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- Bio: Gloria La Riva
- Candidate Profile: Democratic VP Nominee Kamala Harris
- New Yorker cartoon
- What would you say if you had 60 seconds to speak at the Democratic National Convention?
- “I ONLY HAVE A MINUTE” BY BENJAMIN E. MAYS
- The Case for Abolishing the Department of Homeland Security
- Kamala Harris? Really? Desperate Times, Desperate Measures
- Understanding the politics of Kamala Harris
- Newsom to appoint progressive replacement if Harris wins VP?
- Hong Kong media mogul and activist Jimmy Lai arrested for ‘collusion with foreign powers’
Upcoming EventsAug14Friall-day Soil Not Oil Conference @ OnlineSoil Not Oil Conference @ OnlineAug 14 all-daySoil Not Oil Conference Posted by LaborSolidarityCommittee WHEN: August 14, 2020 all-day Repeats WHERE: Online CONTACT: Event website EVENT The Biosafety Alliance/Soil Not Oil Coalition has been organizing conferences since 2011. Starting with the historic Justice Begins with Seeds Conference that supported GMO Labeling campaigns by educating community members about the environmental hazards of industrial agriculture that is highly fueled by the GMO industry. In 2015, we expanded our work through the Soil Not OilInternational Conference, in which we promote practical soil-based solutions to climate change by restoring ecosystems and expanding environmental justice by offering scholarships to diverse participants.. Our conference have… Continue reading →Aug15Sat4:30 pm Strike Debt Bay Area Book Group @ Online via ZoomStrike Debt Bay Area Book Group @ Online via ZoomAug 15 @ 4:30 pm – 6:00 pmStrike Debt Bay Area Book Group Posted by LaborSolidarityCommittee WHEN: August 15, 2020 @ 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm Repeats WHERE: ONLINE, VIA ‘ZOOM’ CONTACT: Email WORKSHOP ***>> EMAIL STRIKE.DEBT.BAY.AREA@GMAIL.COM FOR ZOOM INFO A FEW DAYS BEFORE THE MEETING. <<*** Strike Debt Bay Area hosts a non-technical book group discussion monthly on new and radical economic thinking. Previous readings have included Doughnut Economics, Limits, Banking on the People, Capital and Its Discontents, and How to Be an Anti-Capitalist in the 21st Century. For our July, August and September discussions we will be reading ‘The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economy’ by… Continue reading →Aug16Sun1:00 pm Sunflower Alliance Zoom Meeting @ Online via ZoomSunflower Alliance Zoom Meeting @ Online via ZoomAug 16 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pmSunflower Alliance Zoom Meeting Posted by LaborSolidarityCommittee WHEN: August 16, 2020 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm WHERE: ONLINE, VIA ‘ZOOM’ CONTACT: Email MEETING We’re looking forward to getting together with you for a regular meeting. We’ll discuss the latest developments in our fight to keep new oil and gas wells out of eastern Contra Costa County and ban new fossil fuel development in the county. Plus we’ll catch up on campaigns against coal exports in Richmond and Oakland, just transition, regional climate planning, and more — and check in with each other. We need your participation and your voice! RSVP… Continue reading →5:00 pm Iranian Film: “The Salesman” @ Online via ZoomIranian Film: “The Salesman” @ Online via ZoomAug 16 @ 5:00 pm – 6:30 pmDearest Peacemaker, COVID-19 has forced us to discover new ways to stay connected with one another. With Zoom dinners, birthdays, webinars, and concerts, we have adapted our abilities to connect. Now, join us on Zoom for an Iranian culture night as part of our citizen diplomacy efforts with Iran. On Sunday, August 16, we will host a discussion of the marvelous Iranian film, The Salesman, winner of the 2017 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. What: The Salesman Iran film discussion with Iranian-American peacemaker Leila Zand Where: Zoom When: August 16, 2020, at 5 PM ET How it works: Watch the movie on your… Continue reading →Aug18Tue6:30 pm DSA Reading group: We Own the Fu... @ Online via ZoomDSA Reading group: We Own the Fu... @ Online via ZoomAug 18 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pmTopic Reading group: We Own the Future Time Aug 11, 2020 06:30 PM Aug 18, 2020 06:30 PM Aug 25, 2020 06:30 PM Time shows in Pacific Time (US and Canada) Add to calendar Meeting ID: 835 5198 5536 To Join the Meeting Join from a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android device: Please click this URL to join. https://us02web.zoom.us/w/83551985536?tk=D4-Yp_LGQubUzi53BljHLmOMoJaoQ6lV_Ht2AqyAK7I.DQIAAAATdBYfgBZXZUpLSFlRWVFhaTBNYUN2LXA1VmhBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA&pwd=TmxISWxLTk9IeWU1aXB5QnRiTTlrQT09Aug19Wed6:45 