Republican(s Don’t)Care | CA-21

I don’t believe the American Health Care Act (AHCA =House verision of the Affordable Care Act repeal) or the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA =Senate version) has much to do with Donald Trump at all. He now understands health care for all is complicated in our economy but it is something government has (at the very least) an obligation to try to meet.

No, whatever passes the three branches of government under Republican control will be a Republican act. And if you listen to them, the reasoning for this is it will give our citizens more choice and reduce premium costs.

But here is the thing, that is demonstrably not true. It’s wishful hoping. Here is an infographic from that illustrates those states that expanded and their increase in roles of the insured due to Medicaid and those states that didn’t and the numbers of potentially eligible that are likely to remain uninsured.


And although it is not incredibly clear in that infographic as to whom is most affected by the lack of expansion, there is this (From The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation) that might help drive the message home.

Lookit, if you are one of seven people who read this blog, I think you know my feelings about how important race is to the themes and policies of our national politics. This graph may be one of the most illustrative of (what I feel is) that reality.

So, no, it isn’t about choice, it is about reducing the size and scope of the federal government. I understand no Republican can say that at this point in time as you try to pass the BHCA or AHCA, so let me say it for you.

Because as all of us paying attention know that real choice would have been to vote in the public option with the ACA. And we know what the results of that choice would have been, which is why Republicans (and a couple of Democrats) couldn’t let it pass.

In other news, there is this…

From a tweet by Mike Levin, an environmental lawyer who has stepped up to run against Darrell Issa of CA-49, here is the current margin in those Congressional Districts where the Republican member is vulnerable.



Top among these is CA-21 where David Valadao last won election in 2016. Remember the conservative PAC asked us to let us know what we think about his vote to decimate the ACA? I agree with them, Californians should.

Yes, Representative Valadao won by 13 points in 2016, but Hillary Clinton carried the District (centered on Kings County in the Central Valley) by 15 points and Democrats in the district out-register Republicans 46% to 29%.

I honestly wish that Humboldt or Californian Republicans would be on board with this. The evidence is clear, we can insure more people with the ACA AND it set up to work with moving people into gainful employment. But Republicans are not stepping up and standing up for what could be argued is a conservative approach to universal health care, therefore, I think we as a people have to stand up against them. It can start with CA-21 and finding a candidate who can thank David Valadao for his work against the ACA with an extended vacation.

More on the CA House delegation’s vote on the AHCA here.  It’s pretty simple really – all Dems were forit all Reps aginit.


Should Democrats Apologize for Slavery?

Why the heck not?

Seriously.  Could a Democrat please tell me why now is not the perfect time to do this?  Whether it is Representative Keith Ellison or Secretary Thomas E. Perez who wins the nomination to lead the D.N.C. (I hope it’s Rep. Ellison), Democrats may want to take up CNN commentator and right-wing troll Jeffrey Lord’s advise, let Democrats apologize for our party’s historic role in fighting to maintain the right of the Confederate states to hang onto slavery and our role in the number of oppressive government policies following the brief shining light of Reconstruction.

Alright, I know one answer might be this.  “Lookit, this is no time for identity politics, we have to focus on fighting for those working class votes we lost to President Trump.”

OK, then.  Why can’t Democrats do both?

In short, Democrats cannot give up the fight for civil rights we signed up for with President Johnson in 1964 and 1965.  Democrats have suffered mind-numbing political consequences over the past 50 years due to this act which those on the right either now conveniently ignore or outright deny ever occurred(1).  Democrats lost the entire Southern voting block and now, with Republican money and attention now focused in the broken industrial heart of America, Democrats lost the majority in the electoral college.

The thing is, despite Jeffrey Lord’s convenient rhetoric that Republicans are color blind, if you are paying attention to history and to policy we should all know, especially journalists, that Southern right-wing politics is all about race and identity politics.

Here is but one example of where Southern politics has taken our country and how this affects all of us. Take a look at these bullet points form the NAACP from their criminal justice fact sheet (highlights mine)


CNN commentator troll Jeffrey Lord was once a political aide to President Reagan and he often chooses to shoot his segments in front of a photo of The Ronald.

President Reagan understood the Southern Strategy.  One of his advisors, Lee Atwater, in a rare moment of candor which we will never get from Mr. Lord, explained it this way in 1981.

