Politics

Princeton Study: U.S. No Longer An Actual Democracy

January 28, 2015 by Source
Thumbnail image for Princeton Study: U.S. No Longer An Actual Democracy

By Brendan James / TPM / April 18, 2014

A [relatively] new study from Princeton spells bad news for American democracy—namely, that it no longer exists.

Asking “[w]ho really rules?” researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page argue that over the past few decades America’s political system has slowly transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where wealthy elites wield most power.

Using data drawn from over 1,800 different policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, the two conclude that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of or even against the will of the majority of voters.

“The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy,” they write, “while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”

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A Call for Ocean Beach to Turn Out for Town Council Meeting – Tonight, Wed. Jan. 28th

January 28, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for A Call for Ocean Beach to Turn Out for Town Council Meeting – Tonight, Wed. Jan. 28th

Tonight, Wednesday, January 28, the Ocean Beach Town Council is hosting their monthly public meeting, and besides dishing out the awards to December’s Holiday Parade winners, the Council will be welcoming new District 2 Councilwoman Lorie Zapf to the community. Representatives of the San Diego Police Department will also be on hand, as usual.

The meeting will be gaveled to order by president Gretchen Newsom very close tot 7 pm and is held at the Masonic Center, 1711 Sunset Cliffs Blvd. See the meeting agenda.

The OB Rag urges all OBceans to attend this meeting and let Councilwoman Zapf know your issues and priorities. We especially believe there are serious infrastructure problems in Ocean Beach – such as the needed expansion of the OB Library, as well as a new lifeguard station, street lights, etc.

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Reader Rant: Have Progressives Given Up on Ocean Beach ?

January 27, 2015 by Source
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Editor: The OB Rag received this interesting anonymous rant about OB progressives via an unapproved comment at the OB Rag in a fake email address. We’re posting it as a “Reader Rant” as our readers may find it of interest.

The email by “anon” does end by asking OBcean lefties to attend the upcoming Ocean Beach Town Council monthly meeting on Jan 28; It’s at 7pm at the Masonic Center on Sunset Cliffs. We couldn’t agree more with this part of the rant.

Have Progressives Given Up on OB ?

Psst! Don’t tell the government. Don’t tell the right-wing. But progressives, radicals, socialists, anarchists, leftists … whatever you want to call them – they’ve given up on Ocean Beach.

Oh sure, there’s lots of great individuals with the different groups in OB, like the Town Council, the Planning Board, the OB Historical Society, Friends of the OB Library. There’s Gormlie and the Rag, there’s Colleen at the Green Store (all of whom I support), and there’s a small group of Amnesty International – … but that’s it.

In none of the groups I just mentioned (excluding Rag and Green Store) there’s really no progressives working within them. I mean real progressives, real radicals, with clear left politics, trying to do good things for OB …

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Honoring Martin’s Dream Beyond MLK Day

January 27, 2015 by Ernie McCray

MLK Caricuture

By Ernie McCray

Martin Luther King. A loving man with the loveliest of dreams. After seeing “Selma,” which told the story of that chapter in the Civil Rights Movement powerfully well, I just had to write something about this dear man.

I didn’t know what I wanted to say until I happened upon a caricature that captured the very essence of how I often see him in my mind’s eye, as I think of him every now and then. How can I not in this world we live in?

The pose he struck in the portrait made me wonder what was going on in his head and based on what my friend, *Rabbi Ben Kamin, recently had to say about him in an examiner.com essay, he could have been thinking about a range of things.

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Change the World, Change Yourself

January 27, 2015 by Source

Unist’ot’en Camp scene

By Will Falk / San Diego Free Press
(Photo credit: Zoe Blunt)

Friends and family tell me I too often focus on the negative. My doctors and therapists have told me me this, too. Diagnosed as I am with severe depression and surviving two suicide attempts, I used to believe them.

I came to therapy feeling like I was the problem.

Part of my recovery involved completing a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program.

