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A Quote for the Month – No matter what Obama proposes, the Right will show its racist values…

From Sen. Bernie Sanders:

…you have a Republican mindset that says, hmm, let’s see we can repair the infrastructure, save money long time, and create millions of jobs, bad idea. Barack Obama will look good, and we’ve got to do everything that we can to make Barack Obama look bad, so despite the fact that we had a modest bipartisan transportation bill, roads, bridges, public transit pass the senate with over 70 votes, Inhofe, the most conservative guy in the senate, working with Barbara Boxer, we can’t get that bill moving in the House of Representatives. So if you’re asking me why, I would say hundred percent political. If it’s good for America, if it creates jobs, if it’s good for Barack Obama, we can’t do it.”

Do the Republicans really think if they get Romney elected, the Democrats will not get even for this atrocious activity? The Dems have never filibustered EVERY legislation… but if they lose the Senate, watch them show what they learned from Mitch McConnell ( but watch for them to let REAL joint ventures that benefit Americans pass… Dems just can’t get as malicious as Repubs.)

Then again, the last three and a half years of Republicans’ anti-Obama activity may just become the convincing argument to keep Obama in power AND get back more of Congress.

Bernie Sanders vs. Citizens United

Just a few days after Los Angeles California voted in a resolution that did not let Corporations be considered individuals, Bernie Sanders has proposed a Constitutional Amendment which will wipe out the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court.

Here it is:

Sen. Sanders’ proposed Saving American Democracy amendment states:

SECTION 1. The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons and do not extend to for-profit corporations, limited liability companies, or other private entities established for business purposes or to promote business interests under the laws of any state, the United States, or any foreign state.

SECTION 2. Such corporate and other private entities established under law are subject to regulation by the people through the legislative process so long as such regulations are consistent with the powers of Congress and the States and do not limit the freedom of the press.

SECTION 3. Such corporate and other private entities shall be prohibited from making contributions or expenditures in any election of any candidate for public office or the vote upon any ballot measure submitted to the people.

SECTION 4. Congress and the States shall have the power to regulate and set limits on all election contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own spending, and to authorize the establishment of political committees to receive, spend, and publicly disclose the sources of those contributions and expenditures.

Whether or not this will get anywhere has yet to be seen… but at least we can count on Bernie to keep it in front of the field during the upcoming elections.

A quote for the evening…

Bernie Sanders in an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN:

“If you look at the ideology of these right wing Republicans, more tax breaks for rich, cut Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid, deregulate Wall Street after Wall Street caused this horrendous recession we’re in, more unfettered free trade so we can lose more jobs to China. Do you know how many people believe in that ideology? Maybe, 15, 20 percent max.

“The real issue is why Democrats aren’t winning by 30 or 40 percent.”

Yep. That’s the real issue. Looks like the media (as represented by Blitzer and buddies) are spending a lot of time pushing the Republican agenda.

Why I love (and support) Bernie Sanders…

As the debate over deficits ramped up in Washington today, Sen. Bernie Sanders laid out the compelling case not to slash programs for working families. Any deficit reduction package must rely on new revenue for at least half the reduction in red ink, he added in a major address in the Senate. Sanders spoke at length about what caused deficits (wars, Wall Street bailouts, tax breaks for the rich) and how to shrink them (more revenue from the wealthiest Americans to match spending cuts). He urged fellow senators not to yield to Republican congressional leaders who “acted like schoolyard bullies” when they walked out of budget negotiations. And he urged President Obama not to accommodate them again on the backs of working Americans, the poor and the Elderly. He summed up the situation in a letter to the president that had been signed by more than 18,700 people by the time he completed his speech.

Sign the letter »

Will you help Bernie Sanders expose the Koch Echo Chamber?

Here’s a video from Robert Greenwald of Brave New Foundation:

The Koch brothers fund multiple think tanks and academic centers to promote their ideology and grow their profits, a Brave New Foundation investigation reveals. Let’s create an echo chamber of truth by using YouTube‘s SHARE tools above to protect Social Security and counter the Koch billions.

Looks like Harry Reid is going to make Senate Republicans commit themselves to Ryan’s Budget on the Senate floor…

I don’t know if you saw Rachel Maddow last night, but Sen. Bernie Sanders (I – Vermont) made a statement that picked my ears up.

Harry Reid (D-NV), United States Senator from ...

