“Democratic Fight in California Is a Warning for the National Party” by Adam Nagourney (nytimes.com)

Eric C. Bauman, the chairman of the California Democratic Party, at the party’s headquarters in Sacramento last week. His opponent in a May election, Kimberly Ellis, has not conceded defeat.CreditMax Whittaker for The New York Times

August 9, 2017 (nytimes.com)

SACRAMENTO — For Democrats across the nation, California has offered a bright if lonely light this year. The party controls every statewide office and commands supermajorities in the Legislature. Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders have become national voices, steering the party as it pushes back against President Trump on issues as varied as the environment and immigration.

But in recent weeks, California Democrats have emerged as something else: a cautionary tale for a national party debating how to rebuild and seize back power. Even at a time of overall success, state Democrats are torn by a bitter fight for the party leadership, revealing the kind of divisions — between insiders and outsiders, liberals and moderates — that unsettled the national party last year and could threaten its success in coming years.

“What we are seeing in California is similar to what we are seeing on the national level,” said Betty T. Yee, the Democratic state controller. “If we don’t do our work to really heal our divide, we are going to miss our chance to motivate Democrats.”

The fight pits Eric C. Bauman, a longtime party leader, against Kimberly Ellis, a Bay Area activist. Mr. Bauman won the election by just over 60 votes out of 3,000 cast at the party convention in May, but Ms. Ellis has refused to concede, claiming voting improprieties, like permitting ineligible people to vote for Mr. Bauman.

The party is expected to issue a final ruling on Ms. Ellis’s allegations by Aug. 20; in an interview, she said she would go to court if the party ruled against her. This has left Mr. Bauman, who encountered a barrage of shouts of “not my chairman” when he delivered his victory speech, struggling to put behind him a contest that has been the subject of recounts even as he seeks to position Democrats for a challenging congressional election in 2018. 

“The truth of the matter is, Kimberly Ellis cannot accept that she lost the election,” Mr. Bauman said. “She’s willing to allow the party to be torn asunder in an effort to prove that she really did win. My attitude about this is, I was elected chair under the rules. I have attempted to be the most open and transparent chair this party has ever seen.”

Ms. Ellis, 44, has from the start presented herself as an outsider: It is her first run for party leadership. She has spent several years as executive director of Emerge California, which recruits and trains women to run for office. Ms. Ellis — who backed Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary race last year but has gained the support of Senator Bernie Sanders — presented her candidacy as a challenge to the way the Democratic Party in California does business, starting with an animating promise: “Giving the Democratic Party Back to the People.” If she had been elected, she would have been the first African-American to lead the state party

By contrast, Mr. Bauman has spent 30 years working for the Democratic Party, including leading the Los Angeles County Democratic Party. He was a delegate for Mrs. Clinton in last year’s presidential election. With his gruff demeanor and a strong-as-ever Bronx accent — no matter that he came here 40 years ago — he has been called “Boss Bauman,” as Mr. Bauman himself noted in an interview.

Ms. Ellis said Mr. Bauman and other Democratic leaders represented an old-school, top-down style of party leadership that had been rejected by the new wave of Democrats brought into the party by Mr. Sanders last year and by Ms. Ellis this year.

“The Democratic Party is in many ways right now where the Republican Party was when the Tea Party took over many years ago,” she said. “We are in a rebuilding moment.”

“There are a lot of things that have gone on here that have really caused folks to feel that leadership doesn’t care about them or their voices,” Ms. Ellis added. “The Democratic Party is not only changing but has changed. There are folks who haven’t gotten that memo. The way that we did things before is not going to work going forward.”

For many Democrats, what is particularly worrying is the extent to which the lingering battle illustrates the bitterness between supporters of Mr. Sanders and those of Mrs. Clinton. The California Democratic Party has seen a surge of active members since Election Day, not only in response to Mr. Trump and his policies, but also because of Mr. Sanders’s success in stirring enthusiasm.

