LA Progressive: 17 January to 23 January 2010

Black Robes, Black Shirts. With the latest Supreme Court ruling by the “fabulous five,” Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, a single corporation will be able to disfranchise a million citizens. What’s to stop these conglomerates from implanting their servants at every level of municipal, state, and federal government? -Joseph Palermo

Pat Robertson’s Haitian Theodicy. While scientists explain Haiti’s recent natural disaster as an earthquake due to a fault it sits on along the border between two large tectonic plates – the North American plate to the north, and the Caribbean plate to the south – that slowly slide horizontally past each other, Robinson explains the disaster as “Something [that] happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it.” -Rev. Irene Monroe

Obama’s Next Crisis? So far, Iraq has been quiet enough that many in the media and public have redirected their attention to the wars du jour of Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia. The relative peace (punctuated by an occasional violent attack) in Iraq may be about to evaporate and cause yet another crisis for the president.
-Ivan Eland

Party’s Over: Time for Progressives to Jump Democrats’ Ship. It’s time to dump and jump the sinking two-party ship of state and create a new progressive people’s party. If those well-meaning activists who’d wasted time and money supporting Obama, just so he could backstab them once he got in power, had expended that energy and money on creating a new genuinely pro-worker, pro-peace, pro-human rights, pro-gay rights, pro-single payer, pro-woman, pro-ethnic rights, anti-global warming, anti-Wall Street party, we’d be better off. -Ed Rampell

Obama: Grow Spine, Become Party’s Dictator. Love them or hate them, Republicans get members to toe the line. Democrats need to placate EVERYONE within many constituencies. That bogs them down and they end up pleasing no one. Republicans say sit down, shut up and do as you are told. Democrats beg, cajole, plead and, even with this huge electoral majority, cower in the corner chanting the mantra “please don’t hurt me.” -Denis Campbell

Time for a Shareholder Protection Act. Under a shareholder protection law, shareholders would not have to spend their share of corporate earnings on candidates who they personally oppose. If a company dedicates, say, $100,000 to a particular campaign in a given year — directly, or indirectly through a front organization — shareholders who don’t want their money used this way would get a special dividend or additional shares representing their pro rata share of that campaign expenditure. -Robert Reich

Amazing Animal Rescue in LA River. In an amazing act of valor, the Los Angeles Fire Department air rescue unit rescued a dog from the raging waters of the Los Angeles river after days of torrential downpours that have caused the evacuations of several local communities. n an amazing act of valor, the Los Angeles Fire Department air rescue unit rescued a dog from the raging waters of the Los Angeles river after days of torrential downpours that have caused the evacuations of several local communities. -Linda Milazzo

Why Immigration Reform Prospects Didn’t Change Overnight. Brown’s voters also support comprehensive immigration reform by a wide margin and overwhelmingly voted for Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) — an avid champion of immigrant rights — year after year. If anything, Scott’s win represents a frustration with partisan-driven inaction. It also encompasses a collective sense of impatience with the lack of economic recovery. Immigration reform could speak to both. -Andrea Christina Nill

Democrats Never Had Sixty Votes; Sixty Votes Never Mattered. With Scott Brown now pledging to be the 41st vote to kill health care reform, Democrats cannot react by ramming through a bill before the Senate seats him. Republicans are not interested in governing; it’s time to pass a real bill through reconciliation. -Paul Hogarth

Eulogy for the Left. The old maxim that hindsight is 20/20 while foresight is practically blind fits well in this example. Let me illustrate how I believe Obama has manipulated the system to the point where the political Left is for all intents and purposes, a dead political entity. The only thing left at this point is to hold the funeral and send flowers. -Tim Gatto

More Pain & Suffering – A Bad Way to Start the New Year. Just as rising unemployment and economic insecurity means less retail spending and fewer trips to the malls and showrooms, it also means a fall in available jobs. Rising joblessness means the already catastrophe situation in the housing market gets even worse. -Carl Bloice