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The State Of the Union: Obama is an Eisenhower Republican

January 26, 2015 by Jim Miller

obama-eisenhower3By Jim Miller

Last week, President Obama gave a pretty good speech in which he outlined a series of solid progressive policy proposals along with a few very bad ideas like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

What was most telling about the response to his speech, however, was how glowing the praise was in some quarters for what, in essence, was a fairly pedestrian list of things to do: …

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The American Sniper As Hero

January 26, 2015 by Source

American SniperBy FDRDemocrat/ Daily Kos

The controversy over the movie American Sniper has predictably reopened the divide among many Americans over the Iraq War. What is more interesting is how the choice made by director Clint Eastwood to choose a sniper as a heroic archetype unravels classic notions of what is considered heroism.

The concept of heroism has been with humanity since the beginning. At it’s heart it contains a common thread where the hero (or heroine) risks themselves for the sake of others.

How then to adapt the heroic archetype to the profession of sniper? This is no easy task.

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On Roe vs. Wade Anniversary, GOP House Passes Vicious Assault on Women’s Right to Choose

January 23, 2015 by Source

Reproductive rights advocates say legislation would cause entire insurance market to drop abortion coverage while raising taxes on small businesses

By Deirdre Fulton / Common Dreams

On the 42nd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, which affirms a woman’s Constitutional right to an abortion, House Republicans passed a far-reaching anti-choice bill that women’s health advocates say would cause the entire insurance market to drop abortion coverage while raising taxes on small business who provide comprehensive health care to their employees.

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What’s the Fix for San Diego’s Crumbling Infrastructure?

January 23, 2015 by Doug Porter

infrastructure sdBy Doug Porter

Pssst! Got a spare two billion dollars? That’s a number being talked about in the search for a comprehensive approach to fixing San Diego’s deteriorating streets, pipes and public spaces.

The City of San Diego has issued a report outlining what it says are our infrastructure needs over the next five years, and it isn’t pretty.

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The Passing of Chicano Warrior Reies López Tijerina

January 22, 2015 by Source

King Tiger: Reies López Tijerina

Reies Lòpez Tijerina’s spirit will not be forgotten and will live on in our hearts, minds and history

By Herman Baca

In the late 1960’s Cesar Chavez, Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales, Jose Angel Gutierrez and Reies López Tijerina were known as the Four Horsemen of the Chicano Movement. With the sad news that Reies Lòpez Tijerina has passed at the age of 88 in El Paso, Texas, on January 19, 2015 only one of the Four Horsemen remains…Jose Angel Gutiérrez.

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Taking Back the Streets and Their Stories, Thousands Reclaim MLK Day

January 20, 2015 by Source

New York Marchers

In year that saw renewed calls for racial justice, over 50 nationwide demonstrations held to ‘desanitize’ the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King

By Lauren McCauley / Common Dreams

Thousands of people took to the streets on Monday rebuking what they say is the “sanitized” version of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and calling to restore the legacy of a man whose protests, like their own, were never “convenient.”

The nationwide actions marked the birthday of the civil rights leader in a year that saw renewed calls for racial justice in the face of persistent inequality, discrimination, and police targeting of communities of color.

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San Diego’s #4MILEMARCH – Today – Monday, January 19

January 19, 2015 by Source
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San Diego’s #4MILEMARCH
Monday, January 19, 2015 San Diego, Ca –

From Press Release of United Against

Please join United Against Police Terror – San Diego, ACTIVIST SAN DIEGO San Diego Branch of the ISO with the Coalition Against Police Violence for San Diego’s #4MILEMARCH.

The 4 Mile March will take place on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the rally will start at 1:00pm at the City Heights/Weingart Library and Performance Annex 3795 Fairmount Ave, San Diego, California 92105 ending at Malcolm X Library at 5148 Market Street, San Diego, CA 92114

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We Need Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Fierce Urgency of Now”: Beyond Our Current Failure of Imagination

January 19, 2015 by Jim Miller
Thumbnail image for We Need Martin Luther King Jr.’s  “Fierce Urgency of Now”: Beyond Our Current Failure of Imagination

By Jim Miller

It’s the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and we will be greeted, as is the case these days, with lots of empty gestures and vanilla rhetoric that erases the radical nature of King’s legacy and neuters the impact of his ideas. As I have noted in years past, King was not a moderate whose only idea was that we should all just get along and respect each other. He was a provocative thinker and activist who challenged the core values of our society both then and now.

