Friday, July 4, 2014 Getting Democrats to Vote (4 comments)
After an absence of several years, the new Pew Research Center political typology poll was just released. It breaks the American electorate into eight groups. And, it makes clear what the Democratic challenge is in the November midterm election.
Friday, June 27, 2014 Campaign 2014: Hate Politics (2 comments)
Four months before the midterm election, it's become apparent the Republican strategy is based upon firing up their base with a barrage of anti-Obama messages. This has driven down the President's approval ratings. And it's made Republican partisans angry and likely to vote. It's reminiscent of the hate campaign that caused California Proposition 8 to pass in 2008.
Friday, June 20, 2014 The Return of Sixties Values (15 comments)
The level of US political rancor has reached an intensity not seen since the sixties with its battles over civil rights and the Vietnam War. On the one hand we have Republicans advocating a new Iraq war and more tax breaks for the rich. On the other hand we have Democrats saying no to war and standing up for working families. For populists it's the return of the sixties theme, "peace and justice."
Friday, June 13, 2014 Clinton vs. Warren: Problem or Opportunity? (10 comments)
Many who saw the remarkable conversation between Senator Elizabeth Warren and economist Thomas Piketty on economic inequality, got the impression that Warren was preparing to run for President. Warren's candidacy alarms some Democrats because it raises the specter of a battle for the Democratic nomination that might divide the Party. But there's a substantial upside.
Friday, June 6, 2014 Class Warfare: The 2014 Election (1 comments)
As we head into the midterm election, it's clear that voters are unhappy, but it's uncertain how their displeasure will affect the outcome. We're seeing class warfare where the interests of the 1 percent are competing with those of the 99 percent.
Friday, May 23, 2014 Racism: What's the Problem? (1 comments)
The past few weeks have seen the anniversaries of the US Civil Rights Act and the Supreme Court's landmark decision in "Brown v. Board of Education." We've also had a media frenzy over the dreadful remarks of Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team. For a brief period, there was a national discussion of racism. But now it's over. Why can't we acknowledge racism continues to be a major US problem?
Friday, May 16, 2014 Elizabeth Warren: Saving the Democrats (7 comments)
Reading Senator Elizabeth Warren's new book, "A Fighting Chance," I thought about the parallels between her career and that of Barack Obama. Both are brilliant lawyers with inspiring personal stories. Both entered national politics running for the senate and gave well-received speeches at the Democratic convention. Obama represents a continuation of Clinton-era "third way" policies. Warren offers a strident new populism.
Friday, May 9, 2014 Saving the 2014 Election (1 comments)
Six months out from the midterm election, Democratic prospects appear grim. An ABC News / Washington Post poll found President Obama's approval rating at a new low (41 percent). 53 percent of respondents said they preferred to have Republicans in charge of Congress, "to act as a check on Obama's policies." But there's still time for Democrats to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Friday, April 18, 2014 Inside Paul Ryan, Inside the GOP
After six months attacking Democrats for the alleged faults of Obamacare, Republicans finally went on the offensive with the budget plan developed by Representative Paul Ryan. The Ryan/Republican budget draws a stark contrast between the two parties.
Friday, April 11, 2014 The War on Democracy: SCOTUS Weighs In (5 comments)
Americans are worried about the economy and economic inequality. Most of us feel the government should do something to reduce inequality. Now the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has weighed in with its April 2 nd decision in McCutcheon v. FEC making it more difficult for the 99 percent to influence government to remedy inequality.
Friday, April 4, 2014 Building the New Populism (1 comments)
It's a treasured American maxim that every problem is an opportunity in disguise. Seven months before the mid-term election Democrats face a serious problem: most Americans feel the country is headed in the wrong direction and many blame the President. Meanwhile, Republican Billionaires are spending millions of dollars on attack ads. Nonetheless, 2014 is an opportunity for populists to remake the Democratic Party.
Saturday, March 29, 2014 Accelerating Use of Renewable Energy (1 comments)
US energy policy is stuck on reliance on natural gas. Most Americans understand that by the middle of the century most of our energy will have to be supplied by renewables -- wind, water, and solar -- but we seem content to use natural gas for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, this is not a realistic policy.
