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California and the U.S.

In a fiery statement, Congresswoman Barbara Lee announces inauguration boycott, promises to lead the resistance

January 19, 2017

In 2001, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., was the one and only member of Congress who voted to oppose authorizing the Bush administration to use military force in response to the 9/11 attack. She called the vote and the authorization a “rush to judgement” and warned it could lead to blank checks and endless war. Lee emerged as a resistance leader to George W. Bush’s agenda and now she’s stepping up to lead the resistance again, saying she will not be a part of normalizing “the most extreme fringes of the Republican Party.”

Wise words from Dr. King, a revolutionary thinker who practiced what he preached

January 16, 2017

Here are some quotes I think are apropos for today’s political reality, which shows what a revolutionary thinker Dr. King was; even better, he practiced what he preached. “When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

New study shows Covered California consumers saving and paying much less than expected for quality health care coverage – deadline Jan. 20

January 11, 2017

A new independent study by The Commonwealth Fund found Covered California consumers are protecting themselves from rate changes and paying much less than the average price of plans by shopping for the best value. The study looked at the policies Covered California consumers purchased between 2014 and 2016 and found the average price paid in each year has been between 11 and 15 percent less than the average price of the plans offered.

The politics of oppression

January 4, 2017

The late Eldridge Cleaver, minister of information of the Black Panther Party, once said that when fascism comes to America, it won’t need a swastika; it’ll be singing Yankee Doodle Dandy – and waving American flags. Welcome to the New Fascism – unleashed will be the most racist, vicious and nationalist forces in the country. That’s what “America First” really means. (Guess who’s last?) “New Fascism” – also known as Trumpism.

Disgraced former HUD secretary vouches for Trump pick Ben Carson to run HUD

January 4, 2017

President-elect Donald Trump has nominated Ben Carson as the next secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and, former disgraced HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson supports and vouches for Ben Carson to take his old job, according to the Dallas Morning News. Having Jackson endorse Carson is troubling. In May 2004, as secretary of HUD, Alphonso Jackson made headlines across the nation when he stated “being poor is a state of mind, not a condition.”

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We are all connected, from Standing Rock to Oakland

December 31, 2016

The snow shined against the afternoon sun. The multicolored flags bearing the images of our ancestors rippled and flapped in the afternoon breeze as the “Po’ Folx Delegation” from POOR Magazine and Decolonize Academy rode in on a rented four-wheel drive car. After a long, harrowing journey from Huchuin, Ohlone (Oakland, California), in two planes and a rental car we finally arrived to find an avenue of flags from hundreds of nations across Mama Earth, including our favorite, where we piled out of the car to take our first picture, the RBG flag of Black liberation.

Temporary victory at Standing Rock

December 26, 2016

Standing Rock has caught the imagination of the world: A resurgent Indigenous movement, which has been leading many battles in the U.S. and Canada; a fighting veterans’ movement, re-emerging as a powerful force; a large contingent of young people of many colors from all over, selflessly devoting themselves to the struggle; networks being activated around the country and the world – all coming together in a coalition that, in the context of the global economic and financial crisis, just might be able to take on a powerful oil company that is threatening to poison the water and defeat it.

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Covered California extends enrollment deadline to midnight Saturday as consumer interest continues to grow

December 16, 2016

Thanks to a strong increase in demand, Covered California is giving consumers more time to sign up for health coverage that will start on Jan. 1. More than 25,000 new consumers selected a plan during the first two days of this week, which is more than enrolled at this time last year. “This strong demand shows that Californians are using the competitive marketplace that Covered California provides,” said Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California.

Open letter to Daily Kos: No name calling; we may need your ‘morons’

December 14, 2016

Dear Kos, I’ve read your posts frequently over the years, and even sent a donation. Thanks for all your good work. I’ve felt a level of smugness creep in, however, which especially reflects in your recent headline, “Morons who voted for Republicans now worry they will take away their health care—as promised.” You even name call a woman who voted Republican a “moron.” Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” comment falls in this same category.

Veterans at Standing Rock offer long overdue apology to Native elders

December 10, 2016

Wes Clark Jr., the son of retired U.S. Army general and former supreme commander at NATO Wesley Clark Sr., was part of a group of veterans that traveled to Standing Rock to stand in solidarity with the water protectors. During their visit, the Army Corps of Engineers denied a key permit for the pipeline and these veterans joined with elders in a ceremony celebrating the announcement.

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Black lives don’t matter – and neither does video!

