In 2017 #WeThePeople interviewed Angelica Earl - candidate for U.S. Senate (MO).

Angelica Earl on Medicare for All; Pipelines; the “American Dream” tax plan; Criminal Justice Reform; Guns and more.

Angelica Earl is a progressive Democrat who is running for the U.S. Senate in Missouri. Her Primary opponent is Claire McCaskill. Angelica was interviewed by #WeThePeople on November 8th, 2017.

To begin with we watch Angelica’s campaign ad, which was put together by revolutionfunding.org (sponsored by delegates and friends for Bernie 2016) - which Angelica tells us is a great asset and a great company. They worked in partnership with Tall Grass Graphics. We learn from the campaign ad that she believes in putting people first, Medicare for All, ending Citizens United, prison reform, compassion training for law enforcement, in-state ranked-choice voting, putting an end to gerrymandering, ending perpetual war and strengthening environmental protections.

As always, Laura Livengood tells everyone to check out the guest candidate’s basic platform first – and gives them the link, and then to ask questions by tagging her.

In response to John’s first question, Angelica tells us that she decided to run because she was very disappointed in her opponent - whom she had helped elect, and who is supposed to be a Democrat and to stand for the working class. Angelica was working in the Health Insurance Marketplace (which was a stressful work environment with all the changes constantly taking place) and knew that it wasn’t the case that the people couldn’t have Medicare for All / Single-Payer - as Claire McCaskill argued. Angelica had heard from hundreds of people about what was going on in the Marketplace, what they needed help with, what they were going through. She’d heard many success stories. She knows the ACA from top to bottom and knows from the inside though, that it probably can’t be fixed. The next step would just be to move on. Single-Payer needs to be done. So, if no one else was going to stand up and say that, then she decided she would have to do so. Claire McCaskill is pushing for an expansion of Medicare. For Angelica that should mean Medicare for All. However, there won’t be much expansion because - she tells us, Claire McCaskill wants to make a bi-partisan agreement with Republican colleagues to fix the ACA. According to the Democratic platform for the National level, they are supposed to fight for Universal healthcare for all! I’m following that platform she tells us. The platform as we’ve learned, is non-binding unfortunately - says John. Yesterday (11/07/2017) - he adds, there was a big progressive sweep and some establishment Democratic wins. Maine I believe pushed forth against Governor LePage’s wishes after 5 attempts of legislation, to expand Medicaid. They just said we’ll put it on the ballot. I guess we’ll see if it can be funded. John then asks whether Angelica believes that this would not work nationally. In Missouri they didn’t do the Medicaid expansion – she replies. The income gap there for a family of 4 is huge. Angelica falls into that income gap herself, because she lost her job at the Marketplace and is now on unemployment. She makes just a little too much to be on Medicaid and just under the amount needed to qualify through the Marketplace. So, I can’t even qualify for where my own job was. This Medicaid gap … There are lots of States across the country that don’t have this gap in coverage – which by the way is fantastic, because those States voted for it to be filled. She talks of premiums going up and executive orders to undermine the advertisement and the outreach. It has been sabotaged and it is failing just like they wanted it to. Angelica was laid off because the amount of people who were applying was dramatically reduced this year (2017) because the outreach was cut off early with the new Administration guidance, and she thinks people lost their jobs, or went part-time - which means that they lost all their benefits (as a result). I (and a lot of others) have been told we can come back to work, but that return to work date is in January. I’m hoping to be campaigning too much and putting some wood on the fire, to be able to return to work. However the offer is there. There is going to be an uptick because people are not going to let the Administration get one over on them. John asks whether in Angelica’s view Aetna has a role to play in Single-Payer. She answers that we don’t need a middleman to filter between us and our healthcare.

For Angelica it’s obvious that this is a new generation - with new ideas, and that as a result of change, some businesses will collapse. It’s not the end of the world. Other businesses will emerge. John applauds these powerful words. Angelica talks about corporations: “If corporations are people, then why do they have to pay less than people?” John just says that there are so many things about how our government … how things, function on behalf of business. It seems like we’ve gone beyond the movie “Idiocracy” at this point. Angelica answers that we can still be saved, before we put Gatorade into the water supply. John adds that we put lead in our water! Gatorade just seems like fun (in comparison). They are both conscious of how serious all of this is, in spite of the nervous laughter. Angelica knows about the Flint water crisis and talks about the Dakota Access Pipeline. (She wants to stop all the pipelines.) If that pipeline bursts, it means that my home town of St. Louis is in trouble. We will not have clean drinking water, and most (people) do not even know that. They talk about the dangers of spills and of how the EPA isn’t even really working anymore. She speaks about MO and agriculture and how the latter has been slowly failing over the years due to corporations and their practices. She tells us that for her climate change is connected to that feeling that we have in our gut that something is wrong. There are animal species becoming extinct… She wants to combat all of that by bringing renewable jobs into the areas that are pretty much jobless now. Renewable energy is the future – she says. John asks whether she would hand out incentives and subsidies to the renewable energy corporations in the way fossil fuel corporations get them now …