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The Ocean Beach Library Was on the Original Expansion List

January 15, 2015 by Anna Daniels
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Veteran Librarian Advises OB on How to Proceed to Get OB Back on the List

By Anna Daniels

Here’s some historical info that may be helpful in presenting your case to Councilwoman Zapf, Mayor Faulconer AND new library director Misty Jones:

“In 2002, the City Council approved a program to build or improve 24 libraries throughout San Diego, including a New Central library.”

Ocean Beach was on that original expansion list.

As recently as 2008, Ocean Beach appeared on a list of City of San Diego & CCDC Projects. The construction costs were $10,186,500 for an expansion to 15,000 square feet.

In 2010, over $2M in capital improvement funds were (I vaguely remember) used to fix the roof and other maintenance.

Thirteen years have passed and why is Ocean Beach (and so many other branches) on hold?

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OB Library Expansion Not in City’s Construction Pipeline Despite Promise Over 10 Years Old

January 14, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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In a kick to the gut to OB supporters of an expansion of the Ocean Beach library, San Diego just announced the next two “waves” of construction and expansions of libraries across town – and they do not include the OB branch.

This despite the promise by the city to expand the current and historic OB library into a two -story building complete with a courtyard. The city even purchased property next door in anticipation of the planned expansion. Architects were hired and models and plans of the new library were shown to members of the OB Planning Board. The plans included retaining the main historic building. This was back in 2003.

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Policing the Police: San Diego’s Problems

January 14, 2015 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

As police departments nationwide are facing increasing scrutiny, local law enforcement agencies are finding themselves under the spotlight.

A news story based on internal documents obtained by the local NBC affiliate on use of force reveals the San Diego Police Department documented 16,238 incidents in which an officer used force in 2014.

A report in Voice of San Diego calls points out what I think are questionable “crime prevention” practices by the County Sheriffs Department at the Lemon Grove trolley station.

And then there’s the promise of a soon-to-be-released report from the Police Executive Research Forum under contract by the US Justice Department on SDPD practices instituted in the wake of several years of scandals and lawsuits regarding sexual misconduct.

Those stories are largely looking at the problem from the “top down,” based on information gleaned from departmental reports and interviews with officials.

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Notes From the Left Coast: California Democrats Need to Raise the Bar on Budget

January 12, 2015 by Jim Miller

DemocraticsStrategies121014By Jim Miller

Last week Eddie Kurtz of the Courage Campaign published a provocative column in the Sacramento Bee in the wake of Governor Brown’s triumphant release of the upcoming budget for the state.

Rather than praising Brown and the state Democrats for being a model for the nation, as many in Democratic circles have been doing, Kurtz took the opportunity to raise the bar of our expectations as he pointed out that …

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“Steal Heaven” at the San Diego Rep Is a Must See

January 12, 2015 by Ernie McCray

imageBy Ernie McCray

This New Year, 2015, was already moving along nicely for me, but it shifted into high gear the other night when Maria and I went to see the San Diego RepertoryTheatre’s “Steal Heaven,” a play written by one of my favorite theater artists, Herbert Siguenza. This multitalented actor, playwright, director and producer is a founding member of Culture Clash, a performance group known for its rich satirical look at the world and its politics – from a Chicano perspective. I’ve loved everything they’ve ever done.

Siguenza’s “Steal Heaven,” was right in line with all his good work and it was just what I needed as I look forward to, hopefully, a long future of trying to change this world into a more civil home for human beings. I know, good luck with that, Charlie, but it’s what I wake up every morning to do.