pm Let’s Own PG&E Campaign @ Online via ZoomLet’s Own PG&E Campaign @ Online via ZoomAug 19 @ 6:45 pm – 8:30 pmLet’s Own PG&E Campaign Posted by LaborSolidarityCommittee WHEN: August 19, 2020 @ 6:45 pm – 8:30 pm WHERE: ONLINE, VIA ‘ZOOM’ CONTACT: Event website WORKSHOP Learn about why a for-profit PG&E will never work for the people or the planet and be a part of winning a Community-owned, Community-controlled PG&E. Where: Zoom: RSVP for linkAug21Fri6:30 pm Sensible Cinema: “Iron Jawed An... @ Online via Zoom (link to come)Sensible Cinema: “Iron Jawed An... @ Online via Zoom (link to come)Aug 21 @ 6:30 pm – 9:00 pmSensible Cinema Sponsored by the UUSF Social Justice Council Celebrating 100th Year Anniversary of the Womens’ Right to Vote Iron Jawed Angels Friday, August 21, 6:30pm Virtual Film Discussion Gathering via Zoom Iron Jawed Angels is a feature length (2 hours) dramatization made for HBO in 2004. It tells the story of women’s suffrage in the U.S. from 1912 until the 19th Amendment was passed giving women the right to vote in August of 1920. To watch the film go to the link below. In a “Reminder”, I’ll send the Zoom link to you about Aug. 18 to allow you to attend the… Continue reading →Aug22Satall-day Medicare for All Day of Action @ MultipleMedicare for All Day of Action @ MultipleAug 22 all-dayOur Medicare for All Day of Action is coming up next month and we need your help! If you were able to join our national Summer Strategy call a couple of weeks ago, then you heard that we’re planning a national Day of Action on August 22 to demonstrate how our commitment to win Medicare for All is growing stronger than ever in an era of COVID-19. It’s important to note that these actions will be done while practicing social distancing and staying safe. We’ll be giving you lots of tips on how to take action while still being careful to prevent… Continue reading →Aug25Tue6:30 pm DSA Reading group: We Own the Fu... @ Online via ZoomDSA Reading group: We Own the Fu... @ Online via ZoomAug 25 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pmTopic Reading group: We Own the Future Time Aug 11, 2020 06:30 PM Aug 18, 2020 06:30 PM Aug 25, 2020 06:30 PM Time shows in Pacific Time (US and Canada) Add to calendar Meeting ID: 835 5198 5536 To Join the Meeting Join from a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android device: Please click this URL to join. https://us02web.zoom.us/w/83551985536?tk=D4-Yp_LGQubUzi53BljHLmOMoJaoQ6lV_Ht2AqyAK7I.DQIAAAATdBYfgBZXZUpLSFlRWVFhaTBNYUN2LXA1VmhBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA&pwd=TmxISWxLTk9IeWU1aXB5QnRiTTlrQT09Aug26Wed6:30 pm Intro to DSA @ Online via ZoomIntro to DSA @ Online via ZoomAug 26 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pmIntro to DSA Posted by LaborSolidarityCommittee WHEN: August 26, 2020 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm WHERE: ONLINE, VIA ‘ZOOM’ CONTACT: Event website EVENT Democratic Socialist politicians like Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib are raising the expectations of millions of people across the United States and bringing them into a political awakening. The membership of DSA, the largest socialist organization in the United States, is rapidly growing by the thousands. Millions of everyday people are calling for Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, universal rent control, and more. But what is democratic socialism? What does it mean to… Continue reading →
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|Gloria La Riva|
|Gloria La Riva speaking at a protest in San Francisco, January 2017|
|Born||August 13, 1954 (age 66)|
Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
|Political party||Party for Socialism and Liberation|
|Peace and Freedom Party|
Worker’s World Party (former member)
|Alma mater||Brandeis University|
|Occupation||Newspaper Printer, activist|
Gloria Estela La Riva (born August 13, 1954) is an American socialist activist who is a member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) and the Peace and Freedom Party. She is the PSL’s nominee and the Peace and Freedom’s nominee in the 2020 presidential election, her tenth consecutive candidacy as either a presidential or vice presidential candidate. She was previously a member of the Workers World Party. She ran as the PSL’s and the Peace and Freedom Party’s presidential candidate in the 2016 presidential election, with Eugene Puryear and Dennis J. Banks as her running mates respectively. She was the PSL’s presidential nominee in the 2008 presidential election. For the 2020 election, Sunil Freeman is her running mate.
