“RECAP: How Monica Lewinsky Saved Social Security” by terriertribe (dailykos.com)


You probably thought the greatest threat to Social Security in recent history was the Republicans’ efforts to privatize it.  Wrong; it was Bill Clinton’s efforts, and certain Democrats and Wall Street insiders who haven’t given up that moneyed-class love affair with rolling back the New Deal are continuing the attempt.

In his book, Listen Liberal, Thomas Frank quotes Steven Gillon’s 2008 book The Pact when describing the environment leading to a 1997 agreement between Clinton and Newt Gingrich, the intent of which was nothing less than the privatization of Social Security.  They almost pulled it off.

Frank points out that Wall Street spent a lot of effort and money in the 90’s trying to convince politicians and the public that Social Security was in deep trouble and the only way to save it was to cut benefits, raise the retirement age, force government workers who have a different plan onto Social Security, and most importantly, turn that money stream over to Wall Street. Central to Clinton’s bargain with Gingrich was that in return for privatization the Republicans would let Clinton use his budget surplus to pay for the existing retiree obligations instead of using the surplus to pay for tax cuts.  That money had to come from somewhere.

Now, in looking up Gillon to check Frank’s claim I came across a 2010 article discussing his book, by FiredogLake.com’s founder Jane Hamsher, oddly enough titled “How Monica Lewinsky Saved Social Security,” which was my original working title for this diary.  Hamsher goes into more of Gillon’s details, so I quote here from her article quoting Gillon:

Gillon writes:

In private conversations with Gingrich and with Texas Republican Bill Archer, powerful head of the House Ways and Means Committee, the president promised to “provide political cover” for Democrats and Republicans by announcing his support for raising the minimum age required for Social Security and for changing the COLA formula. The president was willing to oppose the leadership of his own party and support the Republican demand for private accounts.

According to Gingrich:

“I understood that I would have to fight some of my old guard,” Gingrich recalled. “He understood that he would have to fight his hard left. Together we could shape about a 60 to 65 percent majority. I was happy for him to be a successful president. He was comfortable with us being a successful Republican congress.”

It looked like they had a path to success. Clinton would take the heat from Democrats and work through “centrist” Democrats and Republicans, as he had when he passed NAFTA and welfare reform.

And then Monica Lewinsky broke into the headlines:

Politically, it forced Clinton to seek refuge in the liberal wing of his party, the same group he had agreed to abandon a few months earlier. “All opportunities for accomplishment were killed once the story came out,” reflected a senior White House official. “If we cut a deal with the Republicans on Social Security there was every possibility that the Democrats, who were the only people defending him in Congress against these charges, could easily get angry and abandon him.” With conservatives in an uproar, Gingrich lost his political wiggle room and was forced to appease his right-wing base. If Gingrich did not “feed the conservative beast,” recalled a colleague, he would have been removed from his job as Speaker.

As Erskine Bowles himself said, “Monica changed everything.”

I’m sorry to have Erskine Bowles appear suddenly like that, but I needed his comment to finish the quote.  He is given a lot more space in Hamsher’s article (and Gillon’s book). In short, the former investment banker Bowles was Clinton’s Chief of Staff and go-between with Gingrich as well as a strong privatization  proponent himself.  You might recall that more recently Obama appointed this very same Bowles to his Deficit Commission, and that once again talk of raising the retirement age, reducing benefits, and turning the money stream over to Wall Street was back in vogue.  At least,  until the election started looming and more people started paying attention.

For extra credit: you could do worse than to spend a few minutes with the results from googling “steven gillon the pact”.

“Britain Emotional After Jeremy Corbyn Wins Vote To Retain Labour Party Leadership” by Charlotte Dingle (occupy.com)

Britain’s left-wing Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn kept his title over the weekend, winning nearly 62 percent of the vote against centre-left Labour hopeful Owen Smith. It was the latest leadership election since Corbyn stood for leader this time last year.

The election was forced following a 172-40 no confidence vote on Corbyn’s leadership abilities by Labour MPs back in June. Critics have slammed Corbyn for being too idealistic, not media-savvy and unlikely to appeal to the wider UK electorate in a standoff against Conservative leadership.

There are also rumors, which Corbyn has denied, that he plans to deselect MPs who do not agree with his policies. Fears abound that the battle between Corbyn and his detractors may even cause Labour to split into two parties.

