Progressive Reading Roundup 12/02/09

Between Barack “Nobel Peace Prize” Obama’s recent announcement that we’ll be committing 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan and the New York State Senate’s cowardly vote against civil rights, it’s been a rough couple of days.  But we soldier on.  I’ll be writing more this weekend about the responsibility we young progressives have to carry on fighting (despite feeling pretty betrayed by the party that was supposed to represent us), but for now, here’s a routine roundup.  I might do more on Afghanistan later also, but as you can imagine the coverage is too extensive to jot down in less than four hours.


David Sirota (Some Simple Questions After Obama’s Afghanistan War Speech) and Chris Bowers (No Defined Rate For, Or Number Of Troops Involved In, The 2011 Withdrawal) both take Obama’s Afghanistan decision to task.  Sirota deals with cost in life and dollars, the media’s warped perception of war, and the contradictions in hypothetical Bush-era anti-war activists giving Obama a pass on this one.  Bowers points out that as with so many promises, this one lacks firm commitments.  I’m not holding my breath.

In another diary (Changing The Goalposts On Healthcare Reform), Chris Bowers addresses criticism from some progressives who feel that as the healthcare proposals now under consideration don’t live up to even our meagerest demands, it’s not worth voting for.  Bowers still thinks it’s worth it, and while I’m not particularly happy about it (and have asked whether it’s worth it myself), I have to agree with him right now for the reasons he cites, in addition to some addressed by Digby (Bargaining Power).

FDL and Huffington Post below the jump:


Jane Hamsher illustrates today (Stop Stupak: Volunteer To Phone Bank) one of the things I really hope to demonstrate to readers through this series: how blogs are not just sources of information, but online communities and platforms for organization and even fundraising for progressive causes that are inadequately addressed by Democratic “leadership”.  This is one thing that I think would probably be worth tanking health care for because I’m not a fan of sexist, racist, classist legislation that betrays the people who put faith in you to govern in their interest.  In related news, sign this petition.

David Dayen looks at the prospects for the jobs summit being held tomorrow (The Jobs Bill- Is There Any Hope?) and highlights the AFL-CIO’s proposal in particular: $400-500 billion as “a mix of social safety net strengthening, direct employment measures, aid to the states, infrastructure spending, and increased lending to small businesses” that would create about 4 million jobs.  I dig.

Scarecrow takes a similar tack featuring a number of economists who made among the most accurate predictions of the current situation (James Galbraith On How Government Deficits Saved Us And Are Still Needed).  At the bottom there’s a bunch of links to other writing by economists that were right about a lot (though I’m disappointed to see no citations of similarly insightful women like Noreena Hertz, Elizabeth Warren, and other financial/corporate crusaders.  Technically they dealt more with financial regulation though, which is a closely related but different topic).

Huffington Post

Robert Reich offers a chilling thought (The Economic Reality That No One Wants To Talk About), that even if jobs return in decent numbers (by no means a sure thing, given the trouble we’re having even orienting the administration towards jobs and away from the deficit), they will not return in decent quality because of major structural damage done to the economy.  Reich suggests a number of investments to make Americans more productive (mostly education, health care, and transportation- all definitely key), but I think also leaves out the glaring need to address trade and the abilities of workers to organize.  Sherrod Brown, could you take this one?

Over at the morass of financial regulation, Ryan Grim reports that the Congressional Black Caucus is boycotting the current legislation over financial reform (African-American Protest Against Obama Jobs Policy Heats Up In House) because they feel the legislation fails to deal with the major league, disproportionate unemployment in communities of color, and that their interests are not being addressed.  I agree, and as I hinted above, and have done elsewhere, I tend to think organizations shouldn’t sacrifice their constituents brazenly for ‘progress’.

Finally, also in financial regulation territory, Dean Baker (one of those economists who largely saw the present situation coming) argues that greater oversight and transparency for the Federal Reserve should come before we deal with whether or not to keep its head, Ben Bernanke (Fed Transparency Should Precede Bernanke Confirmation).  Sounds logical to me, I’d like to know how this clown did before we decide to rehire him.



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Filed under Chris Bowers, David Dayen, David Sirota, Dean Baker, Digby, FireDogLake, Jane Hamsher, OpenLeft, Robert Reich, Ryan Grim, Scarecrow

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