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Thanks to all who voted on Saturday!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
January 29, 2019                                                        

Many people who received an email from us earlier this month responded by going to the Assembly Delegate caucus and voting — and that made all the difference!

Thanks to your efforts, the Progressive Slate won ten out of the fourteen seats available. Our candidate for representative to the Executive Board of the Democratic Party also won.


See you in Santa Rosa on January 26?

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
January 18, 2019                                                      

January 26 is an important date for progressives who live in the 10th Assembly District. It’s your best chance to exercise democracy in the Democratic Party by going to the Assembly District Delegate Election to vote for the Progressive Slate, a group of passionate and independent Democratic Party activists.


Take action in the North Bay on January 26

Coalition for Grassroots Progress                                    
January 2, 2019

In the ongoing aftermath of the November 2016 election, the Democratic Party lingers at a crossroads. Will it be a party of the elite, or will it become the party of the people?

You have an opportunity to help California Democrats chart a new course for the next two years. On January 26th, Assembly District 10 will elect seven men and seven women as delegates to the California Democratic Central Committee, and if you live in AD 10 (if Marc Levine is your member of the Assembly) you can vote for our slate of grassroots candidates with strong progressive principles that reflect the values of "we the people."


Let’s Support this Progressive Candidate for Marin County DA

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
October 9, 2018                                                


For the first time in 20 years, on November 6, we have the opportunity to elect a new District Attorney here in Marin County. It has been clear to many of us that the only progressive choice in this race is Anna Pletcher. She has promised to deliver justice with integrity:


Now’s our chance: Dan Monte for Assembly

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
Alice Chan
October 2, 2018                                              


My old friend Dan Monte is running for Assembly in the North Bay’s 10th District, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

I’ve known Dan for more than a decade. During that time, I’ve been struck by his activism, his humility, his courage, and his willingness to take progressive stands that aren’t popular with the establishment. In other words, he’s just the kind of person we need representing us in the California Assembly.


Now is the Time for a Real Grassroots Candidate

Coalition for Grassroots Progress                                         
September 12, 2018

As you may already know, the Coalition for Grassroots Progress has endorsed Dan Monte for Assembly District 10. Dan is a progressive leader and organizer, and his voice would surely be  a benefit to all Californians in the capital.

Dan’s race is truly in the spirit of grassroots progress. Unlike his opponent, he has pledged not to accept a dime of corporate money. He’s conscious of where California is lacking in health care, affordable housing, public schools, and many other issues that would benefit from a progressive approach. You can find out more about Dan’s platform here.


The Coalition for Grassroots Progress endorses Teresa Barrett

The Coalition for Grassroots Progress endorses Teresa Barrett for Mayor of Petaluma. Please learn more about Teresa here:

The Coalition for Grassroots Progress endorses Melvin Willis

The Coalition for Grassroots Progress endorses Melvin Willis for Mayor of Richmond. Please learn more about Melvin here:

The Coalition for Grassroots Progress endorses Jovanka Beckles

The Coalition for Grassroots Progress endorses Jovanka Beckles for the California State Assembly in District 15. Please learn more about Jovanka here:

The Coalition for Grassroots Progress endorses Anna Pletcher

The Coalition for Grassroots Progress endorses Anna Pletcher for Marin County District Attorney. Please learn more about Anna here:

Our endorsements for North Bay ballots

Coalition for Grassroots Progress                   
April 28, 2018

Voters will cast ballots by mail starting on May 7 and inside voting booths on primary Election Day -- Tuesday, June 5, 2018.

The Coalition for Grassroots Progress is careful to endorse only candidates who are progressive and are clearly preferable in important races.

We are announcing endorsements of three candidates in the North Bay. Please click on highlighted names for information provided by those candidates’ campaigns:


The Coalition for Grassroots Progress endorses Dan Monte

The Coalition for Grassroots Progress endorses Dan Monte in 2018 for the California State Assembly in District 10, the seat currently occupied by Marc Levine. Please learn more about Dan here:

Can the Democratic Party Be Transformed?

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
December 2, 2017                                                 

More than a year after the horrifying outcome of the 2016 Presidential election, the Democratic Party has still not had a public discussion of its failure, even though that should have been the first priority.

Since the Democrats didn’t do it themselves, a task force comprised of co-founder Norman Solomon, the California Democratic Party's Progressive Caucus chair Karen Bernal, civil rights attorney Pia Gallegos, and communications specialist Sam McCann stepped up to do the research and publish the results.


NOW is the time for Single Payer Healthcare in California

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
June 12, 2017                                                           

Have you heard? We just took a big step forward towards single payer healthcare in California.

The California Senate recently passed SB 562, the Healthy California Act. Be sure to thank Senator Mike McGuire for co-authoring SB562 as well as for his strong support in the State Senate, and Senator Bill Dodd, for voting yes on the bill.

Thank you to everyone who put so much effort into getting the bill past this first step.

Step two is to get the bill passed by the California Assembly. We can all make a big difference now with one or two phone calls. EVERY phone call counts!


Yes on Santa Rosa Measure C on June 6!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
May 30, 2017                                               

The cost of renting a place to live in Santa Rosa has increased by 50% over the past five years, at a time when the vacancy rate is just 1%.

Students, seniors, the disabled, and the workforce all suffer in the face of this housing crisis that affects the entire city. A whopping 28% of Santa Rosa’s renters pay more than 50% of their income for rent.

But Santa Rosa is poised to make important progress with the June 6th election. Measure C, Rent Stabilization, will cover 12,000 rental units in the city, stabilizing rents for thousands of residents, while guaranteeing landlords a fair return on their investment, allowing increases of up to 3% per year and giving landlords a process for just-cause eviction.

Measure C is endorsed by the Coalition for Grassroots Progress, and supported by private citizens, social justice organizations, labor unions, and local Democratic Party organizations.


Fair and affordable housing needed in Santa Rosa

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
April 18, 2016

Election Day June 6 is a crucial day – for renters in Santa Rosa, and for activists who care about fair and affordable housing. The weeks leading up to June 6 are a perfect opportunity for us to make an important difference that will affect the lives of many people in our neighborhoods.

Measure C, Santa Rosa’s Fair and Affordable Housing ordinance, comes before city voters on June 6. The measure is supported by labor unions, social justice organizations, Democratic Party organizations, and by the Coalition for Grassroots Progress.

Look here for information on the ordinance and how you can get involved.


Let’s stop Trump

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
February 7, 2017                                                 

One of the most powerful things you can do right now is to join the call for the impeachment of Donald Trump.

In just two steps, you can add your voice:

• Call your member of Congress and ask them to introduce an impeachment resolution to remove Trump from the office of President.
• Join more than half a million people who have signed the petition for impeachment at this new website:


You made a difference. Now about nuclear madness…

Coalition for Grassroots Progress               
February 18, 2017


Earlier this month, many Marin and Sonoma County progressives traveled to San Rafael to vote for the Coalition for Grassroots Progress slate of candidates running to represent Assembly District 10 on the California Democratic Central Committee. Thanks to a high turnout of progressives, the slate won every available seat in that election. 

After the deeply alarming results of the presidential election, the Democratic Party is at a crossroads, and our new delegates are eager to return the party to its roots as the party of the people. Look here to see the names of the delegates representing us at the state Democratic Party level for the next two years.

Here’s a big thank-you to everyone who came out to vote for our new California State Democratic Central Committee representatives!

We’re not relaxing after that success; there is no time to waste. We are getting to work, both within the Democratic Party and outside on the streets, to confront the many threats we face with the incoming President and his administration.


Turning outrage into action on Sunday, January 8

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
December 20, 2016


In the alarming aftermath of the November election, the Democratic Party is at a crossroads. Will it continue to be the party of the elite, or will it become the party of the people?

You have an opportunity to help California Democrats chart a new course for the next two years. On January 8th, Assembly District 10 will elect seven men and seven women as delegates to the California Democratic Central Committee, and you can vote for our slate of grassroots candidates with strong progressive principles that reflect the values of “we the people.”


CGP endorses strong progressive leaders


This November, voters in the Bay Area and beyond have clear choices. Some candidates are funded by the corporate establishment, and some are supported by labor and environmentalists -- and people like you and me.

Our environment, our privacy, our healthcare, and our Constitution are under relentless assault from corporate “business as usual” legislators -- and the time is now to elect candidates who will defend us in those crucial realms. After careful assessments, the Coalition for Grassroots Progress has made endorsements in these crucial races:


The Fight Goes On – with platform deadline June 18

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
June 15, 2016                                              

You can help make a difference at the Democratic National Convention by fighting for a progressive platform.

Even if you’re not attending, you can send a message to the Democratic Party that Bernie's message, our message, and our progressive movement must be heard.

Submissions received by June 18 will be considered, so please take action now! You can submit your comments here .


What you can do from now till Election Day

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
May 29, 2016                                                    

Have you voted yet? Is your vote-by-mail ballot still sitting on your kitchen table? It’s time to slap a stamp on that envelope and get it into the mail!

The Coalition for Grassroots Progress has endorsed Bernie Sanders for President. And Noreen Evans for Sonoma County 5th District Supervisor.

