Carrying On Paul and Sheila Wellstone’s Progressive Legacy

Friday, October 5th, 2012

10 years ago this month our nation lost some inspiring fighters for progressive values when Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN), his wife Sheila, his daughter Marcia, three campaign staffers, and their two pilots died in a plane crash on a cold, dreary day in Minnesota.  Ardent supporters of working people, labor unions, social justice, and the belief that government can and must be used to improve the lives of everyday people, the loss of Paul and Sheila was truly heart wrenching.  But we also know that Paul and Sheila would have believed that the best way to honor their legacy would be to carry on the fight for the progressive values that they, and we, hold dear.

In honor of Paul, Sheila, and their legacy, below is the post that we wrote on the eight anniversary of Paul’s death, and which still holds true today.  We also urge our readers to share a tribute to the Wellstones at the memorial page that has been set up by Wellstone Action.  And please check out this tribute to Paul and Sheila written by WP contributor Joanne Boyer, who included a profile of Paul in her book Wisdom of Progressive Voices.

In Memory of Paul Wellstone

We here at Winning Progressive are not the type to have political heroes.  While there are many political candidates that we proudly support because they share the views we believe in or because they are significantly better than the alternative, we realize that all politicians are humans and, therefore, flawed.  In addition, politicians work in a system that is flooded with well-funded interests and that requires compromise to get things done.  As such, we realize that we can often only get progress out if we politically force our elected officials to aggressively support our interests.  In short, even our favorite political leaders are bound to let us down on occasion, just as we are sometimes let down by our friends or relatives.  Therefore, even as we strongly support various candidates, we recognize that raising a politician to hero status places unrealistic expectations on that person.

Having said that, there are some political leaders who we hold in especially high esteem.  On such leader is Paul Wellstone, the former Democratic U.S. Senator from Minnesota, who tragically died eight years ago today.  Senator Wellstone was first elected in 1990, and quickly became a leading progressive in the Senate for his willingness to strongly and eloquently stand up for progressive causes even when they were not politically popular.  Senator Wellstone was re-elected in 1996, and died eleven days before election day in 2002 when he was running for a third term.

Senator Wellstone holds a place close to our hearts because of his willingness to proudly stand up for the under-represented and to stay true to his progressive values even at the risk of losing votes, and for the time and dedication he put into building a true grassroots campaign model that continues to this day with trainings run by Wellstone Action, which works to develop future progressive leaders.  At a time when the Senate and House are increasingly dominated by massive amounts of corporate cash and politicians who rely mainly on television advertising for their campaigns, the values and tactics of Senator Wellstone are sorely missed to this day.

We’d like to close with the below video of Senator Wellstone announcing his opposition to the Iraq War in October 2002.  Only a couple weeks before his death, Senator Wellstone gave this speech in the midst of a tough re-election campaign and at a time when the proposal to invade Iraq had strong public support.  Senator Wellstone could have easily gone with the political winds (as many Democrats who should have known better did) and voted for the Iraq War.  Instead, he stood up for his beliefs and cast his vote against the war.

As we work to push our representatives to support our progressive values, we could do a lot worse than urging them to follow the example set by Senator Wellstone.

 

Remembering The Spirit of Molly Ivins: ‘We Are The People Who Run This Country’

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

(By Joanne Boyer, cross-posted at Wisdom Voices)

There are some who could argue the issues we face today are not all that new.  But one thing that has changed dramatically, even in just a few short years, is how those issues are discussed, especially in print.  The conversations have turned ugly and downright nasty.  Humor and satire in print are rare ingredients in the political conversation mix today.

How desperately we miss the wisdom and wit of the late Molly Ivins, who died in 2007 after an eight-year battle with breast cancer.  For any woman who has struggled with the horror of breast cancer treatments, no better summation could be found than what Molly said: “First they mutilate you; then they poison you; then they burn you. I have been on blind dates better than that.”

Born in California, but raised in Texas, Ivins had a sharp political wit second to none and her pursuit of populist ideals was relentless.  She received her undergraduate degree from Smith College, and her Master’s degree in Journalism from Columbia University in 1967.  She worked at dailies from New York to Minnesota to Colorado covering politics in her inimitable fashion.  Link here for great eulogies from the Dallas Observer and The New York Times for deeper insights into this remarkable woman who embodied honesty, a passion for life and a love of country.

