What do Oprah and the Pope Have in Common?

I had the opportunity recently to be in the company of Oprah Winfrey and then Pope Francis over the course of one week.

Auburn Seminary’s President the Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson and I joined over 200 faith leaders from all over the United States in Santa Barbara, California. The focus was to screen the first two episodes of a weeklong series entitled Belief. These are seven, one-hour TV shows funded by Oprah to be aired on the OWN network in mid-October. These shows use compelling storytelling to look at the importance of spirituality and faith as an opportunity for individual and communal transformation. Afterwards, we were shuttled to her home where we were graciously hosted by Oprah for drinks and dinner. Before dinner, our host shared how meaningful this project was for her, so important that she fully funded the effort. It was truly an evening of inspiration and gracious hospitality.

I also had the honor of representing Auburn at “ground zero” surrounded by over 500 faith leaders as we welcomed Pope Francis to NYC. As we made our way to our gathering place, I saw many Metro New York City colleagues and friends from various faith traditions. The buzz in the room was about how different this pope was from others — his deep commitment to justice for the poor and marginalized along with his willingness to speak a truth that is grounded in unconditional love and inclusiveness. There was a sense of excitement and anticipation from Jewish, Sikh, Muslim and Protestant colleagues. It was a multi-faith “happening.” As he then spoke, he affirmed the need to pray and work for peace. The real work of faith is not about death and destruction, but peace and reconciliation.

It is fascinating to me that two such influential leaders — Oprah and the Pope — demonstrated an understanding of and commitment to the power of working across faith traditions. Individual and/or societal transformation must include multi-faith engagement. But are there other leaders who are able to help bring us together, in the same room to the same table, to bridge our divides? Our theological and philosophical differences, egos, suspicions all impact the ways that we do our work. And vulnerability is often avoided for fear of losing the respect — and support — of our constituents and trusted allies.

I was recently conversing with a few college classmates, and I suddenly found myself inundated by a barrage of political questions. What struck me was not so much our difference of opinion, but the depth of mistrust and anger fueled by the belief that “the left” is morally questionable, unfair and inconsistent. When I asked one classmate “Where do you see signs of hope?” he stated that he saw none. I could feel his fear and distrust of those with different views.

I believe that this is one of the greatest challenges we face as a nation is creating a public dialogue less focused on extremes, and instead, able to reconcile differing views. After all, most of us live in this moderate “grey area.”

This week, unlikely allies Oprah Winfrey and Pope Francis issued a call to action to religious leaders. Their multi-faith gatherings were driven and shaped out of a deep sense that faith, and even religion, can still make a difference in our individual and communal lives. Fear of difference will not have the last word. Their call to action shines a spotlight on us as faith leaders and reminds us of that we have the power to change things in a meaningful and powerful way if we are willing to trust our fellowship together despite differences.

One colleague at the Sept. 11 memorial looked around and said to me, “We should just lock the doors and see if we can make some decisions today.”

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Indian PM Narendra Modi Gets Emotional Talking About His Mom

During the hour-long Q&A session at Facebook’s Menlo Park, California, campus, Modi fielded several questions about the potential of social media and his thoughts on women’s empowerment. But it was one query in particular, posed by Zuckerberg himself, that elicited the strongest response from the Indian prime minister.

“I understand that your mother is very important in your life so I’m hoping you’ll tell us more about her,” Zuckerberg said.

Modi went on to speak about his impoverished childhood, and how his mom struggled to make ends meet.

“When we were small, what we used to do to get by … was that we used to go to our neighbors’ houses … to clean the dishes, fill water, do hard chores,” Modi said, his voice quavering. “So you can imagine what a mother had to do to raise her children, what she had to go through.”

He added that this wasn’t just the “case with Narendra Modi. In India, there are hundreds and thousands of mothers like that … mothers who’ve sacrificed their entire lives for their children.”

Modi’s Facebook session was reportedly well-received by the 1,200 people in attendance. FirstPost reports that the town hall ended with a standing ovation for the Indian leader.

The Q&A, however, has also been met with some criticism. Quartz.com, for instance, slammed the event for being too light on substance.

Modi’s Facebook appearance comes during the politician’s whirlwind tour of Silicon Valley that has included meetings with the CEOs of Apple, Google, Tesla and other leading tech companies.

