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From Huffington Post:

Obama accused Warren and congressional Democrats on Friday of being "dishonest" and spreading "misinformation" about the Trans-Pacific Partnership -- a trade pact the administration is negotiating among 12 nations. The overwhelming majority of Democrats in Congress oppose TPP, while Republican leaders support it.

It was an unusually aggressive attack for the president -- accusing members of his own party not of having misplaced priorities, but of actively working to deceive the public. Obama is rarely so severe even with his Republican opponents. Obama said that the Democratic criticism that "gets on [his] nerves the most" is the notion that his TPP pact is "secret," and went on to insist that the terms of TPP will help American workers.

On Saturday, Warren and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) responded with a letter essentially telling Obama to put up or shut up. If the deal is so great, Warren and Brown wrote, the administration should make the full negotiation texts public before Congress votes on a "fast track" bill that would strip the legislative branch of its authority to amend it.

"Members of Congress should be able to discuss the agreement with our constituents and to participate in a robust public debate, instead of being muzzled by classification rules," Warren and Brown wrote in the letter obtained by The Huffington Post.

In short, would you buy a used car from someone who refused to disclose the mileage and let you have a mechanic look it over?

You can see the letter here.

I particularly liked these factoids:

"Executives of the country's biggest corporations and their lobbyists already have had significant opportunities not only to read [the TPP text], but to shape its terms," the letter reads. "The Administration’s 28 trade advisory committees on different aspects of the TPP have a combined 566 members, and 480 of those members, or 85%, are senior corporate executives or industry lobbyists. Many of the advisory committees -- including those on chemicals and pharmaceuticals, textiles and clothing, and services and finance -- are made up entirely of industry representatives."
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I know I am.  I think there's enough proof already.  They are crazy liars without a heart who cater to the rich and conservatives and play upon people's intolerance, fear of the new, and ignorance to do the bidding of the corporate/wealthy interests.  I get it.  Have gotten it for many years now.  I am convinced.  Nothing surprises me anymore about the depths the Repubs will go.  Think the worst and they can always get even worse yet.

But how does the incessant drum beat about the horrible Repubs advance the purpose of dailykos, which is to elect more and better Democrats?  If you want to improve your kitchen, harping on how bad your neighbor's kitchen is doesn't get it done.

Of course, demonizing the enemy is a tried and true way to activate your constituents, but how much motivating do we really need and how does that advance the goal of improving the Democratic Party?  

Demonizing the Republicans certainly gives us a common target for our outrage, but does it also dissipate the energy we need to work on electing more and better Dems?  

Focusing on the awful Repubs is often a source of amusement when it's not a reason to cry, but does it just give us a false sense of unity when there are big differences in our views of the Democrats and how we see a way forward to electing more and better ones?

One might think that if the purpose of dailykos is to elect more and better Dems, then what goes on here should be primarily about the Democratic Party or Democrats.  We should be as self-reflective as we are critical of the Repubs. Instead of criticizing ourselves for wanting to start flame wars, we should not be afraid to look inward as critically as we do looking at the Repubs.

We can go on blaming the Repubs - or the media or the voters - for the problems we face in this country, but we need to look to the Dems as well. If we want more and better Dems, we need to devote as much time and effort understanding what they've done wrong and are doing wrong to contribute to the current state of affairs.  We need to call them out, rage at them and laugh at them just as much as we do the Repubs.  Letting them off the hook because it feels good to have a common enemy or because it's scary not to always be singing kumbaya is not going to get us anywhere.

Can we all agree that the Repubs are despicable, bad people and then move on and  look more often, more closely, more critically at our own party?

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                         China to invest $255B in railway, water projects

China plans to invest a total of 1.6 trillion yuan ($255 billion) in railway and water projects this year, Premier Li Keqiang said Thursday.

Half of the funds would be invested in railway construction and the other half in major water-conservation projects, Mr. Li said in a report prepared for parliament.

