The Tragedy of George McGovern


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I met George Spencer McGovern twice:  once before he was ever thought of as Presidential material, at a reception for the Food for Peace Foundation when I was around 12 or 13 and later in 1972 when he campaigned in North Hollywood shortly after I’d arranged for Peace & Freedom Party candidate Dr. Benjamin Spock to come to U.S. Grant High School.  Our principal, Herman Adams,  out of fairness allowed students out of school to see McGovern since Spock had such a tremendous event at our campus.

After serving heroically in World War II, McGovern got his entrance to politics as a supporter of Henry Wallace and the Progressive Party in 1948.

Bobby Kennedy

McGovern first picked up the mantle of Robert Kennedy after his assassination in 1968, seeking the Democratic nomination against Hubert Humphrey and Eugene McCarthy.  He came in third at the Democratic convention in Chicago that year, but got a very important boost when he was appointed to head the Democratic Party’s reform commission to change the rules of how delegates were selected to shift it away from party bosses.  His commission rewrote the rules so that delegates were selected in party grassroots caucuses.  That in turn gave his grassroots campaign for the presidency on an anti-war and initially, economically populist platform, a big shot in the arm.

McGovern on Economics

In 1972, once he became a serious contender against Hubert Humphrey, McGovern started backsliding, especially when it came to economic issues.

Hubert Horatio Humphrey & George Spencer McGovern

Shortly before the California June primary, he took out an ad in the Wall Street Journal claiming that he had not proposed a $1,000,000 limit on inheritance and a $500,000 limit on income (if my memory serves me correctly on the figures).  In a debate, Hubert Humphrey confronted McGovern with the full page ad, pointing out that he had in fact previously supported limits on wealth and income.  McGovern claimed that he had backed away from these proposals because “blue collar workers would not accept the plan.”

Of course, as Humphrey pointed out, taking out a full page ad in the Wall Street Journal is not exactly what you do when you want to influence and communicate with blue collar workers.

Perhaps the worst thing about this episode is that Richard Nixon proposed a “negative income tax,” i.e., a minimum national income for people who worked for a living.  His proposal would have given government money back to people through their filing of a federal income tax return instead of taxing them so that everybody had a minimum that put them above the poverty level.  What’s bad about that is the Democratic Party rejected it because it wasn’t their idea.  Does this sound familiar today with how the Republican Party is obstructing President Obama?  Sure does, but the shoe is on the other foot this time.

The War in Southeast Asia

General Nguyễn Ngọc Loan (11 December 1930 – 14 July 1998), South Vietnam’s Chief of National Police, executing handcuffed Viet Cong prisoner during the Tet Offensive. Incidents like this made many Americans question what we were doing in Vietnam supposedly fighting for “freedom.”

When it came to opposition to the Vietnam War, it is important to understand the context of what the “Peace Democrats” were proposing.  The viable Democratic anti-war candidates, Bobby Kennedy and Gene McCarthy in 1968 and McGovern in 1972, did not support, as did the Peace & Freedom Party, “immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Southeast Asia.”  The viable Democrats supported “negotiated withdrawal.”

What exactly did “negotiated withdrawal” mean?  Hard to say, especially because that’s what Richard Nixon eventually did:  negotiate withdrawal.  Without spelling out the parameters of a peace plan (the Peace & Freedom Party endorsed the South Vietnam Provisional Revolutionary Government’s proposed and very detailed “People to People” peace plan which delineated how peace could be achieved), negotiated withdrawal was as vague as Richard Nixon’s 1968 claim of his “secret plan to end the war.”

There are consequences to dragging out negotiations….

In fairness, if you’re going to negotiate withdrawal or anything, you don’t publicly announce your opening offer or lay down any more advance conditions than necessary.  That’s just not how negotiations work if you intend them to be successful.  The Peace & Freedom Party position was predicated on the value judgment that the United States had no business in Vietnam or the rest of Southeast Asia in the first place and that we should get out and let the Vietnamese solve their own political problems, many of which had been created by the United States, the French, the British, and the Japanese before us.

Wounded Knee

Wounded Knee 1973

George McGovern did represent the state of South Dakota…and he depended on the white people of South Dakota to keep him in office to do what he saw as all of his good works on behalf of the rest of humanity.  Unfortunately that led him to a scurrilous role during the federal siege against the American Indian Movement at Wounded Knee in 1973.

On February 27, 1973 the American Indian Movement (AIM) started an occupation of Wounded Knee at the Pine Ridge Oglala Reservation in South Dakota.  Marge Buckley of the Peace & Freedom Party went to Wounded Knee as an attorney to assist them (unlike Steven Bruce Orcutt aka Frank Runninghorse aka Runningdog aka Runningmouth of the PFP leadership faction, whose claim to have gone to Wounded Knee with his “Red Tide” faction is disputed in its details by Marge as simply not credible).  On April 22, 1973, the Billings Daily Gazette printed a UPI dispatch to the effect that:

Sen George McGovern has asked federal authorities to clear the Indians out of Wounded Knee before angry private citizens do the job for them it was disclosed.  McGovern aides made public a letter to Attorney General Richard Kleindienst in which McGovern said time is running out on the containment policy followed by the Justice Department.

1890 Wounded Knee Massacre

McGovern wanted the United States government to send in the Army.  Of course it was the 7th Cavalry of the United States Army (the 7th being of George Armstrong Custer infamy) that made Wounded Knee famous in the first place on December 29, 1890.  As Wikipedia explains:

By the time it was over, at least 150 men, women, and children of the Lakota Sioux had been killed and 51 wounded (4 men, 47 women and children, some of whom died later); some estimates placed the number of dead at 300. Twenty-five troopers also died, and 39 were wounded (6 of the wounded would later die).[7] It is believed that many were the victims of friendly fire, as the shooting took place at close range in chaotic conditions. At least twenty troopers were awarded the coveted Medal of Honor.

The Medal of Honor.  For a massacre of women and children?  At least we didn’t give that to Lieutenant William Calley for his role in the My Lai massacre.

On April 30, 1973, eight days after McGovern’s letter was publicly reported, its recipient, Nixon’s Attorney General Richard Kliendienst, resigned  following exposure of his role in Watergate.  He later was convicted of perjury before the Senate.

In a strange twist of fate, AIM leader Russell Means was one of the key AIM negotiators who met with McGovern at Wounded Knee.  Betrayed by McGovern with the letter to Kliendienst, at least he outlived McGovern by a day….a tiny bit of life’s poetic justice.

