LA Progressive: November 30 to December 5, 2009

Weekend Mysteries, Scandals, and Speculations.The nation’s unemployment rate is at 10.2 percent, a 26-year high. These people will be waiting to hear Obama explain how adding to the $10 billion monthly price tag for Iraq and Afghanistan will help them find work. African American men, 17.1 percent of whom are unemployed, want a word from Obama on this,” wrote Columnist Colbert King in the Washington Post last week. -Carl Bloice

Please Remember My Sisters This Month. The Washington data is really a microcosm of what we already know: that AIDS in America today is a black disease,” said Phil Wilson, founder of the Black AIDS Institute, an HIV/AIDS think tank that focuses exclusively on AIDS among black Americans. -Rev. Irene Monroe

Obama’s Contributions to a Dying Empire. Old habits die hard, especially imperialist ones. Imperial imperatives, whether economic, geopolitical, or ideological, persist because the ruling elites are dependent on them. -Francis Shor

Canadian PM Harper Carries on as Bush Lite. Harper is such a reactionary, so Neanderthal in his outlook, beliefs and world view that he makes Mike Huckabee seem qualified to lead MoveOn.org by comparison. -Charley James

Black Woman with Eyes Closed
Black Woman with Eyes Closed

New Report Shines Light on the Economics of Illegal Immigration. There are additional hidden costs of the status quo—a broken immigration system. Employers pay for complying with harsh enforcement strategies, illegal immigrants endure exploitation because of their lack of legal status, and state and local governments disproportionately bear the burden of any related fiscal costs. -Michele Waslin

How Music Is Saving Lives in LA. Right now, the Harmony Project is fundraising together with the Mayor’s Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development. They have highlighted 12 gang reduction zones (areas with a high documented rate of violent gang crime) in which Harmony Project serves as an official part of the city’s strategy to reduce gangs by keeping kids away from predators, and helping them develop discipline, persistence, self-esteem and accountability which will lead them to success in school and in life. Lucia Brawley

The Surge We Need At Home. America is a mess. Unemployment is over 10 percent, while the effective unemployment rate—which also includes the underemployed—is more like 19.2 percent. David A. Love

Out-of-Control Security Guards Hamper Afghanistan Efforts. “Trigger-happy” private security guards in Afghanistan are killing civilians and undercutting counterinsurgency efforts, reports today’s Army Times. Alexandra Andrews

Darfur: Time to Let the People Speak. Although Darfur has been a priority issue for both the Bush and Obama administrations and their European counterparts, Western efforts have not yielded a payoff in peace and well-being for the people of Darfur. Linda Bishai

Jobs-Flight-1aRestructuring the CSU or Wrecking It? What Proposed Changes Mean and What We Can Do About Them. Throughout this period of unprecedented cuts to the CSU budget, the Chancellor and his administration have failed to confront elected leaders or even to educate the people of California about the costs of political choices made around the California budget. Lillian Taiz

Lobbying (Not Again!). I have a suggestion for members of Congress: if you don’t know what you’re talking about, keep silent until you’ve done some real homework. And don’t expect the self-serving statements of hired guns to always represent the truth. Ron Wolff

Anti-Immigrant Group Attacks Dobbs’ New Immigration Stance, Mourns Loss Of Its ‘Champion’. The anti-immigrant group American for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC) was crushed to hear Dobbs say that he supports a path to legalization for undocumented workers in an interview on Telemundo late last month after all … -Andres Nill

Afghanistan, “So It Goes”. History has shown that when foreign soldiers try to police their territory Afghanistan’s tribal, religious, and ethnic identities solidify in resistance. The American troop presence is an irritant that fuels nationalism, tribalism and insurgency. Joseph Palermo

Worrisome Thoughts on the Way to the Jobs Summit. But the reality that no one wants to talk about is a structural change in the economy that’s been going on for years but which the Great Recession has dramatically accelerated. Robert Reich

Top Ten Things That Could Derail Obama’s Afghanistan Plan. The biggest threat of derailment comes from an American public facing 17 percent true unemployment and a collapsing economy who are being told we need to spend an extra $30 billion to fight less than 100 al-Qaeda guys in the mountains of Afghanistan, even after the National Security Adviser admitted that they are not a security threat to the US. Juan Cole

The Politics of Science. Conservatives have repeatedly refused to accept the best science about threats to our public health, because only government could then offer remedies. They have fought significant efforts to improve public health, from Medicare to our current health reform debate, in order to prevent the growth of government. And every time their “science” was wrong. Steve Hochstadt

