Kimberly Ellis, Progressive Candidate for CADem Chair, in Eureka TONIGHT!

Last minute notice, but Kimberly Ellis will be at the (newish) Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee HQ at 527 4th Street in Eureka from 5:30 to 7:00 PM.

Ellis lost a razor-thin vote in 2017 for CADem Chair in 2017 to Eric Bauman who later retired. There will be another election by party delegates at this year’s convention which is scheduled for the weekend beginning Friday May 31st.

Come out (TONIGHT) and show your support, to ask questions or simply to say “hi”.

For more information on Kimberly Ellis, there is a Wikipedia page for Kimberly, or here is a summary published in the Bay Area Reporter from earlier this month which was emailed by the Humboldt County Progressive Democrats as a reminder about tonight’s event.

(No this is not an April Fools joke. It’s for real.)

Are Furloughed Government Workers Eligible to CalFresh?

A: It depends on your circumstances and if you think might be and you need food assistance you should apply.

As I am going to talk about CalFresh eligibility and I am an eligibility worker I need to stress that these are my opinions based on work experience and information available online. Any individual worker’s knowledge and information is limited and not necessarily correct or current so please take this into consideration while reading this piece.

The main determinate for eligibility to CalFresh for citizens is a concept known as “reasonably anticipated income“. In the case of furloughed workers, I’d argue that until the shutdown is over, furloughed workers no longer have a reasonably anticipated income.

Assuming this is true, if you apply today you could zero out the government worker’s income and only the other household income of other adults over 18 years old that you purchase and prepare food with would count in the CalFresh budget.

Once granted, you would remain eligible until your household goes over what is known as the Income Reporting Threshold which varies based on the number of people in your household as shown in the second column below. (source) These numbers are from 2016/17 and are slightly low but remain in the ballpark. For example today’s IRT for a HH of 1 is $1,316.

This means that you don’t have a reporting requirement until that day when your income within a calendar month goes above your household’s IRT. You then have 10 days to report the change to the County. This rather generous reporting rule means you might be eligible to a month or two of additional CalFresh benefits.

(BTW, the first column in the table above are monthly CalFresh benefits by household size if there is no income. Again these are from 2016 so they may not be exact to the dollar.)

Now, of course there is a huge problem with all of this. CalFresh benefits themselves may be running out as the shutdown continues. When this is going to happen is uncertain and I’d guess that once eligible to benefits, even if they could not be paid timely, you’d eventually receive these benefits. That additional influx of cash, even if not immediate, might be a welcome relief when Washington* gets its act together.

If you feel you may be eligible to CalFresh and you live in Humboldt County, the number to call is 1-877-410-8809 (weekdays 7:30 am to 5:30 pm) or you can apply online at You no longer have to come into the office during the application process but you will have to complete an interview over the phone (these generally require appointments) and the interviews usually will last less than an hour.

Notes: CalFresh benefits will begin as of the day you applied no matter when the granting process is completed. If the shutdown ends before CalFresh is granted, it is possible that your income would again be considered reasonably anticipated so make sure to be proactive in providing any verifications that might be required – these are generally (but not always) limited to income verification for CalFresh.

*Let’s be honest, it’s not Washington, it’s once Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and/or President Trump get their act together and stop playing the worst kind of politics based on decades of trumped-up fear immigration and immigrants from, revealingly, only one of our borders.

Government Shutdown and CalFresh

On Monday the California Department of Social Services announced that CalFresh recipients (there are 20, 000 plus recipients in Humboldt) will be receiving the monthly allotment for February today – January 16th, 2018.

In Humboldt, CalFresh households would generally benefits each month anywhere from the first to tenth of the month based on the last digit of their case number, so the early dispersal will mean that they will have to budget what will be on the card today until early March.

Another important point in the release below is this will not apply to those households with their renewal in January (a crude estimate would be 1 of every 12 households as renewals are annual) as they are not eligible to further benefits into February until the January renewal is complete.

I hope and challenge local media can pick up this story and fill in the many questions. Such as what happens in March and what if a household does have a renewal in January? If any benefits are missed in March or later, will the household receive those benefits when the government opens? Better yet, ask recipients what questions they might have and get those answered.

Again, CalFresh benefits are distributed to over 20,000 Humboldt residents or (dividing by approximately 136,000 people) about 15% of the population, so why isn’t there more coverage? I challenge someone to find another local news story that directly impacts 20,000 Humboldt residents with as little coverage.

