WHEREAS, NRG Energy has contracted with Southern California Edison to construct a 262 megawatt natural gas-fired “peaker” (i.e., only needed at peak demand periods) power plant in Oxnard known as the Puente power plant to replace the Mandalay power plant scheduled to go off-line by 2020, and the Puente plant is located in an area highly vulnerable to sea level rise, in fact projected to be underwater by 2060 using a conservative estimate of 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) of global warming, and the Puente plant will produce polluted discharge on to the beach;
WHEREAS, the City of Oxnard has historically borne the burden of industry and accompanying pollution for the region but now opposes the Puente power plant as incompatible with its Local Coastal Plan;
WHEREAS, Southern California Edison has refused to consider other alternatives, notably conservation and procurement of renewable resources as alternatives to the Puente peaker power plant, and NRG Energy is currently attempting to intimidate the city of Oxnard by demanding that the Coastal Commission revoke grant funding to the city;
THEREFORE be it resolved that the Ventura County Democratic Party opposes construction of the Puente plant, and instead urges Southern California Edison to invest in unionized renewable sourced electricity generation;
and THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this resolution be communicated to the California Public Utilities Commission, California Energy Commission, state elected officials representing Oxnard (Asm. Jacqui Irwin, Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson), the City of Oxnard, and the Ventura County Board of Supervisors.
Submitted by RL Miller, 2d District delegate/Resolutions Committee chair
WHEREAS, stability in the Middle East is a high priority for Israel, the United States and the world; while military interventions in the Middle East have been lengthy and costly resulting in civilian and military casualties with only mixed success and unintended consequences including the rise of Isis; and
WHEREAS, nuclear experts and intelligence sources indicate that Iran is only months away from the capability of making a nuclear bomb with approximately 20,000 centrifuges for uranium enrichment; while the Nuclear Agreement with Iran will allow inspectors on the ground and reduce Iran’s stockpile of uranium to about 2%, a 98% reduction from present levels, and lock many of these 20,000 centrifuges so they cannot be used to enrich uranium; and
WHEREAS, it is acknowledged that this Agreement is an important start in redefining the relationship with Iran which has been problematic for many years, that this Agreement does not preclude the United States from taking any other actions deemed necessary with a repressive regime, and that this Agreement will use diplomatic channels to secure peace before placing our troops in harm’s way; then
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the members of the Ventura County Democratic Party endorse the ratification of the Iranian Nuclear Agreement; and
THEREFORE, BE IT FUTHER RESOLVED that the members of the Ventura County Democratic Party support the Honorable Member of Congress from the 26th District, Julia Brownley, and our Honorable Senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, in their decisions to endorse ratification of the Iran Nuclear Agreement.
Authored by Kristin Hoover, Resolutions Chair of the Democratic Club of the Conejo Valley. Edited and supported by Richard Gunther, President of the Democratic Club of the Conejo Valley.
Politics is like booze. What matters is perception.
Mediocre vodka in a fancy bottle, widely advertised, ludicrously overpriced is perceived as “premium vodka.” But the expert tasters at Proof66.com are scathing: “If there was ever an example of all marketing and no quality, this is it. We find the vodka to have a very poor taste.”
Hyped-up marketing overwhelms the perception of our senses. Republican strategists understand this. That’s how they succeeded in deceiving Americans about President Obama’s economic stimulus of 2009.
Lest we forget, the entire world was then heading for a 1930s Depression. Lest we forget, this country lost 8.7 million jobs in the Great Recession (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities). Lest we forget, this mess was caused by Republicans. Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, snuck through laws favoring Wall Street that stuck us with those dangerous financial derivatives. Those supposedly safe investments threatened the entire global economy in 2008. Industrial output plunged worldwide and millions lost everything.
Finance ministers around the world met urgently and agreed on stimulus policies to pull the global economy out of its nosedive. But Republicans opposed President Obama’s stimulus fanatically. They hyped up tiny items to discredit the whole policy. They conflated it with the hated 2008 Troubled Asset Relief Program (the bailout of banks and Wall Street) enacted byPresident Bush Junior, mark you.
