Politics

Thumbnail image for Two Cheers for President Obama. Bronx Cheers for Congressional Republicans

Two Cheers for President Obama. Bronx Cheers for Congressional Republicans

by John Lawrence 11.25.2014 Politics

By John Lawrence

Finally, President Obama has found the balls to stand up to Congress.

He signed an historic agreement regarding climate change with the Chinese. He has taken executive action on immigration that will put 5 million people’s minds at ease, and he would have but didn’t need to veto the Keystone pipeline. He has also taken a stand in favor of internet neutrality.

All of this despite howls of protest from Republicans in Congress. He’s realized the futility of “cooperating” with Congress because they have done nothing but try to intimidate, bully, humiliate and badger him from Day 1 of his administration. He finally realizes that hoping to cooperate with them to “get something done” is a fool’s errand and a wild goose chase.

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Thumbnail image for Feinstein Delays Controversial Drought Legislation Until Next Year

Feinstein Delays Controversial Drought Legislation Until Next Year

by At Large 11.25.2014 Environment

By Dan Bacher

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) announced on November 20 that she has abandoned the secret negotiations to craft a controversial drought relief bill this year, but said she will try to pass the legislation next year.

The delay is a victory by a coalition of fishing groups, environmentalists, Indian Tribes and family farmers who organized an action alert campaign over the past week to defeat the bill. They said the bill would amount to a water bailout for corporate agribusiness interests on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley that would devastate salmon and other fisheries and family farms.

“Over the past several weeks I have been working closely with members of the California delegation who expressed interest in reaching a bipartisan agreement on legislation to address California’s drought crisis without violating the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act or biological opinions,” said Feinstein in a statement. “Although we have made progress, it has become clear that we will be unable to present an agreed-upon proposal before Congress adjourns this year.”

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Thumbnail image for Time to Learn the Lessons of Failed U.S. Wars

Time to Learn the Lessons of Failed U.S. Wars

by Source 11.25.2014 Activism

By Gerry Condon, Vice President, Veterans For Peace / Veterans for Peace

As a Vietnam era veteran, I paid close attention to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s Veterans Day speech, delivered at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. Secretary Hagel, a Vietnam combat veteran, declared that we must learn the lessons of past wars, and not commit U.S. troops to unpopular, unwinnable conflicts. He purportedly referred to the Vietnam War, but he could just as easily have been describing the U.S. occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The U.S. government and military apparently have misled themselves as they were misleading the American people, claiming that these occupations were necessary, had clear objectives and were winnable. As in Vietnam, they lied about their progress in Iraq and Afghanistan. There was light at the end of the tunnel, we were told, if only we allowed one more “surge.”

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Thumbnail image for Senator Ted Cruz Channels His Inner Cicero

Senator Ted Cruz Channels His Inner Cicero

by Junco Canché 11.23.2014 Cartoons

 

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Thumbnail image for Mounting Protests Over 43 Kidnapped Mexican Students Resonate in San Diego

Mounting Protests Over 43 Kidnapped Mexican Students Resonate in San Diego

by Doug Porter 11.18.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Tijuana Mayor Jorge Astiazarán appeared at inside the glass-walled Shiley Special Events Suite at the Central Library for ceremony this morning to announce plans for greater collaboration between their cities.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is the first agreement of its sort since 1994, when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was implemented. Local governments are pledging collaboration in the areas of economic development, border infrastructure, environmental stewardship and public safety.

Their commitment to collaboration on public safety may be tested sooner than they think. Unrest in Mexico, triggered by the disappearance of 43 students in the state of Guerrero is reaching a fevered pitch. Nationwide demonstrations in Mexico on November 20th are prompting activists north of the border to hold protests that day. Here in San Diego, a protest is scheduled for Thursday at the Mexican Consulate (1549 India St) in Little Italy.