1972 AIM Occupiers of the BIA Building in Washington DC

Earlier, in 1972, McGovern had been noticeably absent from support of AIM’s Trail of Broken Treaties national protest which converged on Washington D.C. and which did an O.G. “occupation” of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) building.  The Trail of Broken Treaties demands (which were supported by the Peace & Freedom Party and by Rep. Shirley Chisolm who’d run against McGovern in the Democratic primaries that year) are summarized as:

  1. The United States Federal Government should retract the component of the 1871 Indian Appropriations Act which eliminated the power of the Indian Nations to contract constitutionally bound treaties with the U.S. government.
  2. The U.S. Federal Government should establish a Treaty Commission that will have the power to contract new treaties to ensure the future of the Indian Nations. In addition, it should be established that no terms of existing treaties can be violated.
  3. The Federal Government should pledge that they will meet with four American Indian representatives before June 2, 1974 in order to discuss the future of the Indian Nations. The national media should be present for this meeting.
  4. The President of the United States should establish a committee consisting of both Indians and non-Indians to examine treaty commitments and violations.
  5. Treaties that have not been ratified should be presented to the Senate.
  6. All American Indian peoples should be considered to be in treaty relations with the United States Federal Government.
  7. The United States Federal Government should ensure that there is judicial enforcement and protection of the treaty rights of American Indians.
  8. The United States Federal Government should provide a new system of federal court jurisdiction through which American Indians can address treaty or tribal rights. This system of jurisdiction must apply both in cases between American Indians and between American Indians and non-Indians. It is of utmost importance that leaders of the Indian Nations take part in the process of interpreting treaties.
  9. The Congress of the United States should relinquish their control over Indian Affairs and instead create a joint committee. This committee is to be called the “Committee on Reconstruction of Indian Relations and Programs”. The members of the committee must be will to commit significant amounts of their time to restructure Indian relations in America.
  10. By July 4, 1976 the United States Federal Government should restore a permanent Native American land area of no less than 110 million acres (450,000 km2). This area should be perpetually non-taxable by the federal government. In addition the Termination Acts of the 1950s and 1960s should be immediately repealed.
  11. There should be a revision of 25 U.S.C. 163. This revision will call for all Indian rights to be restored to individuals that have lost them due to issues with enrollment. In addition, American Indians must be able to qualify for membership in more than one tribe and not be prohibited from receiving dual benefits.
  12. Congress must repeal state laws passed under the Public Law 280. PL280 allows for people not belonging to the Indian community to gain control over governing in reservation areas. The law takes away American Indian’s ability to govern themselves without external conflict.
  13. All violent offenses against Indians should be treated as federal crimes and the persons committing the crimes must face penalties under federal prosecution. Congress should also create a national federal Indian grand jury. This grand jury should consist only of Indians that are chosen by the President as well as by Indian people. In addition this jury will have jurisdiction over non-Indian peoples living on Indian reservations.
  14. The Bureau of Indian Affairs should be dismantled by 1976 and a new government structure that maintains Indian-Federal relations should be established.
  15. The new structure that will replace the Bureau of Indian Affairs will be called the “Office of Federal Indian Relations and Community Reconstruction”.
  16. The “Office of Federal Indian Relations and Community Reconstruction” will promote equality between the Indian Nations and the federal government and seek to remedy the wrong-doings of the federal government against the American Indians.
  17. Congress should enact a statute that allows for trade, commerce, and transportation of Indians to remain outside the jurisdiction of the federal government. American Indians within reservation areas should have immunity from federal and state taxation.
  18. The United States government should recognize and protect the spiritual and cultural integrity of the Indian Nations.
  19. Forms of Indian organization should be consolidated so as to regain the unification of the Indian Nations.
  20. The United States Federal Government should focus on the improvement and creation of better housing, education, employment and economic development for the American Indians.

Jan B. Tucker & Dr. Benjamin Spock, 1976

On November 8, 1972, Dr. Spock, then running as the PFP/Peoples Party candidate for President, showed his solidarity with the AIM occupiers of the BIA building by crossing the government lines, abandoning his Secret Service protection detail which was given the Hobbes Choice of confronting the FBI since Spock was committing a criminal act in support of the AIM protesters, and going into the BIA building to confer with and support AIM.

The AIM members had wanted to meet with George McGovern in this last week of the presidential campaign.   They did not get their wish and then as later would be borne out during the Wounded Knee incident of 1973, he demonstrated what Newspaper Guild founding president Heywood Campbell Broun meant when he wrote that “A liberal is one who leaves the room when the fight begins.”

Dennis Banks (L), Russell Means (R)

Perhaps the best commentary that sums up McGovern’s legacy vis a vis AIM and Native American issues was released by Dennis Banks:

One thing I don’t believe most people know is: McGovern probably became a senator because of the Indian vote in South Dakota. In his first election to the senate he won with less than 600 votes. He had his hand out to Indians. He needed their vote. Once elected, he never did anything for Indians, except he did work with Senator Ted Kennedy to improve Indian education. Other than that he did not do a whole lot for us.

I met him when he flew onto the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation during Wounded Knee. He came on a helicopter. He thought he was coming to save the hostages. The so called hostages never wanted to leave. We had not told them they could not leave.  When McGovern came they informed him they did not want to leave – though they eventually left anyway. He was only there for about 45 minutes.

Once he got elected I think he fell into the Democratic Party’s good ole boy club. Even in Washington, he did the same thing. He was a good ole boy.

One thing I remember is he always resisted giving any land back to Indians. He fiercely fought against it. In South Dakota, there are the Black Hills. He would never agree to give any part of it back to Indians.

His legacy among Indians is: There are some Native people who think he was very helpful. I know he was never on the American Indian Movement’s side.  [For more:]


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Marge Buckley’s Freedom of Info & Privacy Act Request to FBI


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This is a lesson on how to do a Freedom of Information Act and a Privacy Act request to federal agencies.  It is also a commentary in an oblique way into the ethics of Kevin D. Akin, who attempted to keep Marge Buckley off of Roseanne Barr’s slate of Presidential Electors for the Peace & Freedom Party, because Marge had once sent him a cease and desist letter to stop his slanderous attacks on yours truly, acting as my attorney:

Marguerite May Buckley, October 19, 2012

 Federal Bureau of Investigation, Attn: FOI/PA Request, Record/Information Dissemination Section, 170 Marcel Drive Winchester, VA 22602-4843

 By Fax: (540) 868-4391/4997  By E-mail:

 Dear FOI/PA Officer:

 First, I am indigent and living on minimal social security and other government assistance and I request that any and all fees for this request be waived. This request is for journalistic purposes as I intend to use this information (a) to write a book, (b) to be provided to bloggers and reporters, and (c) to provide it to libraries and non-profit institutes, including but not limited to the Southern California Library for Social and Studies & Research and the Meiklehjohn Civil Liberties Institute. My life story is of great historical interest to the public, educational institutions and the media if for no other reason than that I argued and won a 9-0 U.S. Supreme Court decision (Lubin v Panish) which was hailed by the Harvard Law Review as the landmark 14th Amendment Case of the 1970s. I intend to provide this information at no cost to any and all organizations for no fee.

