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100 Door-Knocks for Bernie!

Active now in the counties of Sonoma and Marin in Northern California.

Click here to learn more and to sign up for 100 Door-Knocks for Bernie!

About Bernie: You made a big difference. Now what?

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
May 5, 2016                                                                      
 
 

Here’s a “yuge” thank you to everyone who turned out on Sunday to vote for our Coalition for Grassroots Progress slate of candidates to be delegates for Bernie at the Democratic National Convention.

Nearly a thousand people showed up, stood in the long lines, and voted. You made a difference – our candidates were the top five vote-getters!

And now it’s time to focus on getting out the vote for Bernie Sanders. One of the most effective things you can do now is sign up to phone-bank for Bernie. You can find a phone bank near you here. (It takes three steps: click on “Events,” then type in your zip-code, select how far you’re willing to travel, and sign up today!)

read more >>

Make a difference at the Bernie caucuses this Sunday!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
April 30, 2016                                                                         
 

Are you feeling helpless lately as you watch the establishment Democrats steamroll their way through the primary elections and caucuses?

Have you wished that there were something you could do?

You can make a big difference this Sunday afternoon: vote for our strong slate of candidates to be Bernie delegates at the Democratic National Convention.

You can be part of a Bernie Sanders caucus in San Rafael or Eureka, where we can elect delegates to the Democratic National Convention who'll fight for true democracy inside and outside the party.

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Help us push back against superdelegates

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
Alice Chan. April 26, 2016                                                       
 
 

I wrote an article about the superdelegate issue in the current edition of the North Bay Bohemian because I’m infuriated at how the Democratic Party establishment has rigged the system to prevent grassroots candidates like Bernie Sanders from getting the party’s nomination for President.

That’s why I’m urging you to be part of a Bernie Sanders caucus in San Rafael or Eureka, where we can elect delegates to the Democratic National Convention who'll fight for true democracy inside and outside the party.

Sunday, May 1
2:00 pm. (No one admitted after 3:00 pm.)
You may check in, vote and leave.

If you live in Congressional District 2 (represented by House member Jared Huffman), you can vote at either of these Bernie caucus locations:

read more >>

Invitation to caucus for Bernie

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
April 20, 2016
                                                                                                  
 

Do you want delegates for Bernie Sanders who’ll push back against the power of Wall Street throughout the Democratic National Convention?

Vote at a Bernie caucus to elect them!

Sunday, May 1 at 2:00 pm. (No one admitted after 3:00 pm.)

You may check in, vote and leave.

If you live in Congressional District 2 (represented by House member Jared Huffman), you can vote at either of these Bernie caucus locations:

* Marinwood Community Center, 775 Miller Creek Rd., San Rafael, CA 94903 [map]

* Eureka Labor Temple, 840 E Street, Eureka, CA 95501 [map]

The Coalition for Grassroots Progress urges you to vote for these strong progressives to be delegates for Bernie:

== Ruth Carter

== Mary “Mayme” Hubert

== James Mastin

== Ralph Miller

== Norman Solomon

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CGP for Noreen Evans and more!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
April 19, 2016

                                                                                               

Last month, the Coalition for Grassroots Progress endorsed Noreen Evans for Sonoma County 5th District Supervisor.

That election is just a bit over a month away, and now you have an opportunity to join with CGP volunteers at a phone-bank this coming Tuesday, April 26, at the Carpenters Union Local 51 Hall in Santa Rosa, between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m.

During her political career over her years on the Santa Rosa City Council, as a member of the California Assembly, and as a member of the California State Senate, Noreen Evans has always represented various parts of Sonoma County’s 5th District. She knows the important issues of the district and is committed to continuing to speak up in support of urban growth boundaries, protecting fisheries and rivers, addressing the growing problem of income and wealth disparities, promoting local and sustainable organic farms, and the challenges we face due to climate change.

Join us on April 26 as we get out the vote for Noreen Evans!

read more >>

You can vote for Bernie delegates to Dem national convention

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
April 14, 2016                                                                                
 

Save the date! You can vote at a caucus to elect Bernie delegates for the Democratic National Convention.

Sunday, May 1

2:00 pm. (No one admitted after 3:00 pm.)

You may check in, vote and leave.

If you live in Congressional District 2 (represented by House member Jared Huffman), you can vote at either of these Bernie caucus locations:

* Marinwood Community Center, 775 Miller Creek Rd., San Rafael, CA 94903 [map]

* Eureka Labor Temple, 840 E Street, Eureka, CA 95501 [map]

The Coalition for Grassroots Progress urges you to vote for these strong progressives to be delegates for Bernie:

[ ] Ruth Carter

[ ] Mary “Mayme” Hubert

[ ] James Mastin

[ ] Ralph Miller

[ ] Norman Solomon

read more >>

Democracy vs. Superdelegates

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
March 23, 2016

                                                                                                

You’d think that a political party with the word “democratic” in its name would be a party that promotes democracy through all the levels of its membership, right?

But as Norman Solomon points out in a piece recently published in the Marin IJ, the Democratic Party’s superdelegate system has established “internal barriers to democracy” that can prevent the people’s will from being carried out when the party selects its presidential nominee at the Democratic National Convention. 

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC Chair, said recently that the superdelegates "exist really to make sure that party leaders and elected officials don’t have to be in a position where they are running against grassroots activists." That’s practically the definition of an internal barrier to democracy.

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Turn to Bern?

Could Bernie Sanders take the California primary with the North Bay's help?

 

By Tom Gogola
North Bay Bohemian. March 16, 2016

 

LONG SHOT TO GOT A SHOT Bernie Sanders' victory in Michigan has thrown arguments about Hillary Clinton's inevitable nomination up for debate. - ANDREW CLINE/SHUTTESTOCK.COM

 

"If he wins tonight, we could go to June." That was Democratic Party strategist Donna Brazile on CNN the night of Bernie Sanders' upset in the Michigan primary on March 8.

Defying all expectations—even his own—Sanders beat Hillary Clinton by two points in a race that mainstream go-to pollsters such as Nate Silver said he would lose by 20 points, and perhaps more, just the day before the primary.

Brazile's comment on CNN was code for "This might not be resolved until California," whose primary is on June 7 and where 546 delegates are up for grabs in the Democratic primary. There are three months to go, and numerous states will vote between now and then, but Sanders' Michigan upset put the tactical and tautological "inevitability" argument about Hillary Clinton into play—something that nobody saw coming, least of all the two-dozen California Democratic superdelegates who have already pledged their support, and their vote, to Clinton.

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Grassroots Progress for Bernie, and more! - North Bay / North Coast

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
March 11, 2016
                                                              

For all of us, 2016 is an important election year -- when we’ll elect a new President, and some key races for Congress will be decided.

This year there are also several important local contests.

Our environment, our privacy, our healthcare, and our Constitution are under relentless assault from corporate “business as usual” legislators -- and the time is now to elect candidates who will defend us in those crucial realms.

After careful assessments, the Coalition for Grassroots Progress has endorsed:

Bernie Sanders for President

Bernie Sanders continues to get the short end of the stick in corporate media coverage; at first they ignored him, and now as they watch his success, they react with skepticism and excuses for why it won’t last. It’s grassroots support across the country, like our 100 Door-Knocks for Bernie campaign, that are contributing to his unforeseen success in the primaries and caucuses. Go Bernie!

Noreen Evans for Sonoma County Supervisor, 5th District

During her political career over her years on the Santa Rosa City Council, as a member of the California Assembly, and as a member of the California State Senate, Noreen has always represented various parts of Sonoma County’s 5th District. She knows the important issues of the district and is committed to continuing to speak up in support of urban growth boundaries, protecting fisheries and rivers, addressing the growing problem of income and wealth disparities, promoting local and sustainable organic farms, and the challenges we face due to climate change.

read more >>

Grassroots Progress for Bernie, and more!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
March 4, 2016                                                     
 

For all of us, 2016 is an important election year -- when we’ll elect a new President, and some key races for Congress will be decided.

Our environment, our privacy, our healthcare, and our Constitution are under relentless assault from corporate “business as usual” legislators -- and the time is now to elect candidates who will defend us in those crucial realms.

No matter who our next President is, it’s crucial that he or she will have committed progressive leaders in Congress to work with.

After careful assessments, the Coalition for Grassroots Progress has endorsed:

read more >>

Press Conference: Wife of CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling Asks Obama to Pardon Him

 

 

On February 17th, 2016, Holly Sterling, Jesselyn Radack, John Kiriakou, Tim Karr, Delphine Halgand, and Cornel West spoke at a news conference at the National Press Club, then delivered a petition containing over 150.000 signatures to the White House calling for the pardon of CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling.

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Coalition for Grassroots Progress Endorses

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
February 5, 2016                                                     
 

The Coalition for Grassroots Progress is pleased to announce our endorsements in several key races of the upcoming 2016 election season.

These endorsements are based on assessments of which candidates will defend the public interest in crucial matters such as the environment, privacy, healthcare, constitutional rights and the common good.

CGP has endorsed these candidates:

Bernie Sanders for President

Bernie Sanders continues to get the short end of the stick in corporate media coverage; at first they ignored him, and now as they watch his success, they react with skepticism and excuses for why it won’t last. It’s grassroots support across the country, like our 100 Door-Knocks for Bernie campaign, that are contributing to his unforeseen success in the primaries and caucuses. Go Bernie!

Jamie Raskin for Congress, in Maryland’s 8th District

Norman Solomon recently wrote this about Jamie Raskin: “Routinely, when congressional seats open up, the genuine progressive candidates can’t win and the candidates who can win aren’t really progressives. Jamie Raskin is a rare combination; after decades of fighting for progressive change, he now has huge momentum in a race for Congress. No wonder corporate Democrats are eager to block him.”

Tim Canova for Congress, running to unseat Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District. Many of us are among the more than 33,000 signers of RootsAction’s recent petition calling for Wasserman Schultz’s removal as Chair of the DNC. Tim Canova is her very first primary challenger, a lawyer who was active in the Occupy movement as well as being an opponent of the Wall Street bailout, and a steadfast opponent of the Patriot Act for which Wasserman Schultz repeatedly voted. Let’s help Tim Canova unseat this incumbent!  