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What’s 80% White, 80% Male and 92% Christian? Welcome to the 114th Congress!

January 12, 2015 by Anna Daniels

What does the 114th Congress say about our representative democracy?

By Anna Daniels /San Diego Free Press

wemu.org

Did you know that our brand new 114th Congress is the most diverse Congress in our history? Women! African Americans! An African American woman! The 114th Congress is being hawked like a new and improved box of breakfast cereal. This newly minted diversity is relative of course.

A Washington Post article notes that “Congress actually gets slightly more Christian, with nine more Christians, five fewer Jewish members, one fewer Buddhist and one fewer unaffiliated member.” John Boehner, who was re-elected Speaker of the House, opened the 114th Congress with “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad.”

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An Interview With Political Cartoonist Junco Canche

January 9, 2015 by Source

JuncoPeople find comfort believing we are now living in a post-racial society. We are not. There has been progress in racial issues, mind you, but there is still work to be done.

By Angelo Lopez / Everyday Citizen

One of the best up and coming political cartoonists in the nation is Joaquin Junco Jr, aka “Junco Canché”. Junco is the political cartoonist for El Coyote Crossing Borders and the San Diego Free Press, and he has had cartoons published in El Coyote Online, La Prensa San Diego, and the Southwestern College Sun.

Junco is studying graphic design at Cal State San Bernardino, where he began doing freelance cartoons. His cartoons offer an incisive view of the state and national political scene from a Hispanic point of view. His cartoons at the Southwestern College Sun won awards from the San Diego Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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The Bail-In: How You and Your Money Will Be Parted During the Next Banking Crisis

January 8, 2015 by John Lawrence

Wall-StreetBy John Lawrence

There will be no more taxpayer bailouts for the Big Wall Street banks. That much has been established by the lobbied to death Dodd-Frank banking reform (yeah, right) bill.

However, instead of taking money from the government (taxpayers), the principal has been established that the next source of money for profligate banks will be your deposit accounts. Yeah, that’s right, the money to stabilize the banking sector during the next crisis will come out of your savings and checking accounts.

To add insult to injury – since the banks pay you zero percent on your savings account in the first place – the banks have the right to confiscate your funds if they crash the economy again as they did in 2008. Remember the Great Recession? It’s coming again to a bank near you.

How can they do this, you ask?

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Je Suis Charlie

January 8, 2015 by Source
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How Will Civic San Diego Serve Neighborhoods?

January 6, 2015 by Source

Civic San Diego presentationBy Jim Bliesner / San Diego Free Press

Civic San Diego (Civic SD) has recently been holding community dialogue sessions facilitated by Cheryl Phelps and its new Director Reese Jarrett, both veterans of community and economic development in San Diego.

The first session was inclusive and allowed input. The second event featured a panel of downtown experts with limited community engagement. The third will happen at the City Heights library (3795 Fairmount Ave) on January 8 at 5:30PM.

According to the announcement “On January 8, 2015, Civic San Diego will hold a third convening regarding its new initiative to create a broad-based collaborative network of stakeholders to inform the development of our Community Benefits goals. …

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2014 Wrap Up: The Tide Turns on Rape Culture, Climate Change and Same Sex Marriage

January 5, 2015 by Doug Porter

startinglinelogoBy Doug Porter

The term rape culture became mainstream in 2014. Practices and behavior in society excusing or otherwise tolerating sexual violence were exposed. Activists around the country took to the streets to push back.

Examples, ranging from the callousness of the San Diego City Attorney’s office accusing a sexual assault victim of trying to bribe a police officer with her underwear to investigations into the widespread accommodation of rape in college fraternities, were given wide media coverage.

The ecological crisis facing the planet was another subject getting increased attention this year. Hundreds of thousands of people marched in New York and other cities, including San Diego, in September demanding action on man made climate change. …

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“Steal Heaven” – Abbie Hoffman Tribute at San Diego REP

January 5, 2015 by Source

The San Diego REP begins 2015 with Herbert Siguenza’s tribute to Abbie Hoffman

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán / San Diego Free Press

Photo Credit: Daren Scott

Abbie Hoffman was an American political activist who also founded the Youth International Party (Yippies) in 1968 and was known for his successful media events. The Yippies were likely to use ‘guerrilla’ theater or public pranks to bring attention to their causes.

