Democrats & Liberals Archives

Stop Something! Start Something!

The Democrats (and all responsible legislators) need to stand up and stop SOMETHING. Now I know the Dems argue that they don’t have enough votes in the Senate to get anything through, but don’t they at least have the votes to stop more blank checks for the Bush administration’s power or direction?

Pelosi took over as Speaker of the House with the 2006 midterm elections. She entered that position with a laundry list for the first 100 hours:

Make Americans safer here at home

  • We made our very first vote the implementation of the independent, bipartisan 9/11 Commission national security recommendations.

Make our economy fairer

  • We voted to increase the minimum wage for the first time in 10 years--to give American workers an overdue pay raise.

Make college more affordable for every American

  • We voted to cut student loan interest rates in half.

Make America more energy independent and help fight global warming

  • We voted to roll back multi-billion dollar taxpayer subsidies for Big Oil companies - already enjoying record profits.

  • We will reinvest here at home in renewable energy and energy efficiency - spending our energy dollars in the Midwest, not the Middle East.

Offer hope for new cures to devastating diseases

  • We voted to expand research and help unlock the promise of stem cell therapies to alleviate human suffering and cure diseases.

Help reduce the cost of drugs for seniors and Americans with disabilities

  • We voted to require Medicare to leverage its substantial bargaining power to buy prescription drugs and pass the savings on to the people.
Clean up Washington and the fiscal mess

  • We put the interests of all Americans ahead of the special interests by passing tough Congressional ethics reform, restoring "pay-as-you-go" budgeting, and restricting spending earmarks.
Pelosi - A new Direction

Not on the list:
Getting out of Iraq
Stopping executive abuse of power
Protecting our Constitutional Rights

As 2006 has moved through 2007 and is now on the brink of 2008, We know more "now" than we knew "then."

  • We know that intelligence was "massaged" (at the very least) to justify an invasion of Iraq.
  • We know that the stage was set for contractors to operate outside any law and without any oversight in Iraq, Afghanistan (and likely elsewhere).
  • We know that Bush, Cheney, and all of their right hand "men" were involved in the leaking of Valerie Plame's identity.
  • We know that the Bush Administration approved the use of torture (though the tapes were "destroyed'), and that it is likely that they contracted at least part of this out to "private contractors" (who are apparently above and beyond any law).
  • We know that the President approved and carried out massive illegal surveillance of tens of thousands (if not all) of the citizens of the United States. Further, that these activities initiated before September 11, 2001.
  • We "know" a lot of things, and these things point to other, deeper issues.

So why was impeachment taken off the table? Probably because it is likely that leading Democrats were up to their necks in the Bush administration crimes such as waterboarding.

Among the Democratic "leadership" briefed by the CIA on "enhanced interrogation" were Nancy Pelosi, Jane Harman, Bob Graham, and John Rockefeller.

Pelosi's statement on the briefing: "On one occasion, in the fall of 2002, I was briefed on interrogation techniques the Administration was considering using in the future. The Administration advised that legal counsel for the both the CIA and the Department of Justice had concluded that the techniques were legal.

"I had no further briefings on the techniques. Several months later, my successor as Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, Jane Harman, was briefed more extensively and advised the techniques had in fact been employed. It was my understanding at that time that Congresswoman Harman filed a letter in early 2003 to the CIA to protest the use of such techniques, a protest with which I concurred."

Harman's statement on the briefings: CIA Director Hayden's public statement yesterday, that some members of Congress were informed about the existence of videotaped interrogations of high value detainees, prompts me to respond.

In early 2003, in my capacity at Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, I received a highly classified briefing on CIA interrogation practices from the agency's General Counsel. The briefing raised a number of serious concerns and led me to send a letter to the General Counsel. Both the briefing and my letter are classified so I cannot reveal specifics, but I did caution against destruction of any videotapes.

Given the nature of the classification, I was not free to mention this subject publicly until Director Hayden disclosed it yesterday. To my knowledge, the Intelligence Committee was never informed that any videotapes had been destroyed. Surely I was not.

This matter must be promptly and fully investigated and I call for my letter of February 2003, which was never responded to and has been in the CIA's files ever since, to be declassified.

To the best of my knowledge, neither Graham nor Rockefeller issued press releases regarding the CIA briefings.


So, high ranking Democrats were apprised of the utilization of "enhanced interrogation" including apparently waterboarding. Harman may or may not have written a letter of protest, but Pelosi apparently felt no need to protest - nor to investigate whether the "techniques" were only "legal" because the administration said they were.

If these Democrats were aware of what was going on, who else might have been? Might any of the Presidential candidates have also known? Perhaps Hillary Clinton? Perhaps (from 2004) John Kerry and John Edwards? Is there an influence of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) here? Hillary Clinton is on the DLC Leadership Team, and John Kerry was also (assume still is) part of the DLC, as Edwards has been. The DLC characterizes itself as "centrist" Democrats. Harman, too is a member of the DLC, as well as the Blue Dog Coalition - a largely DLC group in the House. Obama has had the support of the DLC, but he has attempted to distance himself from them. Bill Richardson and Biden are also DLC affiliated. In fact, it appears the only Democratic candidates not connected to the DLC are Chris Dodd, Mike Gravel, and Dennis Kucinich.

Clearly, the DLC has had a controlling hand in the Democratic party even though they are a Non-profit corporation and think tank. While Pelosi is (or was) not a member, she has clearly been under pressure from them.

So is it the DLC that strong armed not stopping the crimes of the administration because their members have been involved? Or is it that the DNC has decided to look the other way as well.

So here is my conspiracy theory on why there has been virtually nothing but acquiescence from the Democrats since they took power. The DLC is determined to quash any investigations or prosecutions linked to the Bush administration - no matter how egregious - because their members are up to their neck in the muck. Anything that takes Bush down the criminal trail has a daisy chain of Democratic "leaders" in it.

Therefore, while the Democrats could block legislation by a number of mechanisms (including not letting resolutions out of committee) they won't. Likewise, they could filibuster and block any move for cloture, but they won't. Like the neo-con and religious right takeover of the Republican party, the DLC has taken over the Democratic party - or at least the leadership of it. Anything that brings down Bush and the neo-cons is going to bring them down as well.

So if the DLC is directly involved, what do we the people do?

Let the DLC know they are not representing us, or protecting our interests. - DLC Contact Form - and spread the word.

Support the Progressive Democrats of America;

Support the candidates who are not connected to the DLC:
Dennis Kucinich
Chris Dodd
Mike Gravel
Barak Obama

Support your members of Congress to stand up!

In order to take back our country we need to make sure that we are represented - not power blocks tied to corporate interests.

Posted by Rowan Wolf at December 18, 2007 5:50 AM
Comments
Comment #240918

“We know that the President approved and carried out massive illegal surveillance of tens of thousands (if not all) of the citizens of the United States. Further, that these activities initiated before September 11, 2001”

Very true. Echelon and Carnivore are scary as hell.
The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 peed off alot of people too.

I’m curious as to how you come to the conclusion that liberal progressives better represent us, when the majority of Americans are moderates?

Posted by: kctim at December 18, 2007 9:47 AM
Comment #240921
I’m curious as to how you come to the conclusion that liberal progressives better represent us, when the majority of Americans are moderates?

Well, I guess it depends on what “moderate” means.

My understanding is that the majority of Americans want (in no particular order):
- the US out of Iraq
- de-escalation of the rhetoric with Iran
- universal health care
- strong schools and communities
- living wage jobs and opportunity by bringing (and keeping) jobs in the US
- active leadership on global warming
- a disaster system that works
- US control of US infrastructure (ports, roads, airports, etc)not control by foreign entities
- a woman’s right to abortion (late term excluded)
- religion out of politics (at least in the form of religious doctrine being used as the basis for legislation and policy, and not meaning through out common morality)
- restoring of the middle class
- controls on corporations (i.e. credit card usury, fairness in lending, corporate accountability)

All of these have been “labeled” as “liberal,” “progressive” or outright “radical.” I don’t think they are. Most folks don’t think they are when they are asked their priorities and issues. However, when people (and issues) are labeled and presented as “progressive” or “liberal” most folks see themselves as “moderate.” Partially for the same reason that most folks (regardless of actual economic standing) identify themselves as “middle class.” It is assumed “that’s where most folks are and I am like most folks.”

Posted by: Rowan Wolf at December 18, 2007 10:25 AM
Comment #240930

Rowan, the major incredible flaw in the Dem leadership is their myopic focus on the President and VP. Bush is not their primary obstacle or stumbling block. It is fellow Congressional Republicans who are. Unless and until the Dem. Leadership successfully focuses on dividing the Republican voting block in Congress, they will continue to fail in leadership as the majority party.

This could not be plainer if it were Jimmy Durante’s nose on Nancy Pelosi’s face. Reid and Pelosi are the wrong leaders for this time, in the Congress. Dem’s need an LBJ in the leadership, but, alas! There is no getting around this glaring and obvious fact.

This Congress is full of ineffective Representatives. There is a remedy for that if voters wish to put their foot down and refuse to reelect ineffectiveness from this point forward.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 18, 2007 11:05 AM
Comment #240938

Rowan,

You forgot a big one that most Democrats do…

- Government out of their lives

Oh, and more…

- Smaller taxes and smaller government

But, I don’t think that was unintentional, was it?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 18, 2007 11:52 AM
Comment #240940

Thank you Rowan. Its refreshing to get an honest answer not mired in partisanship.

I agree that it probably depends on how “moderate” is defined, but I think defining it depends greatly on being able to see the whole opinion of the issue and also the peoples location.
For instance:
- Most Americans do want us out of Iraq, but, IMO, they do not want us out without a workable plan which may cause us to have to go back.
- Nobody wants us to go to war, but do realize Iran poses a threat if they build nuke weapons.
- Most don’t mind universal healthcare, but not as the only mandated option. Many would like to choose whether to contribute to that or to be able to go their own route.
- Everybody agrees with having strong schools.
- Moderates pretty much agree about trying to curb global warming, but most want to do so without putting American interests at a disadvantage.
- Disaster system that works 100% is impossible, but one that lessens the impact is achievable. The floods of the 90s were handled badly and so was Katrina.
- US control of US infrastructure is definetly something a moderate would rather see.
- I too agree that most moderates believe abortion is between the woman and her doctor.
- I don’t think religion out of politics is as big a deal as “progressives” make it out to be though. Moderates don’t want a theocracy, but they also know a little common sense and respect plays a huge part in making this work.
- Restoring of the middle class? Moderates want the chance to earn a good living. The tax the rich more and give to me class envy card is a “progressive” idea.
- Controls on corps is a good idea, as long as it isn’t taken to the “progressive” extreme. Most people realize credit cards are voluntary.

It is not always the issue that makes it liberal, but the solution to “fixing” that issue that does and most times, that solution varies greatly, depending on where one lives.

Liberals make the mistake of believing that ALL Americans who agree with a certain issue, also believe in their solution and that is not always the case.

Moderates who believe as my examples abound here in the rural and suburban midwest. The likes of Pelosi and kennedy aren’t all that accepted here either, I’m sure K-Dem could attest to that :)

My point is that maybe it is not such a great idea for your party to totally discount the DLC simply because they do not share all of the extreme “progressive” solutions, but to respect that there is a difference.

Posted by: kctim at December 18, 2007 12:10 PM
Comment #240963

kctim
How refreshing to see that stero-typing is not dead!!
All those ideas you place at the feet of the “progressives” — thank you very much for telling us what we believe and support —
yea, right
How about EVERYONE TRYING THIS ONE
Tell me what YOU support — and let the OTHER GUY tell you what THEY support — otherwise you are engaging in verbal self-love.
it feels good to “fight the good fight” what a phantom opponent doesn’t it?? sure ensures that you will come out on top!!
Unfortunately your opponent doesn’t exist and your victory is hollow and important only to you and those who agree with you. (preaching to the choir??)
It is nice to hear that “moderates” are the only the keepers of the flame of common sense and intelligence.
Regarding the current disappointing congress

CALL, ANGRILY call
and start a stir —that is the only way open to us until the next elections to get these yahoos off their butts and start doing what we elected them to do.
put the fear of whomever in their souls and make it clear that we expect a move to RETURN the constitution protections to the people of the US, and to quite pandering to the corporate a-holes.
I especially want a stop to this BS about how the “entitlements” are bankrupting us (i.e. welfare for the poor, education, health care, etc) as they move to remove assistance to the needy, meanwhile not only continue, but expand CORPORATE welfare, especially for those industries that least need it
Agriculture, oil, energy — all these industries have seen record profits, and yet their handouts from the Gov’t have increased!! — ahhh, but we cannot afford to make sure poor people get health care, nor education — sorry, we need to make sure rich farmers get paid!! (more)
Aghhhhhhhhhh!

Posted by: russ at December 18, 2007 4:03 PM
Comment #240976

Russ, did you bother to read Rowans article, my question to her and her response?
She gave her examples of a “moderate” and how she believes it relates with progressives and I gave her mine.

So, I did not place those ideas at your feet, a fellow progressive did.
I also gave an idea of how “moderates” I speak to in MY area have described how they feel about such issues. I wasn’t trying to tell how “liberals” believe. Hell, they can’t even tell, their stance differs from issue to issue.

“It is nice to hear that “moderates” are the only the keepers of the flame of common sense and intelligence”

In a way, they truly are. Without moderates, we wouldn’t be overtaxed as we are now, we would be massivly overtaxed into submission and acceptance. Without moderates, our 2nd Amendment wouldn’t be half gone, it would be extinct.
Without moderates, would the Dems now control congress?

“…Aghhhhhhhhhh!”

Typical, leftist rant there, luckily, I have the answer to help ALL of those people you “care” about.
1- Teach them to save and care for themselves.
2- Get off your ass and help them yourself, instead of wanting govt to force everybody else to think like you and do it for you. You guys believe more Americans agree with your liberal ideas than any other, so it shouldn’t be a problem to get the support you need, right?

Other than altering your own lifestyle in order to support what you “say” is the right thing to do, its a win/win situation for everybody.

Posted by: kctim at December 18, 2007 4:53 PM
Comment #240985

Rowan
Why is not Edwards on your list? He is not taking corporate pac money and is staying within public finance rules,unlike Obama.His healthcare proposal is superior and his anti-poverty agenda introduces opportunity and incentives to work and save instead of handouts. He is not the DLC candidate. That belongs to HC.

Posted by: Bills at December 18, 2007 6:56 PM
Comment #240990

BillS, Edwards may well be a co-equal contender after Iowa, if the polls are any indication. He is the Democrat’s Huckabee, and if he pulls of Iowa and S. Carolina, Hillary and Obama may no longer have to look in the rear view mirror to see Edwards, but out their windshield or at least side window. He gave a truly polished interview with Chris Matthews, aired on Hardball this evening. Didn’t miss a beat. It is easy to see why he has come up in Iowa as a result of face to face exposure with the residents there.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 18, 2007 7:46 PM
Comment #240995

“Moderates who believe as my examples abound here in the rural and suburban midwest. The likes of Pelosi and kennedy aren’t all that accepted here either, I’m sure K-Dem could attest to that :)”

KC Tim,

Thanks for the mention. It’s good to be remembered. You are correct, but I must add the simple fact that people want what they want when they want it.

The recent ice storm is proof enough. Many of the areas highly conservative Republicans are bitching about Westar’s neglect of our power-grid. These normally ultra-conservatives are saying that maybe the state should take over control of the power grid.

Much of this power grid was constructed in the 40’s and 50’s. Westar has reaped record profits but failed to provide adequate maintenance. Now people are POed. My son included. No power, no water. Cattle and hogs need water. Running a generator 24/7 is impractical so my son’s had to sell early. (and cheap)

Our Centre (not a spelling error) School District is expected to be down until after Xmas. So school may have to be in session several weeks longer than usual.

This has caused people to start talking about how much better it would be if the state, or county, or FED was in charge of the power grid!!!!!!!!!!!!

Whether Republican or Democrat or independent we all want what we want when we want it!

Posted by: KansasDem at December 18, 2007 8:49 PM
Comment #240997

Rowan,

As usual you wrote an excellent article. I’m just not sure that blaming the DLC is the right thing to do.

A good example might be South Dakota. The individual voters elected representatives that virtually outlawed abortion, but after a court battle arose and it came down to an individual vote that’s not what the voters wanted at all.

I believe when it’s all said and done what we need is an abolition of political parties altogether. And the only way to get there is by following David Remer’s and D.A.N.’s guidelines.

It’s like the drug slogan, “just say NO”.

JUST SAY NO!

Posted by: KansasDem at December 18, 2007 9:16 PM
Comment #241024

kctim
there you go again
I am sorry, but in your response — in your snide comments about how “moderates” believe you were implying the “crazy” infeasible approaches that “liberals” would do — i.e. comparison to a phantom idea.


“I wasn’t trying to tell how “liberals” believe. Hell, they can’t even tell, their stance differs from issue to issue.”
See what I mean?? snide comment about liberals —

In a way, they truly are. Without moderates, we wouldn’t be overtaxed as we are now, we would be massivly overtaxed into submission and acceptance. Without moderates, our 2nd Amendment wouldn’t be half gone, it would be extinct.
Without moderates, would the Dems now control congress?
Soooo, the Republicans would have overtaxed us?? — they were in charge for the last 7 years — so you “moderates” kept them from overtaxing us????
Ohhhh, your implying (not so coyly) that “LIBERALS” would have “overtaxed, done away with guns =—- etc”
STEROTYPING
I AM A LIBERAL — PROUD OF IT
I OWN A GUN
I DO NOT PROMOTE HANDOUTS
I BELIEVE IN PAYING FOR THE GOVT — AND I BELIEVE THAT THERE IS A HUGE SEGMENT OF THE POPULATION THAT IS NOT PAYING THEIR FAIR SHARE OF THE BILL FOR THE SERVICES THIS COUNTRY PROVIDES FOR THEM
I LOVE HOW YOU POINT THE FINGER AT POOR PEOPLE FOR GETTING SOME MONEY FROM THE GOVERNMENT, BUT HAVE NO OBJECTION (I WOULD ASSUME) TO THE WELFARE BEING PAID TO CORPORATE ARGRICULTURE AND THE OIL COMPANIES????
It is very easy to attack people when you lump them into one group and fire at them (there is no one to shoot back, how safe!!)


We are NOT overtaxed right now, — just look at the deficit?? the National Debt??
Are you in favor of continuing the Debt and the servicing of the Debt (to China) in place of PAYING FOR WHAT YOU ARE GETTING??
How can we be overtaxed when the government cannot pay all their bills??

but heaven forbid that we spend that money on people who NEED it rather than the corporate welfare scammers who are NOT using the money to provide jobs, etc and all the other BS that is used to support such handouts.

The “Moderate” position as presented by you is nothing more than ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away.
Get off you own ass —
How dare you assume ANYTHING about what I do in the community and why I have the positions I do.
I once believed as you do, but REALITY made me a Liberal — and proud of it.
(by the way, this is a gun-toting, free-speech, help people to help themselves liberal that would not be afraid to punch your lights out — so there goes your “Pacifist, gunhating, sobsister, Liberal sterotype” — care to try again??)

Posted by: russ at December 19, 2007 11:52 AM
Comment #241041

Russ
“you were implying the “crazy” infeasible approaches that “liberals” would do”

So which “crazy” liberal approach did I wrongly imply? Are they now pro 2nd Amendment? Nope. Are they now against forcing govt run healthcare? Nope. Which one am I wrong on?

“See what I mean?? snide comment about liberals”

You got me on that one. Doesn’t mean the comments are wrong though. Truth hurt that much?

“Soooo, the Republicans would have overtaxed us?? — they were in charge for the last 7 years”

To be honest, the Republicans didn’t really overtax so much, but they also did nothing to relieve our tax burden.

“so you “moderates” kept them from overtaxing us????”

I am not a moderate, which is why I said: “moderates I speak to in MY area have described how they feel about such issues.”
But, moderates have kept liberals in check concerning taxes. Tax too much, and you lose their support.


“Ohhhh, your implying (not so coyly) that “LIBERALS” would have “overtaxed, done away with guns =—- etc””

Wasn’t trying to be “coy.” History shows you guys love to tax and believe in gun control.

“I AM A LIBERAL — PROUD OF IT”
I am an American - Proud of it.

“I OWN A GUN”
Doesn’t mean you respect the 2nd Amendment.

“I DO NOT PROMOTE HANDOUTS”
Good for you.

“I BELIEVE IN PAYING FOR THE GOVT”

So do I. But I’m sure our views on what is govts job, differs greatly.

“AND I BELIEVE THAT THERE IS A HUGE SEGMENT OF THE POPULATION THAT IS NOT PAYING THEIR FAIR SHARE OF THE BILL FOR THE SERVICES THIS COUNTRY PROVIDES FOR THEM”

So do I. But, I’m guessing we are not talking about the same people.

“BUT HAVE NO OBJECTION (I WOULD ASSUME) TO THE WELFARE BEING PAID TO CORPORATE ARGRICULTURE AND THE OIL COMPANIES????”

Well, you assume wrong, sorry. I do not believe in welfare for the lazy and I do not believe in welfare for the corps.

“Are you in favor of continuing the Debt and the servicing of the Debt (to China) in place of PAYING FOR WHAT YOU ARE GETTING??”

No, I am for govt running govt, not lives.

“How can we be overtaxed when the government cannot pay all their bills??”

Why can’t govt pay all their bills, is the real question and the answer is because we have to many unneccesary govt programs.

“The “Moderate” position as presented by you is nothing more than ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away.”

No, the “moderate” position presented to me is nothing more than people wanting limited govt.

“How dare you assume ANYTHING about what I do in the community and why I have the positions I do.”

I can assume ANYTHING I want really. You guys haven’t made that a crime, yet.

“(by the way, this is a gun-toting, free-speech, help people to help themselves liberal that would not be afraid to punch your lights out — so there goes your “Pacifist, gunhating, sobsister, Liberal sterotype” — care to try again??)”

Aw, no need to get so upset. You guys always get so riled up by those of us refuse to let you think and live our lives for us. You guys must have real high blood pressure and other related health problems. No wonder you want me to pay for your healthcare.

BTW: I’m just an average Joe. I don’t “tote” guns, I believe in free speech, I believe in helping people myself rather than waiting for govt to do it for me.
And (this must be the liberal in me)if it will make you feel better about yourself, make the world like us better and stop global warming, you can “punch my lights out,” if you want.
Afterall, its not your fault you got so upset. It has to have been someone elses fault. You can’t be expected to be responsible for your own actions now, can you.
You know, maybe you should just get the govt to do it for you.

” — care to try again??”

Sure, I LOVE this site and learn something new each time I visit it.

Posted by: kctim at December 19, 2007 1:27 PM
Comment #241047

Bills: I did not put Edwards on the list because I could not find information to determine if is STILL a member of the DLC or not. He WAS, but I could not find anything to support that he left that organization. I HOPE he has left it.

Rhinehold:

You forgot a big one that most Democrats do…
- Government out of their lives
Oh, and more…
- Smaller taxes and smaller government
But, I don’t think that was unintentional, was it?

First, I don’t think that “moderates” want “government out of their lives,” but I guess that depends on how you mean that. Do you mean that they don’t want roads, schools, emergency services, control of corporate fraud, national security, a voice in their government, mortgage/ banking/ financial insurance and protection? Or do you mean they want the government to quit spying on them; quit collecting “life records” on them?

As regards “smaller taxes and smaller government,” I doubt those are the real “wants.” I believe that moderates want “fair taxes.” Much of the tax burden has shifted to “the public” because of increasing wealth transfer to the very wealthy, and massive tax removal for corporations. If everyone was pulling their “weight,” then the burden on the average tax payer would be both less and fairer.

“Smaller government” goes with the issue of what you get for what you pay. In the US, we don’t get a lot for what we pay. I believe that people want effective and responsive government. They want leaders and not cronies lining each other’s pockets.

You may disagree with that which is fine. I also “believe” that most of the population is misinformed on a number of things largely because of trust in corporate media. I know that when I talk with my classes about the changes in corporate taxation which decimated state budgets, folks are stunned. (For example, one corporation PGE - an Enron subsidiary - collected $12 million in taxes but paid only $10 (yes ten dollars) to the state of Oregon. The reason? Enron didn’t owe federal taxes so PGE paid only the minimum corporate tax in Oregon. Enron got to keep the $12 mil). They never knew that. I know that when they learn that virtually all forms and sources of media (including movies and text books) are under the control of 6 transnational corporations they are floored.

While none of these things are “news” to the people on this forum, they certainly are to most people.

Posted by: rowan at December 19, 2007 2:47 PM
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