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‘Dreamers’ shout down Democrats at San Francisco press event

Published time: 18 Sep, 2017 19:08 Edited time: 19 Sep, 2017 06:50 Immigration activists interrupted a...

In Cutting Deals With Trump, Are Democrats Walking Into a Trap?

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks with reporters following the weekly Senate Democratic policy luncheon at the US Capitol on September 6, 2017, in...

‘Amnesty Don’: Trump’s base furious over reported DACA deal with Democrats

Published time: 14 Sep, 2017 18:40 Many supporters of US President Donald Trump are reacting angrily...

Off the wall: White House denies Democrats’ claim Trump agreed to DACA deal excl....

Published time: 14 Sep, 2017 03:46 Edited time: 14 Sep, 2017 03:56 Two senior Democratic Party...

'A Gross Injustice': House Democrats and Legal Group Challenge Arpaio Pardon

House Democrats and a nonpartisan legal advocacy group are both pushing the federal government to challenge President Donald Trump's pardon of former Sheriff Joe...

Why Charter Schools Are Losing Support From Democrats

Protesters demonstrate against President Trump's then-nominee for secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, on Capitol Hill on February 6, 2017, in Washington, DC. (Photo: Mario...

Brexit Secretary’s ex-aide calls for new ‘Democrats’ party to reverse the EU exit ‘catastrophe'

Published time: 9 Aug, 2017 13:20 Brexit is a “catastrophe” that should be “reversed,” according...

Democrats Push for More Wells Fargo Hearings After Latest News of Fake Accounts

Democrats in the Senate Banking Committee jointly called for a hearing with Wells Fargo CEO Timothy Sloan days after he admitted to his company...
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Video: “Billion-Dollar Mistake”: Democrats Neglect People of Color While Failing to Woo White Trump...

https://democracynow.org - As the Democrats prepare for the 2018 midterms, some ask whether the party is making a mistake by prioritizing the pursuit of...

Ron Paul on Real Bipartisanship: Republicans and Democrats Unite for New Cold War

Donald Trump claimed that he wanted a different foreign policy, but then he went and hired neocons for the State...

“A Better Deal”? Dissecting the Democrats’ “Populist” Turn in Rhetoric and Reality

Photo by 7beachbum | CC BY 2.0 In response to their trouncing in the November 2016 presidential and congressional elections, Democrats have unveiled their “A...

Democrats offer new explanation for why Trump won – and it’s not Russia

Published time: 24 Jul, 2017 19:07 Top Congressional Democrats have unveiled their new economic pitch to...

Democrats & Russians 'laughing' at 'witch hunt' collusion probe – Trump

Democrats and Russians are laughing at the investigation into Moscow's alleged US election interference, Donald Trump...

Investigators, Democrats & Trump staff turn to Facebook for Russia probe answers

Published time: 21 Jul, 2017 02:31 Lawmakers are asking Facebook and other social media companies to...

Trump White House Ridiculously Blames Democrats for Republicans' Repeal Failure

Julia Conley, staff writerAt the latest off-camera press briefing Tuesday, Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders made clear the official White House...

Medicare for All Wins Backing of Conservative Southern Democrats

As congressional Republicans try to pass an unpopular plan that would roll back the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and cause an estimated 22 million Americans to lose their...

‘Dreamers’ may lose DACA deportation relief, Homeland chief warns Democrats

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is advising Congressional Hispanic Caucus Democrats to work on immigration reform,...

Democrats seek to block Trump-Putin cybersecurity plan by cutting US funds

Published time: 11 Jul, 2017 09:03 Democrats have filed amendments calling to block funding, including from...

The Democrats’ Russia-gate Obsession

National Democrats are so wedded to the Russia-gate strategy for destroying President Trump politically that they are willing to risk...

Trump v CNN: Republicans & Democrats at odds when it comes to trustworthiness –...

The vast majority of Republicans believe Donald Trump is more trustworthy than CNN while almost all...
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Video: Assange feels threatened by both Republicans & Democrats following Clinton email leaks–Annie Machon

The 'tolerant liberals' of the Democratic Party believe the WikiLeaks founder damaged the electoral chances of Hillary Clinton last year and now are attacking...
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Video: CrossTalk: Democrats Keep Losing

While the liberal mainstream media serve up an endless menu of Trump bashing and 'Russiagate', the Democratic Party and the so-called resistance continue ... Via...

Trump Is Vulnerable On Education. Do Democrats Care?

A string of special election defeats has left Democrats bewildered at how they can continue to lose against a party led by the most...

Why the Democrats Won't Wake Up

Moments after rightwing Republican Karen Handel won America’s costliest congressional race ever in Georgia’s sixth district, the de rigueur post-election quarrelling erupted: Why did...

California Scheming: Democrats Betray Single-Payer Again

Photo by Fibonacci Blue | CC BY 2.0 Nothing better illustrates the political bankruptcy of the Democratic Party—for all progressive intents and purposes—than California State...

Democrats Face Failing Russia-gate Scheme

National Democrats thought they could slough off their stunning election defeat last year by blaming Russia rather than looking in...
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Video: GOP Policies Hurt Trump Voters, But Will Democrats Fill the Void?

White-collar criminologist Bill Black says that President Donald Trump's stumbles and the GOP's policies give Democrats an opportunity to win over voters, if they...
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Video: As Jon Ossoff Loses Georgia Special Election, Where Do Democrats Go from Here...

https://democracynow.org - In the most expensive congressional race in history, Republican Karen Handel has defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff in a special ... Via Youtube

Russia-gate Flops as Democrats’ Golden Ticket

Exclusive: The national Democrats saw Russia-gate and the drive to impeach President Trump as their golden ticket back to power,...

Wishful Thinking in Defense of Democrats’ Pro-Business Politics

In the wake of the 2016 election, the Democratic Party is having a debate, and it’s no exaggeration to say that the outcome of...

#HoldTheFloor: Democrats grind Senate to halt in Obamacare repeal bill protest

For hours, Democrats have taken over control of the Senate floor to draw attention to the...

MoveOn Criticizes Senate Democrats, Republicans for Passage of New Iran Sanctions Bill

WASHINGTON -  Last week, the United States Senate voted in favor of passing new economic sanctions on Iran with overwhelming support, with the exception...
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Video: Democrats Launch “Resistance Summer” Focused on Healthcare, Education & Social Security

https://democracynow.org - As President Trump goes to Miami today to announce the closing down of the opening of the relationship between Cuba and the...

Nearly 200 Democrats sue Trump for accepting foreign payments through businesses

More than 190 Democratic lawmakers joined together to sue President Donald Trump in federal court, accusing...
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Video: Baltimore Mayor’s Veto of $15/Hr Bill Shows Corporate Wing of Democrats Alive and...

Labor reporter Mike Elk discusses the potential backlash faced by Maryland Democrats as well as the significance of the Mississippi Nissan workers struggle ... Via...

Democrats squabble behind closed doors over Trump impeachment plan

Democrats in Congress almost always unite when it comes to opposing President Donald Trump, but strategy...

Single-Payer is Not a Priority Even for Democrats Who Say They Support Single-Payer

Photo by David Drexler | CC BY 2.0 The Democrats will not lead the charge for single payer in the United States. Only the people, from...

B-I-N-Oh-No: Michigan Democrats hit with major fine for fundraising bingo games

The Democratic Party in Michigan has agreed to pay a $500,000 fine, the 11th largest penalty...

Corporate Democrats Persecute Whistleblowers

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Democrats Chase Red Herring of Russia-gate

The Democrats’ demagogic use of Russia-gate to “resist” President Trump is putting progressives in league with warmongers and war contractors...

Voters are Fired Up for Single Payer Creating Dilemma for Democrats

On Sunday, June 4, the same day that Our Revolution, a Democratic Party group that arose from the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, organized rallies...

Progressive vs political outsider: Democrats face off in CA special election for House seat

A state assemblyman campaigning as a true progressive is up against a city official who distinguishes...

Democrats accuse Trump of ‘erasing history’ as GOP recalls copies of torture report

The Trump administration intends to “erase history” by burying the 2014 Senate torture report, leading Democrats...

‘We’ll legalize cannabis,’ pledge Liberal Democrats

Published time: 12 May, 2017 16:00 Britons over the age of 18 could soon buy...

‘We’ll take 50,000 more Syrian refugees,’ Liberal Democrats pledge

Published time: 11 May, 2017 15:55 Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has pledged to resettle...

Lavrov trolls NBC before Trump meeting as US media, Democrats lose it over Russia

The visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Washington sent Democrats and US mainstream media...

Democrats said worst things about Comey, now they play so sad – Trump

Published time: 10 May, 2017 12:21 Edited time: 10 May, 2017 12:35 James Comey’s replacement will...
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Video: Democrats Fail to Dig into Trump’s Shady Financial Ties During Hearing

Economist James Henry says the overlooked story is the longstanding role of Russian flight capital and organized crime ties in funding Trump's ventures Visit...

‘The fight isn’t over’: Democrats vow to challenge ‘cruel’ Republican health care reform

Published time: 4 May, 2017 22:30 US Democratic senators have vowed to fight “cruel” Republican healthcare...
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Video: Democrats Must Take on Corporate Power If they Want to Win

In part two, Mike Elk says a winning strategy for Democrats must elevate the to improve income inequality and working conditions, and discusses his...

Democrats seek to re-establish congressional war powers against ISIS

Ten Democratic lawmakers are backing a bill that would Introduce a new authorization for using military...

Russia-Bashing Helps Wall Street Democrats

National Democrats have used hyperbolic Russia-bashing to shield themselves from blame for Hillary Clinton’s defeat and to block progressives from...

Deal with the devil? Tony Blair could work with Liberal Democrats to hinder Brexit

Published time: 19 Apr, 2017 09:22 Controversial former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair could throw his...

