Monday, December 23, 2013

The Difference between Left and Far-Left

Once, during a much more "conservative" era, the majority of the American people (by a landslide) voted to elect a new President. He had won almost every State in the Union, including all those in the South. It was the most lopsided presidential election in the history of the United States (he received 98.49% of the electoral vote). He had ended up winning four consecutive presidential elections. His name was Franklin Delano Roosevelt --- and he was bold progressive Democrat.

That was a time when most Americans loved a far-left loon.

FDR election results from 1932 to 1944

Yesterday, from an article in the New York Times, in an article titled Inequality for Dummies, the author mentions:

The top 10 percent of Americans used to take in a third of the national income. Now they gobble up half. The typical corporate C.E.O. used to make 30 times as much as the average worker. Now the boss makes 270 times as much as the minion. Many factors have led to this trend, including the offshoring of work to low-paid foreign labor, the automation of everything from manufacturing to meter-reading, a tax code that allows the accumulation of riches at the top, the slow growth of educational attainment, the demise of strong unions, and a collapse of the social contract. A widely praised 2012 book, “Why Nations Fail,” argues that historically when the ruling elites have pulled up the ladder and kept newcomers from getting a foothold, their economies have suffocated and died.

Then the author goes on to cite several differences between progressive Democrats, who always side with regular working Americans, and the supposedly "moderate" Democrats, those who many times side with the big banks, big oil, big pharma and other big corporations (Think of the Wall Street-backed think tank called Third Way).

The author of the New York Times article seemed to be making a big differentiation between advocates of a "center-left" and a "left-left" group of Democrats, when many (if not most) of us might think a combination of ideas from both groups could address many of our current problems --- and not just one or the other. Or as the author says, "arguments that pit Democrats against Democrats".

And the New York Times author also uses the terms near left (as in Obama) versus far left (as in Senator Warren), when many people think Elizabeth Warren is really in the perfect center --- as most people seem to agree with her on a majority of the issues, such as Social Security, the minimum wage and regulating the banks (to name but a few).

So why would anyone label Senator Elizabeth Warren as far left or left-left, or even just left for that matter? The mainstream cable news shows are doing this as well, using the "far left" moniker for progressive Democrats (like FDR), but not so much as a badge of honor, but more so in the connotation as a "Socialist" (or something equally nefarious).

If you were to listen very carefully to some of the pundits in the media, you can almost hear the implied undertones, as though there was something un-American about being "on the left" or liberal. You can almost hear the ominous and scary music playing in the background, just before the boogie man jumps out to grab you. It's subtle, but nonetheless, it's there, just below the surface --- because after all, the media wants to appear as though they're "neutral" when it comes to politics (but we know that 90% of the media is owned by 6 major corporations and caters to corporate advertisers).

Of course, as we all know, Fox News is different --- they'll just come out and tell you that Obama is a Socialist (even though, in reality, he's more of a crony capitalist, despite his "populist" speeches). But even CNN has been throwing "the left" around as though it was another new and radical political phenomena like the Tea Party (who are really old Dixiecrats that rose up from the grave).

Then the author of the New York Times article concluded:

"Liberals from Elizabeth Warren to Third Way [the pro-Wall Street Democrats] have one other thing in common: a Republican-controlled House that hews to a discredited gospel of gutting government, cutting taxes and letting the market sort it out. Barring a purge of Congress, most of the ideas put forth by the liberals, center-left or left-left, are going nowhere in the partisan sludge pit that is Washington."

One could almost sense the impression that this guy at the New York Times was trying to use the old GOP strategy to help "divide and conquer" the Democrats, the same way the GOP always does with everybody else (or maybe you'll read his article differently.)

But "progressives" are only being labeled "left-left" because of past McCarthyism accusations, comparing them to Socialists and Communists. As a progressive, FDR wasn't an Enemy of the State. Or for that matter, neither was Dwight D. Eisenhower.

And most "populists" (aka voters) in all States (even Southern States) had voted for FDR four times. Would he be labeled left-left or far left today? Would Ike Eisenhower be called a Socialist? If so, then the Tea Party today would have made perfect Nationalist in FDR's time. (Sorry, no disrespect to the Aryan Brotherhood).

There's really very little difference between the Democratic Progressive Caucus' Deal for All and FDR's New Deal --- which is fairness for all. If voting for a progressive Democrat makes me a communist, then so be it --- guilty as charged Senator McCarthy and Senator Cruz --- I'm a far left loon.

And if I had been around from 1932 to 1944, I also would have voted for FDR, one of my favorite loons, just as I'd vote for other progressive Democrats like Elizabeth Warren today.

How a "moderate" Democrat (pro-corporate Democrat) might be described as opposed to a "progressive" Democrat (pro-worker Democrat) like Elizabeth Warren:

Bill Clinton has been described as a "New Democrat". Many of his policies have been attributed to a centrist "Third Way" philosophy of governance.

On October 10, 2000 Clinton signed into law the U.S.-China Relations Act of 2000, which granted permanent normal trade relations trade status to the People's Republic of China.

On November 12, 1999 Clinton saw the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act enacted that repealed part of the Glass–Steagall Act of 1933, removing barriers in the market among banking companies, securities companies and insurance companies.

Clinton's trade deal (NAFTA) was explicitly designed to place our manufacturing workers in direct competition with the lowest paid workers in the world.

Clinton lowered the capital gains tax rate from 28% to a mere 20% --- a great driver of income inequality (Bush lowered them again to 15%).

Now Bill Clinton runs his foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative. It's predicted that his wife Hillary will run for President in 2016 (will she be more like Bill or more like Elizabeth?)

Democrats like Elizabeth Warren wants to regulate the banks that Democrats like Clinton deregulated; she is against the TPP trade agreement, and she is concerned about outsourcing American jobs. She'd also reform the tax code that mostly benefits that rich. Would Hillary do all that with a Democratic controlled Congress? How far does the Hillary acorn fall from the Bill tree?

Senator Elizabeth Warren - Bold Progressive Democrat

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