Monday, November 26, 2012

No to the "fiscal cliff" hysteria

The  Sacramento Bee editorial board  starts in the right direction today  by calling for smaller steps to  avoid the “fiscal cliff”.  Then, strangely, you list small steps that only call for compromise   as advocated  by the Republican- austerity side.  While unemployment remains high and economic growth slow, we do not need more austerity.  For small steps, President Obama suggested that we extend the Bush era tax reductions for the bottom 98 % .  This is a proposal that almost everyone agrees with- or at least say they agree with.  Then, we can disagree with over the 2 %. and work toward  a compromise.  We should also immediately  reauthorize the funding for extended unemployment benefits to prevent  1.5 million workers and their dependents losing  their benefits.
Putting the most vulnerable people at risk is the wrong response to the fiscal situation. 
So- yes.  Slow down.   Don’t panic. 
 More at
Duane Campbell

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Teaching Chicano/Latino history in California Schools

The Democracy and Education Institute has again submitted a proposal for support of efforts to update the California History Social Science Framework so that California students would study Chicano/Latino history as a part of their k-12 education.
Explanation of why new legislation is needed.

African American history and Women’s History ( White women) has been included since 1986.
In 1976 the California legislature had 5 Hispanic members.  They were able to pass legislation to establish bilingual education.  In 2012 the California legislature has 26 Latino members. To date they have not been interested in getting Chicano/Latino history taught in the schools.  
Duane Campbell

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How the Left Can Become a True Political Force

November 13, 2012   
The 2012 elections may prove to have been a watershed in several different respects.  Despite the efforts by the political Right to suppress the Democratic electorate, something very strange happened:  voters, angered by the attacks on their rights, turned out in even greater force in favor of Democratic candidates.  The deeper phenomenon is that the changing demographics of the USA also became more evident—45% of Obama voters were people of color, and young voters turned out in large numbers in key counties.
Unfortunately for the political Left, these events unfolded with the Left having limited visibility and a limited impact—except indirectly through certain mass organizations—on the outcome.
The setting
On one level it is easy to understand why many Republicans found it difficult to believe that Mitt Romney did not win the election.  First, the US remains in the grip of an economic crisis with an official unemployment rate of 7.9%.  In some communities, the unemployment is closer to 20%.  While the Obama administration had taken certain steps to address the economic crisis, the steps have been insufficient in light of the global nature of the crisis.  The steps were also limited by the political orientation of the Obama administration, i.e., corporate liberal, and the general support by many in the administration for neo-liberal economics.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Puerto Rico Referendum - Divided

Puerto Rico Referendum Approves U.S. Statehood for 
1st Time, But Results Show Divided Views
Amy Goodman
Guest: Juan Gonzalez
Democracy Now!
November 8, 2012

For the first time in Puerto Rico's history, a majority
of the island's voters have supported a non-binding
referendum to become a full U.S. state. The measure will
require approval from the U.S. Congress, but President
Obama has said he will respect the vote. Obama made the
same promise last year when he visited the island,
becoming the first sitting U.S. president in half a
century to do so. If Puerto Rico becomes the 51st state,
its residents will have the right to vote in all U.S.
elections, but will also have to start to pay federal
taxes. We speak to Juan González, Democracy Now! co-host
and New York Daily News columnist.

AMY GOODMAN: Democracy Now! co-host Juan González is
home, recuperating from back surgery. Juan, I wanted to
ask you about Puerto Rico. For the first time in Puerto
Rico's history, a majority of the island's voters
supported a non-binding referendum to become a full U.S.
state, the measure requiring approval from the U.S.
Congress, but President Obama has said he will respect
the vote. He made the same promise last year when he
visited the island, become the first sitting U.S.
president in half a century to do so.

Arizona slow to count votes

Races in Arizona Still Hang in the Balance 

PHOENIX — Three days after the election, the outcome of several races remained a mystery in Arizona as officials struggle to count a record number of early and provisional ballots, many of them cast by voters who believed they had registered but whose names were not on the voter rolls at the polling place.
On Thursday, Secretary of State Ken Bennett revealed the magnitude of the situation: 631,274 votes remained uncounted, he said, more than in any presidential election in memory and enough to anger voting- and immigrant-rights advocates, who have called on the Justice Department to investigate. (By Friday, there were 524,633 uncounted ballots. There are 3.1 million registered voters in the state.)
The advocates, who have been staging nearly continuous protests outside the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center, where most of the votes are being tallied, have raised accusations of disenfranchisement, saying the same Latino voters they worked so diligently to register may have been disproportionately affected. Based on accounts they have been collecting since before the polls closed, among the 115,000 voters who cast provisional ballots in Maricopa County on Tuesday were many first-time minority voters who signed up to get their ballots by mail, but never did.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Accountability - Why History Matters