Let’s give the benefit of the doubt and assume its not neglect, maybe the owners/editors feel that this does not affect their readers because they tend not to have income low enough to be eligible to food stamps. But even then, how did this state of affairs come to pass? Why would someone with no or little income have less interest in the local physical or digital press?

We can do better to remember we are all members of this community, regardless of income or wealth.

The opinions above are mine own and not those of my employer, the Department of Health and Human Services of Humboldt County where I am employed as an eligibility worker. All of the information in this post is available online.


See you in Crescent City for the ADEM vote. Here a few links from local coverage and local activism that may be useful if you are heading to Crescent City. If not, they may be interesting to keep in mind as we work over the next 2 years to keep our local and state Democrats committed to democracy.

Allen McCloskey on KHSU. (Jan 02, 2019)

Kym Kemp published a call to action from Helene Rouvier. (Dec 30, 2018)

A petition that may have helped to pressure state and local leaders to add a second site by Michele Walford.

The page for Humboldt’s Assembly District (AD-02) in a comprehensive listing of progressive slates across California. This includes more on the 14 candidates endorsed by the local Progressive Democratic Club.

Erik Kirk’s Sohum Parlance.

And finally an image of a how-to e-mail from Helene Rouvier, Chair of the Humboldt Progressive Democrats.

See you there!


There is an important vote this Saturday, January 12, 2019, that all evidence indicates the powers that be in the Democratic Party would have liked us Democrats in Humboldt to have missed. It’s a vote for delegates to the Democratic State Central Committee.

This video from 2017 helps explain of the Democratic State Central Committee. I’ve outlined a few of the main points below…

This video is from 2017, but it remains current except for the dates. In 2019 we vote January 12!

Democratic State Central Committee (DSCC)

  • This committee defines who we are as California Democrats.
  • The CSCC meets once a year where it endorses Democratic candidates, sets the state democratic platform, etc.
  • It is made up of almost 2,900 delegates to the DSCC.
  • 1/3 are elected Party officials and their nominees
  •   1/3 are local elected party officials
  •   1/3 are from California Assembly districts and these are the ones we will be voting for this Saturday.
  • Each Assembly district gets to vote for 14 of these delegates – 7 men and 7 women.
  • In Eureka and Humboldt, we live in California’s 2nd Assembly district. It is composed of just over 463,000 people and is 1 of 80 Assembly districts in California split evenly based on population. (80 districts x 463,000 people/district = 37,040,000 people and Google via the US Census estimates that as of 2017 39,540,000 people live in California)

There has been very little attention either as “get out the vote” by local Democrats or local media but there has some, thanks largely to local progressive activists and people like Patty Harvey from Willow Creek who had an add in a Letter to the Editor in the Times-Standard today.

Excerpt from the 01/09/2019 Times Standard – written by Patty Harvey of Willow Creek.

Also, this tweet from @Tami707 includes not only the progressive labor slate it also shows the map of the two final sites. Without significant push back that forced a second site in to be organized in Crescent City, the powers that be were going to hold only one voting site in Santa Rosa.

So bottom line is this. If you are a Democrat, join us in voting this Saturday. If you don’t have a vehicle, or would prefer to riding with others there are car-pooling efforts to ease the trip to Crescent City. If you need a ride or have extra seats you can contact Michele Walford at, visit the Progressive Democrat Facebook page, or call me at (707) 442-0714

The doors open at 10 AM at the Del Norte County Fairgrounds at 421 HWY 101 N Crescent City, CA.

Joy Reid to the State of Jefferson: Get Over Yourself

Thank you for this Ms Reid! (Via Twitter, duh)

Joy Reid.PNG

Joy Reid 2.PNG


I think what Ms. Reid, a MSNBC host, misses is this; most people in Northern California, including Humboldt are struggling, especially working people who don’t own their own businesses and are dependent on their wages to make a living. In this reality, their private sector bosses, who’d like to be honored as Job Creators (or sometimes land owners – See Supervisor Bohn and Fennel’s version of the General Plan Update Guiding Principles) are a working person’s lifeline to a wage – living or not.

Borders are always so important to Conservative politics.  Circa 1941?  Image from this link.  More about what these demonstrations here

So will this thread help dissuade Jeffersoners or help them to understand that the politics of their bosses may be exactly what is helping to create their problems in the first place? Only if they could take a step back and see that people like Joy Reid or a Humboldt liberal who grows arugula are fighting against tendencies of the people they are told to honor to focus almost entirely on their own profits rather than externalities such as the worker’s lives, maybe then these workers would be able to hear or understand the contradictions in the stories they are being told.

