LA Progressive: January 24 to 30, 2010

Obama Needs To Teach The Public How to Get Out Of The Mess We’re In, But He’s Not. he economic lesson President Obama ought to be teaching is that targeted tax cuts, mostly for small business, are good to the extent they give businesses a nudge toward creating more jobs. But businesses won’t begin to create lots of jobs until they have lots of customers. And that won’t happen until lots more Americans have work. The only way to get them work when businesses aren’t hiring is for government to prime the pump. -Robert Reich

What Obama Must Do, and Cannot. Obama may succeed in withdrawing 100,000 American troops from Iraq this year, and the rest by 2012. But even this goal faces opposition from the Green Zone to the Beltway, and any peace dividend will be swallowed by Afghanistan and the Long War. -Tom Hayden

2009 Progie Nominations for Best Progressive Films & Artists. The James Agee Cinema Circle is announcing the third annual “Progie” nominations for Best Progressive Films and Filmmakers in 2009. -Ed Rampell

Why Freeze Spending on Only Part of the Budget? President Obama’s rationale for not including these security expenditures in his discretionary spending freeze is that he is prosecuting two wars. Aside from the obvious solution of ending the two conflicts—which are part of the “war on terror” but have had the counterproductive effect of increasing retaliatory terrorism—and cutting back the defense budget, defense spending could be reduced even if the two war efforts are sustained. -Ivan Eland

Will Faith-Based Agencies Help Haiti’s Gay Community? It is my hope that the many conservative faith-based groups and organizations that are now part of Haiti’s earthquake relief effort will not discriminate against Haiti’s LGBTQ community as many of them did toward New Orleans’s queer communities during Katrina. -Rev. Irene Monroe

The Power to Change the Debate. With the recent Supreme Court 5-4 radical decision treating corporations the same as individuals and asserting that federal laws cannot limit corporate speech, legislation requiring public disclosure of lobbyist driven “grassroots” advertising campaigns is needed more than ever. Individuals have constitutional rights. Corporations are legally recognized business entities. -Tracy Emblem

Americans and the European Way. As someone who thinks Hill’s work could convince the uncommitted and deserves the widest possible audience, I wish he had directly confronted — through interviews, for example — those who oppose the policies that work in Europe but are still not in place in the United States. For example, it would have been helpful for Republican and Democratic Party political leaders to explain why our nation follows the lead of Papua New Guinea in still not offering paid maternity leave. -Randy Shaw

An Antidote to the Deification: Joyce Maynard’s Account of Her Life with J. D. Salinger Showed a Sad, Angry, Predatory Man. Coming across as pompous, astoundingly unfeeling, deceptive and defiantly hypocritical, Salinger indoctrinates her with his homeopathically inspired theories about food, teaches her how to induce vomiting in order to avoid absorbing “toxins,” has her share a diet so austere that she stops menstruating, and generally makes himself the absolute center of not only her personal world but also life as we know it. In one scene, commenting scornfully on the Beatles and their Maharishi, he takes rueful credit for having created the Oriental philosophy fad, conveniently ignoring the Transcendentalists, Herman Hesse and Alan Watts, among others. -Jules Siegel

Replacing International Oppression with International Aid. So why should humanitarian aid be extraordinary? Why not make it routine? Long before the earthquake, Haitians were the poorest people in the hemisphere, suffering from widespread hunger, disease, and illiteracy. Could not the United States — the richest nation in the world with a public whose major anxieties (to judge from the vast attention given to weight loss) seem to result from over-eating — manage to share a bit of its affluence by regularly providing food aid to starving Haitians? -Lawrence Wittner

Howard Zinn. I saw Howard speak in Ithaca and in Santa Cruz and his talks were always so emotionally powerful and sensitive to human suffering and injustice. But he could also be hilariously funny, with a comedian’s sense of timing. And he had the most developed sense of irony — and the ability to convey irony — of anyone I’ve ever seen or read. -Joseph Palerrmo

Supremes Murder the First Amendment: Whaddaya Gonna Do? I hacked the computer of Barack Obama. “Mr. President,” I wrote, “this can’t be happening. This can’t be right. Didn’t you say something about ‘hope’ and ‘change’; no more politics as usual? Wasn’t that you?” He wrote back that he was always glad to hear from “the People.” And that the FBI would soon be knocking on my door. Which is what happened. And it was true: They wear bad shoes! - Gary Coseri