Need we say more as this country crumbles to dust for lack maintenance and new infrastructure?
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While Obama is getting all populistic in an attempt to pad his legacy, there's this:

Obama wants to reduce tax breaks for 529 plans
President Barack Obama is expected to propose a major change to 529 college-savings plans--removing a tax benefit that has attracted parents to these investment vehicles for years.

The president’s State of the Union address Tuesday night is expected to include a long list of proposed tax changes. Among them: no longer allowing earnings on new contributions in 529 plans to be withdrawn tax-free.

If that became law, it would be a major revision to 529 plans, and plan experts say such a change would likely result in contributions to these plans declining substantially. “Contributions would dry up in 529 plans, “ says Joe Hurley, founder of Savingforcollege.com, which tracks 529 plans.

President Obama’s proposal would allow the earnings on new contributions to grow tax-deferred, but treat them as ordinary income when withdrawals for expenses are made. (Earnings on contributions already made are not expected to be part of the proposal.) The same changes would apply to 529 prepaid tuition plans, under the president’s proposal, experts say.

The president is also expected to propose a similar change for Coverdell education savings accounts, which also allow earnings to be withdrawn tax-free for qualified expenses. Coverdells can be used for higher-education expenses as well as for school costs ...

What more need be said.
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This time Sperling.  It's all on the back end for these guys.  Can we now officially call an end to the era when it was the Republicans who were the party for the fat cats?

Former Obama adviser Gene Sperling will be joining Pacific Investment Management Company (Pimco), adding to the list of former Obama advisers who have headed to Wall Street after leaving the White House.

Sperling served as director of the National Economic Council for Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Sperling also served as an adviser to former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in the first part of the Obama Administration.

Sperling will advise Pimco on U.S. economic policy issues.

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Gotta love her:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren plans to oppose President Barack Obama’s nomination of Antonio Weiss, a Wall Street investment banker, to be Treasury Undersecretary for Domestic Finance, another sharp-elbowed move by the progressive movement’s most prominent leader.
Can't imagine what she would find objectionable to yet another Wall Streeter running the government ..
Weiss, head of global investment banking at Lazard, is widely respected on Wall Street. But he advised on Burger King’s acquisition of Canadian doughnut chain Tim Horton’s, a so-called “tax inversion deal.”
And look who she's holding hands with over this ...
A Warren adviser told POLITICO: “She is a no on Antonio Weiss. She was a Treasury official herself, she cares a lot about who is in the domestic finance role. It oversees Dodd-Frank implementation and other core economic policy-making.”

The adviser added that Warren “agrees with Senator Grassley that his past work with corporate inversions is a major issue, and she’s had growing concerns with the Administration being loaded with so many appointees from Wall Street rather than more people who would bring different perspectives.”

And this is rich (pun intended) ...
Wall Street executives were thrilled with Weiss’ nomination, viewing him as a talented banker who could help the administration better understand how markets might react to various proposals.
And with recommendation, who could possibly have any doubts ...
And Gene Sperling, former director of the National Economic Council in the Obama White House said Weiss “is someone who not only combines a progressive heart for helping workers and those most in need with hard-headed business experience, but also has the background and antenna necessary to ensure that policies concerning high-finance on Wall Street are both designed and implemented to work for small businesses and working families on Main Street.”
Gene Sperling, indeed.

Anyways, he's probably in like Flynn with most of the rest of the Senators on both sides eying their campaign war chests and post-Senatorial careers.

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Interesting from MarketWatch:

There he goes again. Our president is trying to find a middle ground in a debate between the powerful and the weak. And if history is any indication, we know how this ends. The weak get to the middle ground only to be trampled.

If you think President Obama’s stance on “net neutrality” has a familiar feel, you’re not alone. Obama has spent his presidency staking out compromises only to watch the bigger muscle push through the boundaries.

snip
On Monday, Obama issued his first direct comments on the issue. It took only 4 million comments from citizens worried about their access to a staple of modern life. The good news is the president sounded tough and very much on the side of consumers.

“We cannot allow Internet service providers to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas,” the president said in a statement.

