By Jack A. Smith, editor, Activist Newsletter
By Jack A. Smith, editor, Activist Newsletter
ELECTION, Obama, Romney
By DON TERRY
As a boy growing up in the long shadow of the Ida B. Wells public housing development, LeAlan Jones, the Illinois Green Party candidate for the United States Senate, learned at an early age to ignore naysayers.
“If you come from the ghetto, people are always doubting you,” Mr. Jones said. “I never listened to them. I was too busy.”
So go ahead and tell him the political facts of life: that he is wasting his time and has a scant shot at winning President’s Obama’s old Senate seat in November.
Then point out to him that at 31, he has little name recognition and even less money. Finally, remind him, “for his own good,” as he says a group of young black Democrats did a few weeks ago over lunch at a Greek restaurant, that he has a bright political future because he is young, gifted and black. But that if he keeps on with thisRalph Nader-Don Quixote business and stays in the race, he could take crucial votes away from the Democratic nominee, Alexi Giannoulias, in a skin-tight election. He will be nothing but a spoiler and then all bets are off — all bridges burned.
Read more at The NY Times
candidate, Obama, point, shadow, trafelet
[From The Progressive Review]
As inevitable disillusionment grows with Barack Obama, thanks to his lackluster performance, unfulfilled promises and often indistinguishable variation from his predecessor, it is perhaps time to put our toys away and return to real life.
The Obama campaign was in many ways just a misleading trailer hyping what’s turned out to be a third rate film. And as one does not remain the prisoner of Hollywood’s puerile productions, there is no reason to give politics’ any greater loyalty. You just admit you blew the evening and move on.
The record is indisputable: the expansion of the AF-Pak imperial war, a stimulus package that bailed out the largest banks and left workers and struggling homeowners as “lagging indicators,” a plan designed to improve the health of insurance companies more than that of all Americans, and a continuation of contempt for the Constitution.
One of the reasons Obama has felt comfortable pursuing such conservative politics is that, commencing with Clinton, a large segment of the liberal constituency has come to accept the view that incumbency is a reasonable substitute for sound policy. The depressing healthcare debate and lack of opposition to the Af-Pak war reflect the disappearance of a vigorous liberal base that actually believes in something and presses for it with the same sort of passion those on the right demonstrate so frequently.
In fact, if you scrap traditional presumptions and look at the American political spectrum based on specific issues, you find that the layout is not anywhere close to what we are told. Most striking is that traditional liberals, Obama and Democrats in general are closer to the GOP on many more these issues than they are to true progressives, Libertarians or Greens. In fact, on about a half of current big issues, Libertarians are closer to progressives or Greens than they are to the GOP.
The lesson? It helps to know who your friends are. But also how few they are. Pollsters generally give those who are left of center – including Greens, radicals or populist progressives – only one choice of self-identification: liberal. Yet even this inflated category is much smaller than generally acknowledged. Here’s a chart from American Election studies, showing the percent of those calling themselves liberal since 1972. The percentage has varied merely nine points over this period, with the peak tally at 23%.
And it gets worse. Of those calling themselves liberal, 8 to 11 percent described themselves as only “slightly liberal,” whereas the number who described themselves as “extremely liberal” never got above two percent. According to Gallup, the only groups in 2003 that comprised a quarter or more of liberals were those who had gone to grad school and 18-38 year olds.
I have played around with this idea for hours now, on whether or not to write this piece. But the events of the last few hours, I believe, mandate that I raise my voice once again.
I have read and re-read President Obama’s Joint Congressional Address. All of the “acceptable punditry” have spoken and given the President glowing reviews. And so, to them and the population that still believes in them, “All is right with the world.” But for the rest of us, who refuse to swallow the pill that puts us into the Matrix, a good dose of reality is strongly called for.
But reality is not what we’re getting, not even from one of the national columnists whom I’ve met, Maureen Dowd.
I think Maureen Dowd characterized it as “Spock at the Bridge.” Now, being the Trekkie that I am, that headline grabbed my attention. I nearly gagged, however, when I got to the line supposedly from President Obama calling President Bush to proclaim, “‘I’m ending your stupid war.’ Mission Relinquished.”
Why write things like this now that it is clear that the Obama Administration is continuing the Bush policies for missile strikes inside Pakistan; torture; rendition for torture; public release of Bush Administration e-mails; illegal wiretaps; status of prisoners at the U.S. base in Bagram, Afghanistan; and workplace immigration raids? (more…)
Iraq War, McKinney, Obama, president, Speech
By ALEXANDER COCKBURN
I write these words at the end of a week in which:
A new Democratic president, Barack Obama, via his Attorney General, has explicitly endorsed Bush’s policy on renditions and Bush’s refusal to recognize the jurisdiction of US courts in any legal proceedings in this regard; also a week in which Obama’s solicitor general has explicitly endorsed Bush’s policy on enemy combatants.
I write not long after the New York Times reported that state welfare rolls are actually shrinking in months when unemployment has risen to real totals of 17 and 18 per cent – 1.7 million in Dec and Jan, hence when more and more people are in desperate straits. This is a consequence of a former Democratic president’s “reform” of welfare in the mid-90s.
Back then, Clinton reached out in the spirit of bipartisanship to Republicans to effect this piece of legislative savagery. In the same spirit of bipartisanship Obama invited a New Hampshire right-winger, Judd Gregg, to be his Commerce Secretary, while simultaneously pledging that Judd’s vacated seat would be filled by… a Republican! Ultimately, Judd contemptuously kicked away the proffered hand of friendship.
For much of last year progressives rallied support for Obama not just with scenarios of the destruction that would be wrought by John McCain, but with screams of fear at the menace of right-wing populist insurgency, embodied in the supposed threats to mainstream consensus represented by Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin. You know, fascists; at least two of them Christian fascists. Head for the deep shelters and vote Democrat! Vote for change.
The menace of the Christian hordes? Christians now exult that Obama is talking of a waiver on constitutional prohibitions concerning federal support for faith-based initiatives. As the Los Angeles Times editorialized angrily last week, “Like his predecessor, Obama has supported providing federal grants and contracts to social-service programs operated by religious groups. The surprise — an unpleasant one — is that he is equivocating on a campaign promise to condition such aid on an agreement by religious charities not to discriminate in hiring.”Obama