THE VOORHIS VOICE
Liberal Voice of the Pomona Valley


  October/November 2012

www.claremontdems.org





MEETINGS AND SPECIAL EVENTS



Friday, October 5th, 19th, 26th 12-2 PM
Friday, November 2nd, 16th, 30th, 12-2 PM
Issues Committee Luncheon
Series
Rabi’s Café, 930 Central Avenue, Upland 
No speaker: Bring your issue

Friday, Oct. 12, 12-2 PM
Monthly Luncheon
Diana Ortiz + Immigrant students (Claremont Colleges)
Topic: “Our lives as Immigrant Students” 
LYL Gardens Restaurant, 921 W. Foothill Blvd., Claremont, CA (909) 626-9151
 Cost is ten dollars; meal is served family style. No pork on menu; many vegetarian dishes.

Saturday, October 27 9 AM – 5 PM
VILLAGE VENTURE BOOTH
Space # 735 Along Westbound First Street, near College Avenue

Monday, October 29, 7-9:30 PM
Monthly Membership Meeting
Deborah Freund, President, Claremont Graduate University,
Topic: ‘Perspectives on Health Care’
Porter Hall, 601 Mayflower Rd., Pilgrim Place Campus, Claremont

Sunday, November 4th, 2 PM
Funeral Services for Mike Davis
    Unitarian Universalist Church, 9185 Monte Vista Avenue, Montclair, CA

Tuesday, November 6th, 7-12 PM
Victory Party!
Democratic Campaign HQ
3240 Garey Blvd., Pomona 91767
(SE corner Garey & Foothill in shopping mall)

Friday, November 9, 12-2 PM
Monthly Luncheon
John Eichinger, Professor of Education Cal State LA, on the ideal education system for the US

LYL Gardens Restaurant, 921 W. Foothill Blvd., Claremont, CA (909) 626-9151
 Cost is ten dollars; meal is served family style. No pork on menu; many vegetarian dishes.

Monday, November 26, 7-9 PM
Monthly Membership Meeting
Susan McWilliams Professor of Political Science, Pomona College, reviewing the past election.
Porter Hall
601 Mayflower Rd., Pilgrim Place Campus, Claremont, CA

December 9, 2012, 4-6 PM
Annual Holiday Party
Napier Center, Pilgrim Place, Claremont, CA




  Thank You, Jim Stripling 
By Carolee Munroe

Jim Stripling brings to an end his diligent staffing of DCC’s outdoor table during the Village Farmers’ Market.  Jim has faithfully manned the table for several years, Sunday after Sunday.  He packs his car and is on the road by 7:30 AM so he can get his parking spot, just behind where he sets up in front of Starbucks.  He sets up, gets a cup of coffee and is a presence until well after noon, usually until 1:00 PM.  Whatever our cause has been, presidential, congressional, state or local candidates, propositions, Club position papers, Jim has advocated from “his” table. Now, his tabling tenure comes to an end.

Jim has not just tabled for our club, he has been a man of all seasons.  He revived the “Voorhis Voice” compiling articles, editing and printing and mailing copies to our club members and others. When he ended that, he continued to decorate and staff our booth during Independence Day and Village Venture festivities. Actually, he bought the canopy we still use. He constructed one of the tables we use, too. His participation in our July 4 parade entry has been a certainty, as he has worn his WWII regalia with pride. Jim has, for several years, been our bartender at our Holiday Party, bringing his corkscrew and bar cloths. Jim has been a committed and active member of our club. 

Jim has, for more than seven years, demonstrated against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, sitting among the posters depicting the emblems identifying the various troops and yard signs that he and his now-deceased wife,  Connie, authored, “WE LOVE OUR TROOPS  BRING THEM HOME.”  He has held our American flag end engaged in conversation with any passersby. This activity, too, is at an end for Jim.  Jack, Doug and Victor will miss him on Friday afternoons.  So, when you are in the Village this Sunday, November 4, stop by and say, “Fare thee well and thanks a lot” to Jim.

 


 Inland Communities Democratic Headquarters








The HQ hosted well-attended debate watch parties for all of the debates.

