitymollie on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 09:00:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was in Music City yesterday... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        musiccitymollie

        picking my daughter up from the airport.  We ate in Green Hills.  Wanted to go to the Cheesecake factory but there was an hour and forty-five minute wait so we ate at the Italian Restaurant on the corner of the mall.

        "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

        by Buckeye Nut Schell on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 09:07:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Laurence this is one outstanding post.. (10+ / 0-)

    The Democratic Party is still fighting the last war in a lot of ways - afraid to be seen as soft on defense, tax and spend, and so on.

    If the Great Recession didn't snap us out of the post 1980 era, what will it take?  

    There is a huge disconnect between political and corporate elites and everyone else...That can continue only so long.

    And part of the problem is Republicans gerrymandered the House so bad, and they have abused minority rights. Can you imagine the reaction if the Democrats told Bush we wouldn't raise the debt ceiling until he took back half the tax cut and wound down the Iraq war?

    As a member of Courtesy Kos, I am dedicated to civility and respect for all kossacks, regardless of their opinions, affiliations, or cliques.

    by joedemocrat on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 06:52:42 PM PDT

  •  sounds like Rome (shrug) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, on the cusp

    and we all know what happened to them . . . .

  •  the democratic wing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, Dallasdoc

    of the democratic party just has to stand up.

    Look at how the news is actually covering gun violence now

    U.S. victims of mass shootings seek control over donations
    http://news.yahoo.com/...

    Suspect in Colorado killing had "bad streak": governor
    http://news.yahoo.com/...

    Military releases names of three Marines killed in shooting
    http://news.yahoo.com/...

    Of course it helps to have a committed billionaire on your side
    http://news.yahoo.com/...
    -- I think Bloomberg sold his administration to the Real Estate industry, but eliminated the day to day pork politics in NYC.

    Republicans have helped before:

    Republican millionaires helped pave way for gay marriage in New York State
    http://chicago.gopride.com/...

    "Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place." -- Mandela

    by agoldnyc on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 06:54:23 PM PDT

  •  Things are working perfectly for the 1%. (9+ / 0-)

    Everything that our elected officials should be fixing, i.e., financial regulation, climate change, keeps the 1% from accumulating more moolah. So, it's pretty obvious what should get done isn't going to.

    We all know this. "The people must" fix this, eh?  Got any insight on how exactly that is done?  Railing about it isn't enough.

    Hey, remember Occupy Wall Street?  They were trying to do something!  

  •  Not only broken (6+ / 0-)

    but the breakage was and continues to be deliberate, on the part of exactly those who gained the greatest benefit from the system in its normal operation.  This ruling class has clearly concluded that they can gain even more, faster, by breaking the system that had already served them so well.

    One of the key points this breakag serves to demnstrate is just who are the owners of the nation,  The analogy I have been using for several years now is this:  the owners of the national house have walked in and started ripping out the copper wire and piping to sell for scrap.  They are of course free to do this, as this house belongs to them, and we are merely here at their will, so long as our tenancy provides them with a sufficient stream of income.

    We, the mere tenants in the national house can either stand there watching in helpless slack-jawed amazed silence, or pretend it isn't happening.  To interfere, to complain, to protest is simply to give the owners an excuse to evic us, or to summon law enforcement" to subdue us.

    I'm glad to see my larger take is starting to gain a certain acceptance.

    Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

    by ActivistGuy on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 06:58:34 PM PDT

  •  this might be drastic, but.... (9+ / 0-)

    I recommend not voting for Democrats until they act like Democrats. If it results in temporary Republican terms then that's the cost. If the Democrats read the results and move further to the right, thinking that acting like Republicans will win back their seats, then we especially don't vote for them.

    I don't see any other way to get their attention.

    •  history is replete (7+ / 0-)

      with examples of such efforts failing- sometimes disastrously. i wish such a seemingly obvious answer would work, but it wouldn't. i think the answer will come from outside politics and then transform politics.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:18:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Transformation of politics usually requires crisis (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shahryar

        To set off explosive change.  I have flirted with the idea that radical change requires the level of crisis which creates the consensus that the Constitution is irreparably damaged and needs to be replaced.  Such a crisis will require accepting short-term suffering as a necessary cost for long-term good.  I don't think a painless transition is possible and there is no way that the lower classes are going to suffer more than the upper classes (unless the transition involves rounding up the rich and executing them, something I do not support).

        How does one precipitate a crisis?  Do we need another Civil War?  Should we embrace the idea of refusing to compromise on the debt ceiling so that the government defaults and create economic chaos if the Republicans don't fundamentally change their party?

        •  i think taking a stand (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Shahryar, marty marty

          and forcing the republicans to own their own manufactured crises would be a good step. but i'm not at all into the idea of empowering the crazed.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:27:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You would first have to acknowledge (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Shahryar, blueoasis, PhilJD

            that these crises weren't manufactured by rethugs alone. Village dems will never do as you are suggesting.

            I think the party would have to split... the Clinton Wing and the Warren Wing perhaps. What is rotten on the dem side - quite a bit of it, I fear - will have to be excised.

            I don't know if that can actually happen. I'm not by nature an optimist.

            The law, in its majestic equality, gives the rich as well as the poor the right to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to eat dumpster donuts. - With apologies to Anatole France

            by chuckvw on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 09:17:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  So is this a Political Shock Doctrine??? (0+ / 0-)

          Without geometry, life is pointless. And blues harmonica players suck.

          by blindcynic on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 08:00:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No it is a continuation of The Shock Doctrine. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            GayHillbilly

            Those in government don't give up - they keep doing the same thing and once it works for them and they get away with it - it contiues.

          •  I'm inspired by punctuated equilibria (0+ / 0-)

            The theory of Niles Eldridge and Stephen Jay Gould that evolution tends to follow a path of stasis, with little change, interrupted by short periods of rapid change.

            I believe that most of the time, the best you can hope for is small, incremental reform.  Occasionally, situations arise that lead to massive change.  Can these situations be manufactured or do you just have to sit and wait and hope you are in a position to do something?

      •  I think you are wrong (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BigAlinWashSt, priceman, Shahryar

        At some point you have to make a stand or they will never get the message. What we put in another fake Dem that reinforces evry issue we are against?

        Blanche Lincoln was a start my senator Mary Landrieu should be next in line. Until they learn that if and until they follow the peoples will they are not welcome nothing will change.

        You know as well as I do that even self proclaimed republicans beleive in and support our stances. The only way that can be made obvious is allow the destruction they desire. Maybe not you but me and many I know can't hurt any worse at this point and for my grands I'm willing to suffer a little more

        There are no sacred cows.

        by LaEscapee on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 10:18:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Right. That's why Dixiecrats are still a huge (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PhilJD

        wing of our Party.

        Refusing to vote for them totally didn't work.

        Jeebus.  

        income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

        by JesseCW on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 12:47:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  "Temporary Republican terms" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laurence Lewis, JesseCW

      There's no guarantee anything will be only temporary.




      Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
      ~ Jerry Garcia

      by DeadHead on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:20:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  See, this has been tried before (4+ / 0-)

      Liberals in Texas tried it back in the 1960s to revolt against the Texas Democratic Party's continued insistence on nominating conservative Democrats, by voting instead for the conservative Republican.  The thinking, basically, was that the Republican would never have a safe seat and could be turned out in a few years, while a conservative Democrat would be there for life.

