LA Progressive: December 13 to 19, 2009

yes-we-canObama’s Nobel Speech Comes Up Short. Pardon me if I can’t join in the fawning praise for President Obama’s Nobel address. “It was, as ever, a bravura performance,” one newspaper said editorially. That it was, but I can’t agree with those. -Carl Bloice

Labor Secretary Solis Slams Down Right-Wing Call for an Immigration Moratorium. Last week, the Politico featured a piece by right-wing pundit Pat Buchanan suggesting that rather than talking about a second stimulus package, tax credits, or public works projects, lawmakers should be seriously considering an immigration. . -Andrea Christina Nill

The Right’s Bogus War on Christmas. In the 1970s, evangelical Christians were so outraged by the secularization and commercialism of Christmas that they were protesting to “put Christ back into Christmas.” But now members of the Religious Right have flipped the script and want more commercialism for Christ, thus extolling materialism as piety. -Rev. Irene Monroe

Slouching Toward Health Care Reform. Real reform has moved from a Medicare-like public option open to all, to a public option open to 6 million without employer coverage (still in the House bill), to a public option open only to those same people in states that opt for it, or about 4 million (the original Harry Reid version of the Senate bill), to no public option but expanded Medicare (the Senate compromise) to no expanded Medicare at all (the deal with Joe “I love all the attention” Lieberman). -Robert Reich

Obama’s Peace Prize Continues Tradition of Dubious Choices. Only a few commentators, including the president, seemed to sheepishly realize the irony of his receiving the prize shortly after escalating one war and while continuing to fight another. You would have thought that the escalation alone would have been enough to satisfy all of the warheads at home; but to stanch the domestic fallout from being associated with too much peace, Obama, when accepting the peace award, gave a speech defending war. -Ivan Eland

New York’s Juvenile Prisons Are a Crime. If you can judge a society by the way it treats its children, then New York fails in a big way. In fact, the Empire State should be found guilty of child abuse and. – David A. Love

Joe Lieberman Is “Unbalanced”. At the same time, senior Senate aides from both sides of the aisle report that while Lieberman has always been unpredictable and difficult to work with, it’s a trait that became magnified after he lost his primary challenge to Ned Lamont in 2006. -Charley James

Senators, Thanks For Reminding Us Why We Don’t Like You. If Washington is the place where “good ideas go to die,” as candidate Obama liked to say, then the Senate is the slaughterhouse. This white millionaires’ club where the biggest egos on Earth tell us how goddamn important they are has just screwed the middle class in this country — a middle class that is reeling after years of being beaten down by these Senators’ masters in private industry. -Joseph Palermo

by Franco Folini

by Franco Folini

On Mission Street. Franco Folini moved to San Francisco from Italy in 2001. He has a degree in computer science, and in Italy, taught at the Mechanical Engineering Facility at the University of Parma. He says he sees homeless everyday going to work and coming home. He enjoys talking to them, learning their names and listening to their stories. -S. Blair Fox

LA Youth March for Respect — and Justice. How far would you go for respect? How about a 50-mile march starting Sunday morning, December 13, at Juvenile Hall in Sylmar and ending Wednesday night with a candlelight vigil outside the lockup in Norwalk? -Diane Lefer

The Day the Democrats Died. But with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel bullying the Senate to cut a deal – any deal – just to save face, the pressure proved too much. Those who hoped Obama would use Rahm to strong-arm a liberal agenda were wrong. If the President really cares about “change,” he wouldn’t have his henchman dampen progressive spirits. -Paul Hogarth

HRW Report on Congo: Fetuses Ripped From Wombs and Children Burned. “Continued killing and rape by all sides in eastern Congo shows that the UN Security Council needs a new approach to protect civilians,” said Anneke Van Woudenberg, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Security Council should send a group of experts to Congo to kick-start a serious civilian protection plan.” -Georgianne Nienaber