Sen. Harry Reid (D - Nevada)

After commenting on the devastating results the Ryan Budget would have on the lower and middle classes (destruction of Head Start, dismanteling of Social Security, turning Medicare into Coupon Care giving seniors an $8,000.00 coupon instead of coverage – something a senior diagnosed with cancer can spend in the first week), he announced that Harry Reid has a strategy which will benefit Democrats in the upcoming election… He’s going to bring the Ryan Budget to the Senate floor for an up-or-down vote. Then all the Republicans who vote for it can be held to it (like the House Republicans) and take the loss in 2012.

In the House, Boehner appears to be wobbling and, perhaps, pulling back on the Ryan fiasco… especially after several local Town hall meetings have attacked Ryan and others about the cutting of Medicare and other problems with his budget – like giving more advantages to corporations and the richest 1% of our population:

Boehner’s recent statement:

“It’s Paul’s idea. Other people have other ideas. I’m not wedded to one single idea, but I think it’s — we have a plan. Where’s the president’s plan to deal with the nightmare that’s facing Americans?”

Organizations like Americans United for Change have another view of Boehner’s being unwedded to Ryan:

“Sorry Speaker Boehner, there’s no ‘take-backs’ or distancing from this one — you and the 224 other House Republicans that voted for the Ryan plan for turning Medicare into Coupon Care now own it.”

So let’s keep an eye on the Senate when they come back (When do these guys actually WORK?), I guess next week. Let’s see if Harry Reid actually pulls it off.

Bernie Sanders on the Republican Budget Proposal

He makes it SO clear! Everyone should hear him. The Republicans are building a world for the Rich by funding it with the scraps the Middle Class has been left with. And after that, what will we be left with? Does NOTHING sound familiar?

Take 12 minutes and listen to Bernie:

When you pay your taxes on April 15th, think what life would be like if you were a big corporation…

My niece Kelsey posted this on her Facebook page and I thought it deserved a wider distribution. Thanks to our pal Bernie Sanders, we get a good look at the good deal you get on taxes if you are one of the top 10 corporate entities on his list:

Wow! What are we doing wrong?

Quote of the Day – Made in America

“I have long been concerned about the decline of American manufacturing and the loss of millions of good-paying factory jobs in our country.  Imagine my surprise, therefore, when several months ago I walked into the gift shop at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, a museum owned by the people of the United States and designed to proudly display our history, and discovered that most of the products there were made in China and other low-wage countries.  These included Chinese-made statuettes of American presidents, including ones of George Washington and Barack Obama, and lunch boxes of Rosie the Riveter, the heroine of WWII.  I thought that was pretty pathetic.

“After several discussions with the leadership of the Smithsonian I am happy to report that progress is being made.  The Smithsonian has told me that one of their gift shops will feature products made exclusively in the USA, and that they will be much more aggressive in selling gifts manufactured by American workers in all of their museums.”

Senator Bernie Sanders (D – VT)


One of their gift shops? One of their gift shops? Give me a break!

Watching the Senate stage an intelligence dump as they go through Tax Cut votes…

I don’t know if  any of this stuff is really believable. I watched a gloomy couple of hours of debate this morning when the Republicans held off any changes in the Obama-McConnell Tax Cut extension, keeping Democratic changes from coming into play. Now I’m watching as all the amendments proposed by Republicans and Bernie Sanders get voted down (they need a 2/3 majority under these rules), which, I think, it was previously agreed upon.

I guess they will then put the 61 votes necessary behind the Bill as written (and complain about how they HAD to do it… especially from the Democratic side)… and then it will go to the House and go through the same kind of brouhaha with the same results.

I wish I felt that the main motivation here wasn’t “vote for it now so we can go home for Christmas” or some other pathetic excuse. But it seems pretty clear that this will be a day cheered on by the rich, who will make out like bandits for the next couple of years. Sanders’ amendment, which is currently being voted (down, I’m sure… there’s no way it can get the 67 Aye votes necessary) which would remove the tax cuts from the top 2%. As I watch them muddle around on the Senate floor I am more and more aware that this is a crowd of rich people… many who became rich by becoming Senators. Why would they vote against themselves?

And then there’s my Senator, Joe Manchin, and Joe “the sleeze” Lieberman who are voting NO with the Republicans on taxing the rich.

This is going to be even more fun in January when there are more Republicans in the Senate and a Republican Majority in the House. We might as well give our country to the Chinese now and get it over with.

