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Vote_12345LUMPENPROLETARIAT—The 2016 November General Election is less than a week away.  Here is our voter guide, which mostly agrees with the Green Party Voter Guide, which your author received via snail mail as a registered Green Party member. [1]  As is self-evident to readers of previous articles on Lumpenproletariat, and all accumulated news and information and insight lead us to our best political conclusions, we are recommending that the American working classes (and others) vote for Dr. Jill Stein (for U.S. president) and human rights leader Ajamu Baraka (for U.S. vice president).  The interests of the American working classes would be best served by the leadership of the Green Party and a Stein/Baraka administration. [2]

For California voters, we’re also recommending a yes vote on Proposition 64 (Marijuana Legalisation) towards the decriminalisation of medicinal cannabis use (and doctor-patient relationships), subversion of the prison-industrial complex, and relief of overcrowded prisons. [3]  Prop. 64 has been endorsed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Courage Campaign, California Democratic Party, California League of Conservation Voters, and others.  We urge people to vote no on cannabis and tobbaco sin taxes, such as Hayward Measure EE calling for a 15% sin tax on medical and non-medical cannabis sales to be added to local sales tax.  Most sales taxes are regressive.  Sin taxes are also discriminatory.  Proposition 56 is another sin tax we oppose.  Taxes must be placed, as originally intended, primarily on the major corporations, often the committers of the greatest sins, who benefit the most from society’s infrastructure and court systems and such.

We recommend yes votes on Proposition 59 (Campaign Finance, Repeal Citizens United), Proposition 62 (End the Death Penalty), and Proposition 67 (Uphold the Ban on Single-Use Plastic Bags).  We recommend a no vote on Proposition 66, which seeks to speed up California’s execution process by limiting limit successive petitions, requiring appointed attorneys who take non-capital appeals to accept death penalty appeals, and exempting prison officials from existing regulation process for developing execution methods.  Prop. 66 is opposed by the editorial boards of the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The Sacramento Bee.  What do you think about the various statewide propositions?  Here are our endorsements:

November 2016 California Ballot Propositions

  • Proposition 51 (School Bonds, High-Interest Debt-Funding for K-12 and Community College)—NO (funding schools is good, but bonds are bad; see public banking alternatives) [4]
  • Proposition 52 (Medical Hospital Fee Program)—NEUTRAL (leaning YES; see Tim Redmond, et al. arguing YES on 52; it seems the hospital fee is reimbursed through federal government matching funds resulting in a net benefit to hospital industry.  Ultimately, the state, the people, pay the hospital industry more than hospitals will pay per Prop. 52.  In that sense, this is a delayed tax on California taxpayers.) [5]
  • Proposition 53 (Revenue Bonds, Require Statewide Voter Approval)—NO [6]
  • Proposition 54 (Legislature, Legislation and Proceedings Initiative, Increase Transparency)—YES [7]
  • Proposition 55 (‘Millionaire’ Tax Extension to Fund Education and Healthcare)—YES [8]
  • Proposition 56 (Cigarette ‘Sin Tax’ to Fund Healthcare, Research, Law Enforcement, etc.)—NO [9]
  • Proposition 57 (Criminal Sentences, Parole Option, Judiciary Discretion for Trying Juveniles as Adults, etc.)—YES [10]
  • Proposition 58 (English Proficiency, Multilingual Education Option)—YES [11]
  • Proposition 59 (Campaign Finance, Repeal Citizens United)—YES [12]
  • Proposition 60 (Pornographic Films, Redundant Condom Requirement)—NO [13]
  • Proposition 61 (State Prescription Drug Purchases, Competitive Pricing Standards)—YES [14]
  • Proposition 62 (End the Death Penalty)—YES [15]
  • Proposition 63 (Firearms, Ammunition Sales Restrictions)—NO [16]
  • Proposition 64 (Cannabis Legalisation for Adults)—YES  [3]
  • Proposition 65 (Redirect Funds Collected for Carryout Plastic Bags)—NO [17]
  • Proposition 66 (Death Penalty Procedures, Speed Up Execution Process)—NO [18]
  • Proposition 67 (Uphold the Ban on Single-Use Plastic Bags)—YES [19]

400px-Seal_of_California.svgWe know it’s not easy for the working classes to take time out of our busy, hectic, and often stressful days to keep up with the politics of California and study all of the political records of all the candidates and reflect upon and discuss the pros and cons of all of the ballot propositions and legislation proposals on your state’s 2016 Official Voter Information Guide.  But we encourage you, thoughtful readers, wherever you are, to take heart and dig in.  Democracy holds better promise for the people than plutocracy, which is what we get when we don’t pay attention.  As Ralph Nader says, if you don’t turn on to politics, politics will turn on you.  So, talk to your friends and family members and neighbours about what they think about the presidential election, the political parties, the state and local contests, and their own level of participation and sense of civic duty.  (We include various election coverage resources below.)  Surely, our hopes for democracy are half as important as the many hours we may invest in our hobbies, such as spectator sports or video games, learning countless statistics and sports team details.  Let’s take some time away from work and play to think about how we can make the most of our democratic right to vote and make sure that our economic system is working for us—the working classes—not just the rich, the elites, and the capitalist owning classes. [20]

Messina

[Thanks to RDM for contributing research on Prop. 64 to this article.]

***

[The following are notes from a copy of the printed pamphlet, which registered Green Party members receive via snail mail.  Online version (of the printed copy below) at acgreens.org.  Also see cagreens.org and sfgreenparty.org.]

GREEN VOTER GUIDE—[c. OCT 2016]  A publication of the Green Party of Alameda County, an affiliate of the Green Party of California.

Table of contents:

  • Federal Offices ………………………………………….. 1, 3, 4  [21]
    • Dr. Jill Stein (for president)
    • Ajamu Baraka (for vice president)
  • State Senate and Assembly …………………………………. 4
  • State Propositions ………………………………. 1, 16, 17, 18
    • 59 – Campaign Finance, Repeal Citizens United — Yes
    • 62 – End the Death Penalty — Yes, Yes, Yes!
    • 64 – Marijuana Legalization — Yes  [23]
    • 67 – Uphold the Ban on Single-Use Plastic Bags — Yes
  • Superior Court Judge
  • Peralta Colleges
  • City of Alameda
  • City of Albany
  • City of Berkeley
    • Understanding and using “Ranked Choice Voting” (RCV) [24]
  • City of Emeryville
  • City of Fremont
  • Hayward Area
    • Hayward Measure EE – [NO] [25]
  • City of Oakland
  • Special Districts
  • County Measures
  • Voter Card

Our endorsement process

For many of the candidates’ races, we created questionnaires for the candidates and solicited their responses. For others we conducted over-the-phone or in-person interviews. We also gathered information from Greens and others working on issues in their communities and from the public record. For local measures we gathered information as comprehensively as possible. The Green Party of Alameda County held endorsement meetings to consider all the information and make decisions. Our endorsements are as follows:

When we list “No endorsement,” either we had unresolved differences that prevented us from agreeing on a position, or no position was warranted.

We only endorse bond measures for essential public projects that are unlikely to be funded otherwise. Our endorsement “Yes, with standard bond reservations” reflects our position that funding through bonds is more costly and therefore less fiscally responsible than a tax.

Where no recommendation appears, we did not evaluate the race or measure due to a lack of volunteers. Working on the Voter Guide is fun! Give us a call now to get signed up to help on the next edition!

Learn more at AC GREENS.

***

FREE SPEECH RADIO GENERAL ELECTION COVERAGE

KPFA NEWS—[8 NOV 2016]

[(21:00 PST) (c. 0:01)  Music break/local station identifications, appeals for support, and local announcements.  KPFA has Mark Mericle come on the air announcing Trump is polling stronger than expected.  Stocks are crashing in response to a potential Trump presidency.  News Headlines are read by Mark Mericle.  Mark Mericle interviews Mitch Perry(sp?) in Tampa, Florida with FloridaPolitics.com.  (21:19 PST)  Mericle continues updating the ‘horse race’.  (21:20 PST) (c. 0:20) Sharon Saboda(sp?) reports from Hillary Clinton camp.  Mark Mericle interview Gavin Newsom.]

