Post image for Labor Day Rant: Maybe it’s Time We Hit These Cheating Corporate Bosses Upside the Head with a Two by Four

By Doug Porter

A new gilded age is upon us, a hundred and forty years or so after the last one. The rich are getting richer. The poor are getting poorer. From the pulpits of the prosperous we’re told the pursuit of the all-mighty dollar is the path of righteousness, even if that path is paved with the misery of the masses.

The mantra for the millennial era is that just a few less regulations and a lot less taxes will set us free, despite all the accrued evidence to the contrary. Whatever criticisms have been leveled at economist Thomas Piketty, nobody has yet to challenge the two centuries of data that prove his point that unfettered capitalism benefits the only very few.

Here were are on Labor Day, the sop set aside to acknowledge the efforts of hard working people, and there is scant acknowledgement in too much of the media that the struggle for economic justice continues. Somehow we’re supposed to to forget history about the excesses of unfettered capitalism and brave souls that stood up against all odds to challenge those seeking to establish an oligarchy. 

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Wanted:  A Living Wage

By Anna Daniels

It is useful exercise to remind ourselves that the battle for an increased minimum wage/sick leave benefit in San Diego is not a new one. Peel back the right wing maker versus taker meme and you get Howard Zinn, placing today’s minimum wage struggle firmly in our collective history of bitter class conflict between the rich and the poor and working class.

In 1944, when Franklin Roosevelt was running for his third term, he emphasized the need for an economic bill of rights as a vehicle for addressing the limitations of the political Bill of Rights. This economic bill of rights would have constitutionally guaranteed that workers have a living wage, would not have to work more than a certain number of hours and that the people would be entitled to vacations and healthcare. An economic bill of rights never materialized. Today, here in San Diego, we are experiencing the results of this omission.

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Post image for Why Labor Day Still Matters: Unions and the Future of American Democracy

By Jim Miller

Over the last year, the subject of economic inequality has been in the news quite a bit with the release of Robert Reich’s spectacular documentary Inequality for All and economist Thomas Piketty’s seminal work, Capital in the Twentieth Century. The picture they paint is a grim one and new bad numbers just keep rolling in.

For instance, a few weeks ago a Russell Sage Foundation study revealed that the wealth of the typical American household has dropped nearly 20 percent since 1984 and yet another study notes that private sector wages measured in real terms have dipped 16.2 percent since their 1972 high point. In the wake of that news, another US Census Bureau report came out showing that middle class household wealth fell by 35 percent between 2005 and 2011.

Thus while the last few years in particular have been incredibly beneficial for the ultra affluent, most of the rest of us have struggled to hold ground or not lose more. Some economists are even calling this phenomenon “the new normal.”

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Post image for Baja Lovers: Ex-Pats in Mexico

SDFP videographer interviews American ex-patriots living in Baja California

Video by Horacio Jones

Last week I had to travel to Rosarito for a video gig, so I took the opportunity to pay a visit to a couple of friends who had moved to Baja a few of years ago.  I decided it would also be a good idea to do some kind of story about ex-pats living in Baja while I was there.  So I paid Shari and Fernando a visit to see what it was like for them now that they live along the Baja coast.

During the trip we also met another Shari and an artist named Gretchen who has opened up a place called Art House Rosarito, where she lives, creates art and plans for sustainable communities.  She also opens up her home to other artists to stay and work at.

In this report they discuss what it’s like to live in baja, as well as the differences between the U.S. and Mexico.  This is an expansive subject and you could certainly make a feature documentary about it, and I hope in the future to be able to make a more comprehensive report on the subject. Who knows, maybe I’ll even make the move…

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Post image for Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: August 24-30

Compiled by Brent E. Beltrán

This week’s edition of Looking Back at the Week features articles by San Diego Free Press regulars, irregulars, columnists, and at-large contributors on the minimum wage battle, women’s equality, sick restaurant workers, climate change bad news, K-Faulc’s Golden Hill “improvements”, community weeklies, crawling for art in the barrio, flying home, union thug Todd Gloria, Neighborhood House, ACLU settlement, fallacy of charter city savings, drones, ocean acidification and a whole bunch of other articles. If you haven’t caught up on SDFP news then now’s the time. Get to it.

