LA Progressive: December 6 to December 12, 2009

Sally Mann's "Candy Cigaret"

Sally Mann's "Candy Cigaret"

Mr. President, War Is Not Peace. Lofty rationales easily tell us that warfare is striving for the noble goal of peace. But the rationales scarcely intersect with actual war. The oratory sugarcoats the poisons, helping to kill hope in the name of it. Norman Solomon

Not a Candy Cigarette. This amazing photo titled “Candy Cigarette” was taken by Sally Mann in 1989. When I first saw this photograph, a few months ago, I was moved by the pure emotion and intensity of the girl. S. Blair Fox

Has John Conyers Finally Conceded U.S. Reparations?. There seem to be some indications, however, that the sparse political will in Congress that has historically placed reparations on the legislative agenda may be waning. Michigan House member John Conyers may be giving up on his 20-year fight to legislate the case for slave reparations in America. Anthony Asadullah Samad

Election of Lesbian Priest Spurs Racial and Queer Divide in Episcopal Church. With the Episcopal Church’s urban landscape changing, the denomination has opted to pour its support, money, and energy not into these historic black churches but instead into developing urban Latino churches. Rev. Irene Monroe

More ‘Corruption’ Is Needed in Afghanistan. In the 20th century, the few successful counterinsurgency campaigns run by an outside power—the Americans in the Philippines after the Spanish-American War at the turn of the last century, the British in Malaya in the 1950s, and the Americans in Iraq—have one thing in common: the insurgency became divided. Ivan Eland

Overcrowded Prisons in California. Damaged for life and very hard pressed are the people who have paid their debt to society. They unfortunately get the verdict that keeps on punishing. They are also very unlikely to get married, often living alone in a life of quiet desperation. Craig Williams

Derrick Ashong

Derrick Ashong

How a Few Private Health Insurers Are on the Way to Controlling Health Care. Without some mechanism forcing private insurers to compete, we’re going to end up with a national health care system that’s controlled by a handful of very large corporations accountable neither to American voters nor to the market. Robert Reich

Jewish Voices of Color Must Be Heard. But like a faulty census that leaves out people and portrays an inaccurate picture of what is happening, the Jewish diaspora is not counting all of its members. Part of the reason is that Jews of color are often held in suspicion, not viewed as real or authentic. David A. Love

Chicago Hope: The Panther and the Politician. The murder of Fred Hampton and the eradication of the Panthers, thanks to COINTELPRO, have led directly to the current, pitiful state of African-American leadership. From Jesse Jackson and Harold Washington to Barack Obama, we see a steady decline in the willingness of black leaders to stand up to racism or police abuses, to the extent that a white cop can arrest a black Harvard professor simply because the latter is in his own home, and the black president of the United States all-but-apologizes — to the cop. Jonathan David Farley

Oprah and the Voice of a New Generation. Fortunately, Ashong has no dearth of faith, pluck, intelligence or drive. As an undergraduate, on the first professional audition of his life, he won a stand-out role in Steven Spielberg’s Amistad. Lucia Brawley

ACORN ‘Not Guilty’. The accusations put ACORN in a situation similar to a man who is asked, “when did you stop beating your wife?” Even though the accusations weren’t true, ACORN was put on the defensive, and lacked the resources to respond effectively to the onslaught of negative publicity. Peter Dreier

A Few Words about Philanthropy. In 2005, more than one in every four adults reported doing some volunteer work. I don’t know exactly what definition was used. Chances are that coaching your kid’s soccer team counted. Ron Wolff

Obama Becoming Clinton I Feared. The American people who voted for “change” did not merely seek a return to the Nineties – or else they would have nominated Hillary Clinton. Obama stood to become the most progressive President in over 40 years, and yet his Administration has little to show for it. Paul Hogarth

How to Visit Your Loved One for the Holidays. You know how much a visit means to someone who’s locked up. And you know that one of the major factors that prevents recidivism is for a prisoner to retain family and community ties. So you set the alarm and get up early and out of the house by 5:00 a.m. to drive the three hours up the Central Valley so you can be one of the first non-appointment visitors milling around waiting to be called. Diane Lefer

What Should Really Matter in the Maldonado Confirmation. Republican Senator Abel Maldonado is an Olympia Snowe character. He is a so-called “moderate” who is willing to cut a deal on the budget, while the rest of his party would rather see the state fall off a cliff than raise any taxes whatsoever. But the deals that Maldonado has extorted in past years for his one vote are enough to leave a sour taste in anyone’s mouth. Paul Hogarth

Fred Hampton

Fred Hampton

Dobbs Now Supports An Immigration Plan Similar To ‘Amnesty Bill’ He Opposed In 2007. Dobbs didn’t just employ a “pejorative term favored by Republicans who opposed” immigration reform, he also promoted false claims about the bill. Andrea Christina Nill

Paul Volcker Body Slams World Bankers. Why didn’t Obama deliver this speech when he spoke to bankers on Wall Street a few months ago? Better late than never, I suppose, and bankers are slightly more likely to pay attention to Volcker than to Obama as evidenced by the fact that several major US bank CEOs turned down the invitation to hear the president speak. Charley James