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Thumbnail image for Tears for Justice, Peace and Compassion

Tears for Justice, Peace and Compassion

by Ernie McCray 11.18.2014 Courts, Justice

By Ernie McCray

I found myself, a day or so ago, kind of tearing up, thinking about a passage I had read in “Just Mercy,” a story of justice and redemption, or better yet, the lack thereof.

Bryan Stephenson, the author of this incredibly revealing narrative about the inequities in our justice system, says, concerning a man who was less than a day away from being executed unbelievably wrongfully, “Why do we want to kill all the broken people? What is wrong with us, that we think a thing like that?”

I’d say that we can entertain such thinking because we have no real values of any substance to guide us as a society.

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Thumbnail image for Wall Street Criminals Walk Free After Inflicting Enormous Damage on American Citizens

Wall Street Criminals Walk Free After Inflicting Enormous Damage on American Citizens

by John Lawrence 11.18.2014 Business

Wall Street Fraud on a Massive Basis

By John Lawrence

In an article in Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi lays out the case involving massive fraud on the part of JP Morgan Chase, one of Wall Street’s biggest and un-finest banks, considered too big to fail and, evidently, too big to prosecute for the massive criminality it is guilty of. It has been well documented what they and other Wall Street banks did that caused the financial crisis of 2008.

First, their counterparts lured everyone with a beating heart into their offices and gave them a mortgage regardless of their credit score, regardless of whether or not they were working, regardless of whether they could even afford to make a mortgage payment. Countrywide is the prime example of the predatory recruitment of low income people in order to turn them into homeowners despite their inability to pay.

As soon as they had signed on the dotted line and Countrywide had collected their commissions, they offloaded the mortgages to JP Morgan Chase and others so that they could be collectivized with other mortgages, securitized and given triple A ratings by credit rating agencies like Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s, then sliced and diced into tranches and sold off as Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs) to pension funds, retirement funds, insurance companies and other unsuspecting dupes.

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Thumbnail image for Shut-Peachment: The Coming GOP Drama Over Immigration. Get Your Popcorn Ready.

Shut-Peachment: The Coming GOP Drama Over Immigration. Get Your Popcorn Ready.

by Doug Porter 11.17.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Congressional Republicans are bracing for executive actions on immigration by President Obama in the very near future.

The GOP apparently feels some sort of sense of entitlement coming off the mid-term elections when voters repeated their usual pattern of increased support for the party not in the White House. (The last time that didn’t happen was 1998, when Republicans were busy trying to impeach President Bill Clinton.)

The President, who has lived through six years of GOP obstructionism, isn’t waiting any longer on this issue. Today we’ll take a look at what’s likely to happen politically in the coming weeks. Trust me, it’s going to be a very entertaining holiday season if you’re into politics.

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Thumbnail image for The United Taxi Workers Victory and the Struggle for a New Labor Movement

The United Taxi Workers Victory and the Struggle for a New Labor Movement

by Jim Miller 11.17.2014 Activism

By Jim Miller

Last Monday’s victory for the United Taxi Workers of San Diego provided a much-needed boost for local labor.

After a year that has included some tough losses at the polls and the effort to save the minimum wage ordinance, it was inspiring to see the taxi drivers (largely East African immigrant workers) burst into celebration and pour out of Golden Hall chanting “USA!” as they embraced each other, mounted the planter boxes, and cheered for joy.

It was the kind of genuine expression of collective exuberance that comes when workers feel, perhaps for the first time, that they have taken ownership of their lives and destinies.

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Thumbnail image for Water Conservation San Diego Style: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Water Conservation San Diego Style: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

by Lori Saldaña 11.17.2014 Editor's Picks

By Lori Saldaña

Are you taking steps to help conserve water in your household? Maybe added low-flow fixtures, or taken out grass, or received rebates from the city for installing rainwater tanks?

If so- congratulations for being part of voluntary solutions!  Now it’s time to up your conservation game with some of the new mandatory requirements. An insert was included in water bills this month, advising us that water restrictions started Nov. 1 in San Diego. The city wants us to be sure to follow the dates/times when watering is allowed.

