Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Possibility of a Trump Media Empire

Peter Dreier,

Before he became the chairman of Breitbart News, Stephen Bannon worked in the Mergers & Acquisitions Department at Goldman Sachs. For the past year, Bannon has merged Breitbart News with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, hoping to acquire more and more influence as a frequent Trump advisor and, as of this week, as the campaign’s CEO.

After Trump loses, don’t be surprised to see Bannon join forces with Trump and Roger Ailes (the former Fox News guru deposed for engaging in sexual harassment of employees who recently jumped aboard Trump’s sinking ship) to create a new right-wing media conglomerate — Trump TV or Trump Media — linking Breitbart News to a new cable network that will almost make Fox News look tame and responsible. Together, Trump, Ailes and Bannon would run their media empire to advance their common goals: gaining political influence, massaging their massive egos, moving the Republican Party further to the right, attacking Democrats and liberal ideas, and promoting a neo-fascist agenda combining xenophobia, racism, sexism, government-bashing, and anti-immigrant nativism.

Donald Trump and Roger Ailes

Earlier this week, Trump hired Bannon as his campaign’s chief executive. Bannon took over the right-wing website in 2012 after its founder, Andrew Breitbart, died of a heart attack at age 43. The media have had a difficult time explaining Bannon’s operation just as it did when Breitbart ran the show. In its article, “What Is Breitbart News?,” posted on Tuesday, the New York Times labeled it a “conservative-leaning news website.” The Washington Post called it “leading organ of the conservative media.” Closer to the truth, Bloomberg News termed it a “crusading right-wing site.”

Although it has the word “news” in its corporate name, Breitbart News is not a news-gathering enterprise. It does not report the news. It does not investigate the news. It does not comment on the news. It manufactures news.


California Assembly passes Farmworker Overtime Bill

The California Assembly was flooded with farm workers demanding over time pay on Monday, Aug. 29.
The Assembly  sent Gov. Jerry Brown a hard-fought and historic expansion of overtime rules for farmworkers, but it remains uncertain whether the Democratic governor will sign off on the measure.
“A nearly identical bill fell three votes short of passage on the Assembly floor in May, with 15 Democrats voting against the measure or declining to vote. But on Monday, an amended version of the measure, now contained in Assembly Bill 1066, passed on a 44-32 vote.” Local Assembly members Ken Cooley  (Rancho Cordova) and  Jim Cooper (District 9- Elk Grove) voted against the bill.

“Agricultural workers already receive some overtime pay under California law thanks to a 2002 state directive that entitles them to extra wages if they work more than 10 hours in a day or more than 60 hours in a week. AB 1066 would expand that to bring it more in line with other industries, offering time-and-a-half pay for working more than eight hours in a day or 40 in a week and double pay for working more than 12 hours a day. The pay boosts would kick in incrementally over four years, and the governor could suspend them for a year if the economy falters.”
Business groups quickly condemned the vote. “We are deeply concerned with the passage of AB 1066 today and the devastating impacts this bill will have on our small, independent farmers and the workers they employ,” said Tom Scott, state executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business.
Ahead of Monday’s vote, Assembly members heard from both farmworkers who forfeited a day’s pay to visit offices and press for the bill and from farm industry representatives, including minority farm owners, who warned lawmakers the measure would devastate small-scale growers and diminish work for laborers.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Tell Assemblyman Cooley_ Support Farmworkers

TAKE ACTION: Farm worker overtime bill JUST passed CA Senate. Will move on to full Assembly next.

“As farm workers, we work during the hot summers and the cold winters. I believe that we deserve the 8 hour day like any other American worker has."

-Daniel Navarrette,
Strawberry Worker

Breaking news. The new farm worker overtime bill just was voted on in the CA senate and passed 21-14! It next moves on to the full Assembly floor for a final vote that has to happen before August 31. Can you help us pass this legislation by sending your email today to your CA Assembly person and ask them to support this vital bill?

The bill must be voted on before the legislative session ends on or before August 31 or CA farm workers will continue to be excluded from overtime laws enjoyed by most American workers.

