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Bernie Caves and Explains Why

letsgetitdone's picture
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Bernie Sanders' appearance on The Ed Show, was a sad one for me to see, because he tried to explain his joining the Democrats in voting for cloture on the Senate's health care reform bill in two ways. First, of course, he waxes enthusiastic about the tremendous good that the measly $10 billion (about 0.1 of one percent of total expenditures under the bill) he secured for funding community health centers would do for the uninsured, clearly implying that it would have a substantial effect on the 45,000 annual fatalities we now see. But second, then he moves right to the false Democratic Party talking points we've been seeing from so many Party functionaries this week, and even much earlier in relation to supporting the stronger, but still pathetic House bill.

Bernie claims that the alternative to voting for the Senate's bill, is to defeat health care reform and wait for five or ten years for another chance at reform while 45,000 annual deaths occur due to lack of insurance. And he also claims that even though he agrees with people who think this bill is a terrible one, that we can go back "the day after" we pass it and fight to improve it. I hesitate to say that Bernie is being dishonest, because I have never known him to be dishonest before. But, I'm afraid I'm in the usual position of those observing politicians of either questioning their honesty, or their intelligence.

Are we really to think that Bernie doesn't know that community health centers can't make a major difference in the fatalities, bankruptcies, and foreclosures due to lack of health insurance? Does he really think that these can reduce the expected fatalities, bankruptcies, and foreclosures by even 10%? If he did, why hasn't he brought forth a health care reform proposal to find 10 times the number of community health care centers for $10 billion annually, since, very clearly, if he believes this, such a program would completely solve these three problems at a cost of only $10 Billion annually, and only $100 Billion over 10 years, without any need for mandates and subsidies for bailing out insurance companies?

Are we also to think that he believes that if he had refused to vote for cloture, the Administration would have walked away from health care reform because it could not get 60 votes, and not taken it up again until well into its next term, or perhaps never? Can the Administration afford to do that, or given the likely press narrative of “Obama fail” isn't that an unacceptable result, leaving them no choice but to take it up again immediately? Why wouldn't the Administration and Harry Reid, in that case turn toward reconciliation to pass a bill? And why wouldn't Bernie Sanders have had a much better chance of helping to get a better bill than the current one under reconciliation? I guess the answers to these questions are just mysteries that we will never get Bernie to enlighten us about.

In addition, are we really to believe Bernie when he says that when the bill passes, the very day after 'we” can go back and try to make it a better bill? Don't we all know that if Obama gets a bill labeled health care reform, he will say that it is a great victory and that we now need to move on to other things and wait and see about further reform until we've given this “reform” a chance to work? In other words, didn't Bernie really know that if he gave Obama and Reid, a health care reform bill, their need for further health care reform legislation, and desire to push for it would be gone either for years, or at least until the polls showed that the public thought that what they passed was going to be a miserable failure?

In short, it's very difficult for me to accept that Bernie is so lacking in intelligence that he doesn't understand any of the above. So, regretfully, and sadly, I have to conclude that he, like the Senators who officially belong to the Democratic Party, is knowingly giving us a cock and bull story to prevent us from drawing the conclusion that he purely and simply caved to the pressure from his colleagues, Harry Reid, and the President.

Is this Senate so bereft of character, that not a single Senator will stand up for the American people against the corporate juggernaut? Is their not a single Senator who will tell us the truth and nothing but the truth? And are we such a broken people that we won't rise up and cast out every incumbent in either Party who casts their lot with the corporatists? Are we so far gone that we cannot even slow this march toward plutocracy?

(Also posted at firedoglake.com and the Alllifeisproblemsolving blog where there may be more comments)

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Submitted by hipparchia on

these clinics have been a project of his for some time. he introduced legislation in 2007 [and again in 2009 iirc], and they're also part of his s703 [which we almost got to hear all of in the senate just recently].

throughout much of this health care deform debate, he has maintained that the incremental solution we should be pursuing [if we're not going directly to single payer] is to drop all the insurance 'reform' malarkey and spend the money on more free clinics and iirc on subsidies to help people by catastrophic insurance.

he's gotten several of them for vermont:

if you're going to sell out, selling out for expanded free care is better than anybody else's reason so far.

eta: oops, make that low-cost health care, although i think it may be free in some cases.

Submitted by hipparchia on

sanders again introduced legislation for expanding the fqhc program. i remember seeing on cspan a hearing early in the year for this, and he has been talking it up since the beginning of the year.

