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I stopped watching "liberal" TV (i.e., MSNBC) a while back once I realized that most of it is formulaic, focused on reporting and reacting on the right wing agenda, and on whipping up emotions in their liberal viewership.

However, once in a while I take a look to see what's the latest right wing "outrage."  Tonight was one of those times, and I got to watch Pulitzer prize winner David Cay Johnston on The Ed Show make one of the most profound statements I've seen on TV.  He said something to the effect that Liberals and Progressives keep reacting to the right wing agenda instead of having their own agenda.  And that as long as they keep reacting, eventually they are going to "lose the game."

The fanatical right wing keeps moving right along with their agenda.  Republican governors (who hold the majority of States governments in the country) continue to put every roadblock in place to try to prevent the successful implementation of "Obamacare;"  Within 48 hours we're going to have the 24th state int he country to enact draconian anti-union legislation, with the misnomer of "right to work."  

There is a systematic and very effective effort, nationwide, to weaken teachers' unions, and to weaken free public education in favor of for-profit charter schools.  Republicans continue to gerrymander districts across the country, in a systematic way, in their favor.

The relentless march towards privatization of public resources and government functions continues apace, relentlessly, successfully.  And the ghettoization of those who use public services, including public schools, medicare, medicaid, social security, etc., also moves forward.

We are in a very dangerous position, in that many on the left see Obama's win as a good-enough victory; a victory that will help move progressive and liberal causes forward.  And people then let their guards down as a result of this mindset.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  In the battle against the rabid, lunatic right wing, Obama's win is only a small step; yes, it is a step forward, but a small step nevertheless.

During the last few decades the country has fallen into the hands of the corporatist right wing to such an extent, that it would take a mighty struggle just to start to reverse the trend.

The level of government corruption, at every level (from city hall to state houses), is so endemic and so complete that even if the left were to find its lost (or crushed?) vertebrae to become a real power player, it would take decades to reverse the damage.

Right wing think tanks, mostly financed by billionaires, have devised a way to buy off politicians at every level, through a revolving door of corruption, enticing these so-called "public servants," family members, and close associates, with lucrative "consulting jobs" and contracts, and other benefits.

It's everywhere, from San Francisco, to New York, to Chicago, Boston, San Diego, Dallas, Miami--you name it.

And the mind domination through the corporate media is truly bone-chilling.  Do you see how now all of the sudden "entitlement reform" is in vogue, and there is talk of "reforming social security" and raising the eligibility age for medicare, etc?

Why is the left reactionary, instead of proactive, by and large?  Why does it seem to be in disarray, running from "fire to fire," wasting resources?  Where are the bold ideas and initiatives?

Here's one: Create an organization made up of leaders from all major unions and set up a website with the purpose of unionizing 100% of the labor force, and then invite Target and Walmart employees to sign up (anonymously if they have to), and to report abuses, and send information to the media, and put pressure, and keep the pressure up, constantly, relentlessly.

About this one... Get a few left wing philanthropists, organize the 18,000 Hostess employees to set up a fund to buy the company and make it employee-owned.

Easy stuff... Really, it doesn't take too much imagination.  Set up funds to buy off media outlets town by town; break the media conglomerates; break up the banks.

Where are the well-funded left wing think tanks to help generate these ideas, and bring them to fruition?

I don't understand why these things don't happen; why the left seems to be so disorganized and ineffective.  Reader, help explain it to me...  

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Comment Preferences

  •  Focus On re-electing Obama distracted the left (12+ / 0-)

    Let's face it -- Obama is no liberal - and Yes, he is better than Romney

    BUT -- now is the time to start fighting for a true liberal agenda, if we are as complacent as we were after the 2008 election, we are bound to run up against the same disappointment - which led to the 2010 electoral losses for the Democratic party

    However, I do agree - that it is time to put away all our "can't we all just get along" crap - and stand up against the corporate agenda that has dominated policy for far too long

    "I want to keep them alive long enough that I can win them to Christ," - Rick Warren, Professional Greed Driven Scumbag

    by josephk on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 09:12:58 PM PST

    •  When we have a Dem president (5+ / 0-)

      ...environmental and antiwar issues are muzzled. Not to be cynical or anything, but this makes Supreme Court decisions and election outcomes a lot easier to predict -- based on the business cycle. One can clean up on InTrade.