[KPFA News Department’s Max Pringle reads KPFA News Headlines]

[(c. 21:35 PST) (c. 35:00)  Next report.]

[(c. 21:45 PST)  Mark Mericle speaks with Tom Campbell, former south bay congressperson.]

[(c. 21:47 PST) (c. 47:00)  Mark Mericle interviews Brit-sounding Matt Cherry, who led the campaign for Proposition 62, to abolish the death penalty in California.  SF Bay Area is trending in favour of Prop. 62, but the rest of California seems to be against Prop. 62.  Matt Cherry cautions premature calls, as the Los Angeles area has still not fully reported election results.  (c. 21:52)  Mark Mericle dismissed Matt Cherry.]

[(c. 21:52 PST)  Mark Mericle gets into local SF Bay Area measures.  Oakland Measure HH, the sugar soda tax seems to be winning.  Unidentified guest interviews Dianne Wolsen(sp?) on the sugar soda tax.]

[snip]

[(c. 22:02 PST)  News Headlines (read by Aileen Alfandary)]

[(c. 22:17 PST)  Mark Mericle dismisses Don Nielsen(sp?) on presidential election commentary.]

[(c. 22:17 PST)  Next guest, Mike Walinski(sp?) (CA Teachers Association), on statewide ballot propositions.]

[(c. 22:25 PST)  KPFA reporter on local politician Jesse Arreguin poised to be the first Latino mayor of Berkeley, endorsed by Bernie Sanders.  Arreguin speaks with KPFA’s Mark Mericle.  (c. 22:31)  Mark Mericle dismisses Arreguin.]

[(c. 22:32)  Music break]

[(c. 23:46 PST)  New VP Mike Pence gives victory speech and introduces new US president Donald Trump.]

[(c. 23:51 PST)  Donald Trump takes the stage, announces that Hillary Clinton just telephoned him to concede the election, gives bloated and vacuous victory speech. (c. 23:59 PST)  Trump acknowledges his campaign team and offers his concluding remarks, including thanks to Rudy Giuliani, Governor Chris Christy, Senator Jeff Sessions, Dr. Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee and family, General Mike Flynn(sp?), General Kellog(sp?), et al.]

[(c. 00:03 PST)  Donald Trump continues after somebody announced him as the ‘next president of the United States’.  Trump acknowledges the Secret Service and “law enforcement”.  Trump promises to “do a great job”.]

[(c. 00:05 PST)  Mark Mericle cuts in, as it seems Donald Trump has no intention of wrapping up his victory speech anytime soon.  Mericle reads credits of KPFA News Department’s coverage of the 2016 November General Election coverage.]

[snip]  (c. 00:05 PST) (c. 3:05:00)

Learn more at KPFA NEWS.

*

PACIFICA RADIO—[8 NOV 2016]

[Four-hour special broadcast is scheduled for Election Day, Tuesday, November 8, 2016, starting at 5pm (when the first time zone of election polls close on the east coast at 8pm eastern time zone).]

[(c. 62:00)  Second hour begins.  Florida overwhelmingly passes medical cannabis legalisation.]

[(c. 74:00)  Thomas Frank critiques Hillary Clinton’s type of “liberalism”.  But he, nevertheless, admits that he voted for Hillary Clinton.  And, saliently, he carefully avoids the word neoliberalism]

[(c. 76:00)  Dr. Malveaux tepidly enunciates the explosive word “neoliberalism”.  But she does so dismissively.]

[(c. 77:00)  Amy Goodman moves on to voter suppression issues, including a lawsuit invoking the Ku Klux Klan Act and its legacy.]

[Guest argues that a moral hunger exists among liberals to reclaim the moral centre.]

[(c. 95:00)  Dr. Malveaux, the indefatigable Hillary Clinton apologist, says she’s not voting against Donald Trump but for Hillary Clinton.]

[(c. 96:00)  Reverend Barber:  There wouldn’t be a Donald Trump without a backlash against Obama.  On the race question:  People have suffered for rights, “died and bled”.]

[(c. 92:00)  Next guests…Mitch Perry(sp?)]

[(c. 97:00)  AG gives Thomas Frank an opportunity to respond, as she ‘knows he must leave the broadcast soon.]

[(c. 1:13:00)  Greg Grandin…]

[(19:04 PST) (c. 2:04:00)  Eddie Glaude:  There are no surprises.]  [This sounds like a repeat of what was said, or broadcast, earlier at 17:00 PDT, or earlier in the day, during the regular Democracy Now! broadcast.]

[Dr. Malveaux chimes in, largely agreeing and perpetuating this subtle Democratic Party apologia.]

[(19:08 PST) (c. 2:08:00)  AG updates the two-party dictatorship ‘horse race’.]

[snip]

[(20:06 PST)  Allan Nairn alleges the FBI may be swinging the vote in favour of Trump.]

[(20:08 PST)  CBS News has just reported that Trump has won North Carolina.]

[(20:13 PST)  (c. 3:13:00) Sheriff Joe Arpaio(sp?) has lost his election.]

[(20:13 PST)  (c. 3:13:00)  Next guest:  ]

[(20:23 PST)  Dr. Malveaux cites Dr. Ralph Nader]

[(20:23 PST)  John Nichols cuts in.]

[(20:25 PST)  Alan Nairn cuts in.]

[(20:26 PST)  Amy Goodman cuts in, brings up other issues, including 84-year old Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is facing criminal charges and facing possible jail time.]

[(20:27 PST)  Alan Nairn applauds justice being served against Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who once called for prisoners caloric intake to be reduced, so that they wouldn’t have the energy to resist prison injustices.]

[c. 20:28 PST]  Female pundit joins in.

[(20:40 PST)  John Nichols retorts.]

[Professor Eddie Glaude, Hillary Rodham Clinton supporter, chimes in.]

[(20:43 PST)  The other male guest chimes in.]

[(20:43 PST)  Dr. Malveaux chimes in.]

[Back and forth chatter within a narrow two-party paradigm continues.]

[(20:44 PST)  Dr. Malveaux invokes Russia fearmongering:  ‘Maybe Trump has dealings with Russia.’]

[Back and forth chatter within a narrow two-party paradigm continues.  No mention of the erosion of democracy, which only Dr. Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka’s Green Party campaign are countering.]

[(20:25 PST)  Amy Goodman cuts in to the horse race banter to introduce Wayne Barrett(sp?).  AG reports the corporate media has now reported Iowa coming in favour of Trump.  Barett invokes Bruce Springsteen, a ‘man of the people’, who was ‘never asked’ to campaign for Hillary Clinton.  Deluded liberals are reeling as Trump appears to be winning county after county and state after state on election day.]

[(20:48 PST)  Amy Goodman cuts in to report that ‘Donald Trump has just won the battleground state of Georgia’.]

[(20:54 PST)  Amy Goodman asks about Trump’s relationship with the FBI, including James Comey (b. 1960).]

[Democracy Now’s neoliberal rhetoric continues until the KPFA News Department cuts in, giving no word that the broadcast will not be returning to Democracy Now’s ‘expert’ panel.]

[snip]

[snip]  (c. 3:59:59)

Learn more at PACIFICA RADIO.

*

FLASHPOINTS—[8 NOV 2016]   [Broadcast summary from kpfa.org broadcast archive page:  “Today on Flashpoints: Greg Palast joins us for an election daypost mortem on voter-intimidation. Also The Pipeline: How Marin and San Francisco Financial Firms Fuel the Fracking Boom. And we’ll see if we can get in a few listener phone calls.”]

[snip]

Learn more at FLASHPOINTS.

*

HARD KNOCK RADIO—[8 NOV 2016]  [During the first half hour, Davey D spoke with a centrist liberal, whose remarks largely bolstered a Democrat apologist line of argumentation in the context of the 2016 November general election.]

[snip]

[snip]  (c. 59:59)

Learn more at HARD KNOCK RADIO.