The leadership campaign has been rife with accusations of “rigging” from Corbyn and his supporters, with the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) barring over 3,000 full members and registered supporters (the latter of whom paid £25 to take part in the election) from voting.

Those disqualified included a sitting Labour Party councillor who was deemed “rude” at a meeting, a man who had shown support for the Green Party on Twitter over a year ago, and a woman who posted a tweet with the “F” word in it expressing her love of the Foo Fighters.

In his victory speech at the live results announcement event, Corbyn insisted: “We have much more in common than that which divides us. As far as I’m concerned, let’s wipe that [leadership campaign] slate clean, from today, and get on with the work we’ve got to do as a party together.” He added, “Elections are passionate and often partisan affairs and things are sometimes said in the heat of the debate on all sides which we sometimes later come to regret.”

Smith, however, was a little more harsh in his response speech, telling those assembled that “I entered this race because I didn’t think Jeremy was providing the leadership we needed, and because I felt we must renew our party to win back the voters’ trust and respect.” However, he said, “I have no time for talk of a split in the Labour movement – it’s Labour or nothing for me.”

Where From Here?

Harinder Lawley, a grassroots Corbyn campaigner and director of the UK firm Diversity Works, attended the results announcement and told Occupy.com: “The atmosphere was great, with quiet but positive expectation that Jeremy would win and real joy, hope for the future and pleasure when the results were announced. Many of us there were active campaigners, volunteering for the phone banks, raising money through events, talks and rallies.”

Lawley objects to the terms often applied to Corbyn supporters. “We are not ‘newbies’ or ‘entryists.’ Many of us have supported the Labour Party all our lives and have returned to try and reclaim our party from the elitist, professional career politicians who have led it over the last 20 years,” she insisted.

“We know it will be an uphill struggle. If anyone had asked me a year ago whether I would be willing to campaign for a politician, I would have laughed at them. Corbyn has inspired me to get involved and do something positive to challenge the status quo, that’s what I’m doing.”

Another Corbyn supporter, Kevin is a graphics professional from Kent and told Occupy.com: “I’m 54 years old and have voted Labour all my life. But in the run-up to the last general election I found myself despairing about Labour policy. I was going to vote Green, but what if the Tories got in and I hadn’t voted Labour? I thought about getting involved with my local community or helping out at a food bank. The only thing that didn’t cross my mind was joining the Labour Party. Then along came Jeremy. I went to one of his rallies and he was saying the things that needed to be said about inequality, about investment in infrastructure, about the NHS – and unlike many other politicians, he came across as if he actually meant it. I joined the Labour Party on the day he was elected.”

Kevin said Corbyn is the only person for the job, as he is creating proper political distinctions between the Labour and Conservative parties again. “We need an effective opposition and until a year ago we didn’t have that. The Labour Party was trying to be a lite version of the Conservatives because that’s what they thought would get them elected. Corbyn may not be the person who leads us into the next election but for now he’s all we’ve got. He brings me hope and he is moving the conversation back from the right-wing dogma that has dominated.”

Ruth Sanderson, a teacher and Smith supporter from London, expressed different feelings. “I don’t think Corbyn has what it takes to be a leader,” she said. “He doesn’t seem to be able to make decisions and then take people with him.”

Sanderson is suspicious, too, of some of Corbyn’s affiliations. “I think his work for Press TV and Russia Today marks him out either as someone who is very unworldly and naïve or as someone who doesn’t much care that he is being paid by Iranian State TV or by the mouthpiece of Putin. As a woman and an ally of LBGT+ people, neither of those regimes strike me as ones I want to associate with that much.”

Sanderson said that while a number of Corbyn’s policies might be commendable, they will alienate him from the electorate. “I would love to see the end of selective and independent education, the nationalization of the railways and a number of other industries too, the abolition of the monarchy, support of the NHS, narrowing the gap between the haves and have nots. But the reality is that many of the things I want will not get us elected,” she added, saying Corbyn sounds hypocritical to talk of party unity.

“Having voted against the Whip over 400 times, I think Jeremy Corbyn has a nerve to talk about loyalty to the party. If [he] means what he says about unity, then he needs to make sure there is no purge of MPs who disagree with him on some issues. The Labour party has always been a broad church and it needs to remain so if we are to be elected as a government again.”