Life and career
La Riva in 2008
La Riva was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on August 13, 1954. She graduated from high school and began attending Brandeis University in 1972. She was a third-party candidate for President of the United States in the 1992 presidential election, representing the Workers World Party. She had also been the Workers World Party vice-presidential candidate in the elections of 1984, 1988, 1996, and 2000. She joined the Party for Socialism and Liberation in its split from the Workers World Party. La Riva was also the Peace and Freedom Party candidate for Governor of California in 1994, receiving 72,774 votes (0.9%). She ran again in the 1998 gubernatorial election, capturing 59,218 votes (0.71%). She also ran for San Francisco Mayor in 1983 (7,328 votes – 5.4%), coming in third overall, and second in the working class wards of the city, and 1991 (2,552 votes – 1.4%), and for Congress in 2010 (3rd place – 3%).
In the 2008 Presidential election, La Riva received 6,821 votes, the 10th highest vote total. La Riva has also been the director of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, and president of the typographical sector of the Northern California Media Workers Union.
In 2010, La Riva was the Peace and Freedom Party’s candidate for U.S. Congress in California’s 8th Congressional District. Running against Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, she came in third, receiving 5,161 votes, 3% of the overall vote.
In 2012, La Riva was a presidential stand-in for Peta Lindsay, the PSL nominee for President who was not allowed on the ballot in some states due to her age. La Riva was on the ballot in Iowa, Utah and Wisconsin.
As of July 24, 2016 La Riva and her campaign had raised $25,234 and spent $10,092.
She attained ballot access in eight states: Vermont, New Mexico, Iowa, Louisiana, Colorado, Washington, New Jersey, and California.
She received the PSL nomination for the 2020 presidential election, with Leonard Peltier as her running mate. Peltier was later replaced on the ticket by Sunil Freeman because of deteriorating health.
La Riva has translated Fidel Castro‘s book Cuba at the Crossroads (1997) ISBN 1-875284-94-X, and produced the documentary videos NATO Targets, Workers’ Democracy in Cuba (1996), Genocide by Sanctions: The Case of Iraq (1998) and Let Iraq Live!
August 13, 2020 (theonion.com)
Senator Kamala Harris was announced Tuesday as Joe Biden’s vice presidential pick for the 2020 Democratic Party ticket. The Onion takes a look at Harris’ background, political history, and what she brings to the 2020 election.
Ethnicity: Perfect, just perfect.
Childhood Dream: Waiting for the president to die in office.
Greatest Liability: Prominent association with Joe Biden.
Progressive Bona Fides: Provided housing to thousands of low-level offenders she convicted.
Signature Debate Moment: Nailing clarinet solo in talent portion.
How She Clinched VP Slot: Bonded with Biden over shared experience running extremely unsuccessful presidential campaigns.
Bite Force: 230 PSI.
Chances She’ll Shoot Friend In Face On Hunting Trip: Low.
Number Of Times Biden Has Called Her Michelle So Far: 23.
Contribution To Ticket: Centrist counterbalance to Biden’s centrism.
Here’s what I’d say:
Congratulations, corporate Democrats of America. You’ve won one more round. You have chosen two candidates with no popularity among the people, but lots of popularity with the corporate media, with Wall Street, the big banks, the pharmaceutical companies, the military-industrial complex and all the other corporations who will finance Biden’s campaign.
Biden himself has said he would be a transitional president. And I think that’s true.
But it’s not up to him (or his running mate) to determine what we will be transitioning to. It’s up to the people.
And the people are coming: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is coming. Ilhan Omar is coming. Ayanna Pressley is coming. Rashida Tlaib is coming. Jamaal Bowman is coming. Cori Bush is coming. Mondaire Jones is coming. Shahid Buttar is coming. Ro Khanna is coming. Ed Markey is coming. Justice Democrats are coming.