Between now and Election Day:


It was too good to be true.

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
May 24, 2016                                                                   

Earlier this month, the Marin IJ said in an editorial that Congressman Jared Huffman had backpedaled on his long-standing superdelegate vote commitment to Hillary Clinton.

The editorial stated that Huffman would support the Democratic Party presidential candidate who won the majority of the votes in his congressional district in the June primary. They said he was smart to do so.

But it was too good to be true. The next day, Huffman asked them to make a correction; rather than voting the way his congressional district votes in the primary, he said that he will cast his superdelegate vote with the majority of the pledged delegates nationwide.

The corrected version of the editorial reads as follows: “Huffman now says he will vote for the candidate who wins the most pledged delegates after all the primaries and caucuses are over. It would have been more democratic if he had said he would back the candidate his district’s voters support in the June 7 primary.

Seeing the correction, an elected Bernie delegate from the Second Congressional District, Ruth Carter, immediately wrote this letter to the editor of the Marin IJ, expressing her disappointment:


About Bernie: You made a big difference. Now what?

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
May 5, 2016                                                                      

Here’s a “yuge” thank you to everyone who turned out on Sunday to vote for our Coalition for Grassroots Progress slate of candidates to be delegates for Bernie at the Democratic National Convention.

Nearly a thousand people showed up, stood in the long lines, and voted. You made a difference – our candidates were the top five vote-getters!

And now it’s time to focus on getting out the vote for Bernie Sanders. One of the most effective things you can do now is sign up to phone-bank for Bernie. You can find a phone bank near you here. (It takes three steps: click on “Events,” then type in your zip-code, select how far you’re willing to travel, and sign up today!)


Make a difference at the Bernie caucuses this Sunday!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
April 30, 2016                                                                         

Are you feeling helpless lately as you watch the establishment Democrats steamroll their way through the primary elections and caucuses?

Have you wished that there were something you could do?

You can make a big difference this Sunday afternoon: vote for our strong slate of candidates to be Bernie delegates at the Democratic National Convention.

You can be part of a Bernie Sanders caucus in San Rafael or Eureka, where we can elect delegates to the Democratic National Convention who'll fight for true democracy inside and outside the party.


Help us push back against superdelegates

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
Alice Chan. April 26, 2016                                                       

I wrote an article about the superdelegate issue in the current edition of the North Bay Bohemian because I’m infuriated at how the Democratic Party establishment has rigged the system to prevent grassroots candidates like Bernie Sanders from getting the party’s nomination for President.

That’s why I’m urging you to be part of a Bernie Sanders caucus in San Rafael or Eureka, where we can elect delegates to the Democratic National Convention who'll fight for true democracy inside and outside the party.

Sunday, May 1
2:00 pm. (No one admitted after 3:00 pm.)
You may check in, vote and leave.

If you live in Congressional District 2 (represented by House member Jared Huffman), you can vote at either of these Bernie caucus locations:


Invitation to caucus for Bernie

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
April 20, 2016

Do you want delegates for Bernie Sanders who’ll push back against the power of Wall Street throughout the Democratic National Convention?

Vote at a Bernie caucus to elect them!

Sunday, May 1 at 2:00 pm. (No one admitted after 3:00 pm.)

You may check in, vote and leave.

If you live in Congressional District 2 (represented by House member Jared Huffman), you can vote at either of these Bernie caucus locations:

* Marinwood Community Center, 775 Miller Creek Rd., San Rafael, CA 94903 [map]

* Eureka Labor Temple, 840 E Street, Eureka, CA 95501 [map]

The Coalition for Grassroots Progress urges you to vote for these strong progressives to be delegates for Bernie:

== Ruth Carter

== Mary “Mayme” Hubert

== James Mastin

== Ralph Miller

== Norman Solomon


CGP for Noreen Evans and more!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
April 19, 2016


Last month, the Coalition for Grassroots Progress endorsed Noreen Evans for Sonoma County 5th District Supervisor.

That election is just a bit over a month away, and now you have an opportunity to join with CGP volunteers at a phone-bank this coming Tuesday, April 26, at the Carpenters Union Local 51 Hall in Santa Rosa, between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m.

During her political career over her years on the Santa Rosa City Council, as a member of the California Assembly, and as a member of the California State Senate, Noreen Evans has always represented various parts of Sonoma County’s 5th District. She knows the important issues of the district and is committed to continuing to speak up in support of urban growth boundaries, protecting fisheries and rivers, addressing the growing problem of income and wealth disparities, promoting local and sustainable organic farms, and the challenges we face due to climate change.

Join us on April 26 as we get out the vote for Noreen Evans!


You can vote for Bernie delegates to Dem national convention

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
April 14, 2016                                                                                

Save the date! You can vote at a caucus to elect Bernie delegates for the Democratic National Convention.

Sunday, May 1

2:00 pm. (No one admitted after 3:00 pm.)

You may check in, vote and leave.

If you live in Congressional District 2 (represented by House member Jared Huffman), you can vote at either of these Bernie caucus locations:

* Marinwood Community Center, 775 Miller Creek Rd., San Rafael, CA 94903 [map]

* Eureka Labor Temple, 840 E Street, Eureka, CA 95501 [map]

The Coalition for Grassroots Progress urges you to vote for these strong progressives to be delegates for Bernie:

[ ] Ruth Carter

[ ] Mary “Mayme” Hubert

[ ] James Mastin

[ ] Ralph Miller

[ ] Norman Solomon


Democracy vs. Superdelegates

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
March 23, 2016


You’d think that a political party with the word “democratic” in its name would be a party that promotes democracy through all the levels of its membership, right?

But as Norman Solomon points out in a piece recently published in the Marin IJ, the Democratic Party’s superdelegate system has established “internal barriers to democracy” that can prevent the people’s will from being carried out when the party selects its presidential nominee at the Democratic National Convention. 

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC Chair, said recently that the superdelegates "exist really to make sure that party leaders and elected officials don’t have to be in a position where they are running against grassroots activists." That’s practically the definition of an internal barrier to democracy.


Turn to Bern?

Could Bernie Sanders take the California primary with the North Bay's help?


By Tom Gogola
North Bay Bohemian. March 16, 2016


LONG SHOT TO GOT A SHOT Bernie Sanders' victory in Michigan has thrown arguments about Hillary Clinton's inevitable nomination up for debate. - ANDREW CLINE/SHUTTESTOCK.COM


"If he wins tonight, we could go to June." That was Democratic Party strategist Donna Brazile on CNN the night of Bernie Sanders' upset in the Michigan primary on March 8.

Defying all expectations—even his own—Sanders beat Hillary Clinton by two points in a race that mainstream go-to pollsters such as Nate Silver said he would lose by 20 points, and perhaps more, just the day before the primary.

Brazile's comment on CNN was code for "This might not be resolved until California," whose primary is on June 7 and where 546 delegates are up for grabs in the Democratic primary. There are three months to go, and numerous states will vote between now and then, but Sanders' Michigan upset put the tactical and tautological "inevitability" argument about Hillary Clinton into play—something that nobody saw coming, least of all the two-dozen California Democratic superdelegates who have already pledged their support, and their vote, to Clinton.


Grassroots Progress for Bernie, and more! - North Bay / North Coast

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
March 11, 2016

For all of us, 2016 is an important election year -- when we’ll elect a new President, and some key races for Congress will be decided.

This year there are also several important local contests.

Our environment, our privacy, our healthcare, and our Constitution are under relentless assault from corporate “business as usual” legislators -- and the time is now to elect candidates who will defend us in those crucial realms.

After careful assessments, the Coalition for Grassroots Progress has endorsed:

Bernie Sanders for President

Bernie Sanders continues to get the short end of the stick in corporate media coverage; at first they ignored him, and now as they watch his success, they react with skepticism and excuses for why it won’t last. It’s grassroots support across the country, like our 100 Door-Knocks for Bernie campaign, that are contributing to his unforeseen success in the primaries and caucuses. Go Bernie!

Noreen Evans for Sonoma County Supervisor, 5th District

During her political career over her years on the Santa Rosa City Council, as a member of the California Assembly, and as a member of the California State Senate, Noreen has always represented various parts of Sonoma County’s 5th District. She knows the important issues of the district and is committed to continuing to speak up in support of urban growth boundaries, protecting fisheries and rivers, addressing the growing problem of income and wealth disparities, promoting local and sustainable organic farms, and the challenges we face due to climate change.


Grassroots Progress for Bernie, and more!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
March 4, 2016                                                     

For all of us, 2016 is an important election year -- when we’ll elect a new President, and some key races for Congress will be decided.

Our environment, our privacy, our healthcare, and our Constitution are under relentless assault from corporate “business as usual” legislators -- and the time is now to elect candidates who will defend us in those crucial realms.

No matter who our next President is, it’s crucial that he or she will have committed progressive leaders in Congress to work with.