Democrats hope for upset in Georgia special election

A chaotic contest for the House of Representatives seat in Georgia’s 6th congressional district, vacated by...

Trump Repairs His Ratings: Syria and the Democrats’ Denunciations of Dissent

Photo by David Drexler | CC BY 2.0   The US military’s cruise missile attack on Syria reveals much. First, it lays waste to the idea...
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Video: A New McCarthyism: Julian Assange Accuses Democrats of Blaming Russia & WikiLeaks for...

http://democracynow.org - As President Trump's presidency nears its first 100 days, Trump and his campaign are facing multiple investigations over whether the ... Via Youtube

Dismal in Des Moines: Democrats are Part of What’s the Matter With Iowa

Photo by Phil Roeder | CC BY 2.0 Iowa Nasty In a recent Truthdig report, titled “What’s the Matter with Iowa?,” I reflected on how the...

Democrats’ Blind Obsession on Russia-gate

Exclusive: Instead of focusing on President Trump’s poor policies – or fixing their own shortcomings – Democrats obsess over Russia-gate, though the case is...

'Whoa, Whoa, Whoa': Sanders Says Democrats' Intransigence Is Solution, Not Problem

While intra-party disagreement among Republicans and a nationwide grassroots effort to stop the cruel and unpopular healthcare reform bill known as Trumpcare undoubtedly fueled...
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Video: Can the Democrats Build a Progressive Movement Against Trump?

Black Agenda Report's Glen Ford says a progressive movement can't be build out of the pro-war, pro-CIA, and McCarthyite politics coming from Democratic ... Via...

Democrats Trade Places on War and McCarthyism

Exclusive: The anti-Russia hysteria gripping the Democratic Party marks a “trading places” moment as the Democrats embrace the New Cold...
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Video: Sen. Schumer Calls on Democrats to Boycott Neil Gorsuch Vote While Trump is...

http://democracynow.org - Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch was tapped by President Trump to fill the seat left vacant by Antonin Scalia's death over a...

Sen. Schumer Calls on Democrats to Boycott Neil Gorsuch Vote While Trump Is Under...

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch was tapped by President Trump to fill the seat left vacant by Antonin Scalia's death over a year ago....

DHS chief ‘dismissive’ of immigration questions frustrates Democrats

After repeated requests, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly finally met with House Democrats over concerns about...
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Video: Do Corporate Democrats Like Charles Schumer Belong in a Progressive Movement Against Trump?

Henry Giroux and Paul Jay discuss the relationship between the movement against Trump's neo-fascism and the struggle against corporate control of the ... Via Youtube

WTF Do The Democrats Stand For?

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Democrats’ McCarthyism Hits Greens’ Stein

Democratic Party hysteria blaming Russia for Hillary Clinton’s defeat has spilled over into McCarthyistic smears against Green Party candidate Jill...

The Democrats’ Dangerous Diversion

Exclusive: The Democrats won’t admit that they lost to Donald Trump because they ran a deeply flawed, corporate-oriented candidate, so...

’Disaster’ poll shows Democrats less popular than Trump, GOP or media

President Donald Trump may tweet too much, but his approval ratings are higher than those of...

Democrats move to challenge Trump's new travel ban in court

A ruling by the federal judge in Seattle blocking President Donald Trump’s original travel ban should...

Democrats and Trump Bid Up Militarism

With Democrats lusting for a new and costly Cold War with Russia — and President Trump countering by hiring generals...

Democrats’ ‘Russian Hacking’ Conspiracy Theory Backfires

Democrats’ efforts to raise suspicions about alleged — and, thus far, imaginary — links between President Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russian government may...

Fake News: Media, Democrats Distort Remarks to Target Jeff Sessions

Democrats and the media are once again targeting Attorney General Jeff Sessions — this time, over allegations that he met twice with...

Democrats who sat through Trump tribute to fallen Navy SEAL blasted online (VIDEO)

Published time: 1 Mar, 2017 15:43 Democrats have been blasted online for remaining seated during a tribute...

The Post-Millennial Generation Should Worry Democrats

On Deck, “Generation Z,” the most conservative generation in 70 years.  Born between 1995 -2010, they’re fiscally conservative, staunchly supportive of personal...

Three Cheers for the Perez-Ellison DNC Team to Move the Democrats in a Progressive...

I was hoping that Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) would win the Democratic National Committee chairmanship because of his experience as an organizer, but former...

'Incredibly Disappointing': Democrats Choose Tom Perez to Head Party

Democrats on Saturday chose Tom Perez to lead the party, sparking criticism from progressive organizations who say picking the former labor secretary over the...

Fair Game: The Resistance Puts Pressure on Complicit Democrats

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) takes questions after Democrats held an emergency caucus meeting on investigating former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, on...

Democrats call for changes to Electoral College after Trump victory

Published time: 22 Feb, 2017 22:15 Lawmakers in several US states are considering proposals to change to...

Democrats, Liberals Catch McCarthyistic Fever

Exclusive: Democrats and liberals are so angry about President Trump that they are turning to McCarthyistic tactics without regard to basic fairness or the...
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Video: Greenwald: Democrats Seem to Consider Snowden’s & Manning’s Leaks Evil & Leaks Under...

http://democracynow.org - Over four years ago, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden warned that he or other NSA analysts could spy on anyone, even the U.S....

Michael Flynn was 'set up' by Democrats, neocons: Analyst

Former US national security adviser Michael Flynn was “set up” by Democrats and neoconservatives, an analyst says. Read more

‘Flynn’s resignation victory for mainstream media & Democrats’ – ex-Pentagon official to RT

The surprise resignation of President Trump’s national security advisor, Michael Flynn, was a victory for the US mainstream media and Democrats, who were complicit...

#HoldTheFloor: Democrats stage desperate 24hr filibuster against Trump Ed Sec pick DeVos

Democrats have launched a final push against President Donald Trump’s pick for education secretary, Betsy DeVos,...

Elizabeth Warren To Democrats: Only an 'Opposition Party' Can Defeat Trump

Speaking to members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus on Saturday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) delivered a searing critique by telling her fellow Democrats that...

The Face of the Enemy:  Dupes, Deplorables, Opportunists and Democrats

A nightmare is unfolding: a stench envelops the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. It comes from an executive branch in...

Why Aren't the Democrats Doing More to Support the Burgeoning Trump Resistance Movement?

Sen. Claire McCaskill questions Rep. Mick Mulvaney, President Trump's pick to be next director of the Office of Management and Budget, at his conformation...

Nine Unanimous 'Nays' from Democrats as GOP-Run Committee Approves Jeff Sessions

Followed by shouts of "Shame! Shame!" in the gallery, and with no Democratic members voting in favor, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee on...

‘Ammunition to jihadists’: Democrats decry Trump's 'Muslim ban' outside Supreme Court

Trump’s 'Muslim ban' has given “ammunition to all jihadists” across the globe, Democrat Bernie Sanders said...

Game Over for Democrats?

Photo by P Bear | CC BY 2.0 In 2008, the American people overwhelmingly voted for “change” in Washington. They never got it. Hence, Trump. To...

Democrats-linked ethics group sues Trump over ‘unconstitutional’ DC hotel

On his first workday in office, President Donald Trump was sued for supposedly violating the US...

Thirteen Democrats Join GOP to Kill Sanders Resolution on Canadian Drug Imports

(Photo: Pixabay) Twelve Republicans and thirteen Democrats crossed party lines in a 52-46 vote against prodding Congress toward examining the allowance of pharmaceutical imports from...

The Democrats’ Russia-Did-It Dodge

To avoid facing up to why Hillary Clinton’s pro-corporatist candidacy really lost key Rust Belt states, national Democrats are finding...
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Video: Glenn Greenwald: Democrats Eager to Blame “Everybody But Themselves” for Collapse of Their...

http://democracynow.org - As Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testifies at a Senate hearing on Russian cyberthreats ahead of a highly classified ... Via Youtube

Democrats Renew Demand for Slavery Reparations

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus and other Democrats this week re-introduced legislation that would set up a commission to consider whether...

Trump joins Democrats in blasting House GOP gutting of ethics office

Democrats alarmed by the House Republicans’ decision to abolish the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) have...
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Video: Democrats losing on all fronts, looking for scapegoats – Putin on US elections

Allegations of personal involvement in the Democrats' electoral defeats in the US, the threat of a nuclear arms race, and the potential for a...

Vladimir Putin Trashes Democrats During Press Conference: ‘Learn How To Lose Gracefully'

Vladimir Putin is brushing off accusations that the Russians hacked the Democratic party and interfered with the presidential election in the United States....
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Video: Democrats make final push against Trump at Electoral College vote

It's been over a month since the US election, but it seems some Democrats are refusing to admit defeat to president-elect Donald Trump. His...

NYT’s False Choice for Democrats: Move to the Right or Divide by Race

Joe Biden in the New York Times (12/15/16): “I mean, these are good people, man!” The New York Times piece “Democrats at Crossroads: Win Back...

Democrats outraged as Trump may keep ‘Apprentice’ credit

President-elect Donald Trump may be giving up his salary, but he will reportedly be staying on as executive producer of reality show “Celebrity Apprentice.”...

The Democrats Do Their Job, Again

Old Blue Dogs Don’t Learn New Tricks Did you fall for the narrative that “hey one good silver lining to the 2016 elections is that...

Democrats Launch New McCarthyism

Unwilling to examine the real reasons why Democrats did so poorly on Election Day, party leaders in Congress are scapegoating...

Playing Defense: How Progressives Could Push Democrats to Block the Trump Agenda

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) listens to John Stumpf, the chief executive of Wells Fargo, testify before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee...

Majority of Democrats believe Israel is 'burden' on US – poll

The majority of Democrats believe Israel is a "burden" on the US and has too much...