      A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

      by Pluto on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 09:45:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Dem party vs. progressive policies. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ray Pensador

      A conflict has arisen between progressive policies and supporting the position/power of the Democratic party.  They have become two different things for thee reasons you noted--the head of the party is more a Rockefeller republican than a LBJ liberal president.  

      At this point  there should not even be speculation nor pressure on Obama to NOT up the retirement age on Social Security.  But there you have it.

      Problem of course is that to be for progressive agenda is seen  by the administration and their strong supporters as undermining the President (you know, Professional Left, etc).

      I think the action really is in the House and Senate where a strong agenda must be pushed, and where Dem lawmakers must be willing to vote against the President.

      As an aside this is why I stopped listening to people like Karl Wolfson in Portland as his show was just became every day "oh look what those republicans are doing", without any substantial discussion on any policy.  

       But I suppose this is the nature of the nature of media--even Madow has gotten into this day to day of listing the latest right wing outrage.  Of course, casual listeners assume of course the Dems would do opposite, which in many instances is not the case.

  •  Rebuild America's Aging Grammar Schools. (7+ / 0-)

    Take money from the end of two wars.

    Spend it on rebuilding every elementary school in the nation more than 50 years old that is still in use.

    - Show our kids we value them.

    - Show them people working for a better future.

    - Make the US educational system the envy of the world, again.

    - Provide jobs and spillover economic activity in every congressional district.

    There is no downside. Republicans would looks like absolute dickheads to oppose.

    "Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed." -- Vaclav Havel

    by greendem on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 09:19:39 PM PST

  •  First, drop "liberal" etc, and switch to (9+ / 0-)

    "human," "adults citizens" "ordinary decency" and similar. Left/Right, Conservative/Liberal etc -- these have been so skillfully folded into the 1 percent's "divide and rule" program, and for so long, that these are really no longer productive labels.

    We have to think outside the coffin to get anything resembling a real democracy in the driver's seat in the USA.

    The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

    by Jim P on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 09:38:33 PM PST

    •  Powerful. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim P, ciganka, Aspe4, Chi

      The moment Americans figure out that they are on the same side against a golem government -- it will be game over.

      But, the dumb-down divisiveness has been so effective, I doubt any of us will live to see that.

      A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

      by Pluto on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 09:50:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why I've long advocated focusing (5+ / 0-)

        on breaking open the mass-reach media as the number one task, bar none, for any effective "liberal" movement.

        In fact, until we do, we'll keep losing the war, though we'll win a battle here and there.

        btw, everyone, but you in particular with your wide-ranging knowledge-seeking, might be interested in seeing/reading the BBC series "Happiness Machines: The Century of the Self" available at the useful site. Shows how we got into this fix.

        The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

        by Jim P on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 11:02:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you for the link, Jim. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ray Pensador

          A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

          by Pluto on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:17:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Jim that time is coming (4+ / 0-)

          The left HAS to be ready.  In fact we should start now.  AM radio for example is on the verge of a cataclysmic explosion with both Clear Channel and Cumulus the #1 and #2 owners going down.  In their wake there will be plenty of opportunities for small liberal outfits or even a bigger liberal outfit to step in, rehire many of the fired employees and fill the void.  At the same time we will be switching from Rush Limbaugh to more progressive voices.  Rush is toast.  By 2016 he won't be nowhere near the presence he is even today.  The rest are merely wannabees who were riding his coattails.  Once he's done they're easier targets and without CC or Cumulus backing them up they're in even worse shape.

          That's the first step.  The main problem is the media.  We have to take it back or at the very least have it more balanced.  without that we're never going to have a shot of getting our ideas heard.  

          Same goes for TV.  Current TV is the best we got right now.  MSNBC is not the answer.  I watch it's sister channel all the time in CNBC and  if you think FOX is bad, CNBC is FAR worse.  FOX is filled with idiots and raving lunatics who target their audience of mostly white, elderly lower middle class people.  Those people are by and large on the decline and are being replaced by young, mulitcultural and more tolerant people.  Demographics will finish FOX off if the corruption swirling around Rupert Murdoch won't.  CNBC on the other hand targets the wealthy and well off.  People who at one point or another in in positions of power whether in the corporate world or in the political realm.  They have been pushing the austerity crap and every fucking hour of the goddamn day been talking about entitlement reform.  Just in the few hours I semi watched them at work yesterday they had on Bob Corker and a few other GOoPers on to talk about how we need to reform Social Security and Medicare.  Yet at no point does anyone EVER bring up the simplest ways to do so, raise the cap and negotiate prescription drug prices.  There is ABSOLUTELY NO balance on that channel.  If they have people on like Paul Krugman or Sen Bernie Sanders, they usually have like 6 talking heads and it's more of a novelty segment than anything.  'And now for a look at the loony left...'  