 Pursuant to 5 USC 552 and 5 USC 552a I am requesting all records as defined in the Privacy Act concerning my activities and any other facet of my life maintained by the FBI and/or any other federal agency in the possession of the FBI or of which the FBI is cognizant. In accordance with the Privacy Act I am requesting that you convey this letter to any other federal agency which may have possession and/or control over any such records.

 My basic personal statistics are as follows:

DOB/POB: May 29, 1932 at approximately 11:30 pm in Florence Crittendon hospital in Detroit, Michigan.

AKA: (Married names: Koti (married to Charles Koti) I was also married to Richard Davidson but did not formally adopt his surname.

 Biographic Information which may assist your search for records:

 Attended Gabriel Richard elementary school; Denby High School 1945 to 1949; Detroit Michigan.

 Attended University of Michigan, Ann Arbor , Michigan. from 1949 to 1950, 1951-1954; worked for Stockwell Dormatory (1049-50,Married Charles Koti in Detroit Michigan about October 22, 1954.  divorced 1959.

 Admitted to legal practice in Detroit, Michigan on January 5, 1958. On or about March 8, 1958 was in automobile accident and hospitalized at Mount Carmel Hospital with  broken jaw, heart injuries and major bruises and contusions from March 8,1958 to April 1958. Thereafter was confined at home for period of time.

 Began practice of law with John Houston and Wallace McClay (former Vice President Henry A. Wallace’s nephew) – both members of National Lawyers Guild from about 1959 to 1960/6 in Pontiac, Oakland County, Michigan.

 I was a member of the Labor Youth League at the University of Michigan probably in 1952. Was secretary of Youth for Henry Wallace in 1948 and went to Philadelphia for the Convention in which Henry Wallace was nominated for president. Then Institute of Social Research, Ann Arbor, Michigan Wayne State University Law School from 1954 to 1955, 1956 to 1958., worked at Stouffers Restaurant in Northland Mall in Detroit, Michigan as waitress; then worked fo attorney Bland Pugh as secretary – 1955 to 1956.  

 In 1961, I  drove across country to Los Angeles, California and lived in El Monte, California with mother and sister of a friend secretary of attorney in whose office I exchanged services for space.   I lived with them for about 9 months in El Monte. 

 In 1962, I went to work for the State of California at Juvenile facility in Los Angeles California as a probation counselor

 In 1962, I was hired to work in the law Division of Union Bank in Los Angeles, California.  I was hired on condition that I take the California Bar Exam which I did, passing on the first attempt and being admitted to practice on January 5, 1963, I worked  at Union Bank until about 1968 at which time I filed an EEOC complaint against the bank and was represented by the Justice Department in two actions which went up to the United States Supreme Court.

 In 1965, I spent my vacation working for three (3) weeks with the National Lawyers Guild office in Jackson, Mississippi – working on freedom house issues. Returned to Los Angeles as the Watts Rebellion /riots had occurred. Worked with NLG and ACLU after work to have prisoners released from jail.

  In 1968, I went to work for the Los Angeles Neighborhood Legal Services Society (herein LANLSS) – as an attorney assigned to the East Los Angeles office, I undertook a legal audit (unsolicited) of the current case files. As a result, I was appointed Area Director of LANLSS with the main office in Venice, where I worked and supervised the attorneys in an office in Hawthorne. 

 In 1969, I spent part of my free time working with a community project in Santa Monica at the Synanon designated as the Square games.

In December, 1969, I married Richard Davidson, architect and chairperson of my Advisory Board at LANLSS. We were divorced to the best of my memory in 1980.

Marge Buckley (L of Peace & Freedom Party Presidential Candidate Dr. Ben Spock who at the R end of press conference table), 1972, running for Los Angeles County District Attorney

In 1969 I became active in the Peace and Freedom Party and ran for Attorney General. I also was active working with the Free Venice Movement during 1969 through the 70s. I also ran for Los Angeles County District Attorney in 1972. I participated in a Die-In demonstration against the Vietnam War in front of Richard Nixon’s LA headquarters which resulted in my being tried for a misdemeanor and confined briefly to the Los Angeles County Jail system.

Around 1973, I was terminated from LANLSS. I was told that President Richard Nixon had ordered me to be fired by the administration.

I worked providing free services  to the Amerian Indian Movement in Los Angeles during the 1970s. I also worked with the Piutes in Bridgeport, California for a number of years. I spent six weeks at Wounded Knee in Pine Ridge, South Dakota representing the Indians who were being released from jail in 1973. All of the work I did was on a pro bono basis.

Around 1970 I taught law at the University of West Los Angeles. Around 1963-64 I taught at the American Institute of Banking. I also participated in a non-teaching capacity with the Los Angeles based Peoples College of Law around their first year of existence.

I have represented various community organizations throughout my entire career. I have attended meetings and demonstrations in Washington, D.C., Colorado, Michigan, Arizona.

Marge was gassed twice in 1999 during the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle

In 1999 I participated in the Demonstration at the World Trade Center demonstrations with the Los Angeles Free Press and as a witness 24-7 with the fledgling Independent Media.

 I have been a member of the National Lawyers Guild from 1958 to my retirement in 2010/11.

 I continue to serve as a NLG witness at various occupier demonstrations in Los Angeles county.

 Under penalty of perjury, I hereby declare that I am the person named above and I understand that any falsification of this statement is punishable under the provisions of Title 18, United States Code (U.S.C.), Section 1001 by a fine of not more than $10,000 or by imprisonment of not more than five years, or both; and that requesting or obtaining any record(s) under false pretenses is punishable under the provisions of Title 5, U. S. C., Section 552a(i)(3) as a misdemeanor and by a fine of not more than $5,000.

 Executed this 19th day of October, 2012, at Torrance, California.

 Marguerite M. Buckley

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Sherman vs Berman in the 30th District


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A couple of the members of the Board of the San Fernando Valley/Northeast Los Angeles Chapter of the National Organization for Women (SFV/NELA NOW and of the California League of Latin American Citizens (CALLAC) received an e-mail from a long time, well-respected San Fernando Valley Chicano activist that began, “Did i read that your group  endorsed Sherman over Berman?   I hope i am wrong.  Yes, i realize Berman did not meet with you so i understand you held that against him.”

