Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Workers Have Rights - Imagine That

December 31, 2019

Meyerson on TAP



Workers Have Rights? Uber and the Chamber Go to Court to Stop Such Nonsense. As the old year ends, the old order is striking back. Today in California, big business is in court seeking to overturn two landmark pieces of pro-worker, pro-freedom legislation that the bluest state’s legislators and governor enacted this year, and that are scheduled to go into effect tomorrow.

Today, Uber and Postmates filed a suit to overturn AB 5, the new law requiring companies that misclassify their workers as independent contractors when they’re actually employees to treat them as employees—and, as such, covered by minimum-wage laws, state-mandated benefits, workers’ comp, the works. And yesterday, a federal judge stayed AB 51—another law set to take effect tomorrow, this one banning employers from requiring new hires, as a condition of their employment, to waive their right to sue for grievances and to submit instead to forced arbitration. District Judge Kimberly Mueller, responding to a suit from both the U.S. and California Chambers of Commerce, along with other business groups, set January 10 for a hearing to determine whether to make that stay permanent (though, of course, appealable). According to a 2018 report from the Economic Policy Institute, two-thirds of California workplaces have such clauses in their employment contracts.

With the federal bench overflowing with reflexively anti-worker Bush and Trump appointees, the fate of progressive state legislation is inherently in doubt. All the more reason why Democrats need to win the White House and Senate next November, and put more judges on that bench who don’t believe it’s legal to treat workers as serfs. ~ HAROLD MEYERSON




Follow Harold Meyerson on Twitter

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Rallies- Nation Wide to Demand Impeachment- Today

Rallies Nationwide To Demand Impeachment

‘To Protect Our Democracy,’ Tuesday night rallies planned in all 50 states to demand Congress votes to impeach Trump. Common Dreams: “At more than 500 rallies planned for Tuesday evening, hundreds of thousands of Americans are expected to call on the U.S. House to vote to impeach President Donald Trump. The rallies will take place at congressional offices and other public spaces, the night before the House is expected to vote on two articles of impeachment accusing Trump of abusing his power when he pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and obstructing Congress by stonewalling its investigation. ‘The facts are uncontested,” organizers said Saturday. ‘An extensive investigation turned up phone records, transcripts, and first hand witness testimony that prove Trump demanded Ukraine interfere in the 2020 election on his behalf before he’d give them critical military aid or a White House meeting.’ ‘Americans from California to West Virginia are ready to hold their representatives accountable and declare that no one—not even the president—is above the law,’ they added. At least 612 events were planned for 5:30pm local time on Tuesday, with people in every state in the nation planning to rally.”

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Choosing Democracy: Bretón has it wrong- Again

Choosing Democracy: Bretón has it wrong- Again: Bee opinion columnist Bretón has a harsh column about the SCUSD budget crisis. https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/article238321423.html Part...

Friday, December 13, 2019

Monday, December 2, 2019

Pozole Fund Raiser _ Dec. 7.


Trump Denies Climate Crisis

World Nears ‘Point Of No Return’ On Climate Change

U.N. chief warns “point of no return” cn Climate change “is in sight.” Slate: “U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres isn’t mincing words when it comes to issuing a dire warning about the global climate crisis, saying that the effort to stop climate change has been “utterly inadequate.” Speaking on the eve of a two-week international climate conference in Madrid, Guterres warned that the effects of climate change were already being felt. “The point of no return is no longer over the horizon,” Guterres said. ‘It is in sight and hurtling toward us.’ Although there is enough expertise and knowledge to limit global warming, ‘what is lacking is political will,’ Guterres said. In order to combat the crisis, ‘Our war against nature must stop,’ he added. And that involves changing the old ways of doing things. ‘We simply have to stop digging and drilling and take advantage of the vast possibilities offered by renewable energy and nature-based solutions,’ he said. Delegates from around the world will be meeting in Madrid until Dec. 13 to try to agree on rules for implementing the 2015 Paris climate accord. So far the cuts in emissions that have been agreed to are not enough to meet the goal of limiting temperature rises to between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius (2.7-3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. Even though some 70 countries have agreed to stop emitting greenhouse gases by 2050, there is a lack of commitment form some of the biggest offenders. ‘We also see clearly that the world’s largest emitters are not pulling their weight. And without them, our goal is unreachable,’ he said.”

Friday, November 29, 2019

You Put Children in Cages for a Fascist President



Democratic presidential candidate and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley speaks during a campaign stop in January 2016 in New Hampshire.
 Democratic presidential candidate and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley speaks during a campaign stop in January 2016 in New Hampshire. Photograph: Jim Cole/AP

Donald Trump’s acting deputy secretary of homeland security was called “the son of immigrant grandparents who cages children for a fascist president” on Wednesday night, by a man who forced him to leave a Capitol Hill bar on Thanksgiving eve.


