The LA Progressive: 21-27 February 2010

War Politics: Numb and Number. While the escalating disaster of war in Afghanistan keeps setting deadly blazes, the few anti-war voices on Capitol Hill usually sound like people whispering “Fire!”. –Norman Solomon

The GOP’s Free Speech Is Now Free Lies. The No and Know Nothing Party, aka the Greedy Obstructionist Prevaricators, started building their latest successful Corporate Ponzi Scheme by using their upside-down pyramid assault (trickle up) on America. Some 30 years ago with the onset of Ronald Reagan, the Conservatives and mega Corporations realized what they offered the people needed to be. –Jerry Drucker

E-Verify Gets It Wrong, Again. Those inaccuracy rates are huge because they mean that U.S. citizens and other legal workers are losing their jobs because E-Verify made a mistake—and, consequently, that unauthorized workers are working because E-Verify made a mistake. Of course, many more unauthorized workers are working “off the books” and never getting checked by E-Verify. –Michele Waslin

On Strategizing Progressive Social Change: Start with “It Won’t Be Easy. Heck! Just talking about progressive social change is difficult. If I try to “tell it like it is”, it’s too complicated for many people to comprehend, and for some people who think that anything worth knowing should require no effort from them to understand it. –Robert Letcher

Crony’s Triangulating Fog: Grifters, Greed and the Gullible Americans. Americans, behavior-modified to trust advertising, swimming in the dead pool of propaganda environmentally disguised as benign advertising and Infotainment, continue to cop to the Triangulating Fog Machine’s all sizzle no steak obfuscation. The only question left to ask, now that the confidence game is more widely known, is – will they keep buying it like a beaten dog or wake up and demand their money and government back? –Brad Parker

Mau Mau, Marx and Coca Cola: 18th Annual Pan African Film & Arts Festival. Probably the most controversial film screened this year at PAFF was the Australian doc Stolen, which, according to co-director Daniel Fallshaw, started out as a documentary about the plight of people in refugee camps as a result of the West Sahara liberation movement against Morocco led by the Polisario. But, he said, in the process of filming Fallshaw and co-director Violeta Ayala purportedly stumbled upon something quite unsettling: the existence of slavery in these resettlement centers, with some Blacks owned by Arabs in the camps. –Ed Rampell

Drive to Eliminate Social Security Accelerates. The nonchalance which Friedman calls for cutting Social Security is indicative of the climate in Washington, where the last remnants of liberalism have been suffocated under the heavy demands of profit-hungry corporations, especially financial institutions and big banks. –Shamus Cooke

Learning From History: Can the U.S. Win the Afghan War? Unfortunately for the United States in Afghanistan, however, the label of “foreign occupier” is an albatross the U.S. will likely never be able to shake or mitigate. Although the Taliban is often brutal (but may now be toning this down in its own realization that it must win greater public support) and unpopular, so is the U.S. occupation and the corrupt client government of Hamid Karzai. –Ivan Eland

Bust Up the Health Insurance Trusts. Regardless of what happens at the White House’s health care meeting , we’ve got to make sure health insurers compete for every one of our dollars. The Federal Trade Commission should launch an investigation immediately, and end the health care trusts. –Robert Reich

Blueprint for a Majority Third Party. Given the dysfunctional state of American politics, the need for a path that Right and Left can travel together is urgent. If conservatives and liberals cannot subordinate their partisan agendas to the common good, world leadership will pass to nations that do manage to transcend this obsolete ideological dichotomy. –Robert Fuller

Where Have All the Black Men Gone? They’re missing in churches, missing from their families, missing from college campuses, and absent from work. Black women can’t find a man to marry. Black children don’t know where to find their fathers. Where are those guys? --Michelle Alexander

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Chuck Grassley Claims ‘Illegal Workers’ And Their Employers Will Benefit From Jobs Bill
. despite his concerns relating to foreign workers, Grassley has already asserted that he isn’t interested in working towards a productive solution that involves even touching a “general immigration reform bill” with a ten-foot pole. --Andrea Christina Nill

Tiger Didn’t Apologize for Dubai’s Slave Labor. With an economic and political crisis afoot in this crumbling empire, it seems that this salacious celebrity gossip is nothing more than that–a media-created distraction to help us forget how bad things really are in America. This is a sideshow, like the gladiator games in Rome, or feeding the Christians to the lions. –David Love

Public Option Only Way Out of Health Care Mess. Polling in key states where hot Senate seats are in play (Illinois, Colorado and Harry Reid’s own Nevada) shows the public option is still popular, and putting it back in the health care bill would improve things. Only 34% of Nevadans liked the Senate bill that passed in December, but 56% like the public option. The gap grows to 31 points in Illinois and 37 points in Minnesota, so why not use it? –Paul Hogarth