But that won’t happen, and the reasons why are exactly those stories. The bad guy or gal in that story are the urban liberal elites and their benefactors who vote for them because of the governmental hand outs they are given. The good guy is the boss (preferred nomenclature is Job Creator) they know they have to honor by being a hard and dependable worker.

If we understand this relationship between employer and employee in rural America, including how dependent and desperate the employee can be, so much more makes sense about Republican politics. I think Ms. Reid’s argument misses this point and it will ultimately serve to heighten the divide rather than help fix it by grouping rural employers and employees into one group without making this distinction. Still it had to be said and I’m glad she too the time to react to the NYT article.

(Note:  These opinions are informed by my experience working for a couple of private sector employers in Humboldt and by my understanding of what made the white Confederate soldier who wasn’t wealthy enough to own slaves, fight so fiercely for the Confederate cause.)

example of the Republican use of the dependency on employment:

Many Republican ads and much of their politics against the ACA centered on the loss of one’s doctor through their employer’s insurance. What they didn’t talk about was those workers who may be unemployed or wish to have the freedom to move from one employer to another, which became possible under a market-place plan from Covered CA.
Here is business owner Judy Hodgson’s experience with the ACA as she had to wean business off of the employer-based insurance which was a perk to her employees as she had once paid 100% of the premiums for her workers.

From her piece in this week’s Journal:

For many of our 26 years in business, we paid 100 percent of the premiums for our employees for a higher deductible, medium-grade silver plan. The ACA promised direct subsidies to small businesses (fewer than 25 employees) for four years in the form of tax credits — basically taxes we didn’t have to pay. The ACA delivered. Each year we received up to $8,000 to help pay premiums for the following year.

I remember being concerned about what would happen in four years when those subsidies went away. Originally there was talk about a direct “government option” if we couldn’t afford premiums but that never materialized.

In 2015, the year the subsidies went away, was also the year that our premium estimate went up a whopping 42 percent, which I reported to Congressman Jared Huffman’s office. It wasn’t a straight, across-the-board increase; some of it was due to employees getting older. It was an increase we could not afford and neither could our employees because the each of them paid for their families. One employee’s spouse was looking at an additional $500 a month because he was 62.


the nyt article in question:

From this article, this infographic:


This July 4th: Were We the Baddies?


Would I have been a loyalist in 1776?  Maybe? But you have to admit, Canada has a really good point here.  Maybe our revolution was a dumb idea.  Could we have become the United States without violence?

In the recent book Scars of Independence, historian Holger Hoock dismisses modern depictions of the American Revolution as rooms full of men in powdered wigs discussing liberty. It was actually a “profoundly violent civil war,” he writes. One largely forgotten aspect of the war was how much the Patriot cause was driven by terroristic mobs prepared to torture judges, customs officials, newspaper editors or anyone else seen to be supporting British rule. Pro-government officials had their homes burned, their horses poisoned and many were snatched out of their beds in the middle of the night, stripped naked and subjected to mock drownings or tarring and feathering. Accounts of these outrages help explain why the conflict escalated so quickly. When hotheaded Brits backed George III’s call to swiftly put down colonial rebels, it wasn’t because they were incensed at a lack of tea tax revenue — it was because they feared that their American lands had fallen to mob rule.

A 1774 illustration showing Patriots torturing John Malcolm, a government tax official. Malcolm has been stripped naked, had boiling tar poured on his skin and is now being forced to drink excessive amounts of hot tea. United States Library of Congress

Lookit, of course we weren’t the baddies, for one thing, it turns out many of those Brits were homophobic jerks.  But our national predisposition for violence or bullying is a problem.  From a revelatory piece by one of my favorite authors Rick Perlstein:

“My first book, covering the years 1958 through 1964, was entitled Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus. The “consensus” in my subtitle referred both to historians’ common belief that in the period between World War II and “the sixties” America was a remarkably placid place and to the deluded national self-perception advanced at the time by people like Lippmann, heedlessly projecting the present into the past. In this view of things, America had always been a remarkably placid place. When violence began breaking out on the 1964 campaign trail, the Philadelphia Inquirer editorialized that “presidential elections have been waged without untoward incident until this year”—what??—and the historian Richard Hofstadter preposterously proposed that “our sagacity and our passion for the peaceful enjoyment of our national life” were the essence of American politics. My subtitle, in other words, is tinged ironically—because the supposed “consensus” was but an epiphenomenon, a brief idyll, an illusion, as well as an ideological construct. It papered over the reality of a society that has never been united and at peace with itself.