Molly came from the same genre as John Henry Faulk and Jim Hightower – Texas liberals and progressives (yes, they once did dominate the political landscape of the Lone Star State).  Although she had a national following, with a syndicated column and having worked for The New York Times, Newsweek and Time, her heart and soul was Texas politics.

In addition to book compilations of her brilliant, hilarious columns, she co-authored, Shrub: The Short But Happy Political Life of George W. Bush and Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush’s America.  She was working on a book documenting the Bush administration’s assault on the Bill of Rights when she died.  She once said of George W. Bush:  “Calling Bush shallow is like calling a dwarf short.”  Or adding this:  “Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please pay attention.”

She famously nicknamed Texas Governor Rick Perry, Governor Good Hair. And her unrelenting commentaries on Tom DeLay (Texas Congressman and former Speaker of the House), foreshadowed his fall from grace and eventual conviction for money laundering in 2011.  In 1999, Ivins wrote of DeLay:

“His real constituency is the lobbying corps, and the sleazy smell that rises from their vigorous cooperation is another reason for DeLay’s vulnerability.  His motto is blunt: ‘If you want to play in our revolution, you have to live by our rules.’ DeLay’s rules are upfront, apparent to anyone who cares to look.  On his desk he keeps a list of the 400 largest political action committees and the amounts and percentages they’ve contributed to Republicans and Democrats.  Those committees that have given heavily to the GOP are labeled ‘friendly,’ the others ‘unfriendly.’  He also pressures corporations and trade groups to fire Democrats and hire Republicans as their lobbyists.”

Her belief in the constitution and in people to reclaim their role as active citizens was unrelenting and dominated much of her later writings.  Her introduction to Who Let The Dogs In?, written in 2004 (after the country re-elected George W. Bush and was in the midst of the Iraq War which she vehemently opposed) expresses her frustration and her hope.

“I guess the most amazing refrain is that I still love politics, and I think politics matters to every American in more ways than most of them ever guess.  Also, I still think it’s funny.  I consider that especially moving testimony, given that American politics is in a state of open corruption and intellectual rot.

“Because I have been writing about politics for 40 years, I know where the cynicism comes from, and I would not presume to tell you it is misplaced.  The system is so screwed up, if you think it’s not worth participating in, then give yourself credit for being alert.  But not for being smart.  How smart is it to throw away the most magnificent political legacy any people ever received? 

“You can not only vote, you can register other people to vote, round up your friends, get out and do political education, talk to people, laugh with people, call the radio, write the paper, write your elected representatives, use your email list, put up signs, march, volunteer and raise hell…We won the cold war after 50 years, and suddenly our politics is sour, angry, ugly, full of people who can’t discuss public affairs without getting all red in the face….

“Plenty of blame to go around for this revolting development, but those who deliberately corrupt our language for political advantage deserve some special ring in hell.  One is Rush Limbaugh, a silly man.  Another is Newt Gingrich, who has done much to poison the well of public debate…

“But I think the far more damaging is the planned, corporately funded, interlocking web of propaganda – the think tanks underwritten by corporate funders, the ‘academic journals’ underwritten by corporate funders, and right wing newspapers, radio, and television not to mention low-life, bottom feeding scandal mongers, all funded by huge right-wing money… 

“Benito Mussolini, who knew whereof he spoke, said, ‘Fascism should more properly be called corporation, since it is the merger of state and corporate power.’  So Stanley, a fine mess you’ve gotten us into this time…(but) Rejoice beloveds, we’ll weather this brush with fascism and come out as noisy and as badly behaved as ever, our politics back to the usual national Roller Derby.  As Marianne Moore said, ‘It is an honor to witness so much confusion.”

Fighting with her pen until the end, one of her final columns continued her unabashed opposition to George Bush’s Iraq war:

“We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war.  We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, ‘Stop it, now!’

With the Occupy Movement gearing up for another run at corporate greed and opposition to war, one knows that the spirit of Molly Ivins will be with them, every step of the way.

Rick Santorum – Cafeteria Catholic

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

The phrase “Cafeteria Catholic” refers to people who identify as being Catholics, but who do not follow all of the teachings of the Catholic Church.  The phrase is most frequently used pejoratively by some conservative Catholics to describe more socially progressive Catholics who do not strictly follow the Church’s teachings against reproductive freedom, LGBT equality, divorce, and pre-marital sex.  But the phrase can and should be used just as much to describe Catholics who seek to enforce Catholic views on issues such as abortion, contraception, and gay rights, while ignoring or even actively working against the Church’s progressive teachings on issues such as torture, unjust wars, economic justice, and the death penalty. The poster child for such conservative Cafeteria Catholicism is GOP Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, who is happy to use his Catholic faith as the basis for attacking reproductive rights and LGBT equality, but promotes conservative policies that oppose Catholic teachings on a wide array of other issues.