However, because of the city’s billing method, even if you follow these guidelines, it may not impact the actual amount charged on your water bills in any significant way. This is because much of the costs are not for the water coming INTO your house, but for disposing of water after it’s been used and flows OUT of your house.

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Thumbnail image for Don’t Ask the Pentagon Where Its Money Goes

Don’t Ask the Pentagon Where Its Money Goes

by Source 11.16.2014 Economy

It won’t tell.

By Medea Benjamin / OtherWords

President Barack Obama proudly signed the law that repealed the Pentagon’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, freeing lesbian, gay, and bisexual Americans (although not trans people) to openly serve in the military four years ago.

But when it comes to budgeting, the concept lingers on. “Don’t ask us how we spend money,” the Pentagon basically says. “Because we can’t really tell you.”

Every taxpayer, business, and government agency in America is supposed to be able to pass a financial audit by the feds, every year. It’s the law, so we do our duty. There’s one exception: the Pentagon.

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Thumbnail image for US: ‘No Nation Is Perfect.’ ‘We Crossed the Line.’ (But Don’t Expect Accountability for Legacy of Torture)

US: ‘No Nation Is Perfect.’ ‘We Crossed the Line.’ (But Don’t Expect Accountability for Legacy of Torture)

by Source 11.16.2014 Military

Despite earlier indications, White House tells panel in Geneva that U.S.  will abide by UN Convention Against Torture… for the most part

Jon Queally, staff writer /CommonDreams

The Obama administration indicated that it will back away from a position held by the previous administration that claimed the United States is not obligated to abide by the UN Treaty Against Torture when operating on foreign soil. That’s the good news.

In comments made before the UN Committee Against Torture during hearings that began in Geneva, acting U.S. legal advisor Mary McLeod told the panel, “The US is proud of its record as a leader in respecting, promoting and defending human rights and the rule of law, both at home and around the world.”

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Thumbnail image for SDFP Street Beat: North Park Jack in the Box, South Park Target, Uptown Regional Bike Corridor Update

SDFP Street Beat: North Park Jack in the Box, South Park Target, Uptown Regional Bike Corridor Update

by Anna Daniels 11.14.2014 Activism

By Anna Daniels

Renovation, Rebuild or Turducken?

The North Park Preservation lawsuit against Jack in the Box/City of San Diego is moving forward, with a Summary Judgment hearing before Judge Prager on Friday, November 21.

The group filed the suit when Jack in the Box underwent renovations and a rebuild that the community maintains are violations of city zoning and the community plan. Also at issue is that the city did not correctly permit the project.

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Thumbnail image for The US Military is a Major Contributor to Global Warming

The US Military is a Major Contributor to Global Warming

by John Lawrence 11.14.2014 Environment

The US Military: Protecting Our Freedom While Destroying Our Planet

By John Lawrence

The impact of the US military on climate change is enormous due to its excessive consumption of fuel oil. The US must spread its influence across the oil producing parts of the world in order to protect its supply of oil.

The US military consumes huge amounts of oil so that it may preserve strategic access to oil in order to get the oil it needs to preserve strategic access to oil and so on in a never ending loop. Insatiable militarism is the single greatest institutional contributor to the growing natural disasters intensified by global climate change.

The US military is the largest single consumer of energy in the world. If it were a country, the Department of Defense (DoD) would rank 34th in the world in average daily oil use, coming in just behind Iraq and just ahead of Sweden.

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Thumbnail image for Women’s Perspectives and Changing Roles In the US and Iraq War

Women’s Perspectives and Changing Roles In the US and Iraq War

by Lori Saldaña 11.14.2014 Gender

By Lori Saldaña

In March 2010, Katherine Bigelow made history at the Academy Awards, by winning in the Best Director category. This was the first time a woman had done so in the Academy’s history. She won for her film “Hurt Locker,” about men who disarm IED’s (improvised explosive devices) in Iraq.

“Hurt Locker” was also was named Picture of the Year, and won for Best Sound Editing- so congratulations for all that, too, Ms. Bigelow. Well done.