Democrats were blindsided. They don’t understand perception. They fought back miserably, making things worse. Right-wing goons equated “stimulus” with “bailout,” “fraud” and “waste.” Obama didn’t seize the headlines. He didn’t marshal prominent economists like Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman into the public eye. He lost that crucial swagger, vital in American politics. The “narrative” and “framing” were driven entirely by Republicans. Their Noise Machine blasted out whoppers, parroted by the media, making Americans believe that the stimulus was a failure.
Obama expected that Republicans would come to America’s aid in her hour of peril. They threw sand in the gears instead. These tactics are chronicled in The New New Deal by Michael Grunwald. Don’t read it. It’s sickening. You’d vomit. There are pages of blatant Republican lies. Even Sen. George Voinovitch, R-Ohio, was revolted: “Instead of doing what was right, partisan politics always came first.” Wrecking America for political spite was more important to Republicans than nursing America back to health. If you think I’m outraged at this treachery, you’re right.
Krugman commented (Sept. 16, 2012): “But because it fell short of its goals, and was roundly ridiculed by Republicans and inadequately defended by Democrats, who should have trumpeted its success, the president’s stimulus plan is now widely considered a stumble.”
But how did Obama’s vodka actually taste? The experts loved it. CNN Money stated (Sept. 8, 2011): “Despite nonstop criticism from Republicans, the Obama administration’s effort to help the economy has created jobs.” Krugman, a Nobel-prize-winner, loved it (Feb. 22, 2014): “It created or saved an average of 1.6 million jobs a year for four years.” In his opinion it prevented a depression. Financial markets loved it.
The conservative Economist magazine concurred (March 8, 2014): “When he became president in 2009, Barack Obama’s job was pure fire-fighting. His huge package of bail-outs and stimulus was justified by the awful symptoms of the slump: a jobless rate approaching 10 percent and a deficit of $1.4 trillion. It worked: The economy was growing again by late 2009; the deficit soon tumbled.”
So Obama produced great booze and got the party going again, but was out-sold by goons flogging lousy vodka that was “all marketing and no quality.”
Warren Buffett called the stimulus “half a Viagra.” Democrats had only 58 votes in the Senate (breaking a filibuster needs 60 votes), however, and the two remaining moderate Republicans wouldn’t allow a bigger stimulus (to get to 60). And no emergency program could possibly have cured America’s problems resulting from 35 years of Reagan’s “voodoo economics.” Polls showed that Americans wanted more government spending like FDR’s New Deal, but no more of that nasty “stimulus.” That’s ... pathetic. If you think I’m outraged at this travesty, you’re right.
The conclusion is depressing. Lies work in America. Integrity has gone. Gridlock is the new norm. Republicans, including Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, and Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, attacked Obama’s stimulus publicly but requested stimulus money privately. These hypocrites calculated that American voters are fools and don’t demand integrity. They calculated correctly. Republicans won back the House in 2010. They demanded insane spending cuts and shut down government to get them. America’s bond rating fell for the first time. The cuts undid many of the gains from the stimulus, so the recovery was slow.
But here’s the good news. The world’s largest bookmaker, Ladbrokes of London, is taking bets that Hillary will win the presidency. As of this writing, her odds are 11/8; Bush’s, 11/2; Rubio’s, 7/1; Trump’s, 8/1. The rest we can forget. Here’s a toast to Hillary!
Ventura County Reporter Ray Freeman Article
In Republican debates it’s firmly settled that America’s “exceptional” due to President Reagan’s exceptional legacy. Well, just how exceptionally have you been doing?
Reaganomics promised us that, by letting the top earners pay lower taxes, the economy would miraculously grow and the extra wealth thereby created would trickle down to everybody else. But it’s the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people. After 35 years of Reaganomics, with all that extra wealth allegedly trickling down, every year, you’d expect some evidence to show it.
But the economic numbers show the exact opposite has happened. We’ll use the numbers for personal wealth from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the prestigious free-market think tank. Wealth is the sum total of assets (homes, bank accounts, stocks, etc.) minus liabilities (loans, debts). Wikipedia has a sortable database at List of OECD countries by wealth per adult, 2013.
Switzerland was first, at $512,562. Second was Australia, at $402,578; third, Norway, at $380,473; fourth, Luxembourg, at $315,240. America was at fifth place, at $301,140. The story, however, doesn’t end there.
