Endorsements at a Glance | California and San Francisco Propositions | November 8, 2016 Election

The ballots in California this year are ridiculously, record-setting long and moneyed interests are spending an unprecedented amount of money to influence the outcome of the election.

Most voters, myself included, don't have time to read the 224-page voter guide, let alone all the policy statements which have been written by supporters and opponents of particular propositions.

I believe endorsements offer a sort of election "hack." By reviewing who endorses what, and knowing where your own political sensibilities lie, you can quickly determine how to vote for any given state or local proposition. (Offices are another matter, however.)

With that in mind, I've been putting together endorsements-at-a-glance guides for nearly a decade.

Trust me. You're going to need this.

Click here for a printable, downloadable PDF.

How Unequal Can America Get Before We Snap?

I had the pleasure of attending this lecture given by former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich on the UC Berkeley campus on May 9, 2005.

Reich outlines the startling details of inequality of income, wealth and opportunity in the United States and asks, what will happen if these trends continue?

Eight years later, inequality has only gotten worse. One would imagine, or at least hope, that systemic inequality is unsustainable. But when will it become unbearable, unacceptable?

Why Obama Failed to Prosecute Wall Street

FRONTLINE investigates why Wall Street’s leaders have escaped prosecution for any fraud related to the sale of bad mortgages.

Glenn Greenwald ("The Real Story Of How 'Untouchable' Wall Street Execs Avoided Prosecution") writes for The Guardian UK:

PBS' Frontline program on Tuesday night broadcast a new one-hour report on one of the greatest and most shameful failings of the Obama administration: the lack of even a single arrest or prosecution of any senior Wall Street banker for the systemic fraud that precipitated the 2008 financial crisis — a crisis from which millions of people around the world are still suffering.

What this program particularly demonstrated was that the Obama justice department, in particular the Chief of its Criminal Division, Lanny Breuer, never even tried to hold the high-level criminals accountable.

What Obama justice officials did instead is exactly what they did in the face of high-level Bush era crimes of torture and warrantless eavesdropping: Namely, acted to protect the most powerful factions in the society in the face of overwhelming evidence of serious criminality. Indeed, financial elites were not only vested with impunity for their fraud, but thrived as a result of it, even as ordinary Americans continue to suffer the effects of that crisis.

What Are the Goals of Occupy Wall Street?

Roger Lowenstein writes for Businessweek ("Occupy Wall Street: It’s Not a Hippie Thing: Don’t be fooled by the drum circles. Today’s protests have more in common with the anti-Hoover 1930s than the antiwar ’60s and ’70s"):
As critics have noted, the protesters are not in complete agreement with each other, but the overall message is reasonably coherent. They want more and better jobs, more equal distribution of income, less profit (or no profit) for banks, lower compensation for bankers, and more strictures on banks with regard to negotiating consumer services such as mortgages and debit cards. They also want to reduce the influence that corporations—financial firms in particular—wield in politics, and they want a more populist set of government priorities: bailouts for student debtors and mortgage holders, not just for banks.

Elizabeth Warren on Debt Crisis, Fair Taxation & the Social Contract



“I hear all this, you know, ‘Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever. No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody.

“You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.

“Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”
Steve Benen writes for Washington Monthly:
"If more Democrats were able to make the case for the underlying social contract as effectively, our discourse would be vastly less mind-numbing."