Feet to the Fire

Friday, November 07, 2008

The left is lining up to make sure the Obama administration follows through on its more progressive promises. Elise Gould, health economist at the Economic Policy Institute, Ted Lewis, human rights director for Global Exchange, and Melissa Harris-Lacewell, Professor of politics and African-American studies at Princeton University discuss what they expect from Obama's first term.


Elise Gould, Melissa Harris-Perry and Ted Lewis

Comments [30]

mc from Brooklyn

Whoops! that got away.
To continue--
I interviewed a friend, Japanese American who spent some time teaching in Ramallah from the fall of '01 to the spring of '02 during the intifada. She experienced Israeli air raids and said that at check points it was 50-50 that you would get hit over the head or get your bags carried for you. I taught some of the same kids the following summer. I am haunted still by the youngest who was shell-shocked and traumatized. I think it comes down to individuals and the fact that these people have benn interlocked for so long.

Bottom line: They have to decide that a solution is more important than their argument. That means that extremists on both sides have to be marginalized. And anyone defining something like the status of Jerusalem from the outside is not helping.

Nov. 07 2008 01:12 PM
mc from Brooklyn

I don't fully know what I think because I feel very unfamiliar with what actually goes on there besides the tidbits that come throught the news. A friend of mine spent a year in Tel Aviv on a Fulbright scholarship from the fall of '06 to the fall of '07. We were worried because it was right on the heels of the Lebanon war. But he had his family there the whole time and he said it was great -- they never once felt threatened. He is a conflict resolution specialist and has spent some time doing that over there.

I can see the need for an Israel in light of the fact that there is very little Jewish real estate when it comes to sovereign countries. Also in light of WW II there needs to be a haven.


Nov. 07 2008 01:07 PM
mc from Brooklyn

I don't fully know what I think because I feel very unfamiliar with what actually goes on there besides the tidbits that come throught the news. A friend of mine spent a year in Tel Aviv on a Fulbright scholarship from the fall of '06 to the fall of '07. We were worried because it was right on the heels of the Lebanon war. But he had his family there the whole time and he said it was great -- they never once felt threatened. He is a conflict resolution specialist and has spent some time doing that over there.

I can see the need for an Israel in light of the fact that there is very little Jewish real estate when it comes to sovereign countries. Also in light of WW II there needs to be a haven.

Nov. 07 2008 01:07 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

Peter from Sunset, Jews didn’t get right of return so much as they were given land Europe held as imperialist. Pre-occupied land. Jews are more than welcome to return to Europe now. Where will this cycle end, eh? Europe kicks out or kills the Jews… Jews kick out or kill the Arabs… Arabs set their eyes on Africa?

Nov. 07 2008 12:41 PM
Peter from Sunset Park


Of course, let me give the disclaimer that both parties need to come to an agreement between them. But here goes. Obama is wrong to come in a say, ‘Israel gets Jerusalem – end of story.’ In my opinion, Clinton and Dennis Ross had it right. In exchange for complete normalization, Israel gives up about 95% of the West Bank (most of the “settlers” live on about 5% of the West Bank). Israel then gives up an equal portion of land from Israel that is mutually agreed upon. Israel and the Palestinians figure out a fair way to share Jerusalem (frankly, I think that is a gift to the Palestinians since the Arabs never shared Jerusalem with Israel). And the Palestinians forever give up violence. Each group gets their own state and that is it. This is basically what Barak and Clinton offered Arafat but the Palestinians and other Arabs can’t even admit that they let Palestinian statehood slip away on a wave of suicide bombers and terror.

And of course, they figure out the water and electricity situation. And this whole right of return thing is a joke. Jews didn’t get the right of return to Europe after WWII, we got money if we were lucky. American Indians don’t get back NYC, they get money. Why the far left liberals think that the “right of return” even exists is just a sick form of anti-Semitism and impractical thinking.

What do you think MC?