Despite Obama, “Yes We Can” Spirit Survives. In the Beltway, the Obama Administration frustrated key constituency groups and organizations by failing to push for transformative change. In the world where most people live and work, activists were not deterred by Obama’s inaction and instead seized upon the “Si Se Puede” spirit to build successful campaigns for justice. -Randy Shaw

Civil Rights Day for Some. But now to the question of the day: Why is it that the Gay and Lesbian movement leaders have never taken their rainbow progressive flags and marched in large numbers with those who seek immigration reform or in today’s MLK marches all over the US? Why did they abandon us? -Steve Ybarra

Obama Finally Gets Tough on Wall Street. But suddenly the winds are blowing in a different direction over the Potomac. The 2010 midterms are getting closer, and the Dems are scared. Their polls are plummeting. The upsurge in mad-as-hell populism requires that Democrats become indignant on behalf of Americans, and indignation is meaningless without a target. They can’t target big government because Republicans do that one better, especially when they’re out of power. So what’s the alternative? Wall Street. -Robert Reich

What Scott Brown’s Victory Really Means. Here’s what’s really going on. In Massachusetts, in New Jersey, all over the nation, voters are petrified of losing their jobs, their homes, and what’s left of their savings. Nothing counts more than the economy. Rightly or wrongly, presidents and the party in power are blamed when the economy is lousy. -Robert Reich

Massachusetts?!! Ask the Model Minority. With a rise in right-wing populism, I am worried. Our history tells us that immigration will become the key hot button issue these next coming elections and, in the past, hate crimes against AAPIs and Latina/os have consistently risen with increasing anti-immigrant sentiment, especially during low economic periods. -John Delloro

The Obamas’ First Year Living In The White House. In fact, I wonder if the White House will still be “the White House” when the Obamas leave. You know America got that thing about living where we’ve lived and leaving once we come to the neighborhood. They might come back eventually…but usually not immediately after we’ve been there. -Anthony Asadullah Samad

Democrats Boosting Right-Wing Populism. For a year now, leading Democrats have steadily embraced more corporate formulas for “healthcare reform.” In the name of political realism, they have demobilized and demoralized the Democratic base. In the process, they’ve fueled right-wing populism. -Norman Solomon

Massachusetts: Timidity of Hope Won’t Cut It. The Obama Administration cut far too many deals with the same corporate special interests that have dominated Washington since the Reagan years. Obama watered down his agenda. The Democratic base stayed home. The Republicans were energized beyond belief. And the Democratic candidate in a Democratic state lost the “Lion of the Senate’s” seat. -Joseph Palermo

Blaming the Left. The Democratic Party is facing a voter revolt because it once again allowed its corporate wing to set its agenda. And while the media blames the left Obama and the Democrats either implement a progressive agenda and shape the midterm elections around populist themes, or face further electoral “upsets” in November. -Randy Shaw

Massachusetts Debacle. 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. -John Peeler

Too Hard for the White Folks? Americans and the Haitian Revolution. Beneath the surface of Robertson’s remarks there is another underlying assumption, one both racist and ingrained in conventional American lore. In his bizarre and merciless condemnation of the Haitian Revolution, Robertson perpetuates an unfortunately all-too-common historical myth: that black people are incapable of freeing themselves, and must rely on outside forces to “save” them. -Jacqueline Bacon

Republican Money Terrorists. The G.O.P. does it for greed and power and they don’t believe anyone can stop them if they stay in lock-step and continue to stick to the lying talking points, the powerful CEO’s and the huge corporations that continue to control the mass media. -Jerry Drucker

Panetta Turns Blind Eye to CIA Crimes. Panetta also failed to tell readers that, if not for such CIA actions as the violent overthrow of the government of Iran in 1953 to get that country’s oil, and the 2003 U.S. aggression against Iraq to get that country’s oil, the Middle East might not be quite so violent today. Those aren’t Boy Scout camps President Obama is reinforcing in Afghanistan. -Sherwood Ross