That man was Martin O’Malley, former Baltimore mayor, governor of Maryland and candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.
It was the latest in a string of incidents in which angry opponents of Trump have confronted members of his administration in public.
In June 2018, then White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was famously asked to leave a restaurant in Virginia. Senior adviser Stephen Miller, the force behind Trump’s hardline immigration policies, has been confronted numerous times.

Such incidents have led to debate about the need for civility in US public life – particularly after Trump himself was booed at a World Series game in Washington in October. The first lady, Melania Trump, was booed in Baltimore on Tuesday, when she delivered remarks at a conference on the opioid epidemic.


In messages sent to the Washington Post after the Wednesday night incident at the Dubliner bar, O’Malley was unrepentant.


A Twitter user who met O’Malley at the pub first reported the incident, writing: “Martin O’Malley just drove Ken Cuccinelli out of the Dubliner in DC [with] a passion-laced and shame-invoking tirade on behalf of immigrant refugee children!!!”
firings
Siobhan Houton Arnold later told the Post: “O’Malley was shouting. I don’t think Cuccinelli was responding. I think he’s like, ‘Time to go. Just got here and I’m leaving.’ He pretty much retreated.”
O’Malley told the Post he had not shouted, but had raised his voice to be heard in a busy bar as he gathered with fellow members of his class at Gonzaga, a Catholic high school in Washington from which Cuccinelli also graduated.
He wanted to talk about Trump immigration policy which has led to family separations at the southern border and controversy over the conditions in which migrants of all ages are held.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Homelessness



From: NYT. California

If you live in California, you have almost certainly encountered homelessness. It’s the most visible symptom of the state’s vast economic inequality and is often the top concern among Californians from across the political spectrum.

Maybe your children have asked you why there are people who live on the streets, or you’ve read up on how the state’s lack of affordable housing is driving the crisis and the state or local policy changes that experts say will be necessary to make a dent in the problem.

Still, confronting the daily reality that hundreds of thousands of Californians don’t have stable places to sleep can feel overwhelming.

When we asked what readers wanted to know about the ways inequality plays out in the Golden State, many asked how they could help their homeless neighbors.

[Our national editor, Marc Lacey, explains our new effort to involve readers directly in our coverage.]

So we reached out to the people who best know what’s helpful and what’s not: those who have experienced homelessness themselves.

We heard from dozens of Californians, and nearly everyone who shared advice echoed the same basic request: Treat people you come across with dignity and respect. Don’t avoid eye contact, but do avoid making assumptions.

“When I was young, I judged those drinking or using on the sidewalks late at night,” wrote Joh Rathbun, of Santa Cruz. “I now know that a tall boy or two is much cheaper than rent.”

No gesture of good will is too insignificant, she added: “A small nod to recognize someone’s humanity can be monumental.”

Some said that offering a hot shower or a safe place to camp or park overnight helped ease their burden for a little while.
But some also said it’s O.K. to set boundaries for yourself.

Many said that simply offering fresh food, clothing, blankets, water, batteries or hygiene products directly to people living outdoors was helpful.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Stephen's Catchy Jingle Makes The Trump Impeachment Inquiry Easy To Unde...

Need to Impeach

Need to Impeach Logo


Impeachment continued to build momentum in Washington, D.C. this week thanks to impeachment supporters who made calls, sent emails, and took to the streets last month. In October, impeachment supporters attended and asked questions about impeachment at more than 137 town halls. In November, Congress has taken notice. We’ve now heard from multiple key witnesses who are confirming some of the most damning facts about Trump’s use of military aid to pressure Ukraine to interfere in our elections.

If you didn’t catch all 24+ hours of this week’s public impeachment hearings or need a 2-minute summary, here are the key takeaways:

Tuesday, November 19th:
  • Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testified that he was so disturbed by Trump’s July 25th call that he immediately brought his concerns to the NSC lawyers, and he confirmed that Amb. Sondland raised politically motivated investigations to the Ukrainian delegation in a meeting John Bolton was forced to cut short. He also confirmed that no one supported Trump’s inexplicable decision to freeze military aid to Ukraine.
  • Jennifer Williams pointed out an omission in the “transcript” of the July 25th phone call that the White House released. It failed to include mentions of Burisma, which is evidence of a coverup on the part of the Administration.
  • Kurt Volker made it clear that there was and remains no evidence that Joe Biden acted improperly in Ukraine. The former Vice President did not try to shut down an investigation into his son’s company and Volker says that Trump’s attempts to launch an investigation into Burisma were baseless.
  • Tim Morrison testified that he understood clearly, from conversations with Ambassador Sondland, that Zelensky had to announce an investigation into Trump’s political rival in order to receive the congressionally approved foreign aid.
Wednesday, November 20th:
  • Ambassador Gordon Sondland declared, in no uncertain terms, that there was a quid pro quo between this administration and Ukraine. He also makes it clear that this was not just a case of a few bad actors. Those at the highest level, including Secretary Pompeo and Trump, knew about this corrupt deal.
  • Laura Cooper confirmed the timeline. In direct contradiction of a Republican talking point, Cooper testified that Ukranian officials knew about the hold on security assistance just hours after the July 25th phone call.
  • David Hale, one of the Republicans’ own witnesses, testified that withholding aid to a desperate ally is “unusual,” “completely inappropriate,” and just plain “wrong.” 
Thursday, November 21st:
  • Dr. Fiona Hill testified that the Ukraine pressure campaign was a "domestic political errand" that had nothing to do with corruption in Ukraine. She also pointed out that furthering conspiracies about the 2016 election to distract from Trump’s bad actions only helps Putin.
  • David Holmes testified that “the security assistance hold was likely intended by the president either as an expression of dissatisfaction with the Ukrainians who had not yet agreed to the Burisma/Biden investigation or as an effort to increase the pressure on them to do so.”
So what did we learn this week? Witnesses confirmed that President Trump:
  • Pushed Ukraine to interfere in our 2020 elections.
  • Used US military aid and a visit to the White House to bribe and extort a foreign government into digging up dirt on his personal political opponent.
  • Tried to cover it up.
If the average person did this, they’d go to jail.

Here’s what we can do to ensure Congress holds Trump accountable: Visit impeachnow.org to find an event in your community and remind Congress that nobody is above the law.

FIND AN EVENT

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Eugene Debs On War

We are going into a critical election year. The working class of Chicago just flexed their muscles with a massive strike against their neoliberal Democratic mayor. And in Washington the impeachment hearings continue, prompting an aggressive backlash by the Republicans.
As civil war hashtags are trending on social media and Trump is backed into a corner, desperate to find a distraction, let’s remember the wise words of legendary American socialist Eugene Victor Debs at his Canton, Ohio speech against World War One. His birthday was November 5th. War, he said, is a racket, unless it’s the class war:
“That is war in a nutshell. The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose — especially their lives.
“They have always taught and trained you to believe it to be your patriotic duty to go to war and to have yourselves slaughtered at their command. But in all the history of the world you, the people, have never had a voice in declaring war, and strange as it certainly appears, no war by any nation in any age has ever been declared by the people.
“And here let me emphasize the fact — and it cannot be repeated too often — that the working class who fight all the battles, the working class who make the supreme sacrifices, the working class who freely shed their blood and furnish the corpses, have never yet had a voice in either declaring war or making peace. It is the ruling class that invariably does both. They alone declare war and they alone make peace.
Yours not to reason why;
Yours but to do and die.
That is their motto and we object on the part of the awakening workers of this nation.
“If war is right let it be declared by the people. You who have your lives to lose, you certainly above all others have the right to decide the momentous issue of war or peace.”

Friday, November 1, 2019

Barack Obama has a message about being politically woke

AOC on Endorsing Bernie



Last February I was working as a waitress in downtown Manhattan. I worked shoulder to shoulder with undocumented workers who often worked harder and hardest for the least amount of money.

I didn't have health care. I wasn't being paid a living wage. And I didn't think that I deserved any of those things because that is the script that we tell working people here and all over this country.

It wasn't until I heard of Bernie Sanders that I began to question and assert and recognize my inherent value as a human being that deserves healthcare, housing, education, and a living wage.

Now I am in Congress — and I'm proud to say that the only reason that I had any hope in launching a long shot campaign for Congress is because Bernie Sanders proved that you can run a grassroots campaign and win in an America where we almost thought it was impossible.

Last month, I stood with more than 25,000 people in Queens, New York City, where I endorsed Bernie Sanders for president. And now I am asking you to add your name to say you support Bernie too.

Please add your name to say that you also endorse Bernie Sanders to be our next president, and to build the working class movement that will make that happen.

When I was a baby, my family relied on Planned Parenthood for prenatal care, and back then Bernie Sanders spoke for me.

When I was growing up and education was being gutted for kids in the “wrong” zip code, Bernie Sanders spoke for us.

When I was a waitress and it was time for me to graduate college with student debt, Bernie Sanders was one of the only ones that said no person should be graduating with life-crushing debt at the start of their lives.

Bernie Sanders did not do these things because they were popular — and that’s what we need to remember. He did this, and he fought for these aims and these ends when they came at the highest political cost in America. No one wanted to question this system. And in 2016 he fundamentally changed politics in America.

What we need to do in this country is to organize a positive and welcoming mass movement that is centered on the working class, the poor, and the middle class. One that is actively anti-racist and that is rooted in principles of universality of cooperation.