Don’t look back. The people are coming.
–Mike Zonta, co-editor of OccupySF.net and SF Berniecrat
I only have a minute.
Sixty seconds in it.
Forced upon me, I did not choose it,
But I know that I must use it.
Give account if I abuse it.
Suffer, if I lose it.
Only a tiny little minute,
But eternity is in it.
Benjamin Elijah Mays (August 1, 1894 – March 28, 1984) was an American Baptist minister and civil rights leader who is credited with laying the intellectual foundations of the American civil rights movement. Wikipedia
This op-ed argues that the agency poses a grave threat to our civil liberties and operates with near impunity.
BY SHIYAM GALYON AND LAÏSSA ALEXIS – AUGUST 10, 2020 (teenvogue.com)
The videos of armed men in fatigues picking protesters off the streets and shoving them into unmarked vans are the stuff of nightmares. That’s how the federal government has responded to Black Lives Matter demonstrations that continue to advocate for racial justice and demand real solutions to community safety. Both the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have deployed agents in an effort to protect federal property and crack down on crime, respectively. The Trump administration frames this as its response to violence borne of anti-police rhetoric. In the bigger picture, DHS and DOJ are institutions working to carry out the War on Terror and the War on Drugs, and their policing efforts are extensive across the United States, in the U.S. borderlands, and abroad. During this national conversation on policing and its abolition, we must push for the abolition of all the appendages of the War on Terror and the War on Drugs, including DHS.
The War on Drugs began with President Nixon in the early 1970’s. One of his former aides later claimed it was launched in response to the Black Power and pacifist movements. It criminalized Black and brown people and was used to justify mass incarceration. This war was later taken beyond U.S. borders and became part of a decades-long story of U.S. intervention in the political affairs of various Latin American countries. This international crackdown on drugs was still underway when George W. Bush’s administration launched the War on Terror in the aftermath of 9/11. This new front served as a pretext to invade and occupy Iraq and Afghanistan and expand the security state. Outwardly, the War on Terror has cast Muslims as the primary “terror threat,” but in reality it identifies anyone who opposes the U.S. government’s interests as a terror threat. For example, Black Lives Matters activists have been investigated by the FBI as “Black identity extremists,” while Trump has labeled antifascist protesters “terrorists.” Together, the War on Terror and the War on Drugs have given the government a blank check to maintain and expand a militarized U.S. presence not just around the world, but also along U.S. borders and within U.S. communities that are seen as threatening to the status quo. They are a central framework used to justify surveillance, intimidation, and the erosion of civil liberties.
DHS was first established after 9/11 and quickly grew to be an expansive and sophisticated security apparatus. Reports of tactical DHS agents in Portland, Oregon, clashing with Black Lives Matter protesters caused a national outcry: Some theorized the U.S. government was using Portland as a testing ground for how it would respond to BLM protests across the country; others were perturbed by the theatrics of it all, with the New York Times calling to “leave the soldiering to soldiers.” The reality is, the federal agent response in Portland is an extension of the kind of tactics they use at the border. What the ACLU has referred to as the “kidnapping” of BLM protesters is not so different from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers using coercive measures to pull immigrants from their homes late at night and detain them. After all, ICE is a sub-agency of DHS. In a show of grotesque force, we’ve seen DHS agents forcefully separate families at the border and place migrants in detention camps. These agencies traffic in fear and operate with near impunity. While scenes from Portland scared white America, they are nothing new for migrants, Black people, undocumented folks, and Muslims.
It’s worth taking a moment to distinguish between the distinct operations the government has deployed in recent weeks. The DHS agents dispatched to Portland, through “Operation Diligent Valor,” were specifically tasked with protecting U.S. government buildings during protests, as Politico reported. “Operation LeGend,” a multiagency initiative, has recently expanded to cities including Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Detroit, which Attorney General Bill Barr said “are experiencing upticks in violent crime.” Both of these operations seem to be a response to protesters’ anti-police activism, as members of the administration have used recent riots and protests as the explanation for increased violence in cities. But there seems to be less alarm about the general crime-fighting focus of Operation LeGend. There are likely two reasons for this: one, the distinction between these operations is confusing; two, it is easier for many people to recognize the neat narrative of federal agents repressing protesters than it is to understand the systemic criminalization of Black and brown communities. It is systemic criminalization that the Black Lives Matter movement is asking us to oppose with calls to abolish the police and invest in life-affirming resources.