The prime minister’s West Coast trip also comes hot on the heels of a similar visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Just last week, Xi was in Seattle meeting with several tech leaders, including Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.


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NASA sees wind shear affecting Tropical Storm Niala

Roughly a quarter of the fish sampled from fish markets in California and Indonesia contained man-made debris—plastic or fibrous material—in their guts, according to a study from the University of California, Davis, and …

Source Article from http://phys.org/news/2015-09-nasa-affecting-tropical-storm-niala.html

Typhoon Dujuan gives NASA an eye-opening performance

Roughly a quarter of the fish sampled from fish markets in California and Indonesia contained man-made debris—plastic or fibrous material—in their guts, according to a study from the University of California, Davis, and …

Source Article from http://phys.org/news/2015-09-typhoon-dujuan-nasa-eye-opening.html

The ecological collapse of California: State hits 500-year record for drought

(NaturalNews) The historic California drought of the past few years is the worst one that has occurred in the last 500 years, according to a recent study published in the journal Nature.

After the announcement by California state officials that they had found no snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains for the first time in the 75 years since snowfall records began, a research team conducted a study aimed at finding out more about the region’s long-term snowfall history.

By studying the thickness of rings in core samples taken from blue oak trees growing in the mountains, the researchers were able to accurately measure the winter rainfall records during past centuries.

Their findings came as a surprise. It was already known that the current drought cycle had broken records, but no one suspected that so much time had passed since the last dry period of this magnitude.

The four-year drought has forced the state to begin issuing mandatory water cuts in many areas. Some municipalities have been ordered to cut their water usage by as much as 35 percent as reservoirs and groundwater supplies are being drained without being replenished.

The annual snowpack melt supplies up to 30 percent of California’s water supply. In the past few years, however, the amount of accumulated snow has been so diminished that reservoirs, lakes, rivers and other bodies of water fed by the runoff are nearing record low levels.

Valerie Trouet, associate professor at the University of Arizona and senior author of the study, said:

The results were astonishing. We knew it was an all-time low over a historical period, but to see this as a low for the last 500 years, we didn’t expect that. There’s very little doubt about it.

The implications are enormous, not only for the state’s environment and its wildlife, but also for the millions of people who live in California and depend on the water for their livelihood and basic survival.

Ecological collapse

The effects of the drought have triggered what can only be described as an ecological collapse. Dramatic evidence of this is apparent when one considers the fact that this year’s wildfire season is the second-worst one in the past decade.

This year, there have already been around 1,000 more wildfires than there were last year, and firefighters are currently battling two fires that have destroyed more than 1,000 buildings in the past few days.

Wildfires and water restrictions affecting the human population are only part of the picture. The drought is also threatening much of California’s wildlife. For example, federal and state officials have resorted to transporting salmon and other fish species to other parts of the state due to concerns that they will die off during their annual migration to the Pacific Ocean if they try to navigate rivers and streams that have completely dried up in places or are at dangerously low levels.

Things will only get worse

The truly frightening aspect of all of this is the fact that the experts are predicting that the situation will only continue to worsen in the coming years. The natural cycles, combined with what is called “anthropogenic (human-caused) warming”, could lead to a 30-year megadrought.

Although many climate change skeptics would argue that there is no significant environmental effect from greenhouse gas emissions, the fact remains that something is causing the state of California to increasingly approach becoming an uninhabitable desert wasteland.

There is no arguing the fact that the demand by humans – who want it for everything from growing crops to filling swimming pools – does have a significant depleting effect on the natural water supplies of the region.

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Source Article from http://www.naturalnews.com/051245_California_drought_ecological_collapse_climate_change.html

Winter begins in western US as snow falls in California, Idaho, Utah and Colorado



Literally the day after a dire report of the bleakest snow conditions in 500 years for the Sierra Nevada, snow began falling. It’s not much and certainly won’t matter for the four-year drought, but it’s welcome.

The system was forecast to bring rain to the Valley Fire area, and a dusting of snow above 7,000 feet in Northern California, Idaho, Utah, and Colorado.

In Lassen Volcanic National Park, Caltrans closed Highway 89 Wednesday because of snow. The closure was from the southern boundary to the junction with State Route 44.