Minuteman Leader Slams ‘Ron Paul Fanatics,’ Calls Anti-Immigration Tea Bagger ‘Outright Racist’. Gilchrist offers a more convincing explanation for the mutual contempt held amongst nativist groups: “personality disorders” or “just hate for the competition.” Andrea Christina Nill

Harmony Projects founder Margaret Martin and seventh-grader Kiana Coronado-Ziadie receive an award from First Lady Michelle Obama. (Photo Credit: White House)
Harmony Projects founder Margaret Martin and seventh-grader Kiana Coronado-Ziadie receive an award from First Lady Michelle Obama. (Photo Credit: White House)

California: Killing the Goose that Lays the Golden Eggs. Governor Arnold Scwharzenegger and the Republicans in the Legislature who control California’s finances have apparently concluded that it is not even worth trying to compete with India and China anymore. California’s “leaders,” by abandoning the CSU, are throwing in the towel. Joseph Palermo

The Speech Obama Should Give Tonight. If the health care outcome shows that the U.S. Senate will not allow progressive change even with a 60-vote Democratic caucus, then what argument can the Obama team make to infrequent voters in 2010? If electing Obama and strong Democratic congressional majorities in 2008 did not bring real Change, why even bother voting? -Randy Shaw

We Can’t “Train” Our Way Out of Afghanistan. It’s reported that, as part of Obama’s surge, one brigade of the 82nd Airborne will be deployed to serve as trainers.. But the 82nd Airborne is a regular Army brigade trained hard and tough to fight; unit members are not trained to train. What a farce. -Charley James

The Hollow Politics of Escalation. The next days and weeks will bring an avalanche of hype about insisting on measurable progress and shifting burdens onto the Afghan army — while the U.S. military expands the war. -Norman Solomon

Renewable Energy – A Conservative Approach. In the United States, we can rebuild our manufacturing base by investing in renewable energy sources while creating good paying jobs that provide clean energy production. While those in favor of building nuclear power plants claim nuclear energy is inexpensive and cost effective, they have not factored in the costs and risks associated with the building and maintenance of storage facilities for nuclear waste. -Tracy Emblem

Teflon Dick: How Cheney Uses Media for Protection. Last week, Cheney’s Machiavellian strategy reached a whole new level when his daughter Liz raised his status from political adversary to political opponent by floating the prospect of candidate Cheney in 2012. Brilliant! Behold Dick’s calculating progeny doing his bidding on Fox TV: -Linda Milazzo

Obama’s Afghan Box Canyon. Although Obama may enjoy a brief up-tick in poll numbers after his talk, as soon as larger numbers of American bodies come home in flag-draped coffins, and Walter Reed fills up again with the damaged bodies and minds of soldiers whose lives have been ruined, the country will turn against what it thought, in November, 2009, was a good idea. -Charley James

WarhorseWinograd Calls on President Obama to Fight the Real Enemy in Afghanistan. Though Winograd expresses disappointment in the President, she acknowledges Congress’s responsibility in the matter, pointing out that her opponent, Jane Harman, voted last spring to spend another 100-billion dollars to escalate the war in Afghanistan. -Marcy Winograd

Love’s Lessons from Loss. My little boy has taught me a great deal about life, about love for my wife and my family, about empathy and caring for others. Never a religious person, I have become far more spiritual over these past months.
-David A. Love

Government Terrorism Lists Are a Holiday Turkey. The FBI’s terrorism watch list, from which the smaller no fly-list is derived, has 1,000,000 people listed, but according to officials, only a mere 400,000 of them are real people—the rest are aliases. Whew! I was getting worried there for an instant. -Ivan Eland

The Housing Crisis and Wall Street Shame. The $75 billion federal program designed to bribe banks to modify mortgages has been a bust. No one knows the exact number of mortgages that have been modified (that will be reported next month) but housing experts I’ve talked with say it’s a tiny fraction of the number of homeowners in trouble. Seems that the big banks can’t be bothered. -Robert Reich

Obama Administration Never Considered Diplomacy in Afghanistan. The military-industrial complex will support Obama’s escalation of these wars in order to cash in on those lucrative defense contracts valued at $700 billion a year while good jobs in other sectors of the U.S. economy, starved for investment capital, continue to shrink -Sherwood Ross

100 Reasons Progressives Give Thanks. So, as this Thanksgiving weekend comes to an end, we at the LA Progressive look back over the year and focus on the reasons we have to give thanks. There is quite a bit, especially compared to where we were last year. -Dick and Sharon

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