Nov. 07 2008 12:19 PM
JAG from Manhattan

I just received an email from my Moroccan friend who lives in Rabat. From my living overseas in several countries, this view is common and deeply felt--esp. in developing countries. Wanted to share this with you and your listeners:

I quote: "I don't know who you have voted for, but what happened in the US is historic and you deserve to be congratulated for it. In fact, the election of Obama, whatever his foreign policies will be, just gave an idea about real democracy, and the power of people to take their destiny in their hands. It also shows the greatness of the Americans in their capacity to be hopeful, to dare, to adopt change and go ahead. It is a lesson to our countries which I hope will shake themselves up too.

So congratulations and hope you are doing fine with all your family."

Nov. 07 2008 12:18 PM
mc from Brooklyn

I'll have to check out Global Exchange, thank you. Do you have any ideas about how to solve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict?

Nov. 07 2008 12:10 PM
Peter from Sunset Park


That last post was a one word mistake!

If you look at the top of the page, Ted Lewis is from Global Exchange. All I know about the group is that they recognize a country called Palestine, but they do not recognize Israel. I fail to see how this group is credible. In my eyes, they are anti-Semites.

But WNYC must disagree because they keep deleting this view. Shame on WNYC.

Nov. 07 2008 12:05 PM
Peter from Sunset Park


I completely agree about having more political parties. Doing so may take out of the pciture such left/rigth divides such as abortion, gun control, etc.

I would like to see a party that is right on self defense and left on social issues.

Israel has 15-20 viable parties that all have a role. What a great role model for us.

Nov. 07 2008 12:00 PM
mc from Brooklyn

I am not familiar with Global Exchange. What is it?

Nov. 07 2008 11:48 AM
Peter from Sunset Park

The Truth:

You don't have to ask the WNYC moderators to cut me, they do so regularly. Apparently, at WNYC if you are critical of Obama or speak out against anti-Semitic guests, you get the axe. I have listened to WNYC for 10-12 years and I don't support Obama. He is scared of his own shadow, he is weak on moral character, and your hatred of Bush doesn't change that.

BTW Mr. Truth, we may disagree politically, but I don't believe your views should be cut or censored. Shame you are so scared of different views.

Nov. 07 2008 11:36 AM
Peter from Sunset Park

Global Exchange denies the existence of Israel.

But WNYC keeps deleting this - why the censoring this morning? Shouldn't WNYC listeners know that Global Exchange is anti-Semitic?

I do wish the WNYC censors would explain why they cut things. WNYC listeners have the right to speak out against the anti-Semites at Global Exchange.

Read this quick before it gets the WNYC censor axe.

[[Moderator Writes: As explained above, the WNYC server was acting very screwy this morning, and deleted much of our work, as well as several comments. This comment is not being removed. That said, the best place for programming comments really is listener services. Thanks.]]

Nov. 07 2008 11:24 AM
The Truth from Atlanta/New York

I don't like people speaking for me, I prefer to speak for myself. Stop saying AA's voted against or is to broad Amy.

Nov. 07 2008 11:19 AM
mc from Brooklyn

Voter from Brooklyn:
You are right about the major parties vis-a-vis gay rights which is why we need more parties. Obama has weighed in as being against gay marriage for religious reasons which dismays me, but he has also said that he holds out the possibility that he may be misguided. To his credit, he spoke out against Prop 8. I think that his statements on gay marriage are cover, because as you say, we live in a very homophobic country. It is up to all of us to change this.

BL Moderator: I hope you are not offended by my early postings and I appreciate your getting the site to work better.

Nov. 07 2008 10:45 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Amy, what are the states, or for that matter this country, if they are not the people? Let's not be high-minded and have ideas of what a state or country is, while disregarding states and countries are only what their citizens and leaders make them.

Nov. 07 2008 10:45 AM
The Truth from Atlanta/New York

Moderator when do you plan to delete the uncivilized comments made by peter?

Peter who disrespectfully refers to the President Elect as scared of his own shadow and weak moral character? Are you serious? Have you met your president for the last 8 years??