The HQ is located at 3240 N. Garey Ave., Pomona, in the Foothill Square shopping mall at the SE corner of Garey and Foothill. Obama yard signs, bumper stickers, buttons, shirts, caps and pins are available to individuals for a small donation and to Democratic clubs all over southern California in volume for an even smaller donation per item, enabling them to raise funds while getting the word out.  For additional information, call Rudy Mann at 225-371-2174.


Thanks to Our Volunteeers
By Carolee Munroe

Our Democratic Club members and friends have again responded to a need; this time staffing the Los Angeles County Democratic booth at the LA County Fair.  Thanks to our volunteers! So many people agreed to make their time and energy Nancy Gibson of Arcadia managed the booth again this year, as she has for so many years.  Thanks to all our volunteers.

Mike Arenas,  Rose Ash,  John and Dorcia Bradley,  Gar Byrum,  Frank Cookingham, Robbie Cendejas,  Louie and Marta Duran,  Chuck Farritor,  John Forney,  Cecily French,  Josie Garcia,  Sophie Grillo,  Aelian Gunawardena,  Elsie Harber,  Samira Harry,  Mike Herbert,  Sandy Hester,  Maggie Hover,  Rose Marie Johnson,  William Judson,  Anne Koegel,  Dorothy Leibowitz,  Peg Linnehan,  Pat Lunde,  Ricky Maslowski,  Wes Mason,  Susan McWilliams,  Gabe Monroe,  Jack Monroe,  Matt Monroe,  Ainhoa Norindr,  Anneli Olausson,  Nancy Rice,  Merrill Ring,  Marguerite Gee Royse,  Guillermo (Dante) Sandoval,  Mary Anne Schultz,  Raul Solis,  John Stratford,  Al and Mavis Streyffeler,  Nancy Traer,  Julia Tanenbaum,  Evaggelos Vallianatos ,  Bill Whinnery,  Carol Whitson,  Mary Lou Williams,  Veronica Zarate and Lois Thompson who arranged for so many “Pilgrims” to volunteer.



“I’ve Got Your Back”
by Charles Bayer

What sort of society do we want for our great-grandchildren? A fascinating collection of responses have come from my readers. . . .  Perhaps the best of all came from a military veteran who proffered the words of a slogan from the Vietnam war.  “I’ve got your back.” It originated with fighter pilots who were informing a comrade that everything to the rear was covered. “I’ve got your six,” meant your six o’clock position. It became the military’s way of saying, “We’re in this together. Your safety depends on me and my safety depends on you.” That is the fundamental lesson in basic training.  “We are a unit!” The Stephen Spielberg mini-series, A Band of Brothers, nailed down the concept. Survival depends on mutual trust. Perhaps that notion is the essence of any vital community.

And that sort of society is what many of us want for our great-grandchildren. A livable earth, safety in a disarmed world, adequate health care, distribution of goods so that all can survive, the diminution of our dog-eat-dog philosophy—and so much more. This vision of the future depends on a community of mutual trust.

What we want for our great-grandchildren might well be a nation made up of interdependent persons. While individual rights can never be discounted, they must lie embedded in a social fabric. We are all partners of one another and have a responsibility for one another, particularly for the weak. No one is an island entire of itself. Every person is connected to every other person. It is the only way society can survive. The implications of this notion run all the way from the establishment of a defense force to food stamps. This is not envisioned as a system in which government owns and operates everything. Free enterprise will still be our fundamental economic model. It is rather the task of government to insure equity, fairness and concern for the left out. We say to one another in a hundred ways, “I’ve got your back.” And that is what the government must say, even to the weakest among us.
While we are not officially a Christian nation, much of this notion of mutuality flows from the religious roots which have guided much of American history. If one is honored, all are honored. If one suffers, all suffer. Maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Interdependence lies at the core of religious ethics.

Our Constitution defines a government of mutual concern and support. It begins, “We the people,” and goes on to detail what the people are going to do together, through their elected officials. Nowhere does the Constitution suggest that we are no more than a collection of isolated individuals.

