Thursday, May 26, 2011

BC Series: What Will It Take to Bring Obama Home?

His Home Is Not My Home

By Carl Bloice
Moving Left, Part 9

May 26, 2011 - Maybe it depends on where home is. It’s not where I am. I’m to the left of Obama. Quite a bit. When Obama refers to “my friends on the left” he’s telling us two things: he has some and that’s not where he’s at. I knew it all along and that still didn’t stop me from welling up when he made that first speech to his party’s convention. I was reminded of the source of that emotion the other night watching the PBS documentary on the Freedom Riders when Robert Kennedy said someday there would be a black president. None of us thought it would happen so soon. When it did most of us were pleased and proud of the brother, in a way that I think a lot of white people have trouble relating to.

Home? The place we should be talking about, I think, is the place he himself described in the campaign, the place he said he wanted to take the country when he asked for our votes and our money. He promised “change” and we crossed our fingers. He said he would end the foreign wars and we pulled the lever by his name. He said he would attack poverty and bring relief from some of the burdens working people increasingly have to bear and we thought: we’ll hold you to it.

Now I’m not saying he hasn’t accomplished anything. Some positive things have happened since he moved into the White House. And I do think he is trying to find a way out of Afghanistan. And, yes he’s been stymied at every turn by members of the opposition party that shape their policies around making him fail, and some members of his own party that lend them a helping hand. And they are egged on by the legions of the reactionary and racist right. And these people are a real danger.

Yet we are very disappointed.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

2012 Warning: Trumka & SEIU vs. Top Democrats

Labor’s Hail Mary pass

By Harold Meyerson
Progressive America Rising via Washington Post

May 24, 2011 - This is a maddening time for anyone concerned about the lives of working-class Americans. The frustration and anger that suffused AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka’s declaration last week that labor would distance itself from the Democratic Party was both clear and widely noted. Not so widely noted has been a shift in the organizing strategy of two of labor’s leading institutions — Trumka’s AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union — that reflects a belief that the American labor movement may be on the verge of extinction and must radically change its game.

It took a multitude of Democratic sins and failures to push Trumka to denounce, if not exactly renounce,the political party that has been labor’s home at least since the New Deal. In a speech at the National Press Club last Friday, Trumka said that Republicans were wielding a “wrecking ball” against the rights and interests of working Americans. But Democrats, he added, were “simply standing aside” as the Republicans moved in for the kill.

The primary source of labor’s frustration has been the consistent inability of the Democrats to strengthen the legislation that once allowed workers to join unions without fear of employer reprisals. …


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Task for 2012: Monkey-Wrenching the White United Front

What Too Few Progressives

are Prepared to Discuss

By Bill Fletcher, Jr.
Progressive America Rising via

May 18, 2011 - In the context of the criticisms that many of us have of the Obama administration for what it has not accomplished, for its advance of a corporate agenda and for the unacceptable compromises it has made with the Republicans, there is something that I have seen few progressives address. To borrow from a comment offered by television commentator Tavis Smiley, the 2012 elections are likely to be the most racist that most of have seen in our life-times. Given this, what are the implications?

It has been striking that many progressives, particularly those who have not only written off President Obama but also written off all those who offered critical support to the Obama campaign in 2008, have said so little about race, racism, and the discourse of right-wing populism in the context of the upcoming elections.

We have witnessed the first Black president of the United States questioned about his citizenship and birthplace, yet I have seen precious little from many friends on the left side of the aisle (particularly those so critical of Obama) responding to this. If you put your ear to the ground, however, you hear the murmurings of Black Americans furious that Obama was put in a place where he had to file a petition in order to obtain his Hawaii birth certificate. The murmurings do not stop there. When Donald Trump and other opportunists started asking questions about how it was that Obama got into Columbia University and Harvard Law School (i.e., was he REALLY qualified to have gotten into those schools), for most of us enough was enough. Because this was no longer about Obama and it had very little to do with criticisms of Obama and his policies.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Book Review: ‘Mom. Sex and God’

Insider: The Christian

Right Aims to Destroy

All Things Public’

By Frank Schaeffer
De Capo Press
Progressive America Rising Via Alternet - May 17, 2011

The following is an excerpt from Frank Schaeffer's new book, Sex, Mom, and God: How the Bible's Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics -- and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway (Da Capo Press, 2011). Raised in Switzerland in l'Abri, a utopian community and spiritual school his evangelical parents founded, Schaeffer was restless and aware even at a young age that "my life was being defined by my parent's choices." Still, he took to "the family business" well, following his dad as he became one of the "best-known evangelical leaders in the U.S." on whirlwind speaking tours. While rubbing shoulders with Pat Robertson, James Dobson and Jerry Falwell, Schaeffer witnessed the birth of the Christian anti-abortion movement, and became an evangelical writer, speaker and star in his own right.