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Submitted by letsgetitdone on

Bernie claims that the $1 Billion per year for community health centers he sold out for will give 25 million people access to primary health. In the piece above, I wonder why he didn't just seek to pass a $10 Billion a year community health center bill and save us all the rest of the hcr expense, After all wouldn't that give 250,000,000 access to community health centers? But seriously, if his figures are right why didn't he get together with other progressive Senators to demand something like that and get rid of the mandates? That would have had tremendous impact on the insurance business at a very low cost.

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Submitted by cwaltz on

don't do crap for you if you are unfortunate enough to have crap insurance where I live. I personally know a woman who could not afford her deductible but was turned away from one of these clinics because she "had insurance."

jumpjet's picture
Submitted by jumpjet on

I've read that the community health clinics provide generally excellent care. It would probably be better for her to go completely without health insurance and just get all her care from the clinic.

Of course, going bare is going to be illegal soon...

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

Submitted by hipparchia on

from what i've read, some of them are managed rather poorly, and many of them are just plain overwhelmed by the needs of the community around them. not to mention that there can be look-alikes too.

i've only used my local clinic since becoming uninsured, and i'm just above the income cutoff to qualify for sliding scale fees, so i pay full price [and it goes on the credit card... sigh...]. i don't know how they feel about insurance, or if they even deal with it. the one here is county-run iirc, but they can also be private nonprofits too.

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Submitted by letsgetitdone on

I tried not to bash him too much, because he's still my favorite Senator. However, I still think he should have resisted.

Had he done so, he could have had a much better bill coming out of reconciliation, and even more money for CHCs. Remember the House bill contains $14 Billion for CHCs. So, he still didn't even get as much as in HR 3962

Submitted by hipparchia on

wouldn't surprise me a bit if they would have cut funding for the clinics entirely had it not been for bernie. but heck, i don't really know, nor do i consider it my job to do legislative strategy, or even analysis of legislative strategy.

advocacy and policy analysis, those i can get into. :)

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Submitted by letsgetitdone on

There's already 14 B in the House bill for CHSs.

I still think Bernie should have forced reconciliation. Whatever they threatened him with, I don't think they would have followed through. They just be cutting off their noses to spite their faces. Vermont's the first State that would vote for a third party in a presidential election.

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Submitted by selise on

we don't know what sanders was threatened with. maybe fed defunding of medicaid and other needed stuff for his state. i wouldn't put it past them (obama/reid/etc). don't know what i would have done in that case, but i may very well have decided that my primary responsibility was to the people who elected me (that is the people of vt) and that killing the bill was not something sufficiently important to cause massive suffering in his state.

on the other hand, i wouldn't be surprised if destroying SS and/or medicare could be a bill he'd be willing to kill even if it meant punishment of the people of vt.

which would explain, in part, why killing the filibuster is all of a sudden so important. but now i'm just wildly speculating.

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Submitted by bluestorm on

The last paragraph is brilliant and heart breaking--- I think you illustrated it perfectly-- if Sanders and/ or Feingold and any ONE else had the courage to stand and fight for the public option-- that is vote NO on the Senate for cloture, it would have stopped this leviathon of corruption in its tracks. Obama/Rahm would have had to talk to these two, instead of the fucked up four. They would have had to LISTEN to us and try again. This would have given the progressives a huge opening to stir up the debate, get more facts out, recruit the middle of the roaders and show that the plutacracy can be stopped.

This is a tactical battle but no one will shoot--- except those of us on the sidelines. Someone has to vote no to get Obama's attention. He just said in an interview today that the pubic option was only 'symbolic'.

Tell that to the 45 million uninsured.... or are they just symbolic, some unreal, marginlized commodity to be 'mandated' and taxed anew.

Is there some petition to Feingold or Sanders to vote NO?

Submitted by lambert on

The public option is only symbolic. It will only cover a few million people, not enough to impact the insurance companies, and if you have existing insurance, you can't get onto the exchanges to buy it. And then there are all the cherry picking/adverse selection issues that come with leaving the insurance companies in place.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

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Submitted by letsgetitdone on

Obama tells the half-truth most of the time, but sometimes he just tells a lie.

bluestorm's picture
Submitted by bluestorm on

I was referring to the entire process, in which single payer was whittled down to public option, now to nothing. Recent headlines make clear that Obama never spoke to any senators about it-- see the Harkin, Lieberman comments.
A real public option would have covered tens of millions of people and could have evolved into a much large portion of a national plan because it would have offered lower costs to compete with the insurance plans. Eventually the insurance companies would have had to lower costs to compete and we might have then moved to single payer or something close.