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The Bernie Campaign: The Democratic Party’s Biggest Insurrection in Decades

by Norman Solomon
Common Dreams. February 1, 2016
 
(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)  
 
Forty-eight years ago, a serious insurrection jeopardized the power structure of the national Democratic Party for the first time in memory. Propelled by the movement against the Vietnam War, that grassroots uprising cast a big electoral shadow soon after Senator Eugene McCarthy dared to challenge the incumbent for the Democratic presidential nomination.
 

When 1968 got underway, the news media were scoffing at McCarthy's antiwar campaign as quixotic and doomed. But in the nation's leadoff New Hampshire primary, McCarthy received 42 percent of the vote while President Lyndon B. Johnson couldn't quite get to 50 percent -- results that were shattering for LBJ. Suddenly emboldened, Senator Robert Kennedy quickly entered the race. Two weeks later, Johnson announced that he wouldn't seek re-election.

Although the nomination eventually went to Johnson's vice president Hubert Humphrey -- a supporter of the war who was the choice of Democratic power brokers -- the unmasking of the party's undemocratic process led to internal reforms that aided the Democratic Party's second modern insurrection. It came four years later, when Senator George McGovern won the presidential nomination, thanks to grassroots movements involving young people and activists of color. But any sense of triumph disappeared in the wake of President Nixon's landslide re-election in November 1972.

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Needed: gun control at the Pentagon

Obama’s stand on guns does nothing for the victims of US firepower abroad

 

by Norman Solomon
Aljazeera America. OPINION
January 29, 2016
 
Salah Malkawi / Getty Images  
 

With passion and eloquence, President Barack Obama has renewed efforts to reduce gun tragedies. His proposals to strengthen safety measures and background checks for gun purchasers deserve support. But it’s disquieting to hear a president deliver heartfelt orations against “gun violence” at home while he conveys scant remorse about imposing it on innocent people abroad.

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Rare chance to put a genuine progressive in Congress!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
January 27, 2015
                                                                  
 

The Coalition for Grassroots Progress is very pleased to announce that we have endorsed Jamie Raskin’s campaign for an open seat in the U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland.

Norman Solomon is so encouraged by the prospect of Jamie Raskin in Congress that he recently wrote a letter calling Jamie “a rare combination” and urging support for his campaign from around the country.

“Jamie is an activist with a proven record as a state senator in the Maryland legislature,” Norman wrote. “He’s got a sense of humor, but when it comes to social change he doesn’t kid around!”

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Spin Shift on Bernie: The Escalating Media Assault

by Norman Solomon
Common Dreams. January 27, 2016
 
In this file image, Sen. Bernie Sanders appears on CBS News 'Face the Nation'' in Washington last year in this. (Photo: Reuters)
 

For a long time, as he campaigned for president, a wide spectrum of establishment media insisted that Bernie Sanders couldn’t win. Now they’re sounding the alarm that he might.

And, just in case you haven’t gotten the media message yet -- Sanders is “angry,” kind of like Donald Trump.

Elite media often blur distinctions between right-wing populism and progressive populism—as though there’s not all that much difference between appealing to xenophobia and racism on the one hand and appealing for social justice and humanistic solidarity on the other.

Many journalists can’t resist lumping Trump and Sanders together as rabble-rousing outliers. But in the real world, the differences are vast.

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Money Men Say, Voters Move Over, It’s Not Your Election!

Appalled at the chaotic GOP presidential race and the ascendancy of Trump and Cruz, those with the gold want to rule.

 

by Bill Moyers, Michael Winship
Common Dreams. January 23, 2016
 
David Koch speaks at the Defending the American Dream summit in 2015. He and his brother Charles lead a conservative political network that plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on the 2016 elections. (Photo: Paul Vernon/AP)
 
David Brooks is a worried man.
 

Like many establishment Republicans, the conservative columnist for The New York Times sees the barbarians pouring through the gates and fears for both his party and the republic. Hail, Trump! Hail, Cruz! It’s enough to send a sober centrist dashing through the Forum in search of a cudgel.

There was Brooks on a recent edition of the PBS NewsHour, his angst spilling out across the airwaves like fog from a nightmare: “I wish we had gray men in suits,” he told Judy Woodruff, conjuring in some nostalgia-minded the courtly cabal of well-heeled businessmen who drafted war hero Dwight D. Eisenhower to run for president as a Republican.

“We don’t have that,” Brooks continued. “But the donor class could do something.”

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10 Good Things About the Not-So-Great Year 2015

by Medea Benjamin
Common Dreams. December 23, 2015

Though times are tough, let's forget the bright spots of 2015. And in the year head, writes Benjamin, "May the force be with the grassroots activists trying to build a more peaceful world." (Photo: Big Stock / with overlay)

It would certainly be easy to do a piece about 10 horrible events from 2015, from the ongoing war in Syria and the refugee crisis, to the bombings in Beirut, Paris and San Bernardino, to the rise of Donald Trump and Islamophobia. But that wouldn’t be a very inspiring way to bid farewell to this year and usher in a new one. So let’s look at 10 reasons to feel better about 2015.

1. Iran nuclear deal: Despite significant political opposition and millions of dollars spent to try to quash the deal, the nuclear agreement with Iran was passed and the possibility of another US military entanglement was narrowly avoided. The powerful lobby AIPAC had its wings clipped, as did Israel’s Bibi Netanyahu (except that the deal unfortunately came with a payoff of even more US tax dollars going to the Israeli military).

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The Plutocrats Are Winning. Don’t Let Them!

The vast inequality they are creating is a death sentence for government by consent of the people. This is the fight of our lives and how it ends is up to us.

 

by Bill Moyers
Common Dreams. December 22, 2015
 

"As we are reminded by this season, there is more to life than politics," writes Moyers. "But without healthy democratic politics serving a moral order, all these are imperiled by the ferocious appetites of private power and greed." (Photo: BillMoyers.com)

 

Dear Readers:

In the fall of 2001, in the aftermath of 9/11, as families grieved and the nation mourned, Washington swarmed with locusts of the human kind: wartime opportunists, lobbyists, lawyers, ex-members of Congress, bagmen for big donors: all of them determined to grab what they could for their corporate clients and rich donors while no one was looking.

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Our members of Congress did WHAT?

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
December 10, 2015                                                   
 

Are you sitting down? I hope so, because you need to get ready for an unpleasant surprise.

Congressmen Jared Huffman and Mike Thompson both voted yes on a bill that lets car dealerships charge higher auto loan interest rates to people of color than they do to Caucasians.

Huffman and Thompson, along with 86 other Democrats and 244 Republicans in the House of Representatives, voted yes on H.R. 1737, which cancels regulatory guidance issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2013 that prohibits car dealers from practicing racial discrimination in car financing.

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Obama’s Speech, Translated into Candor

by Norman Solomon
Common Dreams. December 7, 2015
 
"Here’s what I want you to know," said President Obama on Sunday night to the American people: "The threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it." (Photo: Reuters/Pool)
 
Here is a condensed version of President Obama's speech from the Oval Office on Sunday night, unofficially translated into plain English:
 
I kind of realize we can’t kill our way out of this conflict with ISIL, but in the short term hopefully we can kill our way out of the danger of a Republican victory in the presidential race next year.
 
As a practical matter, the current hysteria needs guidance, not a sense of proportion along the lines of what the New York Times just mentioned in passing: “The death toll from jihadist terrorism on American soil since the Sept. 11 attacks—45 people—is about the same as the 48 killed in terrorist attacks motivated by white supremacist and other right-wing extremist ideologies.... And both tolls are tiny compared with the tally of conventional murders, more than 200,000 over the same period.”
 
 

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Climate battle close to home

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
December 4, 2015
 

Last month, many of us gathered in Oakland for the People’s Climate Rally, to demand action on global climate disruption.

Street actions calling attention to the urgency of climate change are energizing, and the next step is to put that energy to work.

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Killer Drone News Blackout Continues As Mainstream Media Ignore Air Force Whistleblowers

Published December 4, 2015 by ExposeFacts.org
by John Hanrahan
Common Dreams. December 4, 2015

Drone whistleblowers from left: Cian Westmoreland, Michael Haas, Brandon Bryant and Stephen Lewis. (Photograph: Simon Leigh for the Guardian)

The polls show it and commentators of all political stripes often cite the figures: Killer drone attacks by the U.S. military and the CIA in the Greater Middle East and Africa have strong U.S. public support. According to the Pew Research Center’s most recent poll in May, 58 percent — up slightly from 56 percent in February 2013 — approve of “missile strikes from drones to target extremists in such countries as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.”The numbers of Americans disapproving of drone attacks actually increased from 26 percent to 35 percent over that two-year period — a hopeful sign, but still very much a minority view.

But how well informed can U.S. citizens be on this subject when the major news media time and again ignore or under-report drone-strike stories — as we have discussed here and here in recent weeks? Stories — such as The Intercept’s October series based on a trove of classified materials provided by a national security whistleblower — that would likely raise serious questions about the drone program in many more Americans’ minds if they were actually given the information?

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After Paris Attacks, Critics Warn Against ‘Wars of Vengeance’

Meanwhile, human rights advocates predict backlash against refugees

 

by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer
Common Dreams. November 16, 2015
 
 
 

As details trickled out about Friday's deadly attacks in and around Paris, observers urged world leaders to avoid knee-jerk responses both at home and abroad.

"The true test for France is how they respond to the terror attacks in the long-game—that’s the king in all this," said analyst and former U.S. Foreign Service employee Peter Van Buren in an op-ed Sunday. "America failed this test post-9/11; yet it does not sound like France understands anything more than America. 'We are going to lead a war which will be pitiless,' French president [François] Hollande said outside the Bataclan concert hall, scene of the most bloodshed."

Indeed, beating the drum for "all-out war" would not be strategically sound, critics cautioned in the wake of the attacks.