No one deserves “Quote of the Day” recognition more than Bernie Sanders:

I watched a lot of the 8 1/2 hours that Bernie lectured the Senate in his epic “filibuster” on the proposed tax cut extension. Here is a really precise quote:

“But it is not just a disastrous trade policy that has brought us where we are today. The immediate cause of this crisis, and it gets me just sick talking about it … is what the crooks on Wall Street have done to the American people.”

– Senator Bernie Sanders (D – Vermont)

Whether his long speech will make a difference we will have to wait and see on Monday when the proposal comes up in the Senate. I hope people have called and emailed their Senators supporting Bernie’s position.

Go Bernie!

I’m watching Bernie Sanders in what he calls a “tax cut filibuster” speaking on the Senate floor. He began at 10:25 Eastern Time and has been going for an hour and a half and shows no sign of stopping.

As he goes along, he is bringing up everything that is wrong with President Obama’s agreement with the Republicans and all the related problems: unemployment, investments to create jobs, energy independence, our competition with China vis-a-vis our indebtedness to that country, the obscene interest rates on credit cards by the four largest banks that taxholders bailed out, the profits of companies like Exxon Mobile who made millions of dollars while we eliminated their need to pay taxes, etc., etc., etc. I am not sure how long he can go on, nor do I know if this will make any difference. As you may know, C-Span 2 is not allowed in the Senate to have a camera on the members of the senate as an audience, but must keep camera focus on the given speaker. Therefore, we don’t even know who is sitting in the Senate chamber listening to Bernie. But C-Span 2 watchers can see him and I hope there are millions of us.

I did John Case’s “Winners and Losers” show on WSHC FM this morning where incoming calls and the news articles I brought up from the NY Times and The Huffington Post were a lot of the things Bernie is covering now. If the Executive Branch of the US Government REALLY thinks it has the voters’ support for this increase in our deficit by supporting tax cuts for the top 1% of our economic population, they are going to find out today that many of us think the Tax Exemption continuation is a bad deal… what Bernie calls “Robin Hood in reverse.” He is encouraging phone calls to Senators, Representatives and the White House against the bill. We’ll see later how effective he is.

Bernie says his office is now over 5000 calls to his office of which 98% are against the agreement. We are driving up the National Debt by giving tax breaks to people who don’t need them by costing the rest of us taxes well into the future.

He’s also blowing a hole in the “it’s only a two year extension” argument. He makes clear that “temporary” agreements are harder and harder to get rid of as time goes by… remember, the Republicans wanted a 10 year extension…or no extension at all… and they will be pushing for that in two years during a Presidential election season. What do you think will happen then?

So let’s keep an eye on Bernie today, with a visit to the news shows every now and then to see if he is getting anywhere. This should be interesting.

A Quote for the Day … I picked this up from Taeggan Goddard’s blog:

“It has become a widely-noticed habit of yours to concede or to adopt both the Republican terms of policymaking and Republican policies and programs… For many of your 2008 voters, this will indeed be the last straw for any active support they might have considered providing you.”

— Ralph Nader, in a letter to President Obama, attacking his tax cut deal with Republicans.

Wednesday morning as we proceed down the drain…

Here it is, 30 years to the day, the anniversary of the death of John Lennon at the hands of a young loony. Thirty years! We still listen to Lennon’s music (iTunes has just released all the Beatles stuff for the first time – including the later Lennon stuff) and kids who weren’t even born when Lennon died are just discovering the Beatles and Lennon and buying it up.

From my point of view, it brings me back to a time when we were trying to Give Peace A Chance because All We Need(ed) Is Love. But it didn’t happen. We went into war after war… we blew our budgets and debt up like Macy’s Parade balloons… we put ourselves into a split society which is killing itself (and not slowly any more.) For example: this week we are working as hard as we can to sell our bodies and souls to China and Saudi Arabia by increasing our debt and getting little in return.

This morning I’m watching the comments of Representatives (mostly Democrats) who are pretty pissed off. I hear that Joe Biden is meeting with the House Dems today to tell them that “the deal’s not sealed.” Yeah, sure. This is how they are going to hold Nancy Pelosi off.

The Senate is going to spend a big part of their morning with the ongoing Impeachment Trial of Judge Thomas Porteous. This has been taking up their time all week and, of course, is not taking care of the things the people need to get down to. Only 8 days left, guys.