Khamenei and Ahmadinejad

Khamenei and Ahmadinejad

Forty More Days. As long as the Democratic leadership insists on being directed by the supposed wisdom of this advice, they will continue down their present path to an electoral train wreck next November as bad or worse than the one they suffered in 1994, when they played their cards the same way. -Mark Bowen

Obama Speaks (Some) Truth From Power. President Obama’s Nobel lecture might have showed us that the United States has reached a turning point: either the national security monster we’ve created is going to eat us alive by bankrupting the country or we’re going to have to shift course. We must begin to spin off the 700 or so military bases and installations around the world and focus on building a better life for our own people here at home. -Joseph Palermo

2009: Labor’s Missed Opportunity. With the Democratic Party needing union money and volunteers for the November 2010 elections, it will have to start delivering for labor soon. This means that Congress will enact some changes in union election rules, though expedited elections rather than card check appears to be where the debate is headed. -Randy Shaw

Winograd to Harman: Why Did You Vote NO on Mortgage Relief? -It behooves everyone in Congress to demand that big banks, the overnight recipients of billion-dollar bail-outs, renegotiate loans in bankruptcy court. After all, we must remember these banks, the ones we bailed out, caused the financial meltdown with predatory sub-prime lending. -Marcy Winograd

Obama Ignores Community Organizing Lessons. When Barack Obama backed a Senate health reform plan that differed radically from prior proposals, he ignored the lessons he learned as a young organizer on Chicago’s South Side. Obama once knew that it’s wrong to bypass the community’s agenda to strike a backroom deal, regardless of its superior terms. Obama also understood that failing to consult with the community disempowers the base, and discourages people from participating in future organizing campaigns. -Randy Shaw

March_1Rethink Reform. So, I ask you: who really paid for this “Rethink Reform” ad? If we’re going to exercise our right to free speech (yes, we all believe in it), is there at least an ethical responsibility to stand up and say it publicly, without hiding your identity? -Ron Wolff

It’s Morning in Reagan Studies. The argument of The Reagan Revolution belies its title: according to Troy, there was no Reagan revolution. This is not to say Reagan was an inconsequential president: Troy portrays him as a man who changed the nation’s political climate even if he never changed its topography. -Jim Cullen

Countdown to Genocide in Iran. Ten days before Christmas more than 3,000 people face eviction from their home of 20 years in what Labour peer and British civil liberties champion Lord Robin Corbett has described as ‘a pact with the devil’. -Glyn Strong

Memo to Washington: We Are Not a Conservative Country. “Can we have a new Senate for Christmas,” asked blogger Joan McCarter yesterday at Daily Kos. “This one is broken.” It’s time for politicians to stop hiding behind an inaccurate, outdated and dishonest view of America. We are not conservative! -Paul Hogarth

How Angels Came to Congo This Christmas. And so it came to pass during Christmas 2009 that the music of Congo’s Angels filled the heavens above eastern Congo. And there were midwives living out in the fields and refugee camps nearby, keeping watch over the babies at night. And Congo’s Angels sang to them, and the glory of Hope sounded around them. And the angels sang to them, “Do not be afraid. We are with you and we love you.” -Georgianne Nienaber

Obama, Democrats Must Confront Deficit Monster. In remarks to a health reform forum in March, Barack Obama acknowledged, ‘The greatest threat to America’s fiscal health … is the skyrocketing cost of health care.’ How he deals with this danger will arguably be as important for the historical reputation of his presidency as his foreign policy initiatives to safeguard national security. -Iwan Morgan

rahmBorder Patrol Drones Would Create Jobs For Video-Game Age Students. “Immigration doesn’t need high technology or military enforcement,” says Tourse. “What is really needed is immigration reform that will work toward keeping families safe and together.” According to Tourse, enforcement without reform hasn’t worked in the past. -Andrea Christina Nill

Invictus Kicks Off New Campaign For Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Just name any of the 30 human rights designated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and I guarantee you there are groups and individuals in Los Angeles who are working to enforce them – locally, nationally, and globally. -Linda Milazzo

Published by the LA Progressive on December 20, 2009
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