Already, social media is lighting up with photos of Mammoth Mountain in the Central Sierra getting a good coating of snow earlier this week, and other resorts getting snow overnight into Wednesday. Utah and Colorado also got a good dusting, with snow flurries continuing across the Western United States.

Earlier in the week, hydrologists lamented the lack of snow, and this week’s scant flurries won’t change the dire conditions.

Snowpack conditions in the Sierra Nevada mountains present an ominous sign of the severity of this drought,” said Valerie Trouet, a tree-ring specialist at the University of Arizona and lead scientist on the study. “We were expecting that 2015 would be extreme, but nothing like this.”

The melting Sierra snowpack is important to the state’s water supply because it traditionally provides at least one-third of California’s water each year through the state’s network of reservoirs, and also replenishes the groundwater in its deep aquifers.

Wet winter?

The promise of a wet fall and winter appears to be increasing as forecasters see El Niño conditions strengthening across the Pacific with tropical ocean temperatures rising toward record highs, said Daniel Swain, a Stanford graduate student who maintains the highly regarded California Weather Blog.

But that promise is speculative, and it doesn’t necessarily mean this winter’s Sierra snowpack will be any better than last year’s, said Swain, who is not a part of the study.

Swain, a member of Stanford’s Climate and Earth System Dynamics Science Group whose scientists have tied the drought to the increased pace of global warming, noted that while the future impact on California of the strengthening El Niño conditions in the tropical Pacific are uncertain, the evidence that the Pacific Ocean’s water temperatures are rising is clear.

El Niño conditions tend to shift the odds away from a dry winter,” Swain said. “And water temperatures should be higher than normal.”

Don’t expect much snow

It means, he said, that while precipitation in the highest peaks of the Sierra this winter may fall as snow, at lower elevations, where most of the snowpack normally lies, the precipitation could be falling as rain.

Whatever happens with El Niño this year, Swain noted, even the wettest winter on record can’t make California recover from this historic drought. It could help refill the state’s reservoirs, he said, but a single wet winter can’t refill the state’s major underground aquifers like those beneath the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys on which so much of California’s agriculture depends.

Source Article from http://www.sott.net/article/302165-Winter-begins-in-western-US-as-snow-falls-in-California-Idaho-Utah-and-Colorado

Prisoners’ Struggle Ends Indefinite Solitary Confinement


Confirming Frederick Douglass’s adage, “Power concedes nothing without a demand,” prisoners held in solitary confinement for many years in California have won an unprecedented victory. After three hunger strikes, in which tens of thousands of California inmates participated, and a federal class action lawsuit filed on behalf of prisoners by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), a landmark settlement was reached. It effectively consigns indefinite solitary confinement in California to the dustbins of shameful history.

More than 500 prisoners had been held in isolation in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay prison for over 10 years, and 78 of them had been there for more than 20 years. They spend 22 ½ to 24 hours every day in a cramped, concrete, windowless cell, and are denied telephone calls, physical contact with visitors, and vocational, recreational, and educational programs.

Now California prisoners will no longer be sent to the SHU solely based on allegations of gang affiliation, but rather based on infraction of specific serious rules violations. Prisoners will only be put in solitary confinement if they commit a serious offense such as assault or murder in prison, and only after a due process hearing. And they will be put into solitary for a definite term – no more indeterminate solitary confinement. An estimated 95 percent of California prisoners in solitary confinement based solely on gang affiliation (about 2,000 people) will be released into the general prison population.

The settlement also limits the amount of time a prisoner can spend in the SHU, and provides a two-year step-down program for transfer from SHU to general population. It is estimated that between 1,500 and 2,000 prisoners will be released from SHU within one year of this settlement.

“California’s agreement to abandon indeterminate SHU confinement based on gang affiliation demonstrates the power of unity and collective action,” the plaintiffs said in a joint statement. “This victory was achieved by efforts of people in prison, their families and loved ones, lawyers, and outside supporters.”

The plaintiffs in Ashker v. Governor of California argued that California’s use of prolonged solitary confinement constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and denies the prisoners the right to due process.