Buying Silence: Why So Many Democrats are Mute About Standing Rock

After weeks of calling for the United States Government to provide the efforts of water protectors at Standing Rock to stop the Dakota Access...

Sore loser Democrats want to abolish Electoral College: Poll

A new poll shows a majority of US Democrats are in favor of putting an end to the Electoral College system, after Hillary Clinton...
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Video: ‘Wall Street Plus Identity Politics’ Formula is Over for the Democrats

If the Democrats want to win, they have to speak to the real concerns of working people; but how can they when Wall Street...

Democrats Caused President Trump; They Caused His Victory

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org Here’s a video where Carey Wedler explains in her own thoroughly truthful way in just four minutes, how and...

Why the Democrats Couldn’t Defeat Someone as Loathsome as Trump

Photo by Tyler Merbler | CC BY 2.0 Some preliminary thoughts on the Democrats’ failure to beat someone as loathsome as Donald Trump: 1) Insider Democrats...

Dumbass Democrats

Congratulations, you played yourself! Ok, this rant is from my working-class heart, but it is due time for a rant. Well, who the hell are the...
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Video: Greenwald on “Democrats, Trump, and the Ongoing, Dangerous Refusal to Learn the Lesson...

http://democracynow.org - Early Wednesday morning, the shock of Donald Trump's victory spread across the world, sending stock markets tumbling and media ... Via Youtube

‘Democrats failed us miserably’: Michael Moore lets rip with post-election ‘To Do List’

Filmmaker Michael Moore has become a political beacon for devastated Hillary Clinton fans to move on...

Could Bernie have won? Democrats ponder Clinton rout

Hillary Clinton’s devastating loss to Donald Trump has left many Democrats stumped, as the party struggles...
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Video: Democrats Sue Trump & GOP Under 1871 KKK Act for Threatening Voters of...

http://democracynow.org - The Democratic Party has filed lawsuits in four battleground states—Ohio, Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania—alleging Donald ... Via Youtube

Democrats accuse FBI of hiding ‘explosive truth’ about Trump-Russia ties

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid has accused the bureau of hiding “explosive” information about Donald Trump’s...

61% of Americans don’t feel represented by either Democrats or Republicans

Despite the current US electoral landscape, which again sees a Democrat and a Republican leading the...

Trump blasts US ‘voter suppression’ by ‘oversampling Democrats’ in polls

GOP nominee Donald Trump has blasted pollsters for “oversampling Democrats” in polls as revealed in a recent batch of releases by transparency organization WikiLeaks,...

The Democrats’ Joe McCarthy Moment

Exclusive: To shield Hillary Clinton from criticism of her Wall Street speeches, the Democrats are engaging in a new McCarthyism...

Lessons From the 2006 Midterms: Will Democrats Disappoint Again?

(Photo: Stephen Melkisethian / Flickr) With your support, we can publish more stories like this one. Click here to make a donation towards...

Insatiable: the Democrats Must Attack Democracy to Serve Corporate Power

You might think that pervasive election fraud, the conversion of mass media into propaganda, and the already insignificant role that everyday people play in...
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Video: Who said it, Trump or Clinton? Democrats Can’t Decide

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have said many things over the years. We asked participants at this year's Democratic National Convention to parse the...

Voter ID Laws: Why Black Democrats' Fight for the Ballot in Mississippi Still Matters

This fall, we are faced with the question of who will become president. And equally important -- who can vote? Over the past...
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Video: How Disenchanted Democrats and Republicans Together Can Break the Two Party Duopoly

Sam Husseini says he has a way to get voters out of the lesser evil mindset while avoiding the 'spoiler problem' Visit http://therealnews.com for...
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Video: Democrats urge Hillary to ‘cut off Clinton Foundation’

US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has been urged to cut ties with her own charity. Democrats say the Clinton Foundation has been putting her...

Fixing Obamacare: The Democrats Have to Talk About It

Michelle Stoaks takes the blood pressure of patient June Chaper at DuPage Medical Group in Lisle, Illinois, on April 6, 2016. A...
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Video: Open Up the Debates: Green Party’s Jill Stein Accuses Democrats & GOP of...

http://democracynow.org - While polls show Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are among the least popular major-party candidates to ever run for the White ... Via...

Obama tells Democrats not to get overconfident about Clinton victory

US President Barack Obama has warned Democrats not to become too confident about their prospects in the upcoming presidential election. "If we are not running...

Hacker strikes again, posts congressional Democrats’ passwords

The hacker calling himself ‘Guccifer 2.0’ says he broke into the computers of the Democratic Congressional...
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Video: Julian Assange: Leaked DNC Emails Shows Democrats Waged “Propaganda” Campaign Against Sanders

http://democracynow.org - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange spoke via video stream at the Green Party convention in Houston, Texas, over the weekend. Via Youtube
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Video: BREAKING Democrats Will Be Campaigning Against Hillary Clinton

In this video Luke Rudkowski interviews one of the leading speakers organizing democrats against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race. This is the...

Democrats Are Still Divided on Israel, But Clinton Runs Way to the Right

(Speaker Boehner / Flickr) Following Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s exit as chair of the Democratic Party after the release of emails revealing efforts to undermine Bernie Sanders’s...

Democrats Adopt a More Progressive Tone

At the Democratic National Convention, some tough-guy/gal militaristic talk has prompted floor shouts of “no more war,” while most domestic policy...

Ralph Nader – Why Democrats Lose

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Video: Part 2: Clinton vs. Bernie Debate: As Turmoil Rocks Democrats, How Can Progressives...

http://democracynow.org - With the Democratic National Convention about to begin in Philadelphia, we look at the state of the Democratic Party. Many party ... Via...
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Video: Part 1: Clinton vs. Bernie Debate: As Turmoil Rocks Democrats, How Can Progressives...

http://democracynow.org - With the Democratic National Convention about to begin in Philadelphia, we look at the state of the Democratic Party. Many party ... Via...

Hillary’s Strategy: Snub Liberal Democrats, Move Right to Nab Anti-Trump Republicans

  Joseph Sohm | Shutterstock.com   Hillary Clinton’s strategy for the general election is to try to peal away anti-Trump Republicans. That’s why we are seeing her move to...

Trump tries to divide Democrats over Clinton's running mate

US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is trying to divide Democrats by urging Bernie Sanders' supporters to revolt against Clinton's VP pick. Read more
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Video: 60 Black Democrats Sign Letter in AIPAC-Backed Effort to Discredit Cornel West and...

Black Agenda Report's Glen Ford says AIPAC sent a long-time member to discredit Cornel West and give the impression that blacks oppose the Boycott,...
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Video: Democrats Reject Sanders Opposition to TPP

In a defeat for the Sanders movement, the Democratic Platform Committee votes 106-74 to reject opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Via Youtube

TPP becomes wedge issue for Democrats ahead of national convention

A group of Democratic delegates have sent out a letter calling on fellow party members to...

The Democrats Ignore the 500-Pound Lobbyist in the Room

(Photo: Josh Self; Edited: LW / TO) In all of the 35 single-spaced pages of the Democratic Party's platform draft, there is just one...

Pity the Poor Democrats!

Krista Kennell | Shutterstock.com During this part of the election cycle, they face an enormous challenge.  They must convert the image of Hillary Clinton from the Dragon...
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Video: Progressive Democrats of America Executive Director: We Will Not Endorse Clinton

Donna Smith of the Progressive Democrats of America tells Paul Jay that her organization will work very hard on the down ballot races instead...

Senate Democrats block Zika funding bill over GOP provisions

A Republican bill that proposed $1.1 billion to counter the Zika virus failed in the US...

Hillary Clinton escapes censure from House Democrats over Benghazi scandal

Following a two-year investigation, House Democrats absolved former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the US military over allegations of security lapses for diplomats...

The Hypocrisy of the Democrats' Sit-In Stunt

It's an election year, and the Democrats need a new fundraising peg. So what better way to represent their constituents than to...

Democrats Wrap Up Occupation of House, Continue Embrace of Bush National Security Policies

House Democrats wave to supporters after ending their House sit-in at the Capitol Building in Washington, DC, on June 23, 2016. (Al...

Democrats’ Politics of Fraud Produces No More Gun Safety

What’s the difference between these two Democrats, Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Rep. Barbara Lee of California? Chris Murphy puts on a pointless,...

Democrats end House sit-in protest over gun control

Democrats decided to end their day-long sit-in protest on the House floor over gun control Thursday. Rep. John Lewis, who launched the...

After Orlando, Democrats and Republicans Clamor for Expanded Police State

The horrific massacre in Orlando has once again thrust the specter of domestic terrorism into the limelight, and into the media space.  Pundits and...

The Democrats’ ‘Super-Delegate’ Mistake

Exclusive: Democratic “super-delegates” – hundreds of party insiders – tilted the presidential race to Hillary Clinton though not chosen by voters, an undemocratic idea that...

Trump to meet with NRA over Democrats’ gun control proposal

Following the Orlando nightclub massacre, a Democratic initiative to ban gun sales to people on the...

Democrats Are Now the Aggressive War Party

Exclusive: For nearly a half century – since late in the Vietnam War – the Democrats have been the less...

Democrats now controlled by oil-funded lobbying companies

Ion Todescu (RINF) - An information society is a thing of curiosity. A human has always been dependent on the public opinion turning eventually into...

With the Trans-Pacific Partnership, It's Obama and the GOP vs. the Democrats

President Barack Obama walks through a curtain following a tour of the DreamPlex Coworking Space in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, May...

Democrats in Dis-Array

Drop of Light | Shutterstock.com   With rumors flying that establishment Democrats might hand Hillary Clinton her hat before the Democratic Convention to replace her with Joe Biden,...

Democrats Can’t Unite Unless Wasserman Schultz Goes

  To paraphrase the words of that Scottish master Robert Burns, the best laid plans of mice, men -- and women -- go often astray,...