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The Digital Dog Ate Our Civil-Liberties Homework: “It’s Just the Way It Is”

by Norman Solomon
Common Dreams. November 9, 2015

'The surveillance state is not the default setting of digital technology. The surveillance state is a failure and suppressor of democracy.' (Image: radiofreethinker.com)

Of all the excuses ladled out for the Obama administration's shredding of the Fourth Amendment while assaulting press freedom and prosecuting “national security” whistleblowers, none is more pernicious than the claim that technology is responsible.

At first glance, the explanation might seem to make sense. After all, the capacities of digital tech have become truly awesome. It’s easy to finger “technology” as the driver of government policies, as if the president at the wheel has little choice but to follow the technological routes that have opened up for Big Brother.

Now comes New York Times reporter Charlie Savage, telling listeners and viewers of a Democracy Now interview that the surveillance state is largely a matter of technology: “It’s just the way it is in the 21st century.”

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See you at our celebration on the 14th!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
November 6, 2015
                                                                        

It’s not too late to RSVP for our celebration on November 14!

For the past several months, your fellow activists for progress have been walking in their neighborhoods, talking to their neighbors, and organizing their precincts for a more progressive vote.

We’ve been especially focused  on “100 Door Knocks for Bernie,” and on Saturday, November 14,  we’ll be getting together to celebrate the successful conclusion of the first phase of that project.

Come join us in Santa Rosa for a celebratory gathering with like-minded friends as we reflect on the powerful nature of our work together and discuss next steps!

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 Why Grassroots Democrats Don’t Have a Problem With Democratic Socialism

They know that Bernie Sanders is advocating an old American tradition—in fact, Democrats now favor socialism over capitalism by 12 percentage points.

 

Published November 4, 2015 by The Nation
by John Nichols
Common Dreams. November 4, 2015

FDR's "good friend": Socialist Party presidential candidate Norman Thomas in Milwaukee, September 1932. (Photo: AP/Archive)

“Do I think Bernie Sanders should talk about democratic socialism? Yes, I do,” says Iowan Mary Clark. “I want him to explain everything in detail—give people a really good explanation. People who like Bernie are probably going to like him a little more if he does that. And people who aren’t supporting Bernie now might just say, ‘It sounds like he’s got some ideas that would actually solve our problems.’”

Clark isn’t a pundit or a pollster; nor does she sell herself as an expert on economics or presidential politics. She’s a rural Iowan who worries a lot about whether her neighbors will have clean water, decent housing, and fair pay. She’s worked a few minimum-wage jobs herself, and she knows a lot of folks who are struggling to get by along the rural routes that pass through her corner of Iowa’s Polk County. She talks to them about politics, and she always talks up Sanders. People like what they hear, she says. “But then they hear these guys on television saying, ‘Bernie Sanders can’t get elected because he’s a democratic socialist.’ So Bernie has to talk about it. But he doesn’t have to apologize for anything. He should say, ‘You’re wrong—I can get elected as a democratic socialist, and here’s why.’”

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Disturbing Schools

by Robert C. Koehler
Common Dreams. October 30, 2015

In this photo made from video taken by a Spring Valley High School student, Deputy Ben Fields tries to forcibly remove a student who refused to leave her high school math class near Columbia S.C. (Photo: Screenshot/AP)


So South Carolina has a special crime category called “disturbing schools,” which seems to be creating just that: disturbing schools. Very disturbing schools.

Not that I need to single out South Carolina. In my brief stint teaching writing as an outside consultant in several Chicago high schools, some 20 years ago, I was smacked broadside with the observation that the city’s educational system exhibited the behavior of an occupying army, at least in its low-income neighborhoods. Education was something imposed from above and force-fed to the students like bad-tasting medicine. It didn’t honor the students’ own culture.

What the kids needed was a generosity of understanding that the education system had no interest in giving them, preferring to help them along on their journey to adulthood with zero tolerance and metal detectors.

What has happened to our national intelligence, not to mention our national values? In the era of cellphone accountability, our lack thereof has a new poster boy: Officer Slam. Throw the insolent kid across the floor, break her arm if necessary, slap her in cuffs.

This is how we teach respect. This is how we teach math.

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Phillip Baldwin for Russian River Flood Control District!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
October 21, 2015
                                                                                                              
 

You’ve heard it said that every vote counts, and that has never been more true than it is for elections like the Mendocino County Russian River Flood Control & Water Conservation Improvement District election this November.

The Coalition for Grassroots Progress has endorsed former Ukiah City Councilman and long-time progressive Phillip Baldwin, running for one of two seats on this board, and he needs your vote.

If you live outside the district and can’t vote for him, please urge any of your contacts who can vote for him to do so.

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Grassroots Progress in Sonoma County. Let’s Celebrate!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
October 13, 2015
                                                                 


We have something to celebrate, and we hope that you will join us!

CGP’s “100 Door Knocks for Bernie” project has been getting a lot of attention, all over the country as well as locally, and on Saturday, November 14 we’re going to celebrate the successful conclusion of the first phase of the project.

We’re getting money out of politics by putting people back in, as our activists step away from their computers and get out into their neighborhoods instead, talking to their neighbors about progressive issues and candidates.

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Will Sanders challenge Clinton on foreign policy?

In debate, Sanders should be less reluctant to stake a position against the militarism of mainstream Democrats

 
by Norman Solomon
OPINION. Al Jazeera America
October 12, 2015
 
Ernesto Hernandez Fonte / U.S. Navy via Getty Images
 

The presidential campaign of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is challenging Democratic Party elites who serve corporate power at the expense of widening income inequality. No one personifies those elites more than his main rival for the party’s nomination, Hillary Clinton, who will face off with Sanders on Tuesday night in the first Democratic presidential debate.

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Why Do Conservatives Get to Question Candidates–but Not Progressives?

Published on October 9, 2015 by
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
by Jeff Cohen
Common Dreams. October 9, 2015
 

CNN‘s Republican debate included questions from conservative talkshow host Hugh Hewitt. Why won’t there be a progressive asking questions at CNN‘s Democratic debate? (Photo: Bill Rice/cc)


At the CNN-sponsored Republican Party debate last month at the Reagan Library, one of the three panelists CNN selected to question the candidates was conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, affiliated with the proudly right-wing Salem Radio Network.

But at Tuesday’s upcoming Democratic Party debate, CNN is not planning to include a single progressive advocate among its panel of four questioners.

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Bombing Hospitals All in a Day’s Work

Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz destroyed by U.S. bombing

by Phyllis Bennis
Common Dreams. October 5, 2015

Surgeons work inside a Médecins Sans Frontières hospital after an air strike in the city of Kunduz, Afghanistan. (Photo: Handout/Reuters)

The destruction of the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, with 22 dead so far, including doctors, other staff and patients, capped a week that also saw the bombing of​ another hospital in Afghanistan, plus the U.S.-backed Saudi Arabian bombing of a wedding party in Yemen set up in tents far out in the desert, away from anything remotely military. (What IS it about wedding parties that U.S. and allied bombers keep hitting them?).

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Single Payer and the Case Against ‘Clicktivism’

by Russell Mokhiber
Common Dreams. September 30, 2015

Obamacare, with its promise of healthcare reform, took the wind out of the sails of the single payer movement.

In the House of Representatives, the number of co-sponsors of the single payer bill, HR 676, today is at 53 — down from a high of about 100.

Under Obamacare, 30 million Americans are still uninsured and tens of millions more are underinsured.

It’s a down year for single payer and activists are asking — what to do?

What’s the next step?

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The Painful Facts, State-by-State: How We’re Victimized by Corporate State Tax Avoidance

by Paul Buchheit
Common Dreams
September 28, 2015

When it comes to tax-dodging, the biggest companies are the worst. (Photo:  Yuri Keegstra/flickr/cc)

Corporate data from numerous sources, including annual reports directly from the companies themselves, has been merged and matched and managed into two spreadsheets that reveal state-by-state corporate tax avoidance. The results show how people all over America are being deprived of revenue that should be going to education and infrastructure.

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CGP Endorses Ruth Carter for Dixie School Board

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
September 14, 2015                                                                          
 

The Coalition for Grassroots Progress is pleased to announce its endorsement of Ruth Carter for Dixie School Board, Marin County. 

Over the past two years, Ruth has carefully familiarized herself with the issues facing the Dixie School District; as the district faces changing demographics, she has a vision for the future of the district that addresses both budgetary challenges and ways to expand needed educational programs.

We wish Ruth Carter success in her campaign!
 

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America’s post-9/11 Cassandras are still ignored

As the US war machine grinds on, mainstream media outlets bury prescient warnings

 

by Norman Solomon
Al Jazeera America
September 11, 2015
 
 

Fourteen years later, the horrors of 9/11 continue with deadly ripple effects. American militarism has become the dominant position of U.S. foreign policy, while other options remain banished to the sidelines. Yet from the outset of the “war on terrorism,” some Americans spoke out against a militarized response to the terrible events on Sept. 11, 2001.

Conventional wisdom presents the “war on terrorism” — proclaimed by President George W. Bush and maintained under President Barack Obama — as the only practical response to 9/11. Fighting terrorism has been the main rationale for all U.S. military interventions since then, spinning the Pentagon’s machinery into overdrive despite the absence of clearly identified foes or geographical boundaries.

Even the most prominent warnings against such an approach were marginalized and vilified in the wake of Sept. 11. And those warnings have been buried by the U.S. media as though they never occurred, even though their concerns have proved prescient. The U.S. has spent trillions of dollars on military interventions across the Middle East, and yet the region is more violent and turbulent than ever.

 

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Grassroots Progress for Bernie Sanders!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
September 3, 2015                                            
 

When we announced our endorsement of Bernie Sanders for President last month, we said that the 2016 election could be a turning point in American democracy, if we the people can get money out of politics by putting the people back in.

Bernie has been attracting big crowds of supporters wherever he goes; he’s spoken to more than 100,000 people at live events across the country, and his grassroots campaign keeps growing. You’d have to look hard at the newspaper or television news reports to learn about that, though.

That’s why we’ve launched our “100 Door-Knocks for Bernie” project in Marin, Sonoma, and Mendocino Counties in California, where we’re talking to our neighbors about why we support Bernie Sanders for President. We know that if every one of our supporters in those counties makes a commitment to knock on one hundred doors in their own neighborhood to get the word out about Bernie Sanders’ campaign, that will have a large effect on election results.

