John Peeler: Overall, Obama has been successful as the leader of Washington. Where he is failing is as the leader of the country. That’s a surprise, given his short political career, and his very impressive rhetorical skills.
John Peeler: The Democratic Party just is not a mirror image of the Republicans. It’s true that partisans have become steadily more polarized in the last generation: the Republican Party really is a conservative party today, in a way that it wasn’t even in the days of Richard Nixon. The Democrats are distinctly more liberal, but they are not a liberal party in the same sense as the GOP is conservative.
John Peeler: But suppose there were no violence by the activists, just a refusal to comply with what they held to be an illegal seizure of their ships in support of an illegal blockade and an illegal occupation. The Israeli government and military are manifestly completely unprepared for that. They know only how to respond to Palestinian violence with disproportionate force.
John Peeler: The 2010 Pennsylvania Primary had a lot of good news for progressive Democrats. The 18 May balloting saw Representative Joe Sestak take out five-term Senator Arlen Specter, just a year after the latter switched to the Democratic Party in the face of an assured loss in the Republican primary. And, the Democrats held the seat long occupied by the late Jack Murtha. On the other hand, the most progressive candidate in the gubernatorial primary, Joe Hoeffel, finished a poor fourth, and the winner, Dan Onorato, is not only less progressive, but starts well down in the polls against the Republican nominee, state Attorney General Tom Corbett.
John Peeler: Many white Southerners even today think they can somehow celebrate the glories of the Confederacy while ignoring the oppressive, inhumane institution at its roots. I certainly thought so back then. It was a glorious lost cause; implicitly, the country would have been better off had the Confederate rebellion prevailed.
John Peeler: The wrenching drama of the latest coal mine disaster, this one at the Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia, reminds us to be careful what we wish for. Just as the Obama administration is finally imposing a moratorium and stronger regulations on “mountaintop removal” as a means of getting at coal through open-pit mining, an explosion in a deep mine points up the hazards of getting at coal the traditional way.
John Peeler: The defeat of Martha Coakley in the race to succeed Ted Kennedy certainly shows the folly of taking victory for granted and failing to mount a serious campaign. But it also puts on display the complete political incompetence of the Obama administration and the national leadership of the Democratic Party and the Congress.
Now, paying off the opposition does seem to have calmed things down in parts of Iraq (recent Baghdad bombings notwithstanding), and thereby provided us with an opening to carry through with the agreement we made with the Iraqi government to get our troops out of there. Maybe it can work in Afghanistan too.
You should use the clout and credibility from the prize to convene serious, multiparty negotiations aimed at verifiably eliminating nuclear weapons from all arsenals, backed up with cooperative intelligence-gathering to ensure that non-state actors do not acquire or independently develop such weapons.
A key provision of the Voting Rights Act (first adopted in 1965), provides that jurisdictions with a history of racial and ethnic discrimination must get prior federal approval before changing election laws. Many, but not all Southern states, and a scattering of states, counties, and municipalities elsewhere, remain subject to that stipulation. In June, the [...]
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s overwhelming victory in Iran’s presidential election disappointed many who had hoped for a president who is not an international embarrassment and loose cannon. That is the image portrayed in the western media, and with such an image, many find it possible to explain such a victory only by fraud and intimidation. But we [...]
The recent release of memoranda used by the Bush administration to justify various aggressive interrogation techniques for use on suspected terrorists has led to widespread calls for prosecution, either against those who wrote the memos, those who approved them, or those who carried them out. The grounds for such prosecutions would be that the techniques [...]
After the shameful, embarrassing performance of the Bush administration in denying the most basic human rights to detainees at Guantánamo, Bagram, Afghanistan, and at CIA black sites elsewhere, the record of the Obama admininstration on this issue has been mixed at best. Initially, Obama canceled Bush executive orders that permitted torture (while denying such a [...]
It’s been going on for sixty years. Or a century. Or a millennium. Or more. It depends on how you look at it, but the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation defiantly resists resolution, yielding an unending harvest of blood. Decades of inconclusive conflict have made clear that neither side can achieve its goals by purely military means.
by John Peeler – As President-Elect Obama goes about naming more and more of his cabinet and senior advisers, many of his left-of-center supporters are expressing increasing unease at the absence of certified progressives in the mix, and the prevalence of centrist Clintonites, including Hillary herself. This is very much in contrast with what happened [...]
Venezuela held regional elections on Sunday, 23 November, and opposition candidates made substantial gains against the governing party of President Hugo Chávez, winning at least five governorships (of 22), including the two most populous states and the mayorality of Metropolitan Caracas). Chávez announced that he accepted the results, and added that “these elections demonstrated that [...]