Will Obama’s New “Organizing for America” Succeed?

David Plouffe and Barack Obama

After Barack Obama’s presidential campaign built the organizing skills of thousands of young activists, many hoped that his organization would spawn a new entity to keep many of these folks working full time for change. The Obama campaign was the best incubator for activists since the UFW of the 1960s and 70s, and created a [...]

Retro-Hooverites All

bridge collapse

e’re lucky the Democrats have large majorities in Congress because every Republican member of the House of Representatives voted against the $825 billion stimulus bill today. The vote was 244 to 188, with 11 like-minded Democrats joining in the betrayal. Even a face-to-face meeting with the President on Capitol Hill failed to sway any of [...]

Bush Torture Team Get Out of Jail Free Card

bush_baptizing

Nixon, at least, had Gerald Ford issue his pardon. While the world wondered if Bush would pre-emptively pardon his torture gang on the last day, most forgot… he already did. Well, at least he tried to make sure he would not have to rely on another President’s largesse. This could also explain why Barack Obama [...]

That’s So John Roberts!

Barack and Michelle Obama, John Roberts

Just when a friend of mine got ready to coin the phrase, “that is so Sarah Palin,” along comes a RepubliCANT who cannot memorize the Presidential oath of office (a job that has only been done 43 times before). When preparation and memory fail, “that’s soooooooooooooooooooooo John Roberts!” Barry has only been in office for [...]

Train’s Leaving the Station, Ignore “Big Fat Idiot”

obama-speaking

It was a message not directly spoken but heard by all… President Obama met privately with House and Senate Republicans, all without aides, in the Roosevelt Room. Simply said, there’s room on this train for everyone, I want your opinion and help if you offer solutions vs. attack. Make no mistake, it’s leaving the station [...]

President Obama the Liberal Nationalist

the-same-hand

Inauguration Day, 2009 in Washington, DC was grueling but inspiring. The minus 8 degree cold was bone-chilling. The crowd of two million plus was frequently suffocating. The 20,000-officer security cordon was smothering. Yet people endured the discomfort good-naturedly. Neither cold nor crowds nor mile-long detours from blocks of blocked off streets would deter Obama’s faithful [...]

Inauguration of Obama and My Broken Father

mlk_bho

The inauguration of President Obama signals us to move from voice to leadership. While listening to President Obama’s somber but inspiring inaugural address, I returned to a painful moment in my life. Five years ago, someone had found my father’s unconscious body by the side of a desert highway. Along the short stretch lay his [...]

Who Should Obama Look to for Advice?: Jimmy Carter

carter obama

At the request of President-elect Barack Obama, President George W. Bush convened an awkward meeting of all living former presidents at the White House to meet, and presumably give advice and encouragement to, the new guy. The body language of the participants in the summit photo, taken in the Oval Office, said it all. The [...]

Can Obama Change America’s Understanding of Class and Dissent?

haymarket

Class conflict. Political dissent. What it means to be an American. Many people assume these things are incompatible. Throughout America’s history, most U.S. citizens denied the reality of class divisions in their midst, seeing them as either European or somehow related to Soviet communism. And political dissent has not been understood to be central to [...]

“This Land Is Your Land” Like Woody Wrote It

pete-seeger-bruce-springsteen

At the conclusion of today’s concert for president-elect Barack Obama 89-year-old Pete Seeger joined Bruce Springsteen for a sing-along with perhaps half a million people of Woody Guthrie’s “This Your Land is Your Land,” which I dare say practically everyone in the country knows from childhood. But sly old Pete, who actually hoboed with Woody [...]

Uprising Updated

obama_shoe

When visionary journalist/author David Sirota published his book, The Uprising: An Unauthorized Tour of the Populist Revolt Scaring Wall Street and Washington in June 2008, he traveled the country—including an appearance at Valley Dems United Democratic Club—making his case. But even before November 4, it was clear that Americans were living their own insurrections; some [...]

w(me) the People: w’s Legacy Project

bush_sunset

President w, by way of a reporter, gave the nation a forewarning, regarding his awful, illegitimate, prevaricating, corrupt, woeful, horrible, horrendous, dreadful, terrible, appalling, deplorable, treasonous, frightful, ghastly, horrifying, revolting, hideous, despicable, monstrous, gruesome, (reader’s choice)–legacy, after his first presidential election coup. Very early into w’s presidency, a press party was held at the White [...]