Obama's comments reflect his real thinking-- never cared about it, and got the plan he wanted.

I think comments about his control of DNC and strong arming progressives
to fall in line are accurate. Obama's cynicism is breathtaking. It took me months to believe it was so complete-- but I fully understand now. I'll continue to petition and hope that someone will stand up to this plutocracy - but we need another way forward.

jumpjet's picture
Submitted by jumpjet on

Someone who will not only tell Obama 'no,' but will spit in his face while doing so. We need someone who can grind wicked gears of corporate power to a screeching halt and damn the consequences to Hell. We need someone who will strike vicious blows against monied interests and laugh triumphantly while doing so. Someone with daring.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

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Submitted by sisterkenney on

Granted, he had his drawbacks, but dam, he could rouse people and he was a populist of the old school..hell, he pushed FDR to the left!! On the other hand "if not you, then who"? Let's start kickin a** and looking for our own answers. Get our own ins co going, our own POPULIST LIBERAL party started..the stars are aligned, folks, the energy is growing, because we haven't had it this bad since the "Golden Age", and it's rapidly getting worse. Start local, get some electioms roiled, some speeches out there to get the news churning. We can start an "Emily's List" for progressive candidates. "A New Beginning Party"!

"Rule number one: pay attention"-Ded Bob

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Submitted by letsgetitdone on

We need to do all those things, and I think we will. The movement has been growing.

Submitted by gmanedit on

Did this come up in another thread? If not, http://riverdaughter.wordpress.com/2009/... "Failure was the plan," by myiq2xu. About the mysterious rise of Obama and this bill's being exactly what he and his patrons wanted.

I added two comments:

1. gmanedit, on December 22nd, 2009 at 1:19 am Said:
Well, looky here, 12/21/09: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/21/health...
“Democratic tempers flared during consideration of a Pentagon spending bill, with lawmakers suggesting that Republicans were playing politics at the expense of American troops by extending debate over the $626 billion measure as way of trying to deny Democrats time needed to pass the health care bill before Christmas.
“Democrats first thought they had Republican commitments to back the measure, but any they had were later withdrawn, settling off complaints of a double cross. Short of votes, Democrats had to prevail upon Senator Russ Feingold, an antiwar Democrat from Wisconsin, to break his pattern of opposing military spending bills and join them.”

2. gmanedit, on December 22nd, 2009 at 1:43 am Said:
It’s the Lifeboat Party.
“Back in 1932, the future Illinois Sen. Paul Douglas advised progressives not to expect too much from the Democratic Party. It was, he wrote, ‘maintained by the business interests’ as a kind of ‘lifeboat.’ Whenever the GOP ship sprung a leak—whenever Republicans were no longer willing or able to do business’s bidding—the interests simply piled into the other party and made their escape.”
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424...

Why did no one stand up?

grayslady, on December 20th, 2009 at 7:38 pm Said:
It’s not just a question of contamination, it’s a question, once again, of fundraising. If they try to act on behalf of their constituents, and against Pelosi/Reid/Obama, they’re told that there will be no re-election money from the DSCC or DCCC. The leaders will also make sure that their bills never come up in committee for a vote, much less coming up to the floor for a vote. The party system–regardless of party–is simply corrupt.

So you can vote your conscience unless they need you to do otherwise. Look at that: Feingold had to vote for war money.

Is this Senate so bereft of character, that not a single Senator will stand up for the American people against the corporate juggernaut? Is their not a single Senator who will tell us the truth and nothing but the truth? And are we such a broken people that we won't rise up and cast out every incumbent in either Party who casts their lot with the corporatists? Are we so far gone that we cannot even slow this march toward plutocracy?"

Yes. There is not. Maybe (this means voting them all out, no exceptions). I hope not.

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Submitted by letsgetitdone on

Progressives need to get rid of Pelosi and Reid. Especially Reid. The Leader in both Houses has to reflect the party platform much more and also needs to represent the legislative branch to the country.

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Submitted by madamab on

I really wish that liberals would just stop pretending that there is such a thing as a "progressive" challenger to Democratic Congresscritters. It is a pipe dream. Furthermore, I believe it is a toxic meme that prevents us from learning one of the very real lessons of 2008.

Barack Obama is now in charge of the funding for the Democratic Party. He took over the DNC in June, while still not even the nominee, and "progressives" didn't make a sound in protest. He then decided that all funding for Democratic candidates should be funnelled through the DNC and no one said a word.