December 7, 2016

The trial of the killer cop who shot an unarmed Black man (named Walter Scott) is off. Hung jury. If the videotaped killing of Scott wasn’t shock enough, the hung jury certainly suffices. The images are, to say the least, chilling. But video, apparently, wasn’t enough, at least to one of the jurors hearing the case, who refused to convict ex-cop Michael Slager of the killing. The murder of Walter Scott, caught on tape, proves, if proof were needed, that Black lives don’t matter, at least for that juror. And guess what? Apparently, videotape doesn’t matter – when a Black person gets killed by a white cop.

The need for a united front against fascism

November 30, 2016

If there was ever a time to organize around a United Front Against Fascism, it is now. The next leader of the “free world” has just been “elected” – more like “selected” – to be president of the United States. He has thereby been given the authority to use power and weapons as he sees fit. This same so-called president-elect has shown limitless disdain for all who are not white, heterosexual and Christian.

Open letter to Colin Kaepernick about Mumia Abu-Jamal

November 29, 2016

Greetings Colin, We salute your courageous action protesting police brutality throughout the U.S. We are heartened to see others, including entire teams and athletes in different sports, joining you. Besides shooting Black people to death in the streets every day and every night, American law enforcement is seeking the slow death in prison of dozens of heroes of the resistance of the ‘60s and ‘70s. We urge you to speak out on the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Twelve ideas post-election from front line organizers

November 28, 2016

When you find yourself in a suddenly darkened room, what do you do? Some rush blindly to where they think the door might be. Others stand still, let their eyes adjust to the different environment, re-orient themselves, then, cautiously and sensitively, move forward. Some search out people who might be able to show the way. Post-election, a lot of people are re-assessing and searching for the best way forward. Here are some ideas from experienced, thoughtful people who are organizing on the front lines.

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Will Trump be willing to drain the student loan swamp?

November 28, 2016

Ten years ago, when the Democrats took over Congress, I wrote a piece begging them to drain the swamp surrounding the Department of Education and the federal student loan system. In the absence of standard bankruptcy protections, statutes of limitations and other fundamental free market protections, the student loan system had become a big-government, predatory beast that was wrecking the lives of millions of citizens.

Standing Rock: We are here to protect the water – because we all live downstream – but does eviction loom?

November 27, 2016

This camp is an “occupation” by the Standing Rock Sioux, the Oceti Sakowin, whose sacred ground is being desecrated as the pipeline is being built and whose watershed will be the first to be polluted when the pipeline breaks. They are supported by millions of people around the world who sense that this is our last chance to secure the human right to clean water. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced on Black Friday the imminent eviction of Oceti Sakowin Camp, where the call is out for reinforcements.

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Poor people don’t have presidents

November 24, 2016

Poor, unhoused, barely housed, indigenous, Black, Brown and Red people don’t have presidents. We have prison wardens, police, sheriffs, anti-social workers, landlords, judges, bailiffs, poverty pimps, case manglers, ICE agents, CPS workers and debt collectors. Under Clinton, we lost welfare and the criminalization and incarceration of young people was institutionalized. Poor people don’t have presidents or governors or mayors. We have ourselves.

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Standing Rock: Water cannons fired at water protectors in freezing temperatures injure hundreds

November 23, 2016

Cannon Ball, N.D. – Hundreds of water protectors were injured at the Standing Rock encampments when law enforcement blasted them with water cannons in freezing temperatures Sunday evening, Nov. 20. The attacks came as water protectors used a semi-truck to remove burnt military vehicles that police had chained to concrete barriers weeks ago, blocking traffic on Highway 1806. LaDonna Allard, director of the Sacred Stone Camp, says: “We are asking for clean water, for the right to live. Instead they attack us, because they protect oil.”

Ten ways to fight Trump

November 21, 2016

If you care about everything from civil and human rights to economic justice and climate survival, Trump’s impending presidency is terrifying – but the amount of wreckage he can cause depends in part on how people respond. Already, a Dump Trump rebellion is rising up in the streets and online; it’s also worth remembering Trump lost the popular vote, the Senate is close to tied and not filibuster-proof, and things have a way of see-sawing in American politics.

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The jig is up!

November 19, 2016

Tell me, what does it mean when a white adjudicator is unmoved by the racism, oppression and police terror that Black folks in this country are subjected to but becomes unhinged when a Black man decides to demonstrate in opposition to it. Again, what does it mean? That “white adjudicator” just so happens to be United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. As for that Black man, he is no other than San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepemick.

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