The opposite of this communitarian perspective is an absolute individualism which suggests that the only responsibility any of us have it to the self. Its rallying cry is “Where’s mine!” In modern times this notion has taken shape in the so-called “Objectivism” of novelist Ayn Rand, a GOP favorite. She spelled it out in 1962 newspaper article: “Every man is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.”

Over against Ayn Rand’s solipsistic notion are the words of the Christian novelist, Frederick Buechner, “Compassion is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.” Obviously all of this has serious political implications. The coming election will provide one more step in deciding which path America will take.  But that is for the next two columns.



Noguez Accused of Bribe-Taking


Los Angeles, Oct. 17 --- The Los Angeles County assessor, John Noguez, and a top aide and a campaign contributor were arrested Wednesday in an investigation into influence peddling and slashing of property taxes for political allies. District Attorney Steve Cooley called it the most significant case of public corruption he had seen in four decades in the office. Mr. Noguez was arrested along with his chief appraiser, Mark McNeil, and an Arizona tax consultant, Ramin Salari, accused of conspiring to cut property values and save millions in taxes for clients of Mr. Salari, a campaign contributor. Mr. Cooley declined to comment on whether owners of the properties, primarily on the west side of Los Angeles, knew of the conspiracy. He said that there could be further arrests. Charges against Mr. Noguez include conspiracy, bribery and corruption. The complaint charged that he accepted $185,000 in bribes from Mr. Salari. The others were charged with conspiracy and misappropriation of public funds. A defense lawyer for Mr. Noguez said Mr. Cooley was engaged in a one-sided inquiry aimed at “getting” Mr. Noguez.

Source: New York Times, October 18, 2012



House Reinstates FISA Amendments Act until 2017

“With little in the way of real debate or scrutiny, the House voted 301 to 118 to extend the FISA Amendments Act for five years, an unfortunate law passed in 2008 that expanded the government’s power to conduct surveillance without warrants in the future. It also retroactively approved the George W. Bush administration’s unlawful snooping in broad violation of Americans’ constitutionally protected privacy.

“Moving in the other direction, Judge Forrest, of the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, on Sept 12 permanently enjoined a controversial provision of a 2011 law in which Congress codified expansive interpretations of a president’s authority to detain individuals indefinitely, beyond the real needs of the war in Afghanistan, the campaign against Al Qaeda or legitimate counterterrorism efforts in general.

“The ruling follows a temporary injunction granted in May against the law, which goes beyond the perpetrators of the September 11, 2001, attacks to people who are part of or “substantially” supported Al Qaeda, the Taliban or “associated forces” hostile to the United States or its allies. Chris Hedges, a journalist who formerly worked for this newspaper, and several supporters of WikiLeaks said it was too imprecise about the conduct that could lead to someone’s detention and exactly who could be detained.

“The plaintiffs said the statute chilled their First Amendment rights because they feared the government might claim their activities made them supporters of an enemy force and subject to detention. Judge Forrest agreed, saying the Constitution requires more specificity when “defining an individual’s core liberties.” She was especially troubled by the government’s inability to define terms like “substantially supported” and “associated forces,” despite ample opportunity to do so during the course of the lawsuit. She also was swayed by what she saw as the government’s failure to eliminate the plaintiffs’ fears by unequivocally stating that no First Amendment-protected activities would subject them to indefinite military detention.”

Source: New York Times September 14, 2012



Census Announces that Obamacare has
Increased Health Care Coverage among Young Adults
By Brett O’Hara

“Every year, the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey asks respondents whether they had any health insurance coverage during the previous calendar year. Collected since 1987, these statistics are the longest series that measure health insurance coverage for our nation.

“Today, we released statistics pertaining to the 2011 calendar year. Segmented by a range of demographic characteristics, they show that 17.9 percent of people under age 65 were uninsured in 2011. That overall percentage, however, masks a great deal of variation among age groups. Traditionally, the likelihood of being without health insurance coverage declines with age for adults. According to these just-released numbers, this pattern has changed a bit, however.

Because they are less likely to be in the labor force, young adults between 19 and 25 years old have traditionally been more likely than other adults to lack health insurance. However, in 2010, their rate began coming down (1.6 percentage points). And in 2011, their rate declined even more ─ by 2.2 percentage points to 27.7 percent. Their rate has declined so much during the last couple of years that by 2011, it was not statistically different from that of the next oldest age group: 26- to 34-year-olds. Partly, this pattern is attributable to more young adults being covered under their parents’ plan.”