Lesbian Priest Re-ignites Church Storm. For me, however, the joy in this moment in the history of the Episcopal Church is that the Church continues to crawls toward inclusiveness, albeit haltingly and in spite of opposition. Rev. Irene Monroe

Obama’s Right Turn. When President Barack Obama took office, many activists and organizations saw their role as mobilizing the public support necessary to enable him to implement progressive change. After Obama’s September health care speech this strategy appeared to be working, but the President has since ignored the progressive base and taken a sharp turn to the right. Randy Shaw <

Government’s Dead; Now What? If all information is controlled by the corporations will they spew propaganda to distract and convince the masses how lucky they are and how they need to be good consumers? Will entertainment continue it’s decent to the lowest common denominator because it sells corporate products? Carole Lutness

Bogged Down in Wars. I don’t doubt Obama’s strategic intelligence, his seriousness of purpose, his American patriotism, or his decision-making process. But I think his decision is wrong. We can’t do anything there but continue to lose lives and money. Steve Hochstadt

Fred Hampton, Barack Obama, and the American Urban Poor. Hampton was fond of extending the traditional Panther slogan of “Power to the People” to an explicitly inclusive level: “All Power to all people. White Power to White people; Brown Power to Brown people; Yellow Power to Yellow people; Black Power to Black people.” Simon Balto

The President’s Job’s Initiative Doesn’t Measure Up. No president in modern times walks a tightrope as exquisitely as this one. His balance is a thing of beauty. But when it comes to this economy right now — an economy fundamentally out of balance — we need a federal government that moves boldly and swiftly to counter-balance the huge recessionary forces still at large Robert Reich

Economic Insecurity and Hunger: An Opportunity for Real Reform. Food stamp use is now at record highs and increasing every month. There is evidence that as need grows the stigma of such use decreases. Terming the aid “nutritional assistance” rather than welfare has further encouraged this de-stigmatization. Gene Rothman

Thinking Outside the Box: What Obama Could Have Said. Instead of resorting to outdated thinking, what if Obama had drawn upon modern instruments of international and interpersonal relations? What if he had adopted a program of change in the way the United States relates to the world? Lawrence S. Wittner

the_same_destiny_colActivists Giving Obama a Pass. Obama still has time to deliver for his base. But this will require activists and constituency groups to ramp up public demands for such a course, rather than thinking they are helping the progressive cause by making excuses for a president whose inspirational words about social transformation have not been matched by actions. Randy Shaw

Obama, Copenhagen, and the Global Warming Skeptics. Denying what most leading scientists think is nothing new in U.S. history. It was dramatically illustrated already in the famous Scopes “monkey trial” of 1925. Walter G. Moss

Thank the President for Waking the Sleeping Giant. There were more people protesting in the streets this week than we have seen in a long time: at least 80 communities rose up. I asked Jayne to thank the President for waking the sleeping giant and assured her that we will do all we can to make sure he does not get the money from Congress to escalate this senseless war. Jodie Evans

He Was Either Going to Carjack, Mug, Rape, or Kill Me — or All of the Above. When I realized that I was about the victim of some crime, I bolted. I wanted to alert my neighbors, but I couldn’t dial. I want to honk my horn, but I was afraid this guy had a gun. The only thing I could think to do was speed my ass down the driveway and away from him. Jasmyne Cannick

How the Vice President Can Serve as the President’s Most Unbiased Adviser. Biden’s questions may have reflected his misgivings about America’s effort in Afghanistan. But his prodding also demonstrated the unique ability of a vice president to help ensure that presidential decisions are based on a full consideration of competing perspectives. Joel K. Goldstein

Pay for the War, or Just Call It Off? Finally, the worst option is for the government to run the presses and print money. Wars tend to cause inflation, and printing money makes things worse. Ivan Eland

Falashas are Black Jews of Ethiopia who, when recognized as Jews by Isreal were all given Isreali citizenship.

Falashas are Black Jews of Ethiopia who, when recognized as Jews by Isreal were all given Isreali citizenship.

Dick Armey Opposes Republican Purity Test’s Immigration Language. Harsh immigration policies also aren’t good for Armey’s pocketbook or his right-wing movement. In 2006, Armey’s lobbying firm started getting paid by the Senado de Republica (Mexican Senate) to “enhance U.S.-Mexico relations,” specifically on immigration policy. Andrea Christina Nill

The White House Party Crashers: Now the Conspiracy Really Begins. I’m sure this is something President Obama will be mindful of from here on out. Was it truly a “mistake” or the beginning of another conspiracy? Anthony Asadullah Samad

Aeschylus to Afghanistan, When Will We Ever Learn? Now President Obama tells us that the oil wars have cost us $10 trillion. If we believe the most strident Republican critics, just $1 trillion would pay for a decade of real health reform and care for everyone. Tom Hall

Published by the LA Progressive on December 13, 2009
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