But in some ways, these are the kind of internecine fights — be they between the old guard and new faces, or between liberals and moderates — that are common in Democratic circles, usually mainly of interest to the most inside of insiders. “Remember: We are Democrats. We do this all the time,” said Christine Pelosi, a supporter of Ms. Ellis who is the head of the California Democratic Women’s Caucus and a daughter of Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader.

But the stakes appear higher in this case. For one thing, California Democrats face a critical political challenge in 2018 as they seek to captureas many as seven Republican congressional seats, most of them in Southern California, a central part of the national party’s effort to win back Congress. California is heading into a potentially turbulent governor’s race next year as Mr. Brown — a widely respected, stabilizing force in Democratic politics — steps down after two terms. The party could also be enmeshed in a Senate race if Dianne Feinstein, who is 84, does not seek re-election next year.

The fight in this bluest of states has national repercussions for Democrats facing similar struggles about what the party should stand for — and how aggressive it should be in challenging Republicans — as it prepares for the 2018 congressional elections.

For all that, Mr. Bauman, 58, is hardly your run-of-the-mill party leader. He is openly gay and an Orthodox Jew, a nurse by training who sprinkles his remarks with Hebrew and tears up when talking about his late mother and the time he heard Bill Clinton, running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1992, appealing for gay support at a rally in Hollywood at the height of the AIDS crisis.

But as much as Ms. Ellis is portrayed by her supporters as the future of the Democratic Party, Mr. Bauman is perceived as the face of the establishment Democratic Party they blame for the party’s setbacks in Washington. “He has a style that is sometimes not the most warm,” said Ms. Yee, who supported Ms. Ellis. “That’s a fact. And I think he knows that. He can be abrasive. He can be dismissive.”

Ms. Ellis said Mr. Bauman was a product of the environment created by the state Democratic Party. “And the environment includes bullying and a lot of bad behavior,” she said.

Mr. Bauman did not dispute that as he sat behind glass walls in an office of a sleek two-story building with an outdoor terrace that serves as the state party headquarters here. “A lot of people perceive me as a Tammany Hall kind of guy,” he said. “Because I do have that personality. And it works. And I use it.”

For the most part, the fight in California’s Democratic Party is over tactics, style and personalities. But there are some differences over issues as well.

The leader of the California State Assembly, Anthony Rendon, came under fire after he blocked a bill that would have created a state single-payer health care system. Mr. Rendon called the legislation, which had passed in the Senate, “woefully incomplete,” saying it failed to account for how to finance a hugely expensive idea. His move was attacked by, among others, the powerful state nurses’ union — and by Mr. Bauman, who called it an “unambiguous disappointment.”

Party leaders have urged Ms. Ellis and her supporters to unite the party.

“It’s basically up to those who supported Kimberly: Do they want to help elect Democrats, move the state forward, or do they want to sit at home and suck their thumbs?” said John L. Burton, the departing Democratic chairman in California, who did not endorse a successor. “It was a hard-fought election. She did better than anybody thought she would do. But she lost. I’ve lost an election. It ain’t fun. You’ve got to get up and dust yourself off and start all over again.”

Ms. Ellis rejected that argument as she pledged to continue her fight.

“One of the false narratives that has been promoted is that if we don’t unify that we are going to break the party,” she said.

Steve McMahon, a Democratic consultant who advised Howard Dean, the Vermont governor, when he ran for president in 2004, compared what is happening with Democrats in California to the Tea Party’s emergence in heavily Republican districts in 2010.

Mr. McMahon said these struggles would probably move the party to the left, with one immediate result: Democrats in places like California will come under increasing pressure to support single-payer health care, much the same way opposition to the Iraq war, a central issue for Mr. Dean, became a litmus test issue for Democrats in 2004.

“You tend to see these kinds of things first in areas where there is single-party dominance,” Mr. McMahon said. “You’re going to start seeing this in other parts of the country in Democratic primaries — typically in districts where there is not an effective voice on the right. There will be those left-further left primaries in those districts where the further-left nominee will win.”