That actually brings me to my “American Dream” Tax Plan (which is nothing new) - she says. I would like a tax rate of 90% and to offer the corporations deductions/incentives to do the things that we need them to do – give us parental leave / let us form a union / install renewable energy / install environmental protections / hire more full-time employees / manufacture goods in the U.S. / pay women the same as men / end server pay and so much more. As working class people we should be able to live happy, healthy and successful lives and this gives everyone their fair share and the ability to realize the American Dream. This tax plan could also be used with regard to deforestation and for bringing other business back to the United States. It’s what could be called a “silver bullet” plan – she says. I would like to sit down with economists and make it a long-term solution. It would be good to get other candidates to support it too. That’s my ultimate goal. So - says John, you’re talking about subsidies for doing ethically and morally correct things instead of raping and pillaging the planet for profit. Exactly - says Angelica, adding that history has shown us that businesses, corporations and states cannot be trusted. Angelica has a degree in the liberal arts. She focused on history - including State participation in the Great Depression, and before that on corporations and businesses - and how they treated their employees over the years. Regulation is a weird word which lots of people don’t like. However what it actually means is consumer and worker protections. She continues - we need those protections in place and the federal government was a kind of a fail-safe to make sure that these protections were going to trickle down to the businesses at the bottom. (Big) business owners don’t like this and they spend a lot of time spreading propaganda about regulations. Check out different videos on YouTube - she says, about the working conditions before regulations. They were horrid. Regulations - says John, include the 40-hour workweek and not letting kids work in a coal mine…

They move on to criminal justice and justice reform. John shows a slide with the following quote. “Police officers have been torturing and killing innocent people, or people who have committed victimless crimes, which is why compassion training is essential to weed out and reprimand these brutal police officers.” In MO the Black Community is being harassed by the Police Department in their area. This is the case statewide – she says, even though I will refer here to St. Louis. The SLMPD in Angelica’s view is one of the most corrupt Police Departments in the country - and she says that as a person who has relatives in that Police Department, relatives whom she grew up with and knows very well. She is deeply appalled at what Police Departments across the country are doing. She thinks they know better but are doing it anyway. Racism is rampant inside of Police Departments. Her relatives told her that even those who aren’t racist entering the force, become racist within the year. (Within a community) Police Departments are seeking a problem - whether it’s there or not. This is where compassion training comes in – she says. I support the Police, but not brutal police officers or those who stand up for, lie, and defend them. Federal grant money should be contingent on the Police Departments providing compassion training (which ought to be ongoing). This should teach Police Officers to understand mental illness, disabilities and how to return to community policing. I’ve had enough of going to protests and hearing about all of this. Most of us in 2017 are not racist anymore, and if you are then we are going to weed you out – she says. It has to happen. John replies - I hope so, and refers to the 2015 FBI report which states that Police Departments across the country are filled with white supremacists. We’ve a lot of work to do. He appreciates however her very strong and bold stance on the issue. I - he says, am with you on that. There is intersectionality though… targeting persons of color is linked to our prison for profit system. Angelica wants to get rid of private for-profit prisons. They are subsidized by the Federal Government (to the amount of $70,000 per prisoner?) for every prisoner (and will spend a minimum of that money in order to make as much profit as possible). They also pay prisoners pennies on the dollar to make items they then sell us at profit. We also need to end the drug war. Here in MO we’re fighting for medicinal marijuana. Legalize marijuana and you limit the numbers going to jail. John shows a slide with the quote: “We can help combat the opioid epidemic with Medicinal Marijuana.” So, in St. Louis if we’re going to talk about getting people out of prisons and stopping the school to prison pipeline…then there are two ways to do that. One of those ways is by re-scheduling marijuana and the other is by getting rid of private prisons.