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Post image for A Community Preparing for the Future by Addressing the ‘Facts’ of the Matter

By Ernie McCray

Recently, a man said I should wait for the “facts” because of feelings I shared when I was (and I still am) grieving the “fact” that Michael Brown had been shot unarmed in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri.

Oh, it seems like the only time Americans talk about justice and fairness and deal with terms like “facts” is when black folks are involved. I mean like students of color at one time were denied college admissions as a way of American life. Affirmative Action Programs were created to address this problem and immediately they were attacked because they were deemed as “unfair” to white students.

Now “facts” have become a code word for keeping black people in our place when it comes to issues of justice. A black boy lies dead in his own blood and the “let’s wait for the facts” crowd, the KKK among them, have raised over $400,000 through GoFundMe for Darren Wilson, a cop, for whom there are very few “facts” other than the “fact” that he was the one who took a young brother’s life.

And speaking of “facts,” comments on the GoFundMe website are in “fact,” chilling to the bone, downright scary.

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Post image for A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Paul “Paulie” Torres

By Maria Garcia

Paul “Paulie” Torres is a retired longshoreman who attended Neighborhood House from 1947 to 1954. His family moved to Logan Heights from the Little Italy area of San Diego. Paulie says there was a little barrio located in the Little Italy area with several Mexican families living there. Little Italy was in the proximity of the canneries and as far as Mexicans could live in the downtown vicinity–Point Loma to the north was the dividing line where whites and ethnic Europeans lived.

Like many others, Paulie had heard stories about the Logan Heights guys and felt intimidated when he first moved there. Within a short period of time, Paulie fit right in with the other boys who called Neighborhood House their other home. He states in a straightforward manner that the reason everyone called it Neighborhood House was because everyone in the neighborhood went there. He recalls the boys sitting there on the steps, talking, laughing, hanging out for as long as they could.

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California Legislature Passes Bill to Protect Temp Workers

by Source 08.30.2014 Business

220px-Californiastatecapitol By Michael Grabell / ProPublica

The California legislature has passed a bill that would hold companies legally responsible if the temp agencies and subcontractors they hire cheat workers out of their wages or put them in harm’s way.

Labor officials across the country have increasingly expressed concern about the rapid growth of the temporary staffing industry since the recession. They have also noted the push by hotels and warehouses to subcontract work that is part of their core business, such as cleaning guest rooms and unloading trucks.

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Thumbnail image for Really, Really, Bad News About Climate Change (And a Chance to Do Something About It)

Really, Really, Bad News About Climate Change (And a Chance to Do Something About It)

by Doug Porter 08.29.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

A United Nations report being shared with governments around the world prior to publication uses the strongest language to date, warning of dire consequences of continuing climate change.

Human influence on the planet’s climate is clear and having “widespread and consequential impacts on human and natural systems,” some of which may be irreversible, says the leaked draft of its final “Synthesis Report” which seeks to tie together previous reports the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released over the last year.

“Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia,” the report concludes. “The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, and sea level has risen.”

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March for the Kittens: People’s Climate March

by Source 08.29.2014 Activism

 By boatsie for UN Climate Summit@Daily Kos 

So what were you doing back in 1975, when the concept of “global warming” was first introduced in a study published in the journal Science?

Editor’s Note: There is a People’s Climate March in San Diego …Here’s some info from their Facebook Page…come inside for details:

A growing coalition of San Diego organizations and individuals are working together to ensure that our local leaders know that San Diegans are also watching, and we too demand climate action now. We are working to bring hundreds of San Diegans together for the People’s Climate March San Diego to support the marchers in New York and to call for immediate action on climate change here at home.

The People’s Climate March San Diego will be on Sunday, September 21, 2014. We’ll gather at City Hall at 12:30 to call for a strong Climate Action Plan, stop at the American Plaza / Santa Fe Station to highlight transportation alternatives, and end at the County Administration Building Park, where we will hear from local leaders.  View the route, speakers, and other event details. We’ll also have bike rides and a special coaster coming in to the march.

