Tim Molina, Courage Campaign: Two people. Both in a county jail. Both accused of a crime, but not yet convicted. Both deemed a low flight risk, unlikely to harm their communities. Which should get to return home, rejoin their family, live a normal life while awaiting trial?
The California Courage Campaign pleaded with Democrats in an email blast to “fight for single payer today, not next year.” But Democrats can’t pass single payer today or this year; under state law, ballot measures only occur during statewide elections in even-numbered years.
[UPDATE: in a separate message to supporters, the Courage Campaign wrote “it’s certainly true that the Healthy California Act needs more work before it can achieve all our goals” and was more circumspect about the road ahead.] Even the chair of the state Democratic Party, Eric Bauman, insisted that “SB562 must be given the chance to succeed,” even though it, um, can’t succeed.
Senate Republicans unveiled their plan to overhaul the Affordable Care Act. By Monday, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that 22 million fewer people would have health-care coverage by 2026; a similar plan that the House passed was expected to leave 23 million Americans uninsured and increase out-of-pocket costs for the sick and elderly.
Following the election of President Trump, Jimmi Kuehn-Boldt of Palm Springs, Calif., began advocating for single-payer health care with the grassroots group Courageous Resistance. At 63, he doesn't expect anything to take effect before he's eligible for Medicare in a little more than a year, but he said he's worried about seeing care for others deteriorate if Republicans are successful.
Assembly Bill 42, authored by Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, would have made sweeping changes to California’s immoral bail system, changing a status quo that treats the wealthy like equals, and the rest of us like cattle. Yet every Republican and 14 Democrats voted to continue a system that is unfair, expensive and hurts poor communities.
The foundation of our justice system is that we are all “innocent until proven guilty.” Yet our bail system allows the state to detain people who have not seen a day in court, who demonstrate good behavior, and whom a judge has deemed a low risk for flight or criminal behavior.
Earlier this month, Feinstein came in for immediate criticism when, following the firing of FBI Director James Comey, she released a brief statement indicating only that Trump had called to inform her of the ouster and stating, “The next FBI director must be strong and independent and will receive a fair hearing in the Judiciary Committee.”
Feinstein offered a far more critical assessment the following day, and she was one of the first Democratic senators to call for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint a special prosecutor or resign. But her initial statement “really hit people the wrong way,” said Eddie Kurtz, president and executive director of the liberal advocacy group Courage Campaign. “It seemed like business as usual, and we’re not in a business as usual place.”
And Eddie Kurtz, president and executive director of the liberal advocacy group Courage Campaign, said it is “my job to make sure [the health care vote] isn’t a flash in the pan, that it is hung around these folks’ necks every way possible.”
The revelation comes from the Washington Post having obtained a transcript of a conversation between leaders of the House, including Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), who drops this bombshell: “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.”
Nyet, says Ryan and McCarthy, you are not supposed to take it literally because—now that the chat has gone public—they claim it was just a joke between the girls, pointing to the laughter that broke out among leaders (while failing to mention McCarthy's sober "Swear to God."). Not buying that explanation is California-based Courage Campaign Executive Director Eddie Kurtz, who says, "For once, it appears McCarthy told the truth."
Kate Connor, who leads the local Courage Campaign efforts, said numerous Valley residents have tried to meet with Nunes about local and national concerns, but have been met with resistance – so the group created a resistance of their own.
They’ve marched on Nunes’ offices in Clovis and Visalia since the November election.
“It is frankly pathetic that California Republicans are too afraid to meet with their constituents and discuss their concerns,” she said. “If our democratically elected representatives don't have the guts to stand face-to-face with their constituents and explain their decisions, then they shouldn't be voting to destroy our access to affordable healthcare or launch a war against our immigrant communities.”
State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) devoted his first online ad in the 2018 race to depicting Trump as anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-healthcare and a climate change denier. Lara urged voters to support his campaign for insurance commissioner so he can protect California from Trump’s reach.
After business-aligned Democrats successfully blocked efforts to slash oil consumption, ban fracking and double workers’ pay on holidays, the Courage Campaign, an advocacy group, decided to scour legislators’ voting records to see who, in their eyes, wasn’t sufficiently liberal.
“It was painfully clear that despite being this deep-blue progressive state with a progressive electorate, we were unable to enact the significant progress we feel is so desperately needed,” said Eddie Kurtz, the group’s president.
The latest scorecard, released this week, features nine legislators — five of them Democrats — in a “Hall of Shame.” The group also notes that seven legislators dramatically improved their scores — a sign, its organizers claim, that increased scrutiny is working.