Rodolfo F. Acuña

What is so frustrating about politics is that there is so little accountability. We can continually screw up as my students would say and are not held accountable. Because we as a society are ahistorical, we are unable to sort out the lies that our leaders tell us or correct our own errors. Millions of dollars are spent to distort reality making elections a sham.

Let’s take a minute and review this thesis in light of California Propositions 30 and 32. Proponents made every effort to sway voters through emotional appeals rarely putting their arguments in a historical context.  Up to the last day I had people calling me and asking me for advice.

The truth be told, neither side was honest about the propositions, and very few people know the historical context for Props 30 and 32. Their geneses begin before most Americans were born, reaching back to the post World War II era when American corporations tried to regain the political and economic hegemony they had lost during the Great Depression. The nation’s plutocracy wanted to continue tapping into the national treasury while returning to the laissez faire of the 1920s. In order to accomplish this goal, the economic royalists as President Franklin Roosevelt used to call them had to neuter labor, which they did with the passage of Taft Hartley Act of 1948 and a purging of militants from labor.

This war was about power and the transference of wealth. Organized labor, however, continued to be a thorn in the side of the plutocracy that resented the high taxes necessary to educate Americans. During the 1960s, a war broke out over the funding of public education, which has lasted to the present and has led to the transference of the cost of social production from the plutocracy to working and middle classes.  

The economic royalists in recent times have had major victories. They seized  control of the state of Arizona by neutralizing labor, and it has tried to do the same in Wisconsin and Ohio. The big prize is California where teacher and public sector unions are still a factor. This is where Prop 32 comes in.

Proposition 30 is 32’s cousin. It is a sibling of Prop 13 (1978). It was 13 that underfunded K-12 and higher education in California and dismantled a premier educational system, making our schools competitive with Mississippi and Arizona.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Who were the winners ? Latinos, labor, women, African Americans, and more

Tuesday's Real Winners and Losers

The names at the top of the ballot yesterday were Obama and Romney, but the real winners and losers are the constituents and causes who did battle on the ground and on the airwaves, and whose lives and livelihoods will be influenced by what happens over the next four years and beyond.

The winners include:

The Labor Movement: Unions mobilized their members and money in key swing states on behalf of liberal Democrats, including Obama and Sherrod Brown in Ohio, Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, and many others. In California, labor helped bring out more than 40,000 volunteers and scored two major victories in California -- the defeat of the deceptive anti-union corporate power grab, Proposition 32, and the win for progressive tax ballot measure, Proposition 30. Although unions now represent only 12 percent of American workers, they still remain the most powerful and effective force for liberal issues and Democratic candidates. Union members and their family members turned out in high numbers and voted overwhelmingly for Democrats. Union loyalists also knocked on doors and staffed phone-banks on behalf of candidates and causes that support working families. Thanks to unions and their allies among community groups and faith-based organizations, the lowest-paid workers in Albuquerque, San Jose, and Long Beach will receive pay increases after voters approved ballot proposals Tuesday that will raise the minimum wage for workers in each city. Citywide minimum wage increases were passed in Albuquerque and San Jose, while Long Beach voters approved an ordinance establishing a higher minimum wage for hotel workers in the city.

Women: Women voters favored Obama over Romney by a 55 percent to 43 percent margin, according to preliminary exit polls. Liberal and progressive women candidates made an incredibly strong showing in the swing Senate and House races, notably Warren in Massachusetts and Baldwin in Wisconsin. Other women Dems -- Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota and Mazie Hirono in Hawaii -- replaced males who decided to retire. All Democratic incumbent female senators up for re-election this year won, including Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Dianne Feinstein of California and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. Currently, 17 women -- a record -- serve in the Senate. Even with two them retiring (Republicans Olympia Snowe of Maine and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas), the overall number will increase when the new Senate takes office in January. Another milestone: In New Hampshire, women now hold every key office: Senators Kelly Ayotte (a Republican) and Jeanne Shaheen (Democrat), newly-elected Gov. Maggie Hassan (a Dem), and Dems Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster, who wrested New Hampshire's two House seats from incumbent Republicans. Obama's victory guarantees that Romney won't have an opportunity to appoint justices to the Supreme Court who would have overturned Roe v. Wade. So, congrats to Emily's List, Planned Parenthood, and (again) the labor movement for helping make this happen.