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Thumbnail image for Geo-Poetic Spaces:  Flying Home

Geo-Poetic Spaces: Flying Home

by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes 08.29.2014 Geo-Poetic Spaces

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

We feel
we’re flying away from sunrise
heavy wings
wishing to be arms
broken fingernails
lifting brick bodies from rubble
our reconstructed selves
shrinking
into plane windows [...]

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Thumbnail image for Todd Gloria: Union Thug

Todd Gloria: Union Thug

by Junco Canché 08.28.2014 Business
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Thumbnail image for Waiter! There’s Some Snot in My Soup!

Waiter! There’s Some Snot in My Soup!

by Doug Porter 08.28.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

Opponents of the City Council ordinance allowing earned sick days for workers in San Diego continue to stand in front of shopping centers and grocery stores to collect signatures for a referendum suspending the law until June 2016.

Meanwhile, Jason Cabel Roe, the GOP strategist who the San Diego Daily Transcript calls a “business consultant,” says “We’re hearing from a lot of small businesses about how they’re panicked about the potential costs…”

That’s right, they’d rather have their employees work sick. Think about that next time you eat in a restaurant. Your server (or cook or busboy) may well have opted to work while ill rather than lose a day’s pay. After all, according to a study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 81% of food service workers don’t have a choice.

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Thumbnail image for Barrio Art Crawl Once Again Takes Over Barrio Logan

Barrio Art Crawl Once Again Takes Over Barrio Logan

by Brent E. Beltrán 08.28.2014 Arts

San Diego’s Last Bastion of Grassroots Art Spaces Join Forces for Monthly Series

By Brent E. Beltrán

On Saturday, August 30 the various arts venues in Barrio Logan will join together for another Barrio Art Crawl. The Crawl is a self-guided tour of open studios, galleries, and local businesses within the Barrio Arts District. The Barrio Art Crawl was initially created for the Barrio Arts District by the operators of The Roots Factory.

Participating venues in this installment of the Barrio Art Crawl include Border X Brewing/SD Taco Co., Chicano Art Gallery, Chicano Park, La Bodega, La Esquina, Pop-Up Art Gallery at Fuller Lighting, The Church, The Glashaus, The Roots Factory, The Yard at Stronghold Collective, Union Barrio Logan and Woodbury School of Architecture. Each venue will have either visual art, music, food or a mixture of all.

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Thumbnail image for ACLU Achieves Class Action Lawsuit Settlement That Ends Deceitful Immigration Practices

ACLU Achieves Class Action Lawsuit Settlement That Ends Deceitful Immigration Practices

by Source 08.28.2014 Activism

Immigration agencies must make significant reforms to inform non-citizens of their rights

By American Civil Liberties Union

The American Civil Liberties Union and Cooley LLP announced an historic settlement in a class action lawsuit, Lopez-Venegas v. Johnson, that alleged deceptive and coercive practices by immigration enforcement officers. Significant reforms to the process known as “voluntary departure” are in effect immediately, including major revisions to the information immigration officers must disclose to people choosing between voluntary departure and a hearing before an immigration judge. The settlement also includes class provisions that, if approved by the court, would allow certain Mexican nationals who have been expelled from Southern California pursuant to flawed voluntary departure procedures over the last several years to seek to reunite with their families here.

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Thumbnail image for More Evidence Pointing to Charter City ‘Savings’ Fallacy

More Evidence Pointing to Charter City ‘Savings’ Fallacy

by Source 08.28.2014 Activism

by Don Greene / Escondido Democratic Club

Part of the pro-city charter mantra we hear from Mayor Abed and the other members of the city council majority is about savings. Especially savings when it comes to eliminating prevailing wages from city construction projects. In a recently released survey, the ‘savings’ that Sam & Co continue to promote are becoming harder and harder to find.