If you haven’t seen it, “Hurt Locker” is an amazing and suspenseful film — with hardly a woman character in it. Ms. Bigelow managed to capture the drama, setting, heat and dust of Iraq very well. Yet you would never know the reality of women in Iraq from this movie.

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Thumbnail image for Are You Ready for the 2016 Political Shuffle in San Diego?

Are You Ready for the 2016 Political Shuffle in San Diego?

by Doug Porter 11.13.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

The results have yet to be certified for this year’s election results, but that hasn’t prevented various political players around town from lining up support for the next step in their careers. There’s already some action and plenty of rumors to share today.

City Councilman Ed Harris was first out of the gate yesterday, by way of a story in the OB Rag announcing his intention to seek termed-out Assemblywoman Toni Atkins position representing the 78th District in 2016.

Anthony Bernal, currently employed as Director of Business and Community Projects for Council President Todd Gloria, has thrown his hat in the ring to replace his termed-out boss in the Third District.

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Thumbnail image for The Natural Voting Cycle

The Natural Voting Cycle

by Eric J. Garcia 11.13.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for SeaWorld Stock Tanks As Financials Disappoint and Protests Continue

SeaWorld Stock Tanks As Financials Disappoint and Protests Continue

by Doug Porter 11.12.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Attendance and revenues continue to fall at SeaWorld, according to financial reports released today. The stock market reacted to the news, sending shares in the company down 10.3% by mid-day. 

Third-quarter net income fell 28%, revenues fell 8% and  attendance at SeaWorld’s parks also declined year-over-year, with attendance in the third quarter totaling 8.4 million visitors, down from 8.9 million a year ago.  According the Bloomberg’s Business Insider, the price for stock in SeaWorld has fallen 51% since the movie Blackfish premiered on July 19, 2013. 

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Thumbnail image for Extreme Weather Watch: October 2014 – Drought in Australia and Brazil

Extreme Weather Watch: October 2014 – Drought in Australia and Brazil

by John Lawrence 11.12.2014 Editor's Picks

By John Lawrence

Australia experienced its second warmest October on record. A number of records were set during the month in particular for the warmest October day on record for Australia as a whole. Nationally-averaged rainfall during October was 59% below the long-term mean which made October 2014 Australia’s seventh-driest October on record.

Large parts of Australia continue to be affected by drought. Drier than normal conditions from October to December are forecast for broad areas of Eastern, Central and Northern Coastal areas of Australia. Temperatures over 50C or 120F are forecast as Australia heads into its summer.

Australian farmers are feeling less confident as prices for wool, grains, dairy products and beef go down. A quarter of farmers expect conditions to deteriorate, around 20% expect the performance of their farm business to worsen and 25% expect their farm income to fall.

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Thumbnail image for War and Peace Week at the San Diego Free Press

War and Peace Week at the San Diego Free Press

by Anna Daniels 11.10.2014 Activism

By Anna Daniels

Almost one hundred years ago President Woodrow Wilson declared in vaulting prose that World War I was the war to end all wars, that it would make the world safe for democracy.  The vaulting prose came to naught– the war to end all wars didn’t.

The reality is that the United States doesn’t wage peace with anywhere near the same commitment that it wages war. The veterans who march in the Veterans Day parades this week, as well as those who consciously choose not to, will represent  a constant succession of wars, declared and undeclared, since World War II.

The Cold War. The Korean War. The Vietnam War. The Gulf War. The War in Afghanistan. The Iraq War.

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Thumbnail image for DeMaio Concedes, Police Documents Raise Questions About Who Knew What, When

DeMaio Concedes, Police Documents Raise Questions About Who Knew What, When

by Doug Porter 11.10.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

Democratic incumbent Congressman Scott Peters has emerged victorious in the contentious electoral contest to represent the 52nd district in the House of Representatives. But that victory may yet come with an asterisk.