The rules of the Same Page/Misma Pagina Coalition do not allow us to discuss what a candidate said in their questionnaire responses to us or what they tell us in an interview without their express permission, but they do not preclude us from discussing a candidate’s non-response, so I need to set the record straight on Howard Berman, whom we expressly DID NOT ENDORSE.  There was far more to that story than Berman’s simply not meeting with us.

First and foremost, Howard Berman has not given us the time of day that I can remember, and I’ve been around in Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley politics a long time….and as many know, I have just about the longest memory in the State for what politicians have done and not done….more on that later.

When Bobbi Fiedler represented the San Fernando Valley, her staff initiated contacts with us, not just the other way around when we wanted something.  When Howard Berman got elected in 1982 to the House of Representatives, well, I just can’t remember any time when we ever heard from him or even got feedback when we’d contact his office.  Brad Sherman’s staff for years has been far more solicitous of our views and concerns; he personally came to the National Latin Congreso in Los Angeles and specifically sought us out there several years ago, before he was ever concerned with a redistricting situation that forced him to run against a fellow incumbent.

Carol McArthur & others performing that the meeting which Sherman’s representative attended and Berman’s campaign skipped

Both Sherman and Berman’s campaigns promised to send representatives to our annual Holiday Party and Election meeting last year.  In fact, both campaigns sought us out to find out where and when and to make sure that they could be represented.  Sherman’s office followed through; nobody from Berman’s office showed up nor did they call to apologize after we’d already publicized that both candidates would have speakers.

Next, both candidates’ campaigns had specifically sought out the procedure for how to seek our endorsement.  It starts with filling out our coalition questionnaire.  Both campaigns were sent the instructions on where to download it.  Additionally, our instructions point out that if they have any problems or need more information on the issues, they can feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to help them with it (it’s not like a closed book timed test in high school).

When do we hear from Howard Berman’s office? When he wants our endorsement….i.e., rarely

Brad Sherman submitted his response.  Berman never responded.  In fact, we heard absolutely nothing back from his campaign.  Apparently they lost interest in getting our endorsement, because, after all, they got the endorsements of Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham and a whole host of other Republican House members so they probably figured they didn’t need us.

With that record alone, why does anybody have the gall to fault us for not endorsing a candidate who was not in fact seeking our endorsement?  If you don’t submit the questionnaire, you’re not asking to be endorsed.  It really is that simple.

Now let’s get down to cases and records.

It’s no secret that the policy wonk for years behind Democratic Party gerrymandering schemes in California has been Howard Berman’s brother Michael and at this point, let me make the same conflict of interest disclosure publicly that I made for the Same Page/Misma Pagina interview committee.  In 1978 my candidate (Peace & Freedom Party) for State Assembly in the Northeast San Fernando Valley got 4% of the vote and the Democrat lost by 2%.  In 1980, I ran against ranking California Congressman James Corman who that year alone had voted for the MX Missile, the Neutron Bomb, and Draft Registration (all of which his Republican opponent opposed, as did I).  Additionally, the only candidate in the race supporting the NAACP-ACLU “Together for Integrated Education” program was me.  I polled almost three times as many votes as Corman needed to win, and the Berman brothers were majorly pissed because it completely upset the apple cart for their reapportionment (read gerrymandering) plan for the State of California.  As far as I know, this was the only time in California history that a third party had achieved “balance of power” status in two back to back elections in the same geographical area with the ability to knock off incumbents.

Michael Berman came up with plan A and plan B for reapportionment.  Normally, political parties get thrown off the ballot in America for not getting enough votes.  In authoritarian countries, like the old Soviet Union, Burma, and Nazi Germany, parties get thrown off the ballot because they actually have support.  Michael Berman’s plan A was throw the Peace & Freedom Party off the ballot with what Democratic Party hacks publicly called “the Jan Tucker bill” so that they could cut district lines with 1,500 vote Democratic Party margins, or else they  had to use plan B in which they failed to kick PFP off the ballot and instead had to cut districts with 3,000 vote Democratic Party margins.

Howard Berman and his “gang of four” in the Assembly shoved the bill through that house with threats and coercion.  There were several hold out Democrats defying the “caucus vote,” including Larry Kapiloff, Ken Meade, Sam Farr, Tom Hannigan, Mike Roos and even former Assembly Speaker Leo McCarthy.  When you vote against an official “caucus” position, you can be stripped of all of your committee assignments, so it’s not something one does lightly and then only out of absolute conscience.  Berman was one vote short for the bill, so he went over to Tom Hannigan and threatened him with loss of his committee assignments and twisted his arm into becoming the 41st vote for the bill.

There are many reasons and many states where we depend on the Voting Rights Act, like the San Fernando Valley where it’s supposed to protect us from the Berman Brothers.

We killed the bill in the State Senate where it never came up for a vote.  We pointed out that in the entire 20th Century up till that point, no African American, Asian American, Mexican American, or Native American had wound up on the general election ballot in the four (4) California counties that have prior Voting Rights Act convictions–unless they were running on the Peace & Freedom Party ticket.  If the bill passed and we won a Voting Rights Act conviction, that fifth conviction would have put California under the “pre-approval” process like the old thirteen (13) former Confederate States.

Then of course there is the history of the Berman brothers in consistently gerrymandering the San Fernando Valley to prevent any Chicano/Mexicano/Latino from getting elected to Congress….until of course when this year’s District lines were created by an independent commission that the Berman brothers couldn’t control.

1972: Nixon for President, Berman for Assembly. Really.

Okay, that’s the personal bone I had to pick with Berman, but as I said earlier, I have a very long memory and here’s where it goes back to 1972, when Howard first got elected to the State Assembly against Charlie Conrad in the old 57th Assembly District.  At that time, I was supporting Grover Howard (PFP candidate for the 57th) and Ben Spock as the PFP candidate for President.  Charlie Conrad as a good Republican was supporting President Nixon.

This is quite timely as Democrat George McGovern (now lying on his death bed) thought he could at least count on the support of his own party’s nominee in the 57th Assembly District, but Berman sent out leaflets saying it was okay for people to support Nixon for President and Berman for Assembly.  That’s bad enough but there’s more.

Henry Waxman was head of the Assembly Elections & Reapportionment Committee which had created an Assembly seat for Howard Berman to run in, with the geographical center of the district being Berman’s home.  Safe and cozy, but alas, the State Supreme Court threw out the plan and Berman had a choice to make.  A very quick choice at that.

At the time, California law required a candidate to live in the district they were going to run in for at least one year prior to filing.  Howard Berman had to move into the 57th District in order to run.  How do I know this?  Because I was standing next to Lew McCammon of the PFP while Berman fessed up to Lew about what he had done in the candidate filing room at the old Registrar of Voters Office in Chinatown.

So Howard, inquiring minds want to know:  How long did you live in the 57th District before you filed to run in it and how exactly did you get away with it?