After careful assessments, the Coalition for Grassroots Progress has endorsed:


Press Conference: Wife of CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling Asks Obama to Pardon Him



On February 17th, 2016, Holly Sterling, Jesselyn Radack, John Kiriakou, Tim Karr, Delphine Halgand, and Cornel West spoke at a news conference at the National Press Club, then delivered a petition containing over 150.000 signatures to the White House calling for the pardon of CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling.


Coalition for Grassroots Progress Endorses

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
February 5, 2016                                                     

The Coalition for Grassroots Progress is pleased to announce our endorsements in several key races of the upcoming 2016 election season.

These endorsements are based on assessments of which candidates will defend the public interest in crucial matters such as the environment, privacy, healthcare, constitutional rights and the common good.

CGP has endorsed these candidates:

Bernie Sanders for President

Bernie Sanders continues to get the short end of the stick in corporate media coverage; at first they ignored him, and now as they watch his success, they react with skepticism and excuses for why it won’t last. It’s grassroots support across the country, like our 100 Door-Knocks for Bernie campaign, that are contributing to his unforeseen success in the primaries and caucuses. Go Bernie!

Jamie Raskin for Congress, in Maryland’s 8th District

Norman Solomon recently wrote this about Jamie Raskin: “Routinely, when congressional seats open up, the genuine progressive candidates can’t win and the candidates who can win aren’t really progressives. Jamie Raskin is a rare combination; after decades of fighting for progressive change, he now has huge momentum in a race for Congress. No wonder corporate Democrats are eager to block him.”

Tim Canova for Congress, running to unseat Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District. Many of us are among the more than 33,000 signers of RootsAction’s recent petition calling for Wasserman Schultz’s removal as Chair of the DNC. Tim Canova is her very first primary challenger, a lawyer who was active in the Occupy movement as well as being an opponent of the Wall Street bailout, and a steadfast opponent of the Patriot Act for which Wasserman Schultz repeatedly voted. Let’s help Tim Canova unseat this incumbent!  


The Bernie Campaign: The Democratic Party’s Biggest Insurrection in Decades

by Norman Solomon
Common Dreams. February 1, 2016
(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)  
Forty-eight years ago, a serious insurrection jeopardized the power structure of the national Democratic Party for the first time in memory. Propelled by the movement against the Vietnam War, that grassroots uprising cast a big electoral shadow soon after Senator Eugene McCarthy dared to challenge the incumbent for the Democratic presidential nomination.

When 1968 got underway, the news media were scoffing at McCarthy's antiwar campaign as quixotic and doomed. But in the nation's leadoff New Hampshire primary, McCarthy received 42 percent of the vote while President Lyndon B. Johnson couldn't quite get to 50 percent -- results that were shattering for LBJ. Suddenly emboldened, Senator Robert Kennedy quickly entered the race. Two weeks later, Johnson announced that he wouldn't seek re-election.

Although the nomination eventually went to Johnson's vice president Hubert Humphrey -- a supporter of the war who was the choice of Democratic power brokers -- the unmasking of the party's undemocratic process led to internal reforms that aided the Democratic Party's second modern insurrection. It came four years later, when Senator George McGovern won the presidential nomination, thanks to grassroots movements involving young people and activists of color. But any sense of triumph disappeared in the wake of President Nixon's landslide re-election in November 1972.


Needed: gun control at the Pentagon

Obama’s stand on guns does nothing for the victims of US firepower abroad


by Norman Solomon
Aljazeera America. OPINION
January 29, 2016
Salah Malkawi / Getty Images  

With passion and eloquence, President Barack Obama has renewed efforts to reduce gun tragedies. His proposals to strengthen safety measures and background checks for gun purchasers deserve support. But it’s disquieting to hear a president deliver heartfelt orations against “gun violence” at home while he conveys scant remorse about imposing it on innocent people abroad.


Rare chance to put a genuine progressive in Congress!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
January 27, 2015

The Coalition for Grassroots Progress is very pleased to announce that we have endorsed Jamie Raskin’s campaign for an open seat in the U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland.

Norman Solomon is so encouraged by the prospect of Jamie Raskin in Congress that he recently wrote a letter calling Jamie “a rare combination” and urging support for his campaign from around the country.

“Jamie is an activist with a proven record as a state senator in the Maryland legislature,” Norman wrote. “He’s got a sense of humor, but when it comes to social change he doesn’t kid around!”


Spin Shift on Bernie: The Escalating Media Assault

by Norman Solomon
Common Dreams. January 27, 2016
In this file image, Sen. Bernie Sanders appears on CBS News 'Face the Nation'' in Washington last year in this. (Photo: Reuters)

For a long time, as he campaigned for president, a wide spectrum of establishment media insisted that Bernie Sanders couldn’t win. Now they’re sounding the alarm that he might.

And, just in case you haven’t gotten the media message yet -- Sanders is “angry,” kind of like Donald Trump.

Elite media often blur distinctions between right-wing populism and progressive populism—as though there’s not all that much difference between appealing to xenophobia and racism on the one hand and appealing for social justice and humanistic solidarity on the other.

Many journalists can’t resist lumping Trump and Sanders together as rabble-rousing outliers. But in the real world, the differences are vast.


Money Men Say, Voters Move Over, It’s Not Your Election!

Appalled at the chaotic GOP presidential race and the ascendancy of Trump and Cruz, those with the gold want to rule.


by Bill Moyers, Michael Winship
Common Dreams. January 23, 2016
David Koch speaks at the Defending the American Dream summit in 2015. He and his brother Charles lead a conservative political network that plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on the 2016 elections. (Photo: Paul Vernon/AP)
David Brooks is a worried man.

Like many establishment Republicans, the conservative columnist for The New York Times sees the barbarians pouring through the gates and fears for both his party and the republic. Hail, Trump! Hail, Cruz! It’s enough to send a sober centrist dashing through the Forum in search of a cudgel.

There was Brooks on a recent edition of the PBS NewsHour, his angst spilling out across the airwaves like fog from a nightmare: “I wish we had gray men in suits,” he told Judy Woodruff, conjuring in some nostalgia-minded the courtly cabal of well-heeled businessmen who drafted war hero Dwight D. Eisenhower to run for president as a Republican.

“We don’t have that,” Brooks continued. “But the donor class could do something.”


10 Good Things About the Not-So-Great Year 2015

by Medea Benjamin
Common Dreams. December 23, 2015

Though times are tough, let's forget the bright spots of 2015. And in the year head, writes Benjamin, "May the force be with the grassroots activists trying to build a more peaceful world." (Photo: Big Stock / with overlay)

It would certainly be easy to do a piece about 10 horrible events from 2015, from the ongoing war in Syria and the refugee crisis, to the bombings in Beirut, Paris and San Bernardino, to the rise of Donald Trump and Islamophobia. But that wouldn’t be a very inspiring way to bid farewell to this year and usher in a new one. So let’s look at 10 reasons to feel better about 2015.

1. Iran nuclear deal: Despite significant political opposition and millions of dollars spent to try to quash the deal, the nuclear agreement with Iran was passed and the possibility of another US military entanglement was narrowly avoided. The powerful lobby AIPAC had its wings clipped, as did Israel’s Bibi Netanyahu (except that the deal unfortunately came with a payoff of even more US tax dollars going to the Israeli military).


The Plutocrats Are Winning. Don’t Let Them!

The vast inequality they are creating is a death sentence for government by consent of the people. This is the fight of our lives and how it ends is up to us.


by Bill Moyers
Common Dreams. December 22, 2015

"As we are reminded by this season, there is more to life than politics," writes Moyers. "But without healthy democratic politics serving a moral order, all these are imperiled by the ferocious appetites of private power and greed." (Photo:


Dear Readers:

In the fall of 2001, in the aftermath of 9/11, as families grieved and the nation mourned, Washington swarmed with locusts of the human kind: wartime opportunists, lobbyists, lawyers, ex-members of Congress, bagmen for big donors: all of them determined to grab what they could for their corporate clients and rich donors while no one was looking.


Our members of Congress did WHAT?

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
December 10, 2015                                                   

Are you sitting down? I hope so, because you need to get ready for an unpleasant surprise.

Congressmen Jared Huffman and Mike Thompson both voted yes on a bill that lets car dealerships charge higher auto loan interest rates to people of color than they do to Caucasians.

Huffman and Thompson, along with 86 other Democrats and 244 Republicans in the House of Representatives, voted yes on H.R. 1737, which cancels regulatory guidance issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2013 that prohibits car dealers from practicing racial discrimination in car financing.


Obama’s Speech, Translated into Candor

by Norman Solomon
Common Dreams. December 7, 2015
"Here’s what I want you to know," said President Obama on Sunday night to the American people: "The threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it." (Photo: Reuters/Pool)
Here is a condensed version of President Obama's speech from the Oval Office on Sunday night, unofficially translated into plain English:
I kind of realize we can’t kill our way out of this conflict with ISIL, but in the short term hopefully we can kill our way out of the danger of a Republican victory in the presidential race next year.
As a practical matter, the current hysteria needs guidance, not a sense of proportion along the lines of what the New York Times just mentioned in passing: “The death toll from jihadist terrorism on American soil since the Sept. 11 attacks—45 people—is about the same as the 48 killed in terrorist attacks motivated by white supremacist and other right-wing extremist ideologies.... And both tolls are tiny compared with the tally of conventional murders, more than 200,000 over the same period.”