The federal district court judge found that prolonged solitary confinement had deprived the plaintiffs of “normal human contact, environmental and sensory stimulation, mental and physical and health, physical exercise, sleep, nutrition, and meaningful activity” which could constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

Although no U.S. court has yet ruled that solitary confinement violates the Eighth Amendment, Justice Anthony Kennedy indicated in a concurring opinion in June that he would likely entertain such an argument in the future. Commenting on the case of a man who had been isolated for 25 years in California, Kennedy told the U.S. Congress in March that solitary confinement “literally drives men mad.”

Indeed, after visiting Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia in 1842, Charles Dickens noted, “The system here, is rigid, strict and hopeless solitary confinement. I believe it … to be cruel and wrong … I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body.” Dickens felt that isolation of prisoners was a thing that “no man had the right to inflict upon his fellow creature.”

Juan Mendez, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, concluded that solitary confinement for more than 15 days constitutes torture. He wrote that prolonged solitary confinement violates the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The United States has ratified both of these treaties, making them part of U.S. law under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.

Ireland refused to extradite a man to the United States to face terrorism-related charges earlier this year. The High Court of Ireland worried that he might be held in indefinite isolation in a Colorado “supermax” prison, which would violate the Irish Constitution.

Between 80,000 and 100,000 people are held in some type of isolation in U.S. prisons on any given day, generally in supermax prisons, in 44 states and the federal system. Yet there is no evidence that solitary confinement makes prisons safer, the Government Accountability Office determined in 2013.

Solitary confinement exacerbates mental illness. In Madrid v. Gomez, a U.S. federal court judge wrote that for those with diagnosed mental illness, “placing them in [solitary confinement] is the mental equivalent of putting an asthmatic in a place with little air to breathe.”

Professor Craig Haney described the deprivation of basic human needs of social interaction and environmental stimulation as a “painfully long form of social death.”

The European Court of Human Rights has determined that “complete sensory isolation coupled with complete social isolation can no doubt destroy the personality,” in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. Likewise, the Inter American Court of Human Rights has stated that prolonged solitary confinement may violation the American Convention on Human Rights.

Suicide rates in California, New York, and Texas are significantly higher among those held in solitary confinement than in the general prison population. And juveniles are 19 times more likely to take their own lives in isolation than in the general population. Connecticut, Maine, Oklahoma, New York, and West Virginia have banned or put restrictions on solitary confinement of juveniles.

President Barack Obama has asked his attorney general to “start a review of the overuse of solitary confinement across American prisons.” Obama said, “The social science shows that an environment like that is often more likely to make inmates more alienated, more hostile, potentially more violent.”

The purpose of the penal system is social rehabilitation, according to the ICCPR. In contravention of that mandate, the California legislature has specified that the purpose of sentencing is punishment. Solitary confinement implicitly denies any chance of social rehabilitation. The ICCPR requires that prison guards respect the inherent dignity of every inmate. Prolonged solitary confinement, like other forms of torture, destroys a person’s dignity.

Mendez proposed a worldwide ban on nearly all uses of solitary confinement, which has increased throughout the globe, especially in the context of the “war on terror” and “threats to national security.” He particularly criticized the routine use of isolation in U.S. supermax prisons.

In his concurring opinion, Justice Kennedy quoted Dostoyevsky: “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.” So one must wonder why the United States refuses to ratify the U.N. Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture, which requires international inspection of prisons.

Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, and deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. She is editor and contributor to “The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration, and Abuse.” See www.marjoriecohn.com.

Source Article from http://www.globalresearch.ca/prisoners-struggle-ends-indefinite-solitary-confinement/5476395

California school kicks 7th-grader out of ONLINE course over vaccination after dad leads SB277 Referendum effort

(NaturalNews) Even though California’s recently passed vaccine mandate, sponsored by sell-out politician Senator Richard Pan, doesn’t go until effect until January 1, 2016, schools are already demanding that students be fully vaccinated or else be removed from the classroom permanently.

The most disturbing part? It’s happening in virtual online schools advertised as providing homeschooling where students complete all of their coursework at home. The only requirement is that they meet with their teacher in person four times a year through testing events, or voluntary school outings.

The ultimatum was made when a Sacramento father received a disturbing phone call from his daughter’s online school, California Virtual Academies, notifying him that, if his 7th grade daughter does not receive the Tdap (tetanus, pertussis and diphtheria) vaccine, she will be locked out of her online coursework indefinitely.