A significant source of support for Corbyn came from the majority of the UK’s 42 workplace unions. Keith Richmond, a spokesperson for ASLEF, the UK union for train drivers and operators, told Occupy.com: “The original decision to back Jeremy during his first stand for leader last year – not just by ASLEF but by many unions – was because there was distinct feeling that he was the one candidate who best represented not just the interests of our members and of the 6 million trade union members in the UK, but an opportunity to build a better Britain fit for the 21st century.”

Union support of Corbyn, he said, began during last year’s leadership election, when “the other four candidates were all representative of the failed Blairite past.” This latest election, he believes, “also brought a feeling that Jeremy has been undermined enormously by the parliamentary Labour Party – not by trade unions, not by the third sector or voluntary organizations, and not by the members.”

Smith, on the other hand, was never a serious candidate, Richmond said. “Apart from anything else he is hardly a household name even in his own household. Jeremy, by contrast, is thoroughly electable. He’s risen to every challenge – whether you look at the by-elections, whether you look at listening to people who might otherwise not be engaged with politics or the council elections as well – so there was never a question of not backing him.”

Corbyn’s second leadership term promises interesting times ahead for British politics. But it remains to be seen whether “Jezza,” as his fans affectionately call him, can bring about change on a large enough scale to get him elected to run the country in 2020.

– See more at: http://www.occupy.com/article/britain-emotional-after-jeremy-corbyn-wins-vote-retain-labour-party-leadership?utm_source=Website+%27Join+Us%27&utm_campaign=30f4fad7b9-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_77fe4a462d-30f4fad7b9-73720709#sthash.lMcYh70J.dpuf

“Recalculating the Climate Math” by Bill McKibben (occupy.com)


The future of humanity depends on math. And the numbers in a new study released last Thursday are the most ominous yet.

Those numbers spell out, in simple arithmetic, how much of the fossil fuel in the world’s existing coal mines and oil wells we can burn if we want to prevent global warming from cooking the planet. In other words, if our goal is to keep the Earth’s temperature from rising more than two degrees Celsius—the upper limit identified by the nations of the world—how much more new digging and drilling can we do?

Here’s the answer: zero.

That’s right: If we’re serious about preventing catastrophic warming, the new study shows, we can’t dig any new coal mines, drill any new fields, build any more pipelines. Not a single one. We’re done expanding the fossil fuel frontier. Our only hope is a swift, managed decline in the production of all carbon-based energy from the fields we’ve already put in production.

The new numbers are startling. Only four years ago, I wrote an essay called “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.” In the piece, I drew on research from a London-based think tank, the Carbon Tracker Initiative. The research showed that the untapped reserves of coal, oil, and gas identified by the world’s fossil fuel industry contained five times more carbon than we can burn if we want to keep from raising the planet’s temperature by more than two degrees Celsius. That is, if energy companies eventually dug up and burned everything they’d laid claim to, the planet would cook five times over. That math kicked off a widespread campaign of divestment from fossil fuel stocks by universities, churches, and foundations. And it’s since become the conventional wisdom: Many central bankers and world leaders now agree that we need to keep the bulk of fossil fuel reserves underground.

But the new new math is even more explosive. It draws on a report by Oil Change International, a Washington-based think tank, using data from the Norwegian energy consultants Rystad. For a fee—$54,000 in this case—Rystad will sell anyone its numbers on the world’s existing fossil fuel sources. Most of the customers are oil companies, investment banks, and government agencies. But OCI wanted the numbers for a different reason: to figure out how close to the edge of catastrophe we’ve already come.

Scientists say that to have even a two-thirds chance of staying below a global increase of two degrees Celsius, we can release 800 gigatons more CO2 into the atmosphere. But the Rystad data shows coal mines and oil and gas wells currently in operation worldwide contain 942 gigatons worth of CO2. So the math problem is simple, and it goes like this:

942 > 800

“What we found is that if you burn up all the carbon that’s in the currently operating fields and mines, you’re already above two degrees,” says Stephen Kretzmann, OCI’s executive director. It’s not that if we keep eating like this for a few more decades we’ll be morbidly obese. It’s that if we eat what’s already in the refrigerator we’ll be morbidly obese.