      But the result was not more liberal Democrats; it was the beginning of the conservative Texas voter's migration to the Republican Party.  The conservative Republican they voted for was four-term Senator John Tower.

      28, white male, TX-26 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

      by TDDVandy on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:24:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I definitely would not vote for a Consrv. Repub. (0+ / 0-)

        That seems pointless to me. I would think the idea would be to vote for the person who is the closest to my way of thinking. If Jeff Merkley is running I'll vote for the Democrat. If it's Ron Wyden I'll look to see who else is on the ballot...but my vote won't be for an R.

      •  It was the purging of Dixiecrats and (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PhilJD

        Segregationists from the Democratic Party, making it viable and even dominant in many states that had long been Republican strongholds.

        In the long run, it was a brilliant strategic move, but if it were not, there was no other acceptable choice.

        We could not continue to support people who wanted to defend Anti-Miscegenation laws and still be a Party worth voting for.

        "A house divided against itself...."

        Some shit simply has to be resolved.

        income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

        by JesseCW on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 12:50:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  There's no reason to believe our silence won't... (0+ / 0-)

      simply lead our party to ignore us even more. They don't give a crap about the half of the country that already doesn't vote. What would lead them to care about us abandoning the process? We're not that special to them. In their eyes, being freed from having to talk left before getting to govern right would be a gift.

      "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

      by 2020adam on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 12:14:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The incessant nonsense (5+ / 0-)

    ..coming from the punditry, "news" programming, radio assholes, "think-tanks" and far too many members of congress have half the country arguing over the wrong issues from the wrong viewpoint.

    I'm convinced that we're in the state of shock that Naomi Klein wrote about. And the hits keep coming.

    For Christ's sake, let's help more of our frightened people get through this thing, whatever it is - Kurt Vonnegut on our "faithless custodians of capital"

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:08:04 PM PDT

  •  The political system is responsive... (5+ / 0-)

    ... to political power.

    The reason that our legislators are talking about cutting Social Security is that millions of citizens (mostly young), believe that SS is "broke", or will be long before they retire. They want to stop making payroll deductions into the "broken" system and put that money toward buying a house, or some Wall Street product that gives them an illusion of control.

    These citizens get this message pounded into them while listen to the radio during their morning commute. They get emails from friends with links to websites that have "all the facts". Their Facebook news feeds repeat the message, Candidates for office ask insinuating questions about it... and even the "experts" on the Sunday talk shows look gravely concerned while they reluctantly dispute it.

    Our Democratic leaders feel compelled to talk about "reforms" (like the chained CPI) because to do otherwise leads to accusations that they're "ignoring the problem".

    It doesn't matter if Wall Street's scare campaign is all lies. If they have the political power to create a critical mass of believers (aka "a mob"), they control the terms of the debate.

    We have to learn to wield that kind of political power, as well as win elections.

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
    he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

    by jjohnjj on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:15:21 PM PDT

    •  So Dems are gutting SS because they're responding (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chuckvw, Nada Lemming

      to (misinformed) citizens. Right.

      Any random unfounded explanation is better than accepting that Obama is a neoliberal, and wanted to gut the New Deal from the start.

      American exceptionalism is America's road to perdition.

      by Alexandre on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 08:08:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No - Bernanke has said many times that the money (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Alexandre, blueoasis, GayHillbilly

        in Social Security needs to be in the stock market.  But legally the government is supposed to put the money in US treasury bonds - except they keep spending it.  the plan all along has been to raid the Social Security money because it is one of the last pots of money they (the politicians) can go after.

      •  Not misinformed citizens. Misinformed voters. (0+ / 0-)

        We need to get over the idea that good people, once elected to office, will act independently or courageously. They all become gears and levers in a mechanism of power that goes way beyond the three branches of government.

        Dems are not "gutting SS". That's what Paul Ryan is trying to do. Dems feel compelled to act "in a spirit of compromise" on important issue because they don't trust us to get them though the next election.

        “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
        he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

        by jjohnjj on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 10:58:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Know any good billionaires interested... (0+ / 0-)

      in helping out?

      Might help if we could buy a few dozen radio stations and a few think tanks. A cable network or two couldn't hurt, either.

      "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

      by 2020adam on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 12:25:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Young voters are willing to pay more in SS (0+ / 0-)

      witholding in order to avoid cuts by sizable margins.

      All other age groups are willing to do so by HUGE margins.

      Like the Public Option and the ongoing bloodbath in Afghanistan, public opinion has nothing to do with policy.

      income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

      by JesseCW on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 12:51:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The chained CPI (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, JesseCW, GayHillbilly

    The Senate voted by voice vote Friday night to oppose cutting entitlement benefits for veterans using a the chained CPI.

    •  As opposed to whom? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, cocinero

      The majority of people receiving earned benefits who are not veterans?

      It does give them political cover for cutting them for everyone else. "But we protected the veterans".

      The law, in its majestic equality, gives the rich as well as the poor the right to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to eat dumpster donuts. - With apologies to Anatole France

      by chuckvw on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 09:24:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Japan is a good example of government inaction (9+ / 0-)

    For more than 20 years Japan's political parties have done everything than can to protect the monied interests that allow them to exist.  These included whole sale corruption involving construction of public works projects which benefited no one except the political elite and the major construction companies.

    To this day Japan's economy continues to lurch from one deflationary spiral to another all because its political leaders refuse to address the actual problems facing the country.    

  •  Not so much "broken" as "captured". (9+ / 0-)

    The political system isn't broken for the Owner class; it is doing pretty much what they pay it to do. It is ensuring that wealth continues to concentrate into their hands, no matter what the serf class may desire.

  •  Everything (8+ / 0-)

    is broken right now, at least to me.  I get tired of writing comments on line knowing that no one is listening to what the people want.  

    The biggest problem we have, I think, is between what the people need and what the corporate monopolies want and say they need.  Washington has lost control of controlling the corporations, and the corporations are now controlling Washington which is why there is so much corruption.  

    As I drive around my area I see whole areas that are boarded up and small businesses dying, burnt out homes, empty homes.  I see areas that once were thriving, dying as more and more industry goes overseas.  It pains me to see 54 schools in Chicago being closed so that privatization of our schools will allow a system where winners and losers will be choosen by the private school system.  No longer do we have a society where "your free to decide what you want to be."  Whole professions down the drain, professions people studied and worked hard to achieve.  

    America is a run and feels like a corporation anymore, at least to me, and it is only the CEOs and bankers that have a say, no longer the people who can no longer afford their homes, watch tv for free, go to good public schools, or earn a living that gives you a good enough wage to be able to keep up with what the corporations are charging you to live as an average American.

    "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

    by zaka1 on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:19:19 PM PDT

  •  It's neither broken nor corrupt. It's working (6+ / 0-)

    EXACTLY like those in power want it to work.

    Still goes to your final point, though.  It's up to us to manifest the change.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:19:26 PM PDT

  •  The reason the political system is broken (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MeToo

    is because the people behind the system, the general voters, are largely irrational.

    This brings to mind something that I read Richard Feynman once said. I can't find the exact words online so this isn't verbatim, but he was talking about how we choose our leaders in this country.