Ironically, at the very same time as Evangelicals like Dad and I were thrusting ourselves into bare-knuckle politics in the 1970s and 80s, we were also retreating to what amounted to virtual walled compounds. In other words we lashed out at “godless America” and demanded political change—say, the reintroduction of prayer into public schools—and yet also urged our followers to pull their own children out of the public schools and homeschool them. The rejection of public schools by Evangelical Protestants was a harbinger of virtual civil war carried on by other means. Protestants had once been the public schools’ most ardent defenders.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Out Now! Bring the Troops Home

With bin Laden dead, the U.S. should change its policy

By Bill Fletcher Jr.

The Progressive, May 11, 2011

The killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden provides an opportunity for the United States to make a much-needed change in its policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The United States invaded Afghanistan because al-Qaida used that country as a base. A direct connection between the Sept. 11 attacks and the Taliban government of Afghanistan was never proven. But what was clear was that al-Qaida, the group responsible for the deed, was a network rather than a government. Invading Afghanistan was a conventional solution to a problem that was anything but conventional. It was the equivalent of proposing the bombing of Sicily in order to get rid of the Mafia.

Despite 10 years of war and occupation, the Taliban insurgency has not been defeated. If anything, it has increased in influence. The United States and its NATO allies, through an invasion and support of corrupt warlords, have turned an unpopular, theocratic, semi-fascist organization into Robin Hood’s band.

One final irony: bin Laden was killed not in Afghanistan but in Pakistan, a longtime ally of Washington, and Pakistan was directly responsible for the rise of the Taliban.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

‘Affirmative Action’ at the Polls for Old White Guys? GOP Already Trying to Rig the Vote

Florida GOP Squeezes

Obama-Friendly Voters

Progressive America Rising via The Miami Herald

May 1, 2011 - Last week, we learned that even achieving the highest level of academic and political success — up to and including being elected president of the United States — is not enough to exempt an African American from having it demanded of him, by even the Washington press corps, that he prove the circumstances of his birth to a white, B-list television personality.

The racial enmity — dare I say envy — of people like Donald Trump, and the parade of racists and rejectionists rallying behind the birther banner will soon lose media interest.

But there are forms of rejectionism that in a way are more pernicious, in that they target not President Obama, but rather the people who voted for him, and who Republicans fear will do so again.

In Florida, the GOP-dominated legislature will soon pass laws squeezing the voting methods favored by minorities, college students and the working class.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bin Laden and the Folly of Being Driven by a ‘Search for Monsters’

Bin Laden Is Dead, But Will

the 'Long War' on Terror Live On?

By Tom Hayden
Progressive America Rising via The Nation

May 2, 2011 - The killing of Osama bin Laden is a triumphant moment for President Obama and the CIA, allowing a symbolic claim to victory in the War on Terror, bringing an understandable feeling of closure for the victims of 9/11, and will almost certainly assure the president’s re-election in 2012.

But as I wrote in The Nation in October 2009, however, the death of bin Laden is not likely to end the Long War on Terror, now spreading from Iraq to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and a dozen other theaters of counterterrorism.

If bin Laden is gone, and his network heavily damaged, what is left of the terrorist threat to our national security that justifies so many trillions of dollars and costs in thousands of lives? Because of a fabricated fear of bin Laden, we invaded Iraq. The invasion of Afghanistan was to deny sanctuaries to bin Laden and Al Qaeda. In response, Al Qaeda moved into Pakistan, where bin Laden was killed tonight. So why are the Taliban in Afghanistan a threat to the security of the United States with bin Laden gone? Surely there are terrorist cells with lethal capacity scattered around the world, surely there might be revenge attacks, but there is hardly a centralized conspiratorial threat that justifies the deployment of hundreds of thousands of American troops.

Now we shall learn whether there is another agenda that keeps 150,000 American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.


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