Nov. 07 2008 10:42 AM
Josh from Brooklyn

Personally, I think, Obama as a center-left president is false. His health-care plan is just a band-aid on the "system" we already have. We need a complete overhall and attitude towards health-care, and he does nothing but make token tweeks. He's just as bigoted as the republicans, kind of ironic the first black president would discriminate against someone else. The cabinet member names being tossed around are just a retread of the Clinton years. He's pro-NAFTA and his tax plan doesn't truly create a more progressive system. A truly left president would eliminate the AMT and the payroll tax cap. That's what's killing the middle-class and poor. Obama ignored the poor in his campaign and pandered to the middle-class. Unions were indifferent (I'm in one) and he would charge income tax on the "rebates" he gave to those who don't pay income taxes to qualify for the cuts. A truly left president would allow the poor to use their payroll taxes to qualify for tax credits like child-care and earned-income. They don't get those either.

Nov. 07 2008 10:40 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

As I posted yesterday, the Democratic party has made no allegiance to or any promises to fight for gay rights. For this station to have segment after segment implying otherwise are pointless. Barack Obama made no positive overtures towards the gay community. None should be expected. His comments on the matter were token and without substance.

Yes, Peter from Sunset, Obama and all Democrats did shrink away from comments made by his pastor, as did Republicans from comments made by conservative clergy. It was more than just racial hatred. Neither Republicans nor Democrats spoke up for gay rights. Republicans and Democrats did speak up against anti-Semitism directed towards Jews (if they did not, neither would have been elected.) Both parties also spoke of support for Israel. Neither party made any effort to speak up against anti-Semitism directed to non Jews, per the classic definition of the word. Neither party spoke up against anti Muslim sentiment throughout the United States.

If you expect any party to fight for gay rights in a consistantly racist, xenophobic, sexist, and homophobic country, you are wasting your effort.

Nov. 07 2008 10:39 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I slept in this morning & turned on the radio just in time for the beginning of this segment, so maybe I was still sleepy & misheard what Prof. Harris-Lacewell said about the anti-gay marriage referenda. It sounded as if she said the states where these ballot props passed were bigoted/anti-gay (don't remember her exact words now). I hope she meant the referenda rather than the states, but it sounded like the latter. If so, she needs to pay more attention to how she phrases things.

Nov. 07 2008 10:36 AM
Leo Queens from Queens

Please congratulate Ted Lewis - The first person I have heard in the media so clearly stating the link between NAFTA and the increase of Mexicans fleeing North of the border as a result of an agreement which was meant to push peasants out of their farming community through the dumping of commodities from the US which provided cheap labor to the maquiladoras and then cheap illegal labor in the US.
Also, something that is not mentioned is that at the same time NAFTA was passed the Mexican government gutted the legal protection of the Ejidos (Native communal lands) by allowing people to sell it which helped in the consolidation of farm lands into big corporate farms as in the US

Nov. 07 2008 10:33 AM
mc from Brooklyn

We can't fix the economy without fixing the health care system. It is eating up 16% of GNP and growing rapidly to the point where it will crowd out everything else. Almost no one is winning in the current system - not even the insurance companies.

I share your dismay about the Dem party. That is why we need more political parties.

Nov. 07 2008 10:32 AM
Eric from B'klyn

The FAIR radio show Counterspin is underscoring the effort in the corporate media to characterize the US as a 'center-right' country. When in fact, their guests argue that the actual facts indicate that the is now 'center-left'. Check it out:

Nov. 07 2008 10:30 AM
BL Show from Varick St. Studios

[[BL Moderator Writes: Just a few notes about today's comments thread. One, the website is acting screwy and has deleted a few entries, both in our write-ups and on comments. Apologies. In addition, a few comments have been moderated because they haven't remained on topic to the discussion on the air which, incidentally, hasn't even started yet. So, a reminder to please heed the posting guidelines and stay on topic and civil. If you have a comment related to programming decisions, it's best to contact listener services. Thanks.]]