Conservative Cafeteria Catholics frequently try to excuse their refusal to follow progressive Church teachings on the grounds that issues related to the sanctity of life – i.e., abortion and euthanasia – are given a preeminent position in Catholic theology.  And while that is true, the Church has also made clear that its teachings on numerous other issues should not be ignored.  For example, in 2007 the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a document entitled Faithful Citizenship that addresses how Catholic teaching should impact the political views and activity of Catholics in the US.  While that document states that abortion and euthanasia are wrongs that “must always be opposed,” the Bishops continued by explaining that those issues should not be misused:

as a way of dismissing or ignoring other serious threats to human life and dignity. Racism and other unjust discrimination, the use of the death penalty, resorting to unjust war, the use of torture, war crimes, the failure to respond to those who are suffering from hunger or a lack of health care, or an unjust immigration policy are all serious moral issues that challenge our consciences and require us to act. These are not optional concerns which can be dismissed.

. . . . .

Catholic teaching about the dignity of life calls us to oppose torture, unjust war, and the use of the death penalty; to prevent genocide and attacks against noncombatants; to oppose racism; and to overcome poverty and suffering. Nations are called to protect the right to life by seeking effective ways to combat evil and terror without resorting to armed conflicts except as a last resort, always seeking first to resolve disputes by peaceful means.

Yet Rick Santorum, and many other conservative Cafeteria Catholics, ignore these teachings and actually promote policies that are directly contrary to Catholic teaching.  For example, below is a list of the Bishop’s statements from Faithful Citizenship on various issues contrasted with the policy positions taken by avowed Catholic Santorum:

Torture

As noted above, “Catholic teaching about the dignity of life calls us to oppose torture.”  Santorum, however, actively cheerleads for actions such as waterboarding that, while he euphemistically calls them “enhanced interrogation techniques,” plainly constitute torture.  In defending the use of waterboarding and other torture to obtain information from detainees, Santorum went so far as to claim that torture victim John McCain “doesn’t understand how enhanced interrogation works

Death Penalty

Faithful Citizenship notes that “our nation’s continued reliance on the death penalty cannot be justified.”  By contrast, Santorum voted against replacing the death penalty with life in prison in the 1994 Crime Bill and supported limiting death penalty appeals that death row inmates could use to challenge their convictions and sentences.

Climate Change

The Bishops were clear that Catholic theology calls for protecting the environment and addressing climate change, stating that:

Care for the earth and for the environment is a moral issue. Protecting the land, water, and air we share is a religious duty of stewardship and reflects our responsibility to born and unborn children, who are most vulnerable to environmental assault. Effective initiatives are required for energy conservation and the development of alternate, renewable, and clean-energy resources. Our Conference offers a distinctive call to seriously address global climate change.

By contrast, Santorum claims that climate change is a fraud, stating that it is “an absolute travesty of scientific research that was motivated by those who, in my opinion, saw this as an opportunity to create a panic and a crisis for government to be able to step in and even more greatly control your life.”  Similarly, in June 2011, Santorum had the following to say about climate change:

I believe the earth gets warmer and I also believe the earth gets cooler, and I think history points out that it does that and that the idea that man, through the production of CO2 — which is a trace gas in the atmosphere, and the manmade part of that trace gas is itself a trace gas — is somehow responsible for climate change is, I think, just patently absurd.

To me this is an opportunity for the left to create — it’s really a beautifully concocted scheme because they know that the earth is gonna cool and warm. It’s been on a warming trend so they said, ‘Oh, let’s take advantage of that and say that we need the government to come in and regulate your life some more because it’s getting warmer.’”

It’s just an excuse for more government control of your life, and I’ve never been for any scheme or even accepted the junk science behind the whole narrative.

 

War

Faithful Citizenship explains that “Catholics must also work to avoid war and to promote peace” as the Church allows only for “just wars” as an option of last resort.  Santorum, however, was a strong and active supporter of President W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, and now he is aggressively promoting war with Iran.