Climate battle close to home

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
December 4, 2015

Last month, many of us gathered in Oakland for the People’s Climate Rally, to demand action on global climate disruption.

Street actions calling attention to the urgency of climate change are energizing, and the next step is to put that energy to work.


Killer Drone News Blackout Continues As Mainstream Media Ignore Air Force Whistleblowers

Published December 4, 2015 by
by John Hanrahan
Common Dreams. December 4, 2015

Drone whistleblowers from left: Cian Westmoreland, Michael Haas, Brandon Bryant and Stephen Lewis. (Photograph: Simon Leigh for the Guardian)

The polls show it and commentators of all political stripes often cite the figures: Killer drone attacks by the U.S. military and the CIA in the Greater Middle East and Africa have strong U.S. public support. According to the Pew Research Center’s most recent poll in May, 58 percent — up slightly from 56 percent in February 2013 — approve of “missile strikes from drones to target extremists in such countries as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.”The numbers of Americans disapproving of drone attacks actually increased from 26 percent to 35 percent over that two-year period — a hopeful sign, but still very much a minority view.

But how well informed can U.S. citizens be on this subject when the major news media time and again ignore or under-report drone-strike stories — as we have discussed here and here in recent weeks? Stories — such as The Intercept’s October series based on a trove of classified materials provided by a national security whistleblower — that would likely raise serious questions about the drone program in many more Americans’ minds if they were actually given the information?


After Paris Attacks, Critics Warn Against ‘Wars of Vengeance’

Meanwhile, human rights advocates predict backlash against refugees


by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer
Common Dreams. November 16, 2015

As details trickled out about Friday's deadly attacks in and around Paris, observers urged world leaders to avoid knee-jerk responses both at home and abroad.

"The true test for France is how they respond to the terror attacks in the long-game—that’s the king in all this," said analyst and former U.S. Foreign Service employee Peter Van Buren in an op-ed Sunday. "America failed this test post-9/11; yet it does not sound like France understands anything more than America. 'We are going to lead a war which will be pitiless,' French president [François] Hollande said outside the Bataclan concert hall, scene of the most bloodshed."

Indeed, beating the drum for "all-out war" would not be strategically sound, critics cautioned in the wake of the attacks.


The Digital Dog Ate Our Civil-Liberties Homework: “It’s Just the Way It Is”

by Norman Solomon
Common Dreams. November 9, 2015

'The surveillance state is not the default setting of digital technology. The surveillance state is a failure and suppressor of democracy.' (Image:

Of all the excuses ladled out for the Obama administration's shredding of the Fourth Amendment while assaulting press freedom and prosecuting “national security” whistleblowers, none is more pernicious than the claim that technology is responsible.

At first glance, the explanation might seem to make sense. After all, the capacities of digital tech have become truly awesome. It’s easy to finger “technology” as the driver of government policies, as if the president at the wheel has little choice but to follow the technological routes that have opened up for Big Brother.

Now comes New York Times reporter Charlie Savage, telling listeners and viewers of a Democracy Now interview that the surveillance state is largely a matter of technology: “It’s just the way it is in the 21st century.”


See you at our celebration on the 14th!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
November 6, 2015

It’s not too late to RSVP for our celebration on November 14!

For the past several months, your fellow activists for progress have been walking in their neighborhoods, talking to their neighbors, and organizing their precincts for a more progressive vote.

We’ve been especially focused  on “100 Door Knocks for Bernie,” and on Saturday, November 14,  we’ll be getting together to celebrate the successful conclusion of the first phase of that project.

Come join us in Santa Rosa for a celebratory gathering with like-minded friends as we reflect on the powerful nature of our work together and discuss next steps!


 Why Grassroots Democrats Don’t Have a Problem With Democratic Socialism

They know that Bernie Sanders is advocating an old American tradition—in fact, Democrats now favor socialism over capitalism by 12 percentage points.


Published November 4, 2015 by The Nation
by John Nichols
Common Dreams. November 4, 2015

FDR's "good friend": Socialist Party presidential candidate Norman Thomas in Milwaukee, September 1932. (Photo: AP/Archive)

“Do I think Bernie Sanders should talk about democratic socialism? Yes, I do,” says Iowan Mary Clark. “I want him to explain everything in detail—give people a really good explanation. People who like Bernie are probably going to like him a little more if he does that. And people who aren’t supporting Bernie now might just say, ‘It sounds like he’s got some ideas that would actually solve our problems.’”

Clark isn’t a pundit or a pollster; nor does she sell herself as an expert on economics or presidential politics. She’s a rural Iowan who worries a lot about whether her neighbors will have clean water, decent housing, and fair pay. She’s worked a few minimum-wage jobs herself, and she knows a lot of folks who are struggling to get by along the rural routes that pass through her corner of Iowa’s Polk County. She talks to them about politics, and she always talks up Sanders. People like what they hear, she says. “But then they hear these guys on television saying, ‘Bernie Sanders can’t get elected because he’s a democratic socialist.’ So Bernie has to talk about it. But he doesn’t have to apologize for anything. He should say, ‘You’re wrong—I can get elected as a democratic socialist, and here’s why.’”


Disturbing Schools

by Robert C. Koehler
Common Dreams. October 30, 2015

In this photo made from video taken by a Spring Valley High School student, Deputy Ben Fields tries to forcibly remove a student who refused to leave her high school math class near Columbia S.C. (Photo: Screenshot/AP)

So South Carolina has a special crime category called “disturbing schools,” which seems to be creating just that: disturbing schools. Very disturbing schools.

Not that I need to single out South Carolina. In my brief stint teaching writing as an outside consultant in several Chicago high schools, some 20 years ago, I was smacked broadside with the observation that the city’s educational system exhibited the behavior of an occupying army, at least in its low-income neighborhoods. Education was something imposed from above and force-fed to the students like bad-tasting medicine. It didn’t honor the students’ own culture.

What the kids needed was a generosity of understanding that the education system had no interest in giving them, preferring to help them along on their journey to adulthood with zero tolerance and metal detectors.

What has happened to our national intelligence, not to mention our national values? In the era of cellphone accountability, our lack thereof has a new poster boy: Officer Slam. Throw the insolent kid across the floor, break her arm if necessary, slap her in cuffs.

This is how we teach respect. This is how we teach math.


Phillip Baldwin for Russian River Flood Control District!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
October 21, 2015

You’ve heard it said that every vote counts, and that has never been more true than it is for elections like the Mendocino County Russian River Flood Control & Water Conservation Improvement District election this November.

The Coalition for Grassroots Progress has endorsed former Ukiah City Councilman and long-time progressive Phillip Baldwin, running for one of two seats on this board, and he needs your vote.

If you live outside the district and can’t vote for him, please urge any of your contacts who can vote for him to do so.


Grassroots Progress in Sonoma County. Let’s Celebrate!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
October 13, 2015

We have something to celebrate, and we hope that you will join us!

CGP’s “100 Door Knocks for Bernie” project has been getting a lot of attention, all over the country as well as locally, and on Saturday, November 14 we’re going to celebrate the successful conclusion of the first phase of the project.

We’re getting money out of politics by putting people back in, as our activists step away from their computers and get out into their neighborhoods instead, talking to their neighbors about progressive issues and candidates.


Will Sanders challenge Clinton on foreign policy?

In debate, Sanders should be less reluctant to stake a position against the militarism of mainstream Democrats

by Norman Solomon
OPINION. Al Jazeera America
October 12, 2015
Ernesto Hernandez Fonte / U.S. Navy via Getty Images

The presidential campaign of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is challenging Democratic Party elites who serve corporate power at the expense of widening income inequality. No one personifies those elites more than his main rival for the party’s nomination, Hillary Clinton, who will face off with Sanders on Tuesday night in the first Democratic presidential debate.


Why Do Conservatives Get to Question Candidates–but Not Progressives?

Published on October 9, 2015 by
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
by Jeff Cohen
Common Dreams. October 9, 2015

CNN‘s Republican debate included questions from conservative talkshow host Hugh Hewitt. Why won’t there be a progressive asking questions at CNN‘s Democratic debate? (Photo: Bill Rice/cc)

At the CNN-sponsored Republican Party debate last month at the Reagan Library, one of the three panelists CNN selected to question the candidates was conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, affiliated with the proudly right-wing Salem Radio Network.

But at Tuesday’s upcoming Democratic Party debate, CNN is not planning to include a single progressive advocate among its panel of four questioners.


Bombing Hospitals All in a Day’s Work

Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz destroyed by U.S. bombing

by Phyllis Bennis
Common Dreams. October 5, 2015

Surgeons work inside a Médecins Sans Frontières hospital after an air strike in the city of Kunduz, Afghanistan. (Photo: Handout/Reuters)

The destruction of the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, with 22 dead so far, including doctors, other staff and patients, capped a week that also saw the bombing of​ another hospital in Afghanistan, plus the U.S.-backed Saudi Arabian bombing of a wedding party in Yemen set up in tents far out in the desert, away from anything remotely military. (What IS it about wedding parties that U.S. and allied bombers keep hitting them?).