We need a United States that really, truly and authentically is operated, owned and decided by working people in this country.

Our movement is multi-racial, multi-gendered, multi-generational and multi-geographic. We have to come together not by ignoring our differences, but by listening to them, prioritizing them, and understanding injustice.

The movement that we are building together is one that can not only elect Bernie Sanders, but that can truly transform our country to work for everybody. That is why I am asking you today:

Please add your name to mine and say that you support Bernie Sanders as our next president. Together we can build this movement to transform our country.

Thank you for all you do.

In solidarity, 
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez



Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Homelessness and Jails:


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Homelessness, and Jails: The Cult of Vengeance

© by Mark Dempsey

The first rule of the Cult of Vengeance is the same as for Fight Club: Don’t talk about Fight Club. Don’t talk about the Cult of Vengeance either, and certainly never admit you’re a member, perhaps not even to yourself.


The Cult of Vengeance is a seldom-discussed part of our civic religion--the beliefs that bind our society together. It declares that people earn their circumstances. So the wealthy are, by the Cult’s lights, virtuous, while the poor and unfortunate have obviously offended some god, or force of nature and deserve their fate. Punishing them is really just giving them what they deserve. Meanwhile, those wealthy enough to be born on third base deserve to act like they hit a triple.


What can I say? It’s a cult, not science.


The Cult is particularly pernicious when public policy supports it. Sue Frost, my County Supervisor, says she agrees that the plight of the homeless is driven by public policies that include persecuting and evicting them from even the modest shelter they devise in our parks. Yet she recently wrote an editorial condemning the ninth circuit court of appeals for invalidating the County’s anti-camping ordinances. The court concluded the homeless qualify as part of the public entitled to use public spaces like parks.


Let’s grant that Ms. Frost has a tough job, providing public spaces for the entire public--even those whose feces and dirty needles are a health hazard. After conceding that public policy produced homelessness, she defended rousting the homeless out of parks, saying she's a good person despite that. She went on to cite her own charity, her belief in a god, and in the kind of merciful treatment that gives people second, third, and even fourth chances to redeem themselves.


But when it comes to public policy, the best she has to offer is criticism for that court decision. The County has never handled homelessness well, and has added 500 new beds for a homeless population that’s roughly 2,000 people larger this year.


Let’s ignore, for the moment, that Supervisor Sue can’t imagine providing porta-potties, or needle exchanges. Let’s even ignore that the Biblical injunction is not to forgive four times, it’s to forgive “seventy times seven” times, essentially treating people where they are, not where we would like them to be. Clearly she follows a different god.


Thursday, October 24, 2019

Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Talk Politics and 2020 with ...

China Town Rising - Oct 24

Film
Against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-1960s, a young San Francisco Chinatown resident armed with a 16mm camera and leftover film scraps from a local TV station, turned his lens onto his community. Totaling more than 20,000 feet of film (10 hours), Harry Chuck's exquisite unreleased footage has captured a divided community's struggles for self-determination. Chinatown Rising is a documentary film about the Asian-American Movement from the perspective of the young residents on the front lines of their historic neighborhood in transition. Through publicly challenging the conservative views of their elders, their demonstrations and protests of the 1960s-1980s rattled the once quiet streets during the community’s shift in power. Forty-five years later, in intimate interviews these activists recall their roles and experiences in response to the need for social change.


Tower Theater


Keeping Troops in Syria to Protect Oil Fields - Not lives

President Trump now claims that his “justification” for keeping U.S. troops at the al-Tanf base in southern Syria – where they will be protecting zero Kurdish civilians, who live in northern Syria – is to “protect oil.” This is unconstitutional, because Congress never authorized it. Under Article I of the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973, the President uses military force in another country after Congress specifically authorizes it.
 
In response to Trump’s announcement, Senator Bernie Sanders said:
 
President Trump announced he will keep troops in Syria to protect oil fields. Last I checked, Congress never authorized U.S. forces to be deployed to secure Syria’s economic resources. Putting U.S. forces in harm’s way for this purpose is illegal and unconstitutional.
 
The Congressional Progressive Caucus said:
 
Congress has never authorized deploying troops in Syria to protect their oil fields. This is dangerous and unconstitutional.
 
The International Crisis Group says the base at al-Tanf “has no obvious military purpose.” The Foreign Policy Research Institute says it’s a “dumb waste of resources.”
 
As we have seen with efforts to end unconstitutional U.S. participation in the Saudi war in Yemen, the first step to stopping Trump from endangering U.S. soldiers at al-Tanf for no reason is to get Members of Congress to say that it’s unconstitutional.  
 
Urge Members of Congress to say that keeping U.S. troops at al-Tanf is unconstitutional by signing our petition.

Thanks for all you do to help make U.S. foreign policy more just,

Erik Sperling and Sarah Burns
Just Foreign Policy