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LA Progressive: December 20 to 26, 2009

This week's articles from Sherwood Ross, Ivan Eland, Richard M. Mathews, Jonathan Goldstein, Deborah Burger, Jill Johnston, Dick Price, Wendy Block, Brad Parker, Mark Bowen, Harvey Schwartz, Norman Solomon, Kenneth Weisbrode, Joseph Palermo, Lawrence S. Wittner, Sheri Fink, Gil Troy, Ron Wolff, Paul Hogarth, Charley James, Dr. Margaret Flowers, and Tracy Emblem.

No Chance Obama’s War in Afghanistan Will Succeed. If Afghans are dying by the thousands and Pakistanis have become refugees by the millions to ensure Obama’s political survival, the U.S. has lost any vestige of moral authority. -Sherwood Ross

tiger woods affairs

Reducing Our Only Existential Threat. Despite its recession from the headlines, the Soviet Union and now Russia has been and still is the only country to have enough nuclear warheads to pose such a cataclysmic threat to the U.S. homeland. -Ivan Eland

Reconciliation Is Conventional, Not Nuclear. With the death of the public option in the Senate version of the health care reform bill, more attention is being paid to the budget reconciliation process. The House-Senate conference could bring back the public option, but a filibuster could still kill it. The reconciliation process would allow the bill to pass with a simple majority of 51 votes rather than the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster. -Richard M. Mathews

Threads of Hope Glimmer in the Middle East. Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty 14 years ago and have quietly settled a long-simmering frontier dispute over an area informally renamed “Peace Island.” El Al Israel Air Lines serves the Jordanian capital of Amman. Jordanian airliners, unlike those of any other Arab country, fly over Israeli air space -Jonathan Goldstein

Healthcare Bill Cedes Too Much to Insurance Industry. NNU and nurses will continue to work with the thousands of grassroots activists across the nation to campaign for the best reform, which would be to expand Medicare to cover everyone, the same type of system working more effectively in every other industrial country. The day of that reform will come. -Deborah Burger


Supernaturally Yours. I’m slow, but I just caught onto the obvious, that extremist Islam is the new Communism, i.e. the new enemy of the United States. Has there been one that I missed? After all, there must be an enemy. We can’t just get along together. -Jill Johnston

Tiger’s Rag. Different strokes for different folks, right? If Tiger and dozens of other celebrities can do what they’re doing and hurt no one, why should we care? -Dick Price

It Was the Night Before Christmas. And they whistled, and shouted, and called him by name! “F**k ya hood!” I’ll kill ya, I heard one proclaim. Some others I now saw were in a squad car “Hold up or we’ll shoot. You won’t make it that far.”

My Blue Shield Experience Embodies Our Stupid and Wasteful Health Insurance System. ith a single payer system, one entity would coordinate everything. Eliminating the majority of paper-pushing companies and employees with their cubicle-bred mindsets (forget expertise!) could lead the way for Janet and other competent people to run things. -Wendy Block

That’s Just The Way It Is. I believe that the only hope we can believe in is our Progressive Plan for the future. Let us, as Democrats and citizens, disenthrall ourselves from the old tired notion that “That’s just the way it is” and imagine, create and promote a new way – Progressive. -Brad Parker

Hey, Hey, LBJ! What Kind of Bill Would You Kill Today? LBJ, on the other hand, played the leading role in passing a civil rights bill that every progressive knew was as badly flawed as the health care bill. The result was the creation of the momentum that led to the real reform that he would personally get the privilege of signing into law with Dr. King by his side seven years later. Hey, hey, LBJ! This is not the kind of bill you would kill today.-Mark Bowen

A Plea for the Employee Free Choice Act. Although the odds for the passage of EFCA seem long today despite a Democratic majority in Congress and a Democratic president, the importance of EFCA should not be forgotten. In mid-2009, many of America’s labor historians signed a statement that strongly endorsed the act. This was a good beginning. Going forward, all of us who are committed to social justice should do what we can to support passage of EFCA in the immediate future. -Harvey Schwartz

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Flares in the Political Dark. After a year of escalation in Afghanistan, solicitude toward Wall Street and the incredible shrinking healthcare reform, we ought to be able to see that the biggest problem among progressives has been undue deference to the Obama administration. -Norman Solomon

Looking for a Common Language at Copenhagen. We shouldn’t be surprised to have seen so much parochialism at Copenhagen. For all that international relations have matured over the past several decades with the spread of a global consciousness, some things just don’t change. -Kenneth Weisbrode

The Oligarchy Wins Again! Something, anything, has to be done at some point to show that the Obama Administration is not just the latest group of good people with good ideas that are absorbed into a system that makes Hamid Karzai look like a clean government activist. The corporate money so clogs the arteries of our body political the whole damn thing is sclerotic, choked off from the life-giving oxygen of democracy. -Joseph Palermo

In War, Winners Can Be Losers. Of course, a case can be made that it is better for a nation to win a war than to lose it. But perhaps it is time to learn from the world’s tragic, blood-stained history that there is a third alternative: using our intelligence and creativity to resolve conflicts without war. -Lawrence S. Wittner


Rationing Medical Care: Health Officials Struggle With Setting Standards. “The partisan attacks of the health reform debate have set back the public discussion of resource allocation in a very serious way by putting things in terms of ‘death panels’ or ‘it’s un-American to limit resources,’ as if American insurers don’t do that all the time.” -Sheri Fink

Name That Decade: the ’00s, the Whatever Decade. Great pessimism during economic busts is as characteristically American as great optimism during boom times. The oh-ohs’ whateverism is less fleeting and thus more dangerous. A culture of denial, disengagement, dissociation is dysfunctional. We need a culture of engagement and responsibility, even with all our traumas, distractions and high-tech toys. -Gil Troy

What Would a Space Invader Think? I’d love to see an intelligent creature from outer space slap a few people in the face and say “Wake up! You are destroying each other and the planet! Use your mental capacities for something more meaningful than voting for the next American Idol!” -Ron Wolff

2009: The Year Change Fell Prey to Backroom Deals. I don’t recall how or when single-payer was taken “off the table” – except that Senator Max Baucus said it was. Without single payer, progressives focused on the public option – which although a compromise, could have held insurance companies accountable. Everyone knew it was tough and compromise would happen, but we were supposed to be part of that decision. -Paul Hogarth

Republicans Running Possible War Criminal for Congress? Florida’s 22nd Congressional district is where Allen West, a former lieutenant colonel who was drummed out of the Army for torturing an Iraqi prisoner by holding a mock execution after allowing men under his command to repeatedly beat the detainee, has the GOP endorsement to run for Congress in 2010 -Charley James


Senate Speech Heralds New Social Movement. It is time for the health of human beings to prevail. It is time to end the insurance cartel. Please join us as we continue forge the movement that will win Medicare for All. Onward to single payer. -Dr. Margaret Flowers

Afghanistan – Why More U.S. Troops? It’s time we demand investing our taxpayer dollars in our own communities at home and in American jobs, America’s crumbling infrastructure, and new technology. Its time to ask our representatives and federal government critical questions about who benefits from the development in Afghanistan. -Tracy Emblem