What’s worse, the definition of “morbid” has changed in the past four years. Two degrees Celsius used to be the red line. But scientists now believe the upper limit is much lower. We’ve already raised the world’s temperature by one degree—enough to melt almost half the ice in the Arctic, kill off huge swaths of the world’s coral, and unleash lethal floods and drought. July and August tied for the hottest months ever recorded on our planet, and scientists think they were almost certainly the hottest in the history of human civilization. Places like Basra, Iraq—on the edge of what scholars think was the Biblical Garden of Eden—hit 129 degrees Fahrenheit this year, approaching the point where humans can’t survive outdoors. So last year, when the world’s leaders met in Paris, they set a new number: Every effort, they said, would be made to keep the global temperature rise to less than 1.5 degrees. And to have even a 50–50 chance of meeting that goal, we can only release about 353 gigatons more CO2. So let’s do the math again:

942 > 353

A lot greater. To have just a break-even chance of meeting that 1.5 degree goal we solemnly set in Paris, we’ll need to close all of the coal mines and some of the oil and gas fields we’re currently operating long before they’re exhausted.

“Absent some incredible breakthrough in mythical carbon-sucking unicorns, the numbers say we’re done with the expansion of the fossil fuel industry,” says Kretzmann. “Living up to the Paris Agreement means we must start a managed decline in the fossil fuel industry immediately—and manage that decline as quickly as possible.”

“Managed decline” means we don’t have to grind everything to a halt tomorrow; we can keep extracting fuel from existing oil wells and gas fields and coal mines. But we can’t go explore for new ones. We can’t even develop the ones we already know about, the ones right next to our current projects.

In the United States alone, the existing mines and oil wells and gas fields contain 86 billion tons of carbon emissions—enough to take us 25 percent of the way to a 1.5 degree rise in global temperature. But if the U.S. energy industry gets its way and develops all the oil wells and fracking sites that are currently planned, that would add another 51 billion tons in carbon emissions. And if we let that happen, America would single-handedly blow almost 40 percent of the world’s carbon budget.

This new math is bad news for lots of powerful players. The fossil fuel industry has based its entire business model on the idea that it can endlessly “replenish” the oil and gas it pumps each year; its teams of geologists are constantly searching for new fields to drill. In September, Apache Corporation announced that it has identified fields in West Texas that hold three billion barrels of oil. Leaving that oil underground—which the new math shows we must do if we want to meet the climate targets set in Paris—would cost the industry tens of billions of dollars.

For understandable reasons, the unions whose workers build pipelines and drill wells also resist attempts to change. Consider the current drama over the Dakota Access oil pipeline. In September, even after pipeline security guards armed with pepper spray and guard dogs attacked Native Americans who were nonviolently defending grave sites from bulldozers, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called on the Obama administration to allow construction to proceed. “Pipeline construction and maintenance,” Trumka said, “provides quality jobs to tens of thousands of skilled workers.” The head of the Building Trades Unions agreed: “Members have been relying on these excellent, family-supporting, middle-class jobs with family health care, pensions, and good wages.” Another union official put it most eloquently: “Let’s not turn away and overregulate or just say, ‘No, keep it in the ground.’ It shouldn’t be that simple.”

She’s right—it would be easier for everyone if it weren’t that simple. Union workers have truly relied on those jobs to build middle-class lives, and all of us burn the damned stuff, all day, every day. But the problem is, it is that simple. We have to “turn away.” We have to “keep it in the ground.” The numbers are the numbers. We literally cannot keep doing what we’re doing if we want to have a planet.

“Keeping it in the ground” does not mean stopping all production of fossil fuels instantly. “If you let current fields begin their natural decline,” says Kretzmann, “you’ll be using 50 percent less oil by 2033.” That gives us 17 years, as the wells we’ve already drilled slowly run dry, to replace all that oil with renewable energy. That’s enough time—maybe—to replace gas guzzlers with electric cars. To retrain pipeline workers and coal miners to build solar panels and wind turbines. To follow the lead of cities like Portland that have barred any new fossil fuel infrastructure, and countries like China that have banned new coal mines. Those are small steps, but they’re important ones.

Even some big unions are starting to realize that switching to renewable energy would add a million new good-paying jobs by 2030. Everyone from nurses to transport workers is opposing the Dakota pipeline; other unions have come out against coal exports and fracking. “This is virtually unprecedented,” says Sean Sweeney, a veteran labor and climate organizer. “The rise of ‘climate unionism’ offers a new direction for the labor movement.” And if it spreads, it will give Democratic politicians more room to maneuver against global warming.