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The Power of the People: Richmond Progressives Share Lessons from Defeat of Chevron at the Polls

On June 20, 2015 the Coalition for Grassroots Progress hosted an extraordinary event in Petaluma, California. Members of the successful team of Richmond progressives came to town to share the lessons they learned in the process of defeating oil industry behemoth Chevron's attempt to buy a friendly City Council in the November 2014 election.

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Norman Solomon on Bernie Sanders and Foreign Policy

UpFront. KPFA. 08.31.15
Hosted by Brian Edwards-Tiekert   
 
Peace activists have been petitioning presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to stake out clear positions on war and militarism–so when ABC’s Martha Raddatz pinned him down this weekend on Iran, drones, and war, did they get what they want? Norman Solomon will join us in studio to talk Bernie Sanders, foreign policy, and trying to make change through elections.
 
Click here to listen to the archived audio of the program.
 
Brian's interview with Norman Solomon begins at about the 30 minute mark.

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How to win an election: go knock on doors

by Andrew Steele
The Globe and Mail. August 10, 2011
Udated September 06, 2012                               

Everyone has a theory about why elections go the way they do:

“Barack Obama won the election because he understood new media.”

“In 2008, Obama only won the election because he won the critical states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin by differentiating himself from McCain on trade.”

“The Bush Economy won the election for Obama”

All of these are interesting theories, but they are difficult to prove.

But there is one thing that is proven to increase voter turnout for your candidate: canvassing.

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Congressman Huffman: Support the Iran Agreement

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
August 19, 2015                                       
 

You will probably be as surprised as we were to learn that Congressman Jared Huffman has not yet publicly said that he will support peace in the Middle East by voting “Yes” on the Iran nuclear arms agreement.

Let’s tell Congressman Huffman that it’s time to get off the fence and make a solid commitment to peace in the Middle East by voting yes on the Iran deal. Here’s a link for his constituents who want to email the Congressman with that message.

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Subverting Illusions: Julian Assange and the Value of WikiLeaks

by Norman Solomon
Common Dreams. August 17, 2015
 
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. (Photo: AFP)
 

Three years after Ecuador’s government granted political asylum to Julian Assange in its small ground-floor London embassy, the founder of WikiLeaks is still there—beyond the reach of the government whose vice president, Joe Biden, has labeled him "a digital terrorist." The Obama administration wants Assange in a U.S. prison, so that the only mouse he might ever see would be scurrying across the floor of a solitary-confinement cell.

Above and beyond Assange’s personal freedom, what’s at stake includes the impunity of the United States and its allies to relegate transparency to a mythical concept, with democracy more rhetoric than reality. From the Vietnam War era to today -- from aerial bombing and torture to ecological disasters and financial scams moving billions of dollars into private pockets—the high-up secrecy hiding key realities from the public has done vast damage. No wonder economic and political elites despise WikiLeaks for its disclosures.

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Norman Solomon on Community Organizing & Confronting Corporate Power

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Composting for Progressive Movements & Challenging Sonoma County’s Corporate Power Structure.

A Presentation by Norman Solomon

 

Published by The Raucus Rooster
August 13, 3015
 

On June 20, 2015 the Coalition for Grassroots Progress (CGP) hosted an event at Heidi Overman’s lovely restaurant and catering venue, Fourchette, in an industrial business park at the northern end of Petaluma, California. Some may know the site as the former location of Lydia’s Sunflower Center.

The event was an organized for two purposes: first, to recognize the remarkably effective work in political and community organizing achieved over the past decade by the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA), which culminated in the election in November 2014 of a progressive majority on the Richmond City Council.

This victory came about despite a record-setting expenditure of over $3 million on the campaign by the Chevron corporation to elect its own trio of candidates. Chevron is the eighth largest corporation in the world. All three of Chevron’s candidates were defeated.

The second goal was to learn what progressive and allied activists, community organizers and leaders can do to achieve similar successes here in the North Bay.

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10 Steps to Wean US Foreign Policy Off Militarism

by Medea Benjamin
Common Dreams. August 7, 2015
 
While some sectors of our society certainly benefit from excessive militarism, the majority of Americans don’t. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
 

US progressives are delighted to see the US administration making some progress on the diplomatic front with Cuba and Iran. We should now clearly define what a progressive foreign policy looks like, and push presidential candidates and other officials to move US foreign policy towards one based on respect, cooperation and diplomacy.

President Obama, after spending most of his time in office pursuing foreign policies similar to those of George Bush, has now discovered diplomacy. While he hasn’t stopped US military intervention overseas, including his signature drone strikes, he has brokered two historic deals: one with Cuba to begin the process of normalizing relations and the nuclear deal with Iran that he is now struggling to pass through Congress.

US progressives who are delighted to see some progress on the diplomatic front should now clearly define what a progressive foreign policy looks like, and push presidential candidates and other officials to move US policy towards one that is based on respect, cooperation, and diplomacy, including the following:

 

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Bernie Sanders should stop ducking foreign policy

The progressive favorite has views on foreign affairs but has avoided articulating them to voters

 

by Norman Solomon
Opinion. Al Jazeera America
August 5, 2015
 

Senator Bernie Sanders has sparked a strong grassroots response in his run for the Democratic presidential nomination on social and economic issues. At the same time, he has given short shrift to foreign policy, military spending and war. That approach should change.

I’m among millions of supporters who are enthusiastic about the clarity of his positions in taking on Wall Street, corporate power and economic inequality. But we also need Sanders to be clear about what he would do as commander in chief of the world’s leading military power.

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Sanders Makes History With 2016 Cycle’s Biggest Campaign Event Yet

'I have never seen a campaign as exciting as this,' says Sanders supporter in Alabama

 

by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer
Common Dreams. July 29, 2015
 
From a house party in Washington, D.C., Sanders spoke to roughly 100,000 people at 3,500 house parties across the country. (Photo: Screenshot)
 

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addressed an estimated 100,000 supporters at more than 3,500 house parties in all 50 states on Wednesday night, at what is being called the largest campaign event of the 2016 election cycle thus far.

The organizing kick-off, which Sen. Sanders (I-Vt.) said was aimed at building a political movement from the ground up, saw the democratic socialist beamed into bars, libraries, and living rooms from Alaska to Florida. There was a "custom cocktail" featuring Vermont maple syrup at a bar in Washington, D.C., while a Texas event served up "brisket and biscuits for Bernie."

The man himself spoke from what the Burlington Free Press described as "a modest, steamy apartment" in the nation's capitol. His remarks were delivered "off a yellow legal pad balanced precariously on a wobbly music stand," added Salon.

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We’re for Bernie!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
July 22, 2015                                           
                                                                                 

We are pleased to announce that the Coalition for Grassroots Progress has endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders for President!

Excitement is growing around the country, as Bernie keeps drawing much larger crowds than any other presidential candidate this year. Last Saturday night, 11,000 people turned out to hear him in Phoenix.

The year 2016 could be a true turning point in American democracy: Will the moneyed interests win again? Or, if we get money out of politics by putting the people in, will we the people win?

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Perpetual war creates endless consequences

Democrats who once spoke out against Bush’s militarism have enabled Obama’s reliance on military force

 

by Norman Solomon
Al Jazeera America
July 13, 2015
 

When the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, began this month by issuing a farewell report on U.S. military strategy, the gist was hardly big news. “Dempsey to Pentagon: Prepare for the Never-Ending War” read the headline on the cover page of the National Journal.

The “war on terror” now looks so endless that no one speculates anymore about when it might conclude. “This war, like all wars, must end,” President Barack Obama declared in a major speech more than two years ago. “That’s what history advises. That’s what our democracy demands.” But midway through 2015, this war seems as interminable as ever.

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Bernie Sanders Speaks

Published on July 6, 2015 by The Nation
by John Nichols
Common Dreams. July 6, 2015

Sanders at a town hall at the Culinary Workers Union, March 2015, in Las Vegas (AP Photo/John Locher)

When Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders told The Nation last year that he was “prepared to run for president,” he said he would do so only if it was clear that progressives were enthusiastic about a movement campaign seeking nothing less than “a political revolution.” It was an audacious proposal—but after traveling the country for a year, Sanders decided that the enthusiasm was there and announced in late April as a candidate for the Democratic nomination. There were plenty of doubters then. Two months into the campaign, however, everything about this candidacy—the crowds, the poll numbers, the buzz—is bigger than expected. That says something about Sanders. But it also says something about the prospects for progressive politics. In late June, The Nation sat down with Sanders for several conversations that asked the longtime Nation reader (“started when I was a University of Chicago student in the early 1960s”) to put not just his campaign but the moment in historical perspective for our 150th-anniversary issue:


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CGP Endorses Bernie Sanders

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
July 5, 2015
 

The Coalition for Grassroots Progress Endorses Senator BERNIE SANDERS for President 2016.

For more information about Senator
Bernie Sanders, visit:
www.BernieSanders.com

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Would Jeffrey Sterling Be in Prison If He Were White?

by Norman Solomon
Common Dreams. June 25, 2015

Former CIA operative Jeffrey Sterling has begun serving a 3-year prison sentence after being convicted, despite no conclusive evidence, of leaking classified information to a New York Times journalist. (Image: 'Invisible Man' documentary/Judith Ehrlich)

Last week CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling went to prison. If he were white, he probably wouldn’t be there.

Sterling was one of the CIA’s few African-American case officers, and he became the first to file a racial discrimination lawsuit against the agency. That happened shortly before the CIA fired him in late 2001. The official in Langley who did the firing face-to-face was John Brennan, now the CIA’s director and a close adviser to President Obama.

Five months ago, in court, prosecutors kept claiming that Sterling’s pursuit of the racial-bias lawsuit showed a key “motive” for providing classified information to journalist James Risen. The government’s case at the highly problematic trial was built entirely on circumstantial evidence. Lacking anything more, the prosecution hammered on ostensible motives, telling the jury that Sterling’s “anger,” “bitterness” and “selfishness” had caused him to reveal CIA secrets.