Bill Clinton Brought Democrats Back to Life: A Zombie Idea That Won’t Die

David Shribman, a former New York Times political writer who is now the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette‘s executive editor, had an op-ed about Clintonism in the...

Democrats, Too Clever by Half on Clinton

Exclusive: Democratic Party honchos who wanted Hillary Clinton’s coronation are having some regrets as her weaknesses become obvious, her poll...

Maine Democrats eliminate power of superdelegates in convention vote (VIDEO)

The Maine Democratic Party have voted to abolish the influence of superdelegates, a group with the power to choose the party’s presidential nominee irrespective...

Maine Democrats to vote on eliminating superdelegates

Officials from the Maine Democratic Party will vote on a rule change to eliminate superdelegates, the...

Democrats move to shut down criticism of Clinton’s Wall Street ties

Via WSWS. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. Tom Eley In the aftermath of last week’s New York primary and...

Is Hillary Clinton the Democrats’ Richard Nixon?

Eric Zuesse Richard Nixon’s similarities to Hillary Clinton are remarkable: 1: Both were highly successful politicians who had exceptionally negative net-approval ratings from the U.S. public,...

Democrats March Toward Cliff

As Democratic-insider "super-delegates" give Hillary Clinton a seemingly insurmountable lead for the presidential nomination, the former Secretary of State's negative ratings continue...

Democrats March Toward Cliff

Exclusive: Barack Obama once called Hillary Clinton “likable enough,” but a new poll raises doubts about that, as the Democratic frontrunner’s...

Clinton leads Sanders with double digits among New York Democrats – poll

With only a week to go until the New York primary, Hillary Clinton is maintaining her...

Time for These Two Democrats to Go

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has held fundraisers for Hillary Clinton's campaign since 2014, so chances are she'll take the money and run,...

Why Democrats’ Super-Tuesday Results Aren’t Conclusive

Eric Zuesse Hillary Clinton won, on Tuesday March 1st, six (6) states that aren’t even in contest for the November general election for the U.S....

All Polls Show Sanders as the Strongest Candidate to Win Presidency, but Democrats Likely...

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Democrats can’t defend US from GOP

President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner

The Congress, that polls show the American people would like to replace in its entirety, has “kicked the can down the road” again, putting off the government shutdown until January 15th and another debt ceiling showdown until February 7th.

The polls also show, convincingly, that people blame the stubborn Republicans more than the Democrats for the adverse effects of the impasse on workers, public health, safety, consumer spending, recreational parks and government corporate contracts.

There is another story about how all this gridlock came to be, fronted by the question: “Why didn’t the Democrats landslide the cruelest, most ignorant, big-business-indentured Republican Party in its history during the 2010 and 2012 Congressional elections?

There are a number of answers to this fundamental political question. First and most obvious is that the Democrats are dialing for the same commercial campaign dollars, which beyond the baggage of quid pro quo money, detours the Party away from concentrating on their constituents’ needs, in a contrasting manner with the GOP.

Democrats like Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Dem. Ohio) tell me that when the House Democrats get together in an election year, they go into the meetings talking about money and walk out talking about money, burdened with the quotas assigned by their so-called leadership.

Last year, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (Dem. Calif.) was reported to have attended 400 fundraisers in DC and around the country for her campaigning Democrats. Helping Democratic candidates with fundraising is a major way she asserts her control over them. Over ninety percent of the Democrats in the House defer to her and do not press her on such matters as upping the federal minimum wage, controlling corporate crime, reducing corporate welfare giveaways, reasserting full Medicare for all, diminishing a militaristic foreign policy and other policies reputed to be favored by the Party’s Progressive Caucus, numbering 75 Representatives. Instead, the Progressive Caucus remains moribund, declining to press their policy demands on leader Pelosi, as the hardcore Tea Partiers do with their leaders.

So when election time comes around, voters do not know what the Democrats stand for other than to save Social Security and Medicare from the Republicans. Former Senator and Presidential candidate Gary Hart, now living in Denver, said last year that the local Democrats in Denver didn’t know what the national Democrats stood for.

The 2010 election was crucial for the winners in the state government races who gained the upper hand in redistricting decisions for a decade. That meant more gerrymandered one-party dominated districts. The Republicans won a majority of those gubernatorial and state legislative races and took over the US House of Representatives with Speaker John Boehner (Rep. Ohio) and his curled-lip deputy, Eric Cantor (Rep. Va.).

And there is also President Obama’s political selfishness. Obama knew that he could not govern with a knee-jerk blocking Republican House of Representatives. Yet he did not provide serious campaign support and progressive policy leadership for Democratic candidates. Consequently he was overcome in 2011 by the Republican demands for sharp cuts in federal budgets serving people, while exempting corporate entitlements from similar cuts, and the specter of government shutdowns and Republicans in Congress refusing to raise the government’s debt ceiling to pay current debts, during his first term Presidency.

So you’d think that in 2012 President Obama would run arm-in-arm with Congressional Democrats. No way. He not only signaled his “going it alone” approach by turning down a Democrat’s request for $30 million from his billion dollar campaign hoard, but he had little interest in campaigning with the local Congressional candidates as he travelled around the country. The House Democrats were dismayed, but kept quiet.

So he got the Boehner/Cantor duo for another two years after the 2012 election. That meant another shut-the-government-down don’t-lift-the-debt-ceiling imbroglio - a clash that crowded out all the necessities and the matters of justice that our government is supposed to champion. The greed and power of the Walmarts, the Exxons, the Aetnas, the Lockheed Martins and the rest of the global corporate power structure that has turned its back on taxpaying, American workers and their families remains unchecked by our government.

Fast forward to the elections of 2014. No House Democrat believed, until the recent Congressional impasse, that the Democrats would win back the House in 2014. Given that many House-passed Republican votes since 2011 sided with big business, on the wrong side of fair treatment of children, student borrowers, workers, women, consumers, small taxpayers and providing necessary public services, one would think the Democrats should win next year in a slam dunk. Not likely, unless the Republican echo chamber, with its “mad dog” extremists, hand control of the House to the Democrats.

From the Nineteen Forties to the Nineteen Nineties, the Republican Party did not behave as badly as today’s snarling version of the GOP. Yet the Democrats beat Republicans in most Congressional races. Imagine what Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Baines Johnson would have done with today’s crop of Republican corporatists and rabid ideologues.

Today’s Democrats with very few exceptions are dull, tired and defeatist. They regularly judge themselves by how bad the Republican Party is, instead of how affirmatively good they could be for our country and its politically alienated people. They cannot even muster themselves to battle for a higher minimum wage on behalf of 30 million American workers, just to the level of 1968, inflation adjusted, which is supported by over 70 percent of the people.

Neither Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, nor House Democratic Leader, Nancy Pelosi are really taking this minimum wage fairness issue to the people and directly confronting the Republican Party. Yet they both profess to believe in “catching up with 1968.” They just don’t believe in themselves enough to generate the focused energy to make it happen.

AGB/AGB

The Democrats Can’t Defend the Country from the Retrograde GOP

The Congress, that polls show the American people would like to replace in its entirety, has “kicked the can down the road” again, putting off the government shutdown until January 15th and another debt ceiling showdown until February 7th.

The polls also show, convincingly, that people blame the stubborn Republicans more than the Democrats for the adverse effects of the impasse on workers, public health, safety, consumer spending, recreational parks and government corporate contracts.

There is another story about how all this gridlock came to be, fronted by the question: “Why didn’t the Democrats landslide the cruelest, most ignorant, big-business-indentured Republican Party in its history during the 2010 and 2012 Congressional elections? (See “The Do Nothing Congress: A Record of Extremism and Partisanship”)

There are a number of answers to this fundamental political question. First and most obvious is that the Democrats are dialing for the same commercial campaign dollars, which beyond the baggage of quid pro quo money, detours the Party away from concentrating on their constituents’ needs, in a contrasting manner with the GOP.
Democrats like Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Dem. Ohio) tell me that when the House Democrats get together in an election year, they go into the meetings talking about money and walk out talking about money, burdened with the quotas assigned by their so-called leadership.

Last year, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (Dem. Calif.) was reported to have attended 400 fundraisers in DC and around the country for her campaigning Democrats. Helping Democratic candidates with fundraising is a major way she asserts her control over them. Over ninety percent of the Democrats in the House defer to her and do not press her on such matters as upping the federal minimum wage, controlling corporate crime, reducing corporate welfare giveaways, reasserting full Medicare for all, diminishing a militaristic foreign policy and other policies reputed to be favored by the Party’s Progressive Caucus, numbering 75 Representatives. Instead, the Progressive Caucus remains moribund, declining to press their policy demands on leader Pelosi, as the hardcore Tea Partiers do with their leaders.

So when election time comes around, voters do not know what the Democrats stand for other than to save Social Security and Medicare from the Republicans. Former Senator and Presidential candidate Gary Hart, now living in Denver, said last year that the local Democrats in Denver didn’t know what the national Democrats stood for.

The 2010 election was crucial for the winners in the state government races who gained the upper hand in redistricting decisions for a decade. That meant more gerrymandered one-party dominated districts. The Republicans won a majority of those gubernatorial and state legislative races and took over the U.S. House of Representatives with Speaker John Boehner (Rep. Ohio) and his curled-lip deputy, Eric Cantor (Rep. Va.).

And there is also President Obama’s political selfishness. Obama knew that he could not govern with a knee-jerk blocking Republican House of Representatives. Yet he did not provide serious campaign support and progressive policy leadership for Democratic candidates. Consequently he was overcome in 2011 by the Republican demands for sharp cuts in federal budgets serving people, while exempting corporate entitlements from similar cuts, and the spectre of government shutdowns and Republicans in Congress refusing to raise the government’s debt ceiling to pay current debts, during his first term Presidency.

