Whoever Wins, Democrats Should Learn This Lesson: Be Democrats

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Democrats should to learn a lesson from this year’s election campaigns: Democrats should be Democrats. Democrats should not try to run away from the things Democrats stand for. It doesn’t work.

Supporting Republicans ideas is not going to win you Republican votes. It won’t stop Republicans from calling you a socialist, communist, extremist, whatever. And it is not going to give you any cover at all when the public gets their chance to weigh in. If you do things the public doesn’t like it is going to come back and bite you. Unless you are campaigning for the job of post-defeat lobbyist, embracing Republican ideas so you can call yourself a “moderate” or a “centrist” buys you nothing.

Exhibit A: the “centrist” Simpson-Bowles deficit-cutting plan. Right now Republicans are running campaign ads attacking Democrats who supported the Simpson-Bowles deficit-cutting plan, because it proposed “entitlement reform” that would cut Social Security and Medicare benefits and raise the retirement age.

Here is a Republicans ad running in North Carolina. “Hagan is a big believer in a controversial plan that raises the retirement age…” referring to the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan:

Here is a Republican ad running in Georgia attacking John Barrow for supporting Simpson-Bowles:

Democrats should never forget that Republicans have been running ad after ad after attack ad like these, going after Democrats who supported deficit “entitlement reform.”

Exhibit B: In Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor voted against background checks for people buying guns at gun shows. How did that work out? Answer: The National Rifle Association (NRA) is spending $1.3 million to defeat Pryor in Arkansas.

Lesson: Democrats Should Be Democrats, Not Try To Be Republicans

This election should provide a lesson to Democrats, forever, to remain Democrats and not fall for DC elite calls to be “moderates” by supporting things like cutting entitlements or otherwise acting like Republicans. If you think you are going to be praised and rewarded for following the conservative/corporate line — ain’t gonna happen.

Democrats are for things like:

  • Social Security.
  • Medicare.
  • Helping the poor.
  • Higher minimum wages.
  • Higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations to fund the fruits of democracy.
  • Good and well-funded public schools and colleges.
  • Maintaining and modernizing the country’s infrastructure.
  • Protecting the environment.
  • Regulating giant corporations and Wall Street (that includes airlines and telecommunications).
  • Helping people join unions.

Democrats are against things like:

  • “Fast tracking” trade deals that send jobs out of the country.
  • Letting corporations get away with ripping people off and deliver bad or harmful or fraudulent products.
  • Letting corporations use their size and power to keep other companies from innovating and competing.
  • Letting corporations pollute the environment and harm workers.

P.S. In 2010 Democrats were blasted by hundreds of millions of dollars of ads accusing them of “cutting Medicare” and it was these ads that helped Republicans take the House. Even though this was about Obamacare, and was a just a lie, it should have been a warning that things that make people’s lives better, like Medicare and Social Security, are popular.

Visit PopulistMajority.org to learn about other things that are popular.

Drudge Report Admits Stories Are Paid For

Big headline at Drudge Report:

Drudge and others depend on people just reading their misleading headlines. But if you click to the story it’s about disclosing whether stories and videos are paid for. Currently election-spending disclosure is required for TV, radio, etc., but not on the internet.

Another headline at Drudge, FEC Democrat pushes for controls on Internet political speech…, clicks to a story that makes it more clear.

The FEC deadlocked in a crucial Internet campaign speech vote announced Friday, leaving online political blogging and videos free of many of the reporting requirements attached to broadcast ads — for now.

In other words, any so-called “censoring” is really about requiring Drudge and other sites to disclose whether its “stories” are planted for pay and who paid for them — just as is currently required for radio and TV ads.

If you go to Drudge right now there are no visible ads. Yet the site makes a fortune. Hmmmm…

Netroots Nation Launching Netroots Music Project & Unity Concert

Netroots Nation is announcing The Netroots Music Project, “to re-inject music into our current political discourse and support the artists already doing this day to day.”

Netroots Nation will hold an annual Unity Concert with music and performers that focus on the issues of the Netroots Nation host city. At the Netroots Nation event in Phoenix the theme will be immigration.

They need to raise money to pull this off. Click here to donate.