          Until we win that war, we will NEVER get our ideas out.  It's not that the left doesn't have sold ideas.  We have a congressional progressive caucus which is TWICE AS LARGE as the Tea Party Caucus and increased it's ranks this past election while the Blue Dogs plunged into irrelevance and the Tea Party lost several of their nutjob dead enders.  Not only that but some of the members of that caucus graduated into the Senate so that our ranks in the Senate swelled as well to include solid progressives like Warren, Baldwin, Murphy and Hirono.  

          The progressives have a budget that is far better than anything currently being peddled around.  The fiscal cliff bullshit is an almost complete fabrication of CNBC and the Wall Street crowd.  Why?  Because for them it's a huge step in the wrong direction which means for us it's a huge step in the right direction and the wealthy good for nothing rat fucks who sit on their lazy asses waging wars against the poor while lounging alongside their heated pools and collect dividend checks are all crapping in their Depends.  Estate tax?  Going up while exemption level is going down.  Poor Paris Hilton wannabees won't be able to wait til Daddy croaks so they can inherit their billions mostly tax free.  Dividend tax?  almost tripling from 15% to 43.4%.  Cap gains tax?  going up from 15% TO 23.8%.  That means Mitt RMoney will no longer be able to get away with only paying 13% after exemptions and deductions.   Sequestration?  Yeah many programs will be slashed and that will hurt but the military will also be forced to get cut.  For the first time in like EVER.  Coupled with the drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan that ends up being a real decrease in our military spending and a loss of influence among the congressional military industrial complex.  They're shitting bullets they're so scared.  It's a start.  I'll gladly give up going out for Pizza every Friday night with my son in exchange for the increases in taxes and cuts to the military.  

          However, none of that is enough.  Unfortunately OUR ideas are NOT being heard in the media.  When was the last time you heard about Jan Schakowsky's idea about adding more tax brackets to upper income earners?  How about calls to cut our military even more?  How about Mark Begich's ideas on strengthening Social Security and expanding it?  How about instead of raising the Social Security and Medicare ages, maybe lowering them?  Thsoe ideas are out there but frankly you'll NEVER hear them on CNBC.  Raising the Medicare age does NOTHING to save money.  In fact all it does is shift costs to Medicaid and the elderly who will be even more dependent on other social programs.  It's such a fucking stupid idea that it actually ends up costing us MORE not less.  In fact the most cost effective idea is to lower the Medicare age to 55 not increase it.  But you'll never hear that unless we control the media.

          That's the key.  We have to control the media.  Until then we're just pissing into the wind and nobody is around to see us do it.

          This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

          by DisNoir36 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 04:51:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Progressive caucus is not very effective (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            They need to learn to play hardball too. NPR and PBS, supposedly "liberal" media outlets, always interview far more Republicans than Democrats, and the Dems they do talk to are usually "moderates" and blue dogs. The Prog. Caucus needs to make some noise about this and start muscling their way onto the airwaves. Maybe the next time the Reps. try to kill funding for  public broadcasting, the Prog Caucus members should start saying things like "Well, maybe thats not such a bad idea since NPR and PBS are so reluctant to air progressive voices." Perhaps that would get someones attention at NPR's two flagship shows ATC and ME. Likewise with the major networks. How much discussion has there been of their progressive budget proposal? Why aren't they getting in front of every available microphone and bitching about being shut out of the talking head shows? With their numbers they should be much more visible in the pubic discussion than they have been. The Republicans have learned how to intimidate the media, progressives need to learn how too.

  •  By design: (6+ / 0-)
    He said something to the effect that Liberals and Progressives keep reacting to the right wing agenda instead of having their own agenda.
    After 40 years, you have to admit it's institutionalized and part of the show.

    Happily, this is largely a trend only in the US.