Gays and Lesbians: Voters in Maine, Minnesota, Maryland and Washington approved ballot measures supporting same-sex marriage. Cong. Tammy Baldwin -- who beat former Gov. Tommy Thompson yesterday -- will be the first open lesbian in the Senate. The era in which conservatives can use anti-gay ballot measures and rhetoric as "wedge" issues to mobilize conservative voters is almost over. Voters under 40 are now overwhelmingly in favor of gay rights and many voters over 40 are shifting their views and their voting behavior. Preliminary exit polls reveal that nearly six-in-ten Latino voters (59 percent) said their state should legally recognize same-sex marriage. All this is a remarkable change in public opinion and voting behavior in less than a decade -- a real tribute to the gay rights movement and to the American people.

Latinos: Strong support from Latino votes helped Obama win in key swing states. About 69 percent of Latinos voted for Obama, roughly the same margin as voted for him four years ago. (This helped compensate for the decline in support for Obama among white men from 41 percent in 2008 to 36 percent this year). Obama made a big effort to win the estimated 24 million eligible Hispanic voters. Immigrant rights and Latino political groups worked hard for Obama's election. In Nevada, for example, the Culinary Workers union and Latino groups joined forces to target Latino voters for Obama, who won that key swing state. Even in states that Obama lost, particularly in the South, the growing Latino vote will make a difference in the future. In Texas, for example, Obama won just 40 percent of the total votes but won 57 percent of Latinos, the fastest-growing demographic group in the state. All this makes it likely that comprehensive immigration reform and passage of the federal DREAM Act will gain momentum, and that even some Republicans in Congress might feel sufficient pressure to support these initiatives.

Election victories in California

Great victories in California.  Thank you for your work. 
We defeated the billionaires efforts to  crush organized labor and to continue the anti tax radicalism.
We defeated the anti labor proposition 32.
We passed Prop. 30, to fund schools, universities and social services.  This is a floor under austerity.   It raises taxes on the rich to pay for services.  It does raise sales tax by ¼ of  percent – but 90% of the tax increases are on the rich . A tax of 1-3 % on those who make over $250,000 per year.
My own Congressional district is so close that it can not be called yet. 

Winnemem Wintu Tribe: Speak out against the raising of Shasta Dam

By Dan Bacher

The Bureau of Reclamation announced on October 26 that "stakeholders" may submit written comments until Friday, December 28 on the Bureau's "draft feasibility" report on raising Shasta Dam and enlarging its reservoir, a plan vigorously opposed by the Winnemem Wintu Tribe and other Tribes, fishermen and environmentalists.

Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, urged everybody concerned about the salmon, the Delta and the rights of indigenous people to send in a comment opposing the raising of Shasta Dam before the December 28 deadline.

Corporate agribusiness interests are backing the raising of the Dam, in tandem with Governor Jerry Brown's Bay-Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels, in order to export more northern California water to irrigate drainage-impaired land of the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. The construction of the tunnels would hasten the extinction of Central Valley salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt and other fish species.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Republican Voter suppression in Florida - again

First the  major media accustomed  itself  to Romney/Ryan’s persistent and deliberate lying.  This has become normal and seldom even commented upon. This morning they are accepting Florida voter suppression ( focused in districts of  Latinos and African Americans) as not a big story.
If this election ends up in the Supreme Court like the election of 2000, voter suppression will be the cause.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Delays in Florida voting concentrated in Latino areas

MIAMI – In a state where legal action often goes hand in hand with presidential elections, the Florida Democratic Party filed a federal lawsuit early Sunday to force the state government to extend early voting hours in South Florida.
The lawsuit was filed after a stream of complaints from voters who sometimes waited nearly seven hours to vote or who did not vote at all because they could not wait for so long to do so.
Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, local election supervisors in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties, where lines sometimes snaked out the door and around buildings, said they would allow voters to request and cast absentee ballots on Sunday. Voters in three other Florida counties will also be able to pick up and drop off absentee ballots. State election law permits election offices to receive absentee ballots through Tuesday as long as they are cast in person.