Blue Dog Democrats Exposed as Frauds. Many Blue Dogs are in trouble because of health care, and ironically what could save their hide is a public option. Instead, they are left selling a corporate-friendly bill hashed behind closed doors that forces Americans to buy private insurance – which will only make their constituents vote Republican. That’s why so many Blue Dogs are retiring – so they can bail and become lobbyists for the insurance industry. -Paul Hogarth

Erzulie Dantor

McClintock Press Secretary Slams Eran, Eran Talks Back. Bill George, the press secretary for Congressman Tom McClintock protests that in some previous editorials, I’ve maligned his boss with “utterly preposterous charges.” Unfortunately, I’ve done my homework, and Mr. George’s specific answers are either wrong, or misleading. -Adam Eran

2010 Media Summit: Call for Participation. If you are as concerned that our democracy is being usurped by today’s media, that communities are being harmed by the absence of local issues covered by mainstream media, and that diverse groups lack access to the media, now is the time to act!

Obama’s Tiny Jobs Ideas for Main Street, A Big Spending Freeze for Wall Street. President Obama today offered a set of proposals for helping America’s troubled middle class. All are sensible and worthwhile. But none will bring jobs back. And Americans could be forgiven for wondering how the President plans to enact any of these ideas anyway, when he can no longer muster 60 votes in the Senate. -Robert Reich

Blue Shield Cares — About What? My criticism of Blue Shield (substitute Blue Cross or Aetna or…) is that the medical experts who know and have treated me for many years, got disgusted and finally left. My HMO doc gives me normal prescriptions and orders routine lab tests. But often, normal isn’t enough. -Wendy Block

A Conversation Between We The People and a Corporation. Okay Corporation. This time you’ve gone too far! We the People will take on you huge Corporations and the Republican Party, as well as the Blue Dog Dems and finally fight back. That’s what real democracies do. Damn your torturous nation changing lies and full steam ahead. We’ll fight you in the Congress until we see the waves of their AYES! -Jerry Drucker

Glenn Beck on Woolsey, Harman and Winograd. Glenn Beck weighs in on the congressional race in California against Marcy Winograd and Jane Harman

Outing King: The Hijacking of the Dream (and the Civil Rights Conversation). Gay rights actvists have this pressing need to tie King to their cause, to legitimize their movement. They can’t find adequate venues to engage the black community on the issue of gay marriage, so they hijack King Day programs where they can dominate question and answer periods by interjecting questions around gay marriage. And they never want to have a morality conversation, as critical as that conversation is to a conversion (and shift) of America’s cultural mindset. -Anthony Samad

Why I’m Skipping Obama’s State of the Union. Speechmaker Obama’s efforts to sell that economic plan to a Democratic base reeling from rising unemployment and stretched pocketbooks may even exceed his mighty oratory skills, and could leave President Obama’s base wondering what happened to the candidate they elected. -Randy Shaw

OFA Should Reassess Organizing Strategy. An old Teamster organizer once told me “you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.” It’s also an insult to working people and the tradition of organizing. -Craig Williams

Mister Obama, Do You Believe Us Now? There’s one way to stop this coup on democracy, and that is for Congress to introduce a law specifying campaign limits and while they are at it, take corporate “personhood” and throw it in the trash bin where it belongs. -Tim Gatto

Concert For Haiti: Sunday, January 31. An Extraordinary Gathering of 24 Top Acoustic Recording Artists!

Massachusetts Calling: Harnessing Independents’ Anger and Disillusionment to Form a Second (i.e. Non-Corporate) Party. Can these radio jockeys really believe half of what they say? They serve the system that butters their croissants. They are the corporate media, they are the Republicratic party—two sides of the same coin—the tarnished coin, the cheapened, sinking coin of this realm. -Gary Corseri

The End of Freedom and Liberty. OK, it’s a fund-raising letter. I didn’t expect it to be scholarly. But neither did I expect an organization that claims to be a “think tank” to utilize the linguistic legerdemain (yes, I made that phrase up, and I’m mighty proud of it) that is the quintessential opposite of critical thinking. -Ron Wolff