If anybody deigns to ask why we didn’t endorse Howard Berman, he needs to answer that question before I deign to give any other answer than this one.

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Three Great Acts @ The Talking Stick


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The Talking Stick @ 1411 Lincoln Blvd in Venice always reminds me of the line in Bob Dylan’s Tangled Up In Blue that “There was music in the cafes at night and revolution in the air…”  World Music Night @ “The Stick” (as we affectionately call the place) has a line up for this Saturday (7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.,October 20, 2012) that is NOT to be missed….be there or be square…..

This is how the multi-talented Lauri Reimer of Music Magique Productions describes this Saturday’s entertainment fest on Facebook:

Music Magique & Stefani Valadez are gonna do it a little differently this month. The term ‘World Music’ covers a broad spectrum from Latin Jazz to Middle Eastern Klezmer to African, Reggae, Folk-Rock from other lands, Celtic and more. This Saturday evening at the Stick will provide a forum for all of the above. So far on the line-up: Peter McGowan, Carol McArthur, Stefani Valadez, Lauri Reimer. If you’re interested in playing, please contact us asap. Otherwise, please c’mon down to the Stick and enjoy what we bring to the evening. There will be no cover, but requesting a minimum $7 donation for the musicians that offer their time to bring this music to you. Free parking front and back of building. Family friendly.

Finn MacCool

Marta Collier with Finn MacCool @ Kulak’s Woodshed in NoHo

Peter McGowan’s Finn MacCool band I have been following for, well, I think decades.  My great old friend and band member Marta Collier and I used to defend women’s clinics against Operation Rescue in the dark days of the blockades that prevented women from getting everything from pap smears to mammograms, frequently at clinics that didn’t even perform abortions.  You can see more about Finn MacCool at and

Carol McArthur

Carol McArthur & Patricia Nazario singing “Happy Birthday” to Jan B. Tucker @ The Talking Stick

Carol is a tremendous performer and committed activist….last year she was elected to my NOW Chapter’s Board and is a fellow member of the California Peace & Freedom Party (although I didn’t recruit her for the latter affiliation; turns out she knows my fellow party member Frank Boeheim).  This is from her official bio:

Singer/songwriter CAROL McARTHUR has a big heart, a gentle spirit, and the voice of an ‘Angel’ (the title also of one of her fine originals) though she will wryly tell you that her halo “is a little rusted.” She has a lovely, lyrical, soaring voice, giving an elegant, wistful, romantic reading to a jazz standard like ‘Ghost of Yesterday,‘ then sounding very much like a classic folksinger with the haunting refrains of ‘Health to the Company‘ or ‘Night Driving.” She counts Ella Fitzgerald, Kate Bush, The Beatles, Elton John, Nina Simone, Elizabeth Frazier (Cocteau Twins), and Roberta Flack as the singers that have influenced her the most, but it is a testament to her talent to say she has her own unique sound and style.  She has been performing in front of an audience since age 6.  [More at:]

Stefani Valadez

Stefani Valadez Ensemble at the Talking Stick

Stefani’s bio explains that she is:

An unforgettable singer/performer whose haunting, soulful voice will linger on, long after you have been entranced and entertained . . .

Singer, guitarist, songwriter, Stefani Valadez offers a rich repertoire of soulful romantic and enchanting melodies from many nations. A third generation musician, Stefani has an international following of fans who have thrilled to her deep, haunting voice and the wide range of musical and ethnic lore she incorporates in her performances.

Stefani first learned to play guitar and discovered the beauty of harmony from her mother, a singer and pianist, and from Pete Seeger, and the Greenwich Village blues locals. She traces her musical inspiration to diverse musicians, such as Taj Mahal, Grace Slick, and Antonio Jobim. Her later interest in Celtic & international folk music led her to her first CD of World Music, “Other Voices”.

One of her newest albums is “Ladino Live,” a medley of songs from the Sephardic cultures of the Mediterranean, which Stefani collected while living in Spain. They speak of a time of peace and a flowering of civilization when the cultures of the three great religions coexisted peacefully together for 700 years. Stefani’s arrangements bring these ancient melodies, prayers and love songs into the moment with sensual and haunting vocals, soulful ethnic drums and delicious harmonies. The LA musicians on this CD have played with the legends of the music world and add layers of rich colors to an already deep and moving palette of music.

A strong vocalist, performer and arranger, Ms. Valadez also plays dulcimer and percussion and is a producer and recording artist.  [More:]


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Foreclosures Continue & Homeowners Fight Back


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Fort Hernandez Occupation in Van Nuys, San Fernando Valley

People have taken an interest in the “Fortress Hernandez” action in the San Fernando Valley where Occupy protesters have tried to prevent the eviction of the Hernandez family from their home by Bank of America [for background, see:].

In the unincorporated area of the Los Angeles Strip by Torrance, another Hernandez family has filed suit against New Century Mortgage Corporation, one of the key targets of the Federal Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) in Los Angeles Superior Court:

In Case No. TC 026900, filed at the Compton Courthouse (South Central District) of the Los Angeles Superior Court, the Complaint alleges that New Century Mortgage Corporation (NCMC) engaged in virtually every single sinister action against them that were part of a pattern testified to by former NCMC Internal Fraud Investigator Patricia Lindsay, who told the FCIC in sworn testimony that:

  • The definition of a good loan changed from ‘one that pays’ to ‘one that could be sold.'”
  • New Century was even selling securitized bundles before the loans were even made.

The Complaint also alleges that:

  • “The Plaintiffs  in this action were victimized by two practices of New Century
    that were excoriated in the FCIC report: “Piggyback” lending and “stated income”
    lending without a credit check or without any verification of income. Piggy back lending involved doing two mortgages at the same time, a small one in lieu of down payment and a large adjustable rate mortgage coupled with it, which would then be bundled for securities sale, because “Meeting investor demand required finding new borrowers, and homebuyers without down payments were a relatively untapped source.”
  • The non-translation of documents in this case should be translated into plain English as “Fraud”

    “Missal’s report also detailed how New Century was “brazen” in increasing its loans and extending them to borrowers who were increasingly unlikely to pay, precisely the situation with the instant case before the court in which the Plaintiffs were induced to enter into the loans without a credit check, with the broker supplying social security numbers while the Plaintiffs were told they did not need social security numbers, without receiving signed copies of the loan documents which were all in English (while they are only fluent in Spanish) and without providing a Spanish language translation as required by California law.”  [Special Examiner Michael J. Missal was appointed by the court in New Century’s bankruptcy case].