Reader response to article (August 11, 2017):

Not included in your article for some reason:

Pharmaceutical consulting (Wikipedia.org):

Bauman has been criticized for his ties to California’s pharmaceutical industry. He has lobbied against Proposition 61 which would have prohibited the state from buying drugs that are more expensive that price the Department of Veterans Affairs pays. This criticism has re-emerged following his election to become Chair of the California Democratic Party.

Nagourney’s response to reader (August 11, 2017): 

Yep. I know. Definitely interesting, cause that’s one of the reason he lost votes. Cut only for space, but I wish I could have figured a way to get it in.

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Where to Invade Next Official Trailer (2016) – Michael Moore Documentary


Where to Invade Next Official Trailer 1 (2016) – Michael Moore Documentary HD

To learn what the USA can gain from other nations, Michael Moore playfully “invades” them to see what they have to offer.

You’re quite the artsy one, aren’t you? Fandango MOVIECLIPS FILM FESTIVALS & INDIE TRAILERS is the destination for…well, all things related to Film Festivals & Indie Films. If you want to keep up with the latest festival news, art house openings, indie movie content, film reviews, and so much more, then you have found the right channel.

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WELLS FARGO’S LYIN’ CHEATIN’ WAYS: BANKING WITH A SOCIOPATHIC INSTITUTION AND HOW TO LET GO (occupy.com)

TUE, 8/8/2017 – BY LAINEY HASHORVA

Are you facing serial cheating, abuse, lies, ongoing stress about money, issues of fidelity, questions about your future and are at a loss as to where to turn? Do you often feel angry, taken advantage of, less than, a voiceless victim? Did you put your trust and your nest egg, your faith and your money on someone or something that took you for all you’re worth, jilted your faith in the institution and robbed you blind? Deep down, do you think you may be going steady with a good looking grifter? I hate to tell you this, but you may be banking with a sociopath.

That’s right. That harmless tall handsome stone wall that promises you the world, smiles at you shamelessly through bulletproof glass and marble floors, black suits and lollipops, is a sociopathic lover out to take all that you hold dear. All that you’ve put your faith, and money, into. This is not fifty shades of gray. It is now clearly black and white. Do you still bank with Wells Fargo? Can we talk?

Maybe you have a thing for bad boys? Fast talking flashy – “Here’s a new credit card, baby,” Scaramucci-style pinky ring? Maybe you have low self esteem issues, looking for a paternal ideal of what it means to be rich, to be safe, to have your nest egg all wrapped up for a bright and comfortable future. Maybe, just maybe there’s still time to save yourself and what’s left of your self worth. I’m gonna give it to you straight: Wells Fargo is the banking equivalent of the Menendez Brothers. I know you know, but what have you done to help yourself out of this kind of relationship?

Some people have a thing for danger, a high tolerance for risk. Some even reap rewards for being a victim. Many hold the notion that size matters while others are innocent and naive to the ways of sophisticated criminals.

As astute as we may think we are, with where we invest our time and money, we have a lot on our plates in life just trying to keep up with all that’s running around our brains, the news, the economy, the climate, the robotic take over of our bright futures, that sparkling dress in the window….the vacation we never get to take.

Most of us grew up thinking we would have a home like our parents, a regular job that hopefully we liked or could tolerate, a car or two, 2.5 children and a dog in the yard. Let’s throw in a tire swing out back, a toothy braces-covered smile and white sheets on the line just for ambiance. Feeling safe yet?

Something happened in the late 1970s and 80s that shifted and the “American Dream” started to rot slowly from the basement paneled mold on up. The institutions we put our faith in as steady and unshakeable began to shift their attention away from safety and reliability and got a wandering eye toward Vegas-style philandering, shimmering lights, spinning wheels, fatter dividends and the big short as opposed to the long slow steady-as-she-goes building of a wholesome relationship.

Let’s look at the cold hard facts of what we have witnessed and been a party to over the last decade in our relationship with Wells Fargo. Yes, you have to claim personal, financial and ethical responsibility as well if you are to heal and move on. If you didn’t have trust issues before, you will now. Now you’re damaged goods, simply by association.