So you’d think that in 2012 President Obama would run arm-in-arm with Congressional Democrats. No way. He not only signaled his “going it alone” approach by turning down a Democrat’s request for $30 million from his billion dollar campaign hoard, but he had little interest in campaigning with the local Congressional candidates as he travelled around the country. The House Democrats were dismayed, but kept quiet.

So he got the Boehner/Cantor duo for another two years after the 2012 election. That meant another shut-the-government-down don’t-lift-the-debt-ceiling imbroglio – a clash that crowded out all the necessities and the matters of justice that our government is supposed to champion. The greed and power of the Walmarts, the Exxons, the Aetnas, the Lockheed Martins and the rest of the global corporate power structure that has turned its back on taxpaying, American workers and their families remains unchecked by our government.

Fast forward to the elections of 2014. No House Democrat believed, until the recent Congressional impasse, that the Democrats would win back the House in 2014. Given that many House-passed Republican votes since 2011 sided with big business, on the wrong side of fair treatment of children, student borrowers, workers, women, consumers, small taxpayers and providing necessary public services, one would think the Democrats should win next year in a slam dunk. Not likely, unless the Republican echo chamber, with its “mad dog” extremists, hand control of the House to the Democrats.

From the Nineteen Forties to the Nineteen Nineties, the Republican Party did not behave as badly as today’s snarling version of the GOP. Yet the Democrats beat Republicans in most Congressional races. Imagine what Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Baines Johnson would have done with today’s crop of Republican corporatists and rabid ideologues.

Today’s Democrats with very few exceptions are dull, tired and defeatist. They regularly judge themselves by how bad the Republican Party is, instead of how affirmatively good they could be for our country and its politically alienated people. They cannot even muster themselves to battle for a higher minimum wage on behalf of 30 million American workers, just to the level of 1968, inflation adjusted, which is supported by over 70 percent of the people.

Neither Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, nor House Democratic Leader, Nancy Pelosi are really taking this minimum wage fairness issue to the people and directly confronting the Republican Party. Yet they both profess to believe in “catching up with 1968.” They just don’t believe in themselves enough to generate the focused energy to make it happen.

(For those readers interested in letting their members of Congress have an earful, the switchboard is 202-224-3121.)

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition.

Democrats Raise Their Ante

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/democrats_raise_their_ante_20131015/ Posted on Oct 15, 2013 ...

Democrats Raise Their Ante

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/democrats_raise_their_ante_20131015/

Posted on Oct 15, 2013

By Eugene Robinson

A crazy thing is happening in shuttered, dysfunctional Washington: Democrats are pushing back.

This phenomenon is so novel and disorienting that many Republicans in Congress, especially the tea party bullies, seem unable to grasp what’s going on. They keep expecting President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to fold like a cheap suit because, well, such a thing has happened before. I guess it’s understandable that the GOP might have forgotten the difference between bluffing and actually holding a winning hand.

Late last week, Reid began demanding that Republicans not only reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling but that they also make concessions on the draconian, irrational-by-design budget cuts known as sequestration. In political terms, he is demanding that the GOP pay a price for putting the country through all this needless drama.

Suddenly, Republicans who thought it was fine to hold the government and the economy hostage in order to nullify a duly enacted law—the Affordable Care Act—are shocked that Democrats would even suggest tampering with another duly enacted law: the Budget Control Act of 2011, which established the “sequester” cuts.

Was Reid moving the goal posts? Of course he was. That’s what negotiators do when they have the upper hand.

It seemed clear from the beginning that House Republicans had overreached by shutting down the government in an attempt to block the health insurance reforms popularly known as Obamacare. For one thing, many of the Affordable Care Act’s provisions were already in force. For another, any residual questions about the law had been thoroughly litigated in last year’s election.

Indeed, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Thursday pronounced a devastating verdict: Fifty-three percent of those surveyed blamed Republicans for the shutdown, as opposed to 31 percent who blamed Obama—a worse pounding for the GOP than the party suffered when Newt Gingrich shut down the government during the Clinton administration. A separate survey by Gallup showed the Republican Party with an approval rating of just 28 percent, the lowest the firm has ever measured for either party.

Such stunning numbers not only threaten to dash the GOP’s hopes of winning control of the Senate next year but also challenge the party’s ability to hold its majority in the House.

So there’s no question who’s winning and who’s losing. Still, it’s refreshing to see Democrats act accordingly.

The standard pattern since Republicans captured the House in 2010 goes something like this: House Speaker John Boehner makes outrageous demands. Obama negotiates a “compromise” package heavily weighted toward Republican priorities, but Boehner can’t deliver his caucus. Fearful that tea party vandals might burn down the house, Democrats end up agreeing to a short-term deal that gives the GOP much of what it wants.

It is understandable that the activist Republican base might think victory through blackmail was the natural order of things. It’s not. It’s a distortion of American democracy that weakens the nation, and it has to end.

The fact that the GOP controls the House means that its views cannot be ignored. But the fact that Democrats control the Senate and the White House means that Republicans have no right to expect that they will always get their way. This concept of basic fairness is the sort of thing most of us learned in second grade. Apparently, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was not paying attention.

Before the tea party tantrum that caused the shutdown, Democrats had already agreed to sequester-level government funding of $986 billion—the number that Republicans insisted on. Because of sequestration, funding will suffer a further $21 billion cut in January. Last week, as the Senate struggled to clean up the mess that the House majority had made, Reid said hold on a minute.

Senate Democrats now want only a brief extension at the sequester level, along with further negotiations that could raise government funding closer to $1.058 trillion, the number they originally sought.

Republicans reacted with shock and horror, most of it feigned. This is the way politics is supposed to work. Obama and Reid are now in a position to win gracefully by compromising on their new spending demands. Republicans could then portray the outcome as something other than a rout—and hope the focus on spending makes the hypercaffeinated GOP base forget about that whole Obamacare-is-the-devil thing.

This should be a lesson: When you negotiate from strength, you’re not only helping yourself. You’re helping your adversary too.


Eugene Robinson’s e-mail address is eugenerobinson(at)washpost.com.
   
© 2013, Washington Post Writers Group

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Robert Reich just wrote the piece “Selling the Store: Why Democrats Shouldn’t Put Social Security and Medicare on the Table,” which states: “Prominent Democrats — including the President and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — are openly suggesting that Medicare be means-tested and Social Security payments be reduced by applying a lower adjustment for inflation.

“This is even before they’ve started budget negotiations with Republicans — who still refuse to raise taxes on the rich, close tax loopholes the rich depend on (such as hedge-fund and private-equity managers’ “carried interest”), increase capital gains taxes on the wealthy, cap their tax deductions, or tax financial transactions.

“It’s not the first time Democrats have led with a compromise, but these particular pre-concessions are especially unwise.”

MAX RICHTMAN, PAMELA CAUSEY [email]
Richtman is president of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. Causey is communications director of the group. Today Richtman wrote a letter to Obama that his pledges regarding Social Security have been “contradicted by statements made in recent months that both the chained CPI and Medicare means-testing remain a part of your deficit reduction proposal. The ‘chained CPI’ is not a ‘technical tweak, and no amount of rationalization can make it so. In reality, the chained CPI is a benefit cut for the oldest and most vulnerable Americans who would be least able to afford it. To offer to trade it away outside the context of a comprehensive Social Security solvency proposal ignores the fact that Social Security does not even belong in this debate because it does not contribute to the deficit. Cutting Social Security benefits to reduce the deficit is unacceptable to the vast majority of Americans across all ages and political affiliation.

“Likewise, we are concerned about proposals to raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 and to increase the Social Security full retirement age from 67 to 69. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone is living longer or is able to work into their late 60s. While life expectancy has risen six years in the top half of income earners, workers in the bottom half have only gained 1.3 years. What is more, the bottom 40 percent of income earners depend on Social Security for nearly 90 percent of their total income. Benefit cuts through the chained CPI and delaying access to Medicare for millions of Americans would harm seniors, people with disabilities and children; and have a disproportionately negative affect on women and communities of color.

“When taken together, these benefit cuts will generate a tsunami of seniors living in poverty. …”

Why Democrats Shouldn’t Put Social Security and Medicare on the Table

Why Democrats Shouldn’t Put Social Security and Medicare on the Table

Posted on Mar 21, 2013

By Robert Reich

This post originally ran on Robert Reich’s Web page.

Prominent Democrats — including the President and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — are openly suggesting that Medicare be means-tested and Social Security payments be reduced by applying a lower adjustment for inflation.

This is even before they’ve started budget negotiations with Republicans — who still refuse to raise taxes on the rich, close tax loopholes the rich depend on (such as hedge-fund and private-equity managers’ “carried interest”), increase capital gains taxes on the wealthy, cap their tax deductions, or tax financial transactions.

It’s not the first time Democrats have led with a compromise, but these particular pre-concessions are especially unwise.

For over thirty years Republicans have pitted the middle class against the poor, preying on the frustrations and racial biases of average working people who can’t get ahead no matter how hard they try. In the Republican narrative, government takes from the hard-working middle and gives to the undeserving and dependent needy. 

In reality, average working people have been stymied because almost all the economic gains of the last three decades have gone to the very top. The middle has lost bargaining power as unions have shriveled. American politics has been flooded with campaign contributions from corporations and the wealthy, which have used their clout to reduce marginal tax rates, widen loopholes, loosen regulations, gain subsidies, and obtain government bailouts when their bets turn sour.

Now five years after the worst downturn since the Great Depression and the biggest bailout in history, the stock market has recouped its losses and corporate profits constitute the largest share of the economy since 1929. Yet the real median wage continues to fall — wages now claim the lowest share of the economy on record — and inequality is still widening. All the economic gains since the trough of the recession have gone to the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans; the bottom 90 percent continue to lose ground.