Those numbers are the mean (the simple average). The mean is distorted by the Warren Buffets, Donald Trumps, Koch brothers, etc. These billionaires skew the result hugely, yet they’re clearly not typical. America’s by far the most unequal industrial country, as to both income and wealth. (We’re focusing on wealth here.)
Real estate agents understand how a few mansions can affect the average price of homes in their area. So for half a century or so, they’ve been using the median to show typical home values. It’s the middle-of-the-road number: half above, half below (think of a highway: the median is the middle). For median wealth, we find the middle of the population, ranked by wealth, then see what wealth that middle person has. The best indicator of typical middle-class wealth is median wealth per adult.
So what’s the story from the OECD on that score? First was Australia, $219,505; second, Luxembourg, $182,768; third, Belgium, $148,141; fourth, France, $141,850; fifth, Italy, $138,653; sixth, UK, $111,514; seventh, Japan, $110,294; eighth, Iceland, $104,733; ninth, Switzerland, $95,916; 10th, Finland, $95,095; 11th, Norway, $92,859; 12th, Canada, $90,252. But where’s America?
We were 23rd, at $44,911, well behind those “socialist” Europeans. President George Bush Senior described Reaganomics as “voodoo economics.” He was right. Americans have become economic zombies.
The staggering difference between $44,911 (median) and $301,140 (mean) shows the utter failure of Reaganomics. The difference would be far less if that extra wealth really had trickled down to the masses. In reality, the top 1 percent have done spectacularly well, but the rest have been hosed. We now have inequality worse than in the Gilded Age. And 45 million Americans (that’s 14 percent) live in dire poverty. Mostly, they’re in the dirt-poor South and other Republican states.
Americans have been sold the myth that our gung-ho capitalism is better for everyone than the variants found in Canada and Europe. It’s a lie — boldly told and boldly sold — never rebutted.
The dirty secret of American politics is that the middle class and the working class were stabbed in the back by the Republican Party to make the upper class richer. It was cynical class warfare and America’s workers lost, as billionaire Buffet acknowledged. Democrats are unable to get this simple message out to the masses on the idiotic theory that facts don’t matter in politics. (Plainly they do, but the trick is to present them with emotional framing and clear messaging.)
From 1945 to 1975 this country experienced spectacular growth and everyone shared the benefit. Even blue-collar workers were solidly middle class. But during the Reagan Revolution, the right attacked unions, lowered taxes on the top earners, raised payroll taxes on workers, let major corporations pay no taxes and stopped investing in infrastructure.
To make matters worse, both parties approved abysmal free-trade policies and millions of jobs vanished with a “giant sucking sound” (Ross Perot). A few people got exceptionally rich from offshoring jobs. Most got poorer. And Wall Street’s stranglehold on American politics, by bankrolling candidates of both parties, led to rushed financial industry deregulation … which led to the Great Crash of 2008 … which led to foreclosures and bankruptcies … which wiped out billions of dollars of middle-class wealth.
We’re exceptional at the wrong things: delusion, mythology, propaganda and corruption. We’re exceptionally undemocratic because exceptionally rich people have rigged the political system for their own benefit. We have exceptionally mindless elections that cost exceptional amounts of money (even though everyone detests the TV ads, robocalls and mailers the money’s spent on).
Next time you’re fed misty-eyed mythology on Ronnie Reagan’s exceptional presidency and Republicans’ exceptional economic policies, simply say, “Show me the numbers!” Good luck. There’ve been none for 35 years.
Julia Brownley: A vote to defund Planned Parenthood is a vote to defund women's healthVentura County Star
As a woman, a mother and a member of Congress, I have been a tireless advocate for protecting women's health.
Reproductive health is a cornerstone of women's equality and economic opportunity. Every woman should have access to reproductive health services like cancer screenings, tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, preventive care and birth control.
During the Johnson and Nixon administrations, Congress created the Medicaid and Title X programs to ensure that every American had access to family planning and health care. Today, family planning centers funded by Title X dollars serve 4.8 million young and low-income men and women every year. According to the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, 6 in 10 women who use Title X clinics consider them as their primary source of medical care.
Title X clinics provide sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment, HIV tests, breast cancer screenings, colonoscopies, Pap smears and contraception to millions of patients — men and women — who might otherwise go untreated. Every dollar spent on birth control provided at Title X clinics saves the public more than seven dollars by preventing unplanned pregnancies.