Friday, March 21, 2014 America's Gas Problem
Most US politicians regard natural gas as the key element in our energy policy. In his January State-of-the-Union address President Obama said, "[Natural gas is] the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change." Many environmentalists disagree; John Farrell describes natural gas as "a gateway drug."
Friday, March 14, 2014 Fukushima: What Have We Learned?
It's been three years since the Fukushima nuclear disaster and the bad news continues. In December, it was widely reported that 51 US sailors assigned to the nuclear carrier, Ronald Reagan, have incurred cancer, as a result of that vessel's 2011 deployment to the area of the Fukushima reactor failure. The actual cleanup is painfully slow. What have we learned from the Fukushima disaster?
Friday, March 7, 2014 The War on Democracy: The Deep State (1 comments)
Over the course of the past decade, the doyens of the left, Peter Dale Scott and Noam Chomsky, began to use the term "deep state" to refer to the relatively small number of Washington and Wall Street player who actually control America. Now former GOP congressional senior staff member, Mike Lofgren, has elaborated the concept.
Friday, February 28, 2014 The War on Democracy: Art Pope and the Rich Bullies
Out here on the Left Coast, we’re not opposed to capitalism. But we believe it needs constraints. You’ll hear two arguments for curbing capitalism. One focuses on poor kids and the other on rich bullies, such as North Carolina’s Art Pope.
Friday, February 21, 2014 The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (2014)
In 1970, the late jazz poet Gil Scott-Heron wrote. "The revolution will not be televised," which became an anthem for the black power movement. His thoughts remain relevant. I've broadened the context and updated the prose.
Friday, February 14, 2014 Growing Up Liberal (1 comments)
I'm a middle-aged, affluent, prototypical WASP. I was born in Los Angeles and raised in Orange County where my father and grandfather were small businessmen and Republicans. Knowing all this you'd expect me to be a dyed-in-the-wool conservative. But I'm not. I'm unabashedly liberal.
Friday, February 7, 2014 Questioning Authority: Edward Snowden
f you weren't alive on the evening of March 8, 1971, you probably don't understand what a big deal it was when 8 anti-war activists burglarized the Media, Pennsylvania, FBI office. As detailed in Betty Medsger's book, The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover's Secret FBI, the fallout from the break-in changed the way Americans view the FBI. Moreover, the Media burglars set the stage for Edward Snowden's NSA revelations
Thursday, January 30, 2014 Obama Comes Out Fighting
Many Democrats were nervous about President Obama's 2014 State-of-the-Union Address. For the past three months -- since the end of the government shutdown -- the President made a series of mistakes and the odds of Democratic 2014 mid-term-election victories diminished. But Obama came out fighting and established seven themes that should help the Democratic cause.
Friday, January 24, 2014 It's Class Warfare, Stupid! (1 comments)
Republicans have begun their campaign to regain the Senate in the 2014-midterm elections. So far, they've emphasized negative ads about Obamacare. If this tactic falters, the GOP will fall back on the same lies they used in the 2012 presidential election: "Obama's policies have hurt the economy." Republicans talk as if they are job creators but they're actually job destroyers, engaged in class warfare.
Saturday, January 18, 2014 2014 Democratic Agenda: Protecting the 47 Percent
Politicians occasionally tell the truth. That happened in September of 2012, when Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney lambasted the "47 percent of the people who will vote for the President no matter what [because they] are dependent upon government [and] believe they are victims." The Republican Party has decided to turn its back on the least fortunate Americans. The 2014 Democratic Agenda must respond to this.
Friday, January 10, 2014 Why Hasn't Obama Reined in NSA? (4 comments)
After the 2008 election, Barack Obama supporters had high expectations for his national-security policy. We thought he'd end US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, and open talks with Iran. We expected he would close down Guantanamo and end the National Security Agency's (NSA) domestic surveillance program that collects Americans' phone and e-mail data. Why hasn't Obama reined in the NSA?
