Book: “Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation”

Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation

Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation

by Kristin Kobes Du Mez 

A scholar of American Christianity presents a seventy-five-year history of evangelicalism that identifies the forces that have turned Donald Trump into a hero of the Religious Right.

How did a libertine who lacks even the most basic knowledge of the Christian faith win 81 percent of the white evangelical vote in 2016? And why have white evangelicals become a presidential reprobate’s staunchest supporters? These are among the questions acclaimed historian Kristin Kobes Du Mez asks in Jesus and John Wayne, which delves beyond facile headlines to explain how white evangelicals have brought us to our fractured political moment. Challenging the commonly held assumption that the “moral majority” backed Donald Trump for purely pragmatic reasons, Du Mez reveals that Donald Trump in fact represents the fulfillment, rather than the betrayal, of white evangelicals’ most deeply held values.

Jesus and John Wayne is a sweeping account of the last seventy-five years of white evangelicalism, showing how American evangelicals have worked for decades to replace the Jesus of the Gospels with an idol of rugged masculinity and Christian nationalism, or in the words of one modern chaplain, with “a spiritual badass.” As Du Mez explains, the key to understanding this transformation is to recognize the role of culture in modern American evangelicalism. Many of today’s evangelicals may not be theologically astute, but they know their VeggieTales, they’ve read John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart, and they learned about purity before they learned about sex—and they have a silver ring to prove it. Evangelical books, films, music, clothing, and merchandise shape the beliefs of millions. And evangelical popular culture is teeming with muscular heroes—mythical warriors and rugged soldiers, men like Oliver North, Ronald Reagan, Mel Gibson, and the Duck Dynasty clan, who assert white masculine power in defense of “Christian America.” Chief among these evangelical legends is John Wayne, an icon of a lost time when men were uncowed by political correctness, unafraid to tell it like it was, and did what needed to be done.

Trump, in other words, is hardly the first flashy celebrity to capture evangelicals’ hearts and minds, nor is he the first strongman to promise evangelicals protection and power. Indeed, the values and viewpoints at the heart of white evangelicalism today—patriarchy, authoritarian rule, aggressive foreign policy, fear of Islam, ambivalence toward #MeToo, and opposition to Black Lives Matter and the LGBTQ community—are likely to persist long after Trump leaves office.

A much-needed reexamination, Jesus and John Wayne explains why evangelicals have rallied behind the least-Christian president in American history and how they have transformed their faith in the process, with enduring consequences for all of us.

(Goodreads.com)

Book: “White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity”

White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity

White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity

by Robert P. Jones 

Drawing on history, public opinion surveys, and personal experience, Robert P. Jones delivers a provocative examination of the unholy relationship between American Christianity and white supremacy, and issues an urgent call for white Christians to reckon with this legacy for the sake of themselves and the nation.

As the nation grapples with demographic changes and the legacy of racism in America, Christianity’s role as a cornerstone of white supremacy has been largely overlooked. But white Christians—from evangelicals in the South to mainline Protestants in the Midwest and Catholics in the Northeast—have not just been complacent or complicit; rather, as the dominant cultural power, they have constructed and sustained a project of protecting white supremacy and opposing black equality that has framed the entire American story.

With his family’s 1815 Bible in one hand and contemporary public opinion surveys by Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) in the other, Robert P. Jones delivers a groundbreaking analysis of the repressed history of the symbiotic relationship between Christianity and white supremacy. White Too Long demonstrates how deeply racist attitudes have become embedded in the DNA of white Christian identity over time and calls for an honest reckoning with a complicated, painful, and even shameful past. Jones challenges white Christians to acknowledge that public apologies are not enough—accepting responsibility for the past requires work toward repair in the present.

White Too Long is not an appeal to altruism. Drawing on lessons gleaned from case studies of communities beginning to face these challenges, Jones argues that contemporary white Christians must confront these unsettling truths because this is the only way to salvage the integrity of their faith and their own identities. More broadly, it is no exaggeration to say that not just the future of white Christianity but the outcome of the American experiment is at stake.

(Goodreads.com)

The Left Is Losing Because We’re Not Confrontational Enough

Leftist policies are popular, yet the progressive agenda is stalled. What’s missing is a fighting, movement-backed strategy. Congressional progressives should learn from Seattle’s Kshama Sawant.

filed 20 May 2022 in POLITICS (currentaffairs.org)

More than a year into the Biden presidency, with Democratic control of both houses of Congress, progressives have not passed a single one of the core tenets of the moderate, professed Joe Biden agenda of a $15 minimum wagefree community college, a healthcare public optionstudent debt cancellationpaid family and medical leavelowering prescription drug pricesclimate actionfree pre-Ksubsidized child care, and marijuana decriminalization. Without a single one of these policies enacted, it is no wonder that Democrats are awaiting a bloodbath in the 2022 midterms (and plausibly the 2024 elections)—deferring any chance for progressive change for years to come.

The failure of even this moderately progressive agenda is particularly frustrating given that progressives occupy key positions from which they could apply pressure. Though the mainstream media and the Democratic Party establishment successfully defeated Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaigns in 2016 and 2020, Sanders is now the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. There are enough progressives in the House to make or break any legislation without Republican support (only around six votes are needed for this, and there are six “Squad” members on top of a sizable handful of other progressives).

So, why are we losing? Why has even a moderately progressive agenda failed to pass? The electoral left is losing because it is pursuing the hopeless strategy of confining itself to indoor, backroom deal negotiations while remaining friendly and accommodating to the Democratic establishment in public. Progressives in D.C. are losing because they refuse to strongly and persistently call out the corruption of their Democratic colleagues, they refuse to draw red lines for their votes (and stick to them), and most importantly, they refuse to mobilize their base.

Let us look at the two most important fights during the Biden Administration. The $15 minimum wage should have been an easy victory. Biden and the Democratic Party claim to support it, and it is popular among the public. The policy was included in the very popular COVID relief package from the early days of the Biden Administration until the Democrats came up with a clever excuse to take it out, proclaiming that the Senate Parliamentarian—an unelected advisor with no actual power—ruled it could not be in the bill. How did progressives respond? Along with a few Tweets, they publicly wrote one letter to president Biden kindly asking him, with no red lines or threats, to override the Parliamentarian and keep the $15 minimum wage in the bill. As you might expect, this did absolutely nothing, and the federal minimum wage sits appallingly at $7.25 per hour and $2.13 per hour for tipped workers for the foreseeable future. Without living wages, millions of real human beings go hungry in America and countless Americans are forced to sleep out in the streets because, in part, of the cowardly inaction by progressives.

Throughout last spring and summer, the Biden Administration unveiled its plans for infrastructure and social spending in two bills. The first bill, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, was a giveaway to corporations that did little to help the general public. The second bill, the Build Back Better Act, was a fairly impressive package including much of Biden’s professed economic agenda, such as free community college, universal pre-K and subsidized child care, paid family and medical leave, expansion of Medicare (to include hearing, vision, and dental) and Medicaid, action on climate change, lowering of prescription drug prices, and a continuation of the child tax credit. The left had reason for optimism about the Biden Administration’s agenda, and progressive congressman Ro Khanna even declared “the end of neoliberalism.” To have some leverage in making sure these progressive policies actually got passed, the Progressive Caucus promised that they would not vote for the corporate Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill without first passing Build Back Better. Over time, however, almost every provision of Build Back Better was gutted, with none of the progressives ever drawing a single red line as to what must stay in the bill to get their votes. If that capitulation wasn’t enough, the Progressive Caucus—apart from the ‘Squad’ of six, who admirably stood their ground—blatantly reversed their promise under pressure from the Democratic establishment, allowing the corporate Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill to pass without Build Back Better. Not long after, even this unacceptably whittled-down residue of the Build Back Better Act was, very predictablykilled. This time, the Democrats’ excuse for gutting their own agenda—and even the progressives’ excuse—was not the Parliamentarian but rather, two right-wing corporate Democratic senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, an excuse that seems hard to believe because there was serious pressure put on them to support the bill.


