On election night a year ago, celebrations across the North Bay included dancing in the streets. The voters had spoken — loudly — for Barack Obama, who won 74 percent of ballots in Sonoma County and 78 percent in Marin. Spirits were sky high, and so were expectations.
That evening, as he spoke to the nation from Chicago’s Grant Park, Obama repeated his campaign mantra: “Yes we can.” But a year later, the words are less uplifting.
“If this financial crisis taught us anything, it’s that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers,” Obama declared in his election-night speech. Yet Wall Street is now doing quite a bit better than Main Street...
Read the full op-ed in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat
This week begins with a significant new straw in the political wind for President Obama to consider. The California Democratic Party has just sent him a formal and clear message: Stop making war in Afghanistan.
Overwhelmingly approved on Sunday by the California Democratic Party's 300-member statewide executive board, the resolution is titled "End the US Occupation and Air War in Afghanistan."
The resolution supports "a timetable for withdrawal of our military personnel" and calls for "an end to the use of mercenary contractors as well as an end to air strikes that cause heavy civilian casualties." Advocating multiparty talks inside Afghanistan, the resolution also urges Obama "to oversee a redirection of our funding and resources to include an increase in humanitarian and developmental aid."
While Obama weighs Afghanistan policy options, the California Democratic Party's adoption of the resolution is the most tangible indicator yet that escalation of the US war effort can only fuel opposition within the president's own party - opposition that has already begun to erode his political base.
Participating in a long-haul struggle for progressive principles inside the party, I co-authored the resolution with savvy longtime activists Karen Bernal of Sacramento and Marcy Winograd of Los Angeles...
Disputes are raging within the Obama administration over how to continue the US war effort in Afghanistan. A new leak tells us that Washington's ambassador in Kabul, former four-star Gen. Karl Eikenberry, has cautioned against adding more troops while President Hamid Karzai keeps disappointing American policymakers. This is the extent of the current debate within the warfare state.
During a top-level meeting Wednesday afternoon in the White House, The Washington Post reports, President Obama "was given a series of options laid out by military planners with differing numbers of new US deployments, ranging from 10,000 to 40,000 troops. None of the scenarios calls for scaling back the US presence in Afghanistan or delaying the dispatch of additional troops."
No doubt, there are real tactical differences between Eikenberry and the US/NATO commander in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal, the ultra-spun, brainy Spartan who wants to boost the current US troop level of 68,000 to well over 100,000 in the war-afflicted country. But those policy disputes exist well within the context of a permanent war psychology...
In Washington, "healthcare reform" has degenerated into a sick joke.
At this point, only spinners who've succumbed to their own vertigo could use the word "robust" to describe the public option in the healthcare bill that the House Democratic leadership has sent to the floor...