So what about that?  What if we started taking a different approach to the 4th?  What if we celebrated the violence of explosions (fireworks), say, once every 4 or 10 years and spent the other 3 or 9 years celebrating all that it takes to create a society that can produce those fireworks.  What about celebrating the red, white and blue fireworks in our gardens and parks during the majority of our Fourths hoping our children can catch on to the beauty and preciousness of a time lapse explosion going on around us every day?

Just a thought.  It would save money and help make that Xth year celebration that much more special and spectacular.  But more importantly, I think it would help reinforce the idea that the explosions of war that the fireworks represent are sometimes necessary, but they should not be we depend on to build a sustainable future.


Continue reading “This July 4th: Were We the Baddies?”

Racism NYC Style = Racism Humboldt Style.



One way to define racism is if we are silent in the face of clearly unequal racial justice when we otherwise pretend we are a nation of laws.

Here is another pathetic example from readers of the Lost Coast Outpost (which btw, really needs to somehow clean up it’s broken comment policy):LoCO 170703.PNG

It’s not just the initial mind-numbing statements, it’s the support from others and silence of sanity that makes these comments so insidious.  Here is another example:

LoCO 170703 b.PNG

But these threads don’t stand alone. Obviously they exist in our society at large and even with all I knew about President Donald Trump, I was shocked to find out last night about the $85,000 full page ads he bought in 1989 to condemn and call for the execution of the Central Park 5. Not only that, but as late as a few weeks before the election, as New York City was found culpable in the miscarriage of justice in the light of forensic evidence, he maintained his established views which all publically-available information contradicts.


How different is Truthaboveall from President Trump? They have their minds made up and there is little before or after evidence is provided that will change their minds.

That is racism and it’s unacceptable if we are to aspire to be a nation of laws which include due process and equal protection and we need to call it out as such.

if you haven’t seen it or are unfamiliar with the Central Park 5:


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The Central Park Five


And from 2014, yes 2014:

Donald Trump and the Central Park Five  (Amy Davidson | New York Times | June 23, 2014)

It’s simple, in some ways, to see the Central Park jogger case as an artifact of a feverish moment in late-eighties New York—of a piece with its joyous and awful kinetics, the crack epidemic, the painted-over subways, the fear of AIDS, the absurdity of Ivana’s ski-slope confrontation with Marla. But some fevers never seem to subside. The tendency to write off teen-age boys because of distrust of their neighborhoods or the color of their skin, to assume that jail is the place for them, has not gone away. Neither, somehow, has Donald Trump.


Russian Interference Matters Bigly, but Republicans ARE in Charge.

I agree in part with the notion that Van Jones seems to be giving voice to – progressives cannot let impeachment in and of itself be a policy goal of the left.


However, the Russian investigation should be important to the left and “real people” because we need to be very clear about how bad of an actor Russia is on the international scene and we cannot accept any known interference from foreign powers on our national elections, no matter how that foreign power sells it’s interests.  That is another reason why this investigation is so important, yes we have to get the bottom to what President Trump and his campaign did using connections to Russia AND we have to take measures to protect future elections from interference.

This can get cloudy for progressives, in part because of a successful propaganda campaign by Russians that have offered a mouth-piece via Russia Today to outstanding progressives such as one of my heroes – Thom Hartmann, and have offered support to third party progressives such as Jill Stein.

Here is a very short list we on the left (and “real people” who I contend DO have a capacity to want the US to have a positive influence on international affairs) cannot or should not forget about Russia:

 *It is a brutal oligarchy.

 *Slain journalists and opposition.

 *Annexation of Crimea and Eastern Ukraine.

 *Support of Assad when he was vulnerable to regime change in the later stages of the Arab spring.

 *Support of Serbian nationalism in the mid 1990’s.

My views on Russia are of course informed by my sympathy for Muslims and other vulnerable people within Russia and within the countries they seek to either absorb or influence.  And I think these sympathies, or their political polar opposites are exactly why many on the right-wing fringe can see Russia more of an ally and less of a hostile foreign power.

Having said that, this is where I agree with Van Jones.  Republicans are in control and they will determine whether or not those responsible for crimes, if any, are held to account.  We need to be there to support those conservatives of conscience and principle who do take governing and equal applications of law seriously, but until 2018 at the earliest, we remain at the mercy of the Republican concept of governing.


I just wanted to share this tweet as an example of how thoroughly the right wing tabloid press has wrapped reality with a 30 year negative campaign against the Clintons.  81 year old Peter Smith who was a Republican operative in search of damning Clinton e-mails on the “dark web” has become a focus of the collusion investigation.