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After 13 Years of Hell, Human Held Without Charges Has One Question for US

'If the war in Afghanistan is over,' asks prisoner languishing at offshore prison, 'why am I still here?'

 

by Jon Queally, staff writer
Common Dreams. June 24, 2015

In a strikingly personal piece, Moath al-Alwi expresses his grief, anger, and frustrations after nearly 13 years of being held with no charges by the U.S. government. "I wonder now," he writes, "if the US follows any rule of law at all: the Geneva Conventions or even its own Constitution. Where is the freedom and justice for all that it so proudly boasts to the world?" (Photo: AP/file)

Moath al-Alwi, who has been a prisoner of the U.S. government and detained at the offshore prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba since 2002 without ever being charged with a crime or afforded a trial, has a simple yet urgent question for the American people and the U.S. government: Why am I still here?

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Latest Poll Confirms Nation’s Desires Marching Leftward

'The shift in the electorate may help explain the attention being garnered by long-shot candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont,' says Gallup

 

by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer
Common Dreams. June 18, 2015

Bernie Sanders participates in the Populism 2015 Conference in Washington, D.C.  (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty)

Democrats in the U.S. are shifting to the left, according to new data from Gallup.

Or, as Frank Newport writes for the research and polling firm: "Democratic candidates for the 2016 presidential nomination face a significantly more left-leaning party base than their predecessors did over the last 15 years."

According to telephone interviews conducted in the first week of May with more than 1,000 adults, 47 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents now identify as both socially liberal and economically moderate or liberal. This is compared with 39 percent in these categories in 2008, when there was last an open seat for their party's nomination, and 30 percent in 2001.

Elaborating on the poll's implications, Newport added: "The shift in the electorate may help explain the attention being garnered by long-shot candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont who has used the label 'socialist' to describe himself and who is avowedly liberal across the board."

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We’ll see you on June 20!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
June 13, 2015                                                        
 
Are you looking forward to hearing from the Richmond Progressives about how they beat Chevron’s multi-million dollar campaign this past November?
 

RSVP today for this inspiring event, where Richmond City Council Member Gayle McLaughlin and Richmond Progressive Alliance activist Margaret Jordan will tell us how they did it!

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Renewable Energy Will Not Support Economic Growth

Published June 7, 2015 by Resilience.org
by Richard Heinberg
Common Dreams. June 7, 2015

(Image: Shutterstock)

The world needs to end its dependence on fossil fuels as quickly as possible. That’s the only sane response to climate change, and to the economic dilemma of declining oil, coal, and gas resource quality and increasing extraction costs. The nuclear industry is on life support in most countries, so the future appears to lie mostly with solar and wind power. But can we transition to these renewable energy sources and continue using energy the way we do today? And can we maintain our growth-based consumer economy?

The answer to both questions is, probably not. Let’s survey four important sectors of the energy economy and tally up the opportunities and challenges.

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A Misleading Moment of Celebration for a New Surveillance Program

Published on June 4, 2015 by ExposeFacts.org
By Norman Solomon
Common Dreams. June 4, 2015

The morning after final passage of the USA Freedom Act, while some foes of mass surveillance were celebrating, Thomas Drake sounded decidedly glum. The new law, he told me, is “a new spy program.” It restarts some of the worst aspects of the Patriot Act and further codifies systematic violations of Fourth Amendment rights.

Later on Wednesday, here in Oslo as part of a “Stand Up For Truth” tour, Drake warned at a public forum that “national security” has become “the new state religion.” Meanwhile, his Twitter messages were calling the USA Freedom Act an “itty-bitty step” — and a “stop/restart kabuki shell game” that “starts w/ restarting bulk collection of phone records.”

That downbeat appraisal of the USA Freedom Act should give pause to its celebrants. Drake is a former senior executive of the National Security Agency — and a whistleblower who endured prosecution and faced decades in prison for daring to speak truthfully about NSA activities. He ran afoul of vindictive authorities because he refused to go along with the NSA’s massive surveillance program after 9/11.

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Is Voter Turnoff Inviting a Progressive Rollback?

By Steven Mikulan
Capital & Main. May 27, 2015

It’s become an unsettling fact of political life that as election turnouts dwindle, campaign spending skyrockets. Los Angeles’ recently concluded school board races, which drew a paltry 7.6 percent of potential voters, underscored this point. Ref Rodriguez, who unseated the District 5 incumbent, received most of the $2.2 million contributed by political action committees (PACs) controlled by the California Charter Schools Association Advocates. Rodriguez has co-created several charter schools and his backers, unsurprisingly, came from that community. Among the familiar local names of extreme wealth and influence were Eli Broad, Richard Riordan and William Bloomfield. Equally familiar to followers of school privatization were more distant funders such as Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Walmart heir Jim Walton, Laurene Powell Jobs, the Gap Inc.’s Fisher family members and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Rounding out Rodriguez’s cascade of thousand-dollar checks were names associated with high-powered investment firms, various charter schools and charter-advocacy groups, such as Parent Revolution and StudentsFirst. Even among this varied and far-flung group, two names stuck out: Amplify Learning president Larry Berger of New York, and New Majority California, which calls itself the state’s largest Republican PAC.

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Labor for Bernie

Bernie Sanders has a long record of supporting pro-worker policies. Organized labor should back his presidential run.

 

Published May 27, 2015 by Jacobin
by Steve Early
Common Dreams. May 27, 2015
 

Bernie Sanders campaigns for Burlington mayor in 1981. (Photo: Vermont Press Bureau)

When I first met Brooklyn-born Bernie Sanders, he was a relatively marginal figure in his adopted state of Vermont. It was 1976 and he was running, unsuccessfully and for the fourth time, as a candidate of the Liberty Union Party (LUP).

Liberty Union was a radical third party spearheaded by opponents of the Vietnam War who had, like Sanders, washed up in the Green Mountain State as the sixties subsided. At its historic peak, the LUP garnered maybe 5 or 6 percent of the statewide vote for some of its more presentable candidates — in short, nothing like the winning margins racked up in recent years by the far more savvy and effective Vermont Progressive Party, which now boasts a ten-member legislature delegation and attracts growing union support.

During Sanders’s quixotic mid-1970s bid to become governor of Vermont, I accompanied him to a meeting of local granite cutters, teamsters, and electrical workers. This was not a “flatlander” crowd, nor one dominated by full-time union officials. His audience was native Vermonters, some of them Republican, who were still punching a clock at local quarries, trucking companies, and machine tool factories in an era when the future home state of Ben & Jerry’s and Vermont Teddy Bear Co. still had impressive blue-collar union density.

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Jeffrey Sterling vs. the CIA: An Untold Story of Race and Retribution

Published on May 27, 2015 by ExposeFacts.org
by Norman Solomon
Common Dreams. May 27, 2015

Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling got on the wrong side of his employers at the CIA. And now he faces prison. (Photo: file)

A dozen years before his recent sentencing to a 42-month prison term based on a jury’s conclusion that he gave classified information to a New York Times journalist, former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was in the midst of a protracted and fruitless effort to find someone in Congress willing to look into his accusations about racial discrimination at the agency.

ExposeFacts.org has obtained letters from Sterling to prominent members of Congress, beseeching them in 2003 and 2006 to hear him out about racial bias at the CIA. Sterling, who is expected to enter prison soon, provided the letters last week. They indicate that he believed the CIA was retaliating against him for daring to become the first-ever black case officer to sue the agency for racial discrimination.

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Get money out of politics by putting the people back in

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
May 20, 2015                                                                  
 
Recently the satirical publication The Onion asked “What is the purpose of super PACs?” Their answer was “To counteract the excessive influence ordinary voters exert on US elections.”

Satire or not, we at the Coalition for Grassroots Progress believe that The Onion is right, and that the only way we’ll be able to get money out of politics is if the people put themselves back in. 

We saw evidence in last year’s election that putting the people back into the political process makes a remarkable difference in election results. The grassroots group Richmond Progressive Alliance organized voters to beat Chevron’s multi-million dollar campaign spending in Richmond, California, and it worked: the progressives won!
 
 

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Establishment Journalists Pride Themselves on Staying on the Official Rails

Published on May 18, 2015 by Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)
by Jim Naureckas
Common Dreams. May 18, 2015

"It’s an odd choice of metaphor," writes Naureckas. "Rails, after all, are meant to keep a vehicle on a predetermined track."

In his brilliant analysis in Columbia Journalism Review (3/15/15) of establishment media reaction to Seymour Hersh’s re-examination of the killing of Osama bin Laden (London Review of Books, 5/21/15), the Guardian‘s Trevor Timm notes that one of the put-downs hurled at Hersh to discredit his story is “off the rails”–as in, “In recent years, however, Hersh has appeared increasingly to have gone off the rails,” as Max Fisher put it in his Vox broadside (5/11/15).

It’s an odd choice of metaphor. Rails, after all, are meant to keep a vehicle on a predetermined track. It’s not much of compliment to compare a journalist to a smoothly operating train, always showing up at the official stations.

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Don’t Grade Justice on a Warped Curve: Assessing the Case of Jeffrey Sterling

by Norman Solomon
Common Dreams. May 14, 2015
 
Former CIA operative Jeffrey Sterling was sentenced to 3 years in prison earlier this week. (Image: 'Invisible Man' documentary/Judith Erlich)
 

Yes, I saw the glum faces of prosecutors in the courtroom a few days ago, when the judge sentenced CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling to three and a half years in prison -- far from the 19 to 24 years they’d suggested would be appropriate.

Yes, I get that there was a huge gap between the punishment the government sought and what it got -- a gap that can be understood as a rebuke to the dominant hard-line elements at the Justice Department.

And yes, it was a positive step when a May 13 editorial by the New York Times finally criticized the extreme prosecution of Jeffrey Sterling.

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CIA Officer Jeffrey Sterling Sentenced to Prison: Latest Blow in the Government’s War on Journalism

It’s a warning shot—not only against whistleblowing but against basic communication with journalists by government employees.