    People have the option between 2 politicians:

    Politician A says "The problems we face are very serious, and I have been thinking about how to solve these problems for a very long time, but I still haven't figured out what we should do about them. But if you vote for me, I will make sure to bring in a lot of experts who know a lot more about these problems than I do, and talk things through and gain a better understanding of the details, and only then, come up with the best possible solution that comes closest to fixing these problems."

    Politician B says "The problems we face are very serious, but I know what we need to do to fix these problems. Vote for me, because I have all the answers."

    On average, people are going to choose Politician B the majority of the time, when what we really need is Politician A.

    Until we find a way to circumvent this flaw in the way voters choose their politicians, the system will continue to be broken.

    •  Rationality can't beat imagination (0+ / 0-)

      That's the situation as I see it. We need some vision and some creative prompts to point out the direction. The rational stuff is the most important to our culture, but it has to be behind the imagination.

      I suggest borrowing heavily from what works best in other progressive situations and model rational reform after that.

      Happy smiley faces! Scientific progress! Political vision! Cultural Happiness!

      The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution. Paul Cezanne

      by MeToo on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 10:02:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The voters, very simply, are not the people (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nada Lemming

      "behind the system".

      The voters don't decide who gets positive media coverage.  The voters don't decide who big money will allow to be presented as a "viable candidate".

      The voters aren't the ones constructing stumbling blocks to try to keep candidates off the ballot in state after state.

      The majority of the time, the voters won't even consider anyone the Media Trusts paint as a "looney".

      I really can't believe that people who were alive in 2004 and saw what was done to Dean still refuse to see plain truth.

      income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

      by JesseCW on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 12:56:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  it's broken because the left ignores RW radio (6+ / 0-)

    there can be no fact -based objective discussion of any major issue as long as thinking americans allow the corporate think tanks the supreme unchallenged luxury of being able to blast 50 mil people a week with partisan coordinated scripted messaging from 1000 of our loudest radio stations and create whatever constituency they want within days.

    add that to 25 years of building an alternative reality of lies, myths, and altered history.

    and those radio stations use public airwaves, are heavily dependent on our major universities and schools, and are licensed to operate in the public interest.

    the political system is broken because the left has given RW radio a free speech free ride for 25 years.

    americans need to get serious about talk radio and destroy the monopoly before 2014.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:21:07 PM PDT

    •  You're Mistaking Democrats for "the Left." (8+ / 0-)

      Media policies favoring corporate RW dominance have been passed by both parties.

      A party that passes RW policies is not "left."

      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 Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 08:03:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  semantics. the last 25 yrs has been dominated by (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GayHillbilly

        RW radio.

        that means intimidating dems as well as republicans. that means defining where the perceived political center is and how liberal is too liberal in the primaries. what is acceptable and what isn't.

        most of those blue dogs sit in states dominated by a few RW megastations that dems are completely disconnected from.

        you want to get rid of corporate and blue dog dems? stop  ignoring the radio- any attempts by dems to push media and election finance reform are beaten back, largely with the essential help from those radio stations, fed and coordinated with well designed propaganda campaigns.

        it started with the fairness doctrine and then clinton was hamstrung. it's even more refined now against obama.

        everything the 'left' wanted from the democratic party the last 25 years has been compromised because of its stupendous ignorance of RW radio 's dominance in politics.

        This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

        by certainot on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 08:34:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't know why this point (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis, Nada Lemming

        is so difficult for people to grasp...

        A party that passes RW policies is not "left."

        The law, in its majestic equality, gives the rich as well as the poor the right to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to eat dumpster donuts. - With apologies to Anatole France

        by chuckvw on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 09:28:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  arguing the democratic party is not left enough (0+ / 0-)

          while ignoring talk radio is pointless.

          the reason they're passing RW policies is because the 'left' allows the right to define where the 'center' is.

          their best tool for making left and liberal unacceptable has been talk radio, and the left and liberals allow it.

          the democratic party will go 'left' fast if the left stops giving the right a free speech free ride on public airwaves.

          this is still  somewhat of a democracy and because there is no response to RW radio, representatives and their offices, especially in rural states where talk radio dominates, feel obliged to respond to the talk radio base screaming into their phones as if they are a legitimate constituency in their community.

          one thing the 'left' has to do is monitor radio and make the content readable and searchable so that dems and media  know when the screaming is not legitimate and is largely coming out of the RW think tanks and through limbaugh and hannity's asses.

          This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

          by certainot on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 08:18:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  And cave paintings. We're really failing to (0+ / 0-)

      dominate cave paintings.

      Not to mention obelisks covered in hieroglyphs.

      The fight over the AM dial is slightly less relevant than the fight over telegraph feeds.

      income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

      by JesseCW on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 12:58:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the debt 'crisis' , 'benghazi' , tea party, health (0+ / 0-)

        care reform defeats, gun control have dominated parts of our political environment the last few  years and all were primarily talk radio driven defeats for the left.

        talk radio still kicks internet ass when it comes to messaging and MSM management and it looks like 2014 will come and go and talk radio will play an important part and the left and dems will whine again afterwards about how the irrational insane teabaggers (the talk radio base) are able to obstruct progress.

        it's really senseless to ignore the opponents best weapon just because it fits outside the 'hot' technology

        like ignoring the other guy's cannon because you've got an assault rifle.

        This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

        by certainot on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 07:54:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yet, the majority of voters vote Democratic at (0+ / 0-)

          all levels.

          The higher turnout gets, the larger that gap gets.

          The people are already on our side.  It's about who is on the ballot.

          income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

          by JesseCW on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 02:25:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  why even let it be close enough to steal? why not (0+ / 0-)

            fix the problem?

            and as far as who's on the ballot, guess who decides who's too liberal? they've been doing that for 25 years locallly and nationally.

            nothing moves the perceived 'center' to the right better than 121000 coordinated radio stations.

            This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

            by certainot on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 05:31:28 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Why not understand that the problem isn't (0+ / 0-)

              Right Wing Radio, it's Right Wing policies?

              When all you've got is a stone hammer....

              income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

              by JesseCW on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 07:37:03 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  right wing policies don't have shit w/out RW radio (0+ / 0-)

                that's the point

                you may have an i net ar15  but the guy with the stone hammer snuck up behind you, dude

                This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

                by certainot on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 07:43:27 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  They don't have public support. Why would you (0+ / 0-)

                  think this was about winning public support when policies that are opposed by 80 or 90 percent of the public are shot down and policies opposed by 70 or 80 percent cannot get forward motion?

                  The problem is not that the people are duped, by radio or any other media, into accepting right wing policies.  The people reject those policies already.  

                  Setting aside how archaic and irrelevant AM radio is, and how few people under 50 ever listen to it for any purpose, we already convinced the public.  The majority is on our side, whether we're talking about background checks or a Public Option or a minimum wage hike or protecting Social Security.