*

LETTERS AND POLITICS—[8 NOV 2016]  [“Election Commentary with Richard Wolff” broadcast preview summary (accessed at 10:21 PDT on 8 NOV 2016):  “with Dr. Richard Wolff, a renowned American Marxist economist, and Professor of Economics Emeritus, about the elections, the state of politics in the US and his ideas for rewriting the economic script in the country.  His latest book is Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism.”] 

[transcript pending]

[Messina called in during the call-in section and raised a bunch of issues, particularly the economic fact that we can end involuntary unemployment as we know it through an MMT-based job guarantee programme.  MMT stands for modern money theory, which, as taught at heterodox economics departments throughout the United States, such as at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, shows us how we have monetary sovereignty, which allows us to use modern money for public purpose.  Your author’s former professor, Dr. Stephanie Kelton, for example, shows us that all money exists as an IOU.  This means, technically, taxes don’t pay for federal spending.  They pay for state spending, but not federal spending.  Dr. Richard Wolff agreed that everything was “correct”.  But he didn’t really delve into, or engage with, the issue of the MMT-based job guarantee programme because it seems to clash with his particular variety of Marxian ideology.]

[snip]  (c. 59:59)

Learn more at LETTERS AND POLITICS.

*

DEMOCRACY NOW!—[8 NOV 2016]  [Listen to this radio broadcast here; or view the TV version here.]

[Democracy Now! featured coverage of the many local ballot measures throughout the nation, apparently the most in any general election in recent history.  Many of the local ballot measures involve minimum wage laws, local revenue needs, medicinal (and so-called non-medicinal) cannabis sales, sin taxes, and other health care initiatives.]

[(c. 27:00)  Inequality.org]

[(c. 30:00)  Graham Nash music break/local station identifications and announcements]

[Rolling Stone’s Greg Palast (author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy) reported from the ‘battleground’ state of Ohio.  Greg Palast has also reported for free speech KPFA Radio’s Flashpoints for its Election Protection series during the 2016 presidential election.]

[On charges of ‘double-voting’ found through ‘cross-checking’ of ballots with similar names as a pretense for purging voters of colour from voter rolls.  At least one million voters are being deleted from the voter rolls; their ballots are being invalidated.  Audit functions are being turned off in Ohio.]

[(c. 45:00)  Amy Goodman dismisses Greg Palast]

[(c. 45:30)  music break/local station identifications and announcements/on KPFA, Christina Aanestad appeals for listener donations]

[On upgrading our democratic process:  abolishing the electoral college; National Popular Vote Interstate Compact; ranked-choice voting (or instant run-off voting); proportional representation.]  (c. 51:00)

[Guest from Fair Vote.]

[(c. 55:00)  Archive clip from Amy Goodman’s ambush interview of Bill Clinton on the political bankruptcy of the two-party system]

[snip]  (c. 59:59)

Learn more at DEMOCRACY NOW!.

*

RISING UP—[7 NOV 2016]

[The first guest discussed post-election politics from a narrow two-party perspective, largely consonant with a particular vein of current political commentary, which focuses on a fear of a Trump presidency, which carries with it an implied suggestion to vote for Hillary Clinton, as a ‘logical’ reaction.  Of course, this reasoning is only ‘logical’ if we buy into the premise, which argues that progressives must never break ranks with the Democratic Party, especially not during elections.  They say, sometimes, that we can build political alternatives or third-party challenges after the election.  But many of us have heard this for many elections, going back many years to at least the 1990s with Ralph Nader‘s earliest presidential candidacies.]

[The second guest Jennifer L. Clark discussed voter suppression, including in North Carolina, which has seen cases of voter suppression.]

[Host Sonali Kolhatkar takes a scant few minutes out of her hour-long daily broadcast to read a brief summary of the 2016 California Propositions, which are on the 2016 General Election ballot.  Kolhatkar adopts a mealy-mouthed, know-nothing attitude towards the propositions, loathe to disclose any of her political preferences, insisting, “I cannot endorse any positions.”  Well, why not?  Is it because she’s not informed enough on any of the issues?  Is it because her positions may contradict her ostensibly progressive political reputation?  The history of journalism shows how, over time, media outlets have increasingly obfuscated their political preferences under a false premise of journalistic objectivity.]

Learn more at RISING UP WITH SONALI.

*

LA ONDA BAJITA—[4 NOV 2016]  [snip]

[During the last 30 minutes or so of this two-hour broadcast, a special report discusses California Proposition 64, including Dennis Bernstein (host of Flashpoints), Sabrina Jacobs (host of Rude Awakening), and one of the founders of the Bank of North Dakota, if memory serves, on the role of public banking in removing the private bank roadblock to ending cannabis prohibition.]

[snip]  (c. 1:59:59)

Learn more at LA ONDA BAJITA.

*

[Broadcast summary from KPFA archive page.]

AGAINST THE GRAIN—[2 NOV 2016]  Matt Cherry of Death Penalty Focus on where capital punishment stands today and the potential impact of measures on next Tuesday’s ballot.

Learn more at AGAINST THE GRAIN.

*

[Broadcast summary from KPFA archive page.  N.B.:  Always listen/read critically.  Talkies host and producer Kris Welch is a SaveKPFA partisan at KPFA, which leans in favour of the Democratic Party via a reform-the-party-from-within ideology.]

TALKIES—[2 NOV 2016]  Election day is less than a week away—how can the top race be so close???? and other questions for progressives!  PLUS:  Tim DeChristopher in the role (missing) of the climate in political discourse.

With host Kris Welch.

Learn more at TALKIES.

*

RISING UP WITH SONALI—[2 NOV 2016]  [election coverage details and link pending.  See kpfa.org]

Learn more at RISING UP WITH SONALI.

*

[Broadcast summary from KPFA archive page.]

HARD KNOCK RADIO—[1 NOV 2016]  California voters come Nov. 8 will have to sort through the longest list of statewide propositions imaginable.  The confusing array of public policy choices includes, the future of the death penalty, a criminal sentence measure aimed at cutting state prison population by giving inmates a chance for earlier parole, a collection of new tough gun laws and a slew of other measures on the November Ballot.

On today’s show we provide listeners with a “voter guide” to help with the navigation of propositions/measures and local intitiatives, come this 2016 election.  Our round-table of experts include invididuals committed to informing community and helping us all wade through the maze of police and legal jargon.

Guests:

  • Pastor Michael McBride, the National Director for Urban Strategies/LIVE FREE Campaign with the PICO National Network.
  • Aparnah Shah, the Executive Director for Mobilize the Immigrant Voice Action Fund and the Million Voters Project.
  • Adam Kruggel, Director of Organizing at PICO California.
  • Kimi Lee, the Director of Bay Rising (on state and local measures)
  • Chaney Turner, an Oakland native, activist, and entreprenuer.

Learn more at HARD KNOCK RADIO.

***

FOOTNOTES

[1]  Green Voter Guide, A publication of the Green Party of Alameda County, an affiliate of the Green Party of California, dated November 8, 2016.  This is a newspaper-like foldout pamphlett, which was mailed out some weeks ago.  (It is also available online as a pdf document.)

The front page features the Table of Contents.

A sunflower graphic, with the word “vote” in the centre, is ringed by the following sociopolitical principles promoted by the Green Party:

community-based economics; social justice; ecological wisdom; feminism; grassroots democracy; global responsibility; respect for diversity; future focus; non-violence; decentralization.

The cover page also lists the following cities:  Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Dublin, Emeryville, Fremont, Hayward, Livermore, Newark, Oakland, Piedmont, Pleasanton, San Leandro, Union City.

Readers may recall that we, at Lumpenproletariat, previously recommended the working classes in the United States vote for Senator Bernie Sanders for president, even going so far as to register as Democrat to back Sanders in the primary.  But, since Senator Sanders decided that neoliberal Hillary Clinton is the best presidential candidate and quit on his own political movement, we’ve decided that Dr. Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka and the Green Party provide the clearest, most intelligent, most honest political campaign and platform.  So, we’ve re-registered as Greens.  Dr. Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka provide the best home for the precious efforts, political work, and civic engagement of the working classes toward socioeconomic justice and equanimity.