But to convince the world’s leaders to obey the math—to stop any new mines or wells or pipelines from being built—we will need a movement like the one that blocked the Keystone pipeline and fracking in New York and Arctic drilling. And we will need to pass the “Keep It in the Ground Act,” legislation that would end new mining and drilling for fossil fuels on public land. It’s been called “unrealistic” or “naïve” by everyone from ExxonMobil to the interior secretary. But as the new math makes clear, keeping fossil fuels in the ground is the only realistic approach. What’s unrealistic is to imagine that we can somehow escape the inexorable calculus of climate change. As the OCI report puts it, “One of the most powerful climate policy levers is also the simplest: stop digging.” That is, after all, the first rule of holes, and we’re in the biggest one ever.

This is literally a math test, and it’s not being graded on a curve. It only has one correct answer. And if we don’t get it right, then all of us—along with our 10,000-year-old experiment in human civilization—will fail.

Originally published by The New Republic

“Berkeley Rep casts a vote with ‘It Can’t Happen Here’” by Claudia Bauer (sfgate.com)

Shad LeDue and members of the fascist Corpo militia beat up Doremus Jessup in a scene from Sinclair Lewis’ “It Can’t Happen Here,” performed at Chicago’s Blackstone Theatre in 1936. Photo: National Archives, Records Of The Works Projects Administration

Photo: National Archives, Records Of The Works Projects Administration.  Shad LeDue and members of the fascist Corpo militia beat up Doremus Jessup in a scene from Sinclair Lewis’ “It Can’t Happen Here,” performed at Chicago’s Blackstone Theatre in 1936.

“We’ve got to change our system!” “Smash the crooked labor leaders!” “Make America a proud, rich land again!” They sound like the rants of a certain current Republican nominee. But they’re actually the ravings of Sen. Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, the villainous presidential candidate in Sinclair Lewis’ 1935 novel “It Can’t Happen Here.”

The tale’s uncanny similarities to the current election, with demagogue Windrip pandering to the electorate’s basest instincts, inspired Berkeley Rep to adapt the novel into a new play that opens the company’s season on Friday, Sept. 30.

After their originally scheduled play dropped out, Artistic Director Tony Taccone and Associate Director Lisa Peterson decided to mount a political work in parallel with the election. “It was February,” Taccone recalls in a sunny room at Berkeley Rep’s offices. “Trump was gaining enough traction that you were like, ‘Oh, that’s curious.’ The book started to get referenced in articles about him.”

“I Googled ‘it can’t happen here,’ thinking, is that a thing?” says Peterson, who also directs the production. “Then we read that it had a theatrical history.” They had unwittingly dusted off an 80-year-old exemplar of political performance.

Lewis is better known for the novels “Main Street,” “Elmer Gantry” and “Babbitt,” as well as a 1930 Nobel Prize in Literature and a 1926 Pulitzer Prize that Lewis declined for “Arrowsmith.”

But “It Can’t Happen Here,” a cautionary tale about the rise of fascism through the American democratic process, was a best-seller in an era when Mussolini led Italy and Hitler was consolidating power in Germany. The complacent American populace is represented by protagonist Doremus Jessup, a Vermont newspaperman who realizes too late that it can, indeed, happen here.

Capitalizing on the book’s popularity, the Federal Theatre Project, an endeavor of the Works Progress Administration, commissioned Lewis and screenwriter John C. Moffitt to adapt it for the stage. And in a stroke of ambition not seen before or since, it premiered in 22 theaters, across 18 states, on Oct. 27, 1936.

Each locale interpreted the script in its own way, including a San Francisco version peppered with air-raid sound effects, Yiddish adaptations in New York and Los Angeles, an African American version in Seattle, and a Spanish translation in Tampa, Fla. (Lewis himself did a turn as Jessup in a Massachusetts summer-stock run in 1938.) Along with providing theater professionals with several months of desperately needed work, the productions entertained more than 500,000 people nationwide and doubled as antifascist propaganda.

But, Taccone says, “It was a terrible play. It was super-melodramatic and didn’t really tie to the book.” Many critics savaged it for those same reasons, but John Hobart praised the San Francisco production, presented at the Columbia Theater (now the ACT’s Geary Theater), in his review for The Chronicle. Describing it as a “taut drama” and “probably the most ‘important’ production the Federalites have yet put on,” he also made the wide-eyed observation that Windrip “combines the chief characteristics of Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin with some of the less admirable qualities particular to the third-rate American politician.”