Source: U. S. Bureau of the Census



The Trust Act and Governor Brown

“Governor Jerry Brown . . . can sign the Trust Act, a recently passed state bill that prevents local police departments from turning their jails into immigration holding cells for non criminals or minor offenders whose sentences are up or who should otherwise be out on bail. The act would require the police to let such people go, even if Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have issued voluntary requests, known as detainers, that they be held until they can be picked up for deportation. Only those who have been convicted of or charged with serious or violent felonies would continue to be detained at ICE’s request.

“The purpose of the act is to bring state enforcement in line with federal deportation priorities — which is to focus on dangerous criminals, national-security threats and repeat offenders. It was prompted by a troubled ICE program called Secure Communities, which enlists local authorities in immigration enforcement by doing checks on everyone they fingerprint. The program has led to the deportation of tens of thousands of minor offenders or those with no criminal records. The Trust Act is one state’s way to prevent such overkill.

“. . . But the bill is facing strong opposition from some sheriffs who claim that the Trust Act would force them to choose between violating federal law and violating state law, based on their mistaken view that detention requests from ICE are mandatory, not voluntary. About two dozen law professors have written to Governor Brown explaining that this interpretation is simply wrong, given the statutory language, legislative and regulatory history of federal immigration law, and the constitutional principle that the federal government cannot commandeer state law enforcement for its own purposes.

Source: New York Times Editorial September 3, 2012



GOP Loves This Government Jobs Program
By Charles Bayer

Last year a select committee was asked to find ways to attack the national deficit.  They came up with a plan which included a provision calling for massive cuts across the board.  In the event Congress refused to adopt the report, automatic so-called sequestered cuts were mandated. Of course Congress did not act, so these cuts are scheduled to go into effect down the road.  Who are you kidding? Congress is backpeddling on that agreement faster than a hiker who steps on a deadly snake.



Of the proposed cuts, about a hundred billion dollars worth were to come from the Defense budget.  That will never happen, but the justification for the hesitancy bears scrutiny. The reason why this massive bloated Defense budget will not feel the sharp edge of the axe has little to do with national security! It involves jobs! Billions of these dollars are spent on contracts with the nation’s industrial concerns. These dollars buy airplanes, ships, fuel, uniforms, mercenaries and everything else the military services require. Each of these contracts is let in somebody’s Congressional district or State. And not a single member of Congress is willing to have those contracts, and the jobs they call for, disappear.  The Defense authorization is substantially a government paid-for jobs bill.
 


There is little difference between these Pentagon sponsored jobs and other efforts of government to stimulate the economy. The so-called automotive bailout is just like a Boeing contract. One calls for cars, and the other for airplanes. The President’s jobs bill that sits gathering dust in Congress calls for massive amounts of money put into highways, infrastructure repairs, rapid transit and municipal services like police, fire fighters and teachers. The funds would fundamentally go to the small businesses that create most of the new jobs. Any new effort to goose the economy is really a jobs bill—just as is  much of the Defense Department allocation.


One wonders why anything spent in Defense Department contracts with businesses is good, but anything spent in the public sector with the same source of funds—the federal government—is somehow evil and the pathway to socialism.
 
  The constant conservative complaint about big government somehow manages to ignore what makes our government really big, bloated and out of control. Perhaps it has to do with what President Eisenhower warned us against as he left office—the military- industrial complex.



Money put into the public sector which is geared to stimulate the economy, not only creates jobs but also provides products that someone will buy and use.  Who uses another fighter plane? As some wag opined about missiles: you can’t eat them, wear them, ride in them or even look at them.  You build them, put them in the ground or on submarines and hope to God they are never used.
 


A close examination tells us that while there continue to be significant numbers of jobs created in the private sector, the real loss has been and continues to be in state and local governments.  Read police, fire fighters and schoolteachers. Putting the financial squeeze on governmental entities at all levels reduces not only jobs but also middle-class spending power and the resulting revenues which such consumers produce. If the core of Republican politics is the defeat of Obama, maybe any progress in the job development arena just thwarts that agenda.