Witness the results of this corruption now. Martha Coakley, a strong advocate for women's rights, has suddenly decided to withdraw her objections to the abortion restrictions in the Senate bill. Why is that? It seems very likely that Obama, as he did in the primaries, threatened to withdraw money and support from Coakley if she didn't fall in line.

And so shall it be for any new Democrat, no matter how "progressive" he/she is. As long as Obama controls the purse strings, the Democratic Party is going to do EXACTLY as he says. And the party platform is just words, just a bunch of pretty noise to keep well-intentioned liberals like yourself hanging on to hope.

We need another alternative. And we're working on it. But for Goddess' sake, please let go of the idea that some soooper-liberal Dem is going to save you.

It's not going to happen.

Never vote for people who hate you.

ERA Now!

The Widdershins

Submitted by lambert on

... that the Democratic Party is not redeemable, and that any investment in either legacy party has unacceptable opportunity costs (cf Mark 6:11). We need to strike out on our own. We don't know that a new venture will succeed, but we know that the old structures are full of FAIL.

Good point on Coakley (too lazy to find Jeralyn crowing). Could be. I can well believe that Obama's a thug, given the caucuses. "Nice little clinics you've got there, Bernie, shame if anything happened to them."

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

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Submitted by BDBlue on

that a person who just got elected to the Senate would be willing to be the only Democrat to vote against cloture and kill a bill the WH and Senate leadership desperately want. Does Coakley even have committee assignments yet?

Which is not to say that her 180 is okay, it's not and her constituents should let her know it. It's just a little early to write her off entirely because of it. A lot of Senators with a lot more tenure and influence in the Senate are caving (which is why she'd have to stand alone). Don't get me wrong, given the recent history of Democrats, I'm sure there will be plenty of reasons to write Coakley off in the future, I just think it's a bit premature to do so simply because she isn't willing to - literally - break with her entire party less than a month into her Senate term. Now, Ben Nelson, et al, are always willing to break with the party, but I think we all know that the reaction of breaking to the left would be much more severe from the WH and the Democratic leadership. It isn't true that they can't be petty and vindictive. It's just that they save it for liberals.

"Do what you feel in your heart to be right -- for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't. " - Eleanor Roosevelt

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Submitted by madamab on

she is not even in the Senate yet AFAIK! However, the turnaround is shocking, and telling.

But I am not writing her off completely, I am writing ALL DEMOCRATS off completely until the funding control for their campaigns no longer goes directly through the Chicago Machine.

We have several choices, as I see it:

1) New funding for anti-incumbent candidates. Oh, that I were a billionaire!
2) The Justice Party. (See: Socks, Violet.)
3) Completely and TOTALLY discredit Obama, FROM THE LEFT. This is what PUMA was trying to do before it was infiltrated with Republican ratf*ckers. Get a new, non-evil group in charge of the Democrats.
4) Lysistrata: Say no to all voting and contributing until our former Party starts representing us.
5) Start a Women's Party based solely on one concept: Getting the ERA passed.

We may have to do a combination of all of these in order to get any form of social progress in this country. And, it may take DECADES. (Remember, it took the conservatives 40 years to take over the Republican Party.)

Never vote for people who hate you.

ERA Now!

The Widdershins

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Submitted by DavidByron on

Are you aware that men's rights groups supported the ERA and requested to give testimony about it before congress but (unlike women's groups) were denied the opportunity? Are you aware that the ERA was stopped pretty much by a movement of conservative women? And are you aware that the ERA is now considered (rightly) to be a huge step backwards for women's privileges over men for much the same reasons that the Eagle forum gave for opposition at the time? that eg. the national Organisation for Women now asks for CEA (an explicitly sexist amendment) not ERA?

Given all that, the call for an all-women's party in support of ERA is to put it mildly a bit ironic.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

but I don't think his rewriting of history shoud stand.

Not one link in his comment, and there's a reason why.

NOW on the ERA:

http://www.now.org/issues/constitution/i...

There is a Women's Equality Amendment (not "CEA" - what the hell is that?), which is what some legislators now call the ERA. The President of NOW also supports the WEA. But they obviously have not given up their support for the ERA in favor of it.

Oh, and yes, a conservative woman (Phyllis Schafly) helped to stop the ERA. Actually, most conservative women are against it. Does that mean all women are against the ERA, or that it wouldn't be a good idea to have a woman's Party that supports the ERA?

[cricket cricket cricket]

I don't know what Neanderthal hole in the Interwebz this guy came from, but I'm sure glad he's gone.

Never vote for people who hate you.

ERA Now!