As to what the Senate is going to do with the Tax Cut Extension legislation, seeing they have to get 60 votes to do anything (thanks to the Republicans requiring the filibuster level vote for EVERYTHING), I’m not sure what’s going to happen. And there are a bunch of Democrats, and the Independent Bernie Sanders, who will do what they can to keep the Obama agreement from going through as well. If we get through December 31 without the Congress passing on this, then the Tax Cut is ended and the taxes go back into play across the board.

And what are we going to do. As the voters, the population as a whole, and 98% of us not rich enough to benefit from what’s going an and all of us split into groups that are designed to not get along with each other by the political controllers who the rich have put into place, what can we do? We write blogs, send letter, call offices and everything else we can do to get our two cents in, and it doesn’t seem to matter.

And as I write this, Judge Porteous seems to be being found GUILTY by a unanimous Senate (at least on article 1 for having a “corrupt financial relationship” with a law firm and failing to recuse himself from a case). Watching these concerned Senators stand up 1 by 1 to vote “guilty” is pretty impressive, considering how many of them, to me are just as guilty of covering up so many things and flat out lying to voters during their campaigns. It reminds me of the lyric from Fiorello, “the only crime is to be caught.”

Have a nice day, folks.

Let’s Hear It For Bernie Sanders…

I wonder if Bernie will knuckle under if Republicans and Tea Partiers call him a “Socialist”?
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Sanders to filibuster the “deal”


Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) appeared disgusted Monday over a recently reached deal between the White House and Republicans that would allow the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans to be extended for two years in return for GOP cooperation on the reauthorization of unemployment benefits for a 13-month period, among other concessions.

“For a Democratic president, Democratic House, Democratic Senate, to be following the Bush economic philosophy of tax breaks for millionaires, billionaires is absolutely wrong public policy, absolutely wrong politically, and I gotta tell you, I will do whatever I can to see that 60 votes are not acquired to pass this legislation,” Sanders said on on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show,” before telling host Ed Schultz that he might go as far as to filibuster the legislation.

Here is something we can all agree on. Support Bernie’s filibuster. Demand “the deal” be tossed.

blog it

Sen. Sanders blasts Olbermann suspension, cites Fox News contributions

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Sen. Bernie Sanders issued a statement on the suspension of MSNBC‘s Keith Olbermann:
“It is outrageous that General Electric/MSNBC would suspend
Keith Olbermann for exercising his constitutional rights to contribute to a
candidate of his choice. This is a real threat to political discourse in America
and will have a chilling impact on every commentator for MSNBC.
“We live in a time when 90 percent of talk radio is dominated by
right-wing extremists, when the Republican Party has its own cable network (Fox)
and when progressive voices are few and far between.
“At a time when the ownership of Fox news contributed millions
of dollars to the Republican Party, when a number of Fox commentators are using
the network as a launching pad for their presidential campaigns and are raising
money right off the air, it is absolutely unacceptable that MSNBC suspended one
of the most popular progressive commentators in the country.

“Is Rachel Maddow or Ed Schultz next? Is this simply a ‘personality conflict’ within MSNBC or is one of America’s major corporations cracking down on a viewpoint they may not like? Whatever the answer may be, Keith Olbermann should be reinstated immediately and allowed to present his point of view.”

blog it

Bernie Sanders Plans to Vote Against Economic Wimp…

This turned up in HuffPo today. Read the clip then go in for the rest of the post:
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A liberal senator plans to vote against confirming President Barack Obama‘s nominee for a top White House economic position.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont who works closely with Democrats, said in a statement obtained by The Huffington Post that he won’t vote to confirm Jacob “Jack” Lew, Obama’s nominee to head the Office of Management and Budget because, after meeting with Lew, the senator “found too many echoes of the failed policies of the past in his responses to my questions on trade policy, Social Security, deregulation of banks and other issues.”

“It is my strong belief that President Obama needs an OMB director who is willing to stand up to corporate America and the wealthy, say enough is enough, and fight for policies that protect the working class in this country,” Sanders said in a statement. “Unfortunately, I do not believe Mr. Lew is the right man at this time for this important job.”

blog it

No Tax Breaks for Billionaires!

The Republicans want to renew the tax breaks for the very richest 1% of America… and make us think that if we don’t renew those breaks they will be adding taxes to the downtrodden middle class. Right? Wrong, of course.