If the Republicans are serious about job creation, why are they strangling the very public entities able to create them?  In the meantime nobody dares touch Defense Department budgets, because to do so would, in fact, strike a serious blow at America’s employment picture.  It must be very painful to look in two opposite directions at the same time.




Regulation, Incomes, and Prosperity
By Ivan Light

In a previous column, I explained that Republican complaints about regulation have some validity. Government regulation of business can be and sometimes is excessive, ineffective, and counter-productive. It’s always a pain-in-the-neck for business that tends to raise the price of goods and reduce employment in affected industries.  That acknowledged, as earlier explained, government regulation of business is nonetheless a necessary evil because the alternative of non-regulation is worse. In the same sense, brakes detract from a car’s performance, but they are nonetheless essential.

 Non-regulation’s consequences include reckless pollution of air, water, and soil; diseased meat sold in supermarkets; dangerous & gas-guzzling automobiles; incompetent medical doctors; lying advertisements for bogus products; cigarettes sold to minors, and the list goes on. Add your favorites.   Insisting on regulation that protects the public welfare, Democrats want to minimize (not eliminate) essential regulation of business, and seek as well to assure regulations that effect the beneficial consequence desired. Regulations that do not accomplish these goals should be promptly scrapped. I suggested previously the use of sunset commissions that review all government regulations every four or five years, and mark some for discontinuation and others for change.

There is another important point to make about government regulation of business. Context matters.  Democratic policy calls for greater equality of incomes than currently prevails. One method is heavy taxation of very high incomes. Another method is light taxation of low incomes. The upshot of both in tandem is greater income equality than unfettered capitalism provides. The advantages of enhanced equality of income are many, both social and economic, but I mention here only the systematic correction of capitalism’s inherent and invariant tendency to tilt the distribution of income toward the wealthy with calamitous results for employment. Left to themselves, market economies too generously reward the very affluent, and starve the ninety-nine percent.   As John Maynard Keyes long ago pointed out, working people spend every dime they get; and the rich save their millions. As a result, in a crisis of underconsumption, such as we now face, the 99 percent lack the financial wherewithal to buy the output of the economy. Goods are unsold. For example, many unemployed people live now under overcrowded conditions, homeless, or in dilapidated shelters, yet new homes stand empty. Unfortunately, the under housed cannot buy the empty homes so new homes stand empty, and the unemployed suffer overcrowding.  
When working people lack money, because too much money belongs to the wealthy, the result is mass unemployment.  To offset their low incomes, the American people overused credit two decades, borrowing the wherewithal to buy what their paychecks were too meager to purchase, especially houses; but that credit bubble burst in 2008. Now we starkly confront the fact that the affluent one percent with money will not spend it, and the ninety-nine percent lack sufficient money to purchase essentials.  

What does the unequal division of incomes have to do with government regulation of business? Plenty. Consider this.  Democratic administrations introduce an economic policy favoring enhanced government regulation of business plus a regime of increased equalization of incomes. The two policies come together, not separately. The enhanced income equality creates buyer demand in the marketplace, which makes it easier for business to sell its products. Business sells because customers have money.  Therefore, when Democratic administrations reduce inequality of income, they create consumer demand that advantages business. True, they also impose regulations that restrict business.  These restrictions limit the range of products that can be brought to market, and tend to raise their price. But, the point is that business gets compensation for that added hurdle of regulation: increased consumer demand.

Now consider the GOP option. Under the GOP the opposite policies arise. Under the GOP, enhanced inequality of income accompanies reduced regulation of business. So the GOP allows business immense latitude of action, ignoring the public interest, but reduces the ability of business to find buyers for its products. In an extreme case, business can bring whatever junk it likes to market (spoiled meat, dangerous or useless pharmaceuticals, unsafe & gas-guzzling vehicles, collapsing bridges, etc.) and recklessly despoil the environment, injuring the public’s health, but the marketplace still contains insufficient buyers with money in their patched and worn blue jeans. Do you want to buy horsemeat because it’s cheap and, lacking money, you have no other option? Or would you prefer to afford sirloin?  Worse, buying the crummy stuff does not produce full employment because the public lacks the money to pay for it. This is the awful choice the GOP offers America.  Such an outcome injures business, workers, and consumers alike.  Under this GOP policy, Americans must live in polluted squalor, and unemployment continues to stalk the land.  This is a dreadful outcome, and it explains why, as President Clinton pointed out during his DNC address, economic growth under Democratic administrations in the last fifty years has been more than twice as rapid as economic growth under Republican administrations during the same period. Enhanced economic growth is the compensation business receives for enhanced regulation.