Immigration

With regards to immigration, the Bishops noted that:

The Gospel mandate to “welcome the stranger” requires Catholics to care for and stand with immigrants, both documented and undocumented, including immigrant children. Comprehensive reform is urgently necessary to fix a broken immigration system and should include a temporary work program with worker protections and a path to permanent residency; family reunification policies; a broad and fair legalization program; access to legal protections, including due process and essential public programs; refuge for those fleeing persecution and exploitation; and policies to address the root causes of migration.

Santorum’s campaign website statement regarding immigration prioritizes “securing” the border, while also stating his opposition to any program of legalization for undocumented immigrants.  Santorum has referred to himself as a “Steve King guy on immigration,” referring to the Republican Congressman who is so virulently anti-immigrant that the House GOP passed him over for the chair of the House Subcommittee on Immigration.

Health Care

The Church teaches that “Affordable and accessible health care is an essential safeguard of human life and a fundamental human right. With an estimated 47 million Americans lacking health care coverage, it is also an urgent national priority.”  By contrast, Santorum is a vocal critic who wants to repeal President Obama’s health care reform, which would extend affordable health insurance coverage to an additional 32 million Americans.  Santorum has also publicly supported the idea that health insurance companies should be able to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.

* * * * * * * *

The simple fact is that Santorum’s shtick about being a defender of Catholic values is limited to a very small number of issues that share a common theme – using the power of government to tell others how to live their personal lives.  When it comes to a wide array of other Catholic teachings, Santorum is silent or actively opposed to the position taken by the Church. So, next time you hear Santorum talking about Catholic values, keep in mind that he is a Cafeteria Catholic who is interested in only a limited number of the items that are on the menu.

A Tale of Two SOTU Speeches – Obama 2012 and Clinton 1996

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Suppose you are a Democratic President of the United States.  The voters sent you to the White House with a large electoral college victory and large Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.  Two years later, the voters rebuked your party in mid-term Congressional elections, creating a divided government in which Republicans control at least one house of Congress.  As President, you are now gearing up for your re-election campaign and are preparing to offer your State of the Union speech that is perhaps the best opportunity to frame the debate in re-election battle.   What would you do – triangulate or offer a progressive vision?

If you were President Clinton, the answer was to triangulate between the conservative Republicans and more progressive Democrats in Congress by offering a State of the Union speech filled with mostly conservative themes and small bore ideas.  President Clinton offered a few progressive proposals, such as raising the minimum wage, ratifying the START II anti-nuclear proliferation treaty, and protecting Medicare and Medicaid.  But the overarching theme of the speech was that “the era of big government is over,” which Clinton said three times during the speech.  The three biggest proposals in the speech were balancing the budget, welfare reform, and cracking down on illegal immigration.  And the rest of the speech was filled with minor ideas like requiring V-chips in TV sets, school uniforms, and voucherizing job training programs.

President Clinton’s 1996 State of the Union speech was not horrible. But at a time of strong economic growth and low deficits, President Clinton had the opportunity to set forth a strongly progressive vision for reducing poverty, making health care more affordable, rebuilding our cities, improving the environment, and shoring up Medicare and Medicaid.  Instead, he decided to tack to the center, criticize government, and offer small bore proposals like V-chips and school uniforms. Some of the individual ideas may have been worthwhile, but President Clinton certainly did not offer the type of strong defense of progressive governance that we should expect by a Democratic President.

By contrast, President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union speech offered a far more progressive vision to launch his re-election campaign.  Sounding some of the same themes that were in his December 2011 speech in Osawatomie, Kansas, President Obama focused largely on economic fairness and how it can be achieved, starting by posing the following choice:

We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by.  Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.

After outlining how financial shenanigans and deregulation caused the economic collapse of 2008, President Obama noted that he would not go back to those failed policies:

But I intend to fight obstruction with action, and I will oppose any effort to return to the very same policies that brought on this economic crisis in the first place.  No, we will not go back to an economy weakened by outsourcing, bad debt, and phony financial profits.

Next, President Obama proposed to help stop jobs and tax revenues from going overseas by, among other things, proposing a basic minimum tax for multinational corporations:

First, if you’re a business that wants to outsource jobs, you shouldn’t get a tax deduction for doing it.  That money should be used to cover moving expenses for companies like Master Lock that decide to bring jobs home. Second, no American company should be able to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas.  From now on, every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax.  And every penny should go towards lowering taxes for companies that choose to stay here and hire here.

Our President also reiterated his call for the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform that helps law-abiding immigrants get on a path to citizenship:

Let’s also remember that hundreds of thousands of talented, hardworking students in this country face another challenge:  The fact that they aren’t yet American citizens.  Many were brought here as small children, are American through and through, yet they live every day with the threat of deportation.  Others came more recently, to study business and science and engineering, but as soon as they get their degree, we send them home to invent new products and create new jobs somewhere else.