I found a quote of Adolf Hitler’s that said: “What luck for the Government that people don’t think!” That’s how the Repubs are approaching this.

It’s time we listened to Bernie Sanders:

This from Greg Sargent’s THE PLUM LINE:

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Bernie Sanders: I’m Prepared To Introduce Public Option Amendment

The public option just might get its straight up-or-down vote after all.

Senator Bernie Sanders, in a brief interview in the Capitol just now, confirmed to me that he’s willing to commit to introducing an amendment that would add the public option to the Senate bill’s reconciliation fix.

This is important, because as far fetched as this seems, if this amendment is introduced, a vote on it would be very hard for the Senate Dem leadership to block. The only thing that could stop it from happening, according to Senate expert Robert Dove, is for the parliamentarian to rule that it’s not germane to the Senate bill somehow — something that seems unlikely.

“I think somebody should do that, and I’d certainly be prepared to do that,” Sanders told me when I asked him if he’d be willing to commit to introducing a public option amendment. This is, in effect, a commitment to introduce the amendment if no one else does.

  blog it
There’s more if you click through to… and let’s hear it for Bernie Sanders!


Bernie Sanders on TV Yesterday

Here’s Bernie’s weekly comment:

Bernie Sanders: Let’s Not Renew Bernanke

Here is Senator Sanders’ comments for this week:

I agree with him. If enough of us sign on with Bernie you’ll see how fast Obama comes to agree with him as well!

Is Larry Summers (or Bernanke or Geithner) about to be let go?

The move by President Obama to follow the ideas of Pal Volcker seems to push directly into the face of heretofore financial advisor Larry Summers.

Summers was not in favor of ANY of the things Volcker has brought  into view. He did not want to regulate the banks. He did not want all things happening in the open. And he certainly didn’t want to put any size restrictions on banks that become “Too big to fail.”

So what will be Summera’ position now? Certainly he can’t be trusted with getting anywhere near the economy. And Bernanke is getting hit by Bernie Sanders who is standing  in the way of his reappointment to the Fed. To quote Sanders:

“There is a growing understanding that our economy is in severe distress, a greater appreciation that people are disgusted with the never-ending greed on Wall Street, and a better recognition that we need a new direction at the Fed.”

And underneath all of this is Geithner, who is trying to get Congress to do more TARP money… which they are now not likely to do.

This seems to call for a real turnover which would be in Obama’s best interest… and might lead him back to his campaign promises.

Where do we go from here?

By Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) – (from The Hill’s Congress Blogs)

One year ago the nation gave a collective sigh of relief as the worst and least popular administration in modern American history came to an end. Not only was the Bush administration heading out the door, but the Republican Party was reeling from two consecutive elections in which it suffered massive losses at all levels.

With a huge taxpayer bailout attempting to prop up a reckless and greedy financial system on the verge of collapse; with 700,000 workers a month losing their jobs in the worst recession since the 1930s; with the continuation of a war in Iraq that we never should have gotten into; with a rapidly increasing national debt caused largely by that unpaid-for war as well as tax breaks for the rich; and with the continued refusal to address or even acknowledge the crisis in global warming, the American people were ready for change.

In Senator Barack Obama, Americans at every level reached out to an inspiring young leader who, through a brilliant campaign, brought enormous energy into the political process. Young people who had never given much thought about elections were not only registering to vote in record-breaking numbers, but their newly-tapped idealism was leading them to actively participate in the campaign. Workers and their unions, who were victims of corporate greed and the ongoing collapse of the middle class, were determined to elect political leadership which represented ordinary Americans, not just the wealthy and large corporations. Women, who had battled for eight years to maintain the reproductive and legal rights they had struggled for over generations, were eagerly awaiting an administration that was on their side. Seniors, who were tired of hearing about Republican efforts to privatize Social Security and Medicare, wanted a president who understood the importance of those vital federal safety-net programs. And minorities and people of color, some of whom had experienced the hurt and humiliation of American apartheid, were ecstatic that the dream of a non-discriminatory society was taking a giant step forward. The result: With a strong voter turnout Barack Obama was elected president; the Democrats picked up 21 seats in the House and seven in the Senate (eight by the time Al Franken survived a recount and court challenge).

That was then, one very long year ago. Where are we now?