“here’s how I would quote that as a statistician or a political scientist, or no as a psychologist which I’m not, is…is how abstract you handle the race thing. In other words, you start out with, and now ya’ll don’t quote me now on this…i don’t want…

You start out in 1954 by saying nigger, nigger, nigger. By 1968, you can’t say nigger. That hurts you, it backfires, so you say stuff like…uh forced-busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you getting so abstract now you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all of these thing you talking about are totally economic things & the byproduct of them is blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it, I’m not saying that. But I’m saying, that if it is getting that abstract and that coded …uh that we…we’re doing away with the racial problem one way or the other…uh you follow me? ’cause obviously sitting around saying uh we want to cut taxes, we want to cut this, and we want- is much more abstract than even the busing thing. uh… and a hell of a lot more abstract than nigger, nigger, you know. So I- any way you look at it, race is coming on the back-burner.”

Take another look at the fact sheet from the NAACP, if these numbers are not already seared in your mind.  The explosion in our prison/jail population happened in 1980, the year Ronald Reagan was elected.  Let’s be clear,  Democrats, even post 1965, are not angels in this, especially when vying for the Southern Democratic vote.

During the 2016 election we were able to take another look at how President Bill Clinton solidified his support among Southern Democrats.  Here is one particularly damning photo from 1992 that Democrats should probably recognize and understand. (You can find context to this photo here.)


In some absurd sense, I agree with Jeffrey Lord.  Democrats need to finally cleave the FDR Democratic wing from that of it’s founder whom President Trump rightly belongs in the office of the populist Republican President.  Of course there is a great deal of overlap historically, but Democrats have been largely on the side of right and light since 1964.  Because of an about-race on civil rights, Democrats have politically ceded the South for decades and possibly generations.  They did it because partially because their hand was forced by Dr. King and the civil rights movement, but also because it was the right thing to do.  As party of the people, there had to come a time when the Democratic Party addressed the paradox of being a Party that would support Jim Crow policies and it’s dedication to “wholesale oppression, control, disenfranchisement and exploitation of black Americans“. (see 1-d below)

President Trump’s fondness for the First Democratic President.

And there is no more appropriate time, as President Obama’s term in office has ended, that Democrats make the break with their racist past clear.  I can not think of any good reason why Democrats should wait any longer to apologize for our Party’s historic support of slavery and the oppressive state-sponsored policies that followed.  Let’s say goodbye to the racist foundations of the Party’s founder, explaining why and talk about leaders like Republican President Abraham Lincoln and Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt who understood that we can become that modern nation that will serve in the interests of all it’s people while remaining that beacon of hope and light for the rest of the world that the Statue of Liberty represents.

Will an apology for slavery offend a few Trump supporters in the Midwest or South?  Maybe.  But I don’t believe Democrats have to chose between fighting for working class jobs, working for equal opportunity and protecting the vulnerable among us.  We can clearly do all of the above.  There is no good reason we can’t. (No, I’m not counting pandering to a Trump voter as a good reason.)

(1) Evidence of denial or obfuscation of the Southern Strategy and the resulting revolution in U.S. politics from  one person’s (my) consumption of media.

(a) Dinesh D’Souza’s “Hilary’s America”.


(b) Local links from our local libertarian Fred Mangles, in this case from Ayn R Key during a discussion of CalExit.

Allegedly the parties have reversed roles on the subject of race, so if California were to lead a new wave of secession by the Democratic Party it would lead to untying the concept of secession from the racism.

(Follow the link to discover that the revolution in politics was based, largely, on the increased use of air conditioning in the South.  Who knew!)

(c) When Googling DemExit (regarding progressives unhappy with Democrats) I found this lovely meme.


(d) Jeffrey Lord over and over and over.

 Note:  We can start with an apology by using the clear words of Janell Ross from the Washington Post (click first “over”)

Let us be clear: When the group of former Confederate soldiers who founded the KKK began their bloody tirade, many if not all of them were, in fact, Democrats. They were members of a party that at that time counted among its central goals the wholesale oppression, control, disenfranchisement and exploitation of black Americans. As such, the Democratic Party at that time and for nearly 100 years more did not include black voters but was the political home of much of the most virulently and violently racist white Americans.

(e) And one more found while reviewing the intertubes for this post.  From a smart guy too, John Fund.