The Widdershins

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Submitted by gqmartinez on

If anything. To see so many promising people fold so easily has been shocking. I can see Pelosi and Reid being careerists, but some of these other folks--including Sanders and Krugman--cave has me scratching my head. Are they all just so lame after all?

Only tyrants rig elections.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

and the promise to withhold it should they disobey Obama's edicts.

A Senate campaign costs tens of millions of dollars. How are Senators going to get that money if the DNC/DSCC doesn't provide it?

Never vote for people who hate you.

ERA Now!

The Widdershins

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

They'll have to learn to use the net.

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Submitted by letsgetitdone on

Krugman is lame and often is centrist, especially when his own economics is not getting gored. Sanders? I still don't know why he folded. The best explanation may be that he really believes that these community health care centers can be the seed of single-payer.

Submitted by hipparchia on

[krugman]. but fortunately not in a blue dog kind of way.

bernie believes in the clinics no matter what, and he's right imnsho. regardless of what kind of payment system we end up with, we need more clinics like these. the one i've used before is one of the few alternatives we have here to the emergency room on saturday or late afternoon / early evening weekdays. i'd love to see more of them, and with expanded hours.

Submitted by gmanedit on

Yes, it was all over when he moved the DNC to Chicago, commandeered the state organizations, and decreed that all money go through him.

Please keep repeating your comment as often as necessary. People still have some illusions.

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Submitted by letsgetitdone on

Where are the DNC and DCCC going to get money? Not from the net this time around. Not from me, not from you, not from anyone here or at FDL, or other progressive organizations. It's possible that none of the veal pen organizations will survive this health care debacle. So there will be new fund raisers and new progressive organizations. This opens up the possibility that those who refuse to fall into line will have some funds available to them, since Obama will no longer be sucking up those funds. We've still got three years to organize before the election.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

lets, what a painful and gratifying read your blog and the thread. Thank you for spelling it out. I woke up today hoping Feingold stood strong. Apparently not.

Ralph Nader ... no one mentioned Ralph ... has been calling it for so long and so honestly. And yet when he refused to play on the team in 2000 he can not be forgiven. And when Feingold voted for impeachment of Clinton, yes Clinton ... that must have rocked the Dem team, huh? A tipping point.

Maybe we should back Nader full throttle. Has been around so long. I was actually hoping Obama would invite Nader and Edwards pre-scandal to brainstorm with him. How naive was I, eh?

The Naders, the Feingolds, the Kuciniches, labeled iconoclasts ... moral rogues in a world of amorality as status quo.

And that darn corporate media .... so hypnotically sabotaging and disinforming.

Ralph... you see profiles of him and his old Raiders slap their faces and have so much love/hate frustration with him, it gives one serious pause and it should. But still. He calls it right. And Cindy Sheehan, her emotionalism so justified is unsettling in our anti-feeling culture. Ralph, so stern and angry ... calls it. Cindy ... so intense and righteous, so easily dismissed by the cooler than school patriarchy.

I was writing about supporting HR676 and then Bernie's amendment and Single Action Payer site kept posting about Bernie's clay feet that was so disturbing.

We do need leadership. Wondering about Jonathan Tasini in NY and intending to work for him in the new year.

Obama ... is he a power and control addict ... or is he a head waiter for the plutocracy?

So Justice Party? The Green Party?

The struggle with Jane H. over at FDL, reflected the personal but also where the struggle is with the Progressives and Dems right now.

Still 76% of the country was for single payer or public option. These bastards discount that so easily. The 1% calling the shots totally. And how many of us wanted wars to end? And wars for corporate profits. So baldly done now.

We gotta take this to the mattresses!!!

Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare. (Japanese proverb)

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Submitted by letsgetitdone on

I agree that we have to.

I'd really like not to go with Ralph. I think we need someone who will be open to Modern Monetary Theory and who will bring in people like Jamie Galbraith, Warren Mosler, and Elizabeth Warren to the Administration.

I think that's Dennis, if we could somehow get by the Media's continuous dissing of him. But also, off what I've seen so far, I think I might prefer Elizabeth Warren to almost anyone. She has a world of principles and guts. I don't think she'd sell us out.

Submitted by lambert on

I don't see Nader as a standard bearer; it feels like looking back and not forward. Kucinich strikes me as a less than ideal communicator, which is part of the job description. I'd vote for Warren in a heartbeat. I wonder if we could draft her?

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

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Submitted by DavidByron on

If the pwoggies are to make genuine changes in their thinking and not just uselessly make some off-year grumblings about how they hate what they are chained to, then they must reach the point of saying "Nader was right".