[2]  As noted previously, we initially supported the Bernie Sanders campaign as the closest approximation to a socialist, or social democrat, presidency the United States could achieve in 2016, in stark contrast to the endless succession of neoliberal administrations under Democratic and Republican rule.  We know that most liberals and many progressives are planning on voting for the neoliberal candidate Hillary Clinton as the lesser of two evils, or out of a fear-based decision, which reacts in fear of a Trump presidency.  But we must bear in mind the many reasons there are to oppose the neoliberal politics of Hillary Clinton, starting with the fact that her politics are, well, neoliberal.  With respect to the neoliberal politics of Hillary Clinton, which are likely to expand, should she win the presidency, we urge readers to review her record, as reflected in any number of snippets of the recent record:

  • 2016 United States Presidential Debate #3, Censored Under the Auspices of the Commission On Presidential Debates; 19 OCT 2016.
  • America at War with Itself (2016) by Dr. Henry A. Giroux; 14 OCT 2016.
  • 2016 United States Vice Presidential Election Debate; 4 OCT 2016.
  • Clinton Cash:  The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich (2015) by Peter Schweizer; 1 AUG 2016.
  • “Why Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote” by Michelle Alexander; 27 JUL 2016.
  • Guns and Butter Presents Dr. Michel Chossudovsky, Global Warfare: Is the US/NATO Going To Attack Russia?; 15 JUN 2016.
  • Dr. Glenn Greenwald on Hillary Clinton’s Support for Brutal Dictators and More; 24 MAR 2016.
  • Activist and Indigenous Leader Nelson García Assassinated; 16 MAR 2016.
  • Activist Berta Cáceres Assassinated; 3 MAR 2016.
  • Hillary Clinton, US/NATO Imperialism, & the Lynching of Gaddafi; 3 MAR 2016.
  • Historical Archives: Third-Party Challenge to Unconstitutional Prop 14; 2 MAR 2016.
  • Black Agenda Report: On the USA’s Black Electorate, Circa 2016; 1 MAR 2016.
  • My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency (2015) by Doug Henwood; 29 FEB 2016.

[3]  California Proposition 64 sounds good, superficially speaking.  Progressives, as reflected by the Green Party’s endorsement for Prop. 64, favour legalisation and decriminalisation of medicinal and adult recreational use of cannabis.  However, it seems there is some problematic fine print to Prop. 64, as some critics have decried an attached 15% sin tax.  However, Prop. 64 doesn’t say anything about taxing changes.  But, of course, localities are responding by running ballot propositions to impose sin taxes on top of existing sales taxes to all cannabis sales, medical and non-medical.  Hayward Measure EE is one example.  Also, others have complained that, while Prop. 64 makes adult consumption of cannabis legal, it worsens criminalisation of youth caught possessing or consuming cannabis.  Also, there are questions of Monsanto patenting cannabis strains.  A good legalisation proposition would certainly include language against such monopolistic corporate practices.

The San Francisco Bay Guardian offered the following argument in favour of Prop. 64:

This isn’t the law we would have written; it’s complex and has all sorts of rules that might not be needed. But still: Legalizing pot is about, oh, 50 years overdue. The measure allows local communities to set regulations around sales, sets licensing standards, and will bring the state hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax money. Oh, and save millions in wasted law-enforcement time. We all know prohibition is silly and doesn’t work. Vote yes.

Full cannabis legalisation and decriminalisation all the way up to the federal level would certainly be beneficial for society, in terms of reversing mass incarceration by moving beyond paternalistic prohibition.  Perhaps, that’s not an adequate basis for a yes vote on this particular cannabis legalisation state law.  But it seems Prop. 64, in itself, is a beneficial law to pass.  However, it leaves localities to pass onerous sin taxes.  Here is a brief survey of positions on Prop. 64:

  • American Civil Liberties Union:  YES
    • “ACLU California Announces Support of Marijuana Legalization Ballot Meaure” by David Downs, East Bay Express, 15 JUN 2016.
    • “The War on Marijuana in Black and White” by the American Civil Liberties Union, accessed 7 NOV 2016.
  • Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice:  YES
  • California Democratic Party:  YES
  • California League of Conservation Voters: YES 
  • Courage Campaign:  YES
  • Equality California:  YES
  • Our Revolution:  YES

Here are further resources, which discuss the pros and cons of Prop. 64:

  • Arguments for a No vote:  NoOn64.net, accessed 4 NOV 2016.
  • Arguments for a Yes vote:  YesOn64.org, accessed 4 NOV 2016.
  • Arguments for a No vote:  Hard Knock Radio, 2 NOV 2016.
  • Arguments for a No vote:  Hard Knock Radio, 1 NOV 2016.
  • Arguments for a Yes vote:  “Prop. 64 Marijuana Legalization View from Chris Conrad”, The New Connection Magazine, 17 OCT 2016.

[4]  See Dr. Ellen Brown for more information and analyses, which make very compelling arguments against California Proposition 51 from a public banking perspective:

  • “Prop. 51 Versus a State-Owned Bank: How California Can Save $10 Billion on a $9 Billion Loan” by Ellen Brown, Huffington Post, 19 OCT 2016.

HUFFINGTON POST—[19 OCT 2016]  School districts are notoriously short of funding – so short that some California districts have succumbed to Capital Appreciation Bonds that will cost taxpayers as much is 10 to 15 times principal by the time they are paid off. By comparison, California’s Prop. 51, the school bond proposal currently on the ballot, looks like a good deal. It would allow the state to borrow an additional $9 billion for educational purposes by selling general obligation bonds to investors at an assumed interest rate of 5%, with the bonds issued over a five-year period and repaid over 30 years. $9 billion × 5% × 35 equals $15.75 billion in interest – nearly twice principal, but not too bad compared to the Capital Appreciation Bond figures.

However, there is a much cheaper way to fund this $9 billion school debt. By borrowing from its own state-chartered, state-owned bank, the state could save over $10 billion – on a $9 billion loan. Here is how.

[snip]

Learn more at HUFFINGTON POST.

The San Francisco Bay Guardian offered the following argument in favour of Prop. 51:

The need for funding for K-12 and community college facilities is dire. There’s no way to argue against $9 billion in state bonds to help local communities upgrade ebonds come out of the overall general fund, in this case to the tune of $500 million a year, and while everyone in Sacramento wants to borrow money for good causes, it’s hard to find many who want to raise taxes on the wealthy to pay for it. Still: Vote yes.

[5]  The San Francisco Bay Guardian offered the following argument in favour of Prop. 52:

Complex, technical, but the bottom line is that private hospitals would pay a fee to pay for uninsured and Medi-Cal patients. If you think that private hospitals in CA are just charities, go check out the financials of the likes of Kaiser and Sutter Health. They make billions. Vote yes.

[6]  The San Francisco Bay Guardian offered the following compelling argument against Prop. 53:

This is part of the same agenda that brought us Prop. 13. The anti-tax folks want to make it harder for government to raise money. Revenue bonds aren’t backed by taxpayers; they’re backed by, say, the income from an airport or a public-power agency. The reality is that this is funded by a rich Central Valley farmer who doesn’t like the governor’s plans for new water tunnels or high-speed rail. We don’t like the tunnels, either; we do like the trains. Either way, this is a really stupid way to make policy. Vote no.

[7]  The San Francisco Bay Guardian offered the following compelling argument in favour of Prop. 54:

This is going to pass with about 70 percent of the vote, and it should. The state Legislature has a habit of introducing new elements to bills at the last minute, just before a session ends. Rotten special-interest riders hike onto unrelated bills; legislator voting on hundreds of measures don’t get a chance to scrutinize what’s going on. Prop. 54 also mandates that all sessions of the Legislature and its committees be streamed on video. Vote yes.

[8]  The San Francisco Bay Guardian offered the following compelling argument in favour of Prop. 55:

In 2009, in the middle of the Great Recession, the state imposed a modest increase in taxes on the most wealthy, people with incomes of more than $250,000 a year. That tax is set to expire in 2018. The rich are even richer, the needs are even more serious, and drop of as much as $9 billion in state revenue would be devastating. Yes, yes, yes.