Then comes the weak-kneed part. “The FCC is an independent agency, and ultimately this decision is theirs alone.” What the president didn’t say was a lot. For instance, he didn’t call for tougher regulation of Internet service providers who may be tempted to create pricing plans that punish users who are used to flat-rate access.

Oh, and that bit about the FCC being independent? Just who is president around here anyway?

snip
But once again, your public servants in Washington aren’t who they seem to be. Tom Wheeler, the head of the FCC, took the job last year after a career as a venture capitalist and lobbyist for the cable and wireless industry, including head of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

So now Obama is surprised that Wheeler is coming up with rules that benefit the companies he used to work for?

snip
Mr. President, spare us a letter that says you agree with us but aren’t really going to do anything other than “ask” the FCC to consider your opinion. Acknowledge that to put Wheeler in the job was a compromise that’s turned into a mistake. Tell him to scrap the rules and come up with new ones that make it illegal for ISPs to cut up our Internet.

And if he doesn’t, fire him.

snip
After nearly seven years on the job, it should be apparent that the noble quest for compromise only works with those with the same values. Everyone else is looking for an angle. When you start from the middle, you’ve given them half the field.

The Internet should be neutral. Leadership should take a stand.

Obama not taking a real stand, but simply expressing a preference .... again.  Hopping on the caboose instead of climbing into the locomotive cab. Can anyone expect any follow through from Obama now that he's made his pronouncement?
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The dailykos community was founded with the mission of electing better Democrats.  As someone who was raised in a Democrat family with a father who was actively involved in the local Democratic Party in Baltimore in the 1950s, this goal appealed to me.  I remember the Democrats from those days, including Nancy Pelosi's father (Tommy D'Alesandro) who was Mayor of the city during that era.  I especially remember Phil Goodman, another Mayor who was also a family friend through my father's involvement in the Dandy Fifth Democratic Club (for the 5th District in Baltimore City).  I helped stuff envelopes, put out lawn signs and handed out leaflets at the polling place up the street.  I saw these Democrats in person when they had a meeting at our house.

These men - yes, they were all men back then - were proud of being Democrats.  They were hard-nosed and tough.  They had the Democratic successes of the New Deal under their belts, and saw with their own eyes - and lives - how government could help people.  They were feisty and assured in their values just like the Democratic Party leaders of those days and of the next couple of decades - like Truman, Stevenson, the Kennedy's, Humphrey (the “Happy Warrior”), and LBJ.

And now?  

Now we have practically no Democrats that have that kind of strength of character and pride in Democratic values.  Certainly, not enough pride to run for office on it.  In fact,  Democrats don't run, they run away. Run away from the successes of their Party, run away from the values that shaped and defined it, run away from their connection with the people, with the humanity that was the hallmark of the Democratic Party. Can you imagine putting the label "Warrior" on any but less than a handful?

And they don’t just run away during election campaigns. They do it all the time, during and between campaigns.  It's now a trait of the species.  In fact, they no longer look like Democrats.  They have mutated and those mutations have have transformed a feisty, stalwart animal into one with a genetic predisposition to always have its tail neatly tucked between its legs.  All flight, no fight.

There are now so few politicians that are true Democrats, how can we elect better ones?  It's like saying we want to breed better dodo birds.  Great idea, but the problem is they are extinct.  There is no breeding stock - indeed, no stock at all - to work with.

In reality, the situation with Democrats is not so extreme; there are a few remaining ones out there.  So maybe it’s possible to save the species.  But the Democratic political infrastructure - the environment - is not conducive for breeding.  It is a dying ecosystem and is consequently less and less able to right itself.  The entire Party apparatus and its associated organizations are stuck in place, which does not portend well when flexibility is required for self-correction.  It is entrenched and not going to allow big changes; indeed, the people who make up the Democratic establishment will fight tooth and nail to keep their jobs and power.  

dailykos was a breath of fresh air when it started and the idea of electing better Democrats was a great focus.  But is that goal achievable when there are so few real Democrats to work with and the environment that supports the Party, whether we like it or not, is a wasteland stripped of life?  Maybe after all this time, it would be worth reconsidering the goals of the dailykos community.  Maybe it's time to think about alternatives to the Democratic Party or whether another environment can be created to nurture the few surviving Democrats and revive the species we call Democratic politicians.  I don't think the Democratic establishment is listening. In fact, I doubt whether its hearing or its ability to attend to what voters say is still intact, perhaps another another mutation of the species that once was in tune with the American people and now operates in terms of the opposing party rather than its own constituency.