“The American Civil Rights Union, a conservative group that has filed suit in favor of voter-integrity measures, has had enough of such tactics. Its leaders include former attorney general Ed Meese and former Ohio secretary of state Ken Blackwell. ACRU has just published a booklet on the real history of Jim Crow. Available for free at, it sets the record straight on a hidden racial past that many Democrats would rather see swept under the carpet. While Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” is constantly referenced in the media as a tool to attract white voters, less well remembered are Woodrow Wilson’s segregation of the entire federal civil service; FDR’s appointment of a member of the KKK to the Supreme Court; John F. Kennedy’s apathy toward civil-rights legislation; and the rise of Robert Byrd, a former member of the KKK, to the post of Democratic leader in the Senate in the 1980s.


Could a Principled Conservative Please Stand Up FOR P?

Those supporting the current byzantine electoral system in Eureka like it because it keeps 80% of their votes.  They want to make sure their imprimatur is on every one of the five city council members.

Here is a quote from the official argument against P.

Under this measure the voter would only be able to participate in electing ONE councilmember living in their ward. They would not be able to vote in the election of councilmembers in the other four wards.

Wait a minute… voteS?  Plural?

I feel I am channeling my inner modern conservative when supporting the true ward system for Eureka. It was a late 19th and early 20th century progressive movement that supported the nationwide trend of moving to at-large elections.  This stemmed from as a measure to defeat the corruption of party bosses in cities like New York, but it found continued support from progressives that were generally well educated or politically active.

Thus with at-large elections rather than the basic concept of one person – one vote they were able to consolidate their power and agenda easier than with a true ward or district election.

But times have changed and the left of this country has made strident efforts to unshackled itself from the racist policies and ideas that sadly did influence both Democrats and progressives prior to 1965.  Not that bigotry is erased, it simply is no longer institutional in left-leaning politics and that is a great thing.

And that is one of the underlying reasons why liberals and progressives in Humboldt are  almost unanimously united for Measure P and the old guard of conservative Eureka politics is united against it.  Those against it will not look at it in those terms, instead they will be asking the question to those they would like to influence – why give up 80% of YOUR influence.*

But that is the rub, who is the recipient of that 80% Elks Club members are forfeiting?  I believe the recipient would be those voters who might not otherwise vote.  If this is true, it should be understood that this movement for P is then not agenda-driven for liberals or progressives.  In fact to hear Matthew Owen on this subject while he was going door to door, his conservative views were well represented by those he met.

This is why I’m passionate in my support for Measure P.  If a true ward returns to Eureka, candidates will go door to door themselves with the potential of hitting each home in their district.  They will need fewer volunteers speaking for them and thus will undoubtedly be able to motivate some percentage more of voters either to come out and vote for (or against) them.  That is the bottom line for those that support P, democracy returns to the people in the homes, not just those members of the Elks Club.

My plea is for even one conservative to break the mold and speak out (or type) with passion for a true ward system.  You have to be out there, I know it.  I listen to, and respect those who speak from the heart for conservative values.  I get those values and often share them.  Values such as empowering individuals to help themselves.

Well here is your chance to prove your commitment to these values.  We should know that the arguments against P really isn’t an esoteric argument about electoral systems and which is more representative or democratic, NO ON P is about keeping all 5 of their votes.  You know it, and I know it.  It’s a power play pure and simple and those who want it to pass are admitting it – just take a look at their advertising.

But what about your, or our shared, conservative principles?  Anyone willing to speak out?  Anyone? … Bueller?

*Measure P IS a voting rights issue.  It may come down to that one day because of California’s relatively young Voting Rights Act (CVRA).  Here is a video that summarizes the fight for expanded voting rights in America.  I contend Measure P continues that fight as we are now tasked with getting all eligible voters to get out and vote.  Measure P helps us in that fight!

From the video (4:03 minutes in):


South Carolina: This White Northern Liberal Is Listening (UPDATE)

Today is the Democratic portion of South Carolina’s primary season. Nate Silver’s 538 doesn’t give us Bernie supporters any real chance.

But that is as it should be.   Any result will be how it should be.

SC was once a Confederate state with passions so hot that states had the right to protect the institution of slavery that South Carolina’s Ft. Sumter was where fighting began on April 12, 1961.