John moves on to talk about opioids and pharmaceutical companies and mentions a DEA bill that Claire McCaskill voted for. Angelica doesn’t agree with Claire’s approach. (The latter introduced a bill to abrogate the sovereign immunity of Indian tribes.) Trying to get rid of their patents makes it look like she is defending the pipelines a little bit - if you catch my drift on that. John does. Angelica doesn’t agree either with Claire’s idea of a prescription drug database. Why make another list which will include the names of many people who “use them properly”? People need help though. Their drug addiction started with opioids. Marijuana has been shown to reduce opioid death. I guess - she smiles, to fix the opioid problem you’d have to be a democratic socialist who believes in pushing for Single-Payer healthcare and re-scheduling marijuana. Well - says John, you would have to make sure you weren’t taking any money from the pharmaceutical industry or anything connected with it.

John asks whether Claire McCaskill has been doing Town Halls - given that she was scared at the idea of being primaried. She has – Angelica replies, all over the State. They are not ending very positively either. Apparently she is scared to come to St. Louis to do a Town Hall in case she’s yelled at – Angelica tells us. Hardly surprising when St. Louis is one of the cities taking the biggest hits from what she is doing and the legislation that she is passing, including the approval of Ajit (Pai)’s (killing) net neutrality thing, because we have a lot of people in St. Louis that are underprivileged.

A quick look at a few slides tell us that Claire’s top industry donors for 2013-2018 are law firms and lawyers, with EMILY’s list in 4th place. Her top contributor for 2013-2018 is Centene Corporation. Over the same time-frame Claire received 38.06% of donations from small individual contributions and 61.94% from large individual contributions.

John says that Claire approved most of Donald Trump’s cabinet (14 out of 22 - Angelica specifies). She is certainly not progressive – John comments. At one point – Angelica tells us, Claire bragged about voting 60% of the time with George Bush! I’m just floored at the pandering to the Republican side of the field in MO – she says, because while MO votes Republican, it isn’t a Republican State, but a Swing State that goes back and forth and is full of Independent voters. So we just need to give them someone to vote for, and I’ve been hearing that they are not going to vote for her. One way or another she won’t beat a Republican this time, but a Progressive WILL win. If you really want to keep this seat blue, you have to vote progressive. Claire is running but knows she isn’t going to win. She is pandering to Donald Trump’s supporters specifically, but that support has finally dipped below 50% here. She cannot win (11.08.2017)! That’s good news for you – says John. McCaskill is seen to be hugely detached from everyday life, renewable energies and people being out of work… She doesn’t try to see to it (by looking into renewables) that they can have work again – Angelica says. As for those Town Halls - Democrats, Republicans and Independents are all saying they want Medicare for All. What’s her answer? The deficit…we can’t. Then she turns around and votes immediately for $700,000 to go off into the war machine.

Laura has a YouTube question from (Alpha Grey Knight). You touched on pipelines earlier, but how do you plan on supporting the Native American Reservations in MO? Actually – replies Angelica, here in MO we have Native Americans but no actual reservation.

She continues by saying that she is disappointed that Claire McCaskill has blatantly attacked the Native American community (who in this case have a lot of money and a whole community that they support, and they also supported the Water Protectors in North Dakota) when you see that the same process that she is attacking them for is used by universities, and so forth. Angelica is part Cherokee and believes 100% in protecting their reservations and their rights - and not going after them. Would you honor the Treaties - asks John? We don’t seem to have honored a single one, and it would require a lot of giving land back. It would – Angelica answers. We would have to negotiate with them. Maybe they could own that land - unless it was owned by a private person. If it’s owned by a corporation, then give it back. They aren’t people. After all that has been done to the (Native Americans) already … and you’re putting people who aren’t Native American in harm’s way with the things that you’re doing to their land … So yes, honor the treaties!

What is your position on the death penalty? That’s a touchy one – she says. Personally, I don’t believe in it. In a civilized society I don’t believe we have any reason to be killing anybody. That “eye for an eye” is just terrible. I think the death penalty is still there now because our prisons are so over-populated with non-violent drug offenders and people who commit victimless crimes, that we are jumping at the opportunity to kill people who have murdered or whatever someone. Again this brings us back to Single-Payer and the possibility of psychiatric treatment for these people and keeping them in prison until we’re sure it works. But I don’t think we should be killing them. John likes the sound of Restorative Justice and space for those who can’t be allowed back into society.