[9]  The San Francisco Bay Guardian offered the following argument in favour of Prop. 56:

The state’s tobacco tax is only 87 cents a pack. Prop. 56 raises it by $2. The evidence is pretty clear that smoking costs the state billions in health-care costs, and that higher taxes reduce use (particularly among young people). Vote yes.

[10]  The San Francisco Bay Guardian offered the following argument in favour of Prop. 57 :

Prop. 57 – Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature measure for this fall — is a significant step toward reforming the state’s crazy, racist, inhumane criminal justice system. The measure would allow the possibility of parole for some 30,000 nonviolent felons who are now stuck in long sentences. It would also require a judge – not just a prosecutor – to decide whether a juvenile should be tried as an adult. And it allows prison authorities to allow inmates “good time” – that is, a reduction in their sentences for good behavior. In reality, only a few thousand would likely be set free any single year, and while this won’t solve the prison overcrowding problem, it will help. Vote yes.

[11]  The San Francisco Bay Guardian offered the following argument in favour of Prop. 58:

The description of this measure is a bit confusing, but its impact would be simple: It would guarantee that public schools in California have the right to use bilingual or immersion education as part of the curriculum for English learners. It would overturn outdated and ineffective “English only” rules. Every credible education group supports it. Vote yes.

[12]  The San Francisco Bay Guardian offered the following argument in favour of Prop. 59:

Prop. 59 is one of those policy statements that we often see on the ballot in San Francisco but not so much at the state level. It has no immediate impact; it doesn’t change any laws. But it would put California voters on record urging Congress and the courts to overturn the Citizens United decision that allows for unregulated campaign spending by corporations. The momentum to overturn that decision is growing – and for California, the nation’s largest state, to take a strong position would send a national signal. Vote Yes.

[13]  The San Francisco Bay Guardian offered the following argument against Prop. 60:

This is one of those measures that sounds sensible – until you stop and think about it. Prop. 60 would mandate that adult film performers use condoms “during filming of sexual intercourse.” Sure, public health and workplace safety, right?

Except that the performers themselves are opposed. Public health organizations are opposed. Because this makes no sense and shows no comprehension of how the porn industry actually works these days.

There are still big outfits like Vivid Studios and Kink.com, but a lot of the industry is now pretty homegrown – performers make and produce their own videos. Under Prop. 60, if they aren’t using condoms, they could be sued anytime. Their real names and addresses could become public.

And it seems to be a solution in search of a problem: There isn’t one documented case of a person getting infected with HIV on a porn set in California. Performers are tested regularly.

There’s no question that the state regulators who handle workplace safety – that is, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration – is behind the times on creating rules for porn studios. There may be instances when a performer who wants to use a condom is told not to – and that’s a problem. But Cal-OSHA should be writing the regulations – and this measure will likely either drive porn films out of state or underground, in either case encouraging less, not more, regulation. Both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are against this. So are we.

[14]  The San Francisco Bay Guardian offered the following argument in favour of Prop. 61:

This one also sounds confusing and bureaucratic. What it really does is mandate that the state pay no more for prescription drugs than the federal Veterans Administration. It’s part of a national movement that says Big Pharma charges too much for medicine. The state has bargaining power, the VA generally gets way better deals than the state does, and the California Nurses Association supports it. So does Bernie Sanders. That’s good enough for us.

[15]  The San Francisco Bay Guardian offered the following argument in favour of Prop. 62:

YES, YES, YES

The death penalty is barbaric. Most civilized countries have long since abolished it. It’s also hugely expensive and doesn’t work.

Prop. 62 is the latest effort to get California out of the state-sponsored killing business. The last time around, the voters narrowly rejected a death-penalty repeal, but the vast cost (hundreds of millions of dollars), the growing evidence that innocent people have been sentenced to death, and the understanding that the death penalty has no deterrent effect, is imposed overwhelmingly on poor people of color, many of them with serious mental-health issues, is starting to turn the public around. This should be the year. Please: Vote yes.

[16]  The San Francisco Bay Guardian offered the following argument in favour of Prop. 63:

Yes

California has better gun laws than a lot of states, and this will make the rules even tighter by focusing on two problems: It’s still relatively easy to buy ammunition (even over the Internet) and it’s hard to get guns out of the hands of people who are legally banned from owning them (felons and people convicted of domestic violence). Yes, Prop. 63 is a vehicle for Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who proposed it, to get his name out on a hot issue while he prepares his campaign for governor. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea.

The measure would require background checks for people who buy ammo and create a court process for removing guns from people who aren’t supposed to have them. Vote yes.

[17]  The San Francisco Bay Guardian offered the following argument against Prop. 65:

NO

The plastic-bag industry, which sells something like a billion bags a year in the state, put this on the ballot to confuse voters and prevent the kind of real regulation that is in Prop. 67. It’s not an environmental issue; the real environmental groups are all against it. Vote no.

[18]  The San Francisco Bay Guardian offered the following argument against Prop. 66:

NO, NO, NO

Death penalty enforcement

This one’s the opposite of Prop. 62. It’s devious and potentially terrible. The measure would seek to speed up the death-penalty process by eliminating Constitutional protections and imposing unrealistic timelines on prosecutors, defense lawyers, and the courts. It’s impossible for this to work without seriously risking the execution of an innocent person. It would overload local courts with work they aren’t prepared or funded to do. It’s a cynical attempt by the death-penalty lobby to confuse voters. No, No, No.

[19]  The San Francisco Bay Guardian offered the following argument in favour Prop. 67:

YES

San Francisco phased out single-use plastic bags years ago – and we seem to be doing fine. The idea of reusable shopping bags has caught on, the economic and consumer consequences are zero – and the environmental impacts of getting rid of a few billion plastic bags, which don’t decompose, aren’t recyclable, and kill fish and wildlife are huge. Vote yes.

[20GONZO:  I posted the following message when I pledged to vote for Dr. Jill Stein on her website:

[I pledged earlier and was then prompted through a questionnaire about volunteering. My computer shut down, so I’m starting over and apologise for any redundancies.]

Vote Stein/Baraka 2016! Vote Green Party!

Also, let’s get the word out about MMT to Dr. Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka. MMT stands for modern money theory, or modern monetary theory. It is taught at universities with heterodox economics departments, such as the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), where I earned a degree in economics. I studied under Dr. Stephanie Kelton, among other heterodox economists, who teach us how our modern monetary system works in the United States. Long story short, given MMT, we can end involuntary unemployment as we know it with a Job Guarantee Programme. And it’s important to understand, as MMT shows us, that taxes don’t pay for anything. So, government spending, such as for a job guarantee programme isn’t paid by taxes. (See MMT on monetary sovereignty, sectoral balances, trade balances, national budget deficits and surpluses, and fiscal budgets.)

Dr. Stephanie Kelton was the chair of the UMKC economics department up until she was hired by Bernie Sanders to work as Chief Economist for the Senate Minority Budget Committee. When Bernie Sanders ran during the 2016 Democratic Primary, Dr. Kelton joined the Bernie Sanders campaign trail, alongside UMKC’s Dr. William K. Black (professor of Law & Economics). Unfortunately, Bernie Sanders failed to tell the American people about an MMT-based Job Guarantee Programme and how we can end involuntary unemployment as we know it.

Imagine that? Let’s work on communicating this to Dr. Jill Stein. That way, she will no longer misunderstand how taxes work or how our monetary system works. And, then, she will be able to inform the American people that we can have a permanent and sustainable national job guarantee programme, which can get the economy going and provide jobs whenever the economy suffers its cyclical capitalist crises.

It’s unfortunate whenever we hear our brightest minds lacking crucial knowledge about economics and how our economy really works. I’ve been trying to get the word out about MMT and the Job Guarantee Programme since I graduated. But it’s not easy. We need all the help we can get spreading the word.

Whether you agree or not with the political decision for the government to create, implement, and maintain a Job Guarantee Programme modelled after the New Deal jobs programmes, there is no disagreement about the economic feasibility and soundness of the government’s ability to fund such a programme without imposing any tax burden on working people. One can argue that they refuse to guarantee the American people jobs. But one cannot argue that it the government cannot afford it or that such government spending will be inflationary.