  • “Defendants induced Plaintiff to enter into a mortgage contract, i.e., a Deed 0f  Trust, with rates expressly based upon the London Inter Bank Offered Rate (LIBOR) under the Interest Only Period Fixed/Adjustable Rate Rider of the contract. Plaintiff is informed and believes and thereon alleges that the LlBOR rate has been fraudulently  manipulated by major American and International banks and that they were required by this manipulation to make unlawful and excessive payments of interest on her loan in violation of public policy, wherein Plaintiff was and is owed both general, special, and punitive and exemplary damages in an amount offsetting any and all payments they purportedly have ever owed to Defendant NCMC.”

The California League of Latin American Citizens (CALLAC) is assisting the Hernandez Family of Torrance to try to keep their home and to combat these outrageous and criminal actions by the Banksters that want to throw them out.  If you want to help, email:

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The Story of Ramsey Muniz, Political Prisoner


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How the US government used a Mexican drug lord to convict an innocent man

 Reprinted from:

From our sponsors:

Texas drug abuse hotlines:

By Alan Bean, Friends of Justice


Ramsey Muniz for Governor 1972

Ramsey (Ramiro) Muniz is a man of seventy who hobbles on a bad hip, but his spirit grows stronger with each passing day. Ramsey has now spent two full decades in federal prisons (including three years in solitary confinement) for participating in a narcotics conspiracy. Supporters feel that a septuagenarian with a broken body and a vibrant heart is a sterling candidate for a presidential commutation. I agree. But first we must face a troubling question. Somebody entered into a conspiracy with a Mexican drug lord, but was it Ramsey Muniz or was it the federal government?

Eager for a big media splash and an easy conviction, the Houston office of the DEA treated their counterparts in Dallas to a series of carefully staged events while intentionally obscuring the truth. Those who testified at trial had no idea what was going on; those who knew the truth did not testify. The DEA got a big media win, a drug lord got a plane ticket back to Mexico, and Ramsey Muniz got a life sentence.


In the early days of March in 1994, Denacio Medina flew from Mexico City to Houston, Texas. A week later, Ramsey Muniz was arrested in Dallas. Medina had a legal problem too big to be handled over the phone. Two of his brothers were in federal prisons facing narcotics conspiracy charges, one in El Paso, the other in San Diego. Neither brother stood a chance at trial, but Medina wanted to minimize the legal damage. More significantly, a new NAFTA-related law made it possible to transfer Mexican nationals convicted in the United States to Mexican prisons where, Medina hoped, they would be more likely to secure an early release (there is no parole in the American federal system).

Medina’s family was awash in drug money, and he intended to hire the best defense attorney on the market. Ramsey Muniz enters the story because he had a working relationship with Dick DeGuerin, a Texas attorney with a reputation for working miracles for well-heeled clients.

We don’t know how or why, but shortly after arriving in Houston, Denacio Medina was picked up by DEA agents and subjected to a thorough debriefing. Asked why he was in the United States, Medina likely told the truth: he had come to hire an attorney and his pending appointment with Ramsey Muniz was proof of that fact.

When the feds learned that Medina was talking to Ramsey Muniz their suspicions deepened. In the eyes of most Texas Latinos, Muniz was remembered as the Baylor educated attorney who ran for Texas governor on the La Raza Unida ticket back in the 1970s. But Muniz had gone to prison for five years in 1977 when one of his clients found himself in the same position Denacio Medina was now in. Muniz admitted he had attended meetings his clients’ illegal activities were discussed. He thought he was covered by attorney-client privilege—he was wrong.


Upton Sinclar in 1923, in a Los Angeles jail for reading the First Amendment to striking longshore workers at Liberty Hill in San Pedro

You may be asking why a man with two brothers facing long stretches in the federal prison system would cross the border to do a drug deal that could easily have been transacted by his family’s Texas affiliates. None of that mattered to the DEA. They had a chance to make a high-profile drug bust involving a Latino icon, and they intended to make the most of the opportunity. As Upton Sinclair has famously said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it.”

There was only one way Medina could return to Mexico as a free man—he had to confirm the DEA’s darkest suspicions, and that meant making it appear that he and Muniz really were planning a drug deal. Medina may have procured the narcotics through his family’s Texas connections, but it is more likely that the DEA, eager to ensure Medina’s cooperation, supplied the swag out of their own stash. This would have been standard operating procedure.

Muniz was working as a paralegal at the time with a law firm in Brownsville, Texas and was scheduled to spend several days visiting with potential clients in Dallas, so the scam had to unfold in North Texas. The goal was to tie Muniz to a vehicle loaded with drugs. If that didn’t work out, Medina was hoping the feds would be satisfied with finding drugs in a car that could be traced to Muniz.


Juan Gonzales–rewarded for being a pawn in a frame up?

The day after being “debriefed” by DEA officers in Houston, Medina rented a white Mercury Topaz using a credit card belonging to Juan Gonzales, the man who was scheduled to drive Muniz to Dallas in a few days. According to the trial transcript, Medina told Gonzales that he needed to rent a car but lacked a Texas driver’s license. Gonzales had a license but no money, and his Sears credit card was $300 in arrears. Medina offered to pay off the Sears card if Gonzales would use it to rent a car for two days. This amounted to $250 in free money and the simple laborer from the Rio Grande Valley readily agreed.


What kind of a Fleabag hotel? A hotel where the fleas are rats that set you up and snitch you off…

Next, the Houston DEA informed Medina that a confidential informant using the fake Danny Hernandez had just booked into the Class Inn, a flea bag motel in Fort Worth. Hernandez had no identification because, as he told the man at the desk, his wallet had just been stolen. At low end motels nobody asks questions to paying customers. By sharing a room with Hernandez, Medina had a safe place to leave the rented Mercury Topaz without leaving a paper trail.

We know that Medina was staying at the Classic Inn on March 9th, the day after Muniz and Gonzales checked into the Ramada Inn in a North Dallas suburb. Phone logs show that Ramsey Muniz received a call from the Fort Worth motel that day. Since Medina flew from Houston to Dallas the evening of March 10th, we must conclude that he drove the drug-laden car to Fort Worth, then flew back to Houston where he boarded a plane back to Dallas. If Medina and Muniz were true conspirators none of this would have been necessary; but if the plan was to simulate a drug deal, a few weird gyrations had to be factored into the equation.

Legal records make it clear that agents in Houston staged the Muniz bust while their counterparts in Dallas were intentionally kept in the dark. After delivering the “load car” into the safe keeping of the mysterious Mr. Hernandez in Fort Worth, Medina returned to Houston so agents with the Dallas DEA could observe Ramsey Muniz picking him up at the Dallas airport.

We are dealing with a classic bait-and-switch scam. Dallas agents who were carefully shielded from the salient facts of the case testified at trial. The jury never learned about the DEA agents in Houston who orchestrated Medina’s every move.