                  The Money Power still has what it takes to buy senators.  And fighting over who gets to draw cave paintings doesn't change that.

                  income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

                  by JesseCW on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 07:57:07 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  1% uses 20% and the radio gives them the volume (0+ / 0-)

                    of 50%. that's all they need.

                    variously over the last 20 yrs 15-25% of people say they get their news from talk radio. yes it is fading. but ignoring the weapon that's beating the crap out of dem politicians and media and pushing them right is bad strategy.

                    the groundwork volume and repetition for all major opposition to progressive reforms starts on radio. maybe you live in a coastal city with plenty of alternatives but if you head inland you'll hear the local RW stations that often dominate local politics.

                    the left has allowed the 1% to put carnival barkers on every corner and stump in the country to scream all day that liberals are liars and thieves and traitors and distort their ideal and principles and the left just walks by with their iPods in their ears- it's fucking stupid not to get in their face.

                    radio completely dominates many small pop states with 2 senators each.

                    if it was about what the people want why are elections that should be no brainers so close?

                    why have neanderthals taken over the GOP? why do they win elections?

                    democracy was designed to handle billionaires/kings. senators can't work directly for billionaires in large numbers without being thrown out. the last 25 years RW radio has allowed the billionaires and their think tanks to short circuit democratic feedback mechanisms and  create made-to-order constituencies to enable and intimidate media and politicians. that's what the talk radio base/teabaggers are- a fluid well-disinformed fear-motivated constituency that listens to radio, get visual reinforcement from fox and internet, and misinforms people around them who are apathetic and ready to vote out of fear at the last minute.

                    many of the major reforms progressives want now have been on the agenda for decades but you won't get no-brainers like media or election or campaign finance  or single payer soon while ignoring radio.

                    and global warming won't wait for talk radio to fade away.

                    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

                    by certainot on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 07:17:05 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

  •  The political system is functioning as intended (8+ / 0-)

    It is called inverted totalitarianism.

    The second dynamic, directed inward, involves the subjection of the mass of the population to economic "rationalization", with continual "downsizing" and "outsourcing" of jobs abroad and dismantling of what remains of the welfare state created by U.S. Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal and Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society. Thus, neoliberalism is an integral component of inverted totalitarianism. The state of insecurity in which this places the public serves the useful function of making people feel helpless...

    American exceptionalism is America's road to perdition.

    by Alexandre on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:23:16 PM PDT

  •  The single best thing we can do to fix it... (6+ / 0-)

    ... is to take private money almost entirely out of elections. Members of congress respond to the need for campaign funding essentially by selling their votes to those who can pay. However, I think many of them would rather not.

    There truly are a lot of people out there who would like to run for office and craft sensible policies to solve problems. Many of them are here at Daily Kos. Some of them are already in elected office. Removing the distorting effect of private campaign contributions would free those representatives to work toward policies that reflect their own ideals and those of their constituents.

    Another benefit of eliminating the money would be to shift the terrain on which campaigns are run, replacing those awful, ubiquitous campaign commercials with some other form of discourse. (That's actually a great selling point for this kind of campaign finance reform -- no more commercials!)

    The second and third best things we can do are to eliminate the perks and favors that lobbyists can bestow and finding some way to put a stop to the "revolving door" phenomenon between government oversight/regulation and private industry.

    --------------------------

    *** All our work toward economic and social justice won't matter the slightest bit unless we start reversing global warming right now. ***

    by CupaJoe on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:25:55 PM PDT

    •  There is no way to easily take the big money out (0+ / 0-)

      of elections.

      The big money isn't the donations.  It's how the media trusts cover or do not cover the issues and campaigns.

      The purchased advertisements add up to something like 6% of all the political content Americans see on their televisions over the course of a year.

      income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

      by JesseCW on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 01:00:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Love the photo with diary. We visited the D'Orsey (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, on the cusp, Laurence Lewis

    Museum in Paris in 2011. The building was originally a train station built in Paris for the 1898 World's Fair. This photo was of an actual train wreck which happened in that train station.  I still wonder how the building was rescued. It's been renovated and houses one of the premier art exhibits in the world.  The D'Orsey is much more of a human scale which makes possible enjoying great art without the fatigue of visiting at the Louve.

  •  we are trying to overcome 30 years of repub. (5+ / 0-)

    policies. i think we're making some progress but it's damn slow. we need more liberal judges on supreme, more senators like e. warren. every election is important, local & national. we have to be in it for the long haul because that's what it will take and yes it's up to us. great diary!

    Macca's Meatless Monday

    by VL Baker on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:37:47 PM PDT

    •  Unfortunately this is a very incomplete descriptn. (6+ / 0-)

      40 not 30 years of CONSERVATIVE policies, passed by both parties.

      Both conservative parties.

      The Democratic Party became our 2nd conservative party around the time of Disco.

      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 Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:47:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Shit is not getting better. The gap between rich (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zaka1, bryduck

      and poor is growing as fast as it ever did under Bush.

       Our politicians care less and less about what we think -even immense campaigns to get them to accept or reject policies seemingly have no impact anymore.

      income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

      by JesseCW on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 01:02:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is a great post as far as it goes. It (3+ / 0-)

    outlines the situation very well and even many of the issues involved.  The question remains what can the average citizen do to solve the problem?

  •  So, given your concern with Social Security, then (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, GayHillbilly

    why are you not leading with

    WE NEED JOBS and
    WE NEED TO BE VERY VERY PRODUCTIVE!

    Social Security depends on people working and being productive.  Benefits are paid out form the social security taxes paid by people who earn wages.  Too few of those, and Social Security incurs deficits.

    It covers those deficits by calling in the special T-Bills that are created for Social Security.

    And, of course, those are paid by incurring more debt, as the money to pay them isn't kept lying around in a vault somewhere.

    It's nice to ban high-capacity magazines.   I'm sure some nice well-to-do mothers will sleep better at night if an assault weapons ban is passed, but

    it is essential that the economy work.  Wouldn't surprise me if a healthy economy prevented more gun violence than all of the proposed regulations.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 07:50:43 PM PDT

    •  We can't have jobs (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dinotrac, chuckvw, GayHillbilly, zaka1

      because the money to create them is all invested offshore.

      We can't create new technologies and new kinds of jobs (a post carbon economy), because that would disrupt the wealth of those who benefit from the technological status quo.

      The root of the problem is very, very obvious. There is a deadly parasite in the US system and it is killing the host (us).

      •  And yet many will swear up and down that we (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chuckvw, JesseCW

        did the right thing by feeding that parasite back in 2009.

        Of course, THOSE folks, aren't among the millions of long-term unemployed left behind.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 08:49:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Why? (5+ / 0-)

    A rhorical why at best.

    Bought.  Look at the contribution lists. And they only tell half the story after Citizens United.

    Gerrymandering.  Essentially the public has no way to show its way at the ballot box.  Incredibly, the senate is easier to be altered by public opinion.  That's right. The senate.  The house is immovable due to blatant gerrymandering.  
    It was supposed to be the other way.

    Filibuster.  And even then, the filibuster prevents the majority from even discussing bills.  Allow a one day filibuster on final passage only.  No delays until the final roll call vote.

    Protection.  Imagine the AG actually indicting a big corporation. Like a bank. Congress was able to get in tizzy about aBJ, but financial collapse by illegal means cosing us trillions and trillion, not even a pat on the wrist.  7 trillion to fix the bans. A few billion to help the housing market.  Fair isn't it.  No wonder the banks are back on top and the public has once again been doubly screwed.

  •  Thanks for this diary and for stating (5+ / 0-)

    a truth that needs to be acknowledged by all of us who genuinely want to see this country on a far different track that it has been on:  

    The political system is broken.

    I realized just a few days ago that the constant fight against politicians in D.C. (including most of the Democrats!) is wearing me out and wearing me down.  Between fighting Republicans in WI and fighting Republicans AND Democrats in D.C., there are days when I've wondered why I even bother to care about what these corrupt, filthy, lousy excuses for human beings even think or do!  And then fear sets in that this country can NOT continue on this merry-go-round and we CAN'T just sit here and let it all go to hell in front of our very faces.  