 

Published May 13, 2015 by The Nation
by Norman Solomon
Common Dreams. May 13, 2015

Former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling with his wife after being convicted of leaking classified details to a New York Times reporter. (Photo: AP/Kevin Wolf)

The sentencing of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling on May 11 for espionage ends one phase of a long ordeal and begins another. At age 47, he has received a prison term of 42 months—three and a half years—after a series of ever more improbable milestones.

The youngest of six children raised by a single mother, Sterling was the only member of his family to go to college. He graduated from law school in 1993, worked briefly at a public defender’s office, and then entered the CIA, where he became one of the agency’s only African-American case officers. In August 2001, Sterling became the first one ever to file a lawsuit against the CIA for racial discrimination. (His suit, claiming that he was denied certain assignments because of his race, was ultimately tossed out of court on grounds that a trial would jeopardize government secrets.) Soon afterward, the agency fired him.

Sterling returned to his home state of Missouri and restarted his life. After struggling, he found a professional job and fell in love. But the good times were short-lived. One day in 2006, the FBI swooped in for a raid, seizing computers and papers at the small home that Sterling and his fiancée shared in a suburb of St. Louis. Slowly, during the next four years, without further action from the government, the menacing legal cloud seemed to disperse. But suddenly, a few days into 2011, Sterling was arrested for the first time in his life—charged with betraying his country.

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Exclusive: CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling Speaks Out Upon Sentencing to 3.5 Years in Prison

DemocracyNow.org
May 12, 2015
 

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CIA Whistleblower Sentencing Today

Institute for Public Accuracy
May 11, 2015                                               

Nearly four months after a jury returned a guilty verdict on government charges that Jeffrey Sterling gave classified information to New York Times reporter James Risen, the former CIA officer is scheduled to be sentenced at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Va. today.

The sentencing, by Judge Leonie Brinkema, is set for 2 pm. Immediately afterward, former CIA official Ray McGovern and former Justice Department official Jesselyn Radack will be available for comment in front of the courthouse.

McGovern and Radack — as well as NSA whistleblower Kirk Wiebe — will also be available for interviews later in the day. Contact information and summaries of their backgrounds are below.

Detailed coverage of the trial, which happened in January, is posted at ExposeFacts.org, a project of the Institute for Public Accuracy. See letter from Archbishop Desmond Tutu on the case.

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DOJ to Investigate Pattern of Racist Policing in Baltimore

Though welcomed, rights advocates question whether prosecutions or probes will have meaningful impact on systemic discrimination in Baltimore and other U.S. cities

 

by Lauren McCauley, staff writer
Common Dreams. May 8, 2015

A Baltimore protester faces a wall of police in riot gear during a demonstration on April 28, 2015. (Photo: Arash Azizzada/cc/flickr)

The United States Department of Justice announced Friday that after weeks of uproar and protest it would open an official investigation into the Baltimore Police Department to determine whether the discrimination and events that led to the brutal death of Freddie Gray were part of systemic pattern of abuse.

After traveling to the city this week, the newly anointed U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that recent events, including the "tragic in-custody death of Freddie Gray," had led to a "serious erosion of public trust," prompting local officials and community leaders to seek federal oversight of policing practices.

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Broken Windows, Broken Spines

by Robert C. Koehler
Common Dreams. May 7, 2015

Activist DeRay Mckesson smacks down Wolf Blitzer: "You are suggesting this idea that broken windows are worse than broken spines, right?"

The 21st century has skewed off plan and begun to break open. Its self-designated guardians and explainers look on, at times, confused.

“But at least 15 police officers have been hurt, 200 arrests, 144 vehicle fires — these are statistics. There’s no excuse for that kind of violence, right?”

This is CNN’s Wolf Blitzer interviewing DeRay Mckesson last week as Baltimore convulsed. Mckesson, an organizer and citizen-journalist — a young, former school administrator radicalized last summer by the death of Michael Brown — stared into the camera and refused to succumb to, or be ensnared in, the anchorman’s agenda. That agenda was obvious: to turn “the riot” into the news, to sever Baltimore’s fury and despair from its cause, a militarized police force and the casual, ongoing murder of African-Americans. The official agenda was to portray the protesters as terrorists.

“Yeah, and there’s no excuse for the seven people that the Baltimore City Police Department killed in the last year either, right?” Mckesson answered, flipping the interview on its head.

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Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh to speak in Santa Rosa on May 13

A video introduction to Dr. Kanaaneh's book Chief Complaint: A Country Doctor’s Tales of Life in Galilee

Look here for information about where you can hear Dr. Kanaaneh in Santa Rosa on May 13.

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How We Reach Critical Mass to Stop Climate Chaos

Published May 06, 2015 by EcoWatch
by Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr.

'The movement needs to expand,' writes Yearwood, 'and to do so we need to re-frame the issue of climate change to make it an everyday, every person issue.'

This upcoming weekend at the University of the District of Columbia Law School, Bill McKibben, Dr. Michael Dorsey, Lester Brown, Professor Mark Jacobson, Mustafa Ali from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Professor Phillip Harvey, Barbara Arnwine, Rev. Rodney Sadler, Jay Nightwolf, Krystal Williams, Joe Uehlein, Ted Glick, Chuck Rocha, Professor Joel Rogers, Nikisha Glover, Mike Ewall, Jeffrey Wolfe, Joel Segal, State Sen. Ben Ptashnik, Jacquelyn Patterson, Terrence Muhammad, Mark Magana, Dr. Gabriela Lemus, Leslie Fields, Andrea Miller and many, many more, will address these two central questions in a convening sponsored by People Demanding Action:

1. How do we reach the political “critical mass'” to stop climate chaos, and simultaneously tackle poverty and its accompanying social inequities?


2. The social ills that create poverty and accompanying social inequalities are created by the same mechanisms which thwart the proper response to climate change. How can we change them all together?

The objective of this convening is to build a movement of solidarity which includes climate crisis action and reestablishment of justice.

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The Five-Step Process to Privatize Everything

by Paul Buchheit
Common Dreams. May 4, 2015

'The heart of privatization,' writes Buchheit, 'is a disdain for government and a distrust of society, and a mindless individualism that leaves little room for cooperation.' (Image: stock/public domain)

Law enforcement, education, health care, water management, government itself -- all have been or are being privatized. People with money get the best of each service.

At the heart of privatization is a disdain for government and a distrust of society, and a mindless individualism that leaves little room for cooperation. Adherents of privatization demand 'freedom' unless they need the government to intervene on their behalf.

These privatizers have a system:

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The Significance of Bernie Sanders’ Decision to Enter the Democratic Primaries

by Tom Gallagher
Common Dreams. May 1, 2015

Sanders has correctly recognized, writes Gallagher, that the primary process affords him opportunities to be heard that running as an Independent or third party presidential candidate simply would not. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Why has the longest serving independent member of Congress in American history just announced that he will seek the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination?  Simply put, because Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), so long and so famously neither Democrat or Republican, has understood that the presidential primaries (and caucuses) offer him his best option for taking a politics of the 99 percent to the voters of the 99 percent.

This decision may not go down easy with all of Sanders’s potential supporters.  There will be those who may have to swallow hard to follow him into the Democratic primaries.  But Sanders obviously has not prefaced this decision by any trimming of his sails so far as arguing against the failure of the leading figures of the Democratic Party to demonstrate that they’re not merely the leaders of the country’s second party subservient to big money interests.  What he has done, however, is recognize that the primary process affords him opportunities to be heard that running as independent or third party presidential candidate simply would not. 

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Whistleblowers vs. “Fear-Mongering”

By John Hanrahan
ExposeFacts.org • April 28, 2015

Photo of (left to right) Kirk Wiebe, Coleen Rowley, Raymond McGovern, Daniel Ellsberg, William Binney, Jesselyn Radack, and Thomas Drake by Kathleen McClellan (@McClellanKM) via Twitter

Seven prominent national security whistleblowers Monday called for a number of wide-ranging reforms — including passage of the “Surveillance State Repeal Act,” which would repeal the USA Patriot Act — in an effort to restore the Constitutionally guaranteed 4th Amendment right to be free from government spying.

Several of the whistleblowers also said that the recent lenient sentence of probation and a fine for General David Petraeus — for his providing of classified information to his mistress Paula Broadwell — underscores the double standard of justice at work in the area of classified information handling.

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Move Over Shale, Solar Is Shining Brighter With Each Passing Day

Developments show how booming demand and support for solar is shaking up energy paradigm

 

by Jon Queally, staff writer
Common Dreams. April 27, 2015

If the fossil fuel industry has its way, the real promise of a "rooftop revolution" or "100% Renewable Energy Vision" is a long way off, but various factors reveal that a time may be coming where what oil, gas, and coal companies say, does not necessarily go. (Photo: SunCity)

Move over dirty fossil fuels, the solar revolution is coming.

That, at least, is the buried headline contained in new reporting from Reuters on Sunday which looks at the ability of the solar industry to upend the world's energy system in ways similar to recent innovations which allowed oil and gas companies to squeeze previously unattainable deposits from underground shale formations.

With a focus on Japan, Reuters catalogs how the rising capacity and falling prices of solar energy—even as it currently survives without contributions from a fleet of dormant nuclear plants —has led the country to turn off its "giant oil-fired power plants" one after another.

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The Sun Must Go Down on the Patriot Act

Published on April 22, 2015 by Blog of Rights / ACLU
by Anthony D. Romero
Common Dreams. April 22, 2015
'Allowing Section 215 to sunset is a crucial first step if we want to ensure that this unlawful and ineffective surveillance finally ends,' writes Romero. (Image: ACLU)
 

Not long after the Patriot Act was passed in 2001, I had dinner with the late Senator Paul Wellstone in Washington, who was a stalwart defender of civil liberties throughout his career. I asked him how he could have possibly voted for a law that so vastly expanded the government’s spying powers. He told me that he was facing a tough election, but as soon as it was over he’d invite my organization, the American Civil Liberties Union, to testify before Congress about the Patriot Act’s flaws and the threats it presented to privacy and civil liberties. “We’ll work together to get this repealed,” he promised. Unfortunately, that day never came, as the senator tragically died in a plane crash in October of 2002.

Almost 13 years later, the most egregious part of the Patriot Act, Section 215 – which underlies the National Security Agency’s call-records program – is scheduled to expire on June 1. Some legislators want Congress to reauthorize it in its current form – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has just introduced a bill that would do exactly that, extending it for another five years. Others want to make relatively minor changes. Congress shouldn’t do either of these things. Unless Congress can coalesce around far-reaching reform, it should simply let the provision expire.

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‘Right to Work’ Debunked: Economists Find Anti-Worker Laws Lead to Lower Wages

Workers in Right to Work states earn an average of $1,558 less per year than their counterparts in states without anti-labor laws

 

by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer
Common Dreams. April 22, 2015

Protesters at an anti-Right to Work rally in 2014. Critics of the legislation have long said it has a detrimental effect on wages. (Photo: Light Brigading/flickr/cc)

Contradicting arguments typically used to advance so-called Right to Work legislation, new research from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) shows that wages and benefits are actually lower in states with such anti-worker laws on the books.

The paper, released as part of EPI's Raising America's Pay project, finds that the negative impact of Right to Work (RTW) laws—which undercut unions by allowing workers to benefit from collective bargaining without having to pay dues—translates to $1,558 less a year in earnings for a typical full-time worker.

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Fast-Track: A Gut-Kick to the Progressive Movement

The administration's push to ram massive new trade and investment deals through Congress is an unambiguous concession to corporate power.

 

Published April 21, 2015 by Foreign Policy In Focus
by Sarah Anderson
Common Dreams. April 21, 2015

More than a thousand people marched on the office of the U.S. Trade Representative on Monday to protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement that critics say puts profits and corporate power ahead of democracy, communities, and the planet. (Photo: National People's Action/flick)

In a move that elicited a collective groan from virtually all of progressive America, the Obama administration and congressional Republicans reached a deal on April 16 on so-called “fast track” trade authority. This is the legislation needed to ram new trade agreements through the U.S. Congress with limited debate and no amendments.

It was a gut-kick for labor unions and environmental, consumer, human rights, and other groups that have long called for a change of course on U.S. trade policy. Instead, the fast track legislation shows we’re still stuck in the same old failed model of the 1990s. The bill lays out trade policy objectives that elevate the narrow interests of large corporations and undercut efforts to support good jobs, the environment, and financial stability.

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Surge of the Opt-Out Movement Against English Language Arts Exam is Act of Mass Civil Disobedience

Published on April 19, 2015. New York Daily News
by Juan Gonzalez
Common Dreams.

At Public School 29 in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, some 20% refused. And at Public School 321 in Park Slope, Brooklyn, 36% boycotted, local parent leaders said. (Todd Maisel/New York Daily News)

Remember the number 999.

It’s the computer code that keeps track of what will go down as a historic grass-roots movement in public education in New York State.

Tens of thousands of parents rebelled this week against years of standardized testing from the politicians in Albany. They joined the national opt-out movement by refusing to allow their children to take the annual state-mandated English Language Arts exam.

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‘Profiting From Misery’: Private Prison Corporations Driving Harsh Immigration Policies

Companies spent millions in lobbying on immigration issues that led to a spike in incarceration levels and, in turn, boosted corporate profits

 

by Sarah Lazare, staff writer
Common Dreams. April 16, 2015

A guard at the Northwest Detention Center, which is operated by private prison corporation GEO Group, on contract from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. (Photo: Alex Stonehill)

Private prison companies are spending millions of dollars to lobby the U.S. government for harsher immigration laws that, in turn, spike corporate profits by driving up incarceration levels, a new report from the national social justice organization Grassroots Leadership reveals.

Entitled Payoff: How Congress Ensures Private Prison Profit with an Immigrant Detention Quota, the report's release on Wednesday coincided with a renewed hunger strike at a privately-run immigrant detention center in southern Texas, where asylum-seeking mothers incarcerated with their children report inhumane conditions, including sexual assaults by prison guards and staff.

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Fight for $15: On Worldwide Day of Action, Workers Demand Livable Wages

Mass protests set for more than 200 cities nationwide

by Nadia Prupis, staff writer
Common Dreams. April 15, 2015

Low-wage workers across the globe mobilized for a day of action calling for livable wages and the right to unionize. (Photo: Fightfor 15.org)

Fight for $15—the movement calling for livable wages and union rights for low-income workers—launched a worldwide day of action on Wednesday morning with walkouts and rallies across the globe, spanning more than 200 cities in the U.S. and 35 countries.

By early Wednesday morning, protests were already taking place in numerous locations, including New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New Orleans, St. Louis, and Boston, among others. Workers blocked intersections in front of McDonald's restaurants and planned speeches, presentations, and marches throughout the day for what organizers say will be one of the biggest Fight for $15 days of action yet.

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Chicago’s Chuy Garcia Lost an Election, but Won a Movement

by John Nichols
The Nation.com
April 8, 2013
 
Jesus "Chuy" Garcia (AP Photo/ M. Spencer Green)
 
Chicago progressive Jesus “Chuy” Garcia made political history in February, when he forced Rahm “Mayor 1%” Emanuel into an unprecedented runoff election. For the first time since the nation’s third-largest city established a nonpartisan system for choosing local officials, a mayor fell short of 50 percent of the vote and had to face a challenger in a second election.

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See you this month in your neighborhood!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
April 6, 2015                                                                      
 

Our CGP Spring Event is coming up soon! And you are invited…

Full details and RSVP here. Three dates and three locations to choose from.

We will discuss practical, concrete actions we can take today to counteract big money and corporate domination of our elections. You can hear about what CGP activists are doing here and now to help progressives win election to public office – where crucial decisions are made that affect our lives every day.

Please join us! We would love to hear from you.

We’ll be in:

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Reality Checking Our Water Woes

Published April 04, 2015 by Food & Water Watch Blog
by Kate Fried, Darcey O’Callaghan
Common Dreams. April 4, 2015
"It’s time for a reality check. Water service is not free, low prices are not to blame for the water crisis and climate change alone is not causing drought. The real culprit is a failure to align our water management policies with environmental and human needs." (Photo: philografy/flickr/cc)
 

This week while promoting his new music service, Tidal, Jay Z made a well intended but nonetheless tone deaf statement, gushing about the beauty of supposedly “free” water service. While tap water may seem free to a rap mogul, those in Detroit who have been living without this essential service because they cannot afford to pay their water bills are singing a very different tune. In a seemingly unrelated development, the New York Times published an editorial that day claiming that water isn’t priced highly enough and thus isn’t properly valued. Both statements were wrong, and reflect some fundamental misconceptions about how our society views and values water.

While many of us are conditioned to turning on the tap and always finding water flowing from it, it’s crucial to note that water is a finite resource. We may pay fractions of a penny for a glass of tap water, but that water doesn’t magically find its way to our homes—it gets there through a complex infrastructure system that requires billions of dollars a year for upkeep.

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Iran Deal: A Game-Changer for the Middle East

Negotiators in Switzerland just won a huge victory for diplomacy over war. Now we've got to protect it.

 

Published April 03, 2015 by Foreign Policy In Focus
by Phyllis Bennis
Common Dreams. April 3, 2015

'The current diplomatic initiative must be defended,' writes Bennis. (Photo: marsmet545 / Flickr)

Negotiators in Lausanne, Switzerland just won a huge victory for diplomacy over war.

The hard-fought first-stage negotiations resulted in the outlines of an agreement that will significantly limit Iran’s nuclear program in return for significant relief from crippling economic sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations.

Both sides made major concessions, though it appears Iran’s are far greater.

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Lodestar of Peace (and the Now Distant Efforts to Outlaw War)

by Robert C. Koehler
Common Dreams. April 2, 2015

President Calvin Coolidge signs the Kellog-Briand Pact in his office on August 27, 1928. (Credit: Corbis/Archive)

“Deeply sensible of their solemn duty to promote the welfare of mankind . . .”

What? Were they serious?

I kneel in a sort of gasping awe as I read the words of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, a treaty signed in 1928 – by the United States, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan and ultimately by every country that then existed. The treaty . . . outlaws war.

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Bernie Sanders Backs Chuy Garcia and a ‘Political Revolution’ in Chicago

by John Nichols
The Nation. April 1, 2015

Chuy Garcia (AP/M. Spencer Green)

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders says America needs a "political revolution" to change the debate about economic inequality and he sees evidence of the upheaval in Chicago. So the senator is wading into that city's mayoral race as a backer of Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, the labor-backed progressive who is mounting a spirited challenge to incumbent Rahm Emanuel.

Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Senate Democrats, has been exploring a possible 2016 presidential candidacy as a progressive-populist challenger to the Democratic establishment. And he argues that Garcia is forging the sort of "working-class coalition" that is needed to shake up politics in urban America and beyond.

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Burning Our Bridges: Failing Infrastructure in the Age of Corporate Tax-Dodging

President Obama and some members of Congress think the easiest way to fund infrastructure is by granting corporations a large tax cut on their untaxed offshore profits.

 

by Sarah Anderson, Scott Klinger
Common Dreams. April 1, 2015

To generate funds to shore up our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, the U.S. Congress is considering giving corporations large tax cuts on their offshore profits. Under current law, corporations can defer U.S. tax payments on overseas earnings until they bring the profits to the United States. The proposed “tax holidays” would generate a relatively small, one-time revenue bump while allowing large corporations to avoid much larger amounts of tax owed over the longer term.

The last time we tried this, in 2004, it failed miserably. Corporations that participated shaved nearly $100 billion off their long-term IRS bills. And instead of boosting investment, they used the windfalls to buy back their stock and boost dividends while laying off more workers than they hired. Once the holiday was over, they began rebuilding their overseas profit stashes.

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Seattle City Council Unanimously Declares Opposition to Fast Track, TPP

by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer
Common Dreams. March 31, 2015

"Few things counterpose the interests of multinational corporations to the interests of workers, the environment, and democracy" like the TPP, says councilmember Kshama Sawant

 

A protest against Fast Track, with Seattle's Space Needle in the background. (Photo: Backbone Campaign/flickr/cc)

The Seattle City Council resoundingly approved a resolution Monday evening cementing its opposition to so-called Fast Track authority that's needed to speed passage of corporate-friendly, rights-trampling trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The resolution (pdf), which passed the nine-member council unanimously, expresses concern with the "closed-door manner" in which that 12-nation pact is being brokered, as well as its potential to "undermine local governmental authority to create reasonable rules and regulations, including those related to environmental safeguards, future climate policy, and food safety standards."