Single Payer and the Case Against ‘Clicktivism’

by Russell Mokhiber
Common Dreams. September 30, 2015

Obamacare, with its promise of healthcare reform, took the wind out of the sails of the single payer movement.

In the House of Representatives, the number of co-sponsors of the single payer bill, HR 676, today is at 53 — down from a high of about 100.

Under Obamacare, 30 million Americans are still uninsured and tens of millions more are underinsured.

It’s a down year for single payer and activists are asking — what to do?

What’s the next step?


The Painful Facts, State-by-State: How We’re Victimized by Corporate State Tax Avoidance

by Paul Buchheit
Common Dreams
September 28, 2015

When it comes to tax-dodging, the biggest companies are the worst. (Photo:  Yuri Keegstra/flickr/cc)

Corporate data from numerous sources, including annual reports directly from the companies themselves, has been merged and matched and managed into two spreadsheets that reveal state-by-state corporate tax avoidance. The results show how people all over America are being deprived of revenue that should be going to education and infrastructure.


CGP Endorses Ruth Carter for Dixie School Board

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
September 14, 2015                                                                          

The Coalition for Grassroots Progress is pleased to announce its endorsement of Ruth Carter for Dixie School Board, Marin County. 

Over the past two years, Ruth has carefully familiarized herself with the issues facing the Dixie School District; as the district faces changing demographics, she has a vision for the future of the district that addresses both budgetary challenges and ways to expand needed educational programs.

We wish Ruth Carter success in her campaign!


America’s post-9/11 Cassandras are still ignored

As the US war machine grinds on, mainstream media outlets bury prescient warnings


by Norman Solomon
Al Jazeera America
September 11, 2015

Fourteen years later, the horrors of 9/11 continue with deadly ripple effects. American militarism has become the dominant position of U.S. foreign policy, while other options remain banished to the sidelines. Yet from the outset of the “war on terrorism,” some Americans spoke out against a militarized response to the terrible events on Sept. 11, 2001.

Conventional wisdom presents the “war on terrorism” — proclaimed by President George W. Bush and maintained under President Barack Obama — as the only practical response to 9/11. Fighting terrorism has been the main rationale for all U.S. military interventions since then, spinning the Pentagon’s machinery into overdrive despite the absence of clearly identified foes or geographical boundaries.

Even the most prominent warnings against such an approach were marginalized and vilified in the wake of Sept. 11. And those warnings have been buried by the U.S. media as though they never occurred, even though their concerns have proved prescient. The U.S. has spent trillions of dollars on military interventions across the Middle East, and yet the region is more violent and turbulent than ever.



Grassroots Progress for Bernie Sanders!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
September 3, 2015                                            

When we announced our endorsement of Bernie Sanders for President last month, we said that the 2016 election could be a turning point in American democracy, if we the people can get money out of politics by putting the people back in.

Bernie has been attracting big crowds of supporters wherever he goes; he’s spoken to more than 100,000 people at live events across the country, and his grassroots campaign keeps growing. You’d have to look hard at the newspaper or television news reports to learn about that, though.

That’s why we’ve launched our “100 Door-Knocks for Bernie” project in Marin, Sonoma, and Mendocino Counties in California, where we’re talking to our neighbors about why we support Bernie Sanders for President. We know that if every one of our supporters in those counties makes a commitment to knock on one hundred doors in their own neighborhood to get the word out about Bernie Sanders’ campaign, that will have a large effect on election results.


The Power of the People: Richmond Progressives Share Lessons from Defeat of Chevron at the Polls

On June 20, 2015 the Coalition for Grassroots Progress hosted an extraordinary event in Petaluma, California. Members of the successful team of Richmond progressives came to town to share the lessons they learned in the process of defeating oil industry behemoth Chevron's attempt to buy a friendly City Council in the November 2014 election.


Norman Solomon on Bernie Sanders and Foreign Policy

UpFront. KPFA. 08.31.15
Hosted by Brian Edwards-Tiekert   
Peace activists have been petitioning presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to stake out clear positions on war and militarism–so when ABC’s Martha Raddatz pinned him down this weekend on Iran, drones, and war, did they get what they want? Norman Solomon will join us in studio to talk Bernie Sanders, foreign policy, and trying to make change through elections.
Click here to listen to the archived audio of the program.
Brian's interview with Norman Solomon begins at about the 30 minute mark.


How to win an election: go knock on doors

by Andrew Steele
The Globe and Mail. August 10, 2011
Udated September 06, 2012                               

Everyone has a theory about why elections go the way they do:

“Barack Obama won the election because he understood new media.”

“In 2008, Obama only won the election because he won the critical states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin by differentiating himself from McCain on trade.”

“The Bush Economy won the election for Obama”

All of these are interesting theories, but they are difficult to prove.

But there is one thing that is proven to increase voter turnout for your candidate: canvassing.


Congressman Huffman: Support the Iran Agreement

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
August 19, 2015                                       

You will probably be as surprised as we were to learn that Congressman Jared Huffman has not yet publicly said that he will support peace in the Middle East by voting “Yes” on the Iran nuclear arms agreement.

Let’s tell Congressman Huffman that it’s time to get off the fence and make a solid commitment to peace in the Middle East by voting yes on the Iran deal. Here’s a link for his constituents who want to email the Congressman with that message.


Subverting Illusions: Julian Assange and the Value of WikiLeaks

by Norman Solomon
Common Dreams. August 17, 2015
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. (Photo: AFP)

Three years after Ecuador’s government granted political asylum to Julian Assange in its small ground-floor London embassy, the founder of WikiLeaks is still there—beyond the reach of the government whose vice president, Joe Biden, has labeled him "a digital terrorist." The Obama administration wants Assange in a U.S. prison, so that the only mouse he might ever see would be scurrying across the floor of a solitary-confinement cell.

Above and beyond Assange’s personal freedom, what’s at stake includes the impunity of the United States and its allies to relegate transparency to a mythical concept, with democracy more rhetoric than reality. From the Vietnam War era to today -- from aerial bombing and torture to ecological disasters and financial scams moving billions of dollars into private pockets—the high-up secrecy hiding key realities from the public has done vast damage. No wonder economic and political elites despise WikiLeaks for its disclosures.


Norman Solomon on Community Organizing & Confronting Corporate Power


Composting for Progressive Movements & Challenging Sonoma County’s Corporate Power Structure.

A Presentation by Norman Solomon


Published by The Raucus Rooster
August 13, 3015

On June 20, 2015 the Coalition for Grassroots Progress (CGP) hosted an event at Heidi Overman’s lovely restaurant and catering venue, Fourchette, in an industrial business park at the northern end of Petaluma, California. Some may know the site as the former location of Lydia’s Sunflower Center.

The event was an organized for two purposes: first, to recognize the remarkably effective work in political and community organizing achieved over the past decade by the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA), which culminated in the election in November 2014 of a progressive majority on the Richmond City Council.

This victory came about despite a record-setting expenditure of over $3 million on the campaign by the Chevron corporation to elect its own trio of candidates. Chevron is the eighth largest corporation in the world. All three of Chevron’s candidates were defeated.

The second goal was to learn what progressive and allied activists, community organizers and leaders can do to achieve similar successes here in the North Bay.


10 Steps to Wean US Foreign Policy Off Militarism

by Medea Benjamin
Common Dreams. August 7, 2015
While some sectors of our society certainly benefit from excessive militarism, the majority of Americans don’t. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

US progressives are delighted to see the US administration making some progress on the diplomatic front with Cuba and Iran. We should now clearly define what a progressive foreign policy looks like, and push presidential candidates and other officials to move US foreign policy towards one based on respect, cooperation and diplomacy.

President Obama, after spending most of his time in office pursuing foreign policies similar to those of George Bush, has now discovered diplomacy. While he hasn’t stopped US military intervention overseas, including his signature drone strikes, he has brokered two historic deals: one with Cuba to begin the process of normalizing relations and the nuclear deal with Iran that he is now struggling to pass through Congress.

US progressives who are delighted to see some progress on the diplomatic front should now clearly define what a progressive foreign policy looks like, and push presidential candidates and other officials to move US policy towards one that is based on respect, cooperation, and diplomacy, including the following:



Bernie Sanders should stop ducking foreign policy

The progressive favorite has views on foreign affairs but has avoided articulating them to voters


by Norman Solomon
Opinion. Al Jazeera America
August 5, 2015

Senator Bernie Sanders has sparked a strong grassroots response in his run for the Democratic presidential nomination on social and economic issues. At the same time, he has given short shrift to foreign policy, military spending and war. That approach should change.

I’m among millions of supporters who are enthusiastic about the clarity of his positions in taking on Wall Street, corporate power and economic inequality. But we also need Sanders to be clear about what he would do as commander in chief of the world’s leading military power.