So, how do we stop losing and start transforming this country? First of all, just as the right-wing Democrats Manchin and Sinema are happy to draw red lines in negotiations and sink bills if they’re not met, progressives have to muster the courage to do the same—which the balance of votes allows them to do—and they must actually stick to their promises. But, it might be objected, when Manchin and Sinema draw red lines, they have the corporate donors, the media, and, arguably, the Democratic establishment on their side. When the left draws red lines, we are all alone, left to be viciously attacked and politically isolated. What would occur if progressives pledged to sink bills that didn’t meet their demands, according to this objection, is simply that nothing would get passed, which would be an unacceptable travesty. However, progressives would be weak in making demands and drawing red lines only if they lack a grassroots movement to mobilize alongside them.

How could this social movement mobilization be achieved? Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders told us how when he explained what he would do, as president, to get his policies passed in the face of inevitable opposition from Congress:

The essence of my politics, and I think Alexandria’s as well, is that we need an ongoing grassroots movement of millions of people to pressure Congress, to pressure the corporate establishment, so that we can bring about the changes that this country desperately needs. So that’s why I have said that I will not only be commander-in-chief, I’m going to be organizer-in-chief.

And:

I will be going all over the country to put pressure on Senators like those from Kentucky, for example. Go to the people in Kentucky who are hurting right now and say, really, do you think we should raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour? You tell your Senators to do it. Should we make public colleges and universities tuition-free? You tell your Senators to do that.

Though Bernie Sanders did not become commander-in-chief, as the powerful Senate Budget Chairman—and, more importantly, as the most popular currently elected politician in the country with an enormous grassroots base—why could he not keep his promise to be organizer-in-chief? Why could he not do what he proposed to do and go to states like West Virginia and Arizona to rally masses of people to pressure corporate senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema? Why could he and the progressives in Congress not organize mass rallies—alongside labor unions and major left organizations like DSA and the Sunrise Movement—in D.C. and across the country to put pressure on Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Joe Biden to enact the agenda they promised the American people?

Imagine if, throughout this past year of the Democratic trifecta government, the progressive politicians in D.C. worked alongside left social movements and organized labor to stubbornly, persistently, and combatively, rally hundreds of thousands, even millions of people, day after day, week after week, month after month, with either our own core progressive demands of Medicare for All, free college and student debt cancellation, and a Green New Deal, or even the more moderate demand: “Joe Biden, follow through on your campaign promises! Enact a $15 minimum wagefree community college, and a healthcare public option!” We know from the unprecedented protests of summer 2020 that this scale of mobilization (even amidst a pandemic) is possible, and we know from the Bernie Sanders campaigns that there is potential to mobilize a massive, dedicated progressive base. By focusing on three or four core, concrete demands (and, in the latter example, emphasizing that these are Biden’s campaign promises), the left could demonstrate to the American people the clarity that gets lost in the endless negotiations of insider D.C. politics that are designed to confuse and tune out the public. In addition to rallying in cities across the country and even camping out in an occupation of D.C. for as long as it takes, this movement would need to—with equal stubbornness, persistence, and combativeness—rally in West Virginia and Arizona to pressure corporate obstructionists Manchin and Sinema. Then, progressives would have the strength to draw red lines in negotiations without the fear of being trampled. They would not be alone and politically marginalized. They would have millions of people standing with them, loud and clear, impossible to ignore.

If one is skeptical that this public protest against Biden and the Democratic establishment would actually work, let us recall an instance where it did. In one instance, progressive congresswoman Cori Bush openly protested the expiration of the eviction moratorium by sleeping out on the steps outside Congress. The Biden Administration was so embarrassed that they immediately reinstated the moratorium. While some of the leading establishment Democrats did already seem to support extending the moratorium, Bush’s protest represents a glimpse of the fighting, mobilizing politics that has the power to effect change. Without mass mobilization, however, her action still pales in comparison to the potential power that could be realized by tens of thousands of people camping out in D.C. alongside leading progressive lawmakers in an occupation protest for as long as it takes until their demands are met.

We have seen other glimpses of this “outside” strategy by D.C. progressives, such as AOC’s sit-in at Nancy Pelosi’s office alongside the Sunrise Movement right after she was first elected, bringing the Green New Deal to the mainstream discourse. But, on top of being small in scale, these brave actions have been the exception, not the rule, and progressives have generally avoided open combat with the Democratic establishment. Under pressure from party leadership, they have succumbed to the “tyranny of decorum” that prioritizes public politeness over open criticism of the corporate Democrats who stand in the way of the policies we need. AOC seems to have abandoned the combative movement politics of her Pelosi sit-in in favor of what she erroneously calls more “sophisticated” methods, and Bernie Sanders has always refused to be more than mildly critical of Joe Biden, who he consistently maintains is his “friend.” How many people have to die without healthcare, sleep on the streets without a living wage, and have their futures torn away by the climate apocalypse for these crises to take precedence over the friendships and polite relations of politicians?

Why do progressives prioritize cordial relations over the fighting approach against the Democratic establishment necessary to pass the policies we need? I do not believe that all of the progressives are corrupt and selfish, nor do I believe their accommodationist approach is part of some complex rational strategy. Rather, a large part of the reason is that politicians are human beings, and human beings are prone to social pressure. Democratic socialist and Rhode Island State Senator Sam Bell has made the point that what often stops elected leftists from being more combative against the establishment is not strategy but psychology:

The most strategically optimal … would be to be far more anti-establishment than I’ve been and far more aggressive than I’ve been, much more aggressive than Bernie Sanders has been. I think what holds people back is not a strategic goal. It’s your emotional strength. It takes an enormous amount of emotional strength to stand against a political establishment, to stand against the group of people you’re spending time with all the time. … It really wears you down emotionally.

This psychological vulnerability is ruthlessly exploited by the powerful, as AOC herself explained:

The halls of Congress are no joke. It is no joke to stand up to corporate power and established interests. … Behind closed doors, your arm is twisted. … Political pressure gets put on you, and every trick in the book—psychological and otherwise—is used to get us to abandon the working class.

As this pressure mounts and progressives continue to spend time with their establishment “colleagues,” progressives like AOC have generally avoided the open confrontation necessary to pass the policies we need.


What is the solution to this pressure towards conformity? Is conformity unavoidable? Is the alternative, more combative approach even possible in reality? In fact, the alternative is not only realistic, but it has been accomplished—just not in D.C. On November 15, 2013, a socialist economist named Kshama Sawant was elected to the Seattle City Council not as a Democrat but as a member of the Marxist party Socialist Alternative. Having operated under a very different political strategy than progressives in D.C., Kshama Sawant and the Socialist Alternative movement represent exactly how the left can effectively use elected office to deliver substantive results for the working class.