As painful as it is, the first step to healing is to take a cold hard look at the issues that led us down this path – issues we face now that the harm has been done – and figure out what we can do to move on with our lives. Cue the song, “You’re no Good.” Let’s begin our intervention, shall we? Let me explain; just hear me out and try to have an open mind as I pull down the screen and elongate my pointer stick for you. Hit the lights.

Wells Fargo, Wells Fargo crimes, Wells Fargo scandals, foreclosure crisis, illegal foreclosures, mortgage-backed securities

RECENT SUMMARY OF WELLS FARGO

The bad boy ways of this financial institution that you were banking on, and with, include but are not limited to:

Over 800,000 people with force-placed car insurance at inflated rates.

Illegal repossession of active military service members’ cars and homes.

$185 million so far in “settlement” money paid for the fake account scandals that will harm people’s consumer credit for years to come.

$12 million and counting in violations of fair credit reporting.

Violations in the False Claims Act and Securities Act of 1933.

Trust fraud, negligence, illegal kickbacks to mortgage brokers for referrals on title insurance.

Blackballing appraisers that didn’t inflate values.

Millions of phony accounts, forged signatures and credit cards illegally opened in customers’ names.

Forged mortgage documents by hired temps, discrimination against minorities, predatory lending, unpaid overtime to employees.

Firing of employees who reported fraud regarding the fake accounts.

Excessive ATM and overdraft fees.

False denials for loan modifications, negligence and harm to mortgage customers inducing them to default on their mortgages.

Violations in TILA and RESPA (Truth in Lending Act and Real Estate Procedures).

False affidavits, conspiracy, wrongful foreclosures, selling properties that Wells did not have the note or right to sell.

Violations of the Fair Debt Practices Act.

Lying and cheating to Wells investors.

Insider trading on stock, unfair business practices, kicking puppies, and more.

I could go on but I don’t want you to hate yourself. Consider this a wake-up call for your future well being. Do you want someone you care about being treated this way? Do you want your kids to have relationships like this? It’s for your own good and that vision board of a happy ending.

I know it’s heartbreaking. It’s hard to change, to let go and move on, even from something that hurts us. It’s a sad and rude awakening to realize what has occurred behind our backs, in our own backyard, and to see the scars we will wear from this relationship as we move forward.

It’s never easy to see the truth, to face the consequences of our mistakes in judgement, to know that we have been duped by someone we trusted and relied upon. But at the same time, as we grow and evolve, we raise our awareness and hopefully our self esteem. We start to have higher expectations of ourselves and those we invest in. We redefine what we will tolerate. Eventually – and the time is NOW – we will no longer have the capacity or the interest to engage in epic drama, serial shenanigans, dangerous lies, criminal cheating and the list of abusive patterns. It reaches a point where we wake up one day and realize we deserve a whole lot more bang for our buck than we have accepted in the past. Don’t we deserve better? Don’t you want more?

Not only can we take better care of ourselves by breaking up with criminal institutions like Wells Fargo, but we must slap a warning label on their backs for the others that follow. Maybe we need to report Wells, get a temporary restraining order, write that Dear John Stumpf letter once and for all, and say it loud and clear: “I’m sick and tired of this and I’m not going to take it anymore!” Do the right thing. Who loves ya, baby? Move your money and together we’ll go far.

Wells Fargo, Wells Fargo crimes, Wells Fargo scandals, foreclosure crisis, illegal foreclosures, mortgage-backed securities
Wells Fargo, Wells Fargo crimes, Wells Fargo scandals, foreclosure crisis, illegal foreclosures, mortgage-backed securities
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Atticus v. The Architect Trailer

Atticus v. The Architect Trailer from Peppertree Films LLC on Vimeo.