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Tue Nov 04, 2014 at 10:07 PM PST

It Wasn't the Democrats' Fault!!!

by accumbens

The Dems didn't lose.  It was the Republicans that won and the stupid people who vote for them.   And those damn Dem voters didn't turn out.  Again.  It's the Repubs' and the voters' fault.  

The Dem politicians, as always, are blameless.  Nothing to criticize them about.  I mean, why should (i) being spineless, (ii) unwilling to loudly defend Democratic party values, (iii) failing to call out the crazy, heartless Repubs for what they are, (iv) not taking a stand on things people care about, (v) being near totally uninspiring, (vi) always being passive and on the defensive, and (vii) being horrible and inconsistent in your messaging matter?

Elect better Democrats?  Where are they, but for less than a handful. A near totally pathetic lot of invertebrates who deserve to lose to largely horrible people who are so much smarter and better politicians that they get people to repeatedly vote against their best interests time and again.  

Hey, everybody!!  Isn't it time to get as tough with the Dems as we are with the Repubs.  It's no longer about the Repubs.   It's about the Dems.  Isn't it time to demand more from them?  Isn't it time to stop rewarding failure by making excuses for them?  Did somebody say accountability?  What a funny word to use when talking about Democratic politicians.

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This is an interesting read, especially for those who have held, as I have, that Obama is more akin to an old fashioned Republican than a liberal Democrat (old fashioned or modern day):

Speaking of a potential irony ...

... President Barack Obama, whose low approval ratings may cost the Democrats their Senate majority, will connive with the new congressional majority to pass legislation opposed by most in his party.

These could include approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, fast-track authority on “free trade” agreements in Asia and Europe, cuts to benefits in Social Security and Medicare, and tax reform that lowers rates for corporations and high earners with only nominal compensation in closing of loopholes.

snip
A Republican majority could conceivably give him a chance to rehabilitate his reputation as a chief executive who presided over endless partisan gridlock.

This is a president, after all, whose administration bailed out rogue banks while leaving top management in charge to collect their multimillion-dollar bonuses, and which allowed banks that were too big to fail to get bigger and even more essential to the economy.

This is a president who has paid lip service off and on, usually at election time, to combating global warming, but who celebrates the environmentally contentious use of fracking to bolster the use of hydrocarbon fuels. While the administration has dragged its feet on a Keystone decision, it has not nixed it, either.

This is a president who dissed Bill Clinton as a minor figure in presidential history, but who has sought to emulate his predecessor in prioritizing deficit reduction over employment and promoting trade agreements that facilitate the global expansion of American firms at the expense of American jobs.

We'll see in very short order if Obama has this opportunity.  Who among us would be surprised if Obama goes along with a Repub majority in the Senate on a number of issues the Dem majority thwarted?  Not me, for one.
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This from a Chamber of Commerce economist in response to the President saying that companies who move their headquarters overseas to avoid paying US taxes are renouncing their US citizenship.

And he sez ...

“They are not afforded the same sort of voting and political activities that individuals are.”
I wonder where this guy and the CoC stand on Citizens United.  If companies have the right of free speech as individuals through their use of money, why can't they be held accountable as individuals when it comes to good citizenship?  I just love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning.
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Never thought I'd see this:

In a White House press briefing today, President Obama severely criticized Congressional Republicans in no uncertain terms for creating obstacles to economic growth.  He particularly singled out Republicans in the House of Representatives, saying, "If people want to stop the gridlock and want to see the economy improve with more good-paying jobs created, then they need to eliminate the single biggest obstacle to economic growth, namely the House Republicans, by voting them out of office in the next election."
It about time! .... if only.  Just imagine how you would feel if Obama actually said this.  
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