Nov. 07 2008 10:26 AM
Peter from Sunset Park


Thank you for your comments. Perhaps you are right. It is not fair to hold the Dems to a higher standard on social issues, but I do. The Republicans are hawkish on self defense and that is where my heart is, but I also support socially left views. If the dems aren't going to support gay rights (which are human rights), then who will?

Nov. 07 2008 09:32 AM
mc from Brooklyn

An addendum: Let me state that in my mind bigotry is bigotry. I think it is intolerable. I also think that depending on the group being oppressed and its particular history, that there are psychological differences in how it plays out. This is useful, not as a way to excuse it, but a way to study it closely, foster dialogue about it and ultimately eliminate it.

Nov. 07 2008 09:25 AM
mc from Brooklyn

I have to respond to a rather lengthy post you submitted yesterday that was addressed to me, although I think it was not intended solely for me. I was chiming in with you yesterday. Correct me if I'm wrong, but what I have taken away from your posts is that you are quite hawkish (a clumsy term, but oh well) on foreign policy but quite liberal (another term I loathe) on social issues. I was saying that you are right about the Dem party. I used to hold them to a higher standard than the Repubs, but no more. They are just as self-serving as the Repubs, and while I find myself in agreement with them more often than the Repubs, I am in no way a loyalist. I give Obama all the credit for his achievement; the party just wanted to win and attached themselves accordingly.

Nov. 07 2008 08:59 AM
Peter from Sunset Park


You are correct. Obama is scared of his own shadow. He was averse to:

-speaking out against racial hatred in his own church,
-speaking up for gay rights, and
-speaking up against Jew haters,

Obama is built of weak moral character. He believes that others, such as gays and lesbians, should sit in the back of the bus. So sad that the first black president is a supporter of apartheid against gays.

Nov. 07 2008 08:45 AM
mc from Brooklyn

I think the left is going to have to accept the fact that we have elected a center left president with a huge assist from them. Somehow the narrative got going that Obama was the leftist candidate in the Democratic field. If you study his record you will see a very cautious, risk averse legislator. It was wrapped up brilliantly in a very attractive package. And in the end, it may be what most people really want.

Nov. 07 2008 08:38 AM
Myriam F. from Ithaca, NY

Hello Mr. Lehrer,

[This is shorter/revised version of comment I posted last night. I goes on today's page.]

I keep hearing negative comments in the media about taxes, taxes, taxes. (The Tax-Godzzila is coming!) How do people think a government works? A government works with funds provided by all of us. Yes, the government has problems, but it is necessary. We need to work on improving it because without government AND taxes no society is possible, and no business is possible. Wealth is always created with the assistance of public goods—roads, trains, airports, disaster relief, job training programs, defense, etc. So, a portion of profits from business should, in all fairness, go to the public coffer that made it possible; such taxes help sustain future business and civic needs.

We really need to get over this tax fear, and begin thinking about what each of us CAN AND MUST do for our country. We ALL need to give. That means that some people will be paying higher taxes, most of all, people with high incomes who have benefited disproportionately from the country's growing economy for the past 28 years. This is patriotism in action! I know many well-off people do have a renewed sense of ethics about contributing to the public good.

Nov. 07 2008 02:34 AM
NPV from Sea Cliff, New York, 11579

Brian, I read someone comment from yesterday show who asserted that you should come "out of the closet because have secret neocon tendencies". I personally have seen no evidence of that. Although,at times you have articulated a centrist point of view. You are doing an excellent job and you are very intelligent...

Now as for Obama's first term... Well many of his big money supporters will be cashing in their chips and will place great demands on him and his administration. Also, I do not thing it will be smooth sailing for Obama when he has to interact with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. There will be a clash of egos and major power plays. Additionally, Obama's supporters are going to have incredibily high expectations and will lose patience when he does not come through for
them. In fairness to Obama and or any other newly elected president there is simply too many things he has to do. I wish him well ...
He has a very tough road ahead of him. Keep producing the quality shows that have been your trademark. Sincerely, NPV

Nov. 07 2008 12:54 AM

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