Today, having already experienced decisive losses in governors’ races in New Jersey and Virginia, the Democratic prospects for 2010 appear bleak. Polls show President Obama’s approval numbers sagging and some recent “generic ballots” show Republican candidates ahead of Democratic candidates — a huge turnaround over the course of the year. Perhaps most ominously, these new polls show that “enthusiasm” and “interest in voting” among Republicans is far higher than with Democrats. Given that off-presidential year elections (voter participation could fall by 50 million this year compared to 2008) are often dominated by older and more conservative voters, a particularly low voter turnout among Democrats this fall could result in disaster for them. Why has this occurred? What can be done within the next few months to turn this scenario around?

In my view, the Democrats — including the President — have absurdly continued to stumble along the path of “bipartisanship” at exactly the same time the Republicans have waged the most vigorous partisan and obstructionist strategy in recent history.

Instead of making it clear that the first two years of the Obama administration would be about digging the country out of the incredible mess that Bush’s eight years left us in, (deep recession, financial collapse, record-breaking deficits, disintegrating health care system, two wars, lack of respect from the international community, neglect of the environment) President Obama, incredibly, has enabled tens of millions of Americans to now believe that Bush’s failures are his as well.

Unlike FDR in 1933, who consistently denounced Hoover’s Republican policies as the cause of the country’s perilous condition, Obama appears very reluctant to be “partisan” and point out to the American people the cause of our current crises. Can one imagine Barack Obama, for example, telling the American people as Roosevelt did in 1933, that he “welcomed” the hatred of the “economic royalists” whose greed had devastated the country?

In response to Obama’s genteel and bipartisan outreach, the Republicans have undertaken a campaign of rhetorical savagery unprecedented in recent memory. The Right-Wing echo chamber of Fox News and talk radio, to which the Democrats have no equivalent and no interest in developing one, have implied that Obama is an “illegitimate” president not born in the United States, that he is a friend of terrorists, that he is an anti-white racist, that he rules unconstitutionally and that his administration reeks of Chicago-style corruption. And those are the respectful attacks!

In the overwhelmingly Democratic Senate the situation has been equally dismal. There, the Senate Finance Committee created a “Gang-of-Six” process which included three Republicans — two of whom (Grassley and Enzi) are extremely conservative — to determine the shape of health care reform. Amid cries of “death panels,” “socialized medicine,” “government takeover of health care,” etc. etc. the meetings dragged on and on and on. On the floor of the Senate, the situation has been even worse. The Republicans have played the most obstructionist role ever with a record number of filibusters and other delaying tactics. The Republicans recently even voted temporarily to deny funds to our troops in the field of combat as a way to delay health care reform. They are also unanimous in opposing the increase in the debt limit, which if not raised, would likely cause the collapse of both the American and the international financial systems.

The result of all this is that Democrats of every stripe and many independents are perplexed, dispirited and sometimes disgusted. Constituency after constituency has been ignored or rejected. Some examples:

Progressive activists are angry that a Medicare-for-all single-payer approach was totally ignored during the health care debate. They also cannot understand how, despite overwhelming support for a strong public option in health care reform, there will not be one in the final bill. Trade unionists, many of whom voted for Obama and against McCain because of the latter’s position on taxing workers’ health care benefits, are apoplectic that Obama and Senate Democrats now support the McCain position. Women are outraged that the Democratic House was put in the position of having to support major restrictions with regard to abortion rights. And seniors, who for the first time in 45 years will not be receiving a Social Security COLA, are responding to the hypocritical Republican attacks about “cuts” in Medicare.

Now, I may not be the greatest political strategist in the world but I don’t know how you win elections by ignoring the ideas of the progressives who have worked hardest at the grass-roots level for your political victories, or the trade unions that have provided significant financial support and door-to-door volunteers for Democratic campaigns. I am not aware how you succeed politically when you insult women, who far more than men consistently provide you with great margins of support. How do you preserve a big majority in Congress when you fail to be aggressive in protecting the interests of seniors, a huge voting bloc in off-presidential year elections? In other words, it should not surprise anyone that the Democrats are in serious trouble.

The time is short but I believe that the Democrats still have the potential to turn the tide, reverse their fortunes and bring out large numbers of their voters in the coming election. Here are some important steps forward that I believe should be undertaken in the coming months.