As a former economics professor of mine, Dr. L.R. Wray, a leading expert on MMT and monetary theory and policy, would say: It is only the lack of political will, which prevents us from ending involuntary unemployment.

[21]  From the 2016 Green Voter Guide (Federal Offices, page 1):

U.S. President and Vice President
Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka

“Stein is not just up against the Democratic and Republican nominees. She is up against a rigid two-party system that erects high barriers to those who seek to open up the process. It is uncommon for independent and third-party candidates to get over and around those barriers. But this is an uncommon year in American politics.” — John Nichols, August 19, 2016, The Nation, “Jill Stein Should Be Part of a 4-Way Presidential Debate”

In the 2016 presidential election, the growing corruption of U.S. electoral politics and the disintegration of what’s left of our democracy is on display: the resignations of numerous campaign and party officials from scandalous ethical violations exposed in leaked emails; the swirling controversy surrounding the foundations of the corporate candidates-on the one hand, allegations of pay-to-play favoritism, and on the other, outright illegal activity; a meeting between a former president and the Attorney General on an airport tarmac, followed by a non-indictment recommendation from the FBI chief; a corporate media telling us that our only choices are a loud-mouthed carnival barker whose racism, misogyny and bigotry have made white supremacy mainstream, or a deeply flawed, entrenched politician whose record offers us more war and more Wall Street.

Against this backdrop, when Jill Stein appears on the news in her lavender blazer, energetic, optimistic and wise, to talk about a bright possible future where war and weapons are transformed into clean energy jobs and free education, the relief and excitement many Americans feel is palpable and real. By August her poll numbers were up to 4 percent nationwide and over 10 percent in California among voters under 30 (higher than Trump’s numbers). As a mother, Harvard-educated physician, and longtime teacher of internal medicine, Stein has led initiatives promoting healthy communities, local green economies, and the revitalization of democracy—championing issues such as campaign finance reform, green jobs, racially-just redistricting, and the cleanup of incinerators, coal plants, and toxics.

In August, Stein chose longtime human rights activist Ajamu Baraka as her running mate. Baraka has served on the boards of Amnesty International, Center for Constitutional Rights, Africa Action, and is currently an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. Following a CNN Town Hall appearance together, Stein / Baraka received significant media coverage. Among others, the LA Times and Fresno Bee even called for the inclusion of Stein (and Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson) in the presidential debates. In September 2016, Stein and Baraka were arrested after protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s reservation.

Stein-Baraka are picking up the mantle of the fight against wealth inequality after the historic Bernie Sanders Democratic primary campaign, which represented the largest public outcry on the declining standard of living in America since the worldwide Occupy Movement (“We Are the 99 percent”) in 2011. While Bernie’s pre-convention endorsement of Clinton—despite months of promising a contested convention—avoided the police violence in the streets which ultimately decimated Occupy in the U.S., many Bernie supporters, unable to stomach the corrupt rightwing politics of Clinton, proceeded to “DemExit”—de-registering Democrat en masse to join the Green Party. Stein helped the transition by compassionately vocalizing the experiences of Bernie’s supporters, tweeting, “Bernie hearts are breaking right now,” and joining them in the street demonstrations outside the DNC in Philadelphia. In an op-ed for The Hill, Stein made her key point, “The consistent efforts of the Democratic Party to minimize, sideline, and sabotage the Sanders campaign are a wakeup call that we can’t have a revolutionary campaign inside a counterrevolutionary party.”

Sanders’ willingness to endorse Clinton, following through on statements he made earlier in his campaign, was nonetheless a shock to some Bernie supporters. They had directly experienced election theft, debate falsehoods by Clinton, DNC undermining of Bernie’s campaign, and SuperPAC undermining of social media accounts. Clinton is a candidate so embraced by the establishment that, following a year long investigation, FBI director Comey took the unprecedented step of intervening in what would normally have been a criminal decision by the Justice Department, and recommended against indictment after laying out a powerful case to Congress for indictment based on Clinton’s violations of public transparency and national security laws. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who clandestinely met with Bill Clinton on an airport tarmac in the days before Comey’s testimony to Congress, was thus spared from having to follow through with a prosecution.

As the bizarre series of events of the 2016 presidential election continue to unfold, corruption by the two corporate-funded party officeholders and candidates is reaching record levels. Several Clinton superdelegates at the July DNC, for example, were under federal investigation when they voted to nominate her, including Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and Florida Representative Corrine Brown. (Superdelegate New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was already sentenced to prison in January for 12 years on federal corruption charges.)

The establishment is so desperate to force Clinton through the installation process, no matter how mistrusted or disliked she is, that it is willing to expose its own extreme media bias, hijack legal criminal proceedings, neglect clear cases of election fraud, and even call her primary nomination before the convention had even started. For these reasons, the likelihood of a Trump presidency is small. Critique of Trump’s positions is illogical, since they can change fully to the opposite position within weeks or months.

As the Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka campaign gains access in more states and their poll numbers rise, we can continue give a voice to the public outcry against corruption, wealth inequality, racism, the climate crisis and wars – vote Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka, for a peaceful and just future.

[22]  From the 2016 Green Voter Guide (page 3, 4):

U.S. Senator
No Endorsement

Our world is in crisis because an economic system based on ecocide—capitalism—is globally dominant and lives through constant economic expansion, threatening the entire web of life by gradually but inexorably destroying a stable biosphere, climate system and our oceans. Time is short to avoid global catastrophe and turn this system around, and generous doses of both farsighted leadership and mass participation will be needed. Alas, no such leaders can be found among the two status quo candidates on the ballot for U.S. Senate this year.

Due to the unfair “top two” electoral system currently in use in California (see box), there are only two Democrats on the ballot. Both Loretta Sanchez and Kamala Harris are establishment Democrats, but represent respectively the “moderate” and “progressive” wings of the dominant plutocracy. Sanchez has been in the U.S. House of Representatives representing two Orange County districts since the late 1990s. A former Republican (until 1992), she identifies as a “Blue Dog” Democrat, the openly pro-capitalist, fiscally conservative, pro-war (“defense”) faction of the Democratic Party. She makes the typical argument that since her parents were immigrants, she will be on the side of the excluded and oppressed. Her entire political and ideological orientation and concrete votes while in office completely refute this ploy to ensnare the unwary voter.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris is the favored candidate of the plutocracy in this race and is very likely to win. She has raised by far the most money, and received the most attention (mainly favorable) from the establishment media. Harris’s career in politics began when she became a protégé of state kingpin Willie Brown in the early 1990s. Brown and other members of the plutocratic wing of the California Democratic Party (such as the billionaire Feinstein and the multimillionaire Pelosi) helped Harris with jobs, endorsements and election fundraising. She was then elected state Attorney General. Despite the culture of frugality stressed by Governor Jerry Brown, Harris’s rapid and easy rise to prominence and power has apparently gone to her head and detailed reports of her “diva lifestyle” and demands for “a life of luxury” have surfaced. One former aide stated that she treats her campaign funds like a personal checking account. An examination of her campaign spending reports shows this to be true.

Harris’s political orientation can be summed up by her endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president: “I’m excited to stand with Hillary Clinton… I have a deep admiration for her.” The issues she is running on reflect the usual “progressive” Democrat approach to politics: carefully manage public anger by offering hope of change while maintaining the status quo with minor alterations. During election time they sound more progressive, but totally cave in to corporate and plutocratic interests as soon as the election is over. Even the soon to be betrayed promises are inadequate. The specifics offered by Harris to deal with the ecological crisis, for example, focus on capitalist market based non- solutions like a carbon tax and a cap-and-trade market for carbon pollution. This lets the high consuming plutocrats (like her friend Feinstein who has seven houses all over the country and flies around on her own private jet to visit them) off the hook; they can consume as much as they want while the rank and file are rationed through the market. Moreover, environmental issues are, in Harris’s program, combined with something not possible: “sustainable economic growth.” The need for de-growth, for a crash program in agroecological agriculture, immediately ending coal mining and fracking, as well as an immediate end to fossil fuel subsidies for big oil, gas and coal are left unmentioned. The necessity of ending the system of grow-or-die capitalism, which must not be continued on our finite planet, is also left out of the Harris program. Harris, like Sanchez, is a facilitator of a higher immorality, ignoring the real issues facing the people and the planet.

As Albert Einstein once stated, “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.” Clearly, these two candidates do not offer such thinking.

U.S. House of Representatives, District 13
No Endorsement
As of June 30, Democratic Party incumbent Barbara Lee raised $851,066 for her re-election. Keeping in mind that she has never won an election with less than 80 percent of the vote and that her Republican opponent has only raised $4,150, the need for such a campaign war chest becomes a curious question.  (Her opponent, Suzanne Caro, has given $1,100 to her own campaign, Barbara Lee hasn’t given one thin dime to her own re-election!)
Her biggest contributor is an Emeryville business man named John Gooding.  He runs several consulting firms, including the Milo Group, Quadric Group and the Emeryville Education Fund, and he is a member of the board of the Emeryville Chamber of Commerce. He may be best known to the working class for his opposition to the 2005 Measure C in Emeryville, which was a successful campaign to elevate the wages of hotel workers to a living wage. He claimed that raising the wages of workers would cause the hospitality industry to leave Emeryville. Despite his seeming interest in educating children, he donated money to Republican Governor Pete Wilson and his fight to pass Proposition 187 in 1994, an initiative to deny education to children of undocumented immigrants.
A review of Representative Lee’s donation list includes many corporations associated with the Military Industrial Complex, including Vital Systems (from an individual associated with the company), Lockheed Martin, and Microsoft.
Also donating to Lee are DTE Energy PAC, a company associated with gas piping (the fracking industry) and nuclear power, $3,000; Duke Energy of North Carolina, big into coal and nuclear and with no facilities on the West Coast, $2,500; Dickerson Employee Benefits, a health insurance company ($9,800 from Jean and Carl Dickerson of Pasadena, CA); and Gilead Sciences, a pharmaceutical firm formerly run by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, $5,000. Not to mention: McDonalds PAC $5,000, PG&E PAC $4,000, Clorox PAC $3,000, Bayer PAC $2,500, National Beer Wholesalers PAC $2,500, National Football League PAC $1,500, Berkshire Hathaway PAC $1,000, and State Farm Insurance PAC $1,000.
Of the $851,066 she has raised, (not including the $706,394 she has spent on “Operating Expenses,” which is mostly throwing parties to raise money to throw parties to raise money, including one in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, over 3,000 miles from her district). Is all of this “money laundering” and acceptance of corporate money really what you want from a so-called “progressive” member of Congress?  Do you really want to vote for someone who doesn’t even believe in themselves enough to donate to their own campaign?
Lee’s challenger is Piedmont realtor Sue Caro, vice chair of the Alameda County Republican Party, who somehow thinks Lee is a “socialist.”  Yikes! It looks like we need to go “back to the drawing board” and find a strong, non-corporate progressive candidate to represent us in Congress!
State Senate, District 9
No Endorsement
We favor Sandre Swanson as the better of the only two choices. It is against our policy to endorse Democrats in “partisan” races, even if your only choices are Democrats.  Whoever wins will be one of the most progressive senators in the state. See their responses to our questionnaire.
Before the Assembly, Sandre Swanson had 30 years of political experience, working for Congress persons Ron Dellums and then Barbara Lee. He is committed to growing the middle class and sustainable jobs, at-risk youth, the victims of human trafficking, worker rights, and a “state budget that is not balanced on the backs of the most vulnerable and voiceless in our society.” He supports tuition-free higher education starting with the community colleges.
As evidence of a principled progressive voice, he cites his “no” votes that eliminated the “Healthy Families Program”, moving 740,000 poor children to Medi-Cal, and on measures that would undermine collective bargaining rights. He also voted his “conscience…refusing to support a spending cap ‘rainy day fund’ during the recession,” a vote that cost him the chairmanship of the Labor Committee.  In 2010, he joined with Greens in speaking out forcefully against the “Top Two Primary” proposition.
His endorsers include Loni Hancock, Barbara Lee, Berkeley City Councilmembers Anderson, Arreguin and Worthington, the Wellstone Renewal Democratic Club and LOTS of labor unions. If elected, he will be the only African American from northern California to serve in the State Senate in more than  two decades.
Nancy Skinner served on the Berkeley City Council and the East Bay Regional Parks District Board. She is running to “deliver on the progressive policies that were my hallmark in the Assembly.” She cites legislation that greatly expands rooftop solar, gun violence prevention, fighting corporate tax loopholes and bringing in $1 billion in new sales tax revenue, initiating higher income taxes on the super-rich, and removing dangerous chemicals from building materials. She takes credit for the largest increase in funding for childcare and preschool in over a decade and substantial budget increases for CSU and UC. She believes that “advancing the progressive agenda requires skilled legislators to craft legislation, forge coalitions, and tenaciously push legislation through to the Governor’s desk.”  Her endorsers include most of the mayors in District 9, the Sierra Club, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, a few unions, and a huge list of elected officials.  Currently only 12 of the 40 State Senators are women.
State Assembly, District 15
No Endorsement
The Assembly District 15 covers the area from North Oakland through Berkeley, Richmond, and San Pablo, to Pinole.
Incumbent Tony Thurmond’s answers to our detailed and concrete questionnaire were mostly vague generalities.  He referred several times to his website, but the website is not very concrete or complete.  The only question that he fully answered was his list of endorsements (primarily the Democratic machine). His votes have been standard Democratic votes.
The most detailed answer Thurmond gave was to a specific question about how he plans to address budget deficits:  “I believe we need to bring more fairness to our tax system, including extending Prop. 30, reforming the 2/3 requirement for  passage of tax measures and reforming Prop. 13.” This is a step in the right direction, but it does not address exactly how he would counter the powerful forces which support the corporate property tax status quo.  In some cases, Thurmond’s questionnaire answer was deliberately misleading.  For example, when asked “What must a constituent do in order to meet with you?”, he answered “All a constituent needs to do is contact one of my offices to set up an appointment.”  In fact, that appointment will be with one of Thurmond’s staffers. Thurmond himself does not meet with constituents. He rarely holds Town Hall meetings. He does make campaign appearances, but he appears slick and insincere. His behavior as a new member of the Assembly has occasionally been an embarrassment (see indybay.org).
Thurmond’s first term was a disappointment, since he was put into office in 2014 by progressives and supported by the Greens. It seems possible, but unlikely, that he’ll improve as he gains more experience.
His only challenger is UC Berkeley College Republicans’ Claire Chiara, who was polite but declined to answer our questionnaire.
We very badly need to put a viable progressive into this important seat.
State Assembly, District 18
No Endorsement
The Democratic Party incumbent, Rob Bonta, represents all of Oakland except for the northern portion, plus Alameda and most of San Leandro.
Bonta is becoming more progressive with time. We appreciate that he returned the Green Party questionnaire, which he did not do for the last election. It’s true that his thoughtful, concrete answers told us about specifically-chosen legislative events that may have made him appear more progressive than he actually is. But he had lots of good things to say this time, in essentially every category. In person he appears to be genuinely engaged and concerned.
For example, in 2013 we know that Bonta had voted FOR fracking (against the AB 1323 moratorium). But in 2014 and 2015, he changed his position and voted against fracking, e.g. by supporting SB 4 (fracking regulations, which was an easy vote for him). Notably, he also supported the failed AB 669 (to protect water from fracking, which was a more difficult vote for him).
In 2015 Bonta supported the unpopular mandatory vaccination act SB 277 — which is a windfall for the pharmaceutical industry — after accepting tens of thousands of dollars in donations from them. But Bonta may have learned from this experience, because in his 2016 questionnaire he says he “stood up against the pharmaceutical industry, including by supporting AB 463, the pharmaceutical Cost Transparency Act of 2016, which would have required disclosure of additional information [on expensive pharmaceutical treatments].”
Bonta claims “I have not taken any donations from Big Oil, Big Tobacco, or WalMart,” which is great. Of course, that still leaves a lot of corporations from whom he has accepted money.
Bonta’s only opponent is Roseann Slonsky-Breault, who is an officer of the California Federation of Republican Women. We appreciate her responding to some of the Green Party questions, but her non-specific, polemical responses are far more conservative than Bonta’s.  “We have too many unnecessary entitlement programs.”  “I oppose single payer health care. The free market system allows patients to work together with their own doctors to have the best health care.” “We need less regulation for businesses.”  “Raising the minimum wage . . . hurts the young and less educated workers, it becomes even more difficult for them to find jobs.”
The Assembly District 18 has lots of great progressive people in it.  We need to keep encouraging Bonta—or whoever holds this seat—to accurately represent and lead their constituency.