The voicemail, which you can listen to below, states that the student will be denied access to her online schooling until she provides proof of receiving the Tdap vaccine, which the parents are given one week to fulfill.

Pattie with California Virtual Academies, who refused to comment when contacted by Natural News, informs the parents that they can fulfill the requirement by taking their daughter to a “doctor or any drug store” to get injected with the whooping cough vaccine, which has been proven to cause brain damage and death in some cases.

The recipient of the voicemail is Gabriel Silva, a leading force behind the #SB277Referendum, a petition that, if enough signatures (366K) are received by September 28, will immediately halt
California’s recently passed vaccine mandate, placing it on the 2016 presidential ballot to be voted on.

You can donate to the referendum’s GoFundMe page, which aims to keep kids in school by stopping SB277. They’ve already raised more than $100,000 but hope to reach their goal of $750,000. The money will be used to compensate signature gatherers, as well as to counter Big Pharma advertising spending, which is sure to kick into gear once the initiative reaches the 2016 ballot.

Silva, a SB277 Referendum leader, is responsible for setting up the group’s marketing stickers and T-shirts, which are being worn by thousands of volunteers across the state as they actively gather signatures for the petition. Find out where you can sign the petition here.

When asked for comment, California Virtual Academy did say a religious belief exemption is available, but as of 2014, the exemption form requires the signature of a healthcare practitioner. Unless SB277 is halted or reversed, beginning next year, students will no longer be allowed the religious belief exemption.

While students currently do have the option for exemption, it was not presented to Silva as such; rather, Pattie’s voicemail was quite clear: Get the vaccine now or your child can’t attend school.

“She’s concerned about getting behind on her school work,” said Silva. Silva’s opposition to mandatory vaccination stems partly from his belief that his two children were injured by them when they were vaccinated as toddlers.

Both Silva’s son and daughter contracted fevers and broke out in rashes the same day after being vaccinated. Silva’s son was subsequently diagnosed with Henoch-Schonlein purpura (HSP), an autoimmune disease involving inflammation of small blood vessels that causes the vessels in the skin, intestines, kidneys and joints to start leaking.

When asked to sign the SB277 Referendum at a “Congress at Your Corner” event in Lodi, California, although he refused to help his constituents, Republican Jerry McNerney admitted that his son was injured by the pertussis vaccine, or Tdap, the same shot that Silva’s 7th grade daughter is being forced to receive – that is if she wants to remain in her online schooling program.

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Can the Democrats Lose California?

Last week’s legislative defeat for a couple of key items in Governor Jerry Brown’s climate and energy agenda suggests a question: Could the Democrats lose control in California?

Considering that I began as a columnist 28 years ago this month by asking if the Democrats can win California — Sí, se suede — it’s a bit of an ironic question. But events suggest it.

I wrote here on Labor Day suggesting that Brown was going to lose on his plan to cut petroleum use in California in half by 2030, thanks to a big oil industry scare campaign of advertising and string-pulling. A few days later, he did. Brown also lost on a bid to commit California to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, and to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. Which in a way is even more striking.

Governor Jerry Brown joined state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins to discuss their setback on climate change.

Because the so-called moderate Democrats who blocked that measure in effect voted for an uninhabitable planet. It’s widely known that cuts of that magnitude will be required to avert runaway adverse climate changes.

You expect the oil industry to take that stance. They’re in the resource exploitation business. Their future is now. You expect know-nothing reactionaries to take that stance. They pretend the early Christians were playing dodge ball with dinosaurs. But you don’t expect that of folks who are supposed to be to the left of Attila the Hun or Donald Trump.

Before getting too negative, it’s important to note that Brown and his legislative allies, such as state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon and Senator Fran Pavley, won two huge victories on climate and energy. Brown pledged in his fourth Inaugural Address this past January that 50 percent of California’s electric power would come from renewable energy by 2030. He also pledged to double energy efficiency in the state.

This is actually quite thrilling. I’ve wanted a 50 percent renewable portfolio standard (RPS), to use the term of art, for a long time but often wondered if it would ever happen. To put this achievement in perspective, it was just 13 years ago that it was a huge deal when then Governor Gray Davis signed a 20 percent renewable energy requirement. And it was a very big deal when then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger just a few years later, as promised, accelerated the RPS to 33 percent.