By taking to the streets and confronting local and federal forces, the Black Lives Matter uprising is making it painfully clear how policing on U.S. streets, at the U.S. border, and abroad is interconnected. In a time when people are calling for the abolition of police and prisons, it is no surprise that federal agencies and leaders would use this moment to build up its tough-on-crime rhetoric. Also unsurprisingly, they do so without addressing any of the likely root causes of crime, like rising unemployment, and job insecurity due to the failed government response to the pandemic. We cannot allow the U.S. security state to police and surveil as it does. Our vision for abolishing the police fundamentally includes the call to abolish ICE and DHS. We can’t settle for anything less if we want a world without policing.
AUGUST 12, 2020 (counterpunch.org)
Photograph Source: Office of the Attorney General of California – Public Domain
Kamala Harris might be the perfect lens to reveal who the Democrats really are. A good run-down on her track record highlights her assertion that “It is not progressive to be soft on crime.” As a San Francisco social worker, I sat on the school district committee that met with families of chronically truant students. Once, when we asked a student why he didn’t go to school, he said there was too much police tape and shootings at his school bus stop. Harris, as CA Attorney General, was putting parents/caregivers in jail if their child was chronically truant. Also as Attorney General, she denied a DNA test to Kevin Cooper, a very likely innocent man who came within hours of execution in 2004. Such positions certainly furthered her political career as a tough-on-crime, prosecution-friendly politician, as well as garner political and financial support from police and prison guards.
My recent article Seize the Time or Face Fascism elicited revealing comments, such as “How do we seize the time? It must be incremental.” Only the privileged, not the dispossessed, could still advocate for incremental change. Until we accept that the Democrats will never deliver, we will not look at alternatives, and are likely to face fascism in the near future.
So what are some alternatives? After the DNC cheated Bernie Sanders twice, many of his supporters launched the Movement for a People’s Party: “Polls show that a large majority of Americans want a major new party, support progressive policies, and want money out of politics. That means that it is both possible and necessary for us to build a corporate-free, progressive populist party.” It is astonishing that Bernie, on his working class contributions, raised more money than Hillary Clinton in 2016 and all other candidates in 2020.
The US has elected over 150 Green Party candidates. Green Party Gayle McLaughlin was twice elected mayor of Richmond, California, defeating two Democrats in 2006, reelected in 2010, and elected to City Council in 2014 after completing her second term as mayor. With a population of over 100,000 people, it was the largest US city with a Green mayor.
Socialist rabble-rouser Eugene Debs received nearly one million votes for president in 1920 — 3.5 percent of the popular vote — as simply “Convict No. 9653.” The Socialist Party was once a powerful third party in the US, capturing the hearts and minds of millions of working-class people who supported a serious challenge to the status quo.
The US is the only country with an absolute two-party system and an electoral college that can change the results of a popular vote, creating a winner-take-all that prevents any meaningful challenge to the duopoly. Some countries, such as the UK, have two major parties that dominate elections, but there are viable third parties, which win seats in the legislature. Germany, with voter turnout about 80%, has a coalition government, where minority parties can unify and outvote the majority party.
American voter turnout in presidential elections is usually barely in the mid-50 percent. The US doesn’t only have low voter turnout because so many people are uninspired by either party. There are also significant hurdles to voting in the US, such as more complicated registration, or voting being on a workday instead of on a weekend, as well as the increasing prevalence of giving out provisional ballots, which are almost never counted. Various studies have shown that the casting of provisional ballots correlates with high shares of racial minorities and non-English speakers in a particular area. It’s no wonder so many people would rather watch Netflix than vote.
The pervasive belief in “anybody but Trump” shows that Trump Derangement Syndrome is real, and should be a diagnosis in the DSM. Such people believe all progressives and leftists must not only vote for Biden, but get out the vote for Biden. They aren’t open to considering the effect of that position on long-term politics and the ideological struggle. Case closed.
Among the many fallacies to that argument is that if people live in a consistently blue “safe state,” such as CA, NY and MA, there is no reason to vote for a demented war-hawk candidate, especially with Republican stalwarts like George W. Bush, Mitt Romney and Colin Powell urging votes for Biden.