When Sawant was elected on the promise of passing a $15 minimum wage, every other member of the City Council opposed it. Instead of writing a polite letter to her colleagues pleading with them to support it and then giving up when that failed, Sawant and Socialist Alternative created a campaign called 15 Now:

15 Now set up 11 action groups in neighborhoods across the city mobilizing in the streets and at public forums. [They] organized multiple rallies and marches of hundreds of people in Seattle, a National Week of Action in over 21 cities, and a major presence at both the annual Martin Luther King Day march and May Day march. … Critically, through the action groups and democratic conferences, 15 Now offered activists the opportunity to have ownership over the fight for $15.

Essentially, “Sawant used her position as a city councilmember and the big media spotlight on her to build a powerful grassroots movement from below.” It was this grassroots mass mobilization—and its credible threat of a ballot initiative that would have passed an even more progressive minimum wage law—that led the Seattle City Council to reverse its opposition and pass the $15 minimum wage, the first of its kind in any major U.S. city, which quickly spread to other cities and even states and changed the national debate. The D.C. progressives, therefore, have Kshama Sawant and her mobilizing, fighting approach to thank for the $15 minimum wage being on the national agenda.

The second major accomplishment of Sawant’s tenure is the Amazon Tax—a tax on the wealthiest businesses in Seattle to fund affordable housing and Green New Deal projects. Two years after a grassroots campaign spearheaded by Sawant won the tax, big business succeeded in getting the City Council to repeal it. Instead of conceding defeat:

Sawant convened a series of Tax Amazon Action Conferences … where hundreds of activists discussed, debated, and voted on a strategy and the elements of a new proposal. … As the drive approached the signature threshold to get on the ballot, and with hundreds of activists flooding city council offices with emails, phone calls, and public testimony, and with the Amazon tax demand being echoed in the street protests, the political establishment felt compelled to advance its own Amazon tax.

The result was an Amazon Tax four times as large as the one that was repealed.

Unsurprisingly, big business and the political establishment have desperately tried to unseat Kshama Sawant. In the 2019 election, they spent $4 million$1.5 million from Amazon alone, on Seattle City Council races, and after Sawant won anyways, they resorted to a recall campaign with over $1 million spent solely against her. In a familiar pattern, Sawant prevailed again and defeated the recall with a fighting campaign that went on the offensive and mobilized around crucial demands like rent control.


There are two interconnected and mutually reinforcing reasons that Sawant has been tremendously effective where D.C. progressives have failed—her fighting approach and her deep connection and accountability to grassroots organizing.

Her fighting approach includes the critical understanding that elected office is not a friendly arena where progressives can privately convince corporate politicians to do the right thing, but a battlefield of raw power where the Democratic establishment is an enemy that must be forced into giving concessions. Sawant is able to maintain this radical, fighting approach without being politically marginalized because she comes out of, remains accountable to, and is in consistent dialogue with grassroots social movements. The decisions made in the fights for the Amazon Tax or the $15 minimum wage were not made by Sawant herself but were voted on at action conferences where anyone from Sawant to a new volunteer had an equal say. In fact, Sawant never simply decided to run for office, but only did so reluctantly when, as a member of Socialist Alternative, the organization democratically decided that she should be the candidate they run.

Among other leftist lawmakers who have been able to effect progressive change despite being in the minority, close ties and accountability to grassroots movements have been key. In discussing how he has been able to pass over a dozen of his own bills and help make Illinois the first state in the country to abolish cash bail, democratic socialist and Illinois State Senator Robert Peters explained:

I try to tie myself to the movement as much as possible because I am the conduit for their organized power and governing position. And they are the conduit for me being able to govern the way I want to. And if those are tied together, it makes it easier to get things done under the dome. … I believe that my office should be a conduit for organizing, for movement spaces. So basically opening it up, whether it’s mutual aid efforts on the South Side, it’s hosting meetings, it’s being part of meetings. And sometimes when I’m not able to get something done, being held accountable. I try to make sure that I’m tied as much as possible. And I will ask. When we passed the bill … I was talking to the coalition about negotiations on this bill. I said “They’re trying to do this in the bill, and I need to know: how far am I allowed to go?”… I remember saying to my colleague on the floor … “My people won’t let me go any further. That’s it. I can’t negotiate any further.” We’re not as weak as people think.

To overcome the intense political and psychological pressure towards acquiescence and conformity that the D.C. progressives have often succumbed to, the two factors of the fighting approach and the connection to grassroots social movements go hand in hand, as being consistently movement-rooted gives both the political and the emotional strength to take on the fighting approach. If the movement ties are strong enough for real accountability, this serves as a powerful counter-pressure on elected progressives to the political and psychological pressure placed on them by the establishment. As Sawant explained:

I would not underestimate the kind of pressure you feel once you are elected. … It is an onslaught of pressure on you. … You have to have something on your side. You have to empower yourself, and you cannot be empowering yourself if you don’t build mass movements, and that is the fundamental difference between the approach we have used in Seattle and the approach that Bernie Sanders and the Squad in Congress have done. … What we’ve been able to achieve, which is win victories that were thought of as impossible, is precisely because I have a political organization with me. … It’s about collective power, and having Socialist Alternative … that stands with me, that is itself rooted in the working class, that is itself accountable to the working class, that… [has] a democratic organization where rank and file have the ability to debate, discuss, and vote on the key decisions of the organization, all of that has been absolutely crucial. It has been the backbone of what I have been able to do in Seattle.

The remarkable success of Kshama Sawant and Socialist Alternative is living proof that this movement-rooted, mobilizing, fighting approach to leftist politics is neither impractical nor unrealistic. It is not political suicide but political strength.


The left will never win through backroom-deal politics. That’s the establishment’s turf. We will only win with grassroots social movements and organized labor working alongside our allies in office to mobilize their base. The choice should never be between a defeatist withdrawal from any kind of electoral politics and trusting that “our” elected officials will get the job done. Serious progressive change in this country—from the New Deal to the Civil Rights Act—has never come from either avenue alone, but only from tremendous grassroots mobilization (especially labor power) alongside some relatively sympathetic allies in office. In his famous Letter From A Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote that negotiations with the political establishment were needed, but that they could only occur seriously when mass direct action created a crisis that established powers could not ignore. In addition to these well-known American examples of the New Deal Coalition and the Civil Rights Movement, the same lessons prevail internationally. The Nordic model that American progressives regularly celebrate came not from some long-standing political harmony but from exactly this fighting approach of militant labor and other radical social movements organizing and mobilizing alongside their social-democratic allies in government. In our time, it is no coincidence that probably the most successful example of the left in power is the ruling MAS party in Bolivia. “Founded with the idea that the social struggle and the electoral struggle have to go together,” the MAS does not even consider itself a political party, but merely a “political instrument” of the various labor and indigenous-based social movement organizations that compose and run it. Of course, political and social conditions differ significantly in different countries and different time periods, but it is nevertheless crucial for the left to learn from struggles throughout the world and throughout history.