Ramsey Muniz was attending the 75th birthday party of a family friend when Medina called asking to be picked up at Love Field. Muniz didn’t drive and Juan Gonzales was returning from an emergency trip to the Rio Grande Valley, but a young man at the birthday party agreed to drive him to Love Field. Medina told Muniz that his shuttle diplomacy between Dallas and Houston was designed to line up the $250,000 the Mexican businessman had agreed to pay Dick DeGuerin.

Moments before this rendezvous at the Dallas airport took place; the Houston DEA called up their counterparts in Dallas and asked them to check out two Latino males fitting the description of Muniz and Medina. Dallas agents followed Muniz and Medina for a couple of miles before breaking off surveillance at the request of the Houston office. Later that evening, Houston instructed Kimberley Elliott, head of the Dallas team assigned to the case, to drive to the Ramada Inn.

In her incident reports, and at pre-trial hearings, Agent Elliott claimed she drove to the Ramada Inn because she had received a call from Ramada employees who were concerned about a couple of suspicious men of “Latin” appearance who were using the lobby phone. Elliott abandoned this theory at trial, admitting that she drove to the motel at the insistence of the Houston DEA. Motel employees had not been the least bit suspicious of Muniz, it turned out and no one at the Ramada Inn had ever called the DEA. Elliott’s doctored reports and perjured testimony at pre-trial hearings were designed to obscure the involvement of the Houston Office from the judge, defense counsel and the jury.

If the Dallas DEA agents had maintained their surveillance, they would have seen Muniz and his companions return to the birthday party where Ramsey was scheduled to make a brief speech. Meanwhile, Medina moved from guest to guest offering handsome remuneration to anyone who could drive him to Fort Worth. A Fed Ex driver named Danny Gallardo testified at trial that he took Medina’s offer and was directed to the Classic Inn. Medina disappeared for a moment, then climbed back in the car and told Gallardo that his car wasn’t at the motel. Gallardo was instructed to drive to the Ramada Inn in North Dallas.

According to trial testimony, Muniz was walking across the Ramada parking lot carrying a bag of groceries when he was approached by Denacio Medina. The two men chatted briefly before a stranger standing in the shadows called Medina’s name. Medina promised to be back first thing in the morning then climbed into the stranger’s vehicle.

True to his word, Medina was back at the Ramada Inn the next morning. Juan Gonzales had returned from his emergency trip to the Rio Grande Valley just in time to join Muniz and Medina for breakfast. As the two men chatted over their bacon and eggs, Medina said he would be returning to Houston that morning and asked for a ride to Love Field. A DEA agent who was monitoring this conversation claims he heard Medina say something about a deal scheduled for 10:00. The agent learned nothing about the nature of this transaction or if the projected time was morning or evening. But the Houston DEA was insisting that all three men at the restaurant were big time drug dealers, so the agent concluded that Medina was talking about drugs.

The three men drove to Love Field where Medina entered the terminal and was taken into temporary custody by a DEA agent. As Gonzales made his way back to the interstate he made two surprising revelations. Muniz learned that Medina’s rental car needed to be moved from the Ramada Inn a mile south to the La Quinta. Gonzales reported that he had decided to remain in Dallas to look for work and would be staying at the La Quinta.

Since Juan Gonzales failed to testify at trial it is impossible to know with certainty what transpired between Medina and the hapless Mr. Gonzales. At some point, Medina asked Gonzales to return the rental car for him. Gonzales likely complained that the car was now five days overdue. Medina may have promised to pay for a room at the La Quinta if Gonzales agreed to return the car. Medina and Gonzales clearly worked out a deal of some kind, but Muniz was left completely in the dark. Since Gonzales ended up doing fifteen years for his part in the alleged conspiracy, it is unlikely that he knew Medina was working with the feds.

Ramsey didn’t mind losing his driver. His wife, Irma, had been asking him to fly home and phone logs show Muniz had been discussing travel plans with Southwest. He had one more legal consultation scheduled for noon after which he was free to leave Dallas.

But moving Medina’s car was a problem. Muniz had allowed his license to expire because he didn’t drive. Five years in prison had left him a bit paranoid about car ownership, and he found he got more work done if someone else was driving. But the drive would only take a couple of minutes so there was little danger of getting stopped. Muniz climbed behind the wheel of the Topaz and followed Gonzales to the La Quinta. Moments after parking the car, he was approached and questioned by Dallas DEA agents, $800,000 of powdered cocaine was discovered in the trunk of the Topaz, and Denacio Medina was on a plane back to Mexico.


Attorney Dick DeGuerin

The jury never learned that every move Denacio Medina made was scripted by the Houston DEA. Dick DeGuerin, Ramsey’s defense attorney, wasn’t told that Medina had been “negotiating” with the feds until moments before he delivered his closing remarks. DeGuerin didn’t unearth Medina’s relationship to Hernandez until midway through the trial and, because he wasn’t told that Medina was working with the Houston DEA, DeGuerin failed to grasp the significance of the Hernandez-Medina connection.

The jury was exposed to a simple narrative limited to the “evidence” witnessed by the Dallas DEA. Would the jury have voted to convict if all the facts had been on the table? Would a case this flimsy even go to trial? The Houston office of the DEA had good reason to keep its fingerprints off this case.

After twenty years in prison, the seventy-year old Ramsey Muniz should be released from prison on humanitarian grounds. But the man who ran for governor in 1972 on the La Raza Unida ticket has maintained his innocence from the moment the trunk of the Mercury Topaz was lifted. The record shows that Denacio Medina set up Ramsey Muniz to save his own skin. The Houston DEA offered assistance and advice at every stage of the operation and likely supplied the drugs found in the load car. This nasty business was completely legal and utterly immoral. If President Barack Obama ever takes a close look at the facts of this case he will issue an immediate commutation. It is our job to ensure this tragedy receives the attention it deserves.

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Pardon Me? Say What? No Pardon for Rapist President Moshe Katsav


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Moshe Katsav, Presidential Rapist and Sexual Harasser

Iranian born former Israeli President Moshe Katsav, a convicted and imprisoned rapist, is widely reported to be seeking a pardon from current Israeli President Shimon Peres.  Here’s what the Jerusalem Post said in part about Katsav’s request:

Katsav, 66, is serving his sentence at Ma’asiyahu Prison, near Ramle, for his conviction on two counts of rape, two counts of sexual harassment, and other sexual offenses and obstruction of justice, which started in December 2011.

According to media reports, his petition asks for a pardon in order to clear his name and, in some unspecified manner, to try to overturn his conviction on the grounds that he did not get a fair trial.