Ft. Sumter, South Carolina

The Democratic Party was of course the party of the Southern rebellion and loyalty remained for Southern Democrats until Northern Democrats finally won what must have been an uneasy truce within the party.  South Carolina was exclusively a Democratic state until 1948, “the year that changed South Carolina politics forever.”  Here is what happened from a short recent history of the SC Democratic Primary from SC’s Newspaper “The State”.

In 1947, George Elmore of Richland County challenged the state’s all-white Democratic primary for denying blacks the right to vote.  At the time, South Carolina effectively was a one-party state and winning the Democratic primary was tantamount to election.  The judge sided with Elmore, writing in his decision, “It is time for South Carolina to rejoin the Union.”  In an effort to block integration of the primary, the party’s executive committee started requiring all voters to take an oath pledging to “support the social, religious, and educational separation of the races.”  But the judge threw out the oath, putting an end to the all-white primary.


George Elmore

From the site

George A. Elmore born March 31, 1905 died February 25, 1959. At the time this picture was made, Elmore was probably a driver with the Blue Ribbon Taxi Club in Columbia. His would become one of the best known names in the annuls of post-World War 11 Southern legal and political history. He attempted to vote in South Carolina’s all-white Democratic primary in August 1946. Denied the ballot, he agreed to become the “guinea pig” in a suit filed by the NAACP on February 21, 1947 in Federal District Court for the Eastern District of South Carolina against the manager of Columbia’s Ward Nine and the Richland County Democratic Executive Committee, with John L. Rice named as defendant.

Elmore’s case was argued by Thurgood Marshall before Judge J. Waites Waring, who on July 12 ruled that the Democratic Party of South Carolina could no longer exclude qualified Negroes from participating in primary elections. Waring’s decision destroyed the all-white primary in the state.

So, fast forward to today in Humboldt County, CA.  I had been planning on writing a post from an activist’s perspective about South Carolina, but then a Charles Blow column on Berniesplaining changed that.

In his most recent column he also writes this…

There isn’t one black America, but two: The children of the Great Migration and the children of those who stayed behind in the South. (Black immigrants are another story.) Having spent the first half of my life in the South and the second in Great Migration destination cities, I can attest that the sensibilities are as different as night and day.

There is a scene described in the Stanley Nelson’s fascinating documentary “Freedom Summer” about an integrated delegation from Mississippi to be seated at the 1964 Democratic Convention instead of the all-white one.

At one point, Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr. of New York is dispatched to the integrated delegation to persuade them to accept a pathetic compromise to remedy the standoff between the delegations.

Powell reportedly said to Fannie Lou Hamer, a member of the integrated delegation, “You don’t know who I am, do you?” Hamer responded, “Yeah, I know who you are. You are Adam Clayton Powell.” She continued, “But how many bales of cotton have you picked? How many beatings have you taken?”

It was her way of telling her Northern brother not to dictate what those in the South should do or how they should think.

African Americans make up 55% of South Carolina’s Democratic electorate. I look forward to hearing about the results of the primary today and I and tens of millions of others will be a proud supporter of whomever you elect as your candidate.  One way or another we will have a strong candidate on the issues coming out of our Democratic Convention.

UPDATE: (2/28/16 5:37 AM)

And from an Op/Ed in the NYT:

Juanita Moore, 62, said that she wished fellow black voters had done more research into Mr. Sanders’s campaign platform before making up their minds and voting for a familiar name.

For me, South Carolina’s voters closed the door on the possibility of a Sanders Democratic nomination.  I think the campaign was a great idea and it did amazingly well.  I haven’t paid close enough attention to Hillary’s  positions but the fact she came out strongly for universal health care is a good starting point.

My personal hope, and you saw some of this during the last Democratic debate, is that Bernie focuses on concrete proposals that would help shift an economy broken in part by inequality.  The most clear example of this is to begin to ask the question:  Why do we have a cap on the Social Security payroll tax at $118,500?  Hillary, could you please work to remove this?

Also, I think it’s never too early for Northern progressives such as Elizabeth Warren to reach out to Southern Democratic parties.  The 50 state strategy is critical, especially in the states where our African American brothers and sisters have been left behind by the dominant Republican Party.

Continue reading “South Carolina: This White Northern Liberal Is Listening (UPDATE)”