What looks like the start of a more buoyant recovery is a sham because the vast majority of Americans have neither the pay nor access to credit that allows them to buy enough to boost the economy. Housing prices and starts are being fueled by investors with easy money rather than would-be home buyers with mortgages. The Fed’s low interest rates have pushed other investors into stocks by default, creating an artificial bull market.

If there was ever a time for the Democratic Party to champion working Americans and reverse these troubling trends, it is now — forging an alliance between the frustrated middle and the working poor. This need not be “class warfare” because a healthy economy is in everyone’s interest. The rich would do far better with a smaller share of a rapidly-growing economy than a ballooning share of one that’s growing at a snail’s pace and a stock market that’s turning into a bubble.

But the modern Democratic Party can’t bring itself to do this. It’s too dependent on the short-term, insular demands of Wall Street, corporate executives, and the wealthy. 

It was Bill Clinton, after all, who pushed for repeal of Glass-Steagall, championed the North American Free Trade Act and the World Trade Organization without adequate safeguards for American jobs, and rented out the Lincoln Bedroom to a steady stream of rich executives.

And it was Barack Obama who continued George W. Bush’s Wall Street bailout with no strings attached; pushed a watered-down “Volcker Rule” (still delayed) rather than renew Glass-Steagall; failed to prosecute a single Wall Street executive or bank because, according to his Attorney General, Wall Street is just too big to jail; and permanently enshrined the Bush tax cuts for all but the top 2 percent.

Meanwhile, over the last several decades Democrats have allowed Social Security taxes to grow and its revenue stream to become almost as important a source of overall government funding as income taxes; turned their backs on organized labor and labor-law reforms that would have made it easier to form unions; and then, even as they bailed out Wall Street, neglected the burdens of middle-class homeowners who found themselves underwater and their homes worth less than what they paid for them because of the Street’s excesses.

In fairness, it could have been worse. Clinton did stand up to Gingrich. Obama did get the Affordable Care Act. Congressional Democrats have scored tactical victories against social conservatives and Tea Party radicals. But Democrats haven’t responded in any bold or meaningful way to the increasingly concentrated wealth and power, the steady demise of the middle class, and further impoverishment of the nation’s poor. The Party failed to become a movement to reclaim the economy and our democracy.

And now come their pre-concessions on Social Security and Medicare.

Technically, a “chained CPI” might be justifiable if seniors routinely substitute lower-cost alternatives as prices rise, as most other Americans do. But in reality, seniors pay 20 to 40 percent of their incomes for healthcare, including pharmaceuticals — the prices of which are rising much faster than inflation. So there’s no practical justification for reducing Social Security benefits on the assumption inflation isn’t really eating away at those benefits as much as the current cost-of-living adjustment allows. 

Robert B. Reich, chancellor’s professor of public policy at UC Berkeley, was secretary of labor in the Clinton administration. Time magazine named him one of the 10 most effective Cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written 13 books, including the best-sellers “Aftershock” and “The Work of Nations.” His latest, “Beyond Outrage,” is now out in paperback. He is also a founding editor of The American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause.


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Democrats Also to Blame for Iraq War, Journalist Scahill Says

Democrats Also to Blame for Iraq War, Journalist Scahill Says

Posted on Mar 21, 2013
Screenshot

Nation writer Jeremy Scahill ripped into Republicans and Democrats on the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, claiming that both parties are to blame for the war during a recent appearance on MSNBC.

“I don’t see this as the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War,” Scahill told Martin Bashir. “This was a war that started in 1991 and was waged consistently by the United States, and it was a bipartisan war.”

He argued that the key members of the Obama administration, including Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry, should have to answer for their actions in the runup to the conflict.

But Scahill also said that Bush administration officials such as Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith “should not be able to show their faces in public in this country without getting confronted with what they did to Iraq.” He later added that Dick Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were not deserving of being given “any honor in this society. They should be held accountable for the U.S. soldiers who were killed and the many more than 100,000 Iraqis that were killed.”

(h/t The Nation)

—Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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Selling the Store: Why Democrats Shouldn’t Put Social Security and Medicare on the Table

Prominent Democrats — including the President and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — are openly suggesting that Medicare be means-tested and Social Security payments be reduced by applying a lower adjustment for inflation. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said last week she's willing to consider cuts to Social Security as part of a sweeping deficit-reduction package, the so-called 'Grand Bargain.'. (Photo: File)

This is even before they’ve started budget negotiations with Republicans — who still refuse to raise taxes on the rich, close tax loopholes the rich depend on (such as hedge-fund and private-equity managers’ “carried interest”), increase capital gains taxes on the wealthy, cap their tax deductions, or tax financial transactions.

It’s not the first time Democrats have led with a compromise, but these particular pre-concessions are especially unwise.

For over thirty years Republicans have pitted the middle class against the poor, preying on the frustrations and racial biases of average working people who can’t get ahead no matter how hard they try. In the Republican narrative, government takes from the hard-working middle and gives to the undeserving and dependent needy.

In reality, average working people have been stymied because almost all the economic gains of the last three decades have gone to the very top. The middle has lost bargaining power as unions have shriveled. American politics has been flooded with campaign contributions from corporations and the wealthy, which have used their clout to reduce marginal tax rates, widen loopholes, loosen regulations, gain subsidies, and obtain government bailouts when their bets turn sour.

Now five years after the worst downturn since the Great Depression and the biggest bailout in history, the stock market has recouped its losses and corporate profits constitute the largest share of the economy since 1929. Yet the real median wage continues to fall — wages now claim the lowest share of the economy on record — and inequality is still widening. All the economic gains since the trough of the recession have gone to the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans; the bottom 90 percent continue to lose ground.

If there was ever a time for the Democratic Party to champion working Americans and reverse these troubling trends, it is now — forging an alliance between the frustrated middle and the working poor.

What looks like the start of a more buoyant recovery is a sham because the vast majority of Americans have neither the pay nor access to credit that allows them to buy enough to boost the economy. Housing prices and starts are being fueled by investors with easy money rather than would-be home buyers with mortgages. The Fed’s low interest rates have pushed other investors into stocks by default, creating an artificial bull market.

If there was ever a time for the Democratic Party to champion working Americans and reverse these troubling trends, it is now — forging an alliance between the frustrated middle and the working poor. This need not be “class warfare” because a healthy economy is in everyone’s interest. The rich would do far better with a smaller share of a rapidly-growing economy than a ballooning share of one that’s growing at a snail’s pace and a stock market that’s turning into a bubble.

But the modern Democratic Party can’t bring itself to do this. It’s too dependent on the short-term, insular demands of Wall Street, corporate executives, and the wealthy.

It was Bill Clinton, after all, who pushed for repeal of Glass-Steagall, championed the North American Free Trade Act and the World Trade Organization without adequate safeguards for American jobs, and rented out the Lincoln Bedroom to a steady stream of rich executives.

And it was Barack Obama who continued George W. Bush’s Wall Street bailout with no strings attached; pushed a watered-down “Volcker Rule” (still delayed) rather than renew Glass-Steagall; failed to prosecute a single Wall Street executive or bank because, according to his Attorney General, Wall Street is just too big to jail; and permanently enshrined the Bush tax cuts for all but the top 2 percent.

Meanwhile, over the last several decades Democrats have allowed Social Security taxes to grow and its revenue stream to become almost as important a source of overall government funding as income taxes; turned their backs on organized labor and labor-law reforms that would have made it easier to form unions; and then, even as they bailed out Wall Street, neglected the burdens of middle-class homeowners who found themselves underwater and their homes worth less than what they paid for them because of the Street’s excesses.

In fairness, it could have been worse. Clinton did stand up to Gingrich. Obama did get the Affordable Care Act. Congressional Democrats have scored tactical victories against social conservatives and Tea Party radicals. But Democrats haven’t responded in any bold or meaningful way to the increasingly concentrated wealth and power, the steady demise of the middle class, and further impoverishment of the nation’s poor. The Party failed to become a movement to reclaim the economy and our democracy.

And now come their pre-concessions on Social Security and Medicare.

Technically, a “chained CPI” might be justifiable if seniors routinely substitute lower-cost alternatives as prices rise, as most other Americans do. But in reality, seniors pay 20 to 40 percent of their incomes for healthcare, including pharmaceuticals — the prices of which are rising much faster than inflation. So there’s no practical justification for reducing Social Security benefits on the assumption inflation isn’t really eating away at those benefits as much as the current cost-of-living adjustment allows.

Likewise, although a case can be made for reducing the Medicare benefits of higher-income beneficiaries, as a practical matter their savings are almost as vulnerable to rising healthcare costs as are the more modest savings of middle-income retirees. “Means-testing” Medicare also runs the risk of transforming it into a program for the “less fortunate,” which can undermine its political support.

Medicare for all, or even a public option for Medicare, would give the program enough clout to demand health providers move from a fee-for-service system to one that paid instead for healthy outcomes.

In short, Medicare isn’t the problem. The underlying problem is the sky-rocketing costs of health care. Because Medicare’s administrative costs are a fraction of those of private health insurance, Medicare might be part of the solution. Medicare for all, or even a public option for Medicare, would give the program enough clout to demand health providers move from a fee-for-service system to one that paid instead for healthy outcomes.

With healthcare costs under better control, retirees wouldn’t be paying a large and growing portion of their incomes for healthcare — which would alleviate pressure on Social Security. I’m still not convinced a “chained CPI” is necessary, though. A preferable alternative would be to raise the ceiling on the portion of income subject to Social Security taxes (now $113,600).

Besides, Social Security and Medicare are the most popular programs ever devised by the federal government, which is why Republicans hate them so much. If average Americans have trusted the Democratic Party to do one thing it has been to guard these programs from the depredations of the GOP.

Putting these two programs “on the table” is also tantamount to accepting the most insidious and dishonest of all Republican claims: That for too long most Americans have been living beyond their means; that we are rapidly approaching a day of reckoning when we can no longer afford these generous “entitlements;” and that prudence and responsibility dictate that we must now begin to live within our means and cut back these projected expenditures, particularly if we are to have any money left to invest in the young and the disadvantaged.