People who donate $25 or more will earn “awesome perks” including signed T-shirts, photos with the artists, even front seats to the concert next summer.

Click here to donate.

Netroots Music on Facebook

If They Take The Senate Republicans Will Pass Trade Deals That Clinch Plutocracy

Trade deals like NAFTA have helped create terrible inequality by outsourcing jobs to low-wage countries so “investors” can pocket the wage difference. These corporate trade deals also create “corporate courts” that bypass the borders of democracy and place billionaires and their corporations beyond the reach of governments when it comes to deciding on laws and regulations that protect citizens.

There are more of these “NAFTA-style” being negotiated right now. These are much bigger than the trade deals that have already created such inequality and corporate hegemony. If Republicans take the Senate and keep the House they will pass these new trade deals and clinch this deal worldwide – and President Obama has already indicated he will sign them. This is serious so try to talk a few non-voting friends into showing up this time.

Trade Deals Being Negotiated Now

The big corporations are pushing our government to finalize three very big trade agreements: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA). These are not really trade deals but cover all kinds of issues, including the ability to place corporate rights alongside or above the rights of countries to make their own laws.

These “trade” deals will, if passed by Congress and signed by the president, cement a corporate right to profits above the rights of citizens to pass laws to protect our health, environment, wages, working conditions and anything else we might decide to do to make our lives better. That’s right, these trade agreements place corporate rights above national sovereignty, and they do this behind a veil of secrecy.

These deals, like NAFTA and other “NAFTA-style” agreements, have “investor-state dispute settlement” (ISDS) provisions that let giant corporations sue governments for passing laws that might cause investors to make lower profits. For example, these (and current) agreements allow tobacco companies to stop governments from engaging in anti-smoking initiatives to protect the health of their citizens. These suits do not come up in front of government courts. These are adjudicated by corporate-controlled tribunals of private arbitrators — “corporate courts” set up by these trade agreements. The “judges” are often corporate lawyers who just happen to also represent global investors and whose livelihood depends on the very corporations they are judging.

These deals are being negotiated with only the interests of the giant corporations at the table. Citizens groups, labor groups, consumer groups, environmental groups, health groups and other representatives of stakeholders in the world’s economy are excluded from the process.

Why is our own government negotiating a deal that gives so much to the big corporations and the billionaires behind them, and takes so much away from regular people? Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) sums it up, saying there are three kinds of people negotiating these agreements on behalf of our government:

  • People who used to work for the giant corporations that benefit from these agreements.
  • People who want to work for the giant corporations that benefit from these agreements.
  • People who used to work for the giant corporations that benefit from these agreements and want to work for the giant corporations that benefit from these agreements again.

Why would the giant corporations and the billionaires want these agreements? Because they clinch the deal and get them around the borders of democracy.

Wow, That Sounds Extreme

Trade deals are placing corporate rights above national sovereignty? They are intentionally undermining democracy? This sounds extreme. What kind of person would make such extreme accusations?

Yes, it sounds extreme. This is a dilemma progressives continually face when describing the agenda and actions of the corporate/conservative right. Because so much of what they are accomplishing is hidden behind a veil of secrecy, obfuscation and long-term step-by-step strategy (think frog in a pot with the water being heated slowly), and because people pay very little attention to the news and current events until something smacks them in the face (or wallet) you sound like a crazy extremist when you simply describe to people what is going on.

  • They’re trying to privatize Medicare? What an extreme accusation to make.
  • They are trying to make it hard for legitimate citizens to vote? Wow, what an extreme statement.
  • They’re trying to get rid of public schools? What an extreme thing to say.
  • They’re trying to engineer a cut in everyone’s pay and benefits? What an extreme … oh, wait, we all can see now that they did that.

The corporate right depends on this one-two punch of secrecy and a poorly informed public to get their way.

Tea-Party Republicans vs. Chamber Of Commerce Republicans

So far enough Democrats have opposed these trade deals to keep the Congress from passing the “fast-track” trade promotion authority that is used to push them through. Fast track requires Congress to rush to a vote immediately after the treaty is made public, prevents Congress from amending the agreements and prevents filibusters from blocking them in the Senate. But if Republicans take the Senate and keep the House, there may no longer be enough non-corporate-controlled members of Congress to keep this from happening.

