thenation.com — In the wake of Obama’s victory, citizens in several states submitted petitions to secede from the United States. It is something of an irony that the very states seeking secession from “big government”—like Louisiana and Alabama—have been among the top beneficiaries of that selfsame government. Put bluntly, the government would be far smaller without them, and they would seriously struggle far more without it. Indeed, were they to become independent, most would be failed states in need of a bailout. Only this time their benefactor would be not the federal government but the International Monetary Fund, of which the United States is the principal donor. Louisiana and Alabama would go the way of Greece and Spain. Far from rejecting the “European model,” these would-be campaigners for “independence” are actually embracing it, in their secessionist impulses and in their economic fate.
thegrio.com — Let’s be real about the hoops that Susan Rice finds herself now navigating in order to save her potential nomination for the position of Secretary of State. They are hoops structured, designed, and maintained by the persistence of white male privilege in America. They serve as reminders that though a new and rising diverse electoral coalition is undoubtedly in play, the overall paradigm of power and privilege in this nation remains firmly within the grasp of white men. Let’s remind ourselves of how this whole thing began.
Things maybe aren’t looking so great for Susan Rice. The throw-down yesterday by Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins, who extended the Republican case against Rice back to the Clinton years, is one of those Washington smoke signals, and it’s not a positive one. Let me therefore set aside for a day the question of the merits of Rice and raise another one: Who would make for some credible, interesting, outside-the-box choices to run Foggy Bottom? There are ample non-Rice options that would provide the nation with a strong chief diplomat and would piss off the wingnuts in the bargain. Here are half a dozen.
inthesetimes.com — A rainbow coalition of Democratic voters gave Barack Obama a victory over big Wall Street money and the steady drumbeat of hard-right racism. Nearly 45 percent of the president’s voters were people of color, with their numbers augmented by white women, youth and trade unionists. It was enough to keep him in the White House, but not enough to decisively change the overall balance of forces. Now the harder struggles begin—for Obama, for the Democratic Party and for the Left. Tough choices face all three.
prospect.org — It’s gone under the radar, but Politico reported this morning that, after a private request from President Obama to raise the debt ceiling, House Speaker John Boehner responded with a (not so) veiled demand. “There is a price for everything.” Sure, but that doesn’t mean you always have to pay it. Unlike last year, when he needed House Republicans to raise the debt ceiling—lest the United States fall into a second recession—Obama has all the leverage in this situation. If he does nothing, taxes on the rich return to their Clinton-era levels, and Republicans will have to negotiate from an unfavorable baseline. In other words, John Boehner is not in a position to make demands or threats of any kind. But if he decides to try to win some bargaining power by holding the debt ceiling hostage to a deal that favors Republicans, Obama has another option. He can just get rid of the debt ceiling.
yesmagazine.org — I live among Chief Seattle’s people, and one of the things I’ve learned from this experience is humility. I say, “I’ve lived here 12 years—longer than I’ve lived anywhere!” And then I look around at the ancient petroglyphs and the shell middens that whiten the beaches, and I remember that my neighbors’ ancestors have lived here for thousands of years. I talk about the growing divide in our society between the 1 percent and the 99 percent. Then I’m invited to a potlatch, where a seafood feast is followed by an outpouring of gift giving. Ah yes, these people figured out centuries ago that inequality upsets the delicate balances that allow societies to thrive. So instead of gaining status from accumulating stuff, they earn respect by giving it away.
colorlines.com — In a letter sent Monday to the Board of Higher Education, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said undocumented immigrants who have obtained a work permit through the Deferred Action program are now eligible to pay in-state tuition in the state’s public colleges and universities. The decision will cut tuition fees by about 50 percent for undocumented students attending state colleges. “Our experience has been that the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition is a prohibitive barrier,” Paul Reville, the state’s secretary of education, told the New York Times. “It’s a step in the right direction but it’s not a substitute for comprehensive immigration reform, we still need that,” Patrick told reporters on Monday.
inthesetimes.com — In the near future, more than 7.5 million permanent residents, mostly Latinos, are primed to become naturalized citizens and eligible voters. Politicians will have no choice but to heed an increasingly progressive Latino vote. Activists would do well to use their newfound clout to demand reforms that go beyond deferred action or a revived DREAM Act. These two plans offer a path to legal status for young, educated people, but not for their parents, and not for other Latino youth who came to the United States to support their families abroad. Many of these young people are semiliterate in both Spanish and English, and therefore unable to meet education requirements. To settle for reform that affects only the most fortunate of the have-nots would be a mistake.
inthesetimes.com — President Barack Obama’s re-election is a huge relief—we dodged the Romney/Ryan bullet. However, that’s not the same as winning a better future. If Obama’s first term is a prologue to the second, we should not expect to see much progress in strengthening the rights or bargaining ability of workers. Therefore, in Obama’s second term, we need to be: Smarter about the policies we advocate; Selective about the candidates we endorse; More disciplined about building a strong social movement. Progressives need to recognize where the real fight is happening. Congress is still firmly under Republican control—or, at least, under threat of a Republican veto that can stop any worthwhile federal legislation. Since progress won’t happen in Washington, we must work for it at the state and local level.
nextnewdeal.net — Our current tax system is a toxic legacy of the George W. Bush years. It loomed over Obama's first four years, bearing deficits that limited the scope of economic stimulus, drove inequality to astonishing levels, and led directly to the debt limit showdown of the summer of 2011 that forced us into even more dangerous policies. President Obama's second term offers a long overdue opportunity to restore the promise of progressive taxation and revenues that are adequate to our long-term economic priorities. It requires both short-term and long-term action. Here are some principles that the administration should hold to in restoring adequate and progressive taxation.