Friday, December 27, 2013 Pope Francis: 2013 Politician of the Year (2 comments)
With the exception of Senator Elizabeth Warren, American politicians had a terrible year. President Obama's approval ratings plummeted along with those of Congress. Indeed, the most popular "politician" in the United States was a non-American, the new head of the Catholic Church, 77-year-old Argentinian Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now known as Pope Francis.
Friday, December 20, 2013 The Trans Pacific Partnership: 5 Problems (1 comments)
Since 2010, the United States has been negotiating a secret trade deal, the Trans Pacific Partnership. If approved by Congress, this pact between the U.S. and 11 or 12 of America's Pacific Rim trade-partners would govern 40 percent of US imports and exports. So far, the negotiations are being conducted under tight security; for good reason, as there are big problems with TPP.
Friday, December 13, 2013 Boycott the Winter Olympics (3 comments)
Beginning February 7th , the Winter Olympic Games will be held in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia. Over the course of 16 days, 98 events will be held. In most circumstances our focus would be on high-level competition and international camaraderie. But we cannot ignore the deplorable Russian human-rights environment. That's why Americans should boycott the 22nd Winter Olympics.
Friday, December 6, 2013 Economic Inequality: 5 Personal Actions (8 comments)
The United States is experiencing unprecedented income inequality. It's not only affecting the lives of millions of Americans, but it's the root cause of political polarization that has paralyzed the Federal government. Here are 5 actions you can take to address economic inequality.
Friday, November 29, 2013 Polarization: Worse Than You Think (7 comments)
Recent polls made it clear that Americans are fed up with acrimony and gridlock in Washington. Voters may blame Republicans more than Democrats but they're not happy with either Party. Some political observers believe that if we only had competitive elections throughout the country then we would have more moderates in Congress and, therefore, less polarization. Think again. Polarization is the new normal.
Friday, November 22, 2013 It's Inequality, Stupid: Defending Affordable Healthcare (1 comments)
To say the least, the Affordable Care Act is off to a rocky start. Some Democratic congresspeople have been backing away from the law. We can't let that happen; Progressives can't let "Obamacare" fail. Affordable healthcare is a key component in our fight against inequality.
Friday, November 15, 2013 Global Climate Change: A Blow to the Head (2 comments)
As evidence mounts that global climate change is dramatically impacting our lives, resistance hardens. What will cause Americans to address this grave danger? Perhaps the answer lies in the campaign to reduce traumatic head injuries in American football.
Friday, November 1, 2013 US Energy Policy: A Bridge to Nowhere (1 comments)
Recent polls indicate that Americans do not appear to be concerned about global climate change or national energy policy. Understandably, most of us are worried about jobs, the economy, and gridlock in Washington. America's narrow focus is unfortunate, because the decisions we make about energy today will determine the quality of life for our descendants.
Friday, October 25, 2013 The Politics of Hate (9 comments)
In 2008, I was in line to hear Barack Obama's Denver acceptance speech when I encountered protestors holding signs: "God Hates Obama." I told them I didn't believe in a God of hate and one of the protestors yelled back, "And God hates you!" It was my introduction to the politics of hate that has characterized the Republican Party for the last five years.
Friday, October 18, 2013 The New Civil War: Who is to Blame? (2 comments)
America's continuing budget and debt-limit crises represent more than misguided political tactics. This is a conflict between two different views of who we are, what's important, and where the US is headed. It's a repeat of the ideological clash that resulted in the America's first Civil War. Who started this fight?
Friday, October 11, 2013 Inside John Boehner (5 comments)
As the Republican shutdown of the Federal government moves into its second week, it's widely believed House Speaker John Boehner could end the impasse by permitting the continuing budget resolution and debt limit increase to be voted upon. Why won't he?
Friday, October 4, 2013 Why Have Republicans Abandoned Common Sense? (1 comments)
On October 1 st the US government shut down because Republicans in the House of Representatives refused to pass a budget without limits on the Affordable Care Act. The GOP made this decision despite overwhelming public opposition. Why have Republicans abandoned common sense?
Friday, September 27, 2013 Selling Obamacare (7 comments)
Three and a half years after President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, "Obamacare," it's primary provisions will go into affect October 1 st . While the new health care law will benefit most Americans, it appears to be unpopular. Why?