When Don Siegelman was elected Governor of Alabama in 1998, he became the first person in the “Heart of Dixie” to have held all four of that state’s executive offices – a rare accomplishment for a liberal in a blood red Southern state. In election after election, Republicans simply couldn’t beat him at the polls because he drew supporters from across the political spectrum. As a graceful orator with an unblemished record of public service, and a much smaller campaign budget, Siegelman skillfully deflected every smear campaign and dirty trick conservatives threw at him. That’s when a group of frustrated Republicans quietly concocted an unthinkable plan to “get rid of Siegelman,” as a whistleblower later stated. As the plan’s chief ‘Architect,’ Karl Rove secretly orchestrated a strategy to railroad the Democratic Governor into prison based on completely fabricated charges. To make false charges stick in federal court, Rove and his associates cunningly loaded the case with vindictive prosecutors, a politically biased jury, and a corrupt hanging judge hell-bent on payback. The story of how they quietly got away with their evil scheme will make Watergate look like child’s play and leave viewers shocked, bewildered, and MAD AS HELL!

(documentary.org)

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An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power (2017) – Official Trailer


Watch the new trailer for An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, the sequel to An Inconvenient Truth. In theatres July 28, 2017. #BeInconvenient

Climate Changes, Truth Does Not.

A decade after AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH brought climate change into the heart of popular culture, comes the riveting and rousing follow-up that shows just how close we are to a real energy revolution. Vice President Al Gore continues his tireless fight traveling around the world training an army of climate champions and influencing international climate policy. Cameras follow him behind the scenes – in moments both private and public, funny and poignant — as he pursues the inspirational idea that while the stakes have never been higher, the perils of climate change can be overcome with human ingenuity and passion.

Directed by Jon Shenk & Bonni Cohen

Cast: Al Gore

Official Movie Site: http://www.inconvenientsequel.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnInconvenie…
Twitter: https://twitter.com/aitruthfilm
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aninconveni…

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“Jimmy Carter Calls for Single Payer” by John Nichols

He joins a list of prominent Democrats who are moving in the right direction. But will the rest of the party listen?

July 27, 2017 (thenation.com)

Jimmy Carter has always been a good man. But he only became a liberal icon during a post-presidency that saw the Democratic Party move steadily right on a host of fundamental issues on which the party once led. Remember that Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy and California Governor Jerry Brown challenged Carter in the 1980 Democratic primaries because they believed that Carter was too cautious on those issues—including health-care reform.

To be clear, even when he served as a moderate Democratic president, Carter was more progressive on many issues than a good number of today’s Democratic “leaders.” The 39th president argued in 1980 for enactment of “an affordable national health plan that will improve Medicare for the elderly, extend protection against catastrophic medical expenses to all of us, improve health coverage for the poor, and provide special benefits to expectant mothers and children in the first years of life.”

But Kennedy and others wanted Carter to go further and faster. Now Carter is there.

Last Sunday, he spoke about the inevitability of a single-payer health-care system. Carter is not some radical change agent but rather a practical political thinker who sees both the logic and the necessity of a “Medicare for All” response to the health-care challenges that America faces today and that Republicans are determined to make dramatically worse in the future.

Democrats remain divided on the question of whether to go all-in for “Medicare for All”—as Montana Republican Senator Steve Daines attempted to highlight this week by proposing an insincere amendment backing a version of single payer. Daines, a right-wing provocateur, is not a supporter of real reform; he simply wanted to get progressive Democrats and their more moderate colleagues wrangling with one another over health-care reform. His move was foiled by supporters of single payer, led by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who refused to play Daines’s game. “The Democratic caucus will not participate in the Republicans’ sham process. No amendment will get a vote until we see the final legislation and know what bill we are amending,” explained a text from Sanders aide Josh Miller-Lewis. “Once Republicans show us their final bill, Sen. Sanders looks forward to getting a vote on his amendment that makes clear the Senate believes that the United States must join every major country and guarantee health care as a right, not a privilege.”

While they are united in rejecting Republican chicanery, however, Democrats have yet to get on the same page with regard to single payer—a fact frequently noted by RoseAnn DeMoro, the executive director of the 175,000-member National Nurses United union, and others who have grown frustrated with the party’s failure to embrace the “Medicare for All” option.