    A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

    by Pluto on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 09:41:34 PM PST

  •  know your audience (5+ / 0-)

    even though our policies poll well, we are not able to convince a large portion of America to vote for us. we have to win elections. that means knowing your audience or winning them over.  our policies alone are not enough. too many don't even pay attention.

    our opponent does have or did have considerable advantages.  that might be changing.  however, i don't expect the grain to run in our favor for probably at least another decade, maybe two.

    they are fighting back but we are gaining ground. this like other games is one of inches.  gained by blood, sweat and tears.

    -You want to change the system, run for office.

    by Deep Texan on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 09:44:34 PM PST

  •  I Agree There Is No Overall Plan By Progressives. (3+ / 0-)

    What we are experiencing in having won the election is a one shot deal.

    The Republicans and Tea Party just keep plowing along with their long term plan  while any progressive action is just hanging by a thread.

    And even though many like to claim Obama is just a Republican lite, he is currently acting like a progressive somewhat and quite frankly all progressives are riding on his coattail ability to be persuasive to the electorate, it is not because of any long term plan by progressives that he has won two elections, it is his personality and I don't think the Democratic Party is going to find anyone else who has the same influence.  Some suggest Hillary, which I have my doubts.

    The Republican Party is Simply a Coalition of Greed and Hate

    by kerplunk on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 10:01:24 PM PST

    •  agreed (0+ / 0-)
      it is his personality
      i happen to think Dems ought to realize this.  elections are not won by ideas.

      they are won by people.  people vote for people.  Hillary would probably win against any opponent Republicans could throw at her.

      -You want to change the system, run for office.

      by Deep Texan on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 10:12:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  the 2 parties are more for themselves than/us (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador, ciganka, Chi

    clime parches on. terms: ocean rise, weather re-patterning, storm pathology, drout-famine, acceptance of nature.

    by renzo capetti on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 10:13:02 PM PST

  •  Progressives see Democrats (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    who don't give them everything they want as the enemy rather people who have given them blocks upon which to build.

    Until they switch that mindset, there will continue to be very limited progress made on progressive goals.

    "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

    by Whimsical on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:38:22 AM PST

    •  How generous of those Dems (0+ / 0-)

      Well thank you Democrats for giving progressives a place for their policies.  I used to think the party and progressive/liberal agenda were one and the same.

      Hey, throw a few more crumbs this way willya ...

      •  Thank you for illustrating my point. (0+ / 0-)

        Until you and those like you change your attitude, there will be little to no progress on progressive goals.

        Whats more important to you- progress on progressive goals or your attitude?

        "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

        by Whimsical on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:39:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  *G.A.S.P.* (0+ / 0-)

    How dare you claim that Progressives who accuse and segregate themselves from a group that can help them are doing so at their own detriment!  Those incendiary remarks are not welcomed here, sir and/or ma'am!

    The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing online commenters that they have anything to say.-- B.F.

    by lcj98 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:24:07 AM PST

  •  Just Hand Some Stuff Out (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador

    I ordered 500 of the excellent Health Care reform booklets from Consumer Reports to hand out to voters in my precinct.  The booklets are free.  They got a great reaction.  People know nothing about the law and the media isn't capable of transmitting detailed information about something which is complex and segments the system in shares which make maintaining relevance to the viewership possible.  Of course if people still had an attention span of 5 minutes that would be different.

    In South Carolina, most people believe since the Governor here opposes the law and refuses to set up a state exchange that the health care reform law isn't going to apply here.

    Later, I took some of the booklets to the Courthouse, where I'm an Attorney and handed them out to the other lawyers, who, I discovered, also know little or nothing about the law.  I also handed out copies to Social Workers, Guardian ad Litems and the Child Welfare people, who also knew very little.  I've done this several times and I use 25 copies every time I go.

    Then I handed them out to the Democrats at our county meeting, many of who regarded actually handing out issue oriented material as some sort of perverse distraction.  The few that did take some copies and handed them out got the exact same response I did.  The public is confused, misinformed and wants to know what is really going on.

    I've learned three things.
    1. People want to know about the health care law and the Consumer Reports Booklet is a great way to provide information to them.
    2. People in the legal and healthcare communities don't know anything about the law, but do want to learn about it.
    3. Democrats don't really understand why we have a political party in South Carolina.

    William Hamilton practices Law and is a writer and community activist in the Charleston, SC area. He can reached through

    by wjhamilton29464 on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 10:23:20 AM PST

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