So huge strides have been made. And to pretend otherwise, as professional Brown-bashing syndicated state columnist Dan Walters — whose four decades of getting it wrong I chronicled here in 2012 — and some others have done is simply non-serious. Especially since they opposed that stuff.

Much media coverage also suggested that Brown had a four-and-a-half year string of legislative successes prior to this. Heh.

In reality, Brown looked potentially dead in the water for much of the first year of his governorship, as I wrote at the time.

A future history might suggest some tough times. If Brown couldn’t even get the handful of Republican legislative votes he needed to put an extension of unpopular temporary taxes on the ballot, he might never have been abe to solve the $27 billion state budget deficit that came with the Oath of Office. Or so the thinking went. And if he couldn’t end the chronic budget crisis, would anything else matter? The impasse dragged on for months.

Of course, as it happened, he could always do an initiative in lieu of getting the legislature to place a revenue extension on the ballot. And that would actually be a good thing, as the tax plan for the ballot could be substantially more left-wing, hence more politically effective and likely to win. Which Prop 30 did, less than three years ago.

So the reality is that Brown has dealt with much greater legislative intransigence than this, and just a few years ago. (Do people take amnesia pills now, or just not know in the first place? Just asking.)

There are a lot of elements to any tick-tock on this Brown defeat on climate. And the usual attendant he said/she said. Much of it can be set aside, as this episode is about the forest more than the individual trees, though a very awkward Assembly Democratic leadership situation undoubtedly complicated matters. The outgoing Assembly speaker, her tenure cut short by term limits but holding on to the post the rest of the year, had limited ability to intervene with recalcitrant members of what was still her caucus but did not want either the incoming Assembly speaker or the Senate leader to lean on holdouts. Which Brown may not have anticipated.

Be that as it may, a bigger picture than all that actually dominated.

The oil industry — unsurprisingly highly resistant to having America’s largest state, the world’s seventh largest economy, provide a working model for how to cut the oil business in half — got the jump on Brown with its massive intervention and retained its edge throughout. Having identified a major Democratic achilles heel, a set of Assembly members willing to take big money from oil and tobacco industries and do things the industries want, Big Oil pressed its edge to try to remove a dangerous threat to their longtime practices which threaten human habitability of this planet.

When I began writing a column, in the September 1987 issue of the late California Business magazine, the first one was titled “Can the Democrats Win In California?” It was just a few months after my friend Gary Hart’s front-running presidential campaign went down in a sex scandal spoon fed to the media at the same time that the Iran/Contra scandal hearings began.

Hart, who won 26 state primaries and caucuses in his 1984 race for the Democratic presidential nomination, believed that California could be turned into a Democratic state in presidential politics. At that time, during the Reagan presidency, it was a Republican bulwark.

But Franklin Roosevelt had won California four times in a row, with his veep successor Harry Truman adding a fifth. As the Roosevelt aura faded and the Cold War deepened, the Golden State, which prior to FDR was a swing state, moved into the Republican column with only Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 blowout over scary conservative Barry Goldwater the exception.

I argued that, by a few moves such as adding an emphasis on “high tech and Hispanics” — then the emerging personal computer industry (and a general future orientation) and what we in the West now call Latinos — California could definitely go Democratic.

Of course, there was someone who’d already anticipated what I was saying. Jerry Brown. He’d finished a hectic eight years as governor in January 1983, including two presidential campaigns and an ill-timed run for the U.S. Senate. But he was viewed in the conventional wisdom of the era as a fluke and a flake.

I didn’t think so at all. To me, he was a model, if he (or anyone else) could stick to the model.

In 1992, the Democrats did win California, as Bill Clinton’s New South politics was close enough to the New West approach of Hart and Brown, certainly against George Bush I. And, with Kathleen Brown ignoring objections from other Democrats and focusing her ill-fated 1994 gubernatorial campaign on opposition to the Mexican immigrant-bashing Proposition 187, it stayed Democratic.

The governorship is a little trickier. It is still the case that no Democrat who is not a Brown or closely affiliated with the Browns has won the governorship since 1938.

