Man, you’d think a large gathering of progressives, in progressive Santa Monica’s progressive north of San Vicente enclave last Sunday, would be serving trump roast and burning every Republican they could name, but their ire was aimed squarely at — the Democrats!

Oh, it was the Bernie bunch, right? Still not able to un-gnash their teeth over Debbie’s dirty tricks to hand the crown to Hillary, missing the messiness of actually finding out who the rank and file party members wanted.

There were Bernie fans aplenty, but it wasn’t that. This was an issues-oriented crowd, they had plenty of them, and they all seemed to agree that today’s Democratic Party is not on the same page, because their hands are as dirty and their pockets as lined with bribes as their GOP counterparts. Oh — I’m sorry, did I write bribes? I meant, political campaign contributions.

The event was sponsored by the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), “democratic” not, in principle, referring to the party. ADA was founded by Eleanor Roosevelt, John Kenneth Galbraith, Walter Reuther, Arthur Schlesinger and Reinhold Niebuhr, shortly after FDR died, to “keep alive the New Deal dream, its vision and values of an America that works fairly for all.” Well, not all, just the 99 percent, because the top 1 percent don’t need help from government, they will always do just fine, thank you. It’s not like they are

going to invest in oil or casinos and go bankrupt, ha ha ha. Leave it to certain rich folk

like the Roosevelts and Kennedys to be true populists. (Not to say they didn’t have other glaring faults.) The idea of a millionaire working for the common folk is a time-honored tradition in American politics, but has become a cruel joke, these swampy days.



Then the crowd (about 160, we were told) settled into chairs set up in the large entry yard of the home of Jan Goodman and Jerry Manpearl, longtime local activists for progressive causes and candidates. Their activism is in their DNA, their family histories, on the East Coast, and they’ve hosted some pretty big names. Goodman has the tablecloth to prove it, with autographs preserved with hand stitching.

I spotted only one City Council member, Sue Himmelrich, and her husband Housing Commissioner Michael Soloff. I thought our entire City Council was progressive? Along with populist and slow growth.

Dems and progressives always know how to put on a good show. Goodman has become an adept MC, aided by her friend Will Ryan, a famous voice-over actor, songwriter-crooner with the Cactus County Cowboys, and all around funny and clever guy. But not clever enough to not have his original, topical song, “How Come Amy Goodman Always Gets It Right?”, bumped to the very end because of late-showing speakers, making for an impossible task to follow the very entertaining featured speakers, investigative reporter Greg Palast and funnyman Jimmy Dore.

Palast had some fascinating tales of presidential election fraud dirt he dug up over the decades, which could sound like conspiracy fake news except: 1) he was published by

The Guardian, The BBC and Rolling Stone, and claimed his work made front pages all

over the world, except … in the US, where it was ignored (or blocked?), and 2) he showed documents backing up his reporting, including a page, one of many, he said, of the thousands of names of purged voters in 2000, ordered by then-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, almost all with the “BLA” notation by their name. “Bla, bla, bla was all I could think of, at first,” related Palast, “and then it dawned on me what ‘BLA’ stood for.” Little bro George W. Bush was declared winner of Florida, and therefore the presidency, by 537 votes, out of almost 6,000,000 cast. He had similar tales, supported by evidence, of crucial shenanigans in 2016. Dore kept the crowd laughing, even though his stories of political life almost always had an unhappy ending. Laugh to keep from crying.



The ADA has always taken on multiple issue at once and still do, but universal health care may be at the top of the list for many members. That crowd did seem to agree that single payer (the Medicare model, that has worked pretty darn good for half a century, and all over the world) is the way to go, and many expressed frustration that the Democratic Party seemed barely able, institutionally, to even utter the phrase. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has promised to introduce his single payer bill this year.

It took an ADA crowd to make me feel a little bit right wing. To say both major parties are equally corrupt is a false equivalency, and there is plenty of evidence since 45 started sowing chaos. I feel the Dems should have done more, but we would at this moment have Trump(I Don’t)care if it weren’t for every single Senate Democrat voting against it. I hate what the Democratic Party has become, but they are not in the same basket as the Republicans.

I’m leery of the chances of reforming the Democratic Party, but I think that stands a

better chance than breaking away. Bringing a third party to power seems nearly impossible. But the election of yet another establishment figure, Tom Perez, over progressive Minnesota US Rep. Keith Ellison (first American Muslim elected to Congress), as chair of the Democratic National Committee, is not encouraging. Perez did immediately call for Ellison to be vice chair, and he was appointed by acclamation. We’ll see.


QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Whatever happened to the Andrews Family brick, paid for in December 2004, but still not installed in the wall of the California Heritage Museum at Main and Ocean Park? “We are required,” my certificate says — by whom or what? — “to wait until 300 – 400 bricks have been ordered before we can install a new

wall section.” Almost 13 years on, still waiting. What have you done with my money all this time? I could have bought stock in Tesla or Apple and be rollin’ in it, not ticked off. How much money are you sitting on? I have to say it — is this just another missing brick in the wall?


QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “The day you take complete responsibility for yourself, the day you stop making any excuses, that’s the day you start to the top.” — O.J. Simpson

Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 31 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else

in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at