    I'm ready, willing, and able to join with those who are equally fed up as I am and DO as you suggested:

    The politicians will not fix it. The people must. There is no alternative.
    Frankly, I hope and pray that this is a very long, hot summer for our politicos and that our efforts continue on well beyond it until we get this ship turned around because I'm really sick and tired of this nonsense.

    "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

    by 3goldens on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 08:09:27 PM PDT

  •  System Was a Century Out of Date When Written. (5+ / 0-)

    It presumes an economy little advanced beyond agricultural Natives, is perfectly ignorant of the threats of trade, manufacture, finance and speculation.

    It fails to apply its own logic resisting imperial presidency to resisting a criminal presidency. Its inability to trigger early elections when either majority or minority detects a change in popular sentiment ties it to big campaign money probably as much as free $peech does.

    Its archaic formulation of free press makes the people a fiefdom of global information warlords.

    It gave us frequent depressions, panics and wealth concentration over our entire history except for the 50 year New Deal Regulatory Anomaly.

    Yes the political system is broken. And it's been 40 years minimum that people who saw that our evolving anti-New-Deal policies of both conservative parties were heading us to this point have been calling it out to deaf ears.

    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 Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 08:12:57 PM PDT

  •  The basic problem is campaign finance (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MinnesotaMom, LaEscapee, GayHillbilly

    Everything you say is true, very true. But to fix it, even for democrats, requires fixing the financing of campaigns.

    As it stands now, everyone in public life at higher levels believes they have to campaign with television ads. These are very expensive, so the TV station owners love them. But this makes all elected politicians, especially at the national level, dependent on deep-pocketed donors.

    TV stations, which are highly profitable, should be required to provide a certain amount of free air time for political ads. And, campaigns should be limited in the number of weeks in which TV ads can appear. This would make it do-able for the TV stations. (Just a few weeks of free ads.)

    Finally, national politicians should be clearly made aware of the fact that their voters are not as conservative as they think they are, as several recent polls have shown.

    Additionaly, if it were possible to make all campaigns publicly financed, and such a rule could be made to stick, that would possibly be the most important single change.

  •  As a non-Movement Conservative (5+ / 0-)

    one of the most terrifying aspects of our politics is that currently the Democratic Party is winning by virtue of not being Republicans. Not winning by building up a stronger political brand as a party, or even by strongly re-enforcing their existing party brand.

    Just by virtue of not being Republicans.

    I don't think the system is broken, I think it's working exactly as a lot of very rich and very powerful people in America want it to work.

    I think an extremist Republican Party, and a self-handicapping Democratic one, is exactly what the doctor ordered for Billionaires and mega-Corps.

    What to do? What, indeed.

    Where I disagree with many who find themselves on this same ground is that I refuse to believe that there is no hope. That there is no forcing change for the better. That by refusing to give up there is still a chance for the better outcome if you just don't quit. I refuse to accept the idea that, by staying home and hoping that the damage that is done by such a profound betrayal of personal responsibility, benevolent negligence will lead to a phoenix rising out of the rubble by design. That's the kind of faith-based thinking that I wouldn't accept from a Conservative, on any topic or policy, repackaged ideologically. I lay withering fire down on the Democratic Party sometimes because I want the Democratic Party to be what it should always be, the most effective engine in a two-party system for social and economic progress.

    Winning by virtue of not being the other guy is not the tactic of an organization that wants to dominate as a robust and effective political alternative. I'm having a hard time seeing this as being just the way things are, or fate, or an accident of living in harshly divided times.

    There is always a reason for the establishment not to take the GOP and lay them low. To take the strongest bargaining position in a policy fight.

    Since what happened to Gore in 2000, my default as a Democratic Party member has been to always assume that I have to make them do it. Whatever better outcome "it" may be. If left to it's own devices, the Democratic Party establishment status quo will find the most mediocre way to handle human events.  

    Like positioning yourself as being a more attractive option by standing next to some slimy creature covered in pussy sores who stinks bad enough to make everyone's eyes water rather than be the better option no matter who you stand next to. There's a lot of choosing the easier or meeker path and demanding that it be seen as the only path or the only option forward by those who disagree and have the guts to say so.

    The GOP sucks, we all know that, most of us have known that for over four decades. It's a criminal cabal that runs on bad faith, ratfucking, and being the bagmen and women for some of the most malignant corporations and their Oligarch owners.

    But they are still viable. Still. And it's not just because they have a lot of money and they are the party of the rich and powerful.

    They are enabled. Our party should be gutting them like a swarm of fat pigs all stuck belly up in a trap.

    How we ended up here, after the Iraq War and the near Second Great Depression, is mindblowing. At this point, I sometimes wonder if the GOP could start a nuclear war by irradiating some small innocent nation they just randomly pick on a globe and still find a way to remain viable both because they are the party of the rich and their greatest opposition will go out of their way not to pile on too much or to take too bold a position on just how dangerous the GOP is.  

    I've been involved with Democratic politics for over twenty years now. I don't hate the Democratic Party, in fact, just the opposite, I think a Democratic Party that re-commits itself to being the party of the working and middle class, and the defenders of the young, the poor, the sick, and the aged is the future in a two-party system. But outside of 'we aren't Republicans' I don't see a lot of brand building or brand bolstering.

    But that revitalization has to come from the grassroots, the bottom-up. Because what the establishment in DC is going to give you are things, like the brand crushing 'We are the Party of the Chained CPI' path, that only seem like a good idea for brand building in the beltway. A place overridden with people who give Democrats advice while also thinking as a general principle that the best Democratic Party is a more humane Republican Party or else a broken permanent minority party that meekly gets rolled by the Great 1% Dominance Preservation Machine. Some of these diet austerianisms might as well have come from a Rightwing thinktank that doesn't care if the Democratic Party is ever a three branch majority party ever again.  

    We are one real, as in non-bullshit Village faux outrage not driven by a Rightwing bad faith ratfuck freak-out, scandal away from having years worth of goodwill and support based in simply just not being Republicans suddenly get wiped out.

    Now, the GOP has done a great job at utterly destroying their brand, so it may seem like a good bet to depend on the GOP to keep the stupid coming and coming in buckets, but looking down the road I still don't see what's plan B to 'let's hope the GOP keeps being stupid'. Any party depending on their opponents brand staying ruined or out in the weeds as a longterm stragetic tactic is pretty insane.

    Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have both created tremendously successful personal political brands. Personal. Like Bill Clinton before him, when Barack Obama is finally out of office when his time is up, there is the institutional problem that is that his personal brand is going into retirement with him.

    The problem with this situation is that any gains you might make over time can be rapidly erased by a major scandal or crisis.

    With everything the GOP has done since just 2000, forget about going back before that, just since 2000 AD, they are still viable to bounce back.

    That's as big a Democratic failure as it is an indictment of a public full of low-information voters just waiting to be conned again.

    As much as many of us don't like to admit this, this is a screaming warning that how they are being fought is not as effective as it should be, and that you can't expect a more vital and successful Democratic Party if you refuse to demand that of them as an institution and as a party because you have been conditioned to see challenging your own party and its conventional wisdom driven assumptions that may be very injurious in the long run as somehow a malignant, rather than a healthy, act of proud activism and concerned party membership.

