LA Progressive: October 4 to 10, 2009

Iran

Obama Trapped Behind Wall of Mideast Containment: It’s the Iranians, Stupid. In reality, Obama’s troubles are not caused primarily by “the bad guys,” nor by Israel’s supposed power or that of the domestic “Israeli lobby,” nor even, as some critics charge, his own tendency to vacillate. Instead, he’s trapped in the conundrum that’s built into U.S. containment strategy in the Middle East. No matter what other nations do or don’t do, everything that looks like it might be a solution only turns out to create new problems. -Ira Chernus

When Blogs Become a Weapon to Shut Down Free Speech. My blog made media watch its central focus. Concerned friends warned me against criticizing the press. But surely blogs were the perfect vehicle for publicly looking at and critiquing the job that newspapers were doing. I pressed on. -Virginia Hoge

Surprise: The Left Is Not Going Away. The much touted decline of the European left turned out to be pretty much of a mirage. The continent’s politics are being realigned not in spite of but because of the economic crisis. And the much of the gain has gone to the left – taken as a whole. -Carl Bloice

Afghanistan: Will Obama Listen to the Women? With the eighth anniversary of our invasion of Afghanistan nearing and a leaked letter from our general in Afghanistan that he wants another 40,000 troops before the funding for the last request of 21,000 has really been fully voted on, we felt it was time to go to Afghanistan and speak to the women. What do they want to say to President Obama? -Jodie Evans

Obama’s Nobel Honors His Dignitarian Politics. Obama got the prize not for doing, but for being. Not for making peace, but for exemplifying something new on the world stage — the politics of dignity. -Robert Fuller

Why Obama Should Not Have Received the Peace Prize — Yet. The Prize is really more of Booby Prize for Obama’s predecessor. Had the world not suffered eight years of George W. Bush, Obama would not be receiving the Prize. He’s prizeworthy and praiseworthy only by comparison. -Robert Reich

A Fast for Human Rights in Gaza. As Jews and people of conscience,” the group declares, “we can no longer stand idly by Israel’s collective punishment of the Palestinian people in Gaza.” Their efforts have been endorsed by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI). -David A. Love

So Much Happening in Washington and So Little to Show for It, So Far. The public doesn’t know what’s going on because the national media would rather report on the sexual escapades of famous people or social trends or high finance (a recent Pew study of economic reporting shows the vast majority of stories about the Great Recession have focused on Wall Street rather than Main Street). -Robert Reich

To “Americans For Prosperity,” Capitalism Already Is a Love Story. It’s amazing that even after the entire Wall Street house of cards collapsed a year ago requiring the public sector to rescue the private sector these fierce advocates of free -market fundamentalism can still show their faces in public, let alone gather to rail against the evils of the government that saved their asses. -Joseph Palermo

Schwarzenegger Could Veto California Out-of-State Couples Bill Any Moment. Anti-LGBT organizations like Ron Prentice’s ProtectMarriage.com are trying to convince Schwarzenegger to veto SB 54, the Marriage Recognition and Family Protection Act (Leno, D-San Francisco). -George Simpson

PoliticsTop Things You Think You Know about Iran That Are Not True. Iran’s military budget is a little over $6 billion annually. Sweden, Singapore and Greece all have larger military budgets. Moreover, Iran is a country of 70 million, so that its per capita spending on defense is tiny compared to these others -Juan Cole

Contractors in Iraq Are Hidden Casualties of War. “These guys are like the Vietnam vets of this generation,” said Lee Frederiksen, a psychologist who worked for Mission Critical Psychological Services. “The normal support that you would get if you were injured in the line of duty as a police officer or if you were injured in the military . . . just doesn’t exist.” -T. Christian Miller

How Nobodies Can Be Somebodies: FAQs for the Dignity Movement against Rankism. When discrimination and injustice are race-based, we call it racism; when they’re gender-based, we call it sexism. By analogy, rank-based abuse and exploitation are rankism. We won’t be able to confront rankism until we overcome our fear of seeming uppity by using the word in public. -Robert Fuller

‘Hispanic-Hunting’ Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio Says He Will Deport Immigrants Himself If Feds Refuse. Arpaio seems to believe that the White House is going out of its way to single him out and curb his immigration-policing powers for “political reasons.” -Andrea Christina Nill

Out of My Black Church, Into the Streets. I have faith – and I have faith in America. That is why I am marching to support President Obama in his goals of creating a more perfect union for all of America – and to support our legislators in passing legislation that will save all of our children from religion-based bigotry. -Rev. Irene Monroe

ACORN’s Problems Create Void for Community Organizing. As ACORN cutbacks weaken one of the progressive movement’s leading organizer training vehicles, everyone from labor unions, to interfaith networks, to progressive foundations, to the Obama Administration better start thinking about how to fill this organizer gap. -Randy Shaw

Where Is SOS Clinton as Uncertainty Looms for Refugees and Displaced Populations in Central Africa? Something is afoot in central Africa and we are dropping the ball. On a visit to the region in 2007, a deep source at the UN told me that his/her expectation was that violence and genocide could erupt again and that the epicenter would be Burundi. -Georgianne Nienaber

Specifically, What Should Be Done for Jobs? It would be hard to get a new stimulus package through Congress, but no member who’s up for reelection next year when unemployment is likely to be in double digits wants to be accused by rivals of voting against steps to help small businesses, public schools, childrens’ health, and average working people who need a tax cut. -Robert Reich

Was Jesus a Socialist? What didn’t register at the first screening was the profound theological message Michael Moore, a devout Catholic, wires into his new film. -Charley James

Fuzzy Thinking: Obama, Capitalism, and Socialism. And honest criticism of corporate and government abuses, inefficiencies, and undemocratic ways should always be welcome, but not fuzzy thinking and scare tactics. -Walter G. Moss

Obama’s Afghanistan Dilemma. We will not hear much dissent among the political elite from McChrystal’s recommendations, aside from the usual array of war critics. But what is at work here is that vague, almost incalculable force: public opinion. -Stanley I. Kutler

Not the Belly of the Beast. Thanks Max Baucus and the ObstructaDems and the GOP and Fox and the medico-insurance complex. You’ve really done a number on America. The question for the rest of us is: Why are we sitting at home reading this instead of storming Washington demanding the change we voted for? -Charley James

Published by the LA Progressive on October 11, 2009
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