Sadly, you don’t really have to imagine, the seeds of conspiracy are already being sown.  From Glenn Beck’s digital tabloid – The Blaze:

Glenn Beck


more on Crimean Tartars under Russian rule:

Russia Is Trying to Wipe Out Crimea’s Tatars



Russia has not taken kindly to this dissent. Russian authorities have shut down Crimean Tatar media. Russian forces have raided homes and mosques, and harassed and imprisoned Crimean Tatar activists, some of whom have disappeared or been killed. Russia has tried to block the Crimean Tatars from publicly commemorating the deportation and has even re-exiled Mustafa Dzhemilev, the Crimean Tatars’ political leader.

According to Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry, about 20,000 Crimean Tatars have fled the peninsula since the annexation. This is devastating for a people who spent 45 years banished from their homeland. Many thought they were done with Russia once and for all when the Soviet Union disintegrated and Crimea belonged to Ukraine. Few predicted that their nightmare would begin anew in 2014.

If the Crimean Tatars are to survive, Western governments must do more to help.



Morals and Squaring the Circle of Politics and Power

I’ve been thinking about morality quite a bit based on my fascination with all things conservative.

Morality is key to the conservative movement. They claim ownership of it while painting the left as anything from morally suspect to dangerously insane (liberalism is a mental disorder for example).

And we on the left have largely ceded this argument while trying to win just enough elections to stay in power.

But that, imho, was the wrong tact. We too are moral people. We are the movement of the bleeding heart after all.

It is becoming increasing important to reassert the morality of the left as the wealth of the wealthiest country in the world increasingly becomes focused into the hands of a powerful few. Remember, our government by design has very few means of actually re-distributing wealth (as opposed to income) from the wealthy to the masses and most of us would agree this is generally a good thing.

But there is a problem with this construction in an economic system that allows for two types of relatively unregulated income – income from labor and income from capital. If an individual has access to both – income from extant wealth as well as income from her labor – then there exists a fundamental problem, which if not addressed will only exacerbate the situation we have today furthering the distance between the haves [   Capital?-Yes! 🙂 ] and have-nots [  Capital?-No.  😦  ].

Is there a more fundamental expression of the inability of our current political system to address this problem than the actions of a Republican hegemony in our 3 branches of federal government?

As conservatives would frame it the plan, which will result in tens of millions of individuals losing subsidized health insurance and thus access to preventative medical care, is moral because it allows for access via individual choice with lower premiums.  The number of uninsured which will result from the Republican health plan in their view will remain the responsibility of those people who did not purchase the affordable (if not entirely comprehensive) health insurance. To add insult to injury, the Republicans will not even take responsibility for “cutting” Medicaid.  They wish to keep the moral high ground by arguing that they are not making cuts to Medicaid, only reducing future growth.

All of this is baloney. The bottom line is the one we’ve been hearing in the past 8 years. This isn’t about repairing or replacing Obamacare, it is about repealing Obamacare. It is about destroying any attempt at providing a collective answer to what is a problem of our commons – health care.

Our broken economic system which is designed to allow for winners and losers (based, on individual choice AND on luck, and one’s ethics, etc.) is facing a defining test and we cannot blame this solely on President Trump or on Republicans.

This is on us as a people and as individuals. We need to do what we can to take back the story about who we are. That story has to focus much more on the good and less on the evil. It has to focus much more on what is right and less on what is wrong. We have to be more proactive and less reactive.

In short we have to take back the cause of a collective morality instead of one that is focused almost entirely on an individualistic morality. The fundamental problem with focusing all our attention on our own righteousness is we lose track of those problems that can only be fixed by collective actions.

And that is what government is about. It’s not about solely protecting individual rights from governmental action, it’s also about taking affirmative actions based on decisions of elected representatives and making sure that institutions within it’s purview do not take collective action that harm the livelihood or interests of citizens.

Right now, those with money have not only the power of their wealth, but via the modern Republican Party they also have the power of the institution which should protect people from an out-of-control economic system. This is as much a moral issue as a political issue and it has never been as clearly defined as our current health care debate.

FF:  (forgiveness factor) = high.  Again, quick opinion before work.

more social media on the political dichotomy of morals:

I Don’t Know How To Explain To You That You Should Care About Other People (Kayla Chadwick | Huffington Post | June 26, 2017)

Conservative Reaction (via Cato-employed conservative legal scholar). (Think “liberal morality is a mental disorder”)

More on American morality and the culture war in real time via a tweet-storm from historian Jonathan Wilson.