The City of Carlsbad – a charter city in North San Diego county and the favorite, “let’s-be-more-like-them” example promoted by the Mayor – answered a survey on Prevailing Wages and associated savings. The results were somewhat lackluster. When asked the question, “What savings have been realized on average for those contracts where non prevailing wages have been applied?” the answer was telling:

“We have found savings to be hard to ascertain. Bid prices might be lower on the front end but there is some suspicion that total project costs may impact initial savings (change orders, costly project delays, more labor by city employees, etc.)”

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Thumbnail image for Who Runs San Diego? The Role of Community Weeklies

Who Runs San Diego? The Role of Community Weeklies

by Doug Porter 08.27.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter / A Project of the Democratic Woman’s Club

There are more than two dozen community weekly media outlets in San Diego.  Most appear on printed tabloid-sized newsprint editions. Some have a rather tenuous relationship with internet editions.

Nationally speaking, paid circulation weeklies outnumber daily papers by a 6 to 1 margin. And nobody even keeps track of the smaller free papers. Depending on who you’re talking to, weeklies are the lights at the end of the media tunnel or just a few years away from being doomed to digital extinction.

What they have in common is their focus on a limited audience. Geography, ethnic background, social and/or sexual orientation are the target markets for these publishers, who range from corporate overlords to retirees. This week’s column will focus on those serving limited geographic areas. (A future installment will cover the non-geographic weeklies)

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Thumbnail image for Our Tax Dollars at Work

Our Tax Dollars at Work

by At Large 08.27.2014 Cartoons

  Known for mixing history and culture with contemporary themes, Eric J. Garcia always tries to create art that is much more than just aesthetics. Born and raised in Albuquerque’s South Valley, Garcia earned his BFA from the University of New Mexico and went on to get his MFA from the School of the Art Institute […]

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Thumbnail image for Game of Drones: What Are the Rules of the Game for Civilian Drone Use?

Game of Drones: What Are the Rules of the Game for Civilian Drone Use?

by At Large 08.27.2014 Activism

By Lawrence A. Herzog

On a recent Sunday morning, I was hiking up the back streets of Soledad Mountain in La Jolla. Arriving on top and prepared to enjoy the stunning aerial view of our Pacific coastline, I suddenly heard a disturbing, loud, buzzing sound. As I poked my head around one of the black, granite-covered walls of the Veteran’s Monument, a small robot-sized helicopter jumped out, hovering just above me.

I was staring at, in today’s parlance, a drone.

“What the heck”? My eyes were soon drawn to its source, a man standing near the edge of the main parking area, operating a small remote control, with the drone now buzzing over toward him.

Curious, I walked over and said, “Hi, I was wondering, do folks need some kind of permit to operate near a Veteran Memorial site?” The drone operator did not respond. Within minutes, however, he was gone.

End of story? I think not.

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Thumbnail image for Yazidi Moon

Yazidi Moon

by At Large 08.27.2014 Culture

By Nat Krieger

On the night of August 10th the people of San Diego looked up in the sky and saw exactly what thousands of Yazidi men, women, and children trapped on the slopes of Mount Sinjar saw: a supermoon, the moon closer to our planet than it will be for more than another year.

In the day leading to the super, or perigean moon, I searched the web trying to find something out about this people on the verge of extermination. There isn’t much. First the shock of learning that for nearly a thousand years a faith described as syncretic and nonviolent had withstood the never ending storm surge of monotheism spinning across the Middle East and Mesopotamia…

…Followed by the realization that, as with most religious minorities who don’t force their beliefs on other groups and rely on oral tradition to teach their children, the few written accounts of the Yazidis are nearly all by outsiders who offer mainly speculation as to when the religion started, or why, or what its roots are.

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Thumbnail image for Precious Water Bottled and Shipped Out of Drought-Ridden California

Precious Water Bottled and Shipped Out of Drought-Ridden California

by Source 08.27.2014 Activism

By Anastasia Pantsios / EcoWatch

California is suffering through a record drought. Water is being rationed and its usually fertile agriculture industry is suffering. Meanwhile, someone in Minnesota or Kentucky or Maryland may be drinking a bit of California’s precious commodity. Mother Jones reported that at least four major bottled water companies—Aquafina, Dasani, Crystal Geyser and Arrowhead—use water from California, either ground (spring) water or tap water. Aquafina and Dasani both bottle and sell treated tap water, while Crystal Geyser and Arrowhead use spring water.