Reports also indicated that he contended that having to resign as president was punishment enough. [Emphasis added, full article at:]

Israeli Women Protesting President Katsav’s rape and sexual harassment

Say what!?  Are you freaking kidding me?  “…having to resign as president was punishment enough” for raping women??????

This request is an outrage and President Peres should reject it out of hand.  It would be more outrageous than when President Ford pardoned Richard Nixon.

Email the Israeli Embassy in Washington to let you know how disgusted you are with this request:

This is what I had to say:

As the great great grandson of a Rabbi and as a Jew, I am appalled at the reported possibility that former Israeli President Moshe Katsav might be pardoned for his rape conviction.  Please communicate my views to President Shimon Peres of Israel.

Sisterhood is powerful.  Whether it is an Israeli woman, a Palestinian woman, an Afghan woman, or a woman anywhere, we need to stand together against the outrage of rape.  Rapists are shameful and women survivors need to learn that being raped is not their  shame or something for which they should feel blame….and no rapist should feel that they can get away with it or get away with an effective sentence which is a punishment that does not fit the crime.

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Social Media & the 2012 Election


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Created by Sarah Wenger:

Social Media Election by OpenSite is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at

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Same Page Coalition Endorses Brad Sherman, Steve Fox, Dan McCrory


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 California League of Latin American Citizens

C.A.L.L.A.C. – Affiliated with the National League of Latin American Citizens

P.O. Box 433 Torrance CA 90508-0433

Tel: 213.787.5476

 For Immediate Release: October 14, 2012



L to R: Cynthia Conover, Jose Luis Ramirez, Brad Sherman, Maria Cano, Jan B. Tucker, Linda Pruett, Rick Pederson

Following a thorough vetting process the Same Page/Misma Pagina Coalition has endorsed Representative Brad Sherman who is involved in a pivotal re-election bid against Representative Howard Berman in the California 30th Congressional District along with Assembly Candidate Steve Fox in the 36th District. The coalition is also making an early endorsement of Assembly Candidate Dan McCrory who is expected to seek election in the 40th District under the expectation that incumbent Bob Blumenfield will seek election to the Los Angeles City Council in 2013.

The Same Page/Misma Pagina Coalition consists of the National League of Latin American Citizens (NLLAC), California League of Latin American Citizens (CALLAC), the San Fernando Valley/Northeast Los Angeles and the Los Angeles South Chapters of the National Organization for Women, the United For Education Coalition, Miss Revolutionaries, the California LULAC Institute, and Todos Unidos. The latter two organizations are 501(c)(3) non-profits and do not make endorsements but participate in the vetting process to engage in GOTV (Get Out The Vote) and voter education efforts. Additionally, the Bring Hollywood Home Foundation (BHHF) is participating in the vetting process with a supplemental questionnaire for candidates and will take it’s own action on the races later.

Steve Fox, Third from Left

The Coalition’s standard endorsement questionnaire is considered one of the most comprehensive amongst California endorsing organizations. All three of the major Los Angeles Mayoral candidates for the 2013 municipal elections are currently in the process of formulating their responses to it. The questionnaire can be downloaded from The Coalition sent invitations to nearly every candidate for President, U.S. Senate, House of Representatives and state legislature on the California ballot in the November election (with the exception of about five candidates for whom contact information was not available).

Dan McCrory, Middle

In addition to the endorsing organizations, the Coalition announced that NLLAC National President Jaime Martinez had personally endorsed Representative Brad Sherman. Martinez, is also the founder and President of the Cesar E. Chavez Legacy and Educational Fund, and was the first Chicano to serve at the national level in the International Union of Electrical Workers (IUE-AFL-CIO), first vice president for the Central Labor Council of the AFL-CIO and served as president of the national Labor Council of Latin American Advancement (LCLAA).


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Know Your Electors–CA Electoral College Nominees


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Few Americans actually understand the origins or mechanics of the “Electoral College” which consists of the people that you actually elect in order to elect the President and Vice President of the United States.  Huh????  Elect to elect?  Yeah, that’s what I said.

When you vote for President and Vice President you’re really voting for a “slate of electors” who will gather in the State Capitol and then vote for whoever they want to for President and Vice President.  There is no law that can force these people to vote for who they pledged to vote for because the United States Constitution doesn’t specify that they can be required to vote for those to whom they are pledged.  Article II, Section 1 and the Twelfth Amendment explain how electors are to be selected and how they vote for President and Vice President.  Every so often a few electors have voted for somebody other than for whom they were pledged, but it has never affected the outcome of an election.

Usually, the names of electors are completely unknown to the public, unless they are, like those who defy their pledge are who have historically been called the “faithless electors.”  Generally speaking they wind up getting interviewed by the news media and immediately afterwards are forgotten by all except overly pedantic political scientists and other trivia geeks.  I do happen to remember that author James Michener was a member of the Pennsylvania Electoral College (and I think served as its Secretary) in 1960, simply because in High School I read his book, “Report of the County Chairman about his 1960’s experience as head of the John Kennedy for President organization in Buck’s County, Pennsylvania.

Anyway, just in case you’re curious about who the California Electors are for the various political parties fielding candidates on the California ballot this year, the Secretary of State has them listed on the office’s website and when you vote, remember that they get to vote for the candidate of their choice, so just hope that your party picked them very carefully so they vote for the candidate you voted for as well:

Here’s a little tidbit about why you have to be REALLY CAREFUL about who you put on your slate of electors.  Attorney Richard Loa of Palmdale is an elector for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.  Although for years he’s been claiming to have been a “lifelong Republican,” that’s just a flat out lie.  He used to be a Marxist – Leninist and Co-President of the San Fernando Valley Chapter of La Raza Unida Party.  I wrote about his radical chic days in my blog posting:  Loa once lectured me about how my view of “natural rights” was wrong because it was inconsistent with the principles of Marxism-Leninism.

Young Radical Clemenceau

Loa is a shining example, if you follow former French Premier Georges Clemenceau, of what he was talking about when he said “A young man who isn’t a socialist hasn’t got a heart; an old man who is a socialist hasn’t got a head,” and “My son is 22 years old. If he had not become a Communist at 22, I would have disowned him. If he is still a Communist at 30, I will do it then.”  On the other hand, if you’re a follower of Jan B. Tucker, then you may remember the message I gave in the program for a speech I gave at an AB 540 student fundraiser at Los Angeles

Old & Conservative Clemenceau

Mission College where I said that Clemenceau is full of shit.  Aside from the fact that he was a sexist and didn’t include women in his statements, you don’t have to give up your heart just to grow a brain.

By the way, it’s possible that another of Romney’s electors is a former member of the Socialist Party USA, but it might be a case of mistaken identity just because the name and general area she lives in is the same…..but I’m still checking that out!

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