In as much as a standard bearer is not a king / leader, Nader makes an excellent standard bearer. He is hard to have a neutral view of.

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

About a lot of things. Nor did he cost Gore the election as so many charge. But having said both of those things, I can't agree that he was right in his approach to economic policy, and I will not support anyone who believes in balanced budgets as an article of faith. That is such BS, that it makes me see red every time I read it.

The person who leads us has to be able to say, we're going to do what is necessary to rebuild our country and if inflation starts, then we're going to tax the rich first to create greater equality while we're bringing it under control.

Submitted by hipparchia on

we're going to do what is necessary to rebuild our country and if inflation starts, then we're going to tax the rich first to create greater equality while we're bringing it under control.

i just thought this needed repeating.

i'm a die-hard keynesian so i agree with you on balanced budgets, though i wouldn't mind too terribly if it were used as an excuse to cut way back on 'defense' spending and to tax the bejeebers out of the rich. then of course, we'd have to 'balance' all that revenue by providing free health care for everyone, free college, free child care, free ....

iirc there were polls showing that a substantial percentage of nader voters would have just stayed home and voted for nobody if he hadn't run. i liked gore better than nader [and i was a ralph nader fan from waaaay back] and hold-your-nose voted for al in spite of his choice of lieberman for vp. ugh.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

I think if we had a humanist paradigm shift, then leadership would have this healthy partnership and cooperation bent ... whereby the good ideas of Nader, of Edwards, Krugman, Kucinich, etc.... will be invited to the table. Obama's faux round table ... heart breaking.

If Warren were in charge, she would invite wholesome collaboration I am sure.

If it is NOT a patriarchal system, then the best and the brightest and the most efficient and smart and honorable would be heard from.

Thinking of the hatchet job done on Brooksley Born.

Patriarchy ... fights dirty ... and is like the captain of the Titanic. Willful and unhearing.

Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare. (Japanese proverb)

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Submitted by letsgetitdone on

But what I see from her appearances I really like. She seems to be afraid of nothing.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

And developing a new source of funding is indeed going to be key.

I would say, though, that Obama and his cronies don't need our money. And I'm quite sure the big regressive blogs will be just fine. They are simply arms of the Democratic Party now, like Fox is to the Repubs.

Never vote for people who hate you.

ERA Now!

The Widdershins

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

But how much did Obama get from regular people? Hundreds of millions? If we can get that, it's enough to compete.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

See here.

In any case, I didn't donate any money to Obama, but I would donate to, say, The White House Project. I don't think we should necessarily look to his donors as a source of alternate funding. Some may decide to support a more liberal candidate/candidates/Party, whereas others may stick with Obama and the Dems, believing in the Progressive Pony till the bitter end.

I continue to believe that the best way to approach a true change in social justice is to elect women, but if we don't give them a way to stand up for themselves outside the Democratic Party, we aren't going to be doing them, or ourselves, a lot of good.

Never vote for people who hate you.

ERA Now!

The Widdershins

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Submitted by letsgetitdone on

It has to be through the Net. Perhaps there are new Web 3.0 applications we can use to make small donation fund raising from individuals viable as a funding source. To fund a whole new Party and be competitive we may need to raise $500 from 10 million individuals. Those individuals have to believe in our program and and also that our candidates will keep faith with it once they hold office.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

Is all it's cracked up to be for fundraising. I think Obama and his supporters hyped it way, wayyyy too much. Obama got most of his money from bundling and corporations, not "small donors."

The idea that the average liberal activist will contribute $500 is not realistic IMHO. A lot of us are not "creative class" enough for that.

My stepmom and I are both thinking about how to find alternate sources of income for our candidates. Although she worked for Obama in 2008, she is as sick of the male-dominated system as I am. She is in DC, knows a lot of wealthy people and has a lot of energy and commitment. I also have some contacts in NY I could speak with.

We would be smart, I think, to explore this avenue as well.

Never vote for people who hate you.

ERA Now!

The Widdershins

Submitted by lambert on

This discussion is reminding me of a discussion of the North Korean war in a wonderful book called Military Misfortunes: An Anatomy of Failure in War, which I commend to everyone's attention, especially the failure matrix methodology.

