Tag: california

Tales from The Edge of a Revolution #1: Ya Just Never Know

General Assembly–Arcata Plaza, Oct 12th

A seagull careens overhead and trills its high pitched cry as it makes an acrobatic dive for some crumb left on the plaza. My eyes follow the dive though I continue to be present with the circle. I am unaccustomed to such a glorious day. The sun is uninhibited, actually warming my skin, and there is only a gentle breeze. No sign of the more typical bone chilling North Coast cold, gray wind.

We sit on the grass in a loose circle. Two young men fight with mock swords behind us, laughing at their own missteps and brilliant parries. Beyond them a group of hitchhikers spange pedestrians likely to have money in their pockets. A single squad car and officer look on, disinterested. I am at peace. Despite my appearance, I belong.

The moderator is a gentle, open woman in a cowboy hat and well worn jeans. She keeps the meeting low key and the anger that bubbles up at other meetings is quickly dissipated by her soft spoken interjections. She has us introduce ourselves and say something about why we are here.

To my left a traveling college student introduces himself in English heavily accented by his native French. He has come here to see the differences between American revolution and French. Next to me is a man who arrived on bicycle in a worn denim jacket, decorated with various writings and hand drawn art. His gray hair is tied out of a weather beaten, bearded face. He tells about arriving in Arcata in the late 60’s, the last time revolution was in the air. He has waited a long time to see it resurface and glad that it has finally come.

The young man to my right says his name is Mango and the man next to him is Forrest. These are “forest” names, of course. A long tradition from Redwood Summer, when tree-sitters, trying to save the last of America’s Redwoods, gave arresting officers these false names, making conviction more difficult. Their speech is more angry than the rest, but it is redirected by the group away from aggression at the CEO’s of banks, toward education of their customers. The group decided on a lobby sit-in for two of the major banks in a few days.

Another Attorney General Exits Multi-State Mortgage Fraud Talks

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Last Friday California Attorney General, Kamala Harris, notified Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and U.S. Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli that she would no longer be participating in the multi-state talks to settle the mortgage and foreclosure fraud by the nation’s largest banks.

“Last week, I went to Washington, D.C., in hopes of moving our discussions forward,” Harris wrote. “But it became clear to me that California was being asked for a broader release of claims than we can accept and to excuse conduct that has not been adequately investigated.”

“[T]his not the deal California homeowners have been waiting for,” Harris adds one line later.

AG Harris joins the list of state attorney generals who have balked at letting the banks pay a mere $20 billion to settle their liability in the housing crisis they created without any real criminal investigations. In her letter (pdf), she states her plans:

   I intend to continue to investigate the mortgage practices that I believe have contributed to the growing housing crisis in my state. Months ago, I began California’s independent work in this respect by establishing a Mortgage Fraud Strike Force, and I have given the Strike Force attorneys a broad mandate to investigate all stages of the mortgage lending process, from origination to servicing and foreclosures to securitization of loans into investments in the secondary market. I am committed to doing as thorough an investigation as is needed – and to taking the time that is necessary – to set the stage for achieving appropriate accountability for misconduct.

   I will also push for additional legislation and regulations that enhance transparency and eliminate incentives to disregard borrower’s rights in foreclosure. Many of these reforms have been identified in the multistate talks, and I hope that in good faith the banks will adopt these reforms immediately.

While David Dayen doesn’t think that the legislation have a chance. he does say that public pressure has had a huge impact in pushing Harris to make this decision. It could also impact on her career, since she was rumored to be a possible replacement for US AG Eric Holder. Pushing hard against the Obama administration’s support of this agreement could take her out of consideration.

Dayen concludes, and I agree, that:

As for Tom Miller, his dream of getting the banks off the hook for their crimes is dead and buried. Without California and New York, you’re not going to be able to have a settlement that means anything. He’s probably looking for a way out right now.

The investigations have to be followed through. But this is a victory so far for accountability and against the whitewashes that have characterized the nation’s response to systemic fraud in an increasing and troubling fashion over the past several years.

Considering the success that Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto had in a settlement with Morgan Stanley over mortgage practices that essentially garnered about $57,000 for some 600 to 700 Nevada homeowners, AG Harris’ withdrawal from the negotiations is a wise choice for Californians.

Schwarzenegger the Destroyer

If there is one thing that is certain the former Governator was all braun and no brains. Holding the office of the eighth largest economy in the world and treating it as an action movie. In his life it was a two hour thrill ride yet for the rest of us it was seven years of endless destruction and counting.

California Prison Hunger Strike Ends Peacefully

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(Note: This is my fifth and final essay in support of the California prisoners on hunger strike.  The first is here.  The second is here.  OPOL’s wonderful treatment of the situation is here.  The third is here.  Yesterday’s is here.

SF Gate reports that after three full weeks the California Prisoners’ Hunger Strike has come peacefully to an end.  Prisoners across California are now eating:

Day 20: Support The California Prisoners’ Hunger Strike!

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(Note: This is my third essay in support of the California prisoners on hunger strike.  The first is here.  The second is here.  OPOL’s wonderful treatment of the situation is here.  The take away: California prisoners on hunger strike for almost 3 weeks have requested your support in their struggle to end long term, 23 hour a day solitary confinement in California’s Special Housing Units.  I urge you to support their struggle to be free from torture.)

Today is day 20 of the prison hunger strike.   This may be the most significant act of prisoner resistance in 40 years, since the Attica Uprising in 1971.