The truth is the opposite: That for three decades the means of most Americans have been stagnant even though the overall economy has more than doubled in size; that because almost all the gains from growth have gone to the top, most Americans haven’t been able to save enough for retirement or the rising costs of healthcare; and that because of this, Social Security and Medicare are barely adequate as is.

Democrats shouldn’t succumb the lie that the elderly and young are in competition for a portion of a shrinking pie, when in fact the pie is larger than ever. It’s just that those who have the largest and fastest-growing portions refuse to share it.

Paul Ryan’s House Republican budget takes on Medicare, but leaves Social Security alone. Why should Democrats lead the charge on either?

The Republicans are already slashing help for the young and the disadvantaged. Democrats shouldn’t succumb the lie that the elderly and young are in competition for a portion of a shrinking pie, when in fact the pie is larger than ever. It’s just that those who have the largest and fastest-growing portions refuse to share it.

We are the richest nation in the history of the world — richer now than we’ve ever been. But an increasing share of that wealth is held by a smaller and smaller share of the population, who have, in effect, bribed legislators to reduce their taxes and provide loopholes so they pay even less.

The budget deficit “crisis” has been manufactured by them to distract our attention from this overriding fact, and to pit the rest of us against each other for a smaller and smaller share of what remains. Democrats should not conspire.

Needy children should be getting far more help, better pre-school care, better nutrition. Seniors need better healthcare coverage and more Social Security. All Americans need better schools and improved infrastructure.

The richest nation in the history of the world should be able to respond to the legitimate needs of all its citizens.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License

Robert Reich

Robert Reich, one of the nation’s leading experts on work and the economy, is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. Time Magazine has named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including his latest best-seller, Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future; The Work of Nations; Locked in the Cabinet; Supercapitalism; and his newest, Beyond Outrage. His syndicated columns, television appearances, and public radio commentaries reach millions of people each week. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, and Chairman of the citizen’s group Common Cause. His widely-read blog can be found at www.robertreich.org.

Appointing Senators, Be They Republicans or Democrats, Is Wrong

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has rejected former Congressman Barney Frank’s request that he be appointed to fill the vacancy created by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. (Photo: Rappaport Center via Flickr)Senator John Kerry’s resignation to serve as secretary of state. Despite the fact that progressive groups urged the Frank pick for the temporary slot—arguing that the former congressman could play a critical, perhaps definitional, role in budget fights over cutting Pentagon waste and taxing speculators—the governor instead picked his former chief of staff.

The new senator, William “Mo” Cowan, has long been close to the governor, having formerly served as Patrick’s legal counsel. He’s experienced, capable and politically connected, a well-regarded lawyer who has worked not just with Patrick but also with former Governor Mitt Romney (whom Cowan helped identify judicial picks). He’ll be the state’s second African-American senator, after liberal Republican Ed Brooke, who served in the 1960s and 1970s. As a lawyer, Cowan has been active with the American Constitution Society—joining in the society’s “work  to advance the progressive values and principles of the U.S. Constitution”—which counts for a lot with Americans who seek to challenge right-wing judicial activism.

But, as with his selection of former Democratic National Committee Paul Kirk to fill the interim vacancy created by the death of Senator Edward Kennedy, Patrick has gone with a connected insider rather than someone who is likely to shake things up in the Senate.

Patrick says he’s now got “a valued ally” in the Senate.

And there is no reason to doubt that this is the case.

But, of course, this is the problem with letting governors, be they Republicans or Democrats, appoint US senators. The Massachusetts circumstance is less troublesome than in states such as Hawaii and South Carolina, which will be represented for more than two years by recently appointed senators. A special election in June will replace Cowan with a senator chosen by the voters.

But gubernatorial appointments of senators, be they for a few months, or for a few years, make the United States Senate, never a perfectly representative body, a good deal less representative.

Cowan will join three appointed senators in the chamber during what Barney Frank correctly identified as a particularly critical period in the chamber.

Another new senator, Tim Scott, has been appointed by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, rather than elected by the people of that state. The same goes for Brian Schatz, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie’s pick to fill the vacancy created by the death of Senator Dan Inouye.

Cowan, Schatz and Scott come from different parties and different ideological backgrounds. There is every reason to believe they will serve honorably, and ably. Progressives are already excited by some of what Schatz has done, while conservatives are enthusiastic about Scott.

But none of these details change the fact that a trio of unelected senators will be powerful, perhaps even definitional, figures in what is supposed to be a representative body. They will play critical roles in deciding whether to approve or reject cabinet nominees and Supreme Court selections, they will vote on tax policies and budget measures and they will decide whether to crack the “debt ceiling”—or send young men and women off to war. But they will do so without democratic legitimacy.

No member of Congress should serve without having been elected by the people of the district or state they represent.

Unfortunately, the new Senate will have at least three members who serve not as representatives but as mandarins—appointees assigned to positions by governors who have assumed dubious authority.

The point here ought not be to do disparage Cowan, Shatz or Scott.

The point is to raise a concern about the fact that more laws will be proposed, more filibusters will be sustained, more critical votes will be tipped in one direction or another by “senators” who never earned a single vote for the positions they are holding.

Why?

Because of a deliberate misreading of the vague 1913 amendment to the US Constitution that replaced the old system of appointing senators with one that said they were all supposed to be directly elected.

The Seventeenth Amendment sought to end the corrupt, and corrupting, process of appointing senators. But a loophole was included to give governors the authority to make temporary appointments. That meant that, while no one has ever been allowed to serve in the US House of Representatives without having first been elected, dozens of men and women have served in the Senate without having been elected. And those appointed senators often serve for two full years, as will South Carolina’s Scott and Hawaii’s Senator Schatz, both of whom will serve until at least 2015. To the end of the 113th Congress, senators chosen by individual governor in South Carolina and Hawaii will have the same authority as a senator elected by 7,748,994 voters (California Democrat Dianne Feinstein).

Former House Judiciacy Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-MI), rightly points out that this is a fundamental voting-rights issue. It is, as well, a question of “basic consistency in how our Representatives in Congress are elected.” Says Conyers: “The Constitution has always required that House vacancies be filled by election. The Senate should not be subject to a different standard. Americans should always have a direct say in who represents them in Congress—in both Houses, all of the time.”

Conyers was a key House backer of former US Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI), when the then-chairman of the Senate Judiciacy Committee’s subcommittee on the Constitution tried to amend the Constitution to address the problem.

Feingold’s proposal, which would have required special elections to fill all Senate vacancies, got a little bit of traction when Feingold was still serving in the Senate. In 2009, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution approved Feingold’s proposed amendment to end gubernatorial appointments to vacant Senate seats.

Recalling a series of appointments following the 2008 election, Feingold said: “I applaud my colleagues on the subcommittee for passing the Senate Vacancies Amendment, which will end an anti-democratic process that denies voters the opportunity to determine who represents them in the US Senate. The nation witnessed four gubernatorial appointments to Senate seats earlier this year, some mired in controversy, and we will soon see another one in Texas. This will leave more than 20 percent of Americans represented by a senator whom they did not elect.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), was not enthusiastic about the amendment. He defended the appointment of senators, saying, “In the state of Nevada the governor appoints. Even though we have a Republican governor now I think that’s the way it should be so I don’t support his legislation.”

No one with a taste for democracy can possibly respect the majority leader’s position on appointed senators.

More thoughtful senators, including the number-two Democrat in the chamber, Illinoisan Dick Durbin, co-sponsored Feingold’s amendment.

Reid got that one wrong. Feingold got it right.

“It is time to finish the job started by the great progressive Bob La Follette of Wisconsin to require the direct election of senators,” the former senator from Wisconsin said in 2009. “No one can represent the American people in the House of Representatives without the approval of the voters. The same should be true for the Senate. I hope the full Senate Judiciary Committee will soon get the chance to consider this important constitutional amendment to entrust the people, not state governors, with the power to select U.S. senators.”

The worst deficit facing America is the democracy deficit.

It can be addressed, at least in part, by making the Senate a representative chamber.

Feingold can’t complete the process he began. But his former colleagues, led by Dick Durbin, should do so. As Durbin said several years ago when he chaired a hearing on the issue: “Over a half century ago, Prime Minister Winston Churchill famously said: ‘No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.’ The same might be said of special elections to fill vacant U.S. Senate seats—they are the worst way to fill such seats, except for all the others.”

© 2013 The Nation

John Nichols

Reacting to Reports of a Schumer Proposal, Campaign for America’s Future Warns Democrats: Do...

WASHINGTON - January 24 - In response to a report in The Hill that Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) may be floating a proposal that includes cuts to Social Security and Medicare, Roger Hickey, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future made the following statement:

“If Sen. Schumer's proposal was accurately reported, the senator could not be more wrong. Just as President Obama declared in his inauguration speech that America does not have to cut Social Security or Medicare, Sen. Schumer reportedly offers up cuts to those crucial programs in vain hope of getting Republican support for tax increases. Just as Republican leaders have been forced to back away from threatening to crash the economy to force Democrats to accept cuts to Social Security and Medicare, Sen. Schumer capitulates to the hostage taking that Republicans appear to be abandoning.

“I hope the news reports are wrong because Sen. Schumer has previously been a strong opponent of cuts to Social Security. The Campaign for America’s Future reminds him and all Democrats that the chained CPI would mean an immediate cut to current Social Security benefits. These cuts are very unpopular with all Americans, and Democrats should be leading the fight to protect Social Security and Medicare, not helping Republicans accomplish their harmful goals.”

According to The Hill: “Schumer’s plan to enact tax reform through the budget process would ensure additional tax revenues would be matched by an equal amount in spending cuts.” And, “The joint budget resolution could also call for Medicare reforms and using the chained CPI formula to curb the cost of Social Security benefits.”