Now these critical programs are under attack.
Republicans in Congress are pushing legislation that would gravely restrict women's access to health care by cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is a critical provider of women's health care services in America. In fact, 1 in 5 American women will use Planned Parenthood during their lifetime. In Ventura County, Planned Parenthood clinics saw nearly 16,000 patients and provided nearly 30,000 appointments over the past year.
There is no doubt that defunding Planned Parenthood would be a disaster for women's health. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that as many as 25 percent of Planned Parenthood's 2.6 million patients, about 650,000 people, could lose access to critical health care services across the United States if the bill becomes law.
Millions more would lose health care providers they know and trust. In some states, there is a serious shortage of providers. For example, when Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal tried to cut Planned Parenthood from Louisiana's Medicaid program, there were so few providers that he shockingly suggested sending women to dentists and cosmetic surgeons instead.
While the Republicans in Congress want the American people to think this is about the current controversy at Planned Parenthood, the truth is they have targeted Planned Parenthood for years as part of their strategy to take away a woman's right to choose, and are willing to do so at the expense of women's health in general.
This obsession with taking away a woman's constitutional right to make her own health care decisions has reached such a fever pitch that the Republicans in Congress are even threatening to shut down the federal government if they don't get their way. Congress has three legislative days left to avert the second shutdown in two years, and we should have stayed in session this weekend to get our job done.
As Ventura County's representative in Congress, I remain committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to move our country forward, expand the middle class and protect women's health care.
Julia Brownley, D-Thousand Oaks, is a member of Congress, representing the 26th District.
I'm in Sacramento this week working on the climate bills. Sadly, leaders decided to remove the petroleum section from SB 350 last night. It hasn't had any votes yet but with the petroleum section removed, I expect it will pass easily today or Friday.
We've had two votes on SB 32 on the Assembly side so far. The first came up late Tuesday afternoon, and was a surprise to many - it apparently wasn't coordinated with the Pro Tem office, and the green groups were shocked. It failed on a vote, first, of 24-34, then 25-33, then 28-33, with 18 Dem abstentions. Jacqui Irwin was one of the abstentions.
Jacqui's staffer assured me that she didn't have a chance to vote, and should have, but then got busy with other things, and it's the staffer's fault, not hers. Although this sounds like a fairly BS excuse, I'm inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt because of the surprise nature of the vote, and the general knowledge that it wasn't a final vote.
SB 32 came up for a second vote Wed. - a motion for reconsideration, which is normally a procedural vote where all Dems or all members just say "aye." The vote was 43-29, with 8 Dem abstentions. This time Jacqui voted "aye."
Keep on calling her office, but let's not be angry with her.
And thanks to those who have been calling. I'm extraordinarily busy but I do see and hear it.
On a very positive note, yesterday the University of California announced that it was divesting its $91 billion endowment from both coal and oil sands. This is a direct result of SB 185 passing last week, which you might recall was my brainchild and began with a resolution in Ventura County, so I am taking some pride in it. So here's some media coverage of SB 185.
For the second time in as many months, protesters from BlackLivesMatter forced Bernie Sanders from the stage at a scheduled event. Also for the second time, a later event that same day turned out massive crowds for the underdog Democratic candidate.
As I wrote shortly after the first BlackLivesMatter disruption at Netroots Nation, the issues of police violence and systemic racism in society are incredibly important. Indeed, given the history and continued use of the Southern Strategy by the GOP, it is difficult to imagine making transformative progressive advances without tackling racism forcefully and directly. It is also true that civil disobedience and direct disruptive action have a long and storied history in helping promote and create progressive change. In many ways, the BlackLivesMatter movement is a part of that proud tradition.