Sanders Makes History With 2016 Cycle’s Biggest Campaign Event Yet

'I have never seen a campaign as exciting as this,' says Sanders supporter in Alabama


by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer
Common Dreams. July 29, 2015
From a house party in Washington, D.C., Sanders spoke to roughly 100,000 people at 3,500 house parties across the country. (Photo: Screenshot)

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addressed an estimated 100,000 supporters at more than 3,500 house parties in all 50 states on Wednesday night, at what is being called the largest campaign event of the 2016 election cycle thus far.

The organizing kick-off, which Sen. Sanders (I-Vt.) said was aimed at building a political movement from the ground up, saw the democratic socialist beamed into bars, libraries, and living rooms from Alaska to Florida. There was a "custom cocktail" featuring Vermont maple syrup at a bar in Washington, D.C., while a Texas event served up "brisket and biscuits for Bernie."

The man himself spoke from what the Burlington Free Press described as "a modest, steamy apartment" in the nation's capitol. His remarks were delivered "off a yellow legal pad balanced precariously on a wobbly music stand," added Salon.


We’re for Bernie!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
July 22, 2015                                           

We are pleased to announce that the Coalition for Grassroots Progress has endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders for President!

Excitement is growing around the country, as Bernie keeps drawing much larger crowds than any other presidential candidate this year. Last Saturday night, 11,000 people turned out to hear him in Phoenix.

The year 2016 could be a true turning point in American democracy: Will the moneyed interests win again? Or, if we get money out of politics by putting the people in, will we the people win?


Perpetual war creates endless consequences

Democrats who once spoke out against Bush’s militarism have enabled Obama’s reliance on military force


by Norman Solomon
Al Jazeera America
July 13, 2015

When the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, began this month by issuing a farewell report on U.S. military strategy, the gist was hardly big news. “Dempsey to Pentagon: Prepare for the Never-Ending War” read the headline on the cover page of the National Journal.

The “war on terror” now looks so endless that no one speculates anymore about when it might conclude. “This war, like all wars, must end,” President Barack Obama declared in a major speech more than two years ago. “That’s what history advises. That’s what our democracy demands.” But midway through 2015, this war seems as interminable as ever.


Bernie Sanders Speaks

Published on July 6, 2015 by The Nation
by John Nichols
Common Dreams. July 6, 2015

Sanders at a town hall at the Culinary Workers Union, March 2015, in Las Vegas (AP Photo/John Locher)

When Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders told The Nation last year that he was “prepared to run for president,” he said he would do so only if it was clear that progressives were enthusiastic about a movement campaign seeking nothing less than “a political revolution.” It was an audacious proposal—but after traveling the country for a year, Sanders decided that the enthusiasm was there and announced in late April as a candidate for the Democratic nomination. There were plenty of doubters then. Two months into the campaign, however, everything about this candidacy—the crowds, the poll numbers, the buzz—is bigger than expected. That says something about Sanders. But it also says something about the prospects for progressive politics. In late June, The Nation sat down with Sanders for several conversations that asked the longtime Nation reader (“started when I was a University of Chicago student in the early 1960s”) to put not just his campaign but the moment in historical perspective for our 150th-anniversary issue:


CGP Endorses Bernie Sanders

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
July 5, 2015

The Coalition for Grassroots Progress Endorses Senator BERNIE SANDERS for President 2016.

For more information about Senator
Bernie Sanders, visit:


Would Jeffrey Sterling Be in Prison If He Were White?

by Norman Solomon
Common Dreams. June 25, 2015

Former CIA operative Jeffrey Sterling has begun serving a 3-year prison sentence after being convicted, despite no conclusive evidence, of leaking classified information to a New York Times journalist. (Image: 'Invisible Man' documentary/Judith Ehrlich)

Last week CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling went to prison. If he were white, he probably wouldn’t be there.

Sterling was one of the CIA’s few African-American case officers, and he became the first to file a racial discrimination lawsuit against the agency. That happened shortly before the CIA fired him in late 2001. The official in Langley who did the firing face-to-face was John Brennan, now the CIA’s director and a close adviser to President Obama.

Five months ago, in court, prosecutors kept claiming that Sterling’s pursuit of the racial-bias lawsuit showed a key “motive” for providing classified information to journalist James Risen. The government’s case at the highly problematic trial was built entirely on circumstantial evidence. Lacking anything more, the prosecution hammered on ostensible motives, telling the jury that Sterling’s “anger,” “bitterness” and “selfishness” had caused him to reveal CIA secrets.


After 13 Years of Hell, Human Held Without Charges Has One Question for US

'If the war in Afghanistan is over,' asks prisoner languishing at offshore prison, 'why am I still here?'


by Jon Queally, staff writer
Common Dreams. June 24, 2015

In a strikingly personal piece, Moath al-Alwi expresses his grief, anger, and frustrations after nearly 13 years of being held with no charges by the U.S. government. "I wonder now," he writes, "if the US follows any rule of law at all: the Geneva Conventions or even its own Constitution. Where is the freedom and justice for all that it so proudly boasts to the world?" (Photo: AP/file)

Moath al-Alwi, who has been a prisoner of the U.S. government and detained at the offshore prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba since 2002 without ever being charged with a crime or afforded a trial, has a simple yet urgent question for the American people and the U.S. government: Why am I still here?


Latest Poll Confirms Nation’s Desires Marching Leftward

'The shift in the electorate may help explain the attention being garnered by long-shot candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont,' says Gallup


by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer
Common Dreams. June 18, 2015

Bernie Sanders participates in the Populism 2015 Conference in Washington, D.C.  (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty)

Democrats in the U.S. are shifting to the left, according to new data from Gallup.

Or, as Frank Newport writes for the research and polling firm: "Democratic candidates for the 2016 presidential nomination face a significantly more left-leaning party base than their predecessors did over the last 15 years."

According to telephone interviews conducted in the first week of May with more than 1,000 adults, 47 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents now identify as both socially liberal and economically moderate or liberal. This is compared with 39 percent in these categories in 2008, when there was last an open seat for their party's nomination, and 30 percent in 2001.

Elaborating on the poll's implications, Newport added: "The shift in the electorate may help explain the attention being garnered by long-shot candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont who has used the label 'socialist' to describe himself and who is avowedly liberal across the board."


We’ll see you on June 20!

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
June 13, 2015                                                        
Are you looking forward to hearing from the Richmond Progressives about how they beat Chevron’s multi-million dollar campaign this past November?

RSVP today for this inspiring event, where Richmond City Council Member Gayle McLaughlin and Richmond Progressive Alliance activist Margaret Jordan will tell us how they did it!


Renewable Energy Will Not Support Economic Growth

Published June 7, 2015 by
by Richard Heinberg
Common Dreams. June 7, 2015

(Image: Shutterstock)

The world needs to end its dependence on fossil fuels as quickly as possible. That’s the only sane response to climate change, and to the economic dilemma of declining oil, coal, and gas resource quality and increasing extraction costs. The nuclear industry is on life support in most countries, so the future appears to lie mostly with solar and wind power. But can we transition to these renewable energy sources and continue using energy the way we do today? And can we maintain our growth-based consumer economy?

The answer to both questions is, probably not. Let’s survey four important sectors of the energy economy and tally up the opportunities and challenges.


A Misleading Moment of Celebration for a New Surveillance Program

Published on June 4, 2015 by
By Norman Solomon
Common Dreams. June 4, 2015

The morning after final passage of the USA Freedom Act, while some foes of mass surveillance were celebrating, Thomas Drake sounded decidedly glum. The new law, he told me, is “a new spy program.” It restarts some of the worst aspects of the Patriot Act and further codifies systematic violations of Fourth Amendment rights.

Later on Wednesday, here in Oslo as part of a “Stand Up For Truth” tour, Drake warned at a public forum that “national security” has become “the new state religion.” Meanwhile, his Twitter messages were calling the USA Freedom Act an “itty-bitty step” — and a “stop/restart kabuki shell game” that “starts w/ restarting bulk collection of phone records.”

That downbeat appraisal of the USA Freedom Act should give pause to its celebrants. Drake is a former senior executive of the National Security Agency — and a whistleblower who endured prosecution and faced decades in prison for daring to speak truthfully about NSA activities. He ran afoul of vindictive authorities because he refused to go along with the NSA’s massive surveillance program after 9/11.


Is Voter Turnoff Inviting a Progressive Rollback?

By Steven Mikulan
Capital & Main. May 27, 2015

It’s become an unsettling fact of political life that as election turnouts dwindle, campaign spending skyrockets. Los Angeles’ recently concluded school board races, which drew a paltry 7.6 percent of potential voters, underscored this point. Ref Rodriguez, who unseated the District 5 incumbent, received most of the $2.2 million contributed by political action committees (PACs) controlled by the California Charter Schools Association Advocates. Rodriguez has co-created several charter schools and his backers, unsurprisingly, came from that community. Among the familiar local names of extreme wealth and influence were Eli Broad, Richard Riordan and William Bloomfield. Equally familiar to followers of school privatization were more distant funders such as Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Walmart heir Jim Walton, Laurene Powell Jobs, the Gap Inc.’s Fisher family members and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Rounding out Rodriguez’s cascade of thousand-dollar checks were names associated with high-powered investment firms, various charter schools and charter-advocacy groups, such as Parent Revolution and StudentsFirst. Even among this varied and far-flung group, two names stuck out: Amplify Learning president Larry Berger of New York, and New Majority California, which calls itself the state’s largest Republican PAC.