One reason that the Americans did so badly when the Chinese attacked over the Yalu River was that the leadership assumed that the Chinese army was built to the same model as the North Korean army they had just defeated (which IIRC lined up its tanks wheel-to-wheel as if they were assaulting Moscow, having been armed and trained by the Russians). In fact, the two armies were completely different: Different doctrine, different order of battle, different tactics... Everything. The Red Army was a different paradigm entirely: Much more light-weight than the North Koreans, not road bound, deceptive, appearing out of nowhere at night and so forth (military historians will correct me). And although the Marines crippled them in the retreat from Chosin Reservoir, the American Fifth Army simply disintegrated under their assault.

Where I'm going with this is that the legacy parties are the American army here. And I'm concerned that focusing on "how much money we'll need" when doctrine, order of battle, and tactics are yet to be decided is premature and even dangerous. To continue the metaphor, if we adopt the same mechanized model that the North Koreans did -- a smaller, slower, and above all less well-funded version of the legacy model with different desired outcomes -- we'll almost certainly lose and/or be absorbed; Violet's principles, wonderful though they are, are not enough. On the other hand, if adopt a different paradigm*, like the Chinese did, the legacy parties may not even begin to engage with us until it is too late for them. Let's not keep doing what hasn't worked. I hasten to add that I don't know how to do this; I'm a writer only. But we need to be on the lookout. I'm 100% certain I'm not the only person thinking this way.

Alternative models include membership organizations and, if we're looking for a very successful model of a distributed, local-to-local organization that doesn't need a ton of funding and is driven by core principles (as opposed to "leadership" at the top of the food chain), we could do worse than look to AA. I'm betting there are also feminist models that I'm not knowledgeable about.

NOTE This is not to trash madamab's thinking, just to say that "the ask" needs to be clear, and might not be nearly as clear as we imagine it to be.

NOTE * I'm not advocating that deception be part of our arsenal, by the way. Quite the reverse.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

This is a great comment, lambert. Fund raising for the movement has to be secondary to building the movement itself. Raising adequate funds will be a by-product of building the movement, or express this more precisely, the funding base will co-evolve with the movement itself. We're not talking about conventional marketing in building the movement. We're talking instead about creating a structure within which people can self-organize and commit to the movement on their own terms and in the context of their own social connections. If we can build it that way the legacy parties won't even see us coming, because their top-down models will be disconnected from what is happening at the social network level.

Submitted by lambert on

First, thanks for the "back at ya" which restates what I had in mind more clearly than I was able to.

Second, let me hammer you with "opportunity cost." If you had to make the choice between building the system you have just described, and joining the anti-filibuster fight, which would you choose? And why do you not think that's not a choice? I grant that with framing, anything's possible, but...

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

I think your question is at the heart of the matter. I don't think it's a choice because working to beat the filibuster is just one of the things I think can really help with building a movement. One thing that's really bad for a movement is the sense of helplessness that the system can't be changed. the filibuster supports that feeling of helplessness. Just look at what's happened this year, not only in relation to hcr, but also on the slow progress of legislation of various kinds through Congress, and also the highly inadequate legislation passed in the areas of credit card reform and the economic stimulus. Stuff like that convinces voters that their vote was futile. That the Democratic victory didn't mean anything.

Now, we propose to go out there and organize a new movement and a new Party, and people look at that and think "well, we've learned that it's not enough to win the majority." So, it's hard to persuade them that supporting us will do some good, But if the filibuster goes, and a few pieces of legislation get through that otherwise would not, then people will begin to see that some change is possible and our movement will have an easier time getting started.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

what you're talking about?

I did.

Practical experience means something in this discussion, I would hope.

Yes, we can say what we believe in and have clear principles - that is a great starting point and absolutely necessary - but I would caution you about three things:

1) People on the Net are not always who they seem to be. Get to know people very well before you agree to any enterprise with them. Talk to them face to face SEVERAL TIMES before proceeding.

2) Have a plan of action - a long-term, clear plan. And have an idea where the money is coming from. Hint: IT'S NOT FROM THE NET UNLESS YOU'RE FIREDOGLAKE.

3) Make sure at least one attorney is involved.

I would also ask you to please don't waste your intellectual capital on procedural issues like the filibuster. No one cares about it out there in the real world. There's no blood in it.

The real problem is that the American people voted for change, and they didn't get it. Simple as that. And, they realize they won't get change with the Repubs either. Hence, the malaise and the depression my co-blogger, chatblu, noticed at her holiday parties.

You will notice that the word "filibuster" is not being mentioned, but the word "fiasco" is.

Food for thought.

Never vote for people who hate you.

ERA Now!

The Widdershins

Submitted by lambert on

All of it. All of these are great points to take into account.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

But not about the filibuster. For reasons I've stated above it's part of the problem and getting rid of it will be great for us.