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 08:32:04 PM PDT

  •  What. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, JesseCW, Nada Lemming

    Now that Obama got re-elected it's safe to finally crawl out from the bunker and declare "politics is broken".

    But of course it's no one's fault.

    NO CE/CW. NO UNION BUSTING

    by Aeolos on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 08:50:02 PM PDT

  •  Sheldon Wolin (4+ / 0-)

    "The fact that politically organized interest groups with vast resources operate continuously, that they are coordinated with congressional procedures and calendars, that they occupy strategic points in the political processes, is indicative of how the meaning of "representative" government has radically changed. The citizenry is being displaced, severed from a direct connection with the legislative institutions that are supposed to "stand in" for the people. If the main purpose of elections is to serve up pliant legislators for lobbyists to shape, such a system deserves to be called "misrepresentative or clientry government." It is, at one and the same time, a powerful contributing factor to the depoliticization of the citizenry, as well as a reason for characterizing the system as one of antimocracy.

    How is the role of the citizen being redefined and to whose advantage? Almost from the beginning of the Cold War the citizenry, supposedly the source of governmental power and authority as well as a participant, has been replaced by the "electorate," that is, by voters who acquire a political life at election time. During the intervals between elections the political existence of the citizenry is relegated to a shadow-citizenship of virtual participation. Instead of participating in power, the virtual citizen is invited to have "opinions": measurable responses to questions predesigned to elicit them."

    I read this today in the book I've recently started "Democracy, Inc: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism." (2008)

    He lays out how corporate forces have taken control of public sphere and shaped America into a totalitarian society, but have done so in a method very different from the classical totalitarians like Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin. It's a fascinating read.  

    "Today is who you are" - my wife

    by I Lurked For Years on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 09:08:33 PM PDT

  •  What I want to know is, what in the hell is it (7+ / 0-)

    really, that keeps our US Congress full of men and women of such low esteem that they are unwilling to follow the desires of up to 90% of their constituents on issues like #GunControl.

    Is it just the fucking money? I know they are on a double-damned treadmill 3 and 4 days a week, begging for dollars for their next election. I know that. But other than that, don't they give a flying fuck about the rest of us, whom their legislating or worse, lack thereof, affects in ways serous and far-reaching?

    If not, are they truly all sociopaths? Hell bent on amassing as big a fortune with as little effort as possible, and nothing more? Without empathy for the millions who's lives can be changed by something as simple as funding low-income workers mass-transit costs via free and/or reduced bus/rail passes? Instead of which we mostly see things like bills to increase refundable tax credits to the poor, beleaguered corporations in the petroleum industry (who are grossing billions a year and sometimes netting billions, too) who already are paying no income taxes due to credits already in the IRS code.

    I've met some politicians at the local level, up to state senator. I've been six feet from Vice-President Biden and Senator Murray at an event in 2010. None of these people seem like they are empty of empathy or care. But none of them ever really take a chance on hurting their careers by standing up one day and saying,

    "Hey, you know what? No one is telling all of you  the truth, about anything. Don't you think you ought to ask why not?

    I mean, look at Bradley Manning. He's, what, 23 years old? He'll likely spend 20 to 40 years in a military prison. He showed the world that the US Military was murdering civilians in Iraq during the Occupation, and doing it like they were playing Missile Command.

    It was so shocking that instead of the US chain of command standing up, and taking stock, and sending out clear orders to change the standing 'rules of engagement' and to educate the active duty Armed Forces on the new rules...

    they arrested Manning and held him in solitary confinement under what amounts to (I simply can't call it anything else) daily doses of torture in small degrees - no clothes to wear, woken every 5 mins around the clock because they put him on 'suicide watch'. His fate was never in question, our vaunted 'innocent until proven guilty' national motto aside.

    What did they do about what happened, what Manning exposed to the world? Did they make public accounting, hold trials for the worst excesses? Show the world that the American Military is not just the biggest, most powerful military entity in the history of the world - but that it still answers to the civilian government which purportedly runs it? No. We did not do that. To my own eternal and lasting shame.

    But what about the shame of those who we elect to lead us and to run our government? Where is their shame?

    Because I don't see signs of that anywhere.


    "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization" -- me

    by Angie in WA State on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 09:24:06 PM PDT

    •  bloomberg (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Angie in WA State

      is starting to open his wallet, and i hope he gets very serious about it. so far, it's just pocket change to him, but he could really change the entire dynamic. and what happened to manning is typical of the most transparent administration ever- whistleblowers pay the price- the apparatus of empire is sacrosanct.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 09:40:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I swear to you, there are nights here, when I'm (4+ / 0-)

        alone, that I actually tear up when I think about this country of ours, and what's happened to it since I was a kid in the 1960s.

        Everything we learned to loathe about the Communist USSR?

        Authoritarianism. Overly militaristic, invading other nations all the time. Forcing their form of government on other nations (See eastern European block). Denying their citizens modern civil rights. Secret police and secret courts and secret prisons.

        Everywhere I look in our government, I see one or more of those things happening. Even the really bad ones.

        Why did the fucking conservatives have to have a damned empire, anyway? Wasn't an entire continent good enough for them?


        "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization" -- me

        by Angie in WA State on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 10:10:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  When he drops about 95% of it, call me. (0+ / 0-)

        Until then, he's an rich asshole engaged in a public relations exercise.

        income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

        by JesseCW on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 01:07:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •   You don't know the uplift (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, priceman

    it gives me to read this.

    Not because of the truth shared but that it was here. We are the last line of defense and it's comforting that we are the last line of defense my friend

    There are no sacred cows.

    by LaEscapee on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 09:56:42 PM PDT

  •  As long as the people keep playing by "their" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LaEscapee, allenjo

    rules, we lose.  That includes voting. The people actually do have the power, it's how to harness it, organize it and use it.
    But most people can't step outside the box "they" have us in.  Unfortunate for a country full of such bravado.  Turns out they're a bunch of chickens.  Bullies and chickens.

    "The Global War OF Terror is a justification for U.S. Imperialism. It must be stopped."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 10:04:22 PM PDT

  •  our political system sucks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LaEscapee

    because our constitution set up an undemocratic and unrepresentative system of government. We were lucky in our early years because of seemingly boundless natural resources and a constant flow of new blood and energy in the form of immigrants but those years of bounty are behind us and we find ourselves saddled with a system of government that is incapable of dealing with contemporary issues and problems.

  •  As long as you pledge unwavering support (5+ / 0-)

    to the Democratic Party, this is what we get.

    As long as you rationalize "Well, he/she is better than (insert current insane Republican)", this is was we get.

    As long as you rationalize pro-corporate travesties like the ACA, this is what where we will end up.

    What was wrong under Republicans is still wrong under Democrats.

    by gila on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 10:59:56 PM PDT

  •  We await wise actions of a some oligarchs with (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nada Lemming

    foresight who fear their progeny's heads stuck upon pikes. Or the pikes.