The Campaign for America’s Future is the strategy center for the progressive movement. Our goal is to forge the enduring progressive majority needed to realize the America of shared prosperity and equal opportunity that our country was meant to be.

Reacting to Reports of a Schumer Proposal, Campaign for America’s Future Warns Democrats: Do...

WASHINGTON - January 24 - In response to a report in The Hill that Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) may be floating a proposal that includes cuts to Social Security and Medicare, Roger Hickey, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future made the following statement:

“If Sen. Schumer's proposal was accurately reported, the senator could not be more wrong. Just as President Obama declared in his inauguration speech that America does not have to cut Social Security or Medicare, Sen. Schumer reportedly offers up cuts to those crucial programs in vain hope of getting Republican support for tax increases. Just as Republican leaders have been forced to back away from threatening to crash the economy to force Democrats to accept cuts to Social Security and Medicare, Sen. Schumer capitulates to the hostage taking that Republicans appear to be abandoning.

“I hope the news reports are wrong because Sen. Schumer has previously been a strong opponent of cuts to Social Security. The Campaign for America’s Future reminds him and all Democrats that the chained CPI would mean an immediate cut to current Social Security benefits. These cuts are very unpopular with all Americans, and Democrats should be leading the fight to protect Social Security and Medicare, not helping Republicans accomplish their harmful goals.”

According to The Hill: “Schumer’s plan to enact tax reform through the budget process would ensure additional tax revenues would be matched by an equal amount in spending cuts.” And, “The joint budget resolution could also call for Medicare reforms and using the chained CPI formula to curb the cost of Social Security benefits.”

The Campaign for America’s Future is the strategy center for the progressive movement. Our goal is to forge the enduring progressive majority needed to realize the America of shared prosperity and equal opportunity that our country was meant to be.

Hard-Hitting Gun Violence Ads Go After NRA-Loving Democrats

I was on Mark Thompson's "Make It Plain" on Sirius XM last night (I'm on every Wednesday night), and we were talking about how urban people and rural people have such different opinions on guns because they have different experiences of guns. Urban gun violence is so random, and so interwoven with the drug trade (that's a whole other discussion), that city dwellers just want to make it stop. (Although the only time I've had a loaded gun pointed at me was in the suburbs, by an Iraqi vet having a PTSD episode. A little unnerving!)

So no, it's not that we want to take away your guns. We just want gun violence against other human beings to stop. We want better odds against being a victim, and against our children being victims. We love living in the city, but we don't want to be so afraid of guns.

I lived in this one apartment on a main city artery, with an iron gate across the front entrance, and I don't know that I would have moved in without it. Shortly after I moved in, a neighborhood woman was shot in the head from a stray bullet -- while she was asleep in her bed. (This was a few blocks from me.) I said to myself, "Well, my bedroom is in the back of the building, so I'm less likely to get hit." Because that's how you think when you live in the city.

Because I live in the city, there's part of me that still can't believe we even have to call our representatives and push for such a "controversial" idea as protecting children from gun violence. That the discussion in our country is so very slanted toward fear and paranoia, keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the severely mentally ill is what passes for radical.

That's why I'm happy that we have these outside groups to turn up the political heat. Check out this hard-hitting ad from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. They're now going after conservative Dems who support the NRA in opposing gun controls, and they're linking Rep. John Barrow's stance to the recent slaughter at Newtown:

One week ago, Barrow declared that “no new [gun] laws will have a big chance of passing in the House.” Yesterday, he commented on President Obama’s reform package, saying, “We need to find practical solutions to gun violence that are consistent with the Second Amendment, rather than having another political debate in Washington that divides Americans."

According to CSGV executive director Josh Horwitz, “Representative John Barrow has decided to put his love of the NRA above his concern for his fellow Americans. That is not acceptable.”

Noting that Barrow has received $27,250 in NRA campaign contributions over his eight-year congressional career, Horwitz added, “Rep. Barrow has been bought for the price of a new truck. It would be laughable if his lack of regard for our families’ safety wasn’t so dangerous.”

[...] The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is encouraging concerned citizens to call Representative Barrow at (202) 225-2823 to tell him to support the President’s gun policy proposals.

The CSGV also went after the newly-elected Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) for calling the White House's effort to reform our gun laws "extreme."

The Heitkamp ads, signed by four parents who lost their children in mass shootings, stated "SHAME ON YOU." They urged Americans to call Senator Heitkamp to express their disgust, and enough of them did that Heitkamp changed her position, saying, "We have a responsibility to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill."

My point is, we can stop gun violence. Finally, the tide of public opinion is overwhelmingly with us. Call your reps, call your senators, write letters to the editor. Call talk radio. Get involved.

The time is now.

Complicated Politics: Democrats and the Grand Bargain

It is a well-known fact that President Obama wants a “grand bargain” with the Republicans, a deal that would reduce future deficits both by raising tax revenues and cutting spending, including on the so-called “entitlement programs”. He has offered this idea up repeatedly to Speaker Boehner and other Republican leaders in the 2011 debt ceiling talks and in the 2012 fiscal cliff debate, and media reports suggest that he is discussing the idea again with Republicans in the lead-up to the next perils of Pauline budget crisis in that is only a few weeks off.

Democrats in the progressive wing of the party (of which, full disclosure, I am a card-carrying member) think the idea of cutting Social Security, Medicare, and/or Medicaid benefits is terrible public policy because senior citizens who can least afford it will be badly hurt, and we have been working hard to convince the President to back away from this offer. This may be difficult to do, though, as the President has some strong (wrong, in my judgment, but compelling to the President’s political and legislative team) political reasons for wanting to do this grand bargain. But the politics of this deal are very different for the rest of the party, and it may well be that progressives can win over a lot more of those Democrats than conventional wisdom currently expects.

The Obama team’s logic is that they are sick and tired, understandably, of Republicans wanting to make every single issue, every policy debate, about the deficit issue, and they don’t want our country to keep lurching from fiscal crisis to fiscal crisis as Republicans continue to look for “leverage” to force more cuts. And the White House, to their credit, is eager to move on to other issues that will move the country forward, such as immigration reform and gun safety issues. They believe that if they can finally close the deal and get the grand bargain they have been searching for, they will be on strong political ground to say, “Hey, we've already done something big on that, it’s time to move on.”

Now I happen to believe their logic is wrong on the politics of the issue, as Republicans’ strongest political issue by far is the deficit, and they will never give it up-- no matter what happens, they will keep demanding more and more cuts, and the deficit hawks in the media and well-funded groups like Fix The Debt will back them up. But even if you were to grant that the White House was right on the politics of this issue for them, for Democratic members of Congress the politics on this issue, the politics are completely different.

For starters, members of Congress are far more affected by what I call the intensity factor. Remember about 25 years ago when senior citizens surrounded Rep. Rostenkowski’s car and started rocking it back and forth because of a bill they didn’t like on catastrophic health care? Think what seniors today might do if their Social Security benefits were cut. That kind of intensity drives bad media coverage back home, primary challenges, contributions to opponents- and it kills your contributors’ and volunteers’ and base voters’ enthusiasm levels.

The threat of a primary is not as great on the Democratic side as on the Republicans, as the progressive movement has less money and capacity in general to mount many successful primary challenges. In the last several cycles, there has usually been one major primary challenge (some successful, some not) to an incumbent from the left, and that isn't enough to strike fear into most Democrats’ hearts. The intensity factor, though, might change the dynamics on this, adding new money and volunteers to primary fights. Add to that the combination of progressive forces with older voters who have just had their Social Security cut, and incumbent Democrats might have something to worry about, especially in states like PA, OH, MI, WI, and IA with both large numbers of seniors and large numbers of union members.

Beyond the primaries, though, the politics of cutting benefits is far worse for Democratic incumbents in an off year general election. Think about the demographics alone: in the past two Presidential elections, the percent of the electorate that came from voters 65 and over was 16%, whereas in the 2010 off-year election it jumped to 21%. And seniors have been one of the most volatile demographic groups in the electorate in recent years, and one not inclined to like Democrats very well: Democrats lost them by 8% in 2008, by a whopping 21% in 2010, and by 12% in 2012.

But seniors are far from the only worry with a bad vote on Social Security or Medicare. The voters that Democrats have to turn out in big numbers in an off-year are base voters. Base voters hate the idea of cutting Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare, and a Democrat who had to defend that vote would be looking square in the face at a base voter constituency that was likely to be very depressed. I’ve lived through two off-year elections where Democratic base voters were unexcited about voting- 1994 and 2010- and I don’t relish living through that again.

What will be especially brutal in the off-year election for Democrats who believe they have cut a responsible bi-partisan deal that will protect them from Republican attacks is that the unaccountable outside groups with their millions of dollars in attack ads won’t hesitate to do brutal ads on them for cutting Social Security and Medicare, just as they did the last two elections attacking them for “cutting” Medicare. It won’t matter that the Republicans wanted to cut even more, or that the money for the ads comes from millionaires who would love to see these programs privatized: the attack dogs will not hesitate to make political hay off such a vote.

Beyond rank and file members of Congress, there is another major force in the Democratic party for whom a grand bargain is potentially deadly, and that is potential Presidential candidates. Try explaining your vote cutting Social Security to the heavily senior citizen and base activist-dominated Iowa caucuses. I've been involved in five different Presidential campaigns, and I feel pretty confident saying that it would be extremely tough to win a Democratic Presidential primary after voting to cut Social Security benefits.

Even if you grant that the politics of the grand bargain idea are good for President Obama, they are poison for Democrats in Congress who have to run again in 2014 and 2016. The President, who will never run for office again, may feel like his best political alternative is to ignore the wishes of both his base and the seniors who have never voted for him anyway on an issue like Social Security cuts. For the rest of the party, they had better take a close look at how this will affect their own political well-being.

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