But even more concerning is the Democrats out-flanking Trump from the right in foreign policy. While we face both a public health and unemployment crisis, as well as a sustained protest movement against police abuses, a massive $740.5 billion military spending package was recently approved by the Democratic-controlled House Armed Services Committee. The Democrats voted to impede the Trump administration from withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, and blocked the White House’s plan to remove 10,000 troops stationed in Germany.
Military families were a large part of Trump’s base in 2016 as he was seen as less war-like than Clinton. The Democrats’ belligerence, calling Trump “presidential” when he dropped the “Mother of All Bombs” on Afghanistan in 2017, will continue to drive military families to Trump.
Biden certainly needs a boost to beat Trump. As in 2016, you’d think it would be easy to beat the Orange Menace, but the Democrats are challenging him with somebody even worse than Clinton, a man in steep cognitive decline. Harris allows the DNC to use a Black woman prosecutor to legitimize the mass incarceration plague in this country. They are locking up Black men in shameful numbers, and, until the uprisings, giving cop-killers get out of jail free cards, which is why we have continuous uprisings.
We already see the beginning of the psychological effects of the virus. Domestic violence, child abuse, suicide and alcoholism have all increased. A friend, who is a counselor in the Bay Area, works with at-risk families. Caregivers/parents more frequently ask if they can have their child institutionalized. The children are not in need of being institutionalized, so locked-in families must cope with the trauma of the pandemic on their own. Bankruptcies, evictions and foreclosures have barely begun. The only thing worse than being kept inside, is not having a roof to sleep under. The unraveling has barely begun.
My concern is that we are not equal to the task before us. As a feminist for over half a century, I found that sexism is alive and well in a national political organization I started working with. In response to a woman saying she doesn’t think women are treated with equal respect, an elder activist white man said, “Well, it wasn’t intentional.” Still unclear on the concept. The same group has trouble writing an agenda, let alone developing a position on the upcoming election. The serious, disciplined study of the Black Panthers and their 10-point program is a distant memory. Political disinformation is as prevalent as information when discourse is limited to Twitter. And of course, given social distancing to slow the spread of the virus, organizing is much more difficult, with the inadequate substitute of seeing faces and hearing electronically modulated voices on Zoom.
I have lived with urgency ever since growing up in the ’60s. As a red diaper baby raised on the Bolshevik, Chinese and Cuban revolutions, I was always concerned with inequality, peace and justice. All of the previous crises were urgent, but this one feels exponentially more ominous. More and more people are resigned that we are in the sixth extinction. Instead, I try to hold on to Antonio Gramsci’s advice to practice pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.
We need to take ourselves seriously. Fascism will not be the FBI coming to our door. It will not look like fascism under Hitler, Mussolini or Franco. But it is coming. Are we ready?
Riva Enteen is a lifelong peace activist, social worker, lawyer, advocate for justice and editor of “Follow the Money,” a collection of Pacifica Radio’s Flashpoints Interviews. Riva can be reached at email@example.com
The rightwingosphere is going crazy about this ‘San Francisco liberal,’ but she’s really a pretty mainstream Democrat.
BY TIM REDMOND -AUGUST 12, 2020 (48hills.org)
Joe Biden was never going to pick Rep. Barbara Lee as his running mate. He’s not a left-progressive-democratic socialist, and never was. So Sen. Kamala Harris is no surprise; she fits fine with Biden’s politics.
There is, of course lots of Republican chatter that Biden has chosen someone far to his left – even worse, a “San Francisco liberal” – to join him on the ticket. The rightwingosphere will repeat this all fall.
Let us note: People identified as “San Francisco liberals” are now in charge of the state of California and the House of Representatives. They are playing a big role on the national stage. Progressive policies that started here are becoming the national standard. So that doesn’t work as an attack line.
Plus: Kamala Harris is not a radical leftist. She’s not Bernie Sanders or AOC. She’s always been a fairly mainstream Democrat.
Harris spend much of her career as a prosecutor, someone whose job is to put people in prison. Before she ran for district attorney, she was a deputy DA in Alameda County then in San Francisco. When she first ran for DA, she told me that she thought progressives needed to work on the prosecution side, that fighting crime was a progressive issue, and that she wanted to change the criminal justice system “from the inside.”
I give her tremendous credit for refusing to seek the death penalty after a San Francisco cop was murdered. That infuriated the police union, but she stuck to her position: She has always opposed the death penalty.
(In reality, she like her predecessor, Terence Hallinan, knew that there’s virtually no chance any San Francisco jury would render a death verdict. A sizable majority of local voters oppose capital punishment.)