Perhaps most importantly, let Obama be Obama. Bring back one of the great inspirational leaders of our time who is more than capable of taking on the powerful special interests and rallying the American people toward a progressive agenda and a more just society. We have too quickly cast aside the audacity of hope as being too audacious. We need to aspire to more, not less: health care for all, education for all, a secure retirement for all, a world at peace, and a nation bound together by looking out for what the Constitution called “the general welfare” rather than a series of special interests looking out for their own financial wellbeing.

Pass the strongest health care reform legislation as soon as feasible — making it clear that it will be significantly improved in the near future. While it was a tragic mistake to believe that a strong bill could pass under the provision that required 60 votes — there was a procedural route which would have required only a simple majority — this legislation does contain a number of provisions that will profoundly help tens of millions of Americans in every state in the country. It is a bill that can be successfully defended in a campaign because, whatever its many weaknesses, it is an indication that we are finally, after countless decades of futility, moving forward. A president and a party that can provide insurance for 31 million more Americans is far preferable to most voters than a party that only says “No.”

Pass a major jobs bill which creates millions of new jobs rebuilding our infrastructure and moving our energy system in a different and sustainable direction.
At a time when we have the most inequitable distribution of wealth and income of any industrialized nation, this bill must be progressively funded. This means taxing the super-rich – the very people who George W. Bush served so assiduously — in order to make life better for the average American family.

Pass legislation allowing workers to have the right to join unions without unfair and illegal opposition from their employers.
If we are going to reverse the race to the bottom, workers must have the right to engage in collective bargaining.

Boldly address the economic and financial crisis which has left 17 percent of our workforce unemployed or underemployed. This means that the Democrats must be prepared to take quick and decisive action against Wall Street and other Big Money interests whose uncontrollable greed have lowered our standard of living and wreaked havoc on the middle class. Among other actions we should: Pass a strong anti-usury law which limits the interest rates that banks charge on credit cards. We must break up those huge financial institutions which are “too big to fail:” if they are too big to fail, they are too big to exist. We must significantly increase transparency at the Federal Reserve, and replace Chairman Ben Bernanke, a major economic advisor in the Bush administration, with a progressive economist who understands that one of the Fed’s core missions is full employment. We must either limit, or levy high taxes on, the bonuses paid by financial institutions.

In the midst of these terrible economic times, we must continue the effort, which Democrats have already pushed, to strengthen the safety net.
If the Republicans oppose these efforts, we must make this a major campaign issue. Millions of Americans face unemployment, hunger, homelessness and a desperate existence. This includes senior citizens living on inadequate Social Security benefits, people with disabilities and disabled veterans. In these difficult times we cannot turn our backs on them.

Enact Senate reform. It is extremely undemocratic that 41 percent of the U.S. Senate can thwart the will of the American people, the President, the House of Representatives and a strong majority of the Senate. While individual senators will always have great clout, no one senator should be able to bring the United States government to a halt at one of the most perilous periods in American history.

In January 2009, we inaugurated a new president and swore in a new Congress with large Democratic majorities in the Senate and the House. Our nation seemed poised on the brink of a decade of progressive government, a new ascendancy of hope and change after eight disastrous years of Republican dominance.

One year later, the new electoral majority is disintegrating under the weight of continuous Republican attacks and, more importantly, an unwillingness of both the Congress and the President to rally the American people behind the kind of fundamental changes they were anticipating as a result of the election.

We can learn from the past. The last time our nation faced economic challenges as great as our own, Franklin Roosevelt embraced progressive social policies and major financial and economic reform. The nation did not ignore or forget his commitment to help American families, provide aid to the disadvantaged, and take on the moneyed powers of Wall Street. Roosevelt’s greatest political legacy was to build a coalition of Americans from across the country who understood that, if they stood together under a progressive banner, life could be better for the average person. Now is the time to remember that lesson.

As we watch how the whole Congressional battle over health care has progressed, Bernie’s words are important to me. That they come from one of the few politicians who are not becoming lobbyist-supported millionaires, I have confidence in his words.

Bernie asks: “Where Was The Fed?”

That’s the subjec of this week’s Bernie Sanders Unfiltered. Watch and enjoy:

Quote of the Day…

“The American people overwhelmingly voted last year for a change in our national priorities to put the interests of ordinary people ahead of the greed of Wall Street and the wealthy few. What the American people did not bargain for was another four years for one of the key architects of the Bush economy.”

-Senator Bernie Sanders putting a hold on therenomination of Ben Bernanke to the Federal Reserve.

Go to it, Bernie!