Labor for Bernie

Bernie Sanders has a long record of supporting pro-worker policies. Organized labor should back his presidential run.


Published May 27, 2015 by Jacobin
by Steve Early
Common Dreams. May 27, 2015

Bernie Sanders campaigns for Burlington mayor in 1981. (Photo: Vermont Press Bureau)

When I first met Brooklyn-born Bernie Sanders, he was a relatively marginal figure in his adopted state of Vermont. It was 1976 and he was running, unsuccessfully and for the fourth time, as a candidate of the Liberty Union Party (LUP).

Liberty Union was a radical third party spearheaded by opponents of the Vietnam War who had, like Sanders, washed up in the Green Mountain State as the sixties subsided. At its historic peak, the LUP garnered maybe 5 or 6 percent of the statewide vote for some of its more presentable candidates — in short, nothing like the winning margins racked up in recent years by the far more savvy and effective Vermont Progressive Party, which now boasts a ten-member legislature delegation and attracts growing union support.

During Sanders’s quixotic mid-1970s bid to become governor of Vermont, I accompanied him to a meeting of local granite cutters, teamsters, and electrical workers. This was not a “flatlander” crowd, nor one dominated by full-time union officials. His audience was native Vermonters, some of them Republican, who were still punching a clock at local quarries, trucking companies, and machine tool factories in an era when the future home state of Ben & Jerry’s and Vermont Teddy Bear Co. still had impressive blue-collar union density.


Jeffrey Sterling vs. the CIA: An Untold Story of Race and Retribution

Published on May 27, 2015 by
by Norman Solomon
Common Dreams. May 27, 2015

Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling got on the wrong side of his employers at the CIA. And now he faces prison. (Photo: file)

A dozen years before his recent sentencing to a 42-month prison term based on a jury’s conclusion that he gave classified information to a New York Times journalist, former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was in the midst of a protracted and fruitless effort to find someone in Congress willing to look into his accusations about racial discrimination at the agency. has obtained letters from Sterling to prominent members of Congress, beseeching them in 2003 and 2006 to hear him out about racial bias at the CIA. Sterling, who is expected to enter prison soon, provided the letters last week. They indicate that he believed the CIA was retaliating against him for daring to become the first-ever black case officer to sue the agency for racial discrimination.


Get money out of politics by putting the people back in

Coalition for Grassroots Progress
May 20, 2015                                                                  
Recently the satirical publication The Onion asked “What is the purpose of super PACs?” Their answer was “To counteract the excessive influence ordinary voters exert on US elections.”

Satire or not, we at the Coalition for Grassroots Progress believe that The Onion is right, and that the only way we’ll be able to get money out of politics is if the people put themselves back in. 

We saw evidence in last year’s election that putting the people back into the political process makes a remarkable difference in election results. The grassroots group Richmond Progressive Alliance organized voters to beat Chevron’s multi-million dollar campaign spending in Richmond, California, and it worked: the progressives won!


Establishment Journalists Pride Themselves on Staying on the Official Rails

Published on May 18, 2015 by Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)
by Jim Naureckas
Common Dreams. May 18, 2015

"It’s an odd choice of metaphor," writes Naureckas. "Rails, after all, are meant to keep a vehicle on a predetermined track."

In his brilliant analysis in Columbia Journalism Review (3/15/15) of establishment media reaction to Seymour Hersh’s re-examination of the killing of Osama bin Laden (London Review of Books, 5/21/15), the Guardian‘s Trevor Timm notes that one of the put-downs hurled at Hersh to discredit his story is “off the rails”–as in, “In recent years, however, Hersh has appeared increasingly to have gone off the rails,” as Max Fisher put it in his Vox broadside (5/11/15).

It’s an odd choice of metaphor. Rails, after all, are meant to keep a vehicle on a predetermined track. It’s not much of compliment to compare a journalist to a smoothly operating train, always showing up at the official stations.


Don’t Grade Justice on a Warped Curve: Assessing the Case of Jeffrey Sterling

by Norman Solomon
Common Dreams. May 14, 2015
Former CIA operative Jeffrey Sterling was sentenced to 3 years in prison earlier this week. (Image: 'Invisible Man' documentary/Judith Erlich)

Yes, I saw the glum faces of prosecutors in the courtroom a few days ago, when the judge sentenced CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling to three and a half years in prison -- far from the 19 to 24 years they’d suggested would be appropriate.

Yes, I get that there was a huge gap between the punishment the government sought and what it got -- a gap that can be understood as a rebuke to the dominant hard-line elements at the Justice Department.

And yes, it was a positive step when a May 13 editorial by the New York Times finally criticized the extreme prosecution of Jeffrey Sterling.


CIA Officer Jeffrey Sterling Sentenced to Prison: Latest Blow in the Government’s War on Journalism

It’s a warning shot—not only against whistleblowing but against basic communication with journalists by government employees.


Published May 13, 2015 by The Nation
by Norman Solomon
Common Dreams. May 13, 2015

Former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling with his wife after being convicted of leaking classified details to a New York Times reporter. (Photo: AP/Kevin Wolf)

The sentencing of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling on May 11 for espionage ends one phase of a long ordeal and begins another. At age 47, he has received a prison term of 42 months—three and a half years—after a series of ever more improbable milestones.

The youngest of six children raised by a single mother, Sterling was the only member of his family to go to college. He graduated from law school in 1993, worked briefly at a public defender’s office, and then entered the CIA, where he became one of the agency’s only African-American case officers. In August 2001, Sterling became the first one ever to file a lawsuit against the CIA for racial discrimination. (His suit, claiming that he was denied certain assignments because of his race, was ultimately tossed out of court on grounds that a trial would jeopardize government secrets.) Soon afterward, the agency fired him.

Sterling returned to his home state of Missouri and restarted his life. After struggling, he found a professional job and fell in love. But the good times were short-lived. One day in 2006, the FBI swooped in for a raid, seizing computers and papers at the small home that Sterling and his fiancée shared in a suburb of St. Louis. Slowly, during the next four years, without further action from the government, the menacing legal cloud seemed to disperse. But suddenly, a few days into 2011, Sterling was arrested for the first time in his life—charged with betraying his country.


Exclusive: CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling Speaks Out Upon Sentencing to 3.5 Years in Prison
May 12, 2015


CIA Whistleblower Sentencing Today

Institute for Public Accuracy
May 11, 2015                                               

Nearly four months after a jury returned a guilty verdict on government charges that Jeffrey Sterling gave classified information to New York Times reporter James Risen, the former CIA officer is scheduled to be sentenced at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Va. today.

The sentencing, by Judge Leonie Brinkema, is set for 2 pm. Immediately afterward, former CIA official Ray McGovern and former Justice Department official Jesselyn Radack will be available for comment in front of the courthouse.

McGovern and Radack — as well as NSA whistleblower Kirk Wiebe — will also be available for interviews later in the day. Contact information and summaries of their backgrounds are below.

Detailed coverage of the trial, which happened in January, is posted at, a project of the Institute for Public Accuracy. See letter from Archbishop Desmond Tutu on the case.


DOJ to Investigate Pattern of Racist Policing in Baltimore

Though welcomed, rights advocates question whether prosecutions or probes will have meaningful impact on systemic discrimination in Baltimore and other U.S. cities


by Lauren McCauley, staff writer
Common Dreams. May 8, 2015

A Baltimore protester faces a wall of police in riot gear during a demonstration on April 28, 2015. (Photo: Arash Azizzada/cc/flickr)

The United States Department of Justice announced Friday that after weeks of uproar and protest it would open an official investigation into the Baltimore Police Department to determine whether the discrimination and events that led to the brutal death of Freddie Gray were part of systemic pattern of abuse.

After traveling to the city this week, the newly anointed U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that recent events, including the "tragic in-custody death of Freddie Gray," had led to a "serious erosion of public trust," prompting local officials and community leaders to seek federal oversight of policing practices.


Broken Windows, Broken Spines

by Robert C. Koehler
Common Dreams. May 7, 2015

Activist DeRay Mckesson smacks down Wolf Blitzer: "You are suggesting this idea that broken windows are worse than broken spines, right?"

The 21st century has skewed off plan and begun to break open. Its self-designated guardians and explainers look on, at times, confused.

“But at least 15 police officers have been hurt, 200 arrests, 144 vehicle fires — these are statistics. There’s no excuse for that kind of violence, right?”

This is CNN’s Wolf Blitzer interviewing DeRay Mckesson last week as Baltimore convulsed. Mckesson, an organizer and citizen-journalist — a young, former school administrator radicalized last summer by the death of Michael Brown — stared into the camera and refused to succumb to, or be ensnared in, the anchorman’s agenda. That agenda was obvious: to turn “the riot” into the news, to sever Baltimore’s fury and despair from its cause, a militarized police force and the casual, ongoing murder of African-Americans. The official agenda was to portray the protesters as terrorists.