The conversation shifts to guns. We learn that gun homicide rates are 25.2 times higher in the U.S. than in other high-income countries. What is the story in Missouri? Angelica replies that guns are a big topic in Missouri, but not as big a topic as Single-Payer; jobs and education. She herself is a gun owner and loves to shoot guns. However that doesn’t mean that the violent alcoholic down the street should have the right to own a gun – she says. Angelica now talks about the possibility of having a “real” list that might actually be helpful, with the names of those who have a tendency to be violent. I have - she says, a relative who has been put in jail 14 times for DUI (Driving Under the Influence). I wouldn’t want him to own a gun. We also have the issue of mental illness. Then there is the AR-15 issue. We found out recently that all of the mass shootings that have taken place are by AR-15s. It’s a very popular weapon for psychos - says John with dark humor. Personally, Angelica says - I wish I could own one, but that doesn’t mean I will because I don’t have any use for that. I don’t go hunting and if I did, why do I need an assault weapon? It needs to be taken off the street and to be made illegal. It’s one thing to have a gun at home that can shoot 3 intruders down, it’s another to have a gun that can shoot 20 people down. At this point in time those guns are being used for mass murders. As to the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms, they didn’t know about mental illness or how powerful and how many bullets weapons of the future would hold, at the time that was written. I love my gun and agree with the Constitution, but certain guns do not need to be there and people who are violent should not own them. Period! Along the same lines - says John, I shouldn’t be able to own a nuclear weapon either. Right - smiles Angelica. So you won’t be taking any money from the NRA - John asks? I will not - she replies. Even though you like your guns - John pushes? I do like them – Angelica replies.

John then asks about MSM and male-dominated industries and whether she perceives attitude or a tendency towards violence and “man-dom” there. Angelica replies that as a woman she has had to deal with what pretty much any woman has had to deal with - sexual harassment and being paid less than male counterparts in the workplace included. Personally though, I’m brutally honest – she says, and I don’t like to beat about the bush and (so) I kind of handle men that way. They don’t really like it too much because women are supposed to be docile and we’re supposed to comply. Angelica won’t put up with things like that. She reacts and fights and people have been fired. In the working class industry – she says, women who run businesses tend to do better which is relevant because of the huge push-back from the white male right. Whether it’s women’s rights with their bodies or rights at work and across the board, there is a lot of suppression going on. Part of my American Dream tax plan involves a tax deduction for hiring a certain amount of women and paying them the same as their male counterparts in the same position. Nice - says John.

John shows a slide with a quote from the Washington Times referring to Angelica as a representative of the “Bernard Sanders Progressive wing of the Democratic Party”. You’re a Berner! Yes – she replies. I voted for Bernie in the Primary and followed his instruction to vote for Clinton after that - which I would rather not have had to do. Part of the reason Angelica is running on the Democratic ticket now, is because she really wanted the opportunity to debate Claire McCaskill. I wanted to stand there and tell her that this is what we are. This is what we’ve been through. This is our life. I’m sorry you don’t understand, but I’m here to tell you that this is the way it is and we’re coming in to take over and make sure that we can have our future. Because as of right now, our future is looking pretty bleak - so we need to get it back.

Why vote for Angelica? My tax plan for one – she says, and I am confident that MO is ready for Single-Payer and a Democratic Socialist left progressive candidate. I have been through everything - from being evicted from my home to being on food stamps to being unemployed … so I understand. I also know what it’s like to not be on those things and to be self-dependent. Therefore I know what I’m fighting for and I’d like others to know the feeling and get to being totally self-dependent too. I am pushing for education reform and for medical marijuana to be re-scheduled. I think - unlike Claire McCaskill, that it’s asinine to lower the corporation tax rate to 20% (11/08/2017). Trickle-down economics doesn’t work. We know this. So why is a Democratic Senator perpetuating it! It’s not necessary and it’s completely uncalled for and wrong. There is no bi-partisan agreement when you’re talking about this, when they already had deductions in the first place that are going to make that rate go even lower. A lot of Progressive groups in MO are not really so. They are pushing establishment politics out of fear of losing to Republicans. My opponents will have a lot of money, so donations are welcome and do vote for me.

Angelica also has 15 years of experience in business behind her. She knows the business and retail industry and the server industry just like everybody else, to the extent that she knows how to fight back against their twisted ways and what they do (such as businesses setting up the stores to be intentionally robbed to recoup those funds from insurance).

The links are in the video description. Good luck on August 7th, 2018 Angelica Earl!

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