Nonetheless, Taccone and Peterson decided to go back to the source. “The novel’s got a very witty voice, and Lewis’ understanding of American politics was fantastic,” he says, and he and screenwriter Bennett S. Cohen wrote a new script with today’s social climate in mind. “The messenger was different back then,” he explains. “The world had not encountered Hitler yet, but now we are so aware. We talked a lot about how this (story) can still be impactful.”

Ambitious in their own right, Taccone and Cohen decided to retain the book’s scope: Not only does Windrip win the presidency, but he also soon institutes martial law, establishes concentration camps and purges his enemies: liberals, intellectuals and minorities. And as the writers updated Lewis’ vintage allusions and vocabulary, they left his prescient rhetoric intact.

“There was a funny moment when Lisa called me up and said, ‘This thing about the ‘1 percent,’ we can’t say that, because that’s now,’” Taccone says. “But it’s right from the book. That’s shocking, that drop-dead accuracy.”

Peterson deftly conjures the story in contemporary, almost experimental, staging that melds direct narration with sets that evoke both Norman Rockwell and dystopia, and wheeled props that can transport the characters from a political rally to a fireside chat within seconds.

“It’s choreography,” she says. “It’s not realism.” Nonetheless, she adds, “we really did want to make it look like a city looks now in America,” and the multiracial cast puts the lie to bigoted rhetoric of both past and present.

All of the actors play multiple roles, and many bring classical training to the task, including David Kelly as a fiery Windrip. “This is my favorite kind of theater,” says the 25-year veteran of Ashland’s Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He describes the format as “an ensemble telling of the story” but concedes that as the sinister Windrip, he’s on his own: “I predict there will be nights when people boo.”

After all, says Taccone, “We’re in Berkeley. It’s a hermetically sealed environment. The inconceivability factor, which is at the heart of the book, is at the heart of our experience right now.”

We should know the outcome of the current election on Nov. 8, two days after Berkeley Rep’s final performance. Meantime, we might reflect on Jessup’s hopeful musing: “Maybe he isn’t going to get elected!” Because it could happen.

Claudia Bauer is a Bay Area freelance writer.

It Can’t Happen Here: Adapted by Tony Taccone and Bennett S. Cohen from the novel by Sinclair Lewis. Directed by Lisa Peterson. Previews through Thursday, Sept. 29. Opens Friday, Sept. 30. Through Nov. 6. $29-$97. Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s Roda Theatre, 2025 Addison St., Berkeley. (510) 647-2949.www.berkeleyrep.org

Read The Chronicle review by John Hobart of the 1938 play here.

Watch a narrated slideshow on the Federal Theatre Project, with footage from a 1936 production of “It Can’t Happen Here.”

See the Berkeley Rep trailer here.

“Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson Hit in Face with Pie at Event, Assaults Protester in ‘Bloody’ Scene” by Nick Miller (eastbayexpress.com)

Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento.

  • Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento.

September 21, 2016

Sacramento Mayor, former NBA star, and UC Berkeley standout Kevin Johnson was hit in the face with a pie on Thursday evening at a farm-to-table dinner event — then multiple sources say he tackled and assaulted the protester in a “bloody” brawl.

During the meal, a protester approached mayor and tagged him in the face with a store-bought coconut cream pie.

Stunned, the mayor allegedly tackled the protester and punched him “repeatedly,” more than half a dozen times, landing “five to 10” blows, according to various witnesses.

One witness described it as a “bloody pulp.” Other witnesses say that the pie-thrower was hit multiple times in the face and will definitely need stitches, and that there was visible blood. Ambulances and fire department arrived at the scene.

A day later, Sacramento Magazine published four photos from the incident, including the following:



The assailant was 32-year-old Sean Thompson, who was arrested on charges of felony assault of a public official and misdemeanor battery on school property. He’s being held on $100,000 bail.

Booking photo of Sean Thompson, who reportedly assaulted Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson with a pie — then was punched repeatedly by Johnson, according to multiple witnesses. - SACRAMENTO POLICE DEPARTMENT

  • Booking photo of Sean Thompson, who reportedly assaulted Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson with a pie — then was punched repeatedly by Johnson, according to multiple witnesses.

A spokesman with the Sacramento Police Department confirmed that there was “some sort of physical altercation” between the suspect and the mayor, which occurred at around 6:45 p.m. on Thursday.

“The mayor did strike the suspect after he was assaulted,” spokesman Sgt. Bryce Heinlein told the Express. He could not confirm whether Johnson tackled Thompson.

He said Thompson was transported to a local hospital for treatment after the incident. He was booked at midnight.

The spokesperson did not know whether the mayor was injured or not. Johnson was questioned after the incident.

From county jail, Thompson told a reporter with The Sacramento Bee on Thursday afternoon that Johnson “punched [him] in the face at least two times.”

“I don’t think that was an appropriate response to a pie to the face,” he told the Bee.

The dinner was a celebration of Sacramento’s Farm-to-Fork week, held at the Edible Garden at Johnson’s alma mater, Sacramento High School, a charter school under the St. HOPE umbrella. Alice Waters of Chez Panisse has helped with projects at this garden in the past.

There were nearly 200 in attendance at the dinner, including a few dozen high-school students, according to sources. This event was also attended by some of the city’s top restaurateurs.

Erika Bjork, who works for the Sacramento Republic FC soccer team, attended on behalf of the team and described the dinner was an “intimate” experience. She was seated near the mayor, who was chatting with guests at her table, when the incident occurred.

She described the attack on the mayor as “a shocking assault,” and that Thompson did not announce himself before hitting Johnson in the face with the pie.

“Most of us didn’t didn’t even realize it was a pie until after, when I could see that there was a pie on the ground,” she told the Express.  “There was no way, based on anything I saw, that this could be interpreted as a practical joke.”

She describe the mayor as “in shock” after he was hit.

Eventually, a security guard and an officer restrained Thompson, who remained handcuffed on the ground until police arrived.

After the pie attack, sources say Johnson was given a change of clothes and addressed the audience at a podium, apologizing, and receiving applause.

Johnson even brought UFC fighter Urijah Faber, who was in attendance, up to the podium and joked about the assault.

Faber later told a Sacramento TV station that the pie-thrower was “bloodied up” after the incident.

Protesters occasionally have dogged Johnson on the heels of sexual-misconduct allegations that resurfaced last year. He was booed at a Hillary Clinton event at Sacramento City College, for instance.

The Express reached out to the mayor’s chief of staff to discuss the incident, but she did not respond. The mayor’s chief of staff told The Sacramento Bee “the mayor was assaulted.”

“He is home with his family. … The whole thing is just shocking,” she told the Bee.

Sean Thompson, center, shown at an Occupy Sacramento protest in 2011. He was arrested multiple times during these actions at Cesar Chavez Plaza. - PHOTO BY DON BUTTON

  • Sean Thompson, center, shown at an Occupy Sacramento protest in 2011. He was arrested multiple times during these actions at Cesar Chavez Plaza.

Police released a booking photo of Thompson early Thursday morning. The assailant has cuts, bruises and dried blood on his face — and sutures next to his left eye.

The mayor’s office released a statement on Thursday morning, saying that Johnson “reacted in self-defense like most people do when attacked by an unknown object.”

Thompson was at one time an activist with the Occupy Sacramento movement. He was arrested multiple times in 2011 during the Occupy Sacramento protests at Cesar Chavez Plaza (see photo, right).

The “pie-thrower” has engaged Johnson in the past during city council meetings. In 2011, Thompson spoke at council and turned his back on Johnson. Tensions were apparently high at this meeting, and three SPD officers moved toward him — but Johnson waived them off.

Thompson’s arraignment is scheduled for Friday, September 23, at 1:30 p.m.

There is precedent for convictions involving attacks on public officials with pie. In 1999, three protesters were convicted of battery for hitting then-S.F. Mayor Willie Brown with pies.

Calendar of events for activists who want change (from Patricia Gray)

Did you survive the Presidential debate?  Did you hear any mention of the real issues of our day?

These two corporate candidates are NOT WHO WE NEED TO LEAD
OUR NATION.  We must break the big money control of the government
of our nation—don’t vote for either of these two puppets of the greedy few.
It is not impolite to talk politics—IT IS ESSENTIAL!
Our citizens need information that is NOT on the major media.
Wednesday, Sept. 28    
 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm         Mission Police Station, 17th and Valencia
                                    BACK TO MISSION STATION
                                    Still waiting and watching!  We want DA
                                    Gascon to charge the police officers who
                                    killed Amicar with