Santa Clarita Councilman Tells Anti-Immigrant Protesters He’s a Proud Racist. Though Kellar insists his remarks weren’t intended to “express animosity towards non-whites,” local Democrats describe Kellar’s comments as “symbolic of the Republican Party’s attitudes toward immigration in general.” The rally was organized by several California anti-immigrant groups including the Santa Clarita Valley Independent Minutemen, the Santa Clarita Tea Party, and designated hate group Save Our State. -Andrea Christina Nill

What the “I’m Mad-As-Hell” Party Could Do. Mad-as-hellers don’t trust big government. But they don’t trust big business and Wall Street, either. They especially hate it when big government gets together with big business and Wall Street – while at the same time Main Street is in shambles and millions of people are losing their jobs and homes. -Robert Reich

Winograd Challenges Harman to Return Corporate PAC Money. Winograd endorses the federal Fair Elections Now Act, as well as the California Fair Elections Act. Both efforts would enable candidates to run for office without relying on large contributions from corporations and big money bundlers.

“Citizens United” for More Corporate Power. The next ten to twelve years promise to be a turning point in American democracy unless some drastic civic action is taken to blunt the effects of this egregious example of Far Right judicial activism. -Joseph Palermo

Mark Krikorian: Haiti’s So Screwed Up Because It Wasn’t Colonized Long Enough. Krikorian hit a new intellectual low yesterday when he suggested that the reason Haiti is “so screwed up” (though apparently not screwed up enough), is because it’s home to a “progress-resistant culture” that simply “wasn’t colonized long enough.” -Andrea Nill

We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us. Berry Craig: I’m a union-card carrying Hubert Humphrey Democrat. I support a public option. But you can bet your snow boots if I were a Bay State voter, I’d have trudged through a blizzard to cast my ballot for Martha Coakley, Brown’s Democratic opponent. -Berry Craig

Perseverance. The pharmaceutical industry and the health insurance companies along with their Congressional minions stopped any real hope of true health reform. The current package is a windfall for health insurers, giving the 50,000,000 new clients who must take health insurance or pay a fine. That doesn’t sound very progressive to me. -Timothy V. Gatto

No Schlock, Sherlock: A Scandal in Tinseltown. Ritchie’s high-concept Holmes transforms the cerebral scrutinizer into an action hero – long on mindless violence, stunts, special effects and CGI gimmickry, it’s short on atmospherics and imagination. Call it character assassination. -Ed Rampell

Data Bombshell Crushes Congolese Death Reports. A bunker-busting academic data bomb has just been dropped on the long-suffering Congolese people after the release of a report by the Human Security Report Project at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. The mainstream press fanned the resulting firestorm of academic debate on methodology by misquoting and misinterpreting death toll numbers in headlines that have now virally spread throughout cyberspace. The resulting confusion has dealt another body blow to humanitarian efforts in the Democratic Republic of Congo. -Georgianne Nienaber

A Little Perspective, Yes? To get elected, we understood that Obama had to take a pragmatic approach. But underneath the pragmatism, we were attracted to the compassionate world view, the deep ability to grasp complex issues, and the eloquence to voice our best hopes and dreams for the future that we saw, and see, in the man—traits that had been so woefully absent in George W. Bush fear-mongering, hate-mongering, war-mongering reign. -Dick Price

Paging Dr. Dean: Please Save the Democrats from Themselves. Now, the Democrats have managed to fumble Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat – losing to a right-wing Republican who once posed nude for Cosmopolitan. Evidence shows that Martha Coakley’s numbers went down after the Senate passed the health care bill. Shouldn’t the Party leaders listen to Howard Dean? At least, they owe him an apology. -Paul Hogarth

After Massachusetts: What Is to Be Done? Rahm Emanuel must make an accommodation with Dean. Otherwise, 2010 is going to be a repeat of Massachusetts, and Barack Hussein Obama will probably be a one-term president. The most troubling aspect of Massachusetts is that the GOP now has a viable presidential candidate and his name is Scott Brown. This is not Sarah Palin. This is a very astute politician who looks like a Ken Doll and can talk like a sane person when he wants to. -Jules Siegel

Published by the LA Progressive on January 31, 2010
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