Day 19: Support The California Prison Hunger Strike!

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(Note: This is my second essay in support of the fasting California prisoners.  The first is here. The take away: prisoners on hunger strike for almost 3 weeks have requested your support in their struggle to end long term, 23 hour a day solitary confinement in California’s Special Housing Units.  I urge you to support them.  Details follow.)

Today is day 19 of the prison hunger strike.   This may be the most significant act of prisoner resistance in 40 years, since the Attica Uprising in 1971.

The LA Times reports:

News with a T

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has called for more to be done to provide for greater protections for transpeople in his state.  This comes in the wake of the brutal attack of Crissy Lee Polis by Teonna Monae Brown and a juvenile accomplice and the subsequent filing of hate crimes charges.

As some have noted, out of this awful beating has come a moment to foster a deeper understanding and respect for the dignity of all persons. We should not allow the moment to pass without greater action.

–Martin O’Malley

Brown’s attorney claims her actions were in self-defense and that she is really a “nice young woman”.

As some have noted, out of this awful beating has come a moment to foster a deeper understanding and respect for the dignity of all persons,” O’Malley said. “We should not allow the moment to pass without greater action.

There is an accompanying video reporting on the hate crime charges but embedding has been disabled.  The video features Lynne Bowman of Equality Maryland.

Our Crumbling Infrastructure – “The Fix We’re In For”

And this is just about the bridges

The wealthy, failed wall street capitalism, need these fixes as much or more then the rest of us in the masses, just to maintain that hoarded wealth, as they certainly aren’t paying for now, neither here nor overseas as they hide that capital all over!

This while little investment from the street as well as the wealthy is coming in to build the needed green economy and as the residential, commercial and industrial construction industry sits idled, from laborers to tradesman, like myself, right on up that ladder and into the office personal and professions!

It’ll cost many times over the longer we wait and do little or nothing and that’s been way to long already, way too long!

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – “I Have Here in My Hand a List of…”

Note: I kept getting errors about text being corrupted while trying to post the complete diary.  This is only half the diary.  There are many more sections and editorial cartoons in this diary that I posted over at Daily Kos.

Crossposted at Daily Kos and The Stars Hollow Gazette



Peter King – Ghost of Hearings Past by Taylor Jones, Politicalcartoons.com, Buy this cartoon

You’ll Love This- WH Sides With Big Pharma vs. Clinics on Prices

There are over 15,000 clinics and hospitals in this country, which get their drugs for poorer patients from a government discount – drug act which was created in 1992.   They spend over $6 billion, and they are supposed to get a discount of 30% to 50% off.

During the past 8 years, (that’s mostly during the Bush administration 2002 – , with some overlap into the 3rd Term of Bipartisanbamaship ) the inspector general for HHS noticed drug manufacturers were overcharging their customers, but not getting dinged for it and being motivated to be good contractors.


Ted Slafsky, executive director of Safety Net Hospitals for Pharmaceutical Access — which represents 600 hospitals in the program — said that “manufacturers have been able to overcharge covered entities with impunity.”

http://www.californiahealthlin…

Santa Clara County and Santa Cruz County in California sued Astra Zeneca USA.   This upset Big Pharma.

In Dec 2009, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals of San Francisco ruled that clinics and hospitals could sue.

The Supreme Court is asked to rule next.

The U.S. Department of Justice, Eric Holder, Attorney General, under the Presidency of Barack Obama, is now siding with the Pharmaceutical companies to overturn that decision, and telling the Supreme Court they don’t want counties and clinics suing over drug price rip offs.   Per the DOJ, only the Federal Government (not meaning Congress, I guess, but the secret deal maker- in – chief) had the authority to enforce the law.

Now This is What I’m Talkin About!

Massive solar plant in Mojave Desert the first of its kind on federal land

The LA Times

“Las Vegas-bound travelers nearing the Nevada border rarely take notice of the vast, empty stretch of the Mojave Desert surrounding them. But that may soon change. On Wednesday, ground is to be broken for a massive solar thermal plant spanning about 3,600 acres and involving 346,000 mirrors, each about the size of a billboard.

Not only will the plant be highly visible to travelers on I-15, it also will be closely watched – and probably copied – by solar developers. Many developers are angling to start their solar projects by the end of the year, when a federal program that could cover up to 30% of the construction costs is due to expire.

The nearly $2-billion project is the first of its kind to be built on federal land and also the first to have slogged through myriad environmental, financial and technical issues that future solar projects are likely to face as well.”

Happy-faced IndependentVoting.org really ‘a pressure group working to limit choices on the ballot’

Reprinted in full, with permission, from Ballot Access News, the newsletter of the highly respected and trustworthy ballot access expert Richard Winger.

Government-printed ballots in the United States were first created in 1888, and almost from the start, opponents of new and minor political parties started manipulating the ballot access laws to keep certain parties off the ballot.  The first such instance was in Nevada, when the 1893 legislature increased the petition requirement for new parties and independent candidates to 10% of the last vote cast, in a vain attempt to keep the Peoples (Populist) Party off the ballot.

But in over a century of struggle to avoid monopolization of the general election ballot to just the two major parties, there has never been a pressure group that worked in favor of restrictive ballot access laws, until very recently.  Leaders of the former New Alliance Party, who have renamed themselves several times, now call themselves IndependentVoting.org.  They hold themselves out as the leaders of independent voters, but they have become a pressure group working to limit choices on the general election ballot to just Democrats and Republicans.

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