That doesn’t make sense.. . . . We should be working on comprehensive immigration reform right now.   But if election-year politics keeps Congress from acting on a comprehensive plan, let’s at least agree to stop expelling responsible young people who want to staff our labs, start new businesses, and defend this country.  Send me a law that gives them the chance to earn their citizenship.  I will sign it right away.

Pushing back on the largely baseless conservative attacks about government loans for the Solyndra solar company, Obama next offered a defense of renewable energy investments and called for paying them by eliminating tax breaks for the oil industry:

I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China or Germany because we refuse to make the same commitment here.  We have subsidized oil companies for a century.  That’s long enough.  It’s time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that’s rarely been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that’s never been more promising.   Pass clean energy tax credits and create these jobs.

Noting the significant amount of spending we are avoiding by ending the war in Iraq and gradually winding down the war in Afghanistan, the President proposed to use half of that money to invest in infrastructure here in the US:

Take the money we’re no longer spending at war, use half of it to pay down our debt, and use the rest to do some nation-building right here at home.

President Obama then offered a lengthy defense of smart federal regulations and calling for an increased enforcement effort against abusive financial practices:

We’ve all paid the price for lenders who sold mortgages to people who couldn’t afford them, and buyers who knew they couldn’t afford them.  That’s why we need smart regulations to prevent irresponsible behavior.  Rules to prevent financial fraud, or toxic dumping, or faulty medical devices, don’t destroy the free market.  They make the free market work better.

There is no question that some regulations are outdated, unnecessary, or too costly.  In fact, I’ve approved fewer regulations in the first three years of my presidency than my Republican predecessor did in his.  I’ve ordered every federal agency to eliminate rules that don’t make sense.  We’ve already announced over 500 reforms, and just a fraction of them will save business and citizens more than $10 billion over the next five years.  We got rid of one rule from 40 years ago that could have forced some dairy farmers to spend $10,000 a year proving that they could contain a spill – because milk was somehow classified as an oil.  With a rule like that, I guess it was worth crying over spilled milk.

I’m confident a farmer can contain a milk spill without a federal agency looking over his shoulder.  But I will not back down from making sure an oil company can contain the kind of oil spill we saw in the Gulf two years ago.  I will not back down from protecting our kids from mercury pollution, or making sure that our food is safe and our water is clean.  I will not go back to the days when health insurance companies had unchecked power to cancel your policy, deny you coverage, or charge women differently from men.

And I will not go back to the days when Wall Street was allowed to play by its own set of rules.  The new rules we passed restore what should be any financial system’s core purpose:  Getting funding to entrepreneurs with the best ideas, and getting loans to responsible families who want to buy a home, start a business, or send a kid to college.

So if you’re a big bank or financial institution, you are no longer allowed to make risky bets with your customers’ deposits.  You’re required to write out a “living will” that details exactly how you’ll pay the bills if you fail – because the rest of us aren’t bailing you out ever again.  And if you’re a mortgage lender or a payday lender or a credit card company, the days of signing people up for products they can’t afford with confusing forms and deceptive practices are over.  Today, American consumers finally have a watchdog in Richard Cordray with one job: To look out for them.

We will also establish a Financial Crimes Unit of highly trained investigators to crack down on large-scale fraud and protect people’s investments.  Some financial firms violate major anti-fraud laws because there’s no real penalty for being a repeat offender.  That’s bad for consumers, and it’s bad for the vast majority of bankers and financial service professionals who do the right thing.  So pass legislation that makes the penalties for fraud count.

And tonight, I am asking my Attorney General to create a special unit of federal prosecutors and leading state attorneys general to expand our investigations into the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis. This new unit will hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners, and help turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many Americans.

Finally, President Obama called for the wealthy to begin paying their fair share again by ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and instituting a Buffett Rule that ensures that millionaires pay a tax rate of at least 30%.  While Obama’s accompanying proposal to rein in the long term costs of Medicare and Medicaid could create some peril, it is important to keep in mind that we can and should rein in such costs by rationalizing health care spending rather than by cutting benefits:

I’m prepared to make more reforms that rein in the long term costs of Medicare and Medicaid, and strengthen Social Security, so long as those programs remain a guarantee of security for seniors.