Friday, September 20, 2013 Obama's Economy: 6 Truths
President Obama's September 16th speech on the economy was overshadowed by breaking news: the tragic shootings at the Washington Navy Yard. Nonetheless, it was an important address that contained six important truths.
Friday, September 13, 2013 The Obama Doctrine (3 comments)
Like a star basketball player, who delights in taking the last shot in a close game, Barack Obama typically gives his best speeches when he's under the most pressure. True to form, on September 10th, the President gave one of his most effective TV presentations explaining his position on Syria and elaborating the Obama Doctrine.
Friday, September 6, 2013 Syria: One Crisis Too Many (3 comments)
Polls indicate that Americans aren't in favor of military intervention in Syria. That's certainly true out here on the left coast. It's not that we don't care about Syria's humanitarian crisis; it's that we've run out of energy. America is in crisis overload.
Friday, August 23, 2013 Why Don't Republicans Understand the Economy? (1 comments)
On September 9 th , when Congress returns from its summer vacation, negotiations will begin on a new Federal budget and a US debt limit increase. As a quid pro quo Republicans will demand restrictions on Obamacare. Once again, this raises the specter of the GOP pushing the government into default. Why don't Republicans understand that's a terrible idea that would crater the economy?
Friday, August 16, 2013 Republicans and the Tea Party: Embracing the Snake
Aesop told the tale of a kind-hearted farmer who was working his fields when he found a frozen snake. Sensing the viper was about to die, the farmer tore open his jacket and pressed the snake against his warm skin. Unfortunately when the viper revived, he gave his rescuer a fatal bite. "I saved you," moaned the farmer. The viper hissed, "But you knew I was a snake when you embraced me." Republicans embracing the Tea Party
Friday, August 9, 2013 Negotiating With the American Taliban (1 comments)
In June the US agreed to meet with the Islamic Taliban to discuss the future of Afghanistan. Unfortunately, comparable negotiations between the Obama Administration and the American version of the Taliban, the Tea-Party wing of the Republican Party, have reached an impasse, which threatens to shut down the US government.
Friday, August 2, 2013 Abortion Politics
There are indications America is becoming more liberal: recent Supreme Court rulings opened the door to same-sex marriage; more and more states are legalizing access to marijuana; and Rush Limbaugh is losing sponsors. Nonetheless, since the 2010 mid-term elections, Republicans have waged an aggressive campaign to limit abortion rights.
Friday, July 19, 2013 Racism in America: The Killing of Trayvon Martin (1 comments)
When Barack Obama was elected President, many of us were hopeful that it signaled an end to widespread racism. We were naïve. George Zimmerman's not-guilty verdict indicates how much work remains.
Friday, July 12, 2013 Whatever Happened to the Women's Movement? (5 comments)
Hillary Clinton will likely be the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee and the odds-on favorite to become the 45 th President. Nonetheless, while over the last sixty years there's been a lot of civil-rights progress in the US, women remain second-class citizens. Whatever happened to the women's movement?
Friday, July 5, 2013 The Arc of the Moral Universe: Same-Sex Marriage
Martin Luther King, Jr., famously observed, "The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards Justice." The American civil rights movement has made slow progress since May 17, 1954, when the Supreme Court struck down the "separate but equal doctrine" in Brown vs. Board of Education . Nonetheless, few anticipated the rapidity of acceptance of same-sex marriage.
Friday, June 28, 2013 Texas: America's Dream or NIghtmare? (1 comments)
On April 17 th there was a horrific explosion at the West Chemical and Fertilizer plant in West, Texas, that killed 15 people, injured more than 200, destroyed or damaged 150 homes, and caused at least $100 million in losses. Five days later, Texas Governor Rick Perry was in Illinois trying to lure business to Texas, praising his state's limited regulations. Is Texas America's future?
Friday, June 21, 2013 America's Second Civil War (4 comments)
On April 12, 1861, Confederates fired on Fort Sumter, launching the first Civil War. America's second Civil War will start in late September when conservatives block raising the debt-limit ceiling and the US goes into default. But our new Civil War actually began in November of 2010 when Tea-Party conservatives seized control of the Republican Party and many states.