“Yeah, and there’s no excuse for the seven people that the Baltimore City Police Department killed in the last year either, right?” Mckesson answered, flipping the interview on its head.


Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh to speak in Santa Rosa on May 13

A video introduction to Dr. Kanaaneh's book Chief Complaint: A Country Doctor’s Tales of Life in Galilee

Look here for information about where you can hear Dr. Kanaaneh in Santa Rosa on May 13.


How We Reach Critical Mass to Stop Climate Chaos

Published May 06, 2015 by EcoWatch
by Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr.

'The movement needs to expand,' writes Yearwood, 'and to do so we need to re-frame the issue of climate change to make it an everyday, every person issue.'

This upcoming weekend at the University of the District of Columbia Law School, Bill McKibben, Dr. Michael Dorsey, Lester Brown, Professor Mark Jacobson, Mustafa Ali from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Professor Phillip Harvey, Barbara Arnwine, Rev. Rodney Sadler, Jay Nightwolf, Krystal Williams, Joe Uehlein, Ted Glick, Chuck Rocha, Professor Joel Rogers, Nikisha Glover, Mike Ewall, Jeffrey Wolfe, Joel Segal, State Sen. Ben Ptashnik, Jacquelyn Patterson, Terrence Muhammad, Mark Magana, Dr. Gabriela Lemus, Leslie Fields, Andrea Miller and many, many more, will address these two central questions in a convening sponsored by People Demanding Action:

1. How do we reach the political “critical mass'” to stop climate chaos, and simultaneously tackle poverty and its accompanying social inequities?

2. The social ills that create poverty and accompanying social inequalities are created by the same mechanisms which thwart the proper response to climate change. How can we change them all together?

The objective of this convening is to build a movement of solidarity which includes climate crisis action and reestablishment of justice.


The Five-Step Process to Privatize Everything

by Paul Buchheit
Common Dreams. May 4, 2015

'The heart of privatization,' writes Buchheit, 'is a disdain for government and a distrust of society, and a mindless individualism that leaves little room for cooperation.' (Image: stock/public domain)

Law enforcement, education, health care, water management, government itself -- all have been or are being privatized. People with money get the best of each service.

At the heart of privatization is a disdain for government and a distrust of society, and a mindless individualism that leaves little room for cooperation. Adherents of privatization demand 'freedom' unless they need the government to intervene on their behalf.

These privatizers have a system:


The Significance of Bernie Sanders’ Decision to Enter the Democratic Primaries

by Tom Gallagher
Common Dreams. May 1, 2015

Sanders has correctly recognized, writes Gallagher, that the primary process affords him opportunities to be heard that running as an Independent or third party presidential candidate simply would not. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Why has the longest serving independent member of Congress in American history just announced that he will seek the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination?  Simply put, because Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), so long and so famously neither Democrat or Republican, has understood that the presidential primaries (and caucuses) offer him his best option for taking a politics of the 99 percent to the voters of the 99 percent.

This decision may not go down easy with all of Sanders’s potential supporters.  There will be those who may have to swallow hard to follow him into the Democratic primaries.  But Sanders obviously has not prefaced this decision by any trimming of his sails so far as arguing against the failure of the leading figures of the Democratic Party to demonstrate that they’re not merely the leaders of the country’s second party subservient to big money interests.  What he has done, however, is recognize that the primary process affords him opportunities to be heard that running as independent or third party presidential candidate simply would not. 


Whistleblowers vs. “Fear-Mongering”

By John Hanrahan • April 28, 2015

Photo of (left to right) Kirk Wiebe, Coleen Rowley, Raymond McGovern, Daniel Ellsberg, William Binney, Jesselyn Radack, and Thomas Drake by Kathleen McClellan (@McClellanKM) via Twitter

Seven prominent national security whistleblowers Monday called for a number of wide-ranging reforms — including passage of the “Surveillance State Repeal Act,” which would repeal the USA Patriot Act — in an effort to restore the Constitutionally guaranteed 4th Amendment right to be free from government spying.

Several of the whistleblowers also said that the recent lenient sentence of probation and a fine for General David Petraeus — for his providing of classified information to his mistress Paula Broadwell — underscores the double standard of justice at work in the area of classified information handling.


Move Over Shale, Solar Is Shining Brighter With Each Passing Day

Developments show how booming demand and support for solar is shaking up energy paradigm


by Jon Queally, staff writer
Common Dreams. April 27, 2015

If the fossil fuel industry has its way, the real promise of a "rooftop revolution" or "100% Renewable Energy Vision" is a long way off, but various factors reveal that a time may be coming where what oil, gas, and coal companies say, does not necessarily go. (Photo: SunCity)

Move over dirty fossil fuels, the solar revolution is coming.

That, at least, is the buried headline contained in new reporting from Reuters on Sunday which looks at the ability of the solar industry to upend the world's energy system in ways similar to recent innovations which allowed oil and gas companies to squeeze previously unattainable deposits from underground shale formations.

With a focus on Japan, Reuters catalogs how the rising capacity and falling prices of solar energy—even as it currently survives without contributions from a fleet of dormant nuclear plants —has led the country to turn off its "giant oil-fired power plants" one after another.


The Sun Must Go Down on the Patriot Act

Published on April 22, 2015 by Blog of Rights / ACLU
by Anthony D. Romero
Common Dreams. April 22, 2015
'Allowing Section 215 to sunset is a crucial first step if we want to ensure that this unlawful and ineffective surveillance finally ends,' writes Romero. (Image: ACLU)

Not long after the Patriot Act was passed in 2001, I had dinner with the late Senator Paul Wellstone in Washington, who was a stalwart defender of civil liberties throughout his career. I asked him how he could have possibly voted for a law that so vastly expanded the government’s spying powers. He told me that he was facing a tough election, but as soon as it was over he’d invite my organization, the American Civil Liberties Union, to testify before Congress about the Patriot Act’s flaws and the threats it presented to privacy and civil liberties. “We’ll work together to get this repealed,” he promised. Unfortunately, that day never came, as the senator tragically died in a plane crash in October of 2002.

Almost 13 years later, the most egregious part of the Patriot Act, Section 215 – which underlies the National Security Agency’s call-records program – is scheduled to expire on June 1. Some legislators want Congress to reauthorize it in its current form – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has just introduced a bill that would do exactly that, extending it for another five years. Others want to make relatively minor changes. Congress shouldn’t do either of these things. Unless Congress can coalesce around far-reaching reform, it should simply let the provision expire.


In His Own Words

  • It’s war and peace that to me circumscribe our realities here…. We’re being depleted of resources for state and local government services. We need to redefine what national security is. It’s not national security to have our schools crumbling. I would argue that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have made us less secure.

    Norman Solomon
    Pacific Sun, Jan. 14, 2011

  • I revere the New Deal legacy that gave our country Social Security and other key aspects of the social compact. President Franklin D. Roosevelt fought for economic fairness. Before the end of his first term, FDR denounced “the economic royalists.” He said: “They are unanimous in their hate for me -- and I welcome their hatred.”  He did not say, “They hate me -- and I want them to like me.”

    Norman Solomon
    Marin Independent Journal, Dec. 23, 2010

  • Washington’s failure to respond to climate change is an abysmal betrayal of hopes. The coal and oil industries, along with other corporate behemoths, have managed to trump the interests of life on Earth… It doesn’t do much good for officials to agree that the planetary house is on fire if they won’t really fight for turning on the fire extinguishers.

    Norman Solomon
    Solar Times, Autumn 2010

  • When I listened to children from Helmand province at a refugee camp on the outskirts of Kabul, it was clear that they didn't know or care whether the man in the Oval Office had a “D” or an “R” after his name. They, and their surviving parents, were trying to stay alive. For all the talk about winning hearts and minds, the refugee camp told a different story about priorities.

    Norman Solomon
    Marin Independent Journal, Oct. 7, 2010

  • The survival of all living beings on this planet, the entire ecosystem, depends on our civic engagement, on our working together to do the difficult tasks, to engage in the tedious activities, to be part of the political process, to insist that the ocean is not for sale, that the government is not for sale, that our earth is not for sale.

    Norman Solomon,
    speaking at rally against offshore oil drilling
    Marin Independent Journal, June 27, 2010

  • No amount of rhetoric about the dignity of work can make up for the deficit of determination from elected officials to roll back the scourge of unemployment…. Even when they decry high jobless levels, many in Congress seem to passively accept the myth that government can do little other than boost the private sector…

    Norman Solomon
    The Press Democrat, June 24, 2010

  • We can generate sustainable green jobs, protect small independent fishers and ecologically fragile coastlines, and rebuild local economies to serve communities rather than the big corporate model of take the money and run.

    Norman Solomon
    Eureka Times-Standard, August 10, 2011

  • In Washington, job one should be creating jobs. And that won't happen by continuing to give tax cuts to the wealthy while imposing benefit cuts on the rest of us.

    Norman Solomon
    Marin Independent Journal, August 15, 2011