Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Paradise Burned : How Climate Change is Scorching California

Capital and Main
Jeff Zimmerman: Emergency Photographers Network
Paul Duncan, a battalion chief with California’s state firefighting agency, was at home in Northern California enjoying a day off on September 12 when he got the message: A wildfire was burning on Cobb Mountain, about a dozen miles away from Hidden Valley Lake, where he lived with his wife and two daughters.
Duncan, 46, decided to leave and help knock down the blaze because he knew the fire unit in the area was already short-staffed from putting out on another conflagration. Besides, his nearly 30 years of experience persuaded him there was no way a fire burning on a mountain to the west could burn down to the valley floor and then race eastward to threaten the Duncans’ home.
His optimism was short lived. Upon arriving on Cobb Mountain Duncan got some troubling news. The fire he was fighting was heading toward his family. At 5:13 p.m. he texted them: “The fire will be encroaching on Hidden Valley within an hour.”
Six minutes later his house was on fire.
His family escaped safely, but they were later faced with having to drive through fire on the roads. At 6:37 p.m., Duncan texted a message to his family he never imagined he’d have to send.
“If you have to drive through fire, keep your lights on, turn on your flashers and KEEP MOVING.”
Ten minutes later, his wife, Courtney, called in a panic — there was too much fire to drive through. Duncan reassured her and told her to “step on the gas and drive through the fire.”
“This was a ferocious fire, wind-driven in brush, moving about 25 to 30 miles per hour,” Duncan would later tell Capital & Main [1], after his house had burned to the ground. “I’ve never seen this type of fire behavior, especially this far north in California. It came with a speed more like a Santa Ana fire in Southern California.”

Friday, November 20, 2015

Bernie Defines Socialism

During the 1930s conservatives repeatedly alleged that Franklin Roosevelt was really a socialist. Today, Bernie Sanders said they were right.
In a long awaited speech heralded as providing his definition of “democratic socialism,” the Vermont senator and Democratic presidential candidate on Thursday afternoon told a packed crowd of Georgetown University students—most of whom waited hours in a drenching rain to hear him—that by democratic socialism, he meant the economic and social principles laid down by FDR, most particularly in his 1944 State of the Union Address. In that speech, Roosevelt proclaimed that the nation needed a second, economic bill of rights. Sanders quoted the passage in which Roosevelt’s laid out the philosophic basis for such an expansion of rights: “True individual freedom,” Roosevelt said, “cannot exist without economic security and independence. Necessitous men are not free men.” The Vermont senator ran down the list of rights that Roosevelt enumerated: a decent job at decent pay, time off from work, a decent home, health care, and, for businesses, “an atmosphere free from unfair competition and domination by monopolies.”
The only other figure Sanders cited as shaping his vision of socialism was Martin Luther King, Jr. (Unlike FDR, King did indeed identify himself a democratic socialist, as did such other key civil rights leaders as A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, and James Farmer. Roosevelt called himself various things—most commonly a liberal, and once, when asked his philosophy, responded that he was “a Christian and a Democrat”—but never a socialist.) King, said Sanders, followed in FDR’s footsteps in proclaiming the need for economic as well as civil rights.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Syrian Refugees - Elizabeth Warren

Over the past four years, millions of people have fled their homes in Syria, running for their lives. In recent months, the steady stream of refugees has been a flood that has swept across Europe.

Every day, refugees set out on a journey hundreds of miles, from Syria to the Turkish coast. When they arrive, human smugglers charge them $1000 a head for a place on a shoddy, overloaded, plastic raft that is given a big push and floated out to sea, hopefully toward one of the Greek islands.