I do not believe, as some on the left do, that the leading progressive lawmakers are all corrupt or fraudulent, and I greatly appreciate having them in office. I believe that many of them are genuinely on our side, and it is precisely because they are on our side that we must thoughtfully critique them. While progressives make up a small minority of the federal government, they do have significant power—both from their votes and their popular platform. While they have had a substantial positive impact, there is a significant disparity between what they have accomplished and what they could accomplish with a fighting, mobilizing strategy. The D.C. progressives have wasted the enormous, rare opportunities handed to them during this last year of a Democratic trifecta government and a vote margin effectively giving them veto power over any partisan legislation. After the ineffectual (or, more accurately, corrupt) Democrats get predictably obliterated in the upcoming midterms, this opportunity is unlikely to recur for many years to come. There is no more time to waste.

Clearly, the strategy of electing people who support progressive policies and trusting them to do the work of getting the policies passed, with superficial involvement from social movements at best, has failed. Progressive lawmakers must be part of, accountable to, and in daily dialogue with radical grassroots social movements. They must be willing to have an “open clash,” in Sawant’s words, with the Democratic establishment. They must understand that the left’s power comes from mobilizing and organizing, not private pleading and friendly negotiation. There are millions of unorganized but dedicated leftists in this country, and a large majority of Americans support core left policies. We have masses of people on our side, we have politicians in power, and we have social movement organizations. Though we certainly must expand the scale of all three of these, we will not win the policies we desperately need unless we connect the three along the lines of a mobilizing, fighting approach. It will not be easy. It will require serious strategizing, will entail the hard work of building grassroots organizations and labor power, and will create new political questions that will have to be navigated. But we have no choice. We must begin this project now. We have a world to win.

Find Jordan Bollag on Twitter and Instagram at @jojobollag.

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(Contributed by Gwyllm Llwydd)

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE ANTI-DEMOCRACY MOVEMENT

Who’s funding it, why it’s inspired by Viktor Orban, and what it aims to achieve

Robert Reich May 19, 2022 (robertreich.substack.com)

Decades ago, America’s wealthy backed a Republican establishment that believed in fiscal conservatism, anti-communism, and constitutional democracy. But today’s billionaire class is pushing a radically anti-democratic agenda for America — backing Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen, calling for restrictions on voting, and even questioning the value of democracy.

Peter Thiel, the billionaire tech financier who is among those leading the charge, writes “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.”

Thiel is using his fortune to squelch democracy. He donated $15 million to the successful Republican Ohio senatorial primary campaign of J.D. Vance, who alleges that the 2020 election was stolen and that Biden’s immigration policy has meant “more Democrat voters pouring into this country.” And Thiel has donated at least $10 million to the Arizona Republican primary race of Blake Masters, who also claims Trump won the 2020 election and admires Lee Kuan Yew, the authoritarian founder of modern Singapore.

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The former generation of wealthy conservatives backed candidates like Barry Goldwater, who wanted to conserve American institutions. Thiel and his fellow billionaires in the anti-democracy movement don’t want to conserve much of anything — at least not anything that occurred after the 1920s, including Social Security, civil rights, and even women’s right to vote. As Thiel wrote:

The 1920s were the last decade in American history during which one could be genuinely optimistic about politics. Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women — two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians — have rendered the notion of “capitalist democracy” into an oxymoron.

Rubbish. If “capitalist democracy” is becoming an oxymoron, it’s not because of public assistance or because women got the right to vote. It’s because billionaire capitalists like Thiel are drowning democracy in giant campaign donations to authoritarian candidates who repeat Trump’s big lie.

Not incidentally, the 1920s marked the last gasp of the Gilded Age, when America’s rich ripped off so much of the nation’s wealth that the rest had to go deep into debt both to maintain their standard of living and to maintain overall demand for the goods and services the nation produced. When that debt bubble burst in 1929, we got the Great Depression.

It was also the decade when Benito Mussolini and Adolph Hitler emerged to create the worst threats to freedom and democracy the modern world had ever witnessed.

If freedom is not compatible with democracy, what is it compatible with?  

On Tuesday night, Doug Mastriano, a January 6 insurrectionist and Trump-backed Big Lie conspiracy theorist, won the Republican nomination for governor of Pennsylvania (the fourth largest state in the country, and the biggest state that flipped from 2016 to 2020). Mastriano was directly involved in a scheme to overturn the 2020 election by sending an “alternate” slate of pro-Trump electors to the Electoral College — despite the fact that Trump lost Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes. If Mastriano wins in November, he will appoint Pennsylvania’s secretary of state, who will oversee the 2024 election results in one of the most important battleground states in the country.

Meanwhile, the major annual event of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) — the premier convening organization of the American political right — starts today in Budapest. That’s no accident. The Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban and his ruling Fidesz party have become a prominent source of inspiration for America’s anti-democracy movement. Stephen Bannon, Trump’s former adviser, describes Orban’s agenda as that of a “Trump before Trump.”

Orban has used his opposition to immigration, LGBTQ rights, abortion, and religions other than Christianity as cover for his move toward autocracy — rigging Hungary’s election laws so his party stays in power, capturing independent agencies, controlling the judiciary, and muzzling the press. He remains on such good terms with Vladimir Putin that he’s refused to agree to Europe’s proposed embargo of Russian oil.

Tucker Carlson — Fox News’s progenitor of white replacement theory — will be speaking at CPAC and broadcasting his show from Budapest. Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows will also be speaking (although he refuses to speak to the House committee investigating the January 6 assault on American democracy).

If America and the world should have learned anything from the first Gilded Age and the fascism that began growing like a cancer in the 1920s, it’s that gross inequalities of income and wealth fuel gross inequalities of political power — which in turn lead to strongmen who destroy both democracy and freedom.

Peter Thiel may define freedom as the capacity to amass extraordinary wealth without paying taxes on it, but most of us define it as living under the rule of law with rights against arbitrary authority and a voice in what’s decided.

If we want to guard what’s left of our freedom, we’ll need to meet today’s anti-democracy movement with a bold pro-democracy movement that protects the institutions of self-government both from authoritarian strongmen like Trump and his wannabes, and from big money like Peter Thiel’s.

Seeing the system for what it is will empower you to join with others to change it for the better. Please share today’s post.

A Reset that Serves the People

Posted on May 19, 2022 by Ellen Brown (ellenbrown.com)

Instead of buying into the World Economic Forum’s dystopian “Great Reset,” we can build an alternative system with a mandate to serve the people.

This is part two to a May 4, 2022 article called “A Monetary Reset Where the Rich Don’t Own Everything,” the gist of which was that national and global debt levels are unsustainably high. We need a “reset,” but of what sort? The “Great Reset” of the World Economic Forum (WEF) would leave the people as non-owner tenants in a feudalistic technocracy. The reset of the Eurasian Economic Union would allow participating nations to opt out of the Western capitalist system altogether, but what of the Western countries that are left? That is the question addressed here.

Our Forefathers Had Some Innovative Solutions

Fortunately for the United States, our national debt is in U.S. dollars. As former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan once observed, “The United States can pay any debt it has because we can always print money to do that. So there is zero probability of default.” 

Paying government debt by just printing the money was the innovative solution of the cash-strapped American colonial governments. The problem was that it tended to be inflationary. The paper scrip they issued was considered an advance against future taxes, but it was easier to issue the money than to tax it back, and over-issuing devalued the currency. The colony of Pennsylvania fixed that problem by forming a government-owned “land bank.” Money was issued as farm credit that was repaid. The new money went out from the local government and came back to it, stimulating the economy and trade without devaluing the currency. 

But in the mid-eighteenth century, at the behest of the Bank of England, the colonies were forbidden by King George to issue their own currencies, triggering a recession and the American Revolution. The colonists won the war, but by the end of it the currency was so devalued (chiefly from British counterfeiting) that the Founding Fathers were afraid to include the power to issue paper money in the Constitution.

Hamilton’s Solution: Debt-for-equity Swaps

That left Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton in a bind. After the war, the colonies-turned-states were heavily in debt, with no way to repay it. Hamilton solved the problem by turning the states’ debts into equity in the First United States Bank. The creditors became shareholders in the bank, earning a 6% dividend on their holdings. 

Might that work today? H.R. 3339, a bill currently before Congress, would form a National Infrastructure Bank (NIB) modeled on Hamilton’s U.S. Bank, capitalized with federal securities acquired in debt-for-equity swaps. Shareholders would receive a guaranteed 2% dividend on non-voting preferred stock in the bank, with the option of recovering the principal after 20 years.  

If the whole $30 trillion U.S. federal debt were turned into bank capital, leveraged into loans at 10 to 1 as banks are allowed to do, the bank could do $300 trillion in infrastructure loans. To start, the Federal Reserve could buy NIB stock with the $5.76 trillion in U.S. Treasury securities currently on its balance sheet, capitalizing potential loans of $57 trillion. The possibilities are breathtaking; and because the money would enter the money supply in the form of low-interest loans to local governments that would be paid back over time, the result need not be inflationary. Loans for infrastructure and other productive ventures would raise supply to meet demand, keeping prices stable. 

Lincoln’s Solution: Just Issue the Money

Hamilton’s solution to an unsustainable federal debt was terminated when President Andrew Jackson closed down the Second U.S. Bank. That left Abraham Lincoln in a bind. Faced with a massive debt at usurious interest rates to fund the Civil War, he solved the problem by reverting to the solution of the American colonists: just issue the currency as paper money.  

In the 1860s, these U.S. Notes or Greenbacks constituted 40% of the national currency. Today, 40% of the circulating money supply would be $7.6 trillion. Yet massive Greenback issuance during the Civil War did not lead to hyperinflation. U.S. Notes suffered a drop in value as against gold, but according to Milton Friedman and Anna Schwarz in A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960, this was due not to “printing money” but to trade imbalances with foreign trading partners on the gold standard. The Greenbacks aided the Union not only in winning the war but in funding a period of unprecedented economic expansion, making the country the greatest industrial giant the world had yet seen. The steel industry was launched, a continental railroad system was created, a new era of farm machinery and cheap tools was promoted, free higher education was established, government support was provided to all branches of science, the Bureau of Mines was organized, and labor productivity was increased by 50 to 75 percent.

The Japanese “Free Lunch”

Another option is for the U.S. government to “monetize” its debt by having the central bank purchase and hold it or write it off. The Federal Reserve returns interest and profits to the Treasury after deducting its costs. 

This alternative, too, need not be inflationary, as has apparently been demonstrated by the Japanese. The Bank of Japan (BOJ) started buying government bonds in 1999, after reducing interest rates to zero, then dropping them into negative territory in 2015. Today Japan’s government debt is a whopping 260% of its Gross Domestic Product, and the Bank of Japan owns half of it. (Even the outsized U.S. debt to GDP ratio is only 126%.) Yet annual inflation is now only 1.2% in Japan, not even up to the BOJ’s longstanding 2% target. To the extent that prices are rising, it is not from money-printing but from lockdowns and supply chain disruptions and shortages, the same disruptions triggering price inflation globally. 

Hedge fund manager Eric Peters discussed the Japanese experiment in a recent article titled “Can a Modern Nation Pull Off a Debt Jubilee Without Full Monetary Collapse?” Noting that “core prices in Japan’s economy remain almost identical today as they were when its zero-interest-rate experiment began,” he asked:

Could the central bank create money, buy all the outstanding bonds, and simply burn them? Execute a modern version of an Old Testament debt Jubilee? …. [M]ight it be possible for a country to pull off such a feat without full monetary collapse? We don’t know, yet.

A Treasury Issue of Special Coins or E-cash

For future budget expenses, rather than borrowing, the government could follow President Lincoln and just issue the money it needs. As Thomas Edison observed in the 1920s:

If the Nation can issue a dollar bond it can issue a dollar bill. The element that makes the bond good makes the bill good also. The difference between the bond and the bill is that the bond lets the money broker collect twice the amount of the bond and an additional 20%. 

When the Constitution was ratified, coins were the only officially recognized legal tender. By 1850, coins made up only about half the currency. The total face value of all U.S. coins ever produced as of January 2022 is $170 billion dollars, or less than 0.9% of a $19 trillion circulating money supply (M2). These coins, along with about $25 million in U.S. Notes or Greenbacks, are all that is left of the Treasury’s money-creating power. As the Bank of England has acknowledged, the vast majority of the money supply is now created privately by banks  as deposits when they make loans. 

In the early 1980s, a chairman of the Coinage Subcommittee of the House of Representatives observed that the Constitution gives Congress the power to coin money and regulate its value, and that no limit is put on the value of the coins it creates. He said the government could pay off its entire debt with some billion dollar coins. In a 2007 book called ”Web of Debt,” I wrote about this and said in today’s America it would have to be trillion dollar coins.

In 1982, Congress chose to choke off this remaining vestige of its money-creating power by imposing limits on the amounts and denominations of most coins. The one exception was the platinum coin, which a special provision allows to be minted in any amount for commemorative purposes (31 U.S. Code § 5112). In 2013, Georgia attorney Carlos Mucha proposed issuing a platinum coin to capitalize on this loophole, in order to solve the gridlock then in Congress over the debt ceiling. Philip Diehl, former head of the U.S. Mint and co-author of the platinum coin law. He said:

In minting the $1 trillion platinum coin, the Treasury Secretary would be exercising authority which Congress has granted routinely for more than 220 years . . . under power expressly granted to Congress in the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8).

Prof. Randall Wray explained that the coin would not circulate but would be deposited in the government’s account at the Fed, so it would not inflate the circulating money supply. The budget would still need Congressional approval. To keep a lid on spending, Congress would just need to abide by some basic rules of economics. It could spend on goods and services up to full employment without creating price inflation (since supply and demand would rise together). After that, it would need to tax — not to fund the budget, but to shrink the circulating money supply and avoid driving up prices with excess demand.

A more modern option is for the Treasury to issue “e-cash,” an electronic form of cash transferred on secure hardware not requiring an internet connection. The ECASH Act,  H.R. 7231, introduced on March 28, 2022 by Rep. Stephen Lynch, “directs the Secretary of the Treasury to develop and introduce a form of retail digital dollar called ‘e-cash,’ which replicates the off-line-capable, peer-to-peer, privacy-respecting, zero transaction-fee, and payable-to-bear features of physical cash….” 

Unlike the central bank digital currencies now being developed by central banks globally, e-cash would be anonymous and not traceable, having all the privacy attributes of physical cash. Various models are in development, including one already introduced in China in 2021, an offline-capable smart payments card that was part of the government’s digital yuan rollout.  

A People’s Reset

Those are alternatives for relieving the government’s debt burden, but what about the massive sums in student debt, medical debt, and rent and mortgage payments now in arrears? Biden promised in his presidential campaign to forgive student debt or some portion of it. But whether this can legally be done by presidential order, without congressional approval, is controversial. Arguments have been made both ways.  

For most student debt, however, the creditor is actually the Department of Education, a cabinet-level department established by Congress with some limited power to cancel debt. In August 2021, for example, the Department canceled the student debt of the disabledCongress itself could also write off the debt. The challenge is getting agreement on which debts to cancel and by how much.  

What of the student debt, mortgage debt, and credit card debt held by private banks? Private banks have a contractual right to repayment. They also have an obligation to balance their books, meaning they could go bankrupt if unable to collect. But as British economist Michael Rowbotham observed, these debts too could be written off if the accounting standards were changed. Banks don’t actually lend their own money or their depositors’ money. The money they lend is created simply by writing the borrowed sums into the deposit accounts of their customers, so voiding out the debts would be cost-free. The accounting standards would just need to be changed so that the books would not need to balance. The debts could be carried as nonperforming loans or moved off the books in special purpose vehicles, as the Chinese have been known to do with their nonperforming loans. As for which debts to write off and by how much, that is a policy question for legislators.  

Would that sort of debt jubilee be inflationary? Yes, to the extent that students and other debtors would have money to spend from their incomes that they did not have before, money that would be competing for a limited supply of goods and services. Again, however, inflation could be avoided by powering up the production of goods and services sufficiently to meet demand.

That means powering up small and medium-sized businesses, which generate most local productivity and employment; and that means providing them with affordable credit. As UK Prof. Richard Werner observes, big banks don’t lend to small businesses. Small banks do, and their numbers are rapidly shrinking. A national infrastructure bank could do it but would have trouble making prudent loans for businesses and farms across the country. The Soviet Union tried that and failed. Prof. Werner proposes instead to form a network of local public, cooperative and community banks. 

Arguably, local publicly-owned banks could also be capitalized with debt-for-equity swaps, using the ballooning state bond debts. We have plenty of debt to go around! A network of state-owned public banks on the model of the Bank of North Dakota would be good. 

Other Options

To the extent that taxes are needed to balance the money supply, a land value tax (LVT) would go far toward replacing income taxes, without taxing labor or productivity. See “Pennsylvania’s Success with Local Property Tax Reform” in the book “Earth Belongs to Everyone” by Alanna Hartzok. An LVT excludes physical structures (e.g. houses) and taxes only the value of the land itself, including the natural resources on and under it. It thus returns to the public a portion of any appreciation in value due to public works (new schools, subway stops, etc.), without taxing improvements made by the property owners themselves. It helps curb land hoarding and speculation, and ensures that land sites are put to good use.

Independent community currency and cryptocurrency systems are other possibilities for circumventing debts in the national currency, but those topics are beyond the scope of this article.

In any case, if the global economy comes crashing down as many pundits are predicting, it is good to know there are viable alternatives to the technocratic feudalism of the WEF’s Great Reset. In his 2020 book “The Great Reset,” WEF leader Klaus Schwab declared that the COVID-19 pandemic “represents a rare but narrow window of opportunity to reflect, reimagine and reset our world,” making way for a polycentric technocracy. It is also a rare opportunity for us to implement an alternative system with a mandate to serve the people. We might call it the People’s Great Reset. 

__________________

This article was first posted on ScheerPost. Ellen Brown is an attorney, chair of the Public Banking Institute, and author of thirteen books including Web of DebtThe Public Bank Solution, and Banking on the People: Democratizing Money in the Digital Age. She also co-hosts a radio program on PRN.FM called “It’s Our Money.” Her 300+ blog articles are posted at EllenBrown.com

Articles (divided in 3 sections) ~ Petitions ~ Events for Friday, May 20 – Monday, May 23 (from Adrienne Fong)

Please do not send me fliers without info outside the body of flier. Info on fliers can’t be extracted,

Please include Accessibility and ASL info in your events! And if your action is ‘child friendly’ This is a JUSTICE issue!!

*** ASL interpretation – Let me know if your event needs this service .***

Reminder to post your actions on Indybay: https://www.indybay.org/calendar/?page_id=12

 See Indybay  for  other listings of events

Articles are divided into 3 sections 1) Regular 2) Palestine / Israel 3) Ukraine / Russia

ARTICLES

A. Boycotts threaten Biden’s Summit of the Americas  – May 19, 2022

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/white-house/boycotts-threaten-bidens-summit-of-the-americas

B. Biden’s Measures Toward Cuba: Not Enough – May 17, 2022

Biden’s Measures Toward Cuba: Not Enough | Resumen LatinoAmericano English (resumen-english.org)

C. Haitians Make the Perilous Journey to the U.S.-Mexico Border

Haitians Make the Perilous Journey to the U.S.-Mexico Border – Latin America Working Group (lawg.org)

D. Can Forensic Science Be Trusted? – May 12, 2022

Can Forensic Science Be Trusted? – The Atlantic

Palestine / Israel

A. GOOGLE and AMAZON Face Shareholder Revolt Over Israeli Defense Work – May 18, 2022

Google, Amazon Face Shareholder Revolt Over Israeli Defense Work (theintercept.com)

B. Israeli police attack another Palestinian funeral in Jerusalem  – May 17, 2022

Israeli police attack another Palestinian funeral in Jerusalem – Mondoweiss

C. Pro-Israel lobbying group Aipac secretly pouring millions into defeating progressive Democrats – May 17, 2022

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/may/17/pro-israel-lobby-defeat-democrats-palestinians-2022

D. Congressional Democrats Demand FBI Probe Into Killing of Palestinian Journalist – May 16, 2022

Democrats: FBI Should Probe Palestinian Journalist Killing (theintercept.com)

E. Israeli War Crimes and the Execution of Al Jazeera Reporter Shireen Abu Akleh  – May 16, 2022

Opinion | Israeli War Crimes and the Execution of Al Jazeera Reporter Shireen Abu Akleh | Chris Hedges (commondreams.org)

   By Chris Hedges

Ukraine / Russia

A. U.S. deepens Ukraine commitment with $40 billion in aid, expanded NATO – May 19, 2022

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/05/19/ukraine-aid-senate/

B. Watch: West’s Free Speech Threatened by Ukraine War – May 18, 2022

https://consortiumnews.com/2022/05/18/watch-wests-free-speech-threatened-by-ukraine-war/

8 PETITIONS

1. Protect Immigrant Workers

  SIGN: Protect Immigrant Workers (aflcio.org)

2. support refugees, asylum seekers and displaced people

  SIGN: Act Now: Add your name to assist and protect refugees and displaced people and ensure they get the help and support needed. (dailykos.com)

   More than 3,000 people died or went missing in 2021 while attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

3. Ban BioWeaponization Research & Investigate Public Health’s COVID-19 Corruption

  SIGN: National Health Federation (rallycongress.net)

4. Tell Amazon Investors: It’s Time To Hold Them Accountable

  SIGN: Athena – delivering democracy (actionnetwork.org)

5. Tell California Gov. Newsom and Secretary of Energy Granholm: “Keep the Deal to Close Diablo Canyon’s Reactors!”  

  SIGN: Tell Gov. Newsom and Secretary Granholm: “Keep the Deal to Close Diablo Canyon’s Reactors!” (salsalabs.org)

6. Nearly One in Four Rural Americans Doesn’t Have Access to the Internet at Home. Congress Must Change That!

  SIGN: petition: Nearly One in Four Rural Americans Doesn’t Have Access to the Internet at Home. Congress Must Change That! (thepetitionsite.com)

7. Tell Amazon shareholders and Board: Vote to hold Amazon accountable and expose global tax avoidance

  SIGN: Take Action! (actionnetwork.org)

8. Tell Chevron’s Largest Investors to Hold It Accountable for Destruction in the Amazon

  SIGN: Tell Chevron’s Investors to Hold It Accountable for Amazon Destruction | Amazon Watch

   See Event # 5

EVENTS

Friday, May 20 – Monday, May 23

Friday, May 20

1.  Friday, 1:00pm – 2:00pm, Shut Down the San Francisco Police Officers Association

In person

SF Police Officers Association (outside)
800 Bryant St. (at 6th St.)
SF

RESIST with ‘Mothers On The March’, Families whose loved ones have been murdered by SFPD (or other law enforcement), and the Community.

Our Demands:

  – The Police Officers Association be SHUT DOWN!

  – The SF Police Officers Association Be Declared a Non Grata Organization

  – Abolish the ‘Officers Bill of Rights’

  – Jail Killer Cops – we demand killer cops be charged with murder.

  – Abolish the police!

The POA has defended police officers that have executed and terrorized people in our community.

“The Mothers On The March” are in support of  NO on “H”  – Rise up for Justice say and vote NO to the RECALL of CHESA BOUDIN!

If you can’t attend, please contact SF Mayor London Breed and the SF Board of Supervisors. Tell them you OPPOSE funding for the SFPD!

Mayor London Breed:

  Tel: (415) 554-6141

  Email: MayorLondonBreed@sfgov.org

Contact for SF Board of Supervisors

  Roster of Members | Board of Supervisors (sfbos.org)

2. Friday, 6:00pm – 8:00pm, Haight Ashbury Peace Vigil – May, 2022

In person

Corner of Masonic & Fell Sts.
In Golden Gate Park Panhandle
SF

Haight Ashbury Peace Vigil, on Friday and the third Friday of every month, at the corner of Masonic and Fell, in the Golden Gate Park Panhandle, San Francisco.

We will have our usual signs, music, candles, and snacks.

Join us for the whole two hours or for just five minutes.

Everybody welcome!
Sunset is about 8:15 pm, so this will be an entirely daytime vigil.

Info: (1) Haight Ashbury Peace Vigil – May, 2022 | Facebook

3. Friday, 6:30pm – 8:30pm, A Free Screening of NASRIN by Sensible Cinema 

In person or on line

In person at UUSF
1187 Franklin St. (MLK Room)
SF

Online:

Watch via ZOOM

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81874845936?pwd=Y2RCOVV2UDlCNVhjMUd6TGdmOHpqZz09

Meeting ID: 818 7484 5936 Passcode: 205900

  Nasrin is a powerful feature documentary by filmmakers Jeff Kaufman and Marcia Ross, that was filmed inside Iran by people risking arrests and imprisonment to bring this inspiring ‘candle in the dark’ to the bright screen. The film is narrated by Academy Award winner Olivia Colman and includes an original song performed by internationally known artist Angélique Kidjo.  

Nasrin traces the journey of Nasrin Sotoudeh—Iranian defense lawyer, political prisoner, human rights and women’s rights activist. It also profiles the untold story of the courageous women’s movement in Iran.  Nasrin was arrested and sent to prison in 2018 for representing the “Girls of Revolution Street”—defending women who were protesting Iran’s law that mandates women to wear head scarves (or hijab). She was sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes and yet has gone on several prison hunger strikes to demand freedom for all political prisoners in Iran. Before this, she had already spent three years in prison (2010-2013) for her work as a rights attorney.

There will be a welcome by the Sensible Cinema crew, followed by a brief introduction by Dolly Veale, an initiator of the Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners NOW. (CLICK HERE)

Info: NASRIN story of a courageous Iranian lawyer and political prisoner : Indybay

4. Friday, 7:00pm,  The fight for abortion rights; Plus, commemorating Al-Nakba & the Palestinian Resistance

Virtual register: Register here

Or

In person

2969 Mission St.
SF

Mask & Vax required

The Supreme Court is moving to carry out a huge attack on women and all who need abortion and reproductive services. This is not only an attack on reproductive rights, but a war on women.

Now is the time to fight back.

Plus: Tens of thousands of mourners marched on May 13 as part of the funeral procession for assassinated Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

Israeli forces outrageously attacked mourners, shooting stun grenades and beating many of those in attendance.

Israeli authorities have been attempting to silence Palestinian journalists for showing the violence perpetrated by Israeli forces. Palestinian protests are themselves a response to the brutality of Israeli police and armed forces. End U.S. aid to apartheid Israel!

Host: PSL

Saturday, May 21

5. Saturday, 12Noon – 3:00pm, 9th Annual Global Anti-Chevron Day

Chevron refinery, Gate 14, Castro Street at 580

 Richmond, CA

We will also join with striking Chevron refinery workers who are demanding a safer work environment. Together we will send the message that Chevron must not continue to profit off the destruction of our families and our environment.

“Anti-Chevron Day” is a global day of action, every year on May 21st, to remind the world of the impacts caused by the oil company in places such as the Ecuadorian Amazon, Myanmar, and the Bay Area. For the ninth consecutive year, a diverse coalition of groups calls upon the international community before Chevron’s Annual General Meeting on May 26th so that together, in this global fight, we can combat impunity by corporations and secure recognition of the human rights violations against affected communities. 

Hosts: Youth Vs. Apocalypse, Amazon Watch, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Idle No More SF Bay, Direct Action Everywhere SF Bay

Info: Anti-Chevron Day | Facebook 

6. Saturday, 1:00pm – 3:00pm, Protest Against the War in Ukraine

Lake Merritt Amphitheater
Oakland

We demand:
– NO escalation from the US
– NO Russian aggression in Ukraine
– Peace talks instead of arm shipments
– Disbandment of NATO

The United States is escalating its involvement in the war. The US military is providing logistical support, US leaders are promising unconditional support, and billions of our tax dollars are being sent over in the form of “lethal aid”. The US elites are using Ukrainians as a pawn against Russia, sacrificing them and their country in an attempt to bog Russia down in a multi-year war. The people suffer 

Info: unitedagainstwarandmilitarism@gmail.com

Tel: 510-859-7326

Host: United Against War and Militarism

Info: Protest Against the War in Ukraine : Indybay

7. Saturday, 3:00pm – 4:30pm, Roundtable discussion on the Pandemic and Vaccine

474 Valencia St. (Between 15th & 16th Sts.)
SF

Public transportation:

BART – 16th St.

MUNI – # 22, # 14, # 49

COVID 19,  the variants, and vaccines have dominated the mainstream media for over 2 years now!

‘Mothers On The March’ invite you to a discussion on the ‘Pandemic and Vaccine’.  All are welcomed to participate and to share your comments, concerns, questions.

Sunday, May 22

8. Sunday, 10:00am – 2:00pm, Ohlone Territory/BLM Mural & Paint Party

Martin Luther King Jr.,
Civic Center Park
Berkeley

Join the Confederated Villages of Lisjan & West Berkeley Shellmound Network to paint a beautiful new “Berkeley is Ohlone Territory” street mural (Center Street) AND re-paint the “Black Lives Matter” street mural (Allston) at Civic Center Park

10 am Mural kick-off with poetry, music
1 pm Speakers
2pm Close

We will gather with a clear message that the City of Berkeley must honor its commitment to protect the West Berkeley Shellmound, a sacred Ohlone/Lisjan site since time immemorial.