From the 2016 Green Voter Guide (page 2):

Taxes, Bonds, Fiscal Responsibility and the Green Party

The Green Party’s commitment to being fiscally responsible is as important as our commitment to being environmentally and socially responsible. Given these values, we often endorse bonds and taxes with reservations. Why? Because structural inequities in the tax system make responsible and progressive financing impossible.

Our budget problems took a turn for the worse in 1978 when California’s most famous proposition, Prop 13, was approved by voters. Fourteen years later, in 1992, the Green Party achieved ballot status in California and we’ve been fighting for a fairer tax system ever since.

Voters overwhelmingly approved Prop 13 to keep people, especially seniors on fixed incomes, from losing their homes due to escalating property taxes. Other less-understood parts of Prop 13, however, have increasingly damaged California’s legacy of great schools, parks, highways, health care and quality of life.

Prop 13 flattened property taxes and prohibited imposition of any new “ad valorem” (according to value) taxes on real property. Prop 13 also requires a 2/3 vote of the legislature to increase state taxes. This super-majority is a steep hurdle to jump, especially when slightly more than 1/3 of our legislators have pledged to vote against any and all taxes.

Taxes are now less progressive and more regressive, taxing the poor more than the rich. California can keep the good and fix the bad in Prop 13, but neither majority Democrats nor minority Republicans use their power to promote real solutions.

Bonds have been sold to voters as “no new taxes” rather than “spend now and make kids pay later, with interest.” Bonds meanwhile enrich and give tax breaks to wealthy investors, and encourage scams by casino capitalists on Wall Street. Super-rich individuals and corporations avoid paying taxes, and instead loan money to the government in the form of bonds, and get even richer from the interest. Implementing a publicly-owned State Bank is one way California could use its own capital to fund public projects, and invest the interest savings back into California.

Property taxes before Prop 13 came primarily from commercial properties, and now primarily from homes. Homes are reassessed upon sale, whereas tax loopholes allow corporate properties to escape reassessment.

Parcel taxes are often the same for large properties and small condos. For some voters parcel taxes are outstripping their basic property taxes.

Sales taxes have been relied upon for balancing budgets, and weigh heavily given that, as updated annually by the California Budget Project, when looking at family income, the poorest 20 percent pay more of their income in state and local taxes than the richest 1 percent. This continues to be the case even after Proposition 30’s tax rate Increases. Those who average $13,000 pay 10.6 percent and those who average $1.6 million pay 8.8 percent.

With Reservations we endorse funding when needed for vital services, and at the same time we educate and organize for better ways of raising revenue in the future.

[23]  Green Party position, from the 2016 Green Voter Guide (page 1):

Proposition 64 – YES
Marijuana Legalization

Prop. 64, the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative would legalize marijuana and hemp under state law and enact certain sales and cultivation taxes.

The time has finally come for cannabis to come “out of the shadows” and into the daylight in California, as it has now in four other western states (WA, CO, OR, AK). It is pretty clear where the benefits are: less money to crime syndicates both domestically and in Mexico; fewer people put in jail for trivial issues that do not affect actual crime on others; and more revenue for the state to educate about drug issues, clean the environment, and help law enforcement, among other things. Most reasonable people have known for a long time that legalization is not only a rational path to drug policy for multiple reasons, but is virtually inevitable, eventually, across the country.

This proposition is almost sure to pass this time, according to public polling, and has only limited opposition. Some opposition comes from certain sectors of law enforcement that have habitually opposed any sort of legalization; some from large scale growers that don’t want their entrenched profits to drop (though they always masquerade their arguments in terms of other issues); and some opposition comes from “reasonable” concerns about public health: the ability of the drug to push certain predisposed young people over the edge into schizophrenia (an issue which needs more study).

At this point, however, going the “prohibition” route to controlling cannabis consumption is not helping these vulnerable people, nor anyone else. Anyone can get it without much difficulty in the state (and country), and what is needed is to integrate it into our existing public health system, instead of seeing it as “demon weed” outside the scope of civilized society when everyone is aware that, in fact, it’s all around us.

We give a strong YES to Prop. 64.

[24]  Voter education text on ranked-choice voting, from the 2016 Green Voter Guide (page 8) [Some cities within Alameda County have elected to begin using ranked-choice voting in various elections.]:

Understanding and using “Ranked Choice Voting” (RCV)

RCV allows you to ‘rank’ three candidates, rather than being forced to choose just one.  Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) is more descriptive: when a candidate is eliminated, it’s as if there is a run-off between the remaining candidates.

During the first round of IRV, only the votes ranked first are counted.  If nobody has a majority of votes, an elimination process begins.  The candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated.  If it’s your candidate, your next choice, if any, transfers up.  This continues until someone has a majority.  Your highest remaining candidate remains YOUR ONLY VOTE until that candidate is eliminated, or wins.  Your other choices DO NOT MATTER and are not counted unless your higher ranked choices are eliminated.  If you choose to vote for only one or two candidates, if they are eliminated, then your ballot is ‘exhausted’.  It’s as if you chose not to vote in the remaining run-offs.

IRV is great because you can ranksincere choices‘—candidates you actually like—without ‘throwing away’ your vote.

IRV invites strategies like:

¤  Only ranking sincere choices, people with politics or ideals you believe in, even if they can’t win.

¤  Saving the last vote for the ‘least disliked frontrunner’ in case your sincere choices are eliminated.  Use your last place vote strategically.  It may be the only vote that counts.

¤  Make a statement by ranking a candidate you want to appear in the vote counting until they are eliminated, even if they’re not a sincere choice, as long as they have no chance of winning.

Regardless of your strategy, NEVER rank a frontrunner you don’t want to see elected.  Your vote could put them over the top.”

From the 2016 Green Voter Guide (page 3):

Green Party Disenfranchised by Unfair Top Two System

Currently in California, most state contested political offices are filled through the “top two” primary voting system. This reduces democracy by limiting voter choice. In this year’s U.S. Senate campaign there are only two Democrats on the ballot, no other political party candidates are included. The result is low participation in the November general election when voter interest is highest. This system also increases the role of big money interests in the June primary, since candidates need more money to distinguish themselves from others in what is often a long list of candidates. The Green Party favors fairer voting system like Ranked Choice Voting and Proportional Representation, both used in many nations to better represent the people’s wishes. PR is used in over 90 nations worldwide.

[25]  From the 2016 Green Voter Guide (page 10):

[Lumpenproletariat urges a NO vote on Hayward Measure EE.  Why discriminate against one consumer group?  Why not put a ‘sin tax’ on alcohol?  Sales taxes are regressive.  ‘Sin taxes‘, by definition, are also discriminatory.]

Hayward Measure EE – YES
Cannabis Tax Authorization
Measure EE is similar to other measures on the ballot in November to place additional city taxes (not exceeding 15 percent) on the sale of medical and recreational cannabis— if the sale of cannabis is approved by California voters through the passage of Prop. 64. It seems a pretty clever way to prepare to fill city coffers (which have been running dry in recent years) if Prop. 64 does pass. Measure EE requires a simple majority of 50 percent plus 1 to pass.
Measure EE seems to face no significant opposition by local leaders or other groups. Indeed, most of the Hayward City Council has explicitly endorsed the measure. We think this was a visionary move by the city to prepare for the likely passage of Prop. 64, and see no reason to oppose this measure. We recommend a YES vote.

 

***

[Ranked-Choice Vote Ballot image by source, used via fair use.]

[2 NOV 2016]

[Last modified  00:17 PST  9 NOV 2016]

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