Last month, I visited the Greek island of Lesvos to see the Syrian refugee crisis up close. Lesvos is only a few miles away from the Turkish coast, but the risks of crossing are immense. This is a really rocky, complicated shoreline – in and out, in and out. The overcrowded, paper-thin smuggler rafts are tremendously unsafe, especially in choppy waters or when a storm picks up.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Friedrichs v California CTA

Choosing Democracy: Friedrichs v California CTA

Faith Leaders -- End Fracking

Faith Leaders Urge Governor Jerry Brown to End Fracking in California 

by Dan Bacher 

As Governor Jerry Brown was getting ready to portray himself as a "climate leader" at the upcoming United Nations Climate Summit in Paris, faith leaders, environmental advocates, frontline communities and residents from across California rallied at the State Capitol in Sacramento on November 12 to call on Brown to halt all dangerous oil and gas drilling practices, including fracking. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

DSA Advances Sanders Campaign

Members come from around U.S., support Sanders 
Nov. 14,2015.
 By Chris Potter / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
An Orthodox Christian church retreat in Westmoreland County might seem an unlikely place for the nation’s largest socialist organization to hold a national convention. But then the American political map is being redrawn in countless ways – not least by the organization’s favorite presidential candidate, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“We’ve been pushing Bernie before he was running,” said David Duhalde, deputy director of the Democratic Socialists of America. “We knew he would give a large space for a conversation about democratic socialism.”
Organizers say 120 DSA members traveled from as far away as California to the Antiochian Village retreat in Bolivar. They’ll be there through Sunday, talking about a revolution that seems a bit more plausible than it did a year ago.
“This has already been such a mobilizing moment,” said Dustin Guastella, a Philadelphia DSA member who co-chairs the group’s We Need Bernie Committee.
Though Mr. Sanders refers to himself as a democratic socialist, he is not a DSA member. But the organization claims 6,500 Americans who are, and members say the movement has attracted new interest since Mr. Sanders decided to run as a Democrat this past spring.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Governor Brown's 10 Worst Environmental Policies

The governor failed to show up for an environmental award after outrage from environmentalists, indigenous leaders and labor activists who exposed Brown's abysmal environmental record.

By Dan Bacher / AlterNet

On October 17, Governor Brown failed to show up to receive a “Right Stuff” environmental award from the BlueGreen Alliance at a gala dinner at Le Parc Hotel in San Francisco as over 60 people protested outside.

Every year, the Apollo Alliance Project of the BlueGreen Alliance Foundationrecognizes business, community, environmental and labor leaders for their “outstanding work in advocating for family-sustaining jobs, clean energy, stronger infrastructure, and a better future for all of us.” This year, they selected Governor Jerry Brown as a winner in the government category.

Outraged over the selection of Brown for the award after he has advanced so many bad environmental policies such as promoting fracking, a coalition of environmentalists, indigenous leaders and labor activists organized the protest to expose the real, abysmal environmental record of Governor Brown.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Students Take Over Campuses Demanding Free College

Students Take Over US Campuses Demanding Free College

Student activists held actions on some 120 campuses, demanding free tuition, cancellation of student debts and a $15 minimum wage for campus workers. 
Zach Cartwright 
November 12, 2015
To see the videos, Go to the source.  U.S. Uncut. 
An unprecedented wave of action is sweeping across 120 college campuses today. Participants in the nationwide “Million Student March” (#MillionStudentMarch) are uniting around three demands: tuition-free public colleges and universities, cancellation of $1.3 trillion in student debt, and a $15 an hour minimum wage for all campus workers. Here are some live updates from campuses across America participating in the historic first-ever national day of action for free college.
The Million Student March at the University of California’s Santa Barbara campus swelled to several hundred this afternoon. This video shows the size of the crowd as they gathered in front of Campbell Hall:
Hundreds of students took over the Temple University campus in Philadelphia this afternoon. They were later joined by students from Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania’s Philadelphia campus for a march on city hall:
At the University of Texas’ main campus in Austin, several hundred students walked out:

Friday, November 13, 2015

Trump Proposes an Inhumane Immigration Plan - Wash...

antiracismdsa: Trump Proposes an Inhumane Immigration Plan - Wash...: Ed. note. To its credit, the Washington Post recognized the Trump deportation plan for what it is.  Washington Post By Editorial B...