Charles Kuralt

On Curling, U.S.-Canada Relations, and Tiger Woods. The worldwide recession deepens, the impacts of climate change worsen, and health care costs continue to skyrocket — yet people are primarily discussing other matters. Chief among them is why curling is an Olympic sport, since it is the on-ice equivalent of bocce or shuffleboard, two games that do not require much athletic talent. –Randy Shaw

Living and Dying: More than a Matter of Life and Death. Conflicting interests aren’t the only obstacle, either. Ambiguities run through and through the whole matter. I myself benefit from technological breakthroughs that have elevated me from only a bit better than existing into really living. I tell people that I know how Lou Gehrig felt. –Robert Letcher

A “Center-Right” Country? With the hoopla at the CPAC convention and the hyperventilating on FOX News you’d think the Republicans are worried about something. With Citizens United and the Supreme Court in their pocket, and with the billionaires’ club and corporate America backing them, they’ll be back in power faster than you can say the words “President Marco Rubio.” That’s why the Democrats can’t afford to fail now. –Joseph Palermo

McCain: Arizona A ‘Wonderful’ Place For Hispanics. McCain is understandably proud and defensive of his home state, however, his oblivious dismissal of the plight of Arizona Latinos demonstrates just how out of touch McCain is with a Latino electorate which used to constitute a large part of his base. –Andrea Christina Nill

CO2, Mass Extinction of Species, and Climate Change. Lost all too often in the climate debate is an appreciation of the delicate balance between the physical and chemical state of the atmosphere-ocean-land system and the evolving biosphere, which controls the emergence, survival and demise of species, including humans. --Andrew Glikson

Can Math and Science Help Solve Crime? “Criminal offenders are essentially hunter-gatherers; they forage for opportunities to commit crimes,” said Brantingham, a UCLA associate professor of anthropology. “The behaviors that a hunter-gatherer uses to choose a wildebeest versus a gazelle are the same calculations a criminal uses to choose a Honda versus a Lexus.” Predicting crime and devising better crime-prevention strategies requires “a mechanistic explanation…” says Brantingham. –Stuart Wolpert

Will the ‘Socialist’ Slam Swell Socialist Ranks? “Conservatives still consider ‘socialism’ to be an all-encompassing evil word,” Moore explained. Thus, tagging Obama a “socialist” enables covertly racist conservatives to “to get away with bigotry,” he added. --Berry Craig

Balancing Altruism and Self-Interest in Government. No doubt some of the “conservatives” (for lack of a better label — generally I dislike labels as oversimplifications) who read my articles feel that I spend too much energy denigrating our society. I can almost hear them say “If you love Denmark so much, why don’t you move there?”  –Ron Wolff

Schwarzenegger’s Prison Plan Ignores Racial History. The skyrocketing incarceration rates of the past three decades have not affected all segments of California’s population equally. African Americans and Latinos have been hardest hit, thanks largely to the war on drugs — a war that has targeted people of color for drug crimes, even though studies show they are no more likely to use or sell illegal drugs than whites. –Michelle Alexander

The Manhattan Declaration and “Traditional” Marriage. With respect to same sex marriage, the connection is not immediately clear, not until one looks at the language used in the Manhattan Declaration – “the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife.” Fundamentalists see marriage as the basic structure upon which a male-dominated society is built. Traditional family relationships allow heterosexual men to maintain control of their “property.” Alternative unions threaten this power. --David Lee McMullen


Employers Take Beating Laying Off Employees
. As millions of Americans have been fired by employers struggling to remain profitable, we have all borne witness to Corporate America’s calloused disregard of its workers. Now, canny business economists claim the layoffs have hurt employers, too. –Sherwood Ross

It’s Time To Enact Health Care With 51 Senate Votes. My free advice to the President: If you want to get healthcare enacted you must use reconciliation and quickly. Host your bipartisan gab fest at the White House on Thursday. Then tell the House and Senate to get to work on putting their bills together (or tell the House Dems to enact the Senate bill and then save their disagreements for reconciliation), and tell Harry Reid you want the Senate bill on a fast track of reconciliation. –Robert Reich

Joe Arpaio’s Chief Deputy Cites Conspiracy Theory Involving President Obama To ‘Muzzle’ His Boss. During his own deposition testimony, Arpaio admitted to not reading his own book and blamed the references to the wingnut reconquista conspiracy theories contained in it on his co-author. –Amdrea Nill

Rescuing Reagan from the Neocons. Televangelists, mega-church pastors, and the backers of Proposition Hate go on and on about Reagan’s devotion to traditional family values and the sanctity of marriage. They don’t mention that, as governor of California, Reagan signed the Therapeutic Abortion Act, permitting women to make their own health care decisions. Or that Reagan signed the nation’s first law permitting no-fault divorce. –Tom Hall

A Hundred Years of War. The invasion of Iraq was the greatest terrorist recruitment program ever. It destabilized one of the most important big cities in the Arab world. It fueled pan-Arab nationalism as well as jihad against the West. It caused a sectarian bloodbath because of the jolt given to power relations by external military force. –Joseph Palermo

Published by the LA Progressive on February 28, 2010
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