    You show a little grit and you lands in jail.

    by cal2010 on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 11:11:43 PM PDT

  •  Good diary and yes the bottom line is that we (0+ / 0-)

    have too many elected leaders who have submitted to the GREED factor and because that there are so many of them who are entrenched up to their elbows and necks in bribes, payouts, and dirty dealings of everything imaginable (think even unimaginable), thus, we have the sad, frustrating, and immoral government that we have.
    I think we have to put extreme pressure on our newly elected people, and get much more active in sacrificing time and energy to call them out.
    Who would've thought that our Senate Chamber, which was always stacked by old white men who were told what to say and when to say it, would have evolved into this, or what it is today???? It's sad that people who have been elected theses days, can't see through the stain that they have become a part of. Despicable!!!

  •  No. The crisis in 2008 was wasted (7+ / 0-)

    It really was. Now there is crisis fatigue because of it, and the corrupt politicians creating more over what was once routine, like the debt ceiling which many of us predicted but everyone posted the "chill out. He's got this" pic to deny it. Now he is going after our safety net.

    The Presidency is a powerful position which is why there are kill lists. The deals brokered decided the ACA and people going bankrupt because of prescription drugs that are unaffordable were heavily influenced by the executive. Working to kill Brown Kaufman, as the President and Tim Giethner did, is why Jamie Dimon and JP Morgan are going to get away with what you posted.

    Harry Reid also has a lot of power wasted with filibuster reform. Wasted with giving Lieberman his Homeland Security chair back after supporting McCain.

    Forget Citizens United, The system has been corrupt since 1886. Some take the opportunity to do what they can during a crisis to help fix it a la FDR, some work to make the bond and shareholders whole and ignore main street like This administration and Congress which is why 121% of the gains in this "recovery" have gone to the 1%.

    Reagan used a lesser crisis to discredit Keynesianism so those solutions would be abandoned(Carter abandoned them before that so Reagan would have that power)  even though the stagflation problem was on the supply side with 2 oil shocks and OPEC along with the fall of Bretton Woods and the adjustments to it in 1971 when Nixon took us off. The propaganda worked though for economic evil just like it worked for economic good when FDR used it.

    This is a choice by Neoliberal politicians creating the Shock Doctrine over the debt ceiling even though there are two solutions not even being talked about anymore; a high value platinum coin and invoking section IV of the 14th amendment. the system is not making Democrats go after the new Deal; make no mistake about it, they want to.

    I don't negotiate grand bargains with deficit terrorists!

    by priceman on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 12:16:52 AM PDT

  •  How about an amendment to the constitution to (0+ / 0-)

    end the outsized influence of the one percent.Public financing of all elections is the only solution I see to form a government responsive to the average voter.I see this as a logical step up for Occupy. We could make it a populist 50 state campaign.

    Since when have we Americans been expected to bow submissively to authority and speak with awe and reverence to those who represent us? William O. Douglas

    by GayHillbilly on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 01:05:35 AM PDT

  •  Most people just don't give a damn. (0+ / 0-)

    And that includes a whole bunch of libs and progressives. They're fat and happy. What does Washington, D.C. or the politicians have to do with them? You haven't gotta wander very far off this blog to encounter that attitude. I got mine, screw everybody else. Besides, I'm sick'n'tired of paying Obama's high taxes so he can hand out free phones to scumbuckets on food stamps! But, mostly they're too apathetic to even care about that. Most people just don't give a damn. And, that's exactly what ALEC and the KochBros count on. Hell, I'm surprised - shocked, even - that enough gave a damn to get off their dead ass to go out and vote for Obama last November! Shocked! Never in a million years did I figure we'd get enough out to vote. That as sad and sorry a candidate as Mittens was I fully expected him to be enough to get his base out. And beat Obama. But, all that excitement of the campaign has vanished into the ether and all those that got excited enough to stand in line to vote for Obama won't be as excited in 2014. Hell, they've all but forgotten he's president, returned to the barcolounger until Obama runs again. If we can't get the working poor excited about the Winger's War on the Working Poor - and we can't (hell, most vote Republicon) - then how we gonna get the middle class fired up enough to work for their own survival? They're all fired up listening to el Rushbo and Sean Vanity tell them The Left is all about taking away Your 'Freedom' and 'Liberty' (as if the Wingers own those words). "Code," of course, for "the (Negroes) coming for your wimmins and your property!" Vote Republicon to keep them at bay! Stand your ground! But, mostly they're too busy to give a damn about Washington, D.C. or the politicians. They get all the news they need from Hate Radio. What the sorry sunsabitches have yet to realize is Vanity et. al. aren't talking about their listeners' "freedom." Hardly. When and if those listeners finally catch on that Vanity is talking about his own Freedom, not theirs, then maybe... just maybe they'll find their way over here to the G.O.S. for some reality-based. Doubt it, but maybe. Becuz most people just don't give a damn.

  •  All we need to do is force the use of Article V. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nada Lemming

    It was deliberately placed in the Constitution to return Power to the People any time it became clear that the Politicians had sold out the country.

    It is the only peaceful way out of this current mess.

  •  dailykos contributes to broken system... (0+ / 0-)

    The first example given of how the system is broken is the need to increase Social Security benefits instead of cutting them.  Yet every campaign here on dailkykos is about petitioning, writing, emailing, and/or calling Members of Congress and ask them to not cut Social Security.  

    One of the weaknesses of Social Security is that all income over $113,000 is exempt from the payroll tax.  If that cap is lifted, Social Security is projected to pay out full benefits for at least 75 years.  And it might even be possible to increase benefits.  Earlier this month, Senator Bernie Sanders introduced a bill to make all income over $250,000 a year subject to the payroll tax.  A companion bill was introduced in the House.  Has dailykos asked its many readers to call, write, or email their Senators and/or Congressmembers to cosponsor the bill?  No!

  •  The important thing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobswern, Laurence Lewis

    is to recognize the problems and not to give up.  At least that is what I tell myself.


    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 07:42:16 AM PDT

  •  It's REALLY OUTSTANDING to see this... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Timothy L Smith, Lady Libertine

    ...post from you, "Mr. Lewis!" Perhaps, almost as important is that it's on the FRONT PAGE of this website!

    A theme of my own posts, for quite awhile, has been that there aren't two "colors" in Washington (blue and red), there's only one color, and it's green! And, that's "the real bipartisanship" that's been so successful in D.C. for so long.

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 08:39:47 AM PDT

  •  The Political System is Broken (0+ / 0-)

    And ................... What?
    Are you saying if I join the Glenn Greenwaldites and don't vote for any democrats while I sit on my butt and don't vote at all the system will magically fix itself. Yeah, the democrats are the less of 2 evils. Excuse me but that is the  message Reaganites peddled for so many years. Only Reagan didn't say he was the less of 2 evils but that was understood by two thirds of voters. He also said vote for me and the system will magically fix itself. Hocus pocus magic. Now we have Glenn Greenwald on the left peddling hocus pocus magic.

    If you believe in hocus pocus magic then by all means join the Glenn Greenwaldites. Then sit back and see what happens.

    I already know what will happen. The more things change the more they stay the same. If you want to go back and repeat the mistakes of the 1960s and 1970s then by all means sit back join the Glenn Greenwaldites and don't vote. You'll get just what you want. Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush 1 and 2 all over again. To paraphrase Shakespear, a stinking Bush by any other name would smell as bitter.

    Knowledge is Power. Ignorance is not bliss, it is suffering.

    by harris stein on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 09:43:52 AM PDT

    •  did i write (0+ / 0-)

      that you shouldn't vote for democrats?

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 09:57:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, you didn't (0+ / 0-)

        But

        "The political system is broken. The politicians will not fix it. The people must. There is no alternative."