A little more difficult when she ran for state attorney general: The death penalty is still popular with a lot of voters, including Democrats, in parts of the state. But again, she didn’t try to back off from her position. (As AG, she continued to oppose death penalty appeals, which is part of the job.)
Niki Solis, a longtime public defender who often clashed with Harris, says she was by far the most progressive prosecutor in California:
Marijuana sales cases were routinely reduced to misdemeanors. And marijuana possession cases were not even on the court’s docket. They were simply not charged. Unless there was a large grow case, or a unique circumstance, this was the reform-minded approach then-DA Harris’ office took. The accusations about marijuana prosecutions being harsh during her tenure are absurd. The reality was quite the opposite.
Although we as public defenders may have disagreed with Harris at times or wanted more from her office, there is no one who can say that there was a more progressive district attorney in California than Kamala Harris. She implemented and expanded programs that are now the staple of many DA offices up and down the state. Just last month in California, Santa Clara County DA Jeff Rosen said he would no longer seek the death penalty. This comes 16 years after Harris took the same stance in San Francisco.
My friend the author David Talbot puts it this way:
I have to say that I breathed a sigh of relief — the choice could’ve been worse (like Susan Rice).
I have to ask my fuming left-wing friends — whom did you expect Biden to pick? Barbara Lee? After all, he’s JOE BIDEN, remember? He’s as rigid a fixture of the Democratic establishment as they come. Progressives could’ve been even more dejected today.
But everyone on the right who talks about Harris being too “liberal,” let’s remember: She long opposed legalizing cannabis. She opposed legalizing sex work. She sought to criminalize parents whose kids were missing too much school.
Her positions changed, evolved, over time, as the center of gravity in the Democratic Party and the nation evolved, over time.
From the NY Times:
In her 2009 book, “Smart on Crime,” she wrote that “if we take a show of hands of those who would like to see more police officers on the street, mine would shoot up,” adding that “virtually all law-abiding citizens feel safer when they see officers walking a beat.”
Earlier this summer, in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, she told The New York Times that “it is status-quo thinking to believe that putting more police on the streets creates more safety. That’s wrong. It’s just wrong.”
The Times quotes David Campos, former Police Commission member and supervisor:
We never thought we had an ally in the district attorney,” said David Campos, who was a supervisor and police commissioner while Ms. Harris was district attorney and is now chairman of the San Francisco Democratic Party. “You have someone saying all the right things now, but when she had the opportunity to do something about police accountability, she was either not visible, or when she was, she was on the wrong side.” (Mr. Campos backed Mr. Sanders’s presidential bid.)
Peter Beinart in The Atlantic says that Harris just did what she had to do to survive as a woman of color in politics (especially in the world of criminal justice.)
Campos today congratulated Harris and said that, while they at times disagreed, the most important thing was to defeat Trump in November.
I got to ask Harris one question when she appeared at the state Democratic Convention after announcing her run for the presidency. I wanted to know if she agreed with Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s wealth tax. “I think she’s onto something,” Harris told me. I pressed her: Should we raise taxes on the rich? “Absolutely,” she said.
I wanted to ask if she thought marginal income taxes should return to the pre-Reagan levels, but she was out the door before I could get that one in.
Still: Unlike Biden, she actually said, at one point, for the record, that she supported the idea of a wealth tax. The center of gravity in the Democratic Party was and is changing, and I was happy to see Harris moving with it.
It’s profoundly important that a woman of color is going to be on the ticket and very likely in the White House. (She is the first woman of color on a major party ticket, but not the first to run – that would be Shirley Chisolm in 1972.) It’s also important that the person who is the favorite to the be next president of the United States thinks that someone who comes from San Francisco, with all the of values that come with that, can help a national ticket.
As Sup. Matt Haney says, “SF is powerful and impactful not because of our elected officials. Our elected officials are powerful and impactful because of SF, its diversity, history, innovation, relentless commitment to changing our society for the better and never settling.”
Maybe that’s a sign of hope.
When Governor Gavin Newsom runs against Kamala Harris in 2024, he’ll want to differentiate himself from Harris by burnishing his progressive credentials. That’s why it would help him politically if he appoints Representatives Ro Khanna, Barbara Lee or Karen Bass to replace newly elected Vice President Kamala Harris.
Will he do it? If he’s smart, he will.