Pardon Me, Scooter?

elivira-arellano

On July 2, 2007 George W. Bush commuted the sentence of convicted felon and former top White House staffer Scooter Libby for his convictions on five felony counts of perjury, false statements, and obstruction of justice. He didn’t pardon Libby but, instead, issued a Grant of Executive Clemency before Scooter Libby even served a single [...]

Wiped? Back to Work

falling-uncle-sam

This past Sunday I ran for re-election as a Delegate to the California Democratic Party (CDP). I was on the Progressive Slate, from the 42nd Assembly District which covers parts of LA and the San Fernando Valley. Two years ago when I first ran, local progressive Dems were fired up and ready to give the [...]

They’re Just Not That Into You, George

bush_binladen

Mr. Bush, you shouldn’t have bothered. It wouldn’t have mattered what you said on your last Thursday evening as White House occupant. I’m sure many Americans did tune in out of curiosity as to how you were going to try to talk your way out of your mess this time. You used the same familiar [...]

The War on Drugs Redux

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Opium is in the news again. Afghanistan is producing bumper crops of opium poppies, funding Taliban attacks and simultaneously enriching some of the Afghani government’s warlord allies. Low heroin prices worldwide suggest that the marketplace is saturated, and American policy abroad is aimed narrowly at crop eradification while at home we are incarcerating drug users [...]

Obama Can Learn From Jimmy Carter, Too

jimmy_carter

Jimmy Carter was the last president to ask the nation for collective sacrifice. Barack Obama ought to do the same. How should he do so? He should ask Congress to approve an economic stimulus plan and then specifically outline the sacrifices Americans will have to make over the next four years to achieve the national [...]

Shrewdness, Thy Name Is Barack

obama-holder

One does not become POTUS after three years in the Senate without making shrewd moves. These two are genius: separating John McCain’s political legacy from the ‘Wasilla Hillbilly’ and letting others carry the torture debate so he can honestly say he has no choice but to pursue prosecution of highest Bush officials for war crimes. [...]

Against Truth, Reconciliation, and Commissions

conyers_john

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has introduced a bill, H.R. 104, that would create a commission to spend a year and a half looking at the various crimes of Bush and Cheney. While this might allow congressional Democrats to run election campaigns against Bush and Cheney yet again, even though those two will have [...]

Can Illinois Again Lead by (Bad) Example?

kyvig1

Illinois politicians’ sordid reputation for selling seats in the U.S. Senate to the highest bidder is, sadly, at least a century old. As embarrassing as that history may be to residents of the Land of Lincoln, it is a past that suggests ways to deal with the current mess. One hundred years ago the corrupt [...]

In Pursuit of Equality: Sentiments Past and Present

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As we stand boldly and enthusiastically on the horizon of the year 2009, it seems like only yesterday that the 1960s civil rights revolution took full stride. The tumultuous and tremendous Civil Rights Movement monumentally reconstructed America’s social and political scene to a more inclusive and equal playing field, ushering in a new day of [...]

Speaking of Blanket Pardons

bush_legacy

There’s a blanket pardon I want President Bush to issue and one I want him not to. Both would involve preemptively pardoning people before they’re charged with any crime, much less convicted, and doing so without naming them. One would be decent, just, and Constitutional; the other would be none of those things. One would [...]

Analyzing the Argument: What Must Change Mean?

Matt Bai

In The Argument: Billionaires, Bloggers, and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics, Matt Bai details his close up view of various groups and activities hoping to mark out new strategies and tactics towards national Democratic electoral victory. With insider access and experience as a political reporter, Bai follows three distinct groups committing serious time, efforts, [...]

Newsom’s Shaky Political Future

boxerrenne2010

Since winning election in 2003, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has been a rising political star. His landmark support for gay marriage, followed by the California Supreme Court’s endorsing it as a “fundamental right,” left Newsom the candidate to beat in the 2010 Governor’s race. But Prop 8’s victory lent a double blow to Newsom: [...]

Poor Leon Panetta Won’t Know What Hit Him When He Hits The CIA

leon-panetta

by Charley James Talk about setting up a bright, highly competent, loyal, nice guy for failure. When Barack Obama named former Clinton chief of staff Leon Panetta to run the Central Intelligence Agency yesterday, he picked a man whose biggest plus is having loudly protested the agency’s use of torture including waterboarding and other “enhanced [...]

Stimulate the Economy by Mending Our Safety Nets

piggybank

Lots of talk this week about the proposed stimulus. One high priority ought to be the most vulnerable members of our society. The safety net created in the 1930s to protect Americans from extreme poverty is in tatters. Now that we’re in the worst downturn since the Depression, that safety net needs mending. This should [...]

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