LA Progressive Articles — May 30 to June 5, 2010

arizona buycottMarcy Winograd: One Week Left. Harman, and countless others, have sold their souls to the corporations for reelection. I refuse to accept a single penny from any of them. Let’s show the rest of the country how a progressive grassroots campaign can triumph over one of the richest politicians to end corruption. --Marcy Winograd

Goodbye Redneck Riviera. But confusion over who’s in charge – BP or the White House – continues to reign. Questioned about whether BP can successfully shear off the well pipe in order to fit a cap over it, Allen answered “I don’t think the issue is whether or not we can make the second cut. It’s about how fine we can make it, how smooth we can make it.” Robert Reich

Imagine. 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

Israeli Attack’s Silver Lining? The one silver lining to Israel’s unconscionable attack on a humanitarian flotilla is that its reprehensible collective punishment of Gazans through blockade likely will be made politically “unsustainable.” Ivan Eland

bill cosby malcolm-jamal warnerIt Ain’t Gonna Work! Here is the question of the day: Will Democrats have the guts to call out the Republicants and tell America it is time to say yes? Yes to education, yes to job creation, yes to bringing our troops home, yes to cutting military spending, yes to new energy policy, yes to ending hatred. Steve Ybarra

California African American Museum Benefit This FridayFriends of the California African American Museum Present Duets & Dialogues, with Bill Cosby and Malcolm-Jamal Wanrer. Friday, June 11, 5:30 p.m. for Dinner, 7 p.m. for Program

A Double-Dip Recession Coming? The only reason the economy isn’t in a double-dip recession already is because of three temporary boosts: the federal stimulus (of which 75 percent has been spent), near-zero interest rates (which can’t continue much longer without igniting speculative bubbles), and replacements (consumers have had to replace worn-out cars and appliances, and businesses had to replace worn-down inventories). Oh, and, yes, all those Census workers (who will be out on their ears in a month or so). Robert Reich

Adlai Stevenson

Is America’s Second “Redemption Period” Coming To Fruition? With a conservative court, you never know…we just may be witnessing something we never expected to see. Neither did those living during Reconstruction. Somebody is waiting to “redeem” America a second time. It may be the national debate of the 2012 or 2016 Presidential elections. We just need to know what that really means, in terms of the return to yesterday in America. It’s not impossible… -Anthony Samad

Bald Pols: To Pay or Not Toupee. It’s tough to be a politician and a member of what Larry David calls “the bald community” in America, particularly when your shoulders also carry the burden of taking our country back. On last week’s Real Time with Bill Maher, one of the host’s New Rules was, “If Rand Paul is a true libertarian, he has to free his toupee.” -Michael Sigman

Israel’s Calculated Brutality. Israel’s perpetual claims to victimhood, and a supposedly resulting right to brutalize the people of Gaza, Lebanon, and any other peoples it chooses, have worn through at last, at least in the finally opened eyes of a large and growing minority in this country. The claim is a tactic, not a truth. -Jim Fuller

The History of All Media in Less Than 400 Words. Here is really what’s germane to the plot. I blundered, realized it, and told you about it as soon as possible, fully realizing that such a bizarre course of action goes against everything we’re accustomed to getting from Haliburton, Haliburton subsidiaries, BP executives, right-wingydings, politicians, radio blabbers, media whores, talk-show “experts,” broadcast prognosticators, blondish corporate spokesmodels, and the entire Fox News menagerie of well-coiffed ignorami. -Mike Price

Marcy's yongest phonebanker

Arizona BUYcott Supporter Says ‘Illegal Criminals’ Will ‘Disappear’ Like ‘Cockroaches.’ Tuesday, the Arizona Republic reported that “the exodus of illegal and legal immigrants predicted by some as a result of Arizona’s tough new immigration law is expected to hurt a variety of businesses that directly and indirectly cater to immigrant populations.” If all of Arizona’s undocumented immigrants “disappeared,” the state could lose $26.4 billion in economic activity, $11.7 billion in gross state product, and approximately 140,324 jobs. -Andrea Nill

Friday’s Job Numbers: What They Won’t Tell Us About America’s Growing Anxious Class. New businesses are vital to job growth, and entrepreneurship does fuel the economy. And surely some of America’s new independent workers will build their own companies. But when the economy is still so hard on so many, it’s important to distinguish between entrepreneurial zeal and self-employed desperation. -Robert Reich

