Courage Campaign in the News

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After the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) failed to heed the advice of its own scientists and end use of the brain-harming pesticide chlorpyrifos, more than 200 residents of California’s farmworking communities today staged a rally outside the headquarters of CalEPA and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, calling for an immediate statewide ban. 

Following the rally, a delegation delivered more than 167,000 petition signatures along with a letter signed by 75 organizations representing hundreds of thousands of Californians. The petition was run by Care2, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Environmental Health, Center for Food Safety, Courage Campaign, CREDO, Friends of the Earth, and Pesticide Action Network.

Environmentalists who want Nestle to stop pumping tens of millions of gallons from a California creek, virtually for free, to sell it as bottled water, have sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for records on the multinational corporation.

California groups Story of Stuff Project and Courage Campaign Institute sued the FDA in Washington, D.C. Tuesday, in a federal FOIA complaint. They say the agency failed to timely respond to their Freedom of Information Act request for the records, and did not indicate whether, or even if, it will deliver the records.

Paul Song, a California physician and former chairman of the progressive Courage Campaign, said of establishment Democrats, “Whether it be single payer, whether it be [campaign finance] … whether it be now moving forward on environmental issues, I think it’s a much more energized, aggressive base that I don’t think they’ve ever faced before.”

The Democratic Party, he said, is “basically [having] a civil war among themselves.” The division is apparent in the profile of rank-and-file Democrats, more than 40 percent of whom identify themselves as moderate or conservative, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.

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."

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