“I think eventually we’ll have a single-payer system.” —Jimmy Carter
Democrats should listen to Carter, as they should to the great mass of Americans who have made it clear that they want to maintain the access to health care that came with the Affordable Care Act and extend that access with an absolute guarantees of health care as a human right. That old argument for single payer, in combination for the new realities of scorching income inequality and an increasingly unstable gig economy, has made Carter and others recognize that the reform that was once morally necessary is now becoming an economic and social inevitability.

“I think eventually we’ll have a single-payer system,” Carter told a crowd of well-wishers before teaching his usual Sunday school class at Maranatha Baptist Church in his hometown of Plains, Georgia.

Noting his own recent experience with Canada’s national health-care system—the 92-year-old former president was treated at a Winnipeg hospital, after he showed signs of becoming dehydrated while working on a Habitat for Humanity project—Carter spoke in Plains about the logic of a universal single-payer system at a time when a growing number of prominent Democrats are joining Sanders making the “Medicare for All” argument.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, has signaled that Democrats should campaign on the issue, arguing that:

President Obama tried to move us forward with health-care coverage by using a conservative model that came from one of the conservative think tanks that had been advanced by a Republican governor in Massachusetts. Now it’s time for the next step. And the next step is single payer.

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has expressed similar sentiments in recent weeks, saying: “Health care should be a right, it should never be a privilege. We should have Medicare for all in this country.”

That’s smart policy and smart politics.

The June Kaiser Health Tracking poll found that a majority of Americans (53 percent) now favor a single-payer health plan, while just 43 percent oppose such a plan. What’s especially notable is that not just progressive Democrats but independents are turning toward a “Medicare for All” system. “Not surprisingly,” note the Kaiser analysts,

There are partisan divisions in how the public feels about single-payer health care, with a majority of Democrats (64 percent) and just over half independents (55 percent) in favor and a majority of Republicans (67 percent) opposed. However, the recent increase in support for single-payer has largely been driven by an increase among independents. Among this group, on average in 2008-2009, 42 percent said they would favor a single-payer plan, a share that has increased to a majority (55 percent) in the most recent tracking poll.

The Pew Research Center notes that support for the argument that government has a responsibility to provide health-care coverage is especially pronounced among young people under the age of 20—precisely the potential voters that Democrats will need to motivate in 2018 and in 2020.

Jimmy Carter finished his presidency before Americans who are under the age of 30 were born. But he recognizes what they recognize. This is not complicated. It is what other countries have done. It is what the United States has done for older Americans with Medicare. Now, says Carter, the next step can be taken with “the expansion of Medicare to include all ages.”

Republicans have made their opposition to that expansion clear. They seek to constrain access to health care, not just by repealing the Affordable Care Act but also by undermining programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

Democrats need to make their support for expansion clear. Yes, they must fight now to stop the Republican assault on the Affordable Care Act. But just saying “no” to Donald Trump and Paul Ryan is an insufficient response to the challenges that now exist and to the challenges that will take shape in the future. As Congressman John Conyers, the Michigan Democrat who has sponsored H.R. 676, the Expanded And Improved Medicare for All Act, says:

Establishing a non-profit universal single-payer health care system would be the best way to effectively contain health care costs and provide quality care for all Americans. It is time for Members of Congress, health policy scholars, economists, and the medical community to begin a serious discussion of the merits of a universal single-payer health care system.

In other words: It is time to listen to Jimmy Carter’s wise counsel.

John Nichols is The Nation’s national-affairs correspondent. He is the author of Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse: A Field Guide to the Most Dangerous People in America, forthcoming from Nation Books this fall, and co-author, with Robert W. McChesney, of People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy.

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President Jimmy Carter: The United States is an Oligarchy…


Thom Hartmann talks with President Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States (1977 to 1981) / Humanitarian / Awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 / Author of many books, including his latest, A Full Life…Reflections at Ninety, Website: http://books.simonandschuster.com

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DNC “Spokesman” Proposes Medicare For All – Stuns Crowd


Published on Aug 6, 2017

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