Elizabeth Warren, You Rock. I don’t know if the world would improve if women ran it. Our decision-making and problem-solving brain centers are proportionally larger than men’s. Same with emotions, perhaps a mixed blessing. And anxiety tends to lead women to reach out to others, often at their own expense, whereas men generally get all “fight or flight.” –Wendy Block

Skewed Wealth Distribution and the Roots of the Economic Crisis. hat I do know is that while “social psychology” may have had some small role as a causal factor in the Crash of ’08, it was the actual structure of the American and world economies which brought on the crisis. And if in fact we enter a second round of this Crash, it will not stem from what Dr. Shiller calls a “weakness and vulnerability of confidence,” but will result from the same structural elements of our economy as those that brought on the “first dip.” –David Barber

Lt. Dan Choi and Capt. James Pietrangelo

Is Obama Avoiding Responsibly for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”? The posturing last week from Congress was great theater. All the thespians performed their parts well, especially Obama. Why? If DADT is not repealed it gives the President an easy out. It allows the President to distance himself politically by shifting the responsibility and blame for DADT’s outcome from himself to someone else. –Rev. Irene Monroe

Tens of Thousands March in Protest of Arizona’s SB 1070. Tens of thousands of protesters from across the country gathered in Phoenix over the weekend to protest Arizona’s SB 1070. According to some reports, as many as 20,000 protesters carried flags, banners and signs reading “Do I Look Illegal?” and “Where’s the change? Mr. President, how can we trust you for re-election?” –Seth Hoy

Glenn Beck Riffs on My Recent Article. For example, contrary to the mythology that sometimes fogs President Ronald Reagan’s overall fiscal record, the tax burden of working Americans increased during the 1980s, as did the national debt, and the overall size of the government. By 1986, the cumulative federal debt had reached $2 trillion, which was more than the United States had accumulated in its entire previous history. –Joseph Palermo

Winograd Questions Harman’s Silence on Israeli Assault. Congressional Candidate Marcy Winograd (CA-36) questions why her opponent Jane Harman chooses to remain silent in the aftermath of an Israeli assault on the Free Gaza flotilla carrying 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid to over a million Palestinians imprisoned in Gaza.

arizona immigrant rights rallyThe Awkward Confluence of Capitalism and Democracy. If PG&E believes so strongly in democracy, shouldn’t it let its shareholders vote on whether to support a campaign like this? Don’t hold your breath. If capitalism thrives because it promotes market efficiency, what’s wrong with letting governments operate utilities if they can do it better than private enterprise? –Ron Wolff

Israel and Harman in Tandem: From High Seas to Airwaves. When Israel attacked the Gaza aid flotilla, Congresswoman Jane Harman was engaged in a parallel assault. Israel’s government relied on the efficacy of violence; Harman’s campaign was counting on the power of paid media. In both cases, the targets were advocates of human rights for Palestinian people. –Norman Solomon

Plight of Black Poor Continues to Worsen. Slumlords charge exorbitant rents. “Convenience” stores charge higher prices. Military recruiters have their pick of jobless youth desperate for work. And the for-profit, private prisons increase their head count (and income) as the judicial system hands off the young drug peddlers caught in the legal web. As the Kaiser Family Foundation reported, African-Americans fill 40 percent of the nation’s prison cells. Yet they make up just 13 percent of the nation’s population. –Sherwood Ross

Flashback: A Classy Guy. Rock Hudson was, literally, too big for the boat. The sumptuous main cabin had standing-room of 6 feet 2 inches, but it wasn’t enough airspace for him, and he must have cracked his skull against the overhead a thousand times during those first few days. He never got upset about it, though. About anything, as a matter of fact. –Michaelangelo Price

While the Oil Gushes. The BP spill exposed that we’re still commuting in eight-cylinder singly occupied vehicles, hopped up on plastic goods and scoffing at high-speed rail projects. Our government is representative – we haven’t clamored to get off oil. If anything we’ve threatened to riot for having to pay too much at the pump. –Tina Dupuy

Are the People Really Seizing Power? Everyone who calls themselves liberal, progressive, socialist or populist should pitch in and get the corporate lackeys out of Washington and give the government back to the people who really own it. This is just a beginning. We can’t sit on our laurels and let others keep the momentum going. –Tim Gatto

“Stop Feeding on Haiti’s Suffering”. Haiti is not waving at America. Haiti has the professional expertise to help itself, if only given the opportunity and monetary support to do so. Yes, accountability is needed, but for USAID to suggest that “aid professionals” are the only entities that can accomplish this is not true. Haiti is not an abandoned infant, needing a savior. Abandoned by the international banking community, yes, but fully capable of taking care of her people if given the resources to do so. –Georgianne Nienaber

Linda Jones Carries Democratic Party Endorsement into California AD36 Primary. In 2008, Jones overwhelmingly won the Democratic Primary with 79.5% against current opponent Maggie Campbell, before coming within 3.2% of upsetting Republican Steve Knight, despite being heavily outspent and in spite of Knight’s deep family ties to the Republican political establishment.