Big Oil Lobbying Money Dominates Legislature

Big oil lobbying money turns California the WRONG kind of green

By Dan Bacher
Western States Petroleum Association Spent Record $6.75 Million In 3 Months!
California has over the years acquired a largely undeserved reputation for being the nation’s “green” leader when in fact the state’s big_oil_influenceso-called “visionary” environmental policies have resulted in some of the most polluted rivers and air, most imperiled fish populations, most destructive public work projects and most racist and environmentally unjust treatment of Indigenous Peoples and people of color in the nation.
The biggest-ever gusher of Big Oil lobbying money into the state in one quarter, July 1 to September 30, 2015, resulted in the gutting or the defeat of every bill that the oil industry opposed, exposing once and for all the “Big Lie” that California, the country’s third largest oil producing state, is the nation’s “green” leader.
The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the largest and most powerful corporate lobbying group in Sacramento, set a new record for spending in one quarter when it spent an amazing $6,750,666.60 lobbying state officials in the third quarter of 2015 to lobby against Senate Bill 350, Senate Bill 32 and other environmental bills it opposed.

SEIU: Do the Right Thing

SEIU is about to endorse the candidate who doesn't support $15 an hour

According to recent news accounts, the SEIU International Executive Board (IEB) is about to endorse Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, Nov. 17.

SEIU's biggest national campaign is the Fight for $15 and a union. Across the country, we are organizing workers to strike and demand a $15 minimum wage. Leaders and organizers will lose credibility if SEIU endorses a candidate in the Democratic Primaries who does not support a $15 minimum wage.

Members need to tell SEIU President Mary Kay Henry that an endorsement for Clinton at this time will divide and weaken our union. Call SEIU at 202-730-7000 and ask for Mary Kay Henry's office or email her at  SEIU also has a "concerns and complaints" line for members at 202-730-7684. Make your voice heard now!

Hillary Clinton is on public record as opposing a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour. She supports $12 an hour by 2020.  While she will support a higher minimum wage in certain markets and for certain sectors, she is not supporting the principle demand of SEIU's most important campaign as a national policy position.  It is hard to ask workers to strike for $15 an hour in one breath when we are opposing the candidate (Sen. Sanders) who proposed national legislation for $15 an hour, in order to support a candidate who rejects our demand.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"If we do not vote, the haters will win," Dolores Huerta

antiracismdsa: "If we do not vote, the haters will win," Dolores...: Dolores Huerta  Dolores Huerta, who co-founded United Farmworkers with Cesar Chavez and who is an Honorary Chair of Democratic Sociali...

Dan Bacher Recognized by Project Censored

Dan's pieces often appear here on the Sacramento Progressive Alliance. 

EGN Contributor Dan Bacher's Reporting on Illegal Dumping of Fracking Wastewater is Project Censored's #2 Story of 2015
Written By EGN on Sunday, October 18, 2015 | 10:00  
If being censored by corporate mainstream media were a badge of honor, Elk Grove News contributor and Fish Sniffer managing editor Dan Bacher would be highly decorated.
According to, Bacher's 2014 story on the oil industry's illegal dumping of waste water into Central California's aquifers was the second most significant story not covered by mainstream media outlets. In their summary Project Censored noted "In May 2015, the Los Angeles Times ran a front-page feature on Central Valley crops irrigated with treated oil field water; however, the Los Angeles Times report made no mention of the Center for Biological Diversity’s findings regarding fracking wastewater contamination."
In addition, months earlier Bacher also reported on the cozy relationship between big oil and California state legislatures who received over $63 million to persuade them to continue fracking in the state. Connecting the dots, Bacher and Danny Shaw of documented that California state "senators who voted against the moratorium [SB 1132] received fourteen times more money in campaign contributions from the oil industry than those who voted for it.