GOP candidate Carl DeMaio conceded defeat in an interview with the Associated Press on Sunday. He reportedly will make the formal concession to Peters, who is vacationing in Europe, following the final vote count late on Monday. As this is being written the incumbent has a 4700 vote lead over the challenger.

The fallout from the race in the 52nd may be far from over. The San Diego Police Department  released 211 pages of documents this weekend associated with eight search warrant affidavits issued over a two month period last summer. New bits and pieces of the story surrounding the break-in of DeMaio’s office and allegations of sexual harassment have emerged. It’s a conspiracy theorists’ field day.

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Thumbnail image for Post Election Notes from the Left Coast: Apocalypse Now?  Just Say No

Post Election Notes from the Left Coast: Apocalypse Now? Just Say No

by Jim Miller 11.10.2014 Activism

By Jim Miller

Last week progressives in California rightfully felt a bit relieved that their state served as a seawall against the ocean of red that washed across America.

Outside of our reactionary little backwater here in San Diego where Carl DeMaio can pretend to be moderate and almost win despite multiple scandals, there were bright spots in the rest of the state like the election of rising progressive star Betty Yee as State Controller and the re-election of Tom Torlakson who beat back the billionaire boys club’s effort to put a corporate education reform advocate in the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s office.

Thus, just as New York’s Democratic Governor Cuomo launches a civil war against the unions in his state in the service of corporate interests, California will serve as an alternative model of cooperation rather than confrontation. In most places on the Left Coast, even when nobody shows up, the right just can’t seem to win, and Brown, while far from perfect, prefers to sit happily on the fence between the neoliberal Democrats and the progressives, ruling in his distinctly idiosyncratic fashion.

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Thumbnail image for A Suggestion for the San Diego Chamber of Commerce: Change Your Name to the Corporate Welfare Defense League

A Suggestion for the San Diego Chamber of Commerce: Change Your Name to the Corporate Welfare Defense League

by Doug Porter 11.07.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

The effort to sabotage a proposed minimum wage increase in San Diego was funded almost entirely by corporations dependent on government anti-poverty programs to support their workers.

This information came out via a November 4 campaign financial disclosure statement filed with the San Diego city clerk’s office reported on by Matt Potter at  the Reader. The campaign was sponsored by a group calling itself the San Diego Small Business Coalition.,  While the Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce, headed by former Mayor Jerry Sanders, made no secret of its involvement, they consistently claimed they were acting on behalf of and funded by small businesses.

Now we know that more than 95% of the group’s funding came from big business Political Action Committees. Out of town monies included: $100,000 from the American Hotel and Lodging Association, $40,000 from The California Restaurant Association Issues PAC, and $25,000 from the International Franchise Association of Washington DC.

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Thumbnail image for Maybe We Can Work Together

Maybe We Can Work Together

by Junco Canché 11.07.2014 Cartoons
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Thumbnail image for Democratic Strategies Lost Big. Here’s an Alternative

Democratic Strategies Lost Big. Here’s an Alternative

by Source 11.07.2014 Culture

By George Lakoff / Daily Kos

It is time to shine a light on the strategies used by Democrats, and on the Democratic infrastructure that uses those strategies.

Democratic strategists have been segmenting the electorate and seeking individual self-interest-based issues in each electoral block. The strategists also keep suggesting a move to right. This has left no room for the Democrats to have an overriding authentic moral identity that Americans can recognize.

Those strategists form an infrastructure that all Democrats have come to depend on; not just the candidates, but also the elected officials, Democrats in government, and citizens who either do, or might, find progressive policies morally and practically right. The strategic infrastructure includes PR firms, pollsters, consultants, researchers, trainers, communication specialists, speechwriters, and their funders.

It is an important and powerful infrastructure and we all depend on it. I believe it is vital to separate this infrastructure from the strategies it has been using. I believe the strategies can be greatly improved so as to give a true, deep, and moral picture of what progressive politics is about — one whose content and authenticity will resonate with, and inspire, a majority of Americans.

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