Hoffman’s legacy lives on at the San Diego Repertory Theatre when it stages the world premiere of “Steal Heaven.” The production, which opens on January 10 is by Herbert Siguenza who also acts and co-directs along with Todd Salovey.

“Abbie Hoffman was a political figure of the sixties. Some people called him ‘crazy’ or ‘ultra-radical’ but the things he was saying back then have all come true,” the formerly San Diego based Siguenza stated during a phone interview with San Diego Free Press.

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Not So Happy New Year: Obama Pushing Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2015

January 5, 2015 by Jim Miller

TPP_finalBy Jim Miller

Last week, I wrote about Project Censored’s Top 25 most underreported stories, one of which was “Wikileaks Revelations on Trans-Pacific Partnership Ignored by Corporate Media.”

Coming in at number three on their list, Project Censored notes that what is important about this story is that :

Eight hundred million people, and one-third of all world trade, stand to be affected by the treaty—and yet only three people from each member nation have access to the entire document. Meanwhile, six hundred “corporate advisors,” representing big oil, pharmaceutical, and entertainment companies, are involved in the writing and negotiations of the treaty.

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Like the Low Gas Prices? They Could Be Even Lower in 2015

January 2, 2015 by Source

oilpricedeclineBy Carl Gibson / Reader Supported News

Oil prices are currently down by 40 percent from where they were in June, and the economies of oil-exporting countries like Russia and Venezuela are tanking. Coincidence? A simple case of more supply than demand? Cunning moves in a global chess game between a desperate empire and its rivals?

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Senator Bernie Sanders: Fight for Our Progressive Vision

January 2, 2015 by Source

sen-bernie-sandersBy Senator Bernie Sanders / Common Dreams

As I look ahead to this coming year, a number of thoughts come to mind.

First and foremost, against an enormous amount of corporate media noise and distraction, it is imperative that we not lose sight of what is most important and the vision that we stand for. We have got to stay focused on those issues that impact the lives of tens of millions of Americans who struggle every day to keep their heads above water economically, and who worry deeply about the kind of future their kids will have. …

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New York State Bans Fracking – Is California Next?

December 30, 2014 by John Lawrence

Fracking CaliforniaBy John Lawrence

In a huge victory for the environmental movement, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has banned fracking. I guess President Obama is not the only one that can get things accomplished by executive order. Experts have made analyses that identified contamination threats to water, soil and air, the absence of reliable health studies or proof that drillers can protect the public, as well as diminishing economic prospects. All good reasons for the public to demand a fracking ban.

fracking calif mapFracking is also being delivered a death knell by market forces. Since it costs more to access oil by fracking than it does by conventionsl drilling, if the price per barrel falls below a certain point, fracking becomes uneconomical. Lo and behold, thanks to the Saudis who have been keeping production up, the cost per barrel has fallen to around $60. It has to be higher than $80. for fracking to be profitable.

Hooray and Halleluja! Who would have thought that market forces, the Saudis and the environmental movement would all have combined with remarkable synergy to put an end to fracking?

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The Most Important Stories the Corporate Media Didn’t Tell You in 2014

December 29, 2014 by Jim Miller

Media LiesBy Jim Miller

We live in troubled times but are increasingly ill equipped to deal with them. The average American is awash in a sea of ghastly, contextless headlines punctuated by inane trivia and pointless titillation. Somewhere between the latest massacre and Kim Kardashian’s most recent booty shot we got lost.

Indeed, some studies have even shown that the more news we consume the less we actually know. That’s because so much of what we have come to think of as “news” is really a form of corporate propaganda, a depthless mass of factoids designed to not interfere with the bottom line. Thus we know less as we amuse ourselves to death.

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