But in return, we need to change our tax code so that people like me, and an awful lot of Members of Congress, pay our fair share of taxes.  Tax reform should follow the Buffett rule:  If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes.  And my Republican friend Tom Coburn is right:  Washington should stop subsidizing millionaires.  In fact, if you’re earning a million dollars a year, you shouldn’t get special tax subsidies or deductions.  On the other hand, if you make under $250,000 a year, like 98 percent of American families, your taxes shouldn’t go up.  You’re the ones struggling with rising costs and stagnant wages.  You’re the ones who need relief.

Now, you can call this class warfare all you want.  But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes?  Most Americans would call that common sense.

President Obama’s speech did include a few conservative ideas that we aren’t excited by such as opening up more than 75% of our potential offshore oil and gas areas to drilling.  But the clear focus of President Obama’s speech was an aggressive presentation of a progressive vision of economic fairness, smart regulations, the wealthy paying their fair share, clean energy development, immigration, and infrastructure investment.  The contrast with President Clinton’s 1996 triangulation could hardly be clearer.

While President Obama’s speech provides us progressives with an opportunity, it also presents a risk.  Clinton’s triangulation was harmful to the progressive cause as a matter of policy, but it succeeded in what it was intended to do – get President Clinton re-elected. With President Obama taking a far more progressive approach in a fairly similar political situation, we progressives must do what we can to make sure that Obama is re-elected with a Democratic Congress (and then hold their feet to the fire in 2013) so that we can show that the progressive vision is a better approach not only as a matter of policy but also as a matter of politics.

To do your part, write a letter to your local newspaper editor in support of the proposed Buffett Rule and sign up to volunteer for Obama’s re-election campaign.

Weekend Reading List

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

For this weekend’s reading list we have a collection of documents by and about Dr. King, an evaluation of coming demographic and economic changes in the US, and reports on why Finland’s schools are successful, US schools are increasingly criminalizing childhood behavior, and why we ignore the civilian victims of American wars.

If you have any feedback on these articles, or would like to recommend an article for next weekend’s reading list, please let us know at Winning Progressive’s Facebook page.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute – the Institute, based at Stanford University, has a comprehensive online collection of speeches, papers, and research by and about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

State of the Dream 2012: The Emerging Majority - United for a Fair Economy’s 2012 report on Dr. King’s legacy focuses on demographic shifts that are projected to make people of color the majority of the US population by 2042, but how corresponding changes in policy are needed to ensure that current economic disparities between whites and people of color are not further exacerbated.

Why Are Finland’s Schools Successful? – an examination of  how Finland’s public education system has become the envy of the world without following the marketplace competition and standardized testing approach that is so much in vogue about education “reform’ advocates in the US.

The US Schools With Their Own Police – a report on how school districts in the US are increasingly criminalizing what we previously considered to be just typical behavior from school children.

Why Do We Ignore the Civilians Killed in American Wars? - a look at the reasons why we tend to ignore the approximately six million largely innocent civilians killed in the wars in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Weekend Reading List

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

For this weekend’s reading list we have things to be thankful for, a critique of progressive disillusionment, the newest front in the battle against coal, a dangerous proposal to allow indefinite detention of US citizens, and a conservative multimillionaire’s effort to buy North Carolina’s political system. 

If you have any feedback on these articles, or would like to recommend an article for next weekend’s reading list, please let us know at Winning Progressive’s Facebook page.

Top Ten Things Americans Can Be Thankful For in 2011 - The end of the Iraq War, democractic progress in Tunisia, crime continuing to fall, grassroots activism, and other things that we can be thankful for.

When Did Liberals Become So Unreasonable? – an in-depth critique of some progressives’ disillusionment with President Obama and previous Democratic Presidents.

The Coal Pipeline: In Pacific Northwest, a Local Battle Has Global Fallout - how the fight to stop the expansion of coal export terminals in the Pacific Northwest has become the latest front in the battle against climate change.

Senators Demand the Military Lock Up American Citizens in a “Battlefield” They Define As Being Right Outside Your Window - An ACLU action alert about a dangerous provision of the National Defense Authorization Act pending in the Senate that would authorize the military to indefinitely detain American citizens suspected of ties to terrorism even if arrested here in the US. A vote is possible as early as Monday, so call your Senators and urge them to vote in favor of the Udall Amendment that would stop this blatant undermining of our civil liberties.

State For Sale - How Art Pope, the conservative multi-millionaire owner of Variety Wholesalers, is working to shift political control in North Carolina far to the right.