Friday, June 14, 2013 Waiting for the Revolution (27 comments)
In the latest recovery, 93 percent of the gains went to the top 1 percent. How long will it take before the 99 percent realize they're getting shafted? When will American workers revolt?
Friday, June 7, 2013 The Heartless Economy (3 comments)
In January of 1968, Dr. Norman Shumway performed the first successful US adult heart transplant at Stanford Hospital in California. At the time, some complained the millions of dollars spent on the operation should have instead been used to feed the thousands of starving children in nearby communities. Nonetheless, the transplants continued and millions of children went hungry. A metaphor for the nature of the US economy.
Friday, May 24, 2013 Good Grief, Barack Obama!
The most famous running joke in the Peanuts comic strip repeats at the beginning of every football season. Charlie Brown asks Lucy to hold the ball for him so he can kick it. At the last moment, just before Charlie gets his foot on the pigskin, Lucy snatches it away. Sound familiar? It's the story of Barack Obama and the Republican Congress.
Friday, May 17, 2013 Republicans Aren't Christians (4 comments)
Whether it's fiscal austerity, Benghazi, or opposition to gun control, the Republican Party is remarkably disciplined. Day after day, press conference after press conference, Republican members of Congress speak from the same hymnal. But it's not a Christian hymnal. While the Republicans claim to be true believers they actually eschew the moral teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.
Friday, May 10, 2013 Who's to Blame for Long-Term Unemployment? (4 comments)
May 3 rd brought news that the unemployment rate has dipped to 7.5 percent and there's been an alarming rise in the suicide rate for middle-aged Americans. According to the Center for Disease Control, "The [suicide] increase does coincide with a decrease in financial standing for a lot of families"" 4.35 million Americans have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks. Whose fault is this?
Friday, May 3, 2013 Dubya's Legacy: 10 Suggestions (1 comments)
Just when most Americans had forgotten the traumatic Bush era, along came the George W. Bush library to reopen old wounds. After the April 25 th library dedication, the MSM began to speculate about Dubya's legacy. A few suggestions:
Friday, April 26, 2013 What's Wrong With Social Security? (6 comments)
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." For 58 million Americans, the Social Security system works satisfactorily. Therefore, many were surprised when President Obama suggested a fix, using the chained CPI for the cost-of-living adjustment. What's wrong with the Social Security system?
Friday, April 19, 2013 Why We Should Reduce the Defense Budget (1 comments)
According to a report by the National Intelligence Council, "Global Trends 2030," seventeen years from now the world will be remarkably different: "There will not be any hegemonic power" China alone will probably have the largest economy." Why can't the US plan for this and reduce our defense expenditures?
Friday, April 12, 2013 The Future is Coming: What's the U.S. Plan? (4 comments)
The future is arriving faster than expected. According to a report by the National Intelligence Council, "Global Trends 2030," seventeen years from now the world will be remarkably different. How does America plan to deal with this change?
Friday, April 5, 2013 Keystone XL: Obama the Pragmatist (1 comments)
On April 3 rd and 4 th , President Obama spoke at several San Francisco fundraisers. While he didn't specifically mention the Keystone XL pipeline, the tenor of his remarks indicated that he's likely to approve the controversial project. Obama seems to be most influenced by his inherent political pragmatism.
Friday, March 29, 2013 Keystone XL Pipeline: 3 Key Questions (3 comments)
On March 1st, the State Department issued a report raising no objection to the construction of the Canadian-US Keystone XL pipeline. There will be a 45-day period for public comments and then President Obama will decide whether or not to approve the 875-mile pipeline. His decision will hinge on three critical considerations.
Friday, March 22, 2013 What Makes a Republican? (2 comments)
After two months of the 113 th Congress, it's clear there's a cadre of Tea Party Republicans blocking most meaningful Federal legislation -- jobs, taxes, global climate change, immigration, and gun control. These ultra-conservatives are intent on dismantling the federal government. Where did these Republicans come from and why do they believe government is their enemy?