What Center?

obama eating crow

Joseph Palermo: The political “center” of American politics is a moving target. And for the last thirty years it has moved in only one direction: Rightward.

Party Like It’s 1994

barack obama bill clinton

The vast majority of Americans never supported a “privatize-and-pillage” attack on Social Security. Yet many of the Republican candidates in 2010 are on record supporting all manner of schemes to dismember Social Security.

Civic-Minded Plutocrats

joseph palermo

Joseph Palermo: Wouldn’t it be something if the Bin Ladens of the world funneled untraceable cash into Republican candidates’ coffers because they know they can count on the GOP to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, two of their greatest recruiting vehicles?

Citizens United — Game Changer

Joseph Palermo

Joseph Palermo: The 2010 midterm campaigns have shown us that Alito and his four fellow Justices were not only wrong about the potential effects of Citizens United they greased the wheels for a corporate takeover of the governing institutions of the country.

Why Liberals Don’t Stand a Chance in the Corporate Media

glenn beck blind

Joseph Palermo: Our political spectrum, as refracted through the lens of corporate media, runs from center-right to far-right. No wonder the conventional wisdom in Washington holds, without evidence, that the United States is a “center-right” country. Those making that argument might not be real, informed commentators — but they play them on TV.

Recession Is Over! (If You Want It)

combat

Joseph Palermo: The National Bureau of Economic Research tells us the Great Recession is “over.” The only thing this announcement reveals is just how out of touch and compassionless those who view human society through the lens of quantitative measurements can be.

Afghanistan Again

Joseph Palermo: After nine years of war the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan lacks support at home and is widely recognized as a drain on the domestic economy in a time of severe economic contraction. The billions of dollars in U.S. economic assistance to the Hamid Karzai government has created an unsustainable class of Afghans who are dependent upon the American largesse and military presence that would be impossible to sustain by local taxes. It is a puppet government that wouldn’t last a day without American arms and money.

Michael Tomasky’s Despairing Take on American History

Joseph Palermo: Tomasky argues that many of President Obama’s harshest critics on the left are reacting that way because they don’t want to admit to themselves that the “feelings of invincibility and redemption” after the 2008 election “were misplaced,” and that “the power and euphoria were somehow counterfeit.”

Financial Reform Too Small to Succeed

wall street reform

Joseph Palermo: The financial reform legislation currently winding its way through the Congress is a step in the right direction but it retains too much of the status quo that brought down the economy in the first place. The key problem, as many economists have been telling us, is that the top financial institutions remain “too big to fail.” Congress can enact all the regulations it wishes but even the best written rules won’t be enough to prevent another financial meltdown.

And Carter Thought He Faced National Malaise

Joseph Palermo: The spectacle of British Petroleum literally killing off the Gulf of Mexico before our eyes while the Obama Administration apparently believes that BP is honorable enough to be trusted to dutifully clean it up is depressing beyond belief. Hearing Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal complain about the lagging federal response after he built his political career trashing the federal government is just too pathetic and stupid to even bother to ridicule.

The Importance of Getting Wall Street Out of Washington, and Washington Out of Wall Street

Goldman Sachs Bets Against America

Robert Reich: If Washington knew what was good for it and the nation, it would sever its financial connections with the Street. Better yet, it would enact legislation seeking to limit the impact of private and corporate money in politics. That goal is made more difficult to achieve by the grotesque recent Supreme Court decision (Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission) holding that corporations, including financial firms, have the right to spend unlimited amounts on political campaigns. But there are ways around this, such as more generous public funding for candidates that choose not to take private contributions. Hopefully as well, the president will nominate Supreme Court justices who understand the importance of public trust in democratic institutions, and the difference between companies and people.

Peter Baker and David Herszenhorn: Wall Street Reform Reporting Lacking

Mitch McConnel

Joseph Palermo: The massive trading and swapping of Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs) and other abstractions cooked up by the fertile minds of sociopathic Wall Street “traders” not only did nothing to lubricate the real economy through financial intermediation, but they helped bring down the entire system and cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars.