–Mike Zonta, Co-Editor OccupySF.net
Issued on: 10/08/2020 – 04:22 (France24.com)
Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai became the highest-profile person arrested under a new national security law on Monday, detained over suspected collusion with foreign forces as around 200 police searched the offices of his Apple Daily newspaper.
Mainland-born Lai, who was smuggled into Hong Kong on a fishing boat when he was a penniless 12-year-old, has been one of the most prominent democracy activists in the Chinese-ruled city and an ardent critic of Beijing.
His arrest comes amid Beijing’s crackdown against pro-democracy opposition in the city and further stokes concerns about media and other freedoms promised to the former British colony when it returned to China in 1997. China imposed the sweeping new security law on Hong Kong on June 30, drawing condemnation from Western countries.
The arrest “bears out the worst fears that Hong Kong’s National Security Law would be used to suppress critical pro-democracy opinion and restrict press freedom”, said Steven Butler, the Committee to Protect Journalists’ Asia programme coordinator.
Ryan Law, chief editor of Apple Daily, a staunch anti-government tabloid that also does investigative work, told Reuters the paper would not be intimidated.
“Business as usual,” he said.
Hong Kong arrests: Jimmy Lai detained under security law
The security law punishes anything China considers subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison. Critics say it crushes freedoms, while supporters say it will bring stability after prolonged pro-democracy protests last year.
Beijing said it supported Lai’s arrest.
A spokesman for China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office told the official Xinhua news agency Lai was a representative of people who were “anti-China, anti-Hong Kong,” and that he planned and instigated “illegal” protests, funded pro-independence forces and used his media group to spread rumours.
Lai, 71, had been a frequent visitor to Washington, where he has met officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to rally support for Hong Kong democracy, prompting Beijing to label him a “traitor”.
Hong Kong police said they had arrested nine men and one woman, aged between 23 and 72, without naming them, adding that further arrests were possible.
Suspected offences included “collusion with a foreign country/external elements to endanger national security, conspiracy to defraud” and others, the police said.
Apple Daily posted on its Facebook page a livestream of police officers roaming through its newsroom and rifling through files, and asking staff for identity documents.
Some executive offices were sealed off with red cordons. The police later wheeled in stacks of empty plastic containers. Lai himself was brought back to the office, initially in handcuffs.
“We can’t worry that much, we can only go with the flow,” Lai said, before being escorted into a police vehicle.
Police said around 200 officers entered the premises with a court warrant and collected 25 boxes of evidence after finishing the search. The law allows police to search premises without one “under exceptional circumstances.”
In major cases in Hong Kong, the central government in Beijing can claim jurisdiction. The legislation allows agents to take suspects across the border for trials in Communist Party-controlled courts.
Apple Daily reported that one of Lai’s sons, Ian, had also been arrested at his home and later showed his restaurant, Cafe Seasons, being raided by police.
Shares in Lai’s media company Next Digital, which publishes Apple Daily, plunged 16.7% before rebounding to trade 344% higher at one point as online pro-democracy forums called on investors to buy shares to show support.
Other senior Apple Daily staff, including Executive Director Cheung Kim-hung, were also arrested.
“We see this as straight harassment,” an Apple Daily source said, adding that Lai was arrested on suspicion of sedition, criminal fraud and colluding with foreign forces.
Next Media Trade Union called the search “an extremely rare and serious incident in Hong Kong history”, with a “catastrophic” impact. It said journalists “will continue to guard their posts until the last minute”.
Britain said the arrest was further evidence the security law was “a pretext to silence opposition.”
Hong Kong Journalists Association chairman Chris Yeung said the search was akin to “third-world” press freedom suppression.
Apple Daily executive Chan Pui-man said the newspaper will be published on Tuesday.
“Even if Apple Daily publish a pile of blank paper tomorrow, we would go and buy a copy,” prominent young activist Joshua Wong said on Twitter.
Wong’s longtime colleague Agnes Chow and two other activists were among those arrested on Monday, local media reported.
In a Reuters interview in May, Lai pledged to stay in Hong Kong and continue to fight for democracy.
Before Monday, 15 people, including teenagers, had been arrested under the new law.
The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam and other officials, drawing mockery and condemnation from Beijing.
The arrest shows Hong Kong “wasn’t intimidated” by sanctions, Global Times editor Hu Xijin said in a tweet. Global Times is published by China’s official Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily.