Tuesday 11:10AM (

DALLAS, TX—Gathering his wife and children close to him as he shared the tragic news, area conservative Dan Gainey, 66, informed his family Tuesday that Critical Race Theory had spread to his liver. “There’s no easy way to say this, but I just got the diagnosis that I have Critical Race Theory, and soon my body will be completely ravaged by it,” said Gainey of the academic movement focused on studying social and cultural issues through the lens of institutional racism that was reportedly metastasizing within him. “I promise you all I’m going to fight like Hell to lick this thing, but the truth is that it’s a pernicious ideology capable of spreading rapidly, so I probably don’t have all that much longer. I just pray it doesn’t spread to my brain—if you ever hear me rambling incoherently about how the inequalities that spurred the civil rights movements are still with us today, I’m begging you right now to put me out of my misery.” At press time, Gainey sought to comfort his crying family with the promise that if they remembered the U.S. was historically the least racist country on Earth, he would always be with them in spirit.

The Cop-Attacking Chilean Dog Who Became a Worldwide Symbol of Protest

The recent uprising in Chile is full of references to the beloved Negro Matapacos, who accompanied protesters for many years. As his legend spreads, so too do images of the good boy.

by Billy Anania November 5, 2019 (

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Negro Matapacos in 2012 (photo by Mario Téllez)

The streets of Santiago are once again alive with the spirit of revolution. For weeks now, working-class Chileans have occupied national monuments and blocked major intersections in protest of widespread inequality. They desire full reform — a request so long in the making that it is practically tradition. The country’s floundering political elite offer half measures while dispatching riot police and the military. Protestors stand their ground nonetheless, harnessing the raw energy of previous movements.

The image of a black dog in a red bandana appears throughout the crowds and on social media, commemorating the bravery of a stray who once marched with rioters and defended them from authorities. This canine rebel, named Negro Matapacos (or “Black Cop-Killer”), gained popularity during the student demonstrations of 2011-2013. Illustrator Maldito Perrito recently adapted his likeness to advocate for metro fare evasion in the midst of the #EvasiónMasiva protests, sparked by a recent fare hike. In the image, which went viral on social media, Matapacos hops a turnstile while casting a mischievous sidelong glance, with the word EVADE written in bold lettering.

Widely regarded as a champion of the working class, Matapacos first showed up in 2010, just as students began organizing for free education. The young radicals knew him as a faithful comrade who endured tear gas and water cannons, and who only ever attacked or barked at pacos (Chilean slang for cops). Over the next few years, he became ubiquitous at events that brought together groups from the Central University of Chile, the University of Santiago de Chile, and the Metropolitan University of Technology. Tributes from this time include a documentary by Saint Tomás University students and a mural at the USACH School of Journalism by artists from 12 Brillos.

Artists continue to transform Matapacos into a contemporary Chilean folk hero by sharing their own designs and photos of other people’s posters, flags, and murals. A symbol of revolt in black and red — the colors of anarcho-syndicalism — Chile’s beloved protest dog represents instinctive duty, a natural tendency to stand up and fight back. The good boy passed away from old age in 2017, but his legacy endures as Chile’s population faces the same oppression.

High costs of living and the privatization of social services are driving the most intense public outcry in Chile since the end of Pinochet’s dictatorship. Demands for fairer pensions follow decades of incremental pressures stemming from the neoliberal project, for which Chile has long been a testing ground. Since late October, President Sebastián Piñera has canceled economic and climate summits, replaced members of his Cabinet, and raised the minimum wage. Still, many Chileans are calling for his resignation using the hashtag #PiñeraRenuncia.

Many signs and posters memorialize Matapacos with phrases such as Estai Presente (“You Are Present”) and En Tu Memoria (“In Your Memory”) underscoring paintings and prints of his distinctive profile. One artist painted a halo on a cutout of his head and tied an actual bandana around the neck, writing Ladra Ladrale a la Autoridad (“Bark Bark at Authority”) underneath. Others took inspiration from religious iconography, proclaiming Patronos de las marchas, San Negromatapacos, cuidanos (“Patron of the marches, Saint Negro Matapacos, take care of us”).

Matapacos also turns up in colorful tarot card designs, further solidifying his spiritual influence. Matheuss Berant depicts him on his hind legs with the flag of Chile between his teeth, as a can of tear gas goes off in the foreground and smoke billows from a distant building. An indifferent sun contains traces of the graffiti tag Chile Despertó (“Chile Woke Up”), which the artist saw while out in the streets. Likewise, a design by Geni Riot titled La Fuerza (“The Force”) pairs Matapacos with a protestor affectionately petting him. The girl wears a school uniform and a green bandana of the organization La Campaña Nacional por el Derecho al Aborto Legal, Seguro y Gratuito (the National Campaign for the Right to Safe and Free Legal Abortion) around her arm. It speaks to the alliance of strength and intelligence guiding this new mass movement.

The legacy of Negro Matapacos clearly expands beyond Chile. Last week, stickers of Perrito’s illustration surfaced in Downtown Brooklyn, as hundreds of protestors hopped turnstiles to oppose police brutality. A Mexican artist’s depiction of Matapacos in the US shows that solidarity is transnational, and that any city could become the next Santiago. Until then, the fight continues.

Billy Anania

Billy Anania is an art critic, editor, and journalist in Brooklyn whose work has appeared in Gothamist, The Art Newspaper, Observer, Pinko Magazine, and elsewhere. More by Billy Anania

(Contributed by Gwyllm Llwydd)

S.F. Mayor Breed vetoes free Muni, but one supervisor says he may take it to the voters

In a rare excise of her veto power, Mayor London Breed shot down legislation that would have allowed all San Franciscans to ride Muni for free between July 1 and Sept. 30.
In a rare excise of her veto power, Mayor London Breed shot down legislation that would have allowed all San Franciscans to ride Muni for free between July 1 and Sept. 30.Stephen Lam/The Chronicle

June 22, 2021 (

By Trisha Thadani

In a rare exercise of her veto power, Mayor London Breed shot down legislation that would have allowed all San Franciscans to ride Muni for free between July 1 and Sept. 30.

The Board of Supervisors approved the program last month, despite opposition from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which runs Muni. Breed warned that she intended to veto the program immediately after it passed.

But Supervisor Dean Preston, who introduced the proposal, said Monday that he isn’t backing down: “If we have to go to the ballot to win fare relief for riders, we will.”

The fare-free Muni proposal passed the board 7-4, just shy of the eight votes needed to override a mayoral veto. Supervisors Rafael Mandelman, Catherine Stefani, Myrna Melgar and Ahsha Safaí voted against it.

Breed said in her June 18 veto letter that she appreciates the intent to “encourage public transit ridership,” but said eliminating fares would increase the transportation systems’ woes.

“SFMTA must focus on restoring service lines and improving reliability, so that San Franciscans can count on Muni to be safe and reliable as our city reopens and our economy recovers from this global pandemic,” she wrote.

Breed’s veto comes as the city’s transit agency struggles to recover from the pandemic. According to a recent Chronicle analysis, ridership and service levels have plummeted to some of the lowest in the country. Even though the city fully reopened last week, Muni still plans to run at about 70% of its pre-pandemic levels due to its long-term structural deficit.

It also comes as the mayor and progressive supervisors, including Preston, clash over a number of initiatives — including police funding, the use of millions of dollars in transfer-tax funds and relief for small businesses.

The three-month pilot program would have cost the city $12.5 million to back-fill the revenue lost from Muni and paratransit fares. Supporters of the pilot said it would offer relief to low-income riders most impacted by the pandemic, and also give the city an opportunity to collect data on how such a program could work long-term.

The agency — which already offers discounted passes for seniors and extremely low-income riders — still would have collected voluntary fares from people who wanted to pay.

But Breed said she does not support subsidizing those “who could afford to pay.”

In an April 30 letter to the board, she also warned that she would “not support any further supplemental budget proposals” until she unveiled her balanced budget in June.

Preston told The Chronicle in a text last month that Breed’s office had not reached out about the pilot, “nor provided any feedback whatsoever to our proposal.”

“It’s disappointing the Mayor would veto a fully funded free Muni pilot when people need it most,” Preston said in a text Monday. “I look forward to continuing to fight for free public transit and improved service for all San Franciscans.”

The mayor’s decision also comes as free public transit becomes increasingly popular around the country. Other large cities, such as Kansas City, Boston and Fresno, have either implemented or explored fare-free public transit in recent months.

But Breed said San Francisco should not eliminate fares at a time when “ridership will naturally increase” as more commuters head downtown. Instead, Breed and Supervisor Melgar introduced a $2 million proposal this month to make Muni free for those 18 and younger, between July 1 and June 30, 2022.

“Coming out of this pandemic, I know many more people are struggling,” Breed wrote. “If we want to put money in the pockets of our most vulnerable residents, let’s invest in programming that targets them, not temporarily subsidize those who could afford to pay.”

Trisha Thadani is a City Hall reporter for The San Francisco Chronicle. She previously covered work-based immigration and local startups for the paper’s business section.

Thadani graduated from Boston University with a degree in journalism. Before joining The Chronicle, she held internships at The Boston Globe, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and was a Statehouse correspondent for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.VIEW COMMENTSTop of the News

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Debate reignites over San Francisco’s first public bank

San Francisco Public Bank Coalition advocates rallied as the Board of Supervisors considered supporting the creation of a public banking charter in 2019. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>“/></figure>

<p><em>San Francisco Public Bank Coalition advocates rallied as the Board of Supervisors considered supporting the creation of a public banking charter in 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</em></p>

<p>Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, momentum was building for San Francisco to create its own public bank where The City could be in charge of its own finances and free from Wall Street influence.</p>

<p>Advocates argued that The City would be able to invest in key local areas like affordable housing and small businesses while being accountable to taxpayers as a public entity — something that became more desirable after the Great Recession banking scandals.</p>

<p>The push to create a public bank, of course, became another point of competition with Los Angeles, with <a href=city officials jockeying for San Francisco to be the first to apply for a banking license under a 2019 state law.

All that stalled during the coronavirus crisis. But as The City and country enter recovery mode, San Francisco is working its way back to seriously pursuing a public bank. Under legislation unanimously approved by supervisors last week, a working group would develop a business plan to move the idea forward.

“I think it’s pretty clear, particularly for working people in San Francisco, that recovering — and truly recovering — from this pandemic is going to be a multi-year effort,” said Supervisor Dean Preston, who authored the legislation. “A public bank needs to be part of that recovery. The ongoing public revelations around the flaws with the for-profit, private banking model have helped to build support.”

Plans would be crafted for what’s called a Municipal Finance Corporation (MFC), an entity that doesn’t take deposits but focuses on loansto work alongside a public bank. The whole plan is being fine-tuned by the newly formed organization, known as the San Francisco Reinvestment Working Group, which would have members appointed by supervisors as well as representatives from the Treasurer and Controller’s offices that would report to city officials in 2021.

However, the working group must still be funded through The City’s budget process with about $470,000 for a business consultant, community engagement and clerk staff. Depending on the direction and model, a full-fledged bank itself could cost up to $3.9 billion to break even over decades, the Treasurer’s Office estimated in 2019. The Budget and Legislative Analyst had a different approach in 2020, one that recommended shifting $1 billion from The City’s investment pool to start an MFC that would be immediately profitable.

The California Bankers Association — one of the main opponents to Assembly Bill 857, which allows cities to apply for a public banking license — feels there is no need for such an institution pushed by “a vocal minority” who want to bring investment back to the local level.

“That is a talking point that, in all honesty, is without merit,” said Beth Mills, CBA spokesperson. “We think all communities and constituencies are served very well from their financial institutions. There doesn’t seem to be a strong outcry from the general public for the government to set up public banks.”

But the payoff is both worth it and necessary to The City’s long-term well-being, proponents say.

Small businesses in North Dakota secured the most loans from the Paycheck Protection Program during the pandemic than any other state relative to their workforce thanks to the state’s century-old public bank, according to the Washington Post. Meanwhile, big banks were less likely to dole out PPP loans to lower-income neighborhoods or those with more Black and Hispanic residents, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

“We need our own financial institutions to help us weather these storms,” said Sushil Jacobs of the San Francisco Public Bank Coalition. “That fundamental issue of who is this city for and who can afford to live in it, there’s no solution to that on the horizon.”

It’s “potentially game-changing” in the realm of affordable housing, said Fernando Marti, co-director of the Council of Community Housing Organizations, a nonprofit affordable housing collective. San Francisco has been stuck in a system of building affordable housing tax credits and private capital with a diminished role from the federal government in public housing, he said.

“Ideally, this is something that allows us to create new models of affordable housing,” Marti said. “The public bank is a part of that discussion of something we can innovate that can get us beyond what we’ve been doing for the last 30 years. It’s going to be huge — creating a bank is not a little thing.”

The plan is more focused on beginning as a lending institution that doesn’t function as a true bank. That would get the idea started in a less costly way.

The Treasurer’s Office, which led the Municipal Feasibility Task Force in 2018, determined that three models could achieve what a public bank set out to do, but without clear policy direction. Now, that policy seems to be in line with the first model, one focused on investment.

“We saw quite a move in that during COVID,” said Amanda Kahn Fried, spokesperson for the Treasurer’s Office. “The landscape has changed quite a bit. The more details and clear the board gets with what they want this bank to do, the better. What funds are available certainly plays a role here.”

Articles ~ Actions / Petitions + Alert re Haiti ~ Events for Tuesday, June 22 – Monday, June 28 (from Adrienne Fong)

Periodic posting of few events.

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

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

Please post your actions on Indybay:

 See Indybay  for many other listings of events.


A. Colombia-Palestine – The Bay Rises Up – Video by Peter Menchini

Colombia-Palestine: The Bay Rises Up – 4K on Vimeo

B. Supreme Court Ruled Against Enslaved Children Even as US Celebrated Juneteenth – June 22, 2021

Supreme Court Ruled Against Enslaved Children Even as US Celebrated Juneteenth (

C. ‘We love you Catalonia’: Spain to pardon jailed separatists – June 21, 2021

‘We love you Catalonia’: Spain to pardon jailed separatists (

D. Seattle PD crackdown can’t stop #blocktheboat movement vs. Israeli apartheid

E. ‘Epic Failure of Humanity’: Global Displaced Population Hits All-Time High – June 18, 2021

‘Epic Failure of Humanity’: Global Displaced Population Hits All-Time High | Common Dreams News

F. Records indicate dozens of homeless people’s tents swept off the street prior to appearance by mayor, supe – June 17, 2021

Records indicate dozens of homeless people’s tents swept off the street prior to appearance by mayor, supe – Mission Local

G. Is San Francisco Re-Funding the Police? – June 16, 2021

Is San Francisco Re-Funding the Police? – SF Weekly


1. Demand U.S. Military Aid & Destructive Economic Policies Out of Central America


2. No more impunity: Stop protecting those responsible for the assassination of Berta Cáceres!

  SIGN: No more Impunity! Stop protecting those responsible for the assassination of Berta Cáceres! (

3. Email the Board of Supervisors to Expand Disability and Senior Subsidies

  SIGN: Email the Board of Supervisors to Expand Disability and Senior Subsidies (

4. End forced prison labor

  SIGN: Take Action | Polaris (

5. Stop Blocking Access to Planned Parenthood Health Centers

  SIGN: [SIGN] Stop Blocking Access to Planned Parenthood Health Centers! >> (

~     ~     ~      ~     ~     ~     

Haiti Action Alert

US-UN-OAS Stop Supporting Dictatorship in Haiti!

The Biden Administration continues to back an increasingly autocratic Jovenel Moise regime in Haiti. Moise’s dictatorial grip on power and his plans to hold an illegal constitutional referendum and sham elections have been contested by every sector of Haitian society. Just weeks ago, throughout Haiti, people in cities and towns marked Haitian Flag Day with renewed protests, while Haitians marched in Washington DC and other cities to denounce US support for the Haitian ruler. On June 18th, Haitian organizations in the diaspora are again mobilizing to denounce the increasingly isolated regime. Faced with this spiralling opposition, Moise  had to postpone the referendum, originally scheduled for June 27th. The US State Department, which for months has refused to condemn the referendum, finally issued a statement of opposition. 

Moise continues to insist that a referendum will be held. And the Biden Administration continues to back Moise in his plans to hold phony elections aimed at solidifying his party’s rule over Haiti. US diplomatic, economic, and military aid empower Moise to further undermine democracy in Haiti, reinforce the power of the Haitian elite and exclude the Haitian majority – a process set in motion with the 2004 coup that overthrew President Aristide’s democratic government. 

The UN has already provided  $20 million and material/logistical support for Moise’s illegal referendum and planned elections, including training the murderous Haitian National Police to provide election security. Now the Organization of American States (OAS) has sent a delegation to Haiti, financed by the US, to provide legitimacy for these fake elections. Those of us who support the popular movement in Haiti need to act now.

Contact US and UN officials with these demands:

·       Withdraw all US/UN/OAS support for the dictatorship of Jovenel Moise. 

·       US/UN/OAS must oppose any sham elections organized by the Moise regime. 

·       US/UN/OAS must denounce any new attempt by the Moise dictatorship to reschedule the illegal referendum.

·       US/UN! Stop funding the Haitian National Police and the Haitian Army – the regime’s repressive security forces.

President Joe Biden:tweet@POTUS;email

Secretary of State Antony Blinken: tweet @SecBlinken; ph: 202-647-4000; email

Secretary General of the UN António Guterres: tweet @antonioguterres; ph: (212) 963-7160

·       The State Department has endorsed Moise’s illegitimate claim to another year in power, despite rulings by the Haitian Bar Association, the Supreme Court and a broad consensus among Haiti’s citizens that his term ended on February 7, 2021. 

·       Moise continues to press forward with his illegal referendum to change Haiti’s constitution.  The proposed changes amount to institutionalizing and legalizing dictatorship. Drafted by Moise appointees, the new constitution would restructure the government to centralize power in the presidency, legalize land grabs, and protect members of the administration from prosecution. This legalized impunity would do away with cases in Haitian courts involving corruption such as the stolen PetroCaribe funds and crimes against humanity related to the massacres and assassinations perpetrated by the regime. 

·       The United Nations is actively providing support for the referendum, despite having made public statements of concern about its lack of transparency and inclusion. The UN has allocated $20 million to support the referendum and has agreed to provide logistical support to hold the vote. The UN will also assist the repressive Haitian National Police to develop an election security strategy. 

·       The Biden Administration persists in calling for immediate Haiti elections even though elections do not equal democracy when they are held under the auspices of an illegitimate president who is ruling by decree in the absence of a functioning legislature, who kills and imprisons his opponents and responds to popular protests with an iron fist. UN funds are already in place to provide technical support for the elections.

Haitians are calling on the Biden Administration to stop supporting Moise and cease calling for fake elections controlled by a dictatorial regime. If not, they warn that the US will be responsible “for every kidnapping, every political assassination, every disappearing of young activists staged by the totalitarian and criminal PHTK government they are supporting.” 


Tuesday, June 22 – Monday, June 28

Tuesday, June 22

1. Tuesday, 2:00pm, Support Not Sweeps – Rally & March

Meet at:

CALTRANS District 4 Hq. (Rally)
111 Grand Ave.

4:30pm, March is to Oakland City Hall

Tell the state’s largest landHOARDER to allow people to remain in place!

A showcase of the PEOPLE’S solutions featuring art, theater and skillshares hosted by the unhoused, marginally housed and advocates.


Info: SUPPORT NOT SWEEPS! | Facebook

2. Tuesday, 4:30pm, Free Homefulness

Oakland City Hall

Prayer & Speakout on Permit Gangsters Blocking Completion of Housing For Houseless Families

POOR Magazine, has an ongoing struggle with the City of Oakland to build no-cost housing for un-housed youth and families.

Homefulness is rent-free, but the city continues to hold up this poor-peoples led affordable housing project. Now the city is requiring us to build 3 unneeded parking spaces, which will cost $25,000. They are blocking us from housing extremely low and no-income residents and creating a community garden.

Host POOR Magazine

Info: POOR Magazine | Facebook

Wednesday, June 23

3. Wednesday, 1:00pm, Tell California’s leaders you want them to abolish the death penalty!

Join electronically:

Video: Click here

Password/Passcode: 380642

+1 669 900 6833 or
+1 253 215 8782 or
+1 346 248 7799 or
+1 312 626 6799 or

+1 929 436 2866 or
+1 301 715 8592

Webinar ID: 818 7106 1684

This is the meeting of the California Committee on Revision of the Penal Code

Tell California’s leaders we support the Commission’s recommendations to abolish the death penalty and do everything they can to take people off of death row until it is abolished!

Talking points that might help to organize your thoughts:

I support the committee’s recommendations to abolish the death penalty and reduce the size of death row because:

·       One hundred and eighty-five people have been exonerated from death row across the country based on evidence of their innocence. In 2018, Vicente Benavides was exonerated after spending 25 years on California’s death row for a rape and murder he didn’t commit. The Academy of Sciences estimates that more than four percent of US prisoners on death row are innocent. With 703 condemned people on California’s death row, dozens are very likely innocent.

·       The death penalty is racist. In California, defendants convicted of killing whites were more than three times as likely to be sentenced to death as those convicted of killing blacks and more than four times more likely as those convicted of killing Latinos.

·       There are people on death row who were under the age of 21 when they were condemned to death. A University of Rochester study found that the rational part of a teen’s brain isn’t fully developed and won’t be until age 25 or so, and the connections between the emotional part of the brain and the decision-making center are still developing until at least that age.

·       Whether or not you are sentenced to death in California depends on where you live. Studies have shown that five counties in California —  Riverside, Orange, Los Angeles, Kern, and San Bernardino — are among the top counties in the US handing down death sentences. This geographical disparity doesn’t meet the US Supreme Court finding that the death penalty is constitutional as long as it is fairly and consistently administered.

·       There are men and women on death row who didn’t kill anyone and sentenced to death because while they didn’t kill the victim, or even know the victim died, they were involved in the crime.

·       California has the largest death row in the Western Hemisphere. By implementing any, but preferably all of the seven recommendations the committee suggested, we could drastically reduce that number. Keeping 703 men in cages in an ancient, crumbling prison is inhumane.

·       There are men and women on California’s death row who are mentally ill. Two prisoners on San Quentin’s death row were recently resentenced because of mental incompetence and there are very likely many more. There are 63 men on death row ranging in age from 60 to 90, and some of those are suffering from age-related cognitive challenges. 

Personal experiences are powerful and don’t hesitate if you have one to share. But remember the time limits, so you don’t get cut off.

From Death Penalty Focus

Info: Help Pass the Federal Death Penalty Prohibition Act of 2021 (

4. Wednesday, 2:00pm – 3:30pm(PT); 5:00pm – 6:30pm (ET), From #StopAsianHate to Cross-Racial Solidarity: Tributes & Lessons


Tickets: From #StopAsianHate to Cross-Racial Solidarity: Tributes & Lessons Tickets, Wed, Jun 23, 2021 at 5:00 PM | Eventbrite

  $0 – $25.00

Join Rashida Tlaib, Danny Glover, and Maya Soetoro-Ng for a conversation on how we combat anti-Asian racism.

The national wave of anti-Asian violence and attacks has sparked an upsurge in activism and critical conversations about cross-racial solidarity. Join us as we discuss these issues in tribute to James and Grace Lee Boggs on the anniversary of the death of Vincent Chin.

Info: (3) From #StopAsianHate to Cross-Racial Solidarity: Tributes & Lessons | Facebook

5. Wednesday, 5:00pm (PT); 8:00pm ET), Families Belong Together

Register online: Meeting Registration – Zoom

mid-year supporter meet-up to learn about the progress so far in family reunifications, key next steps, and how you can take action to help reunite families separated by the Trump administration.

6. Wednesday 3:00pm, Food Not Bombs – Mission Food Share

Food Not Bombs in the Mission is open to volunteers from 3PM to 7PM every Wednesday at St. John the Episcopal Church, 110 Julian Avenue (at 15th))!  Please email beforehand so we can make sure there is someone to welcome you and arrive with a mask over your nose and mouth.  We maintain 6 feet of distance distance among us and have windows and doors open.  See you soon!

For information or to volunteer:  send email to .

Cookhouse:  St. John The Evangelist Church, 110 Julian Avenue (at 15th).

Food Pickups: 110 Julian Avenue-3:00PM to 4:00PM–Help Needed!

Cooking:  110 Julian Avenue–4:00 PM to 6:30 PM–Help Needed!

Sharing: 16th and Mission BART Plaza–6:30 PM–Help Needed!

Cleaning Up:  110 Julian Avenue–after Cooking–6:30 PM – 7:30 PM–Help Needed!

7. Wednesday, 3:30pm – 5:00pm(PT); 6:30pm-8:00pm (ET), Okinawa Memorial Day 2021: for the peaceful future.

Free – online Join Zoom Meeting…

Meeting ID: 886 7121 1130
Passcode: 877089
One tap mobile
+19292056099,,88671211130#,,,,*877089# US (New York)
+13017158592,,88671211130#,,,,*877089# US (Washington DC)

Dial by your location
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
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+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
Meeting ID: 886 7121 1130
Passcode: 877089
Find your local number:

Guest appearance: Peter Kuznick (American University), Joseph Gerson (Peace and disarmament activist), Takamatsu Gushiken (Gamafuyaa), Teiko Yonaha Tursi (Good Will Ambassador of Okinawa Prefecture), Ken Mayers (Veterans for Peace, Santa Fe), Miles Megaciph (Veterans for Peace, Performance Artist), Sonny Ochiai (musician, Sanshin player), People in Henoko, Miyakojima, and Ishigakijima, Okinawa.

On the Memorial Day (June 23, Okinawa Time), people in Okinawa mourn all the lives perished during the war. For them, all souls are not enemies. It’s a day to remember and pledge for peace.

Despite the people’s wish for peace, the struggles are still going on in Okinawa, which hosts 32 US military facilities, including one USFJ-JSDF Joint Use Facility in this tiny prefecture.

At Henoko, where a new US military base is being constructed despite the people’s opposition, earth and soil which might contain the remains of war-dead could be used for the reclamation.

Also, in the small islands surrounding the Okinawa main island, the missile bases of the Japan Self Defense Force are being constructed. Despite the fear and opposition of local islanders, the US and Japanese governments are jointly militarizing the area more and more hand in hand.

Through the Zoom session we explore the voices of people from Okinawa and their supporters to raise our awareness on the spirits and wisdom of Okinawan people, who, under the unfair rule by the Japanese central government, have kept fighting for justice for decades. Now when the tension caused by the US-Japan alliance against China could become more and more menace, their resilient and undefeatable fight for peace is invaluable.

Their proud slogan is “Nuchi du Takara.” Life is a treasure.

Info: (1) Okinawa Memorial Day 2021: for the peaceful future. | Facebook

Thursday, June 24

8. Thursday, 11:00am – 12Noon, Intersections: Community-Centered Lawyering



How can the law be a method of innovative advocacy, creative problem-solving and true partnership? Join Angela Johnson-Meszaros, Byron Chan, mark! Lopez, and Tracy Lloyd McCurty, Esq. for a discussion about building transformative change through the power of the law and community partnership.

Join Earthjustice for a four-part conversational series delving into community-centered lawyering, intersectional environmentalism, and the pursuit of justice. This will be a town hall–style event series moderated by Philip McAdoo, vice president of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Earthjustice.

Each event will include a live Q&A where you can submit questions for our speakers. The event platform will offer closed captioning and the option to dial in by phone for audio-only access.

Host: Earthjustice

Info: (1) Intersections: Community-Centered Lawyering | Facebook

9. Thursday, 11:30am, Solidarity Rally with Budget Justice Coalition & CART SF

SF City Hall (outside steps)
1 Dr. Carleton B. Goodlett Pl

RSVP: Solidarity Rally with Budget Justice Coalition & CART SF – Action Network

Budget Rally & Compassionate Alternative Response Team (CART)

San Francisco needs a compassionate community-based street response to homelessness and just budget that reflects the needs of the community!

Join us as we rally for a people’s budget and demand that the City divest from policing and invest in the Compassionate Alternative Response Team. (Wellness kits will be distributed during the event)

Hosted by Compassionate Alternative Response Team (CART SF) &  Budget Justice Coalition (BJC)

Info: Budget Rally & Compassionate Alternative Response Team (CART) Rally | Facebook

10. Thursday, 12 Noon – 1:00pm, Victory To UAW Striking Volvo Workers in Virginia – Protest At BlockRock Hedgefund in SF

BlackRock Union Busters
400 Howard St.

On the frontlines of workers fighting for justice are the 3,000 UAW Volvo truck workers in  the New River Valley (NRV) plant in Dublin, Virginia. They voted twice against a concession

contract and their leadership was forced to go on strike by the workers for the second time when the membership rejected another concession contract by 90%.

One of the owners of Volvo Trucks is BlackRock with 96,766,082 shares worth $111 million. It is the world’s largest asset manager, with $8.67 trillion in assets under management

and it is supporting the attacks  not only UAW Volvo workers but workers throughout the world. They also bought up tens of thousands of homes from workers during the pandemic and they and other billionaires are directly responsible for the massive housing crisis and evictions  now taking place throughout the US along side their support of attacks on Volvo Truck workers. 

They also are destroyiing forests and creating an environmetal nightmare for people in the US and around the world. Their agenda is killing workers, working  class housing and the environment for greater profits.

CEO Larry Fink and the crooks who run BlackRock are also major funders of the Democrats and Republicans. Biden even appointed BlackRock’s Michael Pyle to his administration. Pyle worked as the chief investment strategist for BlackRock and also served in President Barack Obama’s administration as  special assistant to the president for economic policy at the National Economic Council. 

The striking UAW workers have voted against concessions twice and they are fed up with continual give-backs and concession bargaining pushed by the corrupt UAW International. Business unionism and labor management collaboration has driven down working conditions and the living standards of

millions of US workers and a victory foro these UAW Volvo Truck workers would be a victory to all workers. 

Also UMWA miners in Alabama are also out on strike and have faced the same attacks.

It is time for all workers to stand up and fight together for victory.

Initiated by

United Front Committee For A Labor Party

Info: Victory To UAW Striking Volvo Workers in Virginia-Protest At BlackRock Hedge fund In SF : Indybay

11. Thursday, 7:30pm, Israel-Palestine: What Should Progressives Do?

Free online

Register: Meeting Registration – Zoom

Please join us by registering at the link above NOW for an up-to-date educational forum on the latest horrifying Israeli attack on Gaza, Israeli settler theft of Palestinian lands and brutal Israeli suppression of Palestinian dissent in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Our special guests, Prof. Stephen Zunes & ret. Army Col. Ann Wright, will challenge us to hold our elected leaders accountable for their protection of the State of Israel in the deaths of Palestinians, destruction of their homes and environmental degradation of Palestinian areas.

Host: SF – DSA & Oakland – DSA

Info: Israel-Palestine: What Should Progressives Do? | Facebook

Friday, June 25

12. Friday, 10:00am, Our City Our Budget

Call in:

 1 (415) 655 – 0001;

Meeting ID: 146 586 5393#

For Zoom link email:


Guide to Budget Hearing: 2021/06/25 Public Comment Playbook – Google Docs

To send a prepared letterReinvest CJ4 savings into our community and get the sheriff out of clinics and hospitals! – Action Network

This Friday,  aka Public Comment Day, is the FINAL OPPORTUNITY to give real-time public comment to the SF Board of Supervisors before they vote on this year’s budget. The hearing will start at 10 a.m. and will likely go into the late afternoon or evening. Please call in! Tell them: with the 850 Bryant jail closed, we want that money reinvested in housing and healthcare. It’s past time to #RefundFrisco with the jail savings!

We need all hands on deck this Friday at 10am to demand the BOS respect OCOH recommendations, fully fund CART, and secure funding for 24hour bathrooms for all San Franciscans! #OurCityOurBudget

Host Coalition on Homelessness

Info: Coalition on Homelessness | Facebook

13. Friday, 1:00pm – 2:00pm, Shut Down The Police Officers Association

San Francisco Police Officers Association (outside)

800 Bryant St. (@ 6th St.

RESIST with “Mothers On The March”, “Black and Brown for Justice and Equality”, Family’s whose love ones have been killed by cops from SFPD, and the Community.

  – Demand the San Francisco Police Officers Association be Shut Down!

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

  – Call for the abolishment of the ‘Officers Bill of Rights’

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

  – Abolish the Police

The POA has supported and defended officers who have executed people in our communities

Saturday, June 26

14. Saturday, 2:00pm – 4:00pm, Tell Libby Schaaf: Housing is a Human Right!

3550 Fruitvale Ave.

Walk will go to Libby Schaaf’s house

Contact us at 415-968-6090 for accessibility info.

Even during a global pandemic, our elected leaders keep throwing tenants under the bus. We demand: No more evictions! Cancel the rent! Decommodify housing! Housing is a human right!

Sponsored by: JDW Tenants Union, SMC Tenants Council, People’s Tenants Union, Madison Park Tenants Council, and PSL Bay Area – Cancel the Rents.

Info: Tell Libby Schaaf: Housing is a Human Right! : Indybay

15. Saturday, 2:00pm – 4:00pm, Free Assange! Stop the Extradition! Drop the Charges!

Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California
1433 Madison St. Between 14th & 15th Streets (nr. Lake Merritt BART)


Admission $10 – $20 – sliding scale at door / no one turned away

Wheelchair accessible with advance notice

Masks / Social distancing

Private reception, Friday, June 25th with John Shipton & Gabriel Shipton. Call (510) 365-1500 to be added to guest list for reception location / time.

Freedom for Julian Assange

Journalism Is Not A Crime War Crimes Are

John and Gabriel Shipton, the father and brother of award-winning Australian journalist Julian Assange, as their nationwide tour stops in the Bay Area. They are raising awareness of the importance of protecting whistleblowers and journalists and calling on the U.S. government to drop its prosecution and finally let Julian come home.


Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Alice Walker will be joining the Shiptons live. Daniel Ellsberg – Pentagon Papers defendant and whistleblower, Noam Chomsky – linguist and author, and Mamia Abu-Jamal – innocent political prisoner and journalist, will be joining via Zoom.

Additional Speakers: Joe Lombardo, National Coordinator UNAC; Cynthia Papermaster, CODEPINK; Jeff Mackler, National Steering Committee,; Dennis Bernstein, host of KPFA’s Flashpoints; Nozomi Hayase, author, “WikiLeaks, the Global Fourth Estate” “History Is Happening”; and more

See site for list of event co-sponsors: Home Run for Julian 2021 US Tour – Bay Area – Bay Action Committee to Free Julian Assange (

Host: Freedom for Julian Assange, San Francisco Bay Area (affiliated with

Info: Home Run for Julian 2021 US Tour – Bay Area – Bay Action Committee to Free Julian Assange (   &  Free Assange! Stop the Extradition! Drop the Charges! : Indybay

Sunday, June 27

16. Sunday, 10:30am – 6:00pm, People’s March & Rally 2021

Meet at:

1800 Polk St.

 wear Masks, if not vaccinated, and to remain safely physically distant.

A call for action from Juanita MORE! and Alex U. Inn. All Black Lives Matter! All-Trans Lives Matter! All Brown Lives Matter, All Indigenous Lives Matter!

On Sunday, June 27, 2021, on the route of the very first Gay Liberation March, 51 years ago, we will roar our voices in solidarity with our Black, Brown, and Indigenous Trans and Queer family, friends, lovers, and neighbors. We stand in protest of transgender and racial injustice, police violence, killings, unjust healthcare, and unrelentless gun control, and let’s not ever forget the reparations to Black People. We demand changes!

We will show up in droves with amplified voices to advocate for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, denounce and condemn police violence against our communities, and raise awareness for the need to defund police departments, which will allow for funds to be reallocated to social services, mental healthcare providers, and social justice organizations., After losing 600,000 lives to Covid-19, most of which are Black, Latinx, and Indigenous, we insist on consistent universal healthcare for everyone and support the continuance of the Affordable Care Act.

People’s March will be led by an all-Black, Brown, and Indigenous committees of Trans and Queer activists, community leaders, artists, and performers.

Join us as we Unite To Fight for our civil rights!
We will not be silenced!

Info: (1) People’s March & Rally 2021 | Facebook

17. Sunday, 11:00am – 4:00pm, Everyday is Black History Month

Driver Plaza
61st St. & Adeline Sts

See map at site

Come break bread with us on the Island: Driver plaza, 61st/ Adeline Oakland. Celebrate Black History through community organizing for the betterment of our people. Music, food, black vendors.
Find support for any housing, bureaucratic issues you might have. Build community and enjoy yourself!

Host: Oakland Communities United for Equity & Justice

Info: Everyday is Black History Month | Facebook

Monday, June 28

18. Monday, 6:00pm, Cancel the Rents! Speakout

24th & Mission St.

On June 30, 2021, the eviction moratorium ends. Back rent will be due for millions. Working class families will face eviction and possibly homelessness. Landlords have indicated their intention to raise rents.

Over a year out from the beginning of the pandemic, over half a million people have died. Tens of millions have lost their jobs. Government negligence and inaction led to an extreme crisis. While the situation is improving, working people still need enormous relief.

Join us to speakout in a week of action across the Bay Area demanding:
Cancel the Rents!
Cancel the Mortgges!
Stop evictions and foreclosures!
House the homeless!
Full housing rights for undocumented people!

Info: Cancel the Rents! Speakout | Facebook

Upcomming Event

Wednesday, June 30

19. Wednesday, 10:00am, Block the Boat for Palestine! Lessons from Trade Union and Community Activists


The most recent Israeli attack on Gaza has been met by mass protests around the world. In port cities from the United States and Canada to Europe and South Africa, trade union and community activists have responded to the call for boycott, divestment and sanctions by setting up blockades to prevent the docking of ships from the Israeli Zim company and the loading of arms of Israel. These actions build on a series of protests in port cities in the early 2000’s by trade union and community activists, including participation in the Ship to Gaza/ Freedom Flotilla effort in 2014. In this meeting, we will hear from trade union and community activists from the United States, Sweden and Italy who have played a central role in these and other solidarity actions for Palestine. The event will focus on the organising lessons learned with a discussion to follow.


Dr. Rafeef Ziadah (Panel chair) is Lecturer in Politics at SOAS, as well as a spoken word artist and human rights activist and former member of the BDS national coordinating committee.

Lara Kiswani is executive director of AROC, the Arab Resource Organising Center in San Francisco, California, which has played a central role in coordinating Block the Boat actions in the United States and Canada in which community activists set up picket-lines targeting Zim ships which dockworkers from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union have refused to cross.

Erik Helgeson is a dockworker at the Port of Gothenburg who serves on both the local and national board of the Swedish Dockworkers Union (SDU). Erik was closely involved in the SDU’s boycott of Israeli cargo in 2010 and the SDU’s support of the Ship to Gaza movement in 2014.

José Nivoi and Giacomo Marchetti are dockworkers at the Port of Genoa in Italy and members of the Unione Sindacale di Base, which has helped to coordinate recent blockades of arms to Israel from the Port of Livorno, following up successful actions in 2019 to blockade shipments of arms to Saudi Arabia to be used in the war on Yemen. They will be joining the meeting via a pre-recorded video message.

Info: Block the Boat for Palestine! Lessons from Trade Union and Community Activists | Facebook


Photo illustration: Soohee Cho/The Intercept, Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin reveals his thoughts on the filibuster in a leaked Zoom call with fundraisers.

June 17 2021, 6:07 p.m. (

[Musical introduction.]

Ryan Grim: Lee Fang, welcome to Deconstructed.

Lee Fang: Hey, Ryan, thanks for having me.

RG: Hey, so, you’ve got your hands on some interesting audio from a recent meeting between Senator Joe Manchin and the big money group No Labels. Can you tell us a little bit about who No Labels is and why are they meeting with Joe Manchin at this particular moment?

Lee Fang: Well, No Labels is a political group that was founded a little over a decade ago, claiming to bring both parties together to get rid of partisan dysfunction in politics,, to basically break through the gridlock, get rid of this polarization that’s constant in Congress, and support common-sense solutions. Now, this group is controversial, because a lot of the critics say that it’s more of a stalking horse for very wealthy interests, for Wall Street, for a number of billionaires that back this group that claim to oppose partisanship, but really are seeking a consensus preserving the tax code that’s very beneficial to the rich, that’s very skeptical of progressive reforms. And generally speaking, this group has been very engaged in politics. They spend a lot through super PAC and a range of different political action committees. This group basically helps elect moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats. And, in this particular political moment, with a very divided Senate and a closely divided House, they’re trying to wield as much power as possible to put the brakes on some of the more progressive reforms that Democrats are proposing.

RG: And Joe Manchin feels like their kind of ideal senator to be to be sitting down with. Where’s he at nowadays?

Well, all attention in Washington is on Joe Manchin right now. He’s got the keys to the rest of the next two years in terms of whether there will be significant political reform in the Biden administration moving forward. He’s basically the center of whether the filibuster should be reformed. Should that threshold of 60 votes be brought down? Should it be done away with completely? He’s kind of at the center of that.

And, adjacent to that, he’s also kind of setting the conditions for the infrastructure bill, a component which is tax reform. So these are big, meaty issues. And the political future of this bill rests on his shoulders, because the question is this infrastructure bill going to be bipartisan? And are they going to include a lot of Republican voices which want to water down the tax component, really bring down the size of the infrastructure bill, by many, many, many billions of dollars? Or should the infrastructure bill be basically a Democrat bill that is large in scope that encompasses not just energy and traditional infrastructure, but human infrastructure in terms of job training and taking care of other kinds of social welfare programs that arguably are also part of the wider societal infrastructure?

So Joe Manchin holds the keys to this crossroad, and there’s a lot of attention on him, and we obtained a recording of a major donor meeting with No Labels. The main speaker was Joe Manchin, this was last Monday, this is a large conference call on Zoom, and many billionaires were in attendance, folks like Louis Bacon, the billionaire hedge fund manager; Kenneth Tuchman, the outsourcing billionaire and founder of TeleTech; the private equity chief Howard Marks, also a billionaire at Oaktree Capital Management, one of the largest private equity firms. Interestingly, we don’t know if Paul Tudor Jones was an attendee, he’s another kind of famous hedge fund billionaire, but a phone number connected to his office had kind of signed in. It didn’t turn on its camera, so we don’t know if Paul Tudor Jones himself was in attendance, but someone in his office had called in.

So these are some of the biggest voices on Wall Street. And these are the folks who have a lot of power in Washington, though you don’t see them on CNN, or MSNBC, or Fox News, they’re the ones that are shaping policy but are often in the background. So this donor call meeting was very interesting.

RG: Yeah, and it’s really a fascinating wide-ranging conversation and more open than you hear publicly. There are some things that Manchin talks about — we will get into them here — that the press has been hounding him on for answers, and he’s been stonewalling them. And here he just kind of comes forward with it.

Is there any particular part in the meeting where you think we should start?

LF: Well, just the beginning of the call is interesting. The call opens with Nancy Jacobson, this is one of the founders of No Labels who helped found the so-called Problem Solvers Caucus in Congress, bringing together these moderate members, real mover and shaker in Washington. And she’s basically laying out some hard-nosed politics saying that the reason we have influence is because we can raise serious dollars, and we’re going to basically dispense this money to make sure that people who agree with us can’t be pushed by either extreme or any special interest, that they are given the political leeway to preserve the filibuster, to kind of preserve the policies and rules that that they favor. And she basically lays out, along with Andrew Bursky, the head of another private equity fund in Connecticut, who’s an executive board member of No Labels, the two of them — Jacobson and Bursky — are talking about how they need to raise money and dispense campaign checks, keep their allies in Congress.

Nancy Jacobson: Now the truth is, there’s no other group in the center that’s putting the hard dollars together. And so you may see these big numbers with the campaigns but that’s a lot of soft dollars, it’s a lot of super PACs, it’s things they don’t control. They love the hard dollars, and I would be hard-pressed to think of any other group that can raise that sort of money. Our hope is at least $20 million over the cycle with this group, and hopefully keep doubling it as we go.

So we’re waiting, right Andy? We’re gonna see what happens with this next vote. And we want to reward those people that, you know, get to party solutions.

RG: And so Lee, first of all, give people quick civics lesson on the difference between hard dollars and super PACs, and then I want to zero in on this remarkable line from her, “We’re waiting, right Andy? We’re gonna see what happens with this next vote. And we want to reward those people that, you know, get to party solutions.”

LF: Well look, there’s a very clear line in terms of hard and soft dollars. Hard dollars are disclosed, and direct, and limited. Members of Congress can only raise a few thousand dollars from each individual, I believe just $5,000 from a PAC, but something like $2,700 from an individual.

In contrast, soft dollars are unlimited campaign spending, that’s money that goes to dark money groups, to super PACs; individuals, or corporations, or unions can give unlimited amounts. And with Citizens United, that kind of blew open the lid for soft money, legalizing it and normalizing it. So groups like No Labels can raise unlimited amounts and spend those dollars in terms of independent expenditures to an unlimited degree.

RG: Right. And so a candidate is happy to have a super PAC at his or her back. But first of all, a super PAC can’t coordinate with the candidate. So the super PAC just has to kind of follow the candidates lead publicly, and also has to pay much more for its advertising. So $1 you give to a candidate is worth a lot more than the dollar you spend through a super PAC because of this way that there’s a federal law that candidates get discounted television rates, so if the money goes directly to the candidate, the candidate gets to control exactly how it’s spent, and gets cheaper rates. And so Nancy is saying if people are voting the right way, we’re going to reward those people, but we’re going to wait to see how they’re doing.

I think there’s been inflation. I think it’s now $2,800, by the way, that an individual can give. It’s not a lot individually, but what she’s promising is it’ll add up to $20 million or so.

LF: Yeah, that’s right. And it’s not exactly clear how they’re planning to transfer these dollars as they’re describing it. But they’re ensuring that they’re going to, in their words, give out checks to a number of House members in the range of $50,000.

RG: Right. So let’s hear Andy answering her. “Any thoughts on that?”

NJ: Any thoughts on that?

Andy Bursky: Yeah, I think it’s a really important question. And I think it’s easy to get almost frozen in place when you see the size of these campaigns and question whether we can have an impact.

I think Nancy nailed it. It’s dollars at the margin, in part, and it’s dollars that they can throw hard-money knowledge at. I will tell you that I participated in the last cycle when we handed out checks to a number of our members of the House in the range of $50,000. And in many cases they volunteer the fact that was the single largest check they received overall in their campaigns.

So, and think about joining the House, you’re there for 730 days, unless you hit the leap year and maybe you get 731. And for the vast majority of those days, you’re spending four hours on the telephone, dialing for dollars. And so what this does, aside from sending the very strong message that there are folks who will have your back if you take a vote of bipartisan nature that may not be popular within your party, it also, in a real way, frees them up to do more work, because they’re spending less time raising those funds. So it’s powerful. And there’s just no question that we have had, and we continue to have, impact.

RG: So Lee, you can see that Sen. Manchin is in his Senate office and all senators know there’s no, you’re not allowed to have a fundraiser in Senate property, in office, or in the Capitol. This is an interesting meeting that we’re hearing, off the rip, to be having so much conversation about money. Do you think that this is typical for a non-fundraiser, donor meeting, and it’s just unusual that we got our hands on it?

LF: It’s hard to say. I’m sure these rules are bent or broken. And that the truth never escapes because members are covert about fundraising on the Capitol grounds or in the legislative office buildings. But, generally speaking, lawmakers tend to avoid this, because it occupies kind of a gray area. The rules clearly defined, you’re not allowed to solicit or engage in campaign activities in legislative office buildings. But this is a donor call; they’re discussing raising and spending campaign money, super PAC money; there’s tons of billionaires who have given to campaigns, who were asked to give to campaigns on this call; but Manchin himself isn’t doing the soliciting. So he might be technically clear of a violation, but it’s certainly skirting the limit here.

RG: Yeah. And to be extra clear, throughout the entire meeting, Manchin never once directly solicits any money. They’re strategizing. They’re talking about campaign money, but he doesn’t say: I would like No Labels, or any of these donors, to fund my campaign. He never does that.

And we reached out to both No Labels and to Sen. Manchin. So let me quickly read statements from the two of them.

So, from Sam Runyon, a spokesperson for Sen. Manchin, tells The Intercept: “Sen. Manchin was discussing the issue of money in politics and the impact campaign donations have on senators and members of Congress. He was not soliciting donations for himself, or anyone else.”

Margaret White, who is the co-executive director of No Labels, provided the following statement to The Intercept: “The group who engaged with Sen. Manchin is motivated by a concern about the future of our nation. This was not a fundraising call and any suggestion to the contrary is a false and obvious attempt to undermine Sen. Manchin, because he is one of the rare leaders in Washington who refuses to just tow the party line. It’s often a lonely place to be. No Labels is proud to stand with him.”

So Lee, what do you make of those two statements?

LF: They’re coherent, you know? They don’t want to [laughs] — they don’t want to be running afoul of ethics rules, congressional rules, so of course they’re gonna say that no rules were broken. I think it’s up to the Ethics Committee if anything was broken.

But look, at the end of the day, they do care deeply about their relationship with Manchin. And this was a meeting with their biggest donors. I mean, the names on this list are the people over the last four or five years [that] have funneled millions upon millions of dollars into No Labels, various PACs. No Labels not only has a super PAC, but they have this array of different kind of PACs that are set up with really kind of vanilla names and perhaps their named this just to kind of go under the radar, but they have United for Progress PAC, Citizens for a Strong America PAC, United Together PAC, Progress Tomorrow PAC. So this is a group that raises big dollars, spends big dollars in campaigns, a call with donors directing them to continue giving money, and that money will influence certain political decisions, it’s a very political call — arguably a fundraising call. But again, Manchin didn’t solicit directly, so perhaps he’s not in violation of the rules.

RG: And we talked earlier about how much interesting openness there is in this call. If you have somewhere you want to go next, let me know. But if not, we could jump to this portion where he talks about this moment during the 2017 tax cut fight, where McConnell kind of sells him out at the last minute, and then he tells the donors that as a result, that 2017 tax cut wasn’t bipartisan and now it’s on the chopping block. And that will be news in Washington that Manchin believes that the 2017 tax cut is on the table for financing, either for infrastructure or for something else.

Sen. Joe Manchin: I truly believe if you want to separate this country further and divide us more, and you pass something on a hot issue that has so many variables it that’s only going to be — only going to be supported by the partisan side, whether it be a Democrat or Republican pushing something, you know, it makes it —

I’ll give you a perfect example: the 2017 tax cut. You know that’s going to be changed. That was done with no Democrat — even me not going to vote for it. OK? And I tried. And they said, the last day before they voted, “Joe, we don’t need your vote, we have enough people voting.” And so then everything I bought to the table is thrown out the window.

But both sides do it. Both sides do it. And it’s not lasting. So here we are, forty years later, thinking about making tax cut changes again. If we did something in a bipartisan way, it has what we call long legs. It can run, it can stay there. It has endurance. And that’s what we’re looking for. And that’s what the world is looking for from America.

RG: So for people who couldn’t quite make out the audio, he’s saying that McConnell, at the last minute, told Manchin he didn’t need his vote. And so all of the things that Manchin wanted stuffed into the 2017 tax cut were thrown out the window. And so he voted no. And so now he’s more willing to undo it.

Lee, what do you think of Manchin’s argument? And had you heard that story before about how close he came to voting for it?

LF: No, I had no idea that Manchin was close to voting for the Trump tax cuts. I know, they probably entertained his vote.

But this gets at a few things that’s interesting in this call one. Senators as powerful as Manchin, rather than tell his voters in West Virginia or the press these interesting anecdotes about how the policy, the sausage, is made, he tells these hedge fund billionaires.

Second, rather than explaining the problem with the merits of the bill, whether it’s in the public interest, whether it’s good policy, whether it’s — whatever — it’s good for the economy or how it affects the deficit, what have you, he’s instead obsessed with the appearance of bipartisanship.

Now, he might be right that, in general, bipartisan reforms are more durable; they’re less likely to be repealed or become a partisan football. I think there is something to that argument. But it’s interesting that that’s the only argument he makes. He does not talk about the other elements of the bill [laughs], whether it’s good or bad policy, and just about this kind of obsession of the appearance of bipartisanship.

[Musical interlude.]

RG: So, at another point, he does talk about the corporate tax cut and where he stands on that, and electric vehicles.

JM: We got a piece of legislation. And really what it is is about $570 billion or $580 billion of new investment into truly traditional infrastructure. And now, on top of that, we have close to $200-$300 billion in what we call private partnerships. That means, basically getting the private sector to do what they would do, incentivize them, without having it scored against the debt of the nation. We don’t think we should add more debt than needed, especially when the private sector has always been willing to go if the market was there, and that would be, say, electric vehicles and charging stations, we don’t have to spend all the Treasury’s money to get into that. The private sector is happy to get into it. If we give them some pretty attractive financing incentives, they’ll jump in at a quicker pace to get preparing as a transition is coming.

So those types of things. Then you have about $320 billion of what we call [indistinct]. And that’s, as [indistinct] red states, we do that, it’s a five-year program, that we’re doing that on things that we can do with the trust funds, the highway trust fund, which puts taxes on gasoline and things of that sort.

So when we put them all together, you’re at about that [indistinct] and we have paid for all of this.

So we’ll just say, they agree, the majority of Democrats and Republicans can agree, as we get into the caucuses now, the broader base caucuses, there’s a lot of my caucus that believes that they want to do a lot more in the energy realm, if you will, climate. And we’re willing to work in a responsible pathway forward, but we’re not going to shoot ourselves in the foot.

RG: And so from here, man just starts talking about the key debate between progressives in Congress, both in the Senate and the House, and more moderates, where they’re pushing for climate to be included in the infrastructure package. And there are now a number of members of the Senate and House and progressive outside groups, Sunrise Movement, etc., who are saying if climate is not in, then they’re going to block it. So let’s play now to see how interesting it is how Manchin himself is thinking about climate and the infrastructure.

JM: The IEA, International Energy Agency, there are some good statistics we’ll send to you, Nancy and Margaret and Jill will get to everybody, so you can show what’s happening. But 90 percent of the emissions are coming from Asia, really, and mostly China. That’s where the increase in all this pollution in climate is coming from, and we’ve been able to reduce ours.

Perfect example is this: They keep talking about stopping all coal-fired utility plants, but we have 504 operating in the country, in the United States of America; there’s over 1,660 that are operating in the world, coal-fired plants. We have the cleanest in the world, in America, we’ve reduced our emissions in the last two decades; they’ve increased theirs tremendously.

And of the 90 percent of the emissions coming from Asia, mostly, the biggest part in China, they’re only investing about 20 percent in new, climate-change technology. So it’s up to us to lead the nation in carbon-capture sequestration, which may be the number one thing that truly might save the world and climate.

The other thing is there’s 1,063 coal-fired plants built in or in design right now around the world. And we don’t hear them talking about that either. So what we have to do is find a pathway for them. And we will. We’ll work with them. But they’re trying to say that human infrastructure, the proposal that President Biden put out, was $2.2-$2.3 trillion.

RG: So Lee, that took an interesting turn toward carbon capture. This doesn’t sound like somebody wants to invest much in climate because it’s all Asia’s fault. But, on the other hand, he sees an opportunity to invest heavily in carbon capture. What was your read on that?

LF: The senator is skeptical of electric-charging stations, but extremely excited for carbon-capture, the type of technology that would allow coal-fired power plants to stay in business. And as a senator from the premier coal state, that makes sense from a parochial point of view, but might not make sense for the climate.

I mean, I’ve read that there are some breakthroughs in coal-capture, sequestration technology, but it’s still not there. The technology simply doesn’t exist yet to capture that pollution and make sure it doesn’t get into the atmosphere. But Manchin is certainly representing the coal interest in this discussion, right?

RG: Right. And I’m willing to get canceled and say that it’s enough of a crisis that you really should push on every technological front, and you really shouldn’t let the argument that this is what the coal companies want get in the way of it. Because, as he said, they actually are building another 1000-plus coal plants as we speak around the world, and we have to do something about that because we have been unable to shut all of them down.

But that’s neither here nor there. Nobody cares what I think. That’s Manchin’s take, and Manchin’s take is the only one that matters at this point. And this is an example of what you pointed out earlier that this is an interesting debate to be had up publicly, but we’re not having it publicly. It’s just being had among donors on Zoom calls.

Another example of that is his discussion of the voting rights bill.

JM: The other thing I would say on voting. You know, you’ve heard of H.R.1 and S.1, For the People, and you have the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which I support the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, I think we need to make sure that elections are accessible, they’re fair, and they’re secure.

But I can do this — we just finished up the comparison — and I can give all of you, if you want to share it again, Nancy and Margaret and [indistinct], whoever wants to get a copy, I’ll give you a copy. Because one of the reasons they’re saying Joe Manchin’s against the For the People Act, H.R.1, is because there’s no Republicans. Well, I definitely want Republicans, but I can tell you one thing: If we made some adjustments, maybe we could get some Republicans, because they can’t even get me the way the bill was introduced.

RG: Let’s pause that right there for a second. I don’t want to dwell on this too much, but for Manchin to complain that he’s being publicly attacked for objecting to the For the People Act because there are no Republican supporters, and complaining that nobody has focused on his objections, is precisely because he has refused to detail his objections in public. And he has only said that the reason he opposes it is because there are no Republicans on it. And, in fact, last session he co-sponsored the For the People Act. So whatever policy objections he has to it, are apparently new.

Lee, what did you make of this passage?

LF: Yeah, no, I think it’s really interesting. And it just kind of shows a little bit of political hypocrisy, especially, as you mentioned, since he was a previous sponsor.

On the one hand, he says, OK, my critics just expect me to support this once it becomes bipartisan; it wasn’t bipartisan the last time he sponsored it. So I don’t see the coherent argument here.

RG: There doesn’t seem to be one. But let’s hear more of that argument.

JM: I’m going to give you the reasons why I oppose parts of that legislation, and I’ll give you the support I have for the conclusive piece of legislation, which I think would really help voting rights. And that could happen if I have all of your input or anybody who wants to comment on that. Because there’s a process that we’ve gone through, and we just formalized that, and I’ll send it to y’all.

Margaret, I’ll give it to you or Nancy, and you can share with whoever wants to be part of it. Great.

RG: Right, so, the good news for people who were hopeful of voting rights passing, once they get over their anger at the process here, is that what he’s saying, and I’ve some reporting that backs this up, is that what he’s willing to do is take the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, and beef it up substantially. Because the John Lewis Voting Rights Act would not even go into effect before the next election, and a lot of experts think that it might never go into effect, that the Supreme Court would just dismiss it just as quickly as it dismissed the Voting Rights Act in 2013. And so what he’s saying is that he’s open to taking important reforms from the For the People Act, and bringing them into the John Lewis Act. That certainly would be within the spirit of the John Lewis Act, because John Lewis himself actually wrote major portions of the For the People Act before he passed away, including Title I, which is the main election reforms.

So in this call he tells Nancy and Margaret that he’s going to send them his objections, and they can share it with whoever they want. Later in the call, he spells out some of what those objections are. Let’s play that.

JM: They’re talking about everything from: We want to stop the dark money. OK. I think we all want to stop the dark money. The bottom line, it should be fair, whether it’s a labor group, or whether it’s a corporate group, or a business group, it should all be fair by the campaign rules that they have to govern themselves by, and we have to oversee that. So it should be — I don’t care who spends money against them — I just don’t want you to have a campaign going against me and you’re calling if For the Sake of the Children or the Sisters of the Poor, and I’m behind it, we don’t know who it is until after the fact.

So I think basically when they say they don’t want to show IDs or you basically can’t purge the records. Well, you have to purge your records. I was the secretary of state. If you miss two elections, two national elections, it’s eight years, and we have a returning address that comes back “No to Sender” basically, it never gets to that person, then we got to purge them.

RG: So, Lee, do you read from that first part that he’s saying he’s comfortable with a lot of the campaign finance reform pieces around disclosure in the For the People Act?

LF: You know, it’s not perfectly clear to me. He’s definitely in favor of saying we need to stop dark money. But he’s saying that the current bill, or at least he’s implying, from the way I hear this, that it’s not currently fair that there might be some kind of carve-out for labor groups or other certain groups, and that it should equally stop dark money from both businesses and labor. But, generally speaking, that’s how the rules currently exist, or at least the rules that are proposed. So it’s not clear what he’s demanding.

RG: And he’s also in a conversation [laughs] with a Zoom call full of dark-money donors, but that’s neither here nor there. So then he moves onto his two other objections that he details:

JM: Also, same-day registration. We don’t have internet services in rural America. How can I know if you walk up for same day that you want to vote and register? I can’t check it to find out if you’re a citizen, if you actually live in the state, or whatever.

So there’s — I’m sending this to you all — and I’ll work with Nancy and Margaret to share it with everybody. And I think it should give you a good outlook of where I’m coming from, and how we’d evaluate.

Next of all, the S.1 Bill is about a 600-700 page bill, OK? Which is basically For the People. The Voting Rights Act bill which we’ve done, and Joe, you called your voters for it, and all of the four or five times it’s bipartisan. It’s about a 45-50 page bill, that basically puts guardrails on that we’re not going to let states basically make it almost impossible for people that don’t want support Black or Brown communities, or immigrants, or basically people that they don’t want to vote because they might not vote the way they want them to vote. Those are the things we’re trying to — you’re right. If you don’t have accessible, free, fair, and secure elections, and that’s the bedrock of democracy, we might be in serious problems having anyone that has any confidence in who we elect or paying attention to authority. That’s what scares me more than anything.

RG: Alright, Lee, so he details a number of objections there. It seems like he’s opposed to barring voter ID requirements, he’s opposed to automatic voter registration, he’s opposed to restricting purging of the voter rolls. Is this something that we knew before when it came to his reservations?

LF: I don’t believe he’s made these objections front and center or really public.

If you actually look last week in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, that’s the main paper in West Virginia, his state, Joe Manchin wrote a whole op-ed laying out his opposition to the For the People Act, this voting rights, civil rights bill from Democrats, and in this op-ed, he makes a number of arguments, but they’re largely about the lack of bipartisan support for this legislation. He does not make the argument that secretaries of state need to be purging their voter rolls, a very controversial dynamic that critics argue suppresses the vote by making it much harder for infrequent voters or people who have moved or whatever to know that they’re registered, to vote regularly, and people don’t realize they have to re-register to vote, and then they lose the ability to vote in an election.

And same-day voting that, again, if there are problems with registering that gives people the ability to vote if that they miss the deadline, or whatever, to participate in an election.

And in this op-ed that he published just last week, he doesn’t make these arguments, but he’s making these fairly detailed arguments to this group of mega-donors, including many billionaires. And he’s saying he’s gonna write down his detailed objections to the law and send them to Nancy Jacobson, the co-founder of No Labels, and then she will distribute it to the donors.

I mean, it’s really a completely different take, what he’s saying in public versus what he’s saying privately to this group of donors.

RG: Yep. Yep. And the most generous, most charitable read would be that he just hadn’t been paying attention to it up until the last few days. [Laughs.] But I hesitate to even credit that. And it fits with the pattern that you’d identified earlier.

And so for this to work, Democrats probably need to reform the filibuster. We’re unlikely to see 10 Republicans agree to even a watered down, Joe Manchin-style version of the, John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

The most Manchin talks about money in this meeting is in the following clip. Let’s play that part:

JM: The bottom line is just find out who basically cares more about this country than they do about themselves. I don’t know how to tell you that. You would not be in the positions that you are, with the success you’ve had, if you couldn’t read people and tell if it’s self service or public service. And they can only B.S. you so long, pretty much the truth comes out, and right now what I’m asking for, I need to go back, I need to find three more good Republican senators that will vote for the commission, so that at least we can tamp them down, where people say Republicans won’t even do the simple lift, common sense, of basically voting to do a commission that was truly bipartisan.

So once that people — and it just really emboldens the far left saying, how’s that bipartisan working for you now, Joe? Those are the hard things. That’s what I need help in.

RG: Later, in this episode, we’ll talk more about the commission and Manchin’s interest in the commission.

But what he seems to be saying here, Lee, is that he’s getting a direct question from a donor about where they should direct their finances. And what he’s telling them is that look, I need help getting more Republicans to vote for this Jan. 6 commission, because it’s giving the far left all of this ammunition to say: Look, see, you can’t work with these Republicans? How are you going to cut a deal with them when they won’t even investigate the January 6th ransacking of the Capitol — that’s even after they were given everything they asked for on the commission.

So he’s saying: Those are the people that you need to send your money to? Which is, OK, I guess he’s trying to save democracy or something. But he’s coming pretty close there to saying that he would like people — I mean, he’s pretty much directly saying that he wants donors to finance Republicans so that they will in endorse the Jan. 6 commission, so that he can save the filibuster, so that he can then help those donors enact all of their much broader agenda.

Am I reading too much into that? What was your take on that segment?

LF: No, I had the same sense, Ryan, from listening to this.

I mean, if you Zoom out from 50,000 feet and look at this, it’s actually kind of remarkable. I mean, these are hedge fund, private equity, finance, billionaires, corporate executives, who want to preserve low taxes, preferential tax treatment; they’re concerned with the government stepping in and taking up the role that the private sector plays in various industries as well, perhaps in part of the infrastructure bill. So for those reasons, they want to preserve the filibuster, which is a procedural obstacle to changing any of those policies.

And what Manchin, I think, very cleverly points out is that the way you preserve the filibuster is by taking away the argument that Republicans can never come to the table, can never act in a bipartisan way. And that this very kind of — it has become a political football — but this very emotionally driven event, this event that’s become this huge spectacle that Democrats and many people across the country kind of obsess over and talk about, is this January 6 incident, that Democrats want this commission. And so what Manchin says, too, is what some of the Democratic Party want to do is say that because Republicans won’t work with Democrats to institute this commission to further investigate this January 6 thing. we might lose the filibuster. So, if you care about the filibuster, perhaps for all these reasons the donors care about the filibuster, get your campaign dollars, get on the phone with Republicans you have a connection to, and get them to support this commission, because otherwise the filibuster could be gone. And without the filibuster, a lot of other things could happen.

RG: And he doesn’t just stop there. Immediately afterwards, he starts naming names and telling them specifically who they should go after. So let’s just roll that clip right from there.

JM: OK. And here’s the thing, let me just tell you — OK, I’ll give you some names here. Roy Blunt is great, just a good friend of mine, a great guy. OK. You would like to think that Roy’s retiring, and some of you all who might be working with Roy in his next life could tell him that it would be nice and help our country, that we’re going to be very good at getting him to change his vote, and we’re gonna have another vote on this thing.

RG: OK, that’s incredible. Let’s stop that right there, Lee.

I mean, wow. “Roy Blunt is great.” He’s “a good friend of mine.”

LF: [Laughs.]

RG: OK you would like to think that Roy is retiring — basically, if some of you all might want to work with Roy in his next life could tell him that it’d be nice to help our country.

He is specifically telling them —

LF: It’s a revolving door! Saying, hey, we want to offer Roy Blunt a job when he joins your corporate board. [Laughs.]

RG: And let him know now that you will do that, which is not legal. Let’s be clear. That would break the law.

LF: And to be clear, this is the form of semi-legal — technically illegal, though it happens all the time — bribery, that’s very common in the United States. In many other countries, it’s a briefcase full of cash or whatever. In America, if you want to bribe a senator or congressman with hundreds of thousands, millions of dollars, you can’t give it to them directly. What you do is you promise them a consulting job, a board of directors position, something of that nature after they retire. So they then become indebted to you; they vote the way you expect them to, they behave politically as expected because they’re hoping for their payday the second they retire.

So what Manchin is saying is that Roy Blunt, the senator from Missouri, his good friend, is retiring. He’s going to be looking for that private sector gig as he’s covertly on the job market, and the people on the call, the corporate executives and Wall Street titans, are recruiting him; part of the recruitment is, “Hey, join this commission for the January 6 incident, but to save the filibuster.”

RG: Right. The incredible irony that you would be doing this to quote-unquote, save democracy.

LF: [Laughs.] That’s right, too.

RG: So let’s keep rolling that, because he’s got more names.

JM: They’ll give him one more shot at it, the Democrats will. If I ask Schumer and Pelosi and say, “I would like to have another vote before you roll this out completely on this bipartisan commission,” you got that, you’ve got basically Richard Burr, who voted for the impeachment, but then he didn’t vote for this for whatever reason. And I know he thought because we’re doing all these other commissions, how are we really, truly doing a bipartisan commission out of the political realm that we’re in right now.

And my good friend, Joe Lieberman, understands that. Joe’s looking at things differently today then he looked at when he was inside the Senate. He’s clear, I’m sure, that he can speak out more freely. Right, Joe?

Joe Lieberman: Well, what I see is you’re being a hero, Joe, and I appreciate it very much. And I can get the biggest kick when I read people comparing your role with the one I played occasionally. It’s not easy, it’s not always popular, but boy, you said — which is you’re putting the country ahead of party and person. And in the spirit of, and I quote, the great John McCain used to say, “There is no greater satisfaction than serving a cause larger than yourself.” And you’re doing it. So we’re here to help you. God bless you.

RG: Let’s stop it there. Lee, do you think that they are so far gone, that they recognize the clash between talking about serving a cause larger than themselves just a breath away from suggesting that these billionaires dangle a post senate gig in front of a senator so that he’ll change his vote to help preserve the filibuster? Do you think that even registers anymore?

LF: Well, look, I don’t want to — it’s hard to say. I feel like many of these folks, you could analyze this from the outside and see lots of hypocrisy. But if you talk to these type of donors or these type of politicians, many of them genuinely believe that their preservation of the status quo and moderate form of politics is patriotic and serving the country. So, you know, hard to say. [Laughs.] I think it’s easy to critique, but —

RG: And so, there were 56 votes for the commission. You know, he talks about how Pat Toomey wasn’t there that would but was supportive of it, so that would be 57, so he needs three. There’s another moment where names other people — other Republicans — that he thinks he can flip.

JM: I’ve got four people: I’ve got Steve Gaines in Montana; I think someone should be working on Jerry Moran in Kansas; Richard Burr in North Carolina; and Roy Blunt in Missouri.

We already have seven including Pat Toomey, they’ve already voted for it — six voted for it, Pat wasn’t there, but Pat already indicated he would have voted for it. So we’re [indistinct], but if we go back and show that we re-evaluated it and do this commission, the only thing I can tell you on that commission, they were having every reason why they weren’t going to support it.

First of all, it wasn’t balanced, that the count as far as the people on the committee was weighted for the Democrats; we got that changed where it’s five and five. The chairman and co-chairman have equal amounts of input. If they disagree, then it basically goes to where we don’t proceed if they don’t agree on the outcome or something that comes up in that commission. And next of all, if they go into loggerheads, you can’t get it … that’s what we have to do. If we can Roy can re-engage and we can get this passed, I can guarantee it calms down everyone that has beaten me to death on what makes you think that you live in la-la-land, out here in the fantasy world, not in the real world, what makes you think the Republicans will vote for anything, if they wouldn’t even do a bipartisan commission. That’s why it’s important for us to try to get it done, and important to get Roy to do it.

RG: Well, there you go. There he is saying it quite directly. That’s why it’s important to get Roy, so they can so they can show that they can actually get something done. Lee that sounds about in line with what he was saying earlier, right?

LF: Yeah, I mean, Manchin is a very intelligent, political animal. And he really understands that this is the best argument, perhaps, within the Democratic Caucus for getting rid of the filibuster if they can’t bring Republicans on board on this. So that’s why he’s really hammering this home.

RG: And what’s interesting is that when he later talks about the filibuster itself, he’s remarkably open to reforming it, which maybe is coherent, because it’s saying like: Look, these are really good arguments that the left has. Like, if you can’t sign on to this commission, it does make it much harder for me to defend the filibuster.

And so he addresses directly the role that Mitch McConnell played in blowing up the commission, in a much more direct way than he has talked about before.

JM: Mitch McConnell is, in a way, in on everything, right? He’s calling the shots on the Republican side.

And the only thing Mitch, whether you like it or not, the only thing Mitch cares about is the 2022 election. I asked him, I said, “Mitch, we had 12 or 15 people who are going to vote on that commission, the Jan. 6 commission, 12 or 14 committed Republicans. I went and talked to him, and he came out against it, and the numbers went down to six or seven. And I said, “Mitch, I need your help on this. I can’t continue to do this all by myself.” And he said, “Joe, that’s not good for our politics.” And I says [sic], “Mitch, not knowing what happened and preventing it from happening again, it’s not good for our country either. And I’m more concerned about our country.”

So if you want to know what’s in his heart, he has a hard stance, it’s all about the next election. I’m not saying that in a disparaging way, that’s just who he is. So that’s a black that we got to get over. We made some progress on some other things that’s really important that they can use against us. Because of the filibuster, he knows that I won’t break the filibuster, he feels that he has the ability to say “No,” that might help his — it’s unfair.

Let me just say this. It’s unfair for him to say that it’s all about the 2022 election promise, I think all arrows and spears on the filibuster. I’m committed to the filibuster, because it’s bigger than him, me, and the majority leader, and the minority leader, or how long any of us are going to be here. The filibuster allows our democracy to work, that no other country can do what we do. Because we do have to find common ground. And we’re just having a hard time.

When you talk to these people, ask the last time they had a cup of coffee with each other. Ask them the last time they had a meal with each other. Ask them last time they even talked to somebody about, “How’s your wife and your children doing?” There’s nothing going on. You understand? That’s the problem we’ve got. Nobody cares, and they won’t take the time and make the effort. That’s the problem.

So when they start preaching to me. And they know that I have dinner with everybody, I talk to everybody, I work with them every day, and they’re gonna chastise me because I’m trying to be too bipartisan? Well, I can tell you where I tell them to go. Because as soon as you make an effort, then I’ll sit down and talk to you. [Indistinct], don’t preach to me.

RG: So Billy, it’s interesting. He’s talking about fairness. And I think he’s not wrong in his analysis. McConnell, as much as Manchin says, knows that Manchin won’t blow up the filibuster, so he’s going to ride that into 2022. And Manchin is going to take all of the slings and arrows.

When you listen to that, there doesn’t seem to be much wiggle room or much hope for Democrats that he’s going to bend on the filibuster, does there?

LF: Well, it doesn’t sound like it. But then he goes on later to make some arguments that many progressives and Democrats have made about reforming the filibuster. So he sees it as an important institution, but an institution that he’s willing to change.

RG: Yeah. So let’s play that. So he’s asked by somebody from Jacksonville, Florida, about the proposal to lower the threshold for cloture to 55 votes — you could end a filibuster with 55 votes — and he starts talking pretty interesting about the filibuster here.

JM: That’s one of the many good suggestions I’ve had. I looked back in, I think it was 1973, when it went from 67 votes to 60 votes, and also what was happening, what made them think that it needed to change. So I’m open to looking at it, I’m just not open to getting rid of the filibuster, that’s all. And right now, 60 is where I’m planting my flag. But as long as they know that I’m going to protect this filibuster, we’re looking at good solutions.

RG: Let’s pause there to translate it a bit for people who get lost in the legislative lingo. When he says he planted his flag at 60, he has very publicly said, he’s not going to roll back 60 as the number of votes you need to get cloture, and cloture is the thing that ends a filibuster. And so if he doesn’t lift up that flag and move off of 60, then, really, you’re done.

But what he’s saying here is that he planted his flag there, but as long as people know that he’s protecting the filibuster, he’s willing to look at good solutions. So there’s the current version of the filibuster, then there’s the version that existed before the reforms of the 1970s. And as he’s saying here, he’s interested in other reforms that would keep the spirit of the filibuster alive. And then he gets into some of those right here. So roll that forward.

JM: I think basically it should be 41 people should have to force the issue versus the 60 that we need in an affirmative. So find 41 in a negative. And then when they used to have a 67-vote threshold, they used to have about 10 percent of the center, as I understood it, go down with you and confirm that they supported your reasoning in the proposal.

Now, I think one level change that could be made — right now to be made — is basically anyone who wants to filibuster ought to be required to go to the floor. And basically state your objections and why you’re filibustering, and also state your appeal, what do you think needs to change to fix it, so you would support it. To me, that’s pretty constructive. I’m telling you why I’m against something.

RG: So yeah, so he’s saying that instead of having the onus be on the majority to go out and get 60 votes, which Democrats can’t do on anything, the minority would have to find 41 votes, which a determined minority could do, but they would have to basically occupy the 24/7. And so, at some point, a determined majority could overcome a determined minority, because just physically those 41 people just couldn’t stay there forever.

That’s what he hinted at last spring. And we did an episode on that back then. He got a ton of heat, and days later published something in The Washington Post saying he would never weaken or eliminate the filibuster to get the heat off of him.

Lee, what do you read into him floating the same thing that he floated three or four months ago?

LF: Well, I mean, it just simply shows that he’s still interested in this type of reform, which is not that radical and not, at least in my mind, not clear exactly how it would play out structurally. Would it radically change anything on any of the big issues? I don’t know.

But in general ensuring more transparency. This happened a little bit during the Obama years when they got rid of those secret holds when senators could basically place a bill or nominee in limbo without really disclosing their role in doing so. And that was absurd. So just simply having senators stand by their positions seemed to be a common-sense, popular reform, relatively speaking. And this kind of gets at that, again, geared towards transparency and making senators actually stand for what they believe in, if they’re going to jam up a system and obstruct any kind of vote with a minority of votes.

But at the end of the day, not to make too much of a non-sequitur here, but we have winner-take-all elections, which mathematically leads most cases to a two-party system. If you want a system, which is what Joe Manchin is describing, where various factions and parties have to coalition and talk to each other, alliances have to be made, people have to be professional and polite and work with the other side, if they want to pass legislation, well then you have to just change the entire system. It’s not just about one procedural rule in a legislative body.

You look at countries like Germany, or the countries in Scandinavia, or the Netherlands — or even Israel, in the last few weeks — systems that are not winner-take-all, that are proportional representation, mathematically, just procedurally, engender coalition-building. Germany has been ruled by a grand coalition of left and right, where everyone gets together, has coffee, talks to each other, those are the Manchin criteria, and they pass a lot of legislation and policy together.

In America, we have winner-take-all elections and that leads to this kind of gridlock. So I mean, these are common-sense reforms that he’s talking about, not radical reforms, nothing that would dramatically change things, but if you really want to get to a system where the various factions and parties in society get together, and you have truly competitive elections, where we have a multi-party system, we need much bigger picture reform.

And sorry to take this a little off track —

RG: Right.

LF: But if Manchin truly believes that that’s what he should push, he shouldn’t be talking about 41 members sitting in on a chamber floor. He needs to be looking around the world. Political scientists have studied this problem very, very well. You know, Lee Drutman at the New America Foundation has a great book on this. But we need to be looking at other forms of elections and how we elect our legislative bodies, if we want to get to this fundamental problem.

RG: Well, the fundamental problem of that is that West Virginia would probably not come out with the power it has in that proportional system.

LF: Right.

RG: We have a dis-proportional system.

LF: But you know, there are wider trends. I mean, maybe just like the Senate is gerrymandered, right, if we had a different way of electing the Senate body that’s not in these randomly drawn states, Appalachia as a region deserves representation. Maybe they need their own caucus, or even political party, and they might coalition with other regions of the country, if we had a system that was more like the proportional representation systems they have in the Netherlands and other countries.

RG: Well, I don’t think a constitutional convention is necessarily out of the question in our lifetimes at the rate we’re going, and I wonder if the donors will actually be even more motivated to work to get Blunt and some of the others after they heard how open Manchin actually is to other ideas around the filibuster.

LF: And we have to kind of bookmark this conversation and look at what happens to the senators he mentioned in this call. Do they join the commission? And then once some of them retire, Burr is set to retire, Blunt is set to retire, I believe —

RG: Toomey.

LF: — will they be joining the private equity boards of the donors who were on this call. I think that’s something that we should check in the next few years.

RG: We will definitely be watching that. Toomey, too, going back to Wall Street. Well, Lee Fang, terrific reporting. Thanks so much for joining us.

LF: Hey, Ryan. Thanks for having me. Take care.

[Credits music.]

RG: That was Lee Fang, and that’s our show.

Deconstructed is a production of First Look Media and The Intercept. Our producer is Zach Young. Laura Flynn is our supervising producer. Our theme music was composed by Bart Warshaw. Betsy Reed is The Intercept’s editor in chief.

And I’m Ryan Grim, D.C. bureau chief of The Intercept. If you’d like to support our work, go to — your donation, no matter what the amount, makes a real difference.

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See you next week.



Reading Hitler 80 years after he was published in the New York Times

A 1941 edition of Adolf Hitler's
A 1941 edition of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” (“My Struggle”) stands at the library of the Deutsches Historisches Museum (German Historical Museum). Last month it was discovered that the New York Times once published a puff piece on Adolf Hitler summering in his mountain retreat “in the clouds.”Sean Gallup/Getty Images

June 20, 2021 (

Last month, a small uproar erupted on Twitter over the discovery that the New York Times once published a puff piece on Adolf Hitler summering in his mountain retreat “in the clouds.” Written shortly before the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939, the piece features casual pop-ins from Hermann Göring, already at work on the Final Solution, in between snack breaks for “gooseberry pie” and “well-done pudding.”

The online debate over the piece focused on the enduring media blind spots to the dangers of fascism — and the lingering inability to let go of the “both sides” journalism practice of uncritically giving cynical propagandists a mouthpiece, in the supposed interest of fairness.

The discussion inspired me to take my own trip through various newspaper archives. And I found something seemingly far worse than a puff piece.

Eight decades ago, on the same day Germany invaded the Soviet Union, the Times published an essay by Hitler himself. Titled “The art of propaganda,” the piece is excerpted from Hitler’s autobiography, “Mein Kampf.”

Of all the things I can recommend doing on a Sunday afternoon, reading the musings of a man who wiped out several branches of your family tree ranks toward the bottom. But I couldn’t help myself.

I was expecting subtle or not-so-subtle anti-Semitism — an amplification of genocidal deception — published by the Times under the banner of free speech idealism and the naive American assumption that truth and reason inevitably wins in the so-called “marketplace of ideas.”

What I found instead was the clearest distillation I have read of what American democracy is up against in the wake of the Capitol riots and GOP efforts to disenfranchise millions of voters.

Reading Hitler made it obvious how widely the techniques of fascism are currently being deployed. And not just over the Big Lie that Trump won the election.

Notably, rather than handing Hitler a megaphone to spread deception, the Times’ piece begins with a contextualizing note — something rare in the newspaper business these days, but a solution film companies are rediscovering as they find ways to preserve racially problematic films like “Gone With the Wind.”

It reads in part:

“Germany is now waging a psychological war against this country as well as a military war in other parts of the world. That psychological war is based in the principles of the propaganda laid down by Adolf Hitler in his autobiography.”

With that caution established (something the press should do more of when covering the utterances of certain well-documented liars) what follows isn’t propaganda itself, but an unvarnished strategy document for how to use lies to gain and maintain power.

“All effective propaganda should be limited to a very few points which, in turn, should be used as slogans until even the very last man is able to imagine what is meant by such words.”

“As soon as one sacrifices this basic principle and tries to become versatile, the effect will be frittered away.”

Hitler might as well be laying a road map for the recent Republican attacks on Critical Race Theory (CRT).

A number of conservative states have “banned” the teaching of the concept in public schools in recent weeks, backed by unrelenting rhetorical attacks on the theory from conservative media outlets.

Of course, actually banning the teaching of CRT would almost certainly be unconstitutional. Instead, Republicans have created a CRT strawman, and are using that strawman to discredit an important tool for historical understanding.

Texas, for instance, doesn’t actually ban CRT, but the teaching that “an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.”

CRT does nothing of the sort. It is an analytical tool for determining how the racialized policies and laws of the past continue to impact life in the present.

But by manipulating the actual meaning of CRT, these bans have falsely branded the theory as a tool of anti-white racism.

This is a lie. And an obvious one at that. But lies told forcefully and consistently enough often supplant the truth.

Hitler anticipates those who recoil at the use of techniques like these. And he relishes it.

“As soon as one’s own propaganda admits even a glimpse of right on the other side, the ground for doubting one’s own cause is laid. The masses are not in a position to distinguish where the wrong of the enemy ends and their own begins. In this case they become uncertain and mistrusting, especially if their opponents do not produce the same nonsense but, instead, burden their enemy with all and the whole guilt.”

Hitler’s understanding of human manipulation isn’t gospel, of course. But it’s very clear his techniques are being widely employed. And that they’re working.

Millions of people think COVID is a fraud and vaccines are the danger. That being asked to wear a mask is tyranny.

“By propaganda even heaven can be palmed off on a people as hell and the most wretched life as Paradise.”

And Hitler didn’t even have a Twitter account.

One of society’s great protections against propaganda is the news media. But trust in the news media has never been lower. And it’s hard not to think the earnest but flawed pursuit of “both sides” fairness has played some role in undermining its credibility in the face of a propaganda onslaught.

Companies like Fox News and OANN, meanwhile, are willingly spreading and profiting from disinformation, which then takes on a life of its own online.

So what to do about it?

Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema’s approach is an example of what not to do. Sentimental notions of bipartisanship are a propagandist’s dream.

There is no compromise with the Big Lie.

Hope exists, of course, in the 81 million-person wall who voted for Biden. The wall here held, unlike in Germany.

The efforts to chip that wall away are unrelenting. It has to hold. Learning the tactics of the forces marshaled against it may be best fortification each of us can offer right now.

Matthew Fleischer is The San Francisco Chronicle’s editorial page editor. Email: Twitter: @MatteFleischer

Matthew Fleischer is The Chronicle’s editorial page editor. He came to the paper from the L.A. Times, where he spent six years as senior digital editor of the Opinion team – writing, editing and collaboratively planning stories to resonate with an online audience. 

Prior to joining The Times, Matthew was a staff writer for LA Weekly and an investigative reporter for the watchdog site Witness L.A., where his work helped expose the abuse and corruption in the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department that led to the convictions of Sheriff Lee Baca and Undersheriff Paul Tanaka for obstruction of justice. 

His work has been honored by the Overseas Press Club Foundation and Investigative Reporters and Editors. When he’s not writing or editing, he’s wandering, usually by foot.

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What a reparations program would look like in The City

(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)

(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)

‘If there’s any place we can do it, it’s San Francisco’

Fernay McPherson celebrated Juneteenth every summer. As a young girl growing up in San Francisco’s Fillmore District, she didn’t yet understand what it represented, but she knew it was the one day each year she could get away with consuming all the barbecue and strawberry soda she could stomach.

“Juneteenth always meant community for me,” she said. “It was just a day full of positive energy.”

As she grew older, McPherson learned of the day’s significance. It was bittersweet.

Her mother hails from Port Arthur, Texas, a couple hours from Galveston, where federal troops arrived in 1865 to tell the state’s enslaved people they were free — more than two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Though it’s been a centerpiece of Black culture in America for more than a century, Juneteenth — and the acknowledgement of slavery’s lasting impact on people of color in this country — has long been overlooked by many.

President Joe Biden declared Juneteenth a federal holiday earlier this week. Mayor London Breed followed suit by proclaiming it an official city holiday.

“Honestly, I’m angry. The fact that we’ve had to have so much more bloodshed in order to make this a holiday,” McPherson said of how long it had taken. “This is a system that continues to happen.”

It will require more than closing businesses and hosting celebrations to even begin to rectify the harm caused by slavery and the subsequent generations of segregationist policies levied at Black Americans.

Reparations could be a start.

The Board of Supervisors approved members of the 15-person African American Reparations Advisory Committee last month, a body created as a result of legislation introduced by Supervisor Shamann Walton in January 2020.

Members will take roughly two years to craft a series of recommendations designed to rectify the lasting impacts of slavery, segregation and other discriminatory policies on the descendants of enslaved people here in San Francisco. Much of it will be rooted in feedback from community members.

“Reparations has been a top priority of my office,” Walton said in an email. “We have to right the wrongs of history where the Black community was exploited to build the foundation of this country.”

‘Erasing Black folks’

Many Black people arrived in San Francisco during World War II. They sought both shipyard jobs and escape from the racist South.

The federal government lured them with housing projects — albeit segregated — in distinct parts of The City they could call their own, including the Fillmore District.

“I call it Black people seeking asylum,” said Shani Jones, whose father came to San Francisco from New Orleans in the 1960s.

Neighborhoods such as the Fillmore became pillars of Black culture and opportunity, replete with Black-owned businesses and houses, as well as arts and civic institutions. It didn’t last long.

Federal redevelopment efforts dating back to the early 1970s demolished their homes and their businesses. Many Black folks who could stick around moved to Bayview-Hunters Point, but divestment, further redlining and predatory lending left the community vulnerable, often isolated from jobs, health care and other opportunities.

James L. Taylor, a professor of politics at the University of San Francisco and a reparations committee member, calls the extended period of out-migration that began in the seventies the “Black Removal.”

James Taylor, a professor of political science at the University of San Francisco and a member of the SF Board of Supervisors’ African American Reparations Advisory Committee, at Lake Merritt near his home in Oakland on Friday, June 18, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)

James Taylor, a professor of political science at the University of San Francisco and a member of the SF Board of Supervisors’ African American Reparations Advisory Committee, at Lake Merritt near his home in Oakland on Friday, June 18, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)

At its peak, about 13.4 percent percent of The City’s population was Black. Now, it’s around 5 percent.

“There’s been a lot that has happened that was very intentional around erasing Black folks, moving Black folks or keeping them in certain communities,” said Tinisch Hollins, also a member of the committee and executive director of criminal justice nonprofit Californians for Safety and Justice.

McPherson, a third generation resident of the Fillmore, recalls stories from family members about her neighborhood as the Harlem of the West. Black-owned businesses lined the streets, cafes on the corner served up cultural dishes and music venues and art galleries invited residents.

Much of that had been forced out by the time she was a teenager.

As an adult, McPherson wanted to reclaim the space.

How? In the form of a restaurant that would serve the dishes many of her neighbors grew up eating, things like rosemary fried chicken, collard greens and cornbread.

“My goal was to be in the neighborhood that I grew up in, a neighborhood that was so rich in African-American businesses and to have a slice of what it represented before,” she said. “But that still has not happened.”

McPherson said steep capital costs coupled with what she perceived to be a “lack of faith” in a Black woman running a business in San Francisco led her to open up her restaurant, Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement, in Emeryville instead.

“It’s very hurtful to see other people come into your community and open up a business just like that,” she said. “I can’t be in it myself when I’m working so hard to do that.”

‘Access to attain wealth’

Those who have remained are finding it harder and harder to survive.

The average median income of a Black household in San Francisco is about $31,000. That’s compared to roughly $110,000 for white families, the most recently available census data shows.

Addressing this wealth gap needs to be a top priority of any reparations package, according to advocates.

That can — and should — come in the form of direct cash payments, they said, because more dollars can lead to a positive trickle-down effect and provide access to more resources.

It should also involve changes to the systems that have long kept Black people from building wealth, the kind that doesn’t just benefit a single household but that can be passed down between generations.

“Every system benefits from the disenfranchisement of Black and Brown folks in our city,” said Hollins, a Bayview-Hunters Point native and co-founder of SF Black Wall Street, a nonprofit born out of the pandemic to support Black residents.

This could mean providing financial assistance for first-time Black homebuyers, giving capital support for Black business owners looking to open a brick-and-mortar location or protecting people from the kind of “911 Karen calls” that have become far too commonplace, advocates suggest.

It could also mean reallocating city funds from policing, for example, toward programs operating within the Black community to support workforce development, youth development and health.

Breed’s $120 million Dreamkeeper Initiative in her most recent budget proposal starts down this path, but multiple people told The Examiner that more sweeping action would be needed to help Black families in San Francisco build long-term wealth.

An equitable housing policy — the kind that doesn’t just put a roof over a person’s head, but rather makes high-quality, well-resourced housing accessible that really allows a family to thrive — should also be central to any reparations package, multiple people told The Examiner.

A Black person is more likely to experience homelessness. They account for about 37 percent of The City’s entire homeless population, as of The City’s recent point-in-time count.

“The lack of home ownership is appalling,” said Joi Jackson Morgan, executive director of 3rd Street Youth Center and Clinic in the Bayview, regarding the difficulties Black residents face in purchasing houses of their own. “It shows up in a variety of ways, and it just continues to cycle.”

She suggests down payment assistance and long-term eviction protection as good starting points.

Jones, who owns a restaurant, says that aspiring Black business owners face obstacles foreign to many of their white counterparts. Because Black families in San Francisco are often excluded from employment, housing and educational opportunities, they’re unable to build the same kind of generational wealth that affords them the chances to climb up the economic ladder.

She runs Peaches Patties, inspired by the Jamaican home cooking of her mother, out of a food hall, in part because she can’t make the finances work to open up her own storefront.

“I think there should definitely be that access to attain wealth,” Jones said of a reparations package.

‘Monumental reckoning’

The very nature of this reparations effort is retroactive, an attempt to remedy past harm. Truly restorative justice will require permanent and authentic change moving forward that’s responsive to the lived needs of the community.

That starts with how we teach the history of Black people in America and in San Francisco, many say.

After George Floyd was murdered in May 2020, many demonstrators zeroed in on the idea of who we commemorate in our history as heroes — whether that be through public art, the naming of buildings or in our textbooks.

Statues were torn down in public spaces across the country. One of them was in Golden Gate Park.

Hundreds of black rubber figures, which represent 350 kidnapped Africans that were first sold as slaves in the United States in 1619 as part of sculptor Dana King’s piece “Monumental Reckoning,” line up around the plinth of the former Francis Scott Key monument in Golden Gate Park on Friday, June 18, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)

Hundreds of black rubber figures, which represent 350 kidnapped Africans that were first sold as slaves in the United States in 1619 as part of sculptor Dana King’s piece “Monumental Reckoning,” line up around the plinth of the former Francis Scott Key monument in Golden Gate Park on Friday, June 18, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)

A sculptural rendering of Francis Scott Key, a slave owner who wrote the national anthem, was toppled by demonstrators one year ago. On Friday, city officials unveiled 350 new sculptures that represent the first Africans captured and transported to this country to be exploited as chattel labor.

Titled “Monumental Reckoning,” the installation by artist Dana King seeks to challenge the traditional narrative of our history and provide an alternative to who — and what — we lift up with our public art.

“We really want people, in a delicate and unapologetic way, to feel different and be reminded that, yes, there are Black people here. And, yes, there are Black people under the feet of powerful institutions and people,” a spokesperson for the installation said.

Hundreds of black rubber figures, which represent 350 kidnapped Africans that were first sold as slaves in the United States in 1619 as part of sculptor Dana King’s piece “Monumental Reckoning,” line up around the plinth of the former Francis Scott Key monument in Golden Gate Park on Friday, June 18, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)

Hundreds of black rubber figures, which represent 350 kidnapped Africans that were first sold as slaves in the United States in 1619 as part of sculptor Dana King’s piece “Monumental Reckoning,” line up around the plinth of the former Francis Scott Key monument in Golden Gate Park on Friday, June 18, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)

San Francisco wouldn’t be the first place to provide reparations. Evanston, Ill. made headlines in March when it approved a program that would grant qualifying households up to $25,000 for down payments or home repairs. This was widely considered to be the first program of its kind enacted in the country.

Other cities are considering or have already committed to modest funding for reparations committees, a direct response to the racial reckoning that reverberated throughout the nation last year.

However, Taylor believes San Francisco has the potential to lay the groundwork for how this could look in major cities nationally, given its history as an early adopter of social change on issues such as marriage equality or the legalization of marijuana.

“If there’s any place we can do it, it’s San Francisco,” he said. “We have to say we have given up on defending racism, and we are now willing to rewrite our told history.”

Progressive history aside, reparations to Black San Franciscans might be readily embraced as a concept by many, but making that transition from virtue signaling to crafting and approving policy that could redistribute wealth and opportunity is a whole different story.

“You have to not just have an aspiration, but you have to literally win over the neighborhoods and persuade major stakeholders of The City that this is a policy that will benefit all of San Francisco,” Taylor said. “The white population has to be persuaded politically that it is in its best interest to elevate the Black community.”