        How? Unless 100 million people march down Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington, DC with pitchforks, shovels, iron bars, pikes, and yes, some with modern assault style weapons and sidearms, the politicians will go on ignoring the people and feed the rapacious appetites of the 1%.

        This is what the democrats in the 1960s and 1970s feared. It is what the Reaganites used to usurp the system. They scared the shit out of the democrats with the specter of armed domestic insurrection if the democrats didn't kow tow to the Reaganites.

        Knowledge is Power. Ignorance is not bliss, it is suffering.

        by harris stein on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 10:15:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  on the other hand (0+ / 0-)

          without any weapons at all, the occupy movement shook up washington. imagine if that was but the dress rehearsal.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 10:29:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Then forget about me (0+ / 0-)

            I'm not walking into a meat grinder without some means of defending myself.

            And don't for a minute think they will be gently putting you in dog cages while they feed you filet mignon. No, whether you have weapons or not, you will be treated as if you do. You will be mowed down the same way that Bashar al-Assad is mowing them down in Syria. Think about it.

            The only place your tactics will work is in western European countries. Britain, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, etc. Because those countries aren't the problem.

            You need to read Malcolm X. This is from his wikipedia page.

            "Malcolm X's expressed beliefs changed substantially over time. As a spokesman for the Nation of Islam he taught black supremacy and advocated separation of black and white Americans—in contrast to the civil rights movement's emphasis on integration. After breaking with the Nation of Islam in 1964—saying of his association with it, "I did many things as a [Black] Muslim that I'm sorry for now. I was a zombie then ... pointed in a certain direction and told to march"—and becoming a Sunni Muslim, he disavowed racism and expressed willingness to work with civil rights leaders, he continued to emphasize Pan-Africanism, black self-determination, and self-defense."

            "Malcolm X declared that he and the other members of the Organization of Afro-American Unity were determined to defend themselves from aggressors, and to secure freedom, justice and equality "by whatever means necessary", arguing that if the government was unwilling or unable to protect black people, they should protect themselves."

            http://en.wikipedia.org/...

            The economic aggressors in the 1% will only respond to the threat of violence. To paraphrase many of our recent presidents in refering to Iran. All options should be on the table.

            Knowledge is Power. Ignorance is not bliss, it is suffering.

            by harris stein on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 11:51:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  violent revolutions (0+ / 0-)

              tend to lead to violent governments. non-violent revolutions don't.

              The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

              by Laurence Lewis on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 11:54:01 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  My Point Exactly (0+ / 0-)

                You have described 1776 perfectly.

                violent revolutions tend to lead to violent governments. non-violent revolutions don't.

                And our government is one of the most violent in history. it's up there with Rome and Greece in terms of violence perpetrated against innocent people.

                And now look at what a jerk like Rand Paul believes. Employers literally have the power of life and death over employees. You have no means of legally fighting back against an employer who fires you if you won't do something that is dangerous and the employer won't allow you to use safety equipment. Then they come up with their magic free market nonsense that you go out in the labor market and find a new job with an employer who allows safety equipment. But beware the blacklist. According to Rand Paul blacklists are perfectly legal.
                And he has a mountain of legalese dating back to 1776 to back him up. And at least 30% of the population agrees with him, not to mention 4 or 5 judges on the supreme court. Sure, we have OSHA today and wage and hour laws but the forces of darkness are continually trying to repeal these.

                To go up against forces of darkness and think that the messiah will protect you is foolish and shows you are a superstitious person who believes in magic.

                Knowledge is Power. Ignorance is not bliss, it is suffering.

                by harris stein on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 12:51:56 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  the british empire (0+ / 0-)

                  was as violent as any in history. non-violence worked.

                  The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                  by Laurence Lewis on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 01:13:46 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  First of All (0+ / 0-)

                    You have to fight fire with fire. Where I live in Arizona what do wildfire crews do to stop a wildfire? They set back fires to remove fuels.

                    You aren't reading your history books. After World Wars 1 and 2, Great Britain was in debt way over its head and had to, in effect divest. The problem in south Asia was how to divest without a bloodbath between the Muslims and Hindus. Ghandi was killed by a Hindu zealot who didn't want compromise with the Muslims.

                    I applaud the occupy movement. If I was a recent college grad over my head in debt that I was unable to pay back while Rand Paul was telling me all about the magic free market I would probably think like you too. But I'm 62 years old, disabled with spondylitis and living off $1000 a month in social security. That's it. Nothing else. But I was thoughtful enough to pay off my house when I was able to. So my only debt is a car payment. But I'm looking for a job now, I have 2 college degrees, both in technology, but I am stuck because I can't sell my house. If I did sell my house I would be homeless with a little more money in the bank but I would not be able to buy another, also I can't afford rent. And the stress of moving would put me over the edge. I would wind up an invalid. And where would I go, China?

                    So how am I supposed to deal with the magic free market? I can't and I get very little help from vocational rehab. Most of them are good decent people but they are limited because they are hemmed in by government policy and the magic free market. So I'm taking some classes at the local community college to get a 3rd party certification in computer networks. Guess what? Even if I do get a certification from Cisco or CompTia I still probably won't be able to find a job. So I volunteer at the local senior center teaching computer classes to seniors and I do some handicrafts.

                    Knowledge is Power. Ignorance is not bliss, it is suffering.

                    by harris stein on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 02:04:00 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  how about eye for an eye (0+ / 0-)

                      leaving us all blind?

                      our current system is as unsustainable as was the british. the iron curtain also fell, with relatively little bloodshed.

                      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                      by Laurence Lewis on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 02:14:19 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  How about turn the other cheek (0+ / 0-)

                        No matter how you slice and dice it our enemy is not the 30% or so of hard core republicans who think Rand Paul and Paul Ryan will usher in the new capitalist utopia. And neither is Glenn Greenwald who wants to usher in the new socialist workers utopia, with him at the top of the heap of course.

                        There never was an old capitalist utopia or old socialist workers utopia. The enemy was always the 1%. 2 thousand years ago it was the Roman 1%. Then it was the 1% of the Germanic tribes of northern Europe. Finally it was the 1% of the Catholic Church from the end of the 8th century until the middle of the 14th and the Black Plague.

                        I see a pattern here. All of these 1% kept the masses in ignorance, suffering, and poverty using superstition and the threat of magic. We still enable them today clinging to magical ideas that even as our economic enemies in the 1% slowly kill us off by fouling the air and water, exacerbating climate change, while the 1% live in unimaginaeable luxury, we tell them that even though they are our enemy, we love them. That somehow that will change them as if 4000 years of the 1% never happened. No, not the hocus pocus of turn the other cheek because when the Catholic Church took power and became the 1% they decided turn the other cheek was bad policy.  

                        Knowledge is Power. Ignorance is not bliss, it is suffering.

                        by harris stein on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 04:52:52 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

  •  The main problem is easy enough to identify. . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis

    Republicans. All of them, including all of the people we know who vote them into office. All those idiots.

    The solution is to utterly discredit and decimate the Republican Party ASAP. Because that party can NEVER be rehabilitated. Where does one go from completely depraved but downward?

    How we accomplish that, soon enough for the planet, I really don't know.

    TS

    twitter: @Timeslayer_

    by Timeslayer on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 02:39:23 PM PDT

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