Watch “Deficit Hawks” Rush to Defend Pentagon Bloat

robert gates

Randy Shaw: The Republican Party and Democratic so-called “deficit hawks” attack any proposed defense cuts as “job killers.” Yet this alliance refused to save the jobs of hundreds of thousands of teachers, and have backed tax and spending policies that have cost the nation millions of jobs in recent years.

Arnold Ignores Kennedy Legacy in Vetoing Farmworker Overtime

robert f kennedy

Randy Shaw: While it’s no longer news that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is a fraud (which helps explains poll numbers that are lower than George W. Bush and the pre-recall Gray Davis), his veto this week of an overtime bill for California farmworkers is particularly disgraceful.

Lessons of the UNITE HERE-SEIU Deal

Wikileaks

Randy Shaw: The SEIU-UNITE HERE conflict also shows the peril of veteran labor leaders quietly deferring to destructive decisions by top union officials, a lesson that was supposed to have been learned from activists’ experience with Cesar Chavez and the UFW in the 1970’s.

SEIU-UNITE HERE Settlement Reached

John Wilhelm & Mary Kay Henry

Randy Shaw: After an 18-month battle that began with SEIU believing it could affect a hostile takeover of its once close union ally, the two unions reached a settlement yesterday almost entirely on UNITE HERE’s terms.

Ed Ruscha’s Los Angeles: When Los Angeles Got No Respect

Norm's, La Cienega, on Fire, 1964, by Ed Ruscha

Randy Shaw: Ed Ruscha’s Los Angeles addresses the art establishment’s diminishing of Los Angeles’ broader impact, and offers rare insight into the Los Angeles of the 1960’s and 70’s, though perhaps not greater appreciation for Ed Ruscha’s vision of the city.

Movies Ignore Corporate Wrongdoers, Populist Messages

Angelina Jolie’s Salt

Randy Shaw: Many believe that Hollywood films provide escapist entertainment, and should not be seen as sending political messages. We are told that studios are about making money, and that they would make tribute films to Karl Marx if that were good for the box office. Well, the historic record and the films of 2010 say otherwise.

Why So Few Progressive Mayors?

Clockwise from top: John Lindsay, Harold Washington, Art Agnos & Antonio Villaraigosa.

Randy Shaw: Progressive candidates develop a laundry list of public programs that energize the progressive base. But this agenda is seen as economically unrealistic by the business community and more moderate voters, who are then easily persuaded that the progressive mayoral candidate will increase their taxes to achieve their goals.

Use Twitter and Facebook — Or Else!

networking

Randy Shaw: So while I’m not sold on Facebook (a venue where Lady Gaga’s record 10 million “fans“ exceeds that of President Obama), I am seriously considering opening a Twitter account. After all, how can I resist creating another “platform” for marketing?

Nurses Have Whitman on the Run

Rose Ann DeMoro & Meg Whitman

Randy Shaw: Two weeks into her general election campaign, Meg Whitman has already proved that she has not followed politics in recent years. How else to explain her already picking a fight with CNA and Rose Ann DeMoro that the candidate cannot win, and that makes her look worse with each passing day?

Progressive Critics Help Obama and Democrats

Progressive Obama Critics Lt. Dan Choi and Rachel Maddow along with Goodwin Liu

Randy Shaw: Holding self-identified “progressive” politicians like Barack Obama accountable for fulfilling campaign commitments actually improves the chances for progressive election victories, as it pressures Democrats to satisfy their base. And as the critical midterm elections approach, ensuring this grassroots base is motivated and mobilizable by holding Obama and Congressional Democrats accountable is even more imperative.

Jerry Brown, Eucalyptus Trees, Esalen, and More

Randy Shaw: Unlike today, there were politically strong progressive movements during the Brown era that operated outside the Democratic Party establishment. Brown had strong backing among environmentalists, tenants, those focused on “appropriate” technology, and the United Farm Workers (UFW).

June 2010 Election Predictions

Clockwise from top: Jerry Brown, Barbara Boxer, Bill Halter & Carly Fiorina

Randy Shaw: The June 8, 2010 election is not the most eventful in recent years, but it will provide valuable guidance for November. In California, the Republican Party will continue its pattern of political suicide by nominating two candidates — Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina — who have almost no chance of prevailing in the fall.

Media All Wrong on BP Oil Spill Politics

bp spill

Randy Shaw: The nonsense and political disinformation around the politics of the BP oil spill is stunning. Each day we are told that President Obama’s entire agenda has been undermined by BP’s reckless action, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Are Obama, Democrats Really “Remaking Washington”?

reagan obama

Randy Shaw: while Obama and the Democratic Congress have achieved major gains, there is a entire other range of critical issues — the record military budget, increased troops in Afghanistan, inaction on both comprehensive immigration reform and EFCA, the absence of a major job creation program — where change is missing. This leaves Obama’s “remaking” far less sweeping than Ronald Reagan’s achievement in 1981.

California’s Cutbacks Imperil “the Obama Generation”

obama youth

Randy Shaw: From an environmental agenda imperiled by nationwide public transit cuts, to a “Jobs” agenda jeopardized by state-induced layoffs, to the lack of full implementation of the President’s prized national service expansion, state budget cuts imperil progressives’ electoral gains of 2008. And no group risks having their expectations more shattered than the students and recent college grads – often described as “the Obama Generation” —whose energy and turnout helped define the 2008 election cycle.

How to Win the Arizona Boycott

Viva Los Suns

Randy Shaw: For the Arizona boycott to succeed, activists must follow the lessons of the UFW grape and lettuce boycotts of the 1960’s and 1970’s, the South Africa divestment campaign of the 1970s and 1980’s, and the UNITE HERE “Hotel Rising Boycott” of 2006. And the timing is perfect for a “Boycott Summer,” which would boost immigrant rights activism both in Arizona and nationally.

Speaker Pelosi and the Revival of Progressive Politics in America

Randy Shaw: Yet Ronald Peters’ and Cindy Simon Rosenthal’s just-released book, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the New American Politics , shows that Nancy Pelosi played a far greater role than is realized in reviving progressive politics after the disappointing 2004 defeats. Pelosi shaped the Democrats message, framed attacks on Bush and the Republican Party, maintained party unity and then delivered for progressives after becoming Speaker in 2006. Nancy Pelosi is not only the most powerful female politician in United States history, but she may also be the most effective progressive national elected official of her time.

As Progressives Predicted, Clinton Welfare Reform Law Fails Families

Randy Shaw: After President Bill Clinton signed legislation in 1996 “ending welfare as we know it,” many highlighted this “common sense” solution and criticized progressives for opposing the bill. Soon after passage, politicians and the media said it had not caused the downsides that activists had predicted, ignoring that the law had not been fully implemented. But troubling reports soon emerged.

SEIU at the Crossroads

Randy Shaw: Since January 2009, SEIU has spent millions in two campaigns against rival unions. Its campaign against UNITE HERE has alienated virtually the entire labor movement, effectively destroyed the Change to Win Labor Federation, worsened SEIU’s budget problems, and achieved none of the hoped-for membership gains – yet SEIU’s raids against UNITE HERE continue.

Why CNN Fails

CNN

Randy Shaw: CNN’s chief problem is not a lack of partisanship. Instead, it is that CNN’s “news” primarily consists of opinions from partisan political hacks. Most work for CNN because no candidate wants to hire them, and it’s an easy gig because they don’t have to know much about the subjects they pontificate about. Does CNN really believe viewers are still interested in the opinions of the corporate-funded James Carville? Or that CNN will steal viewers from FOX News by hiring Erick Erickson of Redstate.com, who publicly threatened to shoot census workers? CNN is failing because it’s selling stale conventional wisdom, which viewers are rejecting.

On Cesar Chavez Day, Rediscover Cesar Chavez

Randy Shaw: Cesar Chavez dared to accomplish what most thought impossible, demonstrating the potential of national grassroots campaigns to win against all odds. Understanding the UFW’s success should cause activists to think bigger about what’s possible.

After Health Care, Activists Must Continue Pressure for Change

Sunday's Immigration March

Randy Shaw: One clear impact of the health care victory: a deeply demoralized activist and progressive base has been reenergized. Activists who had lost faith in Obama’s ability to get things done now have evidence that candidate Obama’s “Yes We Can” spirit has not disappeared, a boost in enthusiasm that may have greater short-term significance than the substance of the health care bill.

Nancy Pelosi Deserves Chief Credit for Health Care Victory

nancy pelosi

Randy Shaw: I knew how proud Burton was of his protégé, Nancy Pelosi, but his description of her as a single-minded “bulldog” never jibed with my own perceptions. Until now. Because when the history of the health care reform effort of 2009-10 is written, Speaker Nancy Pelosi deserves chief credit for making it happen.

New Immigrant Rights Campaign to Mount Largest March of Obama Era

luisgutierrez

Randy Shaw: Organized by the Center for Community Change (CCC), the March 21 event will be the largest protest march since President Barack Obama took office. It will include activist groups from nearly every state, and revives the labor-religious-community coalition that built the mass marches of 2006.

Political Underpinnings of Film Noir

broe-film_noir

Randy Shaw: Since film noir was rediscovered in the 1960’s, there have been many books analyzing the genre. One could understandably ask what Dennis Broe’s new work, Film Noir, American Workers, and Postwar Hollywood could possibly add to the subject. The answer is: quite a bit.

Oscar Ceremony Shows Hollywood’s Rightward, Militaristic Shift

Hurt Lockher director Katherine Bigelow, Barbra Striesand

Randy Shaw: While conservatives love bashing “Hollywood liberals,” Sunday night’s Oscar telecast showed how little this description applies. From Kathryn Bigelow’s promoting George W. Bush’s argument that the U.S. invaded Iraq to protect Americans, to the disproportionate acclaim given to films exalting the military, to the exclusion of Michael Moore’sCapitalism, A Love Story from the documentary nominees, Hollywood now largely avoids any hint of progressive social analysis.

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