The Oil Next Time. So in the spirit of not letting any national calamity go to waste, the Republicans and their media mouthpieces have doggedly tried to hang the spill baby spill around the current President’s neck: Obama’s Katrina? read the graphics beneath the Fox “news” propagandists. –Robert Illes

poverty in americaRand Paul Could Use a Lesson from My Father on Discrimination. See that, in one way, Rand Paul is quite right. Anti-discrimination laws do turn the tables on businessmen, who find that they can no longer mistreat employees and customers on the basis of race, religion, national origins, or gender. And isn’t that ban on discriminatory behavior a good idea? –Lawrence Wittner

Do We Really Have to Explore Dora’s Immigration Status? Absurdity takes many forms in the immigration debate. For example, restrictionists have blamed immigrants for everything from global warming and our mortgage crisis to the swine flu epidemic and leprosy. (Where did my other sock go? Immigrants!) But this week, we reach a new level of absurdity—the exploitation of a bi-lingual cartoon character. In a news article published last week, America tackles the age old question, “Is Dora the Explorer an Illegal Immigrant?” Insert. Eye roll. Here. –Seth Hoy

Intelligence Reform Fails. The sacking of Dennis Blair, the third director of national intelligence in the position’s short five-year history, is one important indicator that the Intelligence Reform and Terrorist Prevention Act of 2004 has failed. That act was effective neither in achieving real reform of the sprawling intelligence bureaucracies nor in preventing terrorist attacks. –Ivan Eland

The International Attack on Public Workers. The budget crisis phenomenon is international, and the international corporate elite are sharing ideas on how best to come out of the crisis unscathed. They’re blaming the recession itself on public employees, on “greedy” workers who earn the tiniest fraction of what rich shareholders make by doing nothing. –Shamus Cooke

Linda Jones and Eric Bauman

Why Obama Should Put BP Under Temporary Receivership. It’s time for the federal government to put BP under temporary receivership, which gives the government authority to take over BP’s operations in the Gulf of Mexico until the gusher is stopped. This is the only way the public know what’s going on, be confident enough resources are being put to stopping the gusher, ensure BP’s strategy is correct, know the government has enough clout to force BP to use a different one if necessary, and be sure the President is ultimately in charge. –Robert Reich

Harman Uses Fear Tactics on Voters and Winograd. Because of partisan politics and hawks like California Congresswoman Harman, America lacks the resources to confront immediate dangers that have nothing to do with bin Laden: hurricanes, oil spills, floods, tornadoes, unfunded education, decaying infrastructure, exorbitant health costs, and corporate greed. –Linda Milazzo

Rand Paul’s Retro America. Coming out as he did against the one of the main purposes of the Civil Rights Act was not a stupid gaffe on the part of Rand Paul – it was a decided political calculation. He wants and needs the racist vote, and he has every intention of getting it. Are there enough bigots in that state to put him over the top? Being an ancestor of Kentucky, I sure as hell hope not. –Tom Degan

tina fey

Defending Everything is Defending Nothing. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright recently led a panel of experts in coming up with a report, “NATO 2020,” which will be used to draft a replacement for NATO’s current strategic concept, adopted in 1999. The report essentially advocates a continuation and expansion of NATO’s quest to be all things to all people. Unfortunately, this effort resembles the “expand or die” mantra that was applied to NATO as its primary mission—countering the Soviet Union—was tossed into the dustbin of history. Instead of expanding in territory and mission after the Cold War ended, NATO probably should have died back then and may die—or be severely crippled—by its likely loss in Afghanistan. –Ivan Eland

Obama’s Policy Toward Yemen is Failing on Food. President Obama and Secretary Clinton have both stated how a strong, stable Yemen is a vital national security priority. The Senate, citing Al Qaida’s presence, has emphasized the same through a resolution. But where is the food? –William Lambers

Fey’s Fantastic, But Never The Twain She’ll Meet. Given the commodification of dissent in corporate America, it’s doubtful Fey or anyone else will achieve Twain’s trifecta of talent, courage and mass popularity. But worrying about what we can’t control will only invite the kind of unhappiness that caused the great man himself to reflect that, “My life has been a series of disasters, most of which never happened.” -Michael Sigman

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