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Thumbnail image for Women’s Equality Day: No Cause for Celebration

Women’s Equality Day: No Cause for Celebration

by Doug Porter 08.26.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

More than four decades ago Congresswomen Bella Abzug introduced legislation to designate August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day.” The bill says that “the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation annually in commemoration of that day in 1920, on which the women of America were first given the right to vote.”

In 1972 the Equal Rights Amendment passed, having been introduced in every session of Congress since 1923. The amendment required ratification by 38 states, but fell three states short. While there have been various legal maneuvers extend the ratification deadline, along with attempts to re-introduce the amendment over the years, it is, for all practical purposes, dead.

Think of it: more than half the human beings in the United States are subject to legally sanctioned discrimination. Buried beneath all the justifications and rationalizations for this fundamental injustice is the belief that women are (or should be) chattel.

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Thumbnail image for Ocean Acidification Could Cause Many Species To Go Extinct

Ocean Acidification Could Cause Many Species To Go Extinct

by John Lawrence 08.26.2014 Environment

By John Lawrence

As the amount of carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere continues to increase, a certain portion of that gets absorbed by the oceans. This year alone some two and a half billion tons of CO2 will be absorbed by the oceans. That represents seven pounds pumped into the seas by every American.

Oceans cover seventy percent of the earth’s surface, and everywhere the oceans and the atmosphere come into contact there is an exchange of gases. When this exchange is in balance, there is no problem. But when the atmosphere’s gaseous composition has been changed, which it has since the industrial revolution, the exchange becomes lopsided. More COgoes into the ocean than comes out.

Since the start of the industrial revolution, humans have burned through enough fossil fuels to add 365 billion metric tons of carbon to the atmosphere. Deforestation has added another 180 billion tons. Each year we add another nine billion tons or so, and that amount has been increasing 6 percent annually. Today the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air is 400 parts per million (PPM). This is higher than it has been at any time in the last 800,000 years.

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Thumbnail image for DIY Resistance: Develop a Sense of Urgency

DIY Resistance: Develop a Sense of Urgency

by Will Falk 08.26.2014 Activism

By Will Falk

We are losing badly. The dominant culture is destroying what is left of the world and, right now, our resistance is simply ineffective. I cannot pretend to know exactly how we’re going to turn things around and stop the madness. But, I do believe we must develop a profound sense of urgency.

Wherever we look we’re met with the horror that should produce the necessary urgency. Look to the oceans and you’ll find that the coral reefs are dying. Zooplankton, forming the base of the oceanic food chain, have declined 70% over the last 40 years.

Look to the climate and you’ll find we’re boiling the world to death. Even mainstream scientists are predicting a 6 degree Celsius rise in average global temperatures by the end of the century.

Look to the animals and you’ll find 50% of all species disappearing. Look to the forests and you’ll find between 8 and 16 billion trees being cut down a year.

It’s as if the dominant culture sees the future and is holding the most macabre going-out-of-business sale imaginable complete with the advertisement “Everything must go.”

The statistics I include here are tiny snapshots of the immensity of the problem.

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10 George Orwell Quotes that Predicted Life in 2014 America

by Source 08.26.2014 Activism

george-orwellBy Justin King / The Anti-Media 

George Orwell ranks among the most profound social critics of the modern era. Some of his quotations, more than a half a century old, show the depth of understanding an enlightened mind can have about the future.

“In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.”

Though many in the modern age have the will to bury their head in the sand when it comes to political matters, nobody can only concern themselves with the proverbial pebble in their shoe. If one is successful in avoiding politics, at some point the effects of the political decisions they abstained from participating in will reach their front door. More often than not, by that time the person has already lost whatever whisper of a voice the government has allowed them.

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