Rahmifications of Obama’s Presidency

Joseph Palermo: Peter Baker’s profile of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in the New York Times Magazine raises some interesting questions about President Barack Obama’s top aide. For Emanuel, it seems that all politics are electoral politics. He wouldn’t know a social movement if he saw one.

JFK’s “How To” Manual

obama and jfk

Joseph Palermo: Obama took so many daring chances during the 2008 presidential campaign but when it comes to governing it seems he has become risk averse. The Democrats’ slogan for 2010 should be: “If Ben Nelson Doesn’t Like It — We Won’t Do It!”

Democratic “Accomplishments” Not Nearly Enough

Democratic spine

Joseph Palermo: Unless the Congress moves some progressive legislation quickly there’s going to be trouble this fall because any political party that is stupid enough to allow a couple of shmucks like Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson, or the outcome of a special election in New England, to unravel its governing coalition doesn’t deserve to be in power.

End the Filibuster and Pass a Lot of Stuff

Joseph Palermo: The Democrats must pass a lot of legislation before the midterms or they’re going to be very sorry. Soon enough, given the Supreme Court’s recent 5-4 ruling in Citizens United v. FEC, we’re going to see campaigns where our choice for U.S. Senator will be between the “Doritos Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips” candidate and the “Pepsi/Pizza Hut/KFC/Frito Lay/Taco Bell” candidate. Former President George W. Bush is raking in the bucks speaking at the National Grocers’ Association. First he defiled the presidency by getting John Yoo to turn the Justice Department into a law factory for monarchical presidential powers, now he shares the stage as an inspirational speaker with Terry Bradshaw. Our elections are about to become a satirical skit that Stephen Colbert of the Colbert Report did a long time ago.

A Lesson for Obama: President Kennedy’s Stand Against the Steel Industry

RFK JFK

Joseph Palermo: If the Democrats go into the 2010 midterm elections without passing concrete measures that move the pendulum back toward labor and away from corporate domination it will remind voters that the Democratic Party is still the party of Mondale, Dukakis, Gore-Lieberman, Carter, Clinton, and Kerry. These guys can ride in tanks, say they love guns and the death penalty, call for deregulating business and slashing welfare, or salute and say “reporting for duty” — but they’re still a bunch of hapless losers.

Obama Speaks (Some) Truth From Power

Peace-Prize

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.

Glenn Beck vs. Van Jones: McCarthyism Enters the 21st Century

mcbeck

What Glenn Beck, Roger Ailes, and their allies did in drumming Van Jones out of the government was an example of 21st century McCarthyism. They smeared Jones’ past political remarks and associations the same way Joe McCarthy and Roy Cohn smeared a young Boston lawyer named Fred Fisher for being a member of the National Lawyers Guild.

Half Measures and Lukewarm “Reform” Won’t Save the Middle Class

liberty

The 30-year class war the rich launched against the working people in this country (and reached its apogee during the George W. Bush years), has left the middle class reeling and wounded. Only bold federal action that puts something concrete in the palms of middle-class Americans can begin to turn these dire social conditions around.

More Orly Taitz!

orly

No wonder even Ann Coulter — Ann Coulter! — has distanced herself from Taitz saying, in effect: “I don’t want to encourage that woman, she’s a nutjob!”

California Democrats: “Spreading the Pain” from Sacramento

Karen Bass, Darryl Steinberg

When his term mercifully expires next year, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will be leaving the Golden State in the worst condition than at any time its history. If Schwarzenegger and his right-wing Republican co-conspirators get their way (as they always seem to do), they’ll gut every social program and educational institution in the state in [...]

Glenn Beck Spins the Holocaust Museum Shooting

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Wednesday afternoon, Glenn Beck and two of his guests argued that Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party were “left wing”; that “political correctness” led the committed white supramacist, James Von Brunn, to shoot a security guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC; and that ultimately President Barack Obama is the one responsible for the [...]

Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s Nomination: Obama Gives the Nation Another Teaching Moment

sotomayor-gop

President Barack Obama has done a symbolically extraordinary thing by nominating for the first time in U.S. history a person of Latino descent to the Supreme Court. The president has stayed true to the theme of his long campaign when he adopted “Si Se Puede” from the legendary Latina leader, Dolores Huerta. Right-wing talk show [...]

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