Furthermore, it outright opposes Fast Track authority, which would allow the TPP to be finalized with no opportunity for Congress to amend, review, or debate it. Lawmakers are expected to take up Fast Track as soon as they return from Easter recess on April 13.

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The Growing Progressive Movement to Save Public Education

Published March 29, 2015 by The Progressive
by Ruth Conniff
Common Dreams. March 29, 2015

Protesters rallied in New York City on Saturday, March 28 against the corporatization of the public school system. (Photo: United Federation of Teachers/ Facebook)

All over the country, a growing movement of parents, teachers, and students is rising up against over-testing, school closings, and shady schemes that channel public funds into private schools.

Saving public education is shaping up to be a key issue in the 2016 Presidential campaign.

In a front-page article this week, The New York Times described Hillary Clinton’s dilemma on so-called education reform.

On one side, charter school operators and hedge fund managers are urging Hillary to adopt their teachers-union-bashing, pro-privatization agenda.

On the other side, communities all over the country are experiencing education “reform” as a major threat to their local public schools.

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What Have Whistleblowers Done for Elite Journalists Lately?

Published March 28, 2015 by Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)
by Jim Naureckas
Common Dreams. March 28, 2015
 

David Gregory asks Glenn Greenwald to explain his lack of imprisonment.

To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn’t you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?

Meet the Press host David Gregory’s question to journalist Glenn Greenwald (6/23/13; FAIR Blog, 6/24/13) sums up much of the elite media’s attitude toward whistleblowers–or what the Washington Post‘s David Ignatius refers to as “malcontents and self-appointed do-gooders who may get security clearances.”

This attitude is documented and questioned in a piece by John Hanrahan, a former Washington Post reporter who later headed the Fund for Investigative Journalism, that appeared on the pro-whistleblower Expose Facts site (3/24/15) and was reposted as “Journalists Who Hate Whistleblowers” by Consortium News (3/25/15).

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It’s OK to leak government secrets - as long as it benefits politicians

by Trevor Timm
The Guardian.com • March 26, 2015
Leaks that benefit Hillary Clinton probably won’t land you in jail. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
 

When it comes to classified information, some leaks are more equal than others. If you are a whistleblower like Edward Snowden, who tells the press about illegal, immoral or embarrassing government actions, you will face jail time. But it’s often another story for US government officials leaking information for their own political benefit.

Two stories this week perfectly illustrate this hypocrisy and how, despite their unprecedented crackdown on sources and whistleblowers, the Obama administration - like every administration before it - loves to use leaks, if and when it suits them.

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Whistleblowers and the Press Heavyweights

Published March 25, 2015 by ExposeFacts.org
by John Hanrahan
Common Dreams. March 25, 2015
 

Why do the established stars of the news media so readily brush off concerns about our dangerous warfare/surveillance state revealed by Snowden, Manning and the others? (Image: file/public domain)

Following the late January guilty verdicts in the espionage trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, more proof emerged — if any more were needed — that many elite mainstream journalists abhor whistleblowers and think they should go to prison when they divulge classified information.

One would think that a business that has relied on confidential informants for some of the major investigative stories of this and the previous century would applaud whistleblowers who risk everything on behalf of the people’s right to know what its government is doing in the shadows. But looking back at cases over the last five years, we see the unedifying spectacle of some of the nation’s best-known print and broadcast journalists venting their outrage at whistleblowers’ disclosures and expressing their preference for being kept in the dark by the government in the name of national security.

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How Privatization Degrades Our Daily Lives

by Paul Buchheit
Common Dreams. March 23, 2015

'USPS is so inexpensive, in fact, that Fedex actually uses the U.S. Post Office for about 30 percent of its ground shipments,' writes Buchheit. (Photo: file)

The Project on Government Oversight found that in 33 of 35 cases the federal government spent more on private contractors than on public employees for the same services. The authors of the report summarized, "Our findings were shocking."

Yet our elected leaders persist in their belief that free-market capitalism works best. Here are a few fact-based examples that say otherwise.

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Judge Orders US Government to Stop Suppressing Evidence of Torture and Abuse

Ruling on Friday is latest development in years-long legal battle, in which the ACLU has argued the photos 'are crucial to the public record'

 

by Sarah Lazare
Common Dreams. March 21, 2015

"Indefinite Detention" (Photo: Justin Norman/flickr/cc)

A federal judge on Friday ordered the U.S. government to release more than 2,000 photographs showing abuse and torture of people detained by the American military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The decision is the latest development in a more than 10-year-long legal battle, in which the American Civil Liberties Unions has argued the public has the right to know what the U.S. military has done.

Many of concealed photographs were taken by U.S. military service members and collected during more than 200 of military investigations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some could be on par with, or worse than, those released from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

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To Solve California’s Water Crisis, We Must Change the Nation’s Food System

Published March 20, 2015 by TruthDig
by Sonali Kolhatkar
Common Dreams. March 20, 2015

Irrigation water running along a dried-up ditch between rice farms in Richvale, Calif. (Photo: AP/Jae C. Hong)

The bold headline of a recent Los Angeles Times editorial by the hydrologist Jay Famiglietti starkly warned: “California has about one year of water left. Will you ration now?” The write-up quickly made the social media rounds, prompting both panic and the usual blame game: It’s because of the meat eaters or the vegan almond-milk drinkers or the bottled-water guzzlers or the Southern California lawn soakers.

California’s water loss has been terrifying. But people everywhere should be scared, not just Californians, because this story goes far beyond state lines. It is a story of global climate change and industrial agriculture. It is also a saga that began many decades ago—with the early water wars of the 1930s immortalized in the 1974 Roman Polanski film “Chinatown.”

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California Stiffens Water Regulations Amid Devastating Drought

'No amount of money, no amount of political posturing, no display of military might, no act of Congress, no amount of chemicals, no amount of whistling by the graveyard can bring more water.'

 

by Nadia Prupis, staff writer
Common Dreams. March 18, 2015

California's drought will require drastic action to stave off immediate and long-term effects, officials said. (Photo: Robert Couse-Baker/flickr/cc)

As California approaches the end of a disappointing rainy season, officials are further narrowing restrictions on water usage to help stave off the effects of the state's ravaging four-year drought crisis.

Following record-low rainfall from December to April, with no extra precipitation expected for the rest of the year, the California State Water Resources Control Board voted Tuesday to increase emergency regulations on water usage for citizens and businesses alike.

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Lawmakers Say TPP Meetings Classified To Keep Americans in the Dark

Democratic lawmaker says tightly-controlled briefings on Trans-Pacific Partnership deal are aimed at keeping US constituents ignorant about what's at stake

 

by Jon Queally, staff writer
Common Dreams. March 17, 2015

US Trade Representative Michael Froman is drawing fire from Congressional Democrats for the Obama adminstration's continued imposition of secrecy surrounding the Trans-Pacific Parternship. (Photo: AP file)
 

Lawmakers in Congress who remain wary of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement are raising further objections this week to the degree of secrecy surrounding briefings on the deal, with some arguing that the main reason at least one meeting has been registered "classified" is to help keep the American public ignorant about giveaways to corporate interests and its long-term implications.

With a briefing set between members of Congress and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and the Labor Department for Wednesday, the lack of transparency and the inability to discuss openly what they learn in the meetings has especially drawn the ire of progressive Democrats who say the TPP is being jammed through without a full airing of its negative consequences

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In His Own Words

  • It’s war and peace that to me circumscribe our realities here…. We’re being depleted of resources for state and local government services. We need to redefine what national security is. It’s not national security to have our schools crumbling. I would argue that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have made us less secure.

    Norman Solomon
    Pacific Sun, Jan. 14, 2011

  • I revere the New Deal legacy that gave our country Social Security and other key aspects of the social compact. President Franklin D. Roosevelt fought for economic fairness. Before the end of his first term, FDR denounced “the economic royalists.” He said: “They are unanimous in their hate for me -- and I welcome their hatred.”  He did not say, “They hate me -- and I want them to like me.”

    Norman Solomon
    Marin Independent Journal, Dec. 23, 2010

  • Washington’s failure to respond to climate change is an abysmal betrayal of hopes. The coal and oil industries, along with other corporate behemoths, have managed to trump the interests of life on Earth… It doesn’t do much good for officials to agree that the planetary house is on fire if they won’t really fight for turning on the fire extinguishers.

    Norman Solomon
    Solar Times, Autumn 2010

  • When I listened to children from Helmand province at a refugee camp on the outskirts of Kabul, it was clear that they didn't know or care whether the man in the Oval Office had a “D” or an “R” after his name. They, and their surviving parents, were trying to stay alive. For all the talk about winning hearts and minds, the refugee camp told a different story about priorities.

    Norman Solomon
    Marin Independent Journal, Oct. 7, 2010

  • The survival of all living beings on this planet, the entire ecosystem, depends on our civic engagement, on our working together to do the difficult tasks, to engage in the tedious activities, to be part of the political process, to insist that the ocean is not for sale, that the government is not for sale, that our earth is not for sale.

    Norman Solomon,
    speaking at rally against offshore oil drilling
    Marin Independent Journal, June 27, 2010

  • No amount of rhetoric about the dignity of work can make up for the deficit of determination from elected officials to roll back the scourge of unemployment…. Even when they decry high jobless levels, many in Congress seem to passively accept the myth that government can do little other than boost the private sector…

    Norman Solomon
    The Press Democrat, June 24, 2010

  • We can generate sustainable green jobs, protect small independent fishers and ecologically fragile coastlines, and rebuild local economies to serve communities rather than the big corporate model of take the money and run.

    Norman Solomon
    Eureka Times-Standard, August 10, 2011

  • In Washington, job one should be creating jobs. And that won't happen by continuing to give tax cuts to the wealthy while imposing benefit cuts on the rest of us.

    Norman Solomon
    Marin Independent Journal, August 15, 2011