 Popcorn Lung: a Case of Inadequate Regulation


Popcorn lung is usually found in plant workers exposed to high levels of diacetyl, an artificial flavoring used to give popcorn that buttery taste. Watson sued the popcorn maker and the supermarket that sold it, Kroger, claiming the companies never warned consumers that diacetyl - also recently linked to Alzheimer's-was dangerous.  "They thought that no consumer would ever be exposed to enough of it to make a difference well they rolled the dice and they lose," Watson told ABC News.Defense attorneys argued that Watson's health problems stemmed from working with carpet-cleaning chemicals for years.

Many manufacturers no longer use the diacetyl in microwave popcorn. The popcorn maker, Glister-Mary Lee, did not return ABC News' calls for a comment, but issued a statement to KCNC-TV, saying, it was disappointed with the jury's decision and is "evaluating next steps." The statement added the company has provided "safe, quality microwave popcorn for two decades."





Magic Door IV

Quality Used Books


1522 W. 2nd Street

NW corner Garey Avenue

Pomona CA 91766

Tuesday – Saturday  1pm - 8pm

Sunday 2pm - 8pm

Telephone 909 472 2991

Dwain and Joann Kaiser, props.





Quiz for You

“Rats fed a lifetime diet of Monsanto's genetically engineered corn or exposed to the company's popular Roundup herbicide, in amounts considered "safe" in drinking water . . .  developed tumors and suffered severe kidney and liver damage, according a study released this week.”

Question: Who will prevent Monsanto from poisoning your water supply?



Let 'Em Hear From You



    letters@inlandnewspapers.com



                      editor@claremont-courier.com



Letter by Merrill Ring; published by the Claremont Courier

Donna Lowe . . .  offers as one of her major campaign themes that California must become more business friendly in order to compete with neighboring states.  She claims that California ranks 50th among states in business-friendliness.  The studies I know of rank California 40th in business-friendliness and 48th in Business Tax Climate.  But no matter – California is without doubt way down the list.

However, is what is measured by those studies all there is to an evaluation of the quality of life in  a state?  Surely not.   Compare what else is true of Texas (from which Ms Lowe departed to live in Claremont) which ranks 1st in business-friendliness and very high up the list of low tax states.  The 2011 report ‘Texas on the Brink’ from the Legislative Study Group in the Texas legislature (Google it to see the entire report) compares Texas to all the other states in many categories of human well-being.  In earnings of manufacturing workers Texas ranks 38th; it is 46th in percentage of residents who see a dentist; lst in the number of executions; 50th in percentage of residents with a high school diploma; near last in SAT scores; 50th in air quality; 50th in water quality; 50th in percent of pregnant women who get prenatal care in the first trimester; 46th in percentage of children living in poverty; 49th in percentage of people with “food insecurity”.  
The account could go on and on.  Texas is, from the point of view of human flourishing, a failed state.  But are they ever business friendly!  Poor California!  Let’s become a low-tax, low service state so that we can become competitive with Texas.

Editor adds: Ambrose Burnside, Civil War general, and veteran of the Mexican War, had this to say about Texas: “If I owned hell and Texas, I’d live in hell and rent out Texas.”

The Voorhis Voice is published by the Democratic Club of Claremont, PO Box 1201, Claremont CA 91711.  The newsletter’s name commemorates the late Jerry Voorhis, a talented and courageous Congress member from Claremont.

Newsletter Editor

Ivan Light: Email him at claremontdemocrats@yahoo.com


Any registered Democrat may join the Democratic Club of Claremont
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