That said, there must be space even for allies to offer constructive criticism of the methods used by the movement to achieve universally desired goals. There are of course those who would say that a white male like myself has no business even offering suggestions to black activists on how to engage these issues, due to my inherent privilege and lack of direct experience of the racism they face. That sort of thinking derives from a Foucaultesque perspective on discourse and power dynamics that insists that there is, in fact, no open forum for discussion of politically charged issues—only verbal power conflicts in which the disadvantaged and dispossessed have the right to speak and the privileged have the obligation to listen or walk away. That rhetorical philosophy rejects millennia of philosophical underpinnings of objective debate to privilege an endless series of ad hominem fallacies, stifling discourse in a series of one-way “conversations” that inherently advantage the loudest, angriest and most offended voices, while also leading to nasty intersectionalities in which members of separate disadvantaged classes argue over who is the more aggrieved and disempowered party, and who has the “right” to speak and who has the “obligation” to listen. Fortunately, this stunted philosophy of discourse is largely limited to a few college campuses and the fringes of the left NGO sphere where little and less is actually accomplished to create real social change. In the real world, strategies and theories of change are debatable in an open and competing forum of ideas in and of themselves, without regard to the identity of the person making the argument—particularly when said ideas are coming from individuals acting in good faith with the same ultimate goals.
In that vein, it’s reasonable to ask if forcing Bernie Sanders off consecutive stages is a useful strategy for bringing issues of police violence and structural racism to the foreground. On the one hand, doing so provides an opportunity for activists to make headlines and gain an audience among individuals who are supposedly allies but may not be doing as much as activists might like on their issue of choice. Certainly, climate activists and anti-war activists (among others) could leverage the same complaints. On the other, there is such a thing as bad publicity. And there’s a fine line between disrupting the activities of one’s allies to bring more attention to one’s issues, and being so aggressive with them that they actually become hostile to one’s interests.
That said, if these actions have done more damage than good, the fault lies not with the protesters so much as the event coordinators who have handed the disruptive agents the microphone at these events. No matter how righteous the disrupters’ cause may be, giving away the microphone to any non-scheduled element loses control of the event, altering the power dynamic in such a way that the candidate is forced to either adopt an apologetic and submissive position agreeing with everything being said by the upstaging individuals (certainly undesirable for many reasons), or to argue with them (even less desirable), or simply to walk away from the stage (the best of a series of bad choices.)
But giving away the microphone to protesters in this way isn’t just harmful to the candidate. It’s also harmful to the event organizers and ultimately to the protesters themselves as well.
The power of civil disobedience to create change works best when it involves a universal and very obvious conscience-shocking injustice, the political suppression of a minority voice, the total exhaustion of other political methods of recourse, and a very clear and simple, easily legislated policy demand or set of demands (e.g., independence for India, an end to apartheid, an end to Jim Crow and segregation, etc.)
If the group engaging in civil disobedience is willingly granted the microphone at a managed event by the supposed oppressor, it’s nearly impossible for the disrupters to maintain the audience sympathy required to forgive the chaos and upset caused by the disruption itself. This is, of course, doubly true when the supposed oppressor is not an enemy but an ally within the tent. In order for an action of civil disobedience by an oppressed group to work, the oppressed group must actually remain oppressed in the context of the event. If they’re treated as equals with underdog outsider presidential candidates on stage, it simply looks like a circular firing squad of fractious activists rather than a civil rights movement speaking for the dispossessed without a voice. Once you have the stage and a microphone with a presidential candidate standing behind you (and you’re registered to vote!), it’s hard to gain sympathy for the claim that you don’t have a voice in the process.
That, of course, leads to a key question: why aren’t BLM protesters staging these disruptions at Hillary Clinton or Republican candidate events? The simplest answer is that they would be unlikely to be invited to the stage and given a microphone. But that is precisely why those are the events that BLM should be protesting.
The people who are handing over the microphone and helping them onto the stage aren’t the ones protesters should be taking advantage of for a cheap media opportunity. And event organizers should be mindful that providing such an opportunity for protesters doesn’t do them any favors, either.
Rosa Parks didn’t pick a bus in Berkeley; she picked one in Selma. If civil disobedience is the weapon of choice, it’s probably time to take that weapon to the real enemy.
(Correction: Rosa Parks’ bus protest was in Montgomery, not Selma.)
Democrat monthly social events in Ventura county:
Democrat Sociables Club meets first Friday of every month for happy hour and political fun at various locations in Ventura county 615- to 8:45PM. All Democrats and potential Democrats welcome! ( dark for August)
VCDCC sponsors six Pizza n Documentary Movie nights per year, last Fri, every other month, Jan -Nov only $15 donation. 6 -9 PM at the UFCW, Camarillo Springs exit, Camarillo. Wine n beer $5 donation. For more information regarding either of these events, email Ldemersseman@gmail.com