Regardless of any denting from this episode, Brown is essentially invincible in a California election. Term limits will at last claim his governorship in January 2019, but he has a clear path to the U.S. Senate if Dianne Feinstein steps away after 26 straight years in Washington.

Any Democrat other than Brown would likely have been swamped by eBay billionaire Meg Whitman’s record-shattering spending in 2010.

However, with the Republicans continuing if not accelerating their devolution, it should be easier for the next non-Brown Democrat.

The California Republicans’ plan on infrastructure, as they frustrated efforts to raise taxes or fees for road repair, was as dogmatically non-serious as ever. And their near unanimous votes against every aspect of Brown’s climate and energy agenda — reminiscent of Schwarzenegger era bipartisanship, minus Arnold — further types the Republicans as an arch-reactionary party.

But some Republican megabucks types, who didn’t notice what a bad time of it Whitman really had, might emerge. More likely would be a mega-rich type running as an independent to try to be free of the traps now inherent with the Republican brand. Or a hollow Democratic administration undermined by special interest-dominated politics.

The Democrats have a problem with the disproportionate influence of public employee unions. The reality is that there are some terrific folks there who are for many wonderful things. But they are also for some problematically unsustainable things in current public pensions and retiree benefits, which in the long run will threaten the other wonderful things they are for.

Now we see the tremendous susceptibility of self-styled moderate Democrats to big money corporate interests.

These “mods,” as Sacramento Bee editorial page editor Dan Morain points out in this very well-done piece, aren’t really very concerned about too much special interest public labor power. They’re happy to take that big money, too, and do the public labor lobby’s bidding along with that of the likes of oil and tobacco, packaging the latter in the guise of concern for average Californians and people of color.

While announcing emergency measures to combat a spate of raging wildfires, Brown said the fight with the oil industry about climate change is not about himself, it’s about the future. He predicted mass migrations similar to what we’re seeing in Europe.

Morain, who was the L.A. Times’s expert on political money, lays out the huge amounts of oil money taken by leading moderate Dems and the special interest amendments they proposed to gut Brown’s oil proposal if they could not block it outright. Chief among them was a big effort to gut the power of the Air Resources Board, which is in its way a California equivalent to the federal Environmental Protection Agency, as I suspect Brown will make even clearer in the not too distant future.

“The trouble with this country is that you can’t win an election without the oil bloc, and you can’t govern with it.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

I sent the FDR epigram above, which opened my Labor Day piece, to the Brown camp a week beforehand, signaling that the governor was facing a setback on his climate plan. Setbacks frequently have one signal advantage over successes; they can be very clarifying.

Had Brown just triumphed across the board on climate and energy, its significance might have been lost, taken for granted as yet another California move.

As it is, the setback, and the manner in which it occurred, makes the stakes very clear. The oil industry went all out to block the world’s seventh largest economy from presenting a working model for dramatically cutting the use of petroleum. And a segment of the Democratic Party dutifully fronted for it, publicly talking about concern for lower-income Californians while privately doing the bidding of the oil industry.

Let there be light.

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Hunters Stunned & Can’t Explain the Crazy Neon Blue Fat on This Wild California Pig


When a couple out on their ranch in Morgan Hill, California, saw a wild pig roaming the brush, they decided to shoot it and take it home for meat. After transporting the pig back home and draining its blood, the pair cut open the pig ready to skin and portion it, only to find this wild hog was hiding something quite unusual below the surface.

The pair were shocked to find that its fat was bright blue.

According to the original post, all the fat within the body was consistently stained blue. Its meat and blood however, were of normal color.


The couple have shot and eaten other wild pigs on their ranch and claim to never have found a specimen like this one.

Questions were raised whether an old copper mine in the vicinity may have caused the blue coloring, but according to the post there are only old, filled-in mercury mines in the nearby area.

Samples of the pig have been sent over to University of California, Davis to uncover the source of the unusual coloring.




Founder of WorldTruth.Tv and WomansVibe.com Eddie (5362 Posts)

Eddie L. is the founder and owner of WorldTruth.TV. This website is dedicated to educating and informing people with articles on powerful and concealed information from around the world. I have spent the last 30+ years researching Bible, History, Secret Societies, Symbolism

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