DavidByron's picture
Submitted by DavidByron on

Male dominated? Patriarchal? Women's only party? Electing people on the basis of their gender? You are a very sexist person. You need to cut that out.

In case you hadn't noticed the first and most powerful branch of the US government -- ie the legislature -- is currently headed up by a woman and has been for years. So maybe we're in a female dominated society now? Or perhaps it bullshit (as well as highly offensive) to try and make a logical leap from the gonads of the top leader in a country to some sort of gender based ideological nonsense?

Women politicians are no more pure minded than male politicimore ans just as women are no pure minded than men -- although maybe you disagree with that statement too?

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

But I think we can raise a whole lot of money on the Net if people are mad enough. The connectivity the Net provides is till growing. If it can help in generating social movements where people are willing to risk their lives (as in Iran), it can also work to fund a political movement.

DavidByron's picture
Submitted by DavidByron on

In addition to Lambert's point because it's not just the official bribes for re-election that count but all the rest of it like all the lecture circuit money the top jobs for family members and all the perks of that class. The bribery system isn't open to us. It's not a fair and open system.

They don't want and can't take your money.

That's assuming that you even figured out how to be a player right to begin with.

If you compete on the basis of greed you lose. I suggest you appeal to virtues. There lies your strength.

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

of competing on money. It's matter of having enough to get our messages out, and stop them from getting drowned out.

DavidByron's picture
Submitted by DavidByron on

The veal pen is going to do just fine. That's kind of the point. They are behaving as they are because they perceive their interests are aligned with Obama. I believe they have a better handle on their interests and what benefits they will get than you do. They aren't about to lose all funding due to an army of correct thinking pwoggies being turned on to the truth. Ain't gonna happen.

I mean what tiny proportion of Democratic voters or liberal voters were turned off by Obama's recent antics? Was it even ten percent? I don't think you could win a majority support for these views (to cut off the veal pen economically) even at a place like FDL.

Before you can get much of anywhere with all of those plans you need to get a lot more people thinking a lot more clearly. But you cannot even do that within a blog like FDL let alone a somewhat more conservative blog that nevertheless is supposed to be a "left" (by the lights of US politics) such as Huffington Post, Daily Kos etc.

So you shouldn't think in terms of what a majority can do for quite a while. This was a strength of Jane Hamsher's model for using (in effect) the Republican party to get progressive legislation by threatening to join them. ie using a small minority to threaten some action to get something.

Submitted by lambert on

Something new has to be tried.

The scenery always seems solid until somebody punches a hole in it.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

DavidByron's picture
Submitted by DavidByron on

To a certain extent it is a false dichotomy. I basically agree with you obviously but two points,

(1) I think Jane Hamsher's approach has a lot of merit if only because without really trying to play the game she won't be able to prove to pwoggies how slanted the table is. For example that $400,000 she raised went down the drain and now you can point to that and say, "See? You can't even bribe the ones who are supposed to be on our side!" Similarly if she ever gets one liberal senator to vote against cloture (seems unlikely at this stage) Olympia Snow will flip-flop to become the 60th vote allowing you to say, "See? it's a totally rigged game!"

(2) it seems to me that the first few steps are identical regardless of whether you choose an inside or outside path. Those steps being education and a sense of separate identity from the Democrats as a whole.

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

here as well.

Submitted by lambert on

We can't compete if the ground of the competition is money. We'll always be outgunned. So we have to seek another way.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

That our candidates have enough money and votes to not need the Democratic Party. That's about it.

If our candidates are going to be seduced by a lot of money, then the Party will get them. However, if our candidates don't do what we want them to do, we can agree to withhold our votes. We can compete there, I believe.

Never vote for people who hate you.

ERA Now!

The Widdershins

sisterkenney's picture
Submitted by sisterkenney on

people who are not invested in having a political career. People who are committed to SERVING their principles and the greater good of their constituents, and not CAREER politicians. BTW, whatever happened to the concept of the citizen-politician? Service as a SACRIFICE, not as a stepladder to a sinecure? I would gladly throw myself onto the 3rd rail of SP for 1 term in Congress, as I'm sure would many others. We need to find those viable candidates!

"Rule number one: pay attention"-Ded Bob

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

And we will mostly be outgunned. However, the Democrats were always outgunned in money by the Republicans in the old days, but they still were the majority Party, nevertheless. In addition, we can raise hundreds of millions of dollars and perhaps even more, depending on how quickly we adapt to new web technology, so perhaps we can cut their monetary advantage substantially.