Trump Begins Ad Campaign with Anti Mexican Lies

Donald Trump begins his national ad campaign with a deceitful assault on Mexican immigrants.

We should recognize how dangerous such ads are. In November of 1994  Pete Wilson won re-election with over 56% of the vote based in large part on a similar  mean-spirited, divisive, and racist campaign directed against Mexican and Mexican Americans  in Proposition 187.  We need to recognize the potential advantage of racist scapegoating in winning elections.

The purpose of Trump’s intolerant bombasts are not to develop a policy -- it is to capture and exploit the anxiety and emotion of a particular sub-set of voters: xenophobic Republicans and the hard Tea Party Right.

Anti-immigrant campaigns such as that promoted by Trump  and the Republican Party  have effects and must be opposed.  Currently, Trump  is  repeating and amplifying  inaccurate, oppressive, and highly charged stereotypes about race and immigration in the U.S.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Learn to Organize and to Win

Congressional District 10.  Tracy/Modesto

 This fall we are looking for students and recent graduates who want to be a part of a new generation of leadership that believes, that real change comes from the ground up. 
Students will be operating out of Tracy and Modesto offices 
Fellows will be trained on the basics of organizing & campaign fundamentals and then placed in a community to carry out grassroots activities. Fellows will be asked to commit to a minimum of 6 hours per week . 
This Fellowship Team is an opportunity for you to see a fiercely contested, highstakes campaign from the inside

Click on the document below to enlarge for more information.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Clinton’s Fibs vs. Trump’s Huge Lies - The New York Times

Clinton’s Fibs vs. Trump’s Huge Lies - The New York Times

Donald Trump in Context

by Kurt Stand
Near the end of the 1970's New York City  went bankrupt, was put under management by banks, union strength (and union belief in its strength) undercut, black and Latino community organizations isolated, repressed or coopted, and the left (the organized left and the community of which it was a part) unmoored and demoralized.  Given slightly different starting and ending times, the same picture could be given of other urban areas, other industrial centers, other university towns – and the country as a whole personified in the image of Ronald Reagan.  It is a set of developments that has everything to do with the rise of Donald Trump whose success to date – whatever the outcome of his current presidential run – will pose a continued threat to formal democratic governance in the years ahead.
The neo-liberal changeover in the nature of New York’s local economy in the 1980s meant that greater profits could be made from the real estate boom in hotels, casinos and other commercial venues.  And that was where Donald Trump invested the fortune he inherited from his father.  Along with the money he inherited his political connections (a Republican with longstanding ties to Joe McCarthy’s advisor Roy Cohn, yet also in bed with Democratic politicians in money-making deals) and his racism.  Rooted in US culture and institutional structures, racism has been a useful tool for political demagoguery even in the liberal New York City.  Moreover it was and is a money-making proposition.  Redlining — the bank-practice of excluding blacks from neighborhoods as a means to raise property value – contributed to Fred Trump’s wealth while undercutting worker solidarity.  And it was a forerunner of gentrification – artificially inflating property values by pushing out industry as well as low and middle-income housing in favor of luxury office space and housing for the well-to-do – which is the source of Donald Trump’s wealth and political strength.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

If We Felt the Bern : Why Should We Vote for Her ?

By Christine Riddiough
The Sanders campaign had a tremendous impact on U.S. politics  – democratic socialism has never been this much in the media in any of our lifetimes.Why should those of us on the Left even be thinking about Hillary Clinton?
Because the nominees of the two major political parties are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. As democratic socialists we need to think seriously about what is going to move our country in a positive direction; what is going to result in better lives for more people. And that’s not Donald Trump.
In May the National Political Committee passed a set of talking points on DSA’s electoral work going forward:
  1. Organize against a Trump victory
  2. Criticize the Clinton administration if she’s elected
  3. Support left-wing candidates
How do we do that and build a progressive movement, democratic socialism and, specifically, DSA? Dustin Guastella and Jared Abbott recently described their strategy in a post. I agree with some of what they say, but I think they are both too optimistic about Trump’s likely defeat and too lacking in specificity in regards to alternatives.