Martin Luther King and the Chicano Movement. As could be expected, the corporate media is building a mood of pessimism about the possiblities for progressive change, they did so for King and the movements he led, but he was undaunted and we shouldn’t be in this years struggles. Si Se Puede! ¡Feliz cumpleaños Martin! -Rosalio Munoz

Of Love and Haiti. The very best and the very simplest way of giving I have seen is the Red Cross cell phone text system: text Haiti to 90999. It’s a $10 donation, added to your phone bill. How painless is that? Verizon has already reported $3 million have been donated. -Robert Illes

Media Coverage of Haitian Earthquake Can’t Go There. When the television cameras stop whirring and the famous correspondents leave Haiti and move on to the next Tiger Woods scandal, we should take a hard look at the power relations between the United States and Haiti that not only tolerated but helped create the Western Hemisphere’s best known economic, medical, political, judicial, educational, and ecological disaster long before the natural disaster hit. -Joseph Palermo

Martin Luther King’s Legacy and Israel’s Future: Stepping Beyond Fear. On this Martin Luther King Day, then, American Jews face a choice. They can dwell on one casual, misinformed, easily misinterpreted remark that King made and use it to justify continued Israeli intransigence and violence. Or they can remember the words in which he summed up a lifetime of nonviolence, on the last night of his life — “I’m not fearing any man!” — and call on their own government to demand at least a start toward ending the conflict: a genuine halt to all settlement expansion. -Ira Chernus

Government, Cafeteria Style. Not only would cafeteria-style government be a logistical nightmare if it were attempted, but nearly every important function of an organized society would be under-funded, because a significant portion of the population would opt out. -Ron Wolff

Tea Baggers and “Populist Anger. The Tea Baggers have bought into Social Darwinism, the 19th century gospel of the rich and powerful that extolled the “free market” as almost divinely inspired. “God gave me my money,” Rockefeller said. Social Darwinists said if you’re poor and powerless, it’s your own fault. Some Tea Baggers feel that way about health care. “YOUR HEALTH YOUR PROBLEM,” said another sign at a Tea Bagger rally. -Berry Craig

Toussaint L’Ouverture

Toward a More Complete MLK Day. King understood that the problems of America involved much more than racial inequality, and—in answer to LBJ’s question—what he in fact wanted was “a radical redistribution of power.” -Simon Balto

War Flames Engulfing Middle East Are Bankrupting US. By pouring in hundreds of thousands of troops to chase after a few hundred al Qaeda militants, the U.S. is spreading the war to wider and wider areas, and by using aerial assassination tactics, it is turning civilian populations into America haters. -Sherwood Ross

When Woolsey Met Harman. Fortunately, I get the impression that a great many Angelenos and Americans are principled, decent, and sophisticated enough to support Woolsey when she does right and oppose her when she does wrong, and to overwhelm her misplaced advocacy with our support, donations, and volunteer time for the woman who will be the leader of the fight for the people’s views against the corporate agenda in the 112th Congress, Marcy Winograd. -David Swanson

Christian Debt. The question isn’t whether Leviticus 18:22 is the word of God for Christians, but who the heck are we having sexual relationships with and why. This, of course, goes for heterosexual and homosexual relationships. -S. Blair Fox

The Beginning of the End of Competing Newspapers in LA. The corporate rules of journalism sucked the life out of newspapering, eliminating the kind of robust wars when there 12 newspapers in New York, eight in LA, six in Chicago with multiple owners and very different points of view. -Ron Kaye

Scrooge Is Premier of Alberta, Canada. It turns out that ScroogeEbenezer or McDuck, take your pick – is alive and well and running the Canadian province of Alberta. On Thursday, Conservative Premier Ed Stelmach told reporters the provincial government wouldn’t be donating a nickel of its lush, oil-and-gas royalty enriched treasury stash to aid in Haitian relief efforts. -Charley James

Haiti’s Curse. Televangelist Pat Robertson has claimed that Haitians made a pact with the devil and, as a result, have been cursed by God. Is Haiti cursed? If it is not, who or what is driving the policies that effectively keep Haiti oppressed? -Sharon Kyle

Published by the LA Progressive on January 24, 2010
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