While land acknowledgements are sweeping the halls of power, we must keep the pressure on. Call on city council to honor their commitment to Ohlone/Lisjan people. The occupation continues. Rematriate the Land!

We also gather in honor of the 2020 Black-led uprisings against state violence across Turtle Island and the Berkeley High & middle school students who took to the streets to paint the BLM mural.

Bring signs of support — We are with WBS! Shellmound Defender! Black Lives Matter! 

Info: (1) Ohlone Territory/BLM Mural & Paint Party | Facebook

9. Sunday, 4:00pm, King: A Filmed Record…Montgomery to Memphis (Special guest: Danny Glover)

Online

RSVP https://tinyurl.com/KingAFilmedRecord

A virtual fundraiser for CA PPC Mobilization to June 18 Mass Assembly & Moral March on DC 

Monday, May 23

10. Monday, 11:00am – 12Noon, Addressing Pregnancy-related Mortality: Abortion Access & Other Policies Decisions

Online Free

RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/next-steps-in-addressing-pregnancy-related-mortality-tickets-325943504797

Join the P4HE Collaborative as we discuss pregnancy-related mortality through the lens of abortion access and other policy decisions.

Reproductive health rights are under attack with grave implications for health equity. The looming rollback of the right to abortion will adversely affect access to healthcare and the opportunity for health equity for birthing people across the U.S.

Join the P4HE Collaborative as we discuss pregnancy-related mortality through the lens of abortion access and other policy decisions like Medicaid expansion. We will also discuss community- and culturally centered birthing work and the need for cross-sector collaboration in this space.

During this webinar we will:

–Highlight the state of pregnancy-related mortality in women and birthing people and racial/ethnic inequities.

–Address the importance of access to abortion and Medicaid expansion.

–Explore next steps by identifying solutions that will reduce pregnancy-related mortality rates and address inequities.

PANELISTS:

Marian Jarlenski, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor and Vice Chair for Practice, Health Policy and Management; Associate Director of the Center for Innovative Research on Gender Health Equity, University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health

Shayai Lucero, Board President, Changing Woman Initiative

Meshawn Siddiq (Tarver), MPH, HBCE, Doula, CLC, Senior Program Manager – Maternal and Child Health, Institute of Women & Ethnic Studies

Maeve Wallace, PhD, Assistant Professor, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine

Host: Partners for Advancing Health Equity

Info: Addressing Pregnancy-related Mortality: Abortion Access & Other Policies Decisions : Indybay

A public bank for San Francisco is moving forward, this week

Historic proposal that could transform municipal and nonprofit financing will present preliminary plans.

By RICK GIRLING MAY 17, 2022 (48hours.org) 

On Thursday/19 at 3pm, newly-hired public banking consultant HR&A Advisors will join the Reinvest in San Francisco Working Group in formulating a plan to establish San Francisco’s first public bank since the city was founded more than 200 years ago.

Last June, the Board of Supervisors took an important step towards setting up a public bank for the city by unanimously passing the Reinvest in San Francisco ordinance introduced by Supervisor Dean Preston. Another dramatic step came on April 15, 2022, with the first official meeting of the Working Group, composed of financial professionals and community representatives charged with preparing a business plan for the bank. After being approved by the Board of Supervisors, the plan will be submitted to the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation in Sacramento.

Advocates gather in front of City Hall to push for an SF public bank.

While there are 910 public banks worldwide commanding assets of $49 trillion, the US has only one, in North Dakota. Consequently, there is no blueprint for setting up public banks in the US.

Nevertheless, San Francisco is determined to be among the first California communities leading the way for the US to join nations as diverse as Germany, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Brazil and Japan, which have had public banks successfully operating for generations.

Thomas Marois, an expert on public banking from Oxford University, will join members of the Working Group at a Local Agency Formation Commission meeting the following day, Friday/20 at 10am.

The nine-member Working Group is composed of three financial experts and four authorities in community concerns affected by the public bank, such as affordable housing, environmental justice, and small business support, in addition to representatives from the city treasurer and controller. San Francisco is fortunate to have Sylvia Chi, one of the authors of the historic California legislation authorizing public banking (AB 857), in the group. 

A public bank for San Francisco would result in significant benefits for the city. Foremost, it would be able to amplify city financial resources for projects that directly improve the lives of San Franciscans. Virtually all of the receipts paid to SF (taxes, fees, fines and state and federal allocations) are currently entrusted to massive corporate banks with little interest in making substantial investments benefiting locals.

Among the advantages:Sponsored linkHelp us save local journalism!Every tax-deductible donation helps us grow to cover the issues that mean the most to our community. Become a 48 Hills Hero and support the only daily progressive news source in the Bay Area.Learn more

  • A public bank could assure financing for permanently affordable energy-efficient housing. The most effective means of doing this is converting existing buildings into affordable housing. Public banks can provide bridge loans and loan guarantees for purchasing existing properties, removing them from the speculative housing market by converting them into permanently affordable social housing. A public bank could speed up construction of new affordable housing by securing sources of capital more efficiently.
  • A public bank could prioritize local investments in badly needed green infrastructure such as cost-saving and environmentally beneficial solar panels, LED lights, transportation electrification, and retrofits for improved insulation and energy saving appliances such as on-demand water heaters in public buildings, which will save taxpayers money while they address the climate crisis.
  • A public bank could provide financing for local enterprises such as worker coops like Arizmendi Bakeries and Rainbow Grocery, as well as businesses owned by people of color and women who have been historically denied loans from banks solely focused on profit maximization.

Financial proficiency comes with the inclusion of three leaders in community banking. Jennifer Finger, executive vice president of strategy and development at Beneficial State Bancorp, has worked there since 2015, helping assets grow from $500 million to $1.4 billion. Rafael O. Morales spent nine years at the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, representing more than 250 community development credit unions and now serves as senior manager for development policy and Impact at Self-Help Federal Credit Union. Elizabeth Dwyer who brings a decade’s experience with nonprofit Community Development Financial Institutions developing operations to deliver microcredit programs that help small businesses, and currently is director of Fondo Adelante (Mission Community Loan Fund LLC) at the Mission Economic Development Agency.[1] 

Having people in the Working Group with direct experience in these arenas will provide the necessary background to assure the bank is realistic about what it can accomplish. Architect and planner Fernando Marti has more than ten years of experience in affordable housing as co-director of Council of Community Housing Organizations. Bookstore and bar owner Christin Evans is well-versed in the challenges of running a small business. Michelle Pierce has 23 years of experience working in sustainability and social justice while working closely with businesses and residents of Bayview Hunters Point.

Rick Girling is co-director of the San Francisco Public Bank Coalition

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Katie Halper May 18, 2022 Christian Smalls, President of Amazon Labor, the 1st Independent worker-lead Union in America for Amazon workers, talks about his victory against the corporation, how it happened, testifying in front of Congress, what’s next for the labor movement and beyond. ***Please support The Katie Halper Show *** On Patreon https://www.patreon.com/thekatiehalpe… Follow Katie on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kthalps