However, there would still be one hope for blocking these trade deals, even if Republicans take the Senate, and that’s the party’s tea party wing.

These trade agreements undermine the sovereignty of our country. They allow others to override our own ability as a country to make our own laws. This is one place where the tea party gets it squarely right. And this is one place where the tea party wing of the Republican Party is at war with the Chamber of Commerce (corporate-controlled) wing of the Republicans. National sovereignty is important to tea party Republicans, so they oppose these agreements. Also they oppose them because they are favored by President Obama. “Don’t let Obama negotiate away our national sovereignty” is a tea party rallying cry.

If Republicans take the Senate, let’s hope this appreciation of national sovereignty overrides their appreciation of corporate cash.

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary and/or for the Progress Breakfast.

What Are We All Supposed To Be Afraid Of This Week?

I guess this should be a series… Last month’s What Are We All Supposed To Be Afraid Of This Week? asked “Is it still ISIS? It’s not Syria anymore … right … it’s the other side now.”

So it’s not still ISIS, it’s ebola this week. Remember Senator Lindsay Graham, saying America has to do something about ISIS “before we all get killed back here at home.” …

But now this week ebola is going to kill us all. What is going to kill us all next week?

And again, for perspective (before we start bombing someone) on things to be afraid of, tobacco kills more than 480,000 Americans each year. And you don’t have to be the one smoking to be hurt or killed by the smoke.

Oh, let’s place bets: will Fox News even mention ebola after the election?

Republican Cuts Kill

‘Republican Cuts Kill,’ which was produced by the Agenda Project Action Fund, mixes disturbing footage of the Ebola outbreak—including images of body bags, hazmat suits, and corpses—with clips of Mitch McConnell, Pat Roberts, Rand Paul, and Republicans in some of the most competitive races around the country demanding more spending cuts. The demand for cuts is juxtaposed against testimony from top CDC and NIH officials detailing how budget cuts substantially hampered their ability to address the crisis.

Please support the mission of the Agenda Project Action Fund by clicking on the link and donating here! http://apaction.com/

Democrats – There’s Still Time

“It is hard to understate the intensity of the response to the role of big money.”

Mike Lux, writing at The Huffington Post in “Four Weeks Out: What Will Be the Narrative of Election 2014?,” echoes something that we have been pounding on here at OurFuture.org: Democrats who campaign with a populist message will do better than Democrats who support the “centrist” – big corporate, Wall Street – positions.

In his post, Lux writes:

In a fascinating memo from Stan Greenberg and James Carville’s Democracy Corps and Page Gardner at Women’s Voices Women’s Vote Action Fund, they suggest that there is a modest but nonetheless quite significant trend toward Democratic candidates in the battleground Senate races. … They argue that a populist message especially focused on women voters’ top economic concerns and attacking the big money corporate interests that want to “make sure CEOs paid no higher taxes and that their loopholes are protected, while working men and women struggle” moves these razor-tight races an average of 4 crucial points, from -2 to +2.

… Democrats should be driving the story of the corrupting influence of big money in politics. As the DCorps memo states: “It is hard to understate the intensity of the response to the role of big money.”

I’m going to repeat that. Focusing “on women voters’ top economic concerns and attacking the big money corporate interests that want to “make sure CEOs paid no higher taxes and that their loopholes are protected, while working men and women struggle” moves these razor-tight races an average of 4 crucial points, from -2 to +2.”

How can Democrats say this? Lux suggests this:

The real-world narrative Democrats should tell is about the spending of the Koch brothers and their agenda, which they laid out at their secret meeting in June: no minimum wage, no Social Security, no public education or student loans, lower taxes for the wealthy, and less regulations. “Because we can make more in profit,” said their so-called “grand-strategist” Richard Fink.

Not a bad idea, considering that the Koch brothers network is driving much of the Republican party at this point, and certainly their money is driving much of the election.

Democrats, there is still time.

Here are a few posts to check out (Many of these, plus some other useful posts, are on our “Winning Issues for 2014″ page):

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary and/or for the Progress Breakfast.