Democrats & Liberals Archives

The M-Street Project

The People are the rightful owners of the United States, and we employ the government. Why are we allowing our employees to take over the country and sell it off on the K-Street auction block? How many corporations would idly stand by while their employees staged a hostile takeover and liquidation right before their eyes?

    "Foreign influence is truly the Grecian horse to a republic. We cannot be too careful to exclude its influence." — Alexander Hamilton, Pacificus, No. 6, July 17, 1793

We the Special Interests

The K-Street lobbyists are given powerful access to our representatives, but how much access do "we the people" get from those who are supposed to be representing us? Sure, we can call their office and talk to the receptionist; we can send their assistant a letter by e-mail or post, and wait for the form letter response; we may be able to make an appointment to talk to them in person. But none of these things even come close to the power that large lobbying groups have in Congress.

    "If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify." — Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 33, January 3, 1788


Tear up K-Street and Repave Main Street

I have noticed that the Democrats have been holding a lot of town hall meetings recently. These meetings are not staged "Republican-style" rhetoric press conferences, either. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) recently held a town hall meeting in liberal San Francisco, [RealPlayer Video 1 hr. 50 min. C-SPAN] where she apparently is not liberal enough. Her constituents in the audience pounded her, for her stance on the Iraq war, her views on Bush impeachment, and New Orleans. As I watched the outrage of some in the audience, I thought 'what if all of our Representatives and Senators were required to face their constituents in open and uncensored town hall style meetings on a regular basis?'

If I knew I were going to be in that situation on say a quarterly basis, I would make sure I knew what was going on with legislation, and think twice about the work I did in Congress. Today, due to the Internet and C-SPAN, the public has access to more information about the government than any other time in history; yet, so many seem so indifferent to what is happening in Washington. Is it because they believe we are powerless?

    "I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do." — Edward Everett Hale (1822-1909)

How To Run a Town Hall Meeting

Open the hall to all the people, and encourage a free exchange of ideas and criticism; answer honest questions with honest answers. One town hall meeting, in particular, that caught my attention was held by Rep. Jack Murtha (D-PA) and Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) [RealPlayer Video 2 hr. 30 min. C-SPAN2] held January 5, in Washington, DC. I encourage everyone to watch this video. It is two and a half-hours long, but is very informative and well worth the time.

    "We have the greatest opportunity the world has ever seen, as long as we remain honest - which will be as long as we can keep the attention of our people alive. If they once become inattentive to public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, judges and governors would all become wolves." — Thomas Jefferson

How Not To Run a Town Hall Meeting (or, Throw Away Your Lunesta)

Flood the hall with coached partisan supporters; remove anyone who speaks out; put the audience to sleep with a long boring speech full of rhetoric; and answer the real questions after the event is over. Ken Mehlman, RNC Chairman held a "town hall meeting" on Minority Outreach. [RealPlayer Video 1 hr. 25 min. C-SPAN] Notice at 11:34 when someone in the audience speaks up, he is immediately removed from the room to the cheers of the audience (quite a difference from the Nancy Pelosi town meeting). If you watch this all the way through, Howard Dean conducts a town hall meeting starting at about 51:40. This meeting loosely follows the Mehlman setup, although it is much more relaxed, and without the cue card sounding responses.

    "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins; all of them imaginary." — H.L. Mencken

The Teamsters are Number 2, But They Try Harder

Together we are the strongest, most powerful union in the world. The people are the ultimate check and balance on the power of the government. Only when we let our voice be heard loudly and with force can we reclaim what is rightfully ours. No amount of lobby reform will be effective until we hold Congress accountable. Right now, is the time to speak out and say enough is enough. We need real and enforceable oversight on all branches of government, which includes transparency and easy public access to those who work for us. Congress will pass lobby reform, but they will only pass the bare minumum that gets them through another election cycle.

    "Find out just what the people will submit to and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress." — Frederick Douglass, civil rights activist, Aug. 4, 1857

Download RealPlayer

Posted by JayJay Snow at January 23, 2006 4:30 AM
Comments
Comment #115825

JayJay:

Together we are the strongest, most powerful union in the world.

Unfortunately, our union is divided almost equally between two leadership factions, which weakens the power of the union.

There are two types of power in play: the power to take control, and the power to stop the other guy from taking control. Being so evenly divided, the first version of power is not so strong as the second.

I’ll use as an example two Indian nations in upstate NY. One nation had one strong leader who transformed the tribe into a money machine, with casinos, golf courses, hotels etc. The other nation had 4 strong leaders, each of whom had enough strength to derail the other 3 from taking control. This tribe has been in virtual gridlock for years. I’m not advocating the position of the first tribe—they have money, but may have lost their heritage and their soul. But they certainly have not been gridlocked.

Because we essentially have only 2 parties that can conceivably win elections, and because our “union” (the people) is split on who should lead, we lean towards gridlock.

I’m not in total agreement with VOID, in part because neither side is able to trust the other side to do their part. It was the same with Russia in the arms race—if the US and USSR could have truly trusted each other to destroy nuclear arms, we could have done away with them. But neither side could trust the other. So too it is with Dems and Repubs.

We do need to create term limits, or at least get rid of the gerrymandering system that allows incumbents to win 90+% of elections.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at January 23, 2006 8:35 AM
Comment #115826

Well jay jay, maybe there are too few people that see this the way we do.
Maybe they are being to short sighted, have a special interest or maybe they are simply too trusting.
Not until the Police show up on thier door to inform them that items were taken do they open their eye’s (bye bye liberty)
I would never allow one of my employees to get away with this! ever ! Would you ? That is what makes me so upset, HE does work for me and I want to fire him.
I am not his only boss…
but I do have a voice , one that is just coming to appreiciate the full force with which I can speak, help for the future and teach as I learn.
As my Mother always said “You have to stand for something or you will lay down for anything” (insert an Irish accent) :) but many Americans are lying down before this admin. and before the world. You use your voice well. You are so resourceful, keep up the good work.

Posted by: gypsyirishgirl at January 23, 2006 8:57 AM
Comment #115829

Jay jay, your links to the c-span videos don’t work :\ is there anyway you could repost them?

-einghf

Posted by: einghf at January 23, 2006 9:15 AM
Comment #115830

Jayjay, nm *smacks forehead* I just haven’t loaded realplayer yet… sorry. BTW great post.

-einghf

Posted by: einghf at January 23, 2006 9:26 AM
Comment #115857

It would be a rare individual that could lead a diverse group of opinions. It is much easier to just pander to them.

Posted by: Schwamp at January 23, 2006 11:25 AM
Comment #115870
I have noticed that the Democrats have been holding a lot of town hall meetings recently. These meetings are not staged “Republican-style” rhetoric press conferences, either. Representative Nancy Pelosi recently held a town hall meeting in liberal San Francisco, [RealPlayer Video 1 hr. 50 min. C-SPAN] where she apparently is not liberal enough.

O really, If there not “Republican Style” then why don’t they come here to a conservtive county? Why go to liberal towns?

Both Democrats and Republicans are guilty of selling America to the highest bidder. Of course yaall liberals won’t admit it but its true just the same.
Both parties need to be thrown out of power.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 23, 2006 12:44 PM
Comment #115873

Both parties need to be thrown out of power.

—————-

I concurr. And I also agree that even “liberals” should go to conservative areas and the same should be true of “conservatives”. We should make our politicians sweat before they get in office, we need to see the point at which these people start to come unraveled, we need to strip away the layer of BS built into politicians, we need people actually committed to governance in a way that makes life better for us all.

You need to hear the agruements of those on the other side of the aisle, with an open mind be prepared to change your position, as well as realize when some arguements hold little or no water.

Sounds like utopia, or at least utopia’s formula.

Posted by: tree hugger at January 23, 2006 1:10 PM
Comment #115875

JayJay:

The attached link shows Bush being more open to taking questions from the audience and responding to them with real information, not just talking points. Maybe he read your post and decided he likes it. :)

http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/01/23/bush.ap/index.html

Posted by: joebagodonuts at January 23, 2006 1:17 PM
Comment #115879
Why go to liberal towns?

Ron,

The point of a town hall meeting is that you go in front of your constituents. They are the ones each House Representative needs to answer to. Presidents and Senators have much larger constituencies, and I agree with you, they need to go in front of all their constituents, whether conservative or liberal.

If you watch the Howard Dean town hall meeting, it took place in conservative Tennessee; Dean addressed this exact concern. He comments that the Democratic Party will never again write off a region of the country. There is no such thing as a red state, all states are purple.

I agree with your assessment of both parties selling off America, that is the whole point of this post. All representatives, regardless of party, should have to answer to their constituents on a regular basis, not just in an election year. It is the duty of all the people to stop this wholesaling of our country; it is within our power and authority to do it.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at January 23, 2006 1:47 PM
Comment #115893

JayJay-

It is within our power and authority, but not in our will. The average American could not care less about what we talk about here. He or she is more interested in the latest scandal out of Hollywood or “American Idol”, or the Super Bowl.

To take power and authority requires thinking, something most folks are dead set against. This is one reason the voter turnout is so low and incumbents keep getting reelected.

So long as there are groceries on the shelf, gas in the car, and the latest tunes on my ipod, why should I worry about a bunch of crooks in Washington? They are all the same. Yes, they are all the same, because we have allowed them to be. We don’t hold our elected representatives responsible for anything! We just keep on electing the same old gang time after time.

What will it take to change this? I don’t have a clue. I only know that it’s beginning to look like my mother was right. Before she died in 1988, she told my dad that she was glad it was almost over, that she had seen the best this country had, and it wasn’t good enough.

Posted by: John Back at January 23, 2006 3:17 PM
Comment #115898

“It is the duty of all the people to stop this wholesaling of our country; it is within our power and authority to do it”

Its too late JayJay.
Both sides are afraid to have the other side in power and will stick to voting for the 2 big ones. Reps whined and cried about Clinton, blah, and were ignored. Now they have a chance to do what’s right, but have chosen instead to ignore.

The Constitution has been trashed while each side sat idly by and made excuses. Our gov’t controls the people now and it doesnt want to give the power back to the people. With a divided people, they know they have nothing to worry about.

The sides have been picked and the lines have been drawn. What’s best for the country now comes after what’s best for the party.
IMO, the only thing that will change it, will be war.

Yes, I really do believe our country is that far gone.

Posted by: kctim at January 23, 2006 3:37 PM
Comment #115911

A majority elected Bush,1st time in a long time a President recieved a MAJORITY.The minority is the minority because they no longer represent the majority and until they do they wiil remain the minority.That is how a democracy works.

Posted by: RDAVIDC at January 23, 2006 4:32 PM
Comment #115957

So long as there are groceries on the shelf, gas in the car, and the latest tunes on my ipod, why should I worry about a bunch of crooks in Washington? They are all the same. Yes, they are all the same, because we have allowed them to be. We don’t hold our elected representatives responsible for anything! We just keep on electing the same old gang time after time.

What will it take to change this? I don’t have a clue. I only know that it’s beginning to look like my mother was right. Before she died in 1988, she told my dad that she was glad it was almost over, that she had seen the best this country had, and it wasn’t good enough.

——————————

She was very right. Great post, btw.

Posted by: tree hugger at January 23, 2006 6:39 PM
Comment #115960

A majority elected Bush,1st time in a long time a President recieved a MAJORITY.The minority is the minority because they no longer represent the majority and until they do they wiil remain the minority.That is how a democracy works.

——

You’ve been had man.

Whats sad is that the repblicrooks have learned the exact combonation of buzzwords to get elected without having to actually do anything. What is sadder is that the best idea by the Demotards to counter this BS is to copy it and hope it works for them too.

You want a party that stands for something, vote 3rd party. Otherwise your wasting your breath and your brain waves if you think the Republicrooks and the Democraps actually give a damn about you and then actually have the ideas to change things for the better.

Enjoy that truth sandwhich.

Posted by: tree hugger at January 23, 2006 6:44 PM
Comment #115967

“A majority elected Bush,1st time in a long time a President recieved a MAJORITY.”

Yeah, 51% of 58% of Americans sure is a tremendous wellspring of support, and surely indication that everything’s hunky-dory. I’m not one of these 3rd party zealots (our electoral system won’t really support it), but I do stand firmly with the “they’re all crooks and it’s gonna take a war” crowd. Several years ago, after a few too many, I made the comment that I felt like we were in the last days of Rome, and nothing that’s happened since has changed my mind a bit.

Posted by: Arr-squared at January 23, 2006 7:30 PM
Comment #116000

kctim

“IMO, the only thing that will change it, will be war.”

Wow, Do you think a leader that is worth a bleep would then come out of the woodwork and lead?
Or do you have somebody in mind?

Because, I have heard (in crowds Or Lines etc…)All over the country, the public talking about just that for years now and I wonder at times if there is a plan out there ?

Posted by: gypsyirishgirl at January 23, 2006 9:36 PM
Comment #116036

Before we resort to war, why not simply do the one, simple, common-sense, non-partisan, inexpensive, safe, peaceful, responsible thing we should have been doing all along ?

Why not simply vote out (or recall) all irresponsible incumbents, until they pass some badly-needed, common-sense, no-brainer reforms (i.e. campaign finance reform, election reform, one-purpose-per-bill amendment, balanced-budget amendment, tax reform, etc.) ?

Isn’t that what voting is supposed to be all about ? Afterall, didn’t many risk life and limb to provide us the right to vote. As long as we still have the right to vote, we ought to learn how to use it wisely to remove irresponsible incumbents, and keep doing it until they realize their careers will be short if they refuse to pass the badly-needed, common-sense, no-brainer reforms needed to make government responsible and accountable too.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 23, 2006 11:28 PM
Comment #116042

d.a.n.

Well said !!

Posted by: gypsyirishgirl at January 23, 2006 11:57 PM
Comment #116054

Jay Jay Snowman,

Excellent editorial.

Don’t forget E street, you know the energy cartel:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/23/politics/23leases.html?th&emc=th

Life’s gettin’ better all the time.

Define “ownership society”. Would the definition really be “we own society”. You can figure out who the “we” is on your own.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at January 24, 2006 2:02 AM
Comment #116062

Joebag,
In response to your post:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
JayJay:

The attached link shows Bush being more open to taking questions from the audience and responding to them with real information, not just talking points. Maybe he read your post and decided he likes it. :)

http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/01/23/bush.ap/index.html

Posted by: joebagodonuts at January 23, 2006 01:17 PM
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
I went along with a few other friends and we were directed to an area just this side of Hell in Topeka after they saw our protest signs. We were dressed well, but not overdressed.

Of course it’s reasonable to sheild the President from threats, but we got everything short of a strip and cavity search and we were directed away. Our weapon was protest signs.

We wouldn’t want reality to get too close to this Presidente’. Anyone that earns less than a million bucks a year that doesn’t see the threat from this administration is just plain stupid.

PERIOD

KansasDem


Posted by: KansasDem at January 24, 2006 2:38 AM
Comment #116113

Tree Hugger,Pewk.

Posted by: RDAVIDC at January 24, 2006 7:15 AM
Comment #116130

Arr-squared,A MAJORITY is a MAJORITY and it is working better than you are willing to admit.Better,not perfect.The Democrats and Repubs both spend unwisely,because they each have their special interest groups to satisfy.They both need to cut out the pork.We need to pay more attention to what they do and not what they say they do.P.S. to treehugger,I and my wife voted once for a 3rd party (Perot)and Clinton won.My wife has not voted since and I’ll not do that again.If you bet on a horse that can’t win,you’re wasting your money.Back a horse that can win,and hope the jockey heads toward the finish line going in the right direction and doesn’t sit down and do nothing or turn around and run away.If he doesn’t win,don’t give him more expensive oats,whip him harder!

Posted by: RDAVIDC at January 24, 2006 7:53 AM
Comment #116159

gypsy
“Do you think a leader that is worth a bleep would then come out of the woodwork and lead?
Or do you have somebody in mind?”

I believe somebody, I have no idea who, will soon stand up and take the role, much in the way MLK did.
But, IMO, it will be for their respected party. Did you know the number of militia’s and militia members grew something like 10x during clintons reign of terror? Look how strong the anti Republican camp in those crowds and lines you spoke about, is today.
The people are afraid of each other instead of the govt and that is how the govt wants it.

d.a.n
“Why not simply vote out (or recall) all irresponsible incumbents”

I hope that happens.
But, as I said, it is my opinion that we, as a people, are too far gone to accomplish that now. We are a divided country and divided country’s fall.

Posted by: kctim at January 24, 2006 9:47 AM
Comment #116289

KansasDem:

I’d like meetings to be open forums for discussion. Not all of them are intended to be that, but there should be some that are. That having been said, there are sometimes those who want to disrupt a meeting, or cause a scene for the cameras, or engage in some similar type of disruptive behavior.

Those are the people who should not be there, and something needs to be done about them. They are the loud and vocal minority, but….they are loud and vocal.

I welcome Bush taking questions from an open audience as the article suggests. If the audience wasn’t open, then I’d be disappointed in that.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at January 24, 2006 2:00 PM
Comment #116301

RDAVIDC,
“A majority elected Bush,1st time in a long time a President recieved a MAJORITY.The minority is the minority because they no longer represent the majority and until they do they wiil remain the minority.That is how a democracy works.”

In a democracy there is a little more to it than just the tyranny of the majority. Majorities change… would you not agree? Or, do you really believe that the Republican party will forever be in the majority? It is silly to believe that majority rule is absolute unless you are willing to conceed it to the other party when they get into power.

One of the resons that the American people have turned away from politics and tuned out politicans was because of the circus the Republicans created with their Whitewater, Monica Lewinski garbage. They saw there representatives turning into dirty little keyhole peepers and the people got sick.

Then the Republicans tried to create themselves in image of the “Moral Party” and the party of integrety… while the Dems just had to sit back and watch the Reps self destruct!

It absolutely had to happen. If there is a constant in politics it is that “Absolute power does corrupt absolutely!” and the other is, “The bigger they are (Or set themsevles up to be) the farther they fall.”

Without opposition there is corruption. The Republican party will see out its middle class base for the big bucks of the corporations and special interests believing that you will stick by them no matter what. That, sir, is a blank check to being abused by your own people!

Then, when the positions turned the Republicans are so upset that the Democrats are actively having a little “payback” time?

Maybe if the Republicans acted a bit more responsible in demanding that their party treat them as well as the Democrats as the people they needed to be responsible to there wouldn’t be all this corruption!

Instead, it appears as if the Republican voters are not catching on that when their party excludes the Democrats from the discussion… they are also exluding them from the discussion too!

Instead, the party gets into power and will not even include the American public in the open discussion and creation of our public policies! Why is that?

1) Cheney’s refusal to disclose energy policy creation.
2) $22 Billion change to HMOs.

With the obvious questions of the integrety of some elected officals to sell their vote to the highest bidder… what makes the Republican supporters believe that their interests are being defended when you cannot even see what is happening?

Posted by: Darren7160 at January 24, 2006 2:37 PM
Comment #116307

“what makes the Republican supporters believe that their interests are being defended when you cannot even see what is happening”

The same thing that makes Democratic supporters do the same thing.
Power and agenda.

Posted by: kctim at January 24, 2006 3:09 PM
Comment #116321

Besides a cynical proposition that all elected officals are corrupt and we should look the other way so as to get the crumbs off the table when our party is in power… I would never accept a political process where the opposition was shut out of the discussion…

I believe that my party represents a large portion of my beliefs, but that does not give them carte blanche to go behind closed doors and then tell me that they were serving my best interests.

This isn’t cynical, just reality. No one party can truely represent the entire spectrum of their party membership. Accountability, openess and discussion should be a part of the process. Instead, what I am seeing is a comlete surrender of the Republican party to their representatives that lets them get away with anything as long as it means a continuation of political power.

I was so impressed with the town meeting of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)that I called my 15 year old son in to show him the opposition, the disagreement and the protest signs and how they were welcome in a political discussion.

He is the one that showed my the photoshopped picture of the President’s speech where the same people were copied and pasted into the audience… and the video where the troops are supposedly watching members of their government “betraying” them and the actual screen was something else until it was covered over.

The absolutely worst thing that can happen to a country is a single party rule. National Socialism, Communicsm, South American dictators such as they had in Argentina… The Baath party… you name them… without a healthy opposition party then a country is in very serious trouble.

Posted by: Darren7160 at January 24, 2006 3:51 PM
Comment #118318

okay, let’s say you’d like to learn about an actual political campaign to impeach the president …

ah, none of this noise about a yearning for somebody to go do it …

in addition, you’d like to learn about a game plan to snag Osama …

if all the above meets with your approval, then click, somehow, on the following hyperlink:

http://hewhoisknownassefton.blogspot.com/2006/01/osama-and-our-president-dumass-botch_20.html

and get ready for a ride on a wild blog

toodles
…….\
.he who is known as sefton

oh, yes, the above was copied and then pasted by an actual human being, who visited this “watchblog” blog.

oh, one more thing, keep an eye on Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District … I’m trying to base my campaign on the three planks I nailed together in my platform … “impeach bush” is the first plank … the second is “impeach bush” … and the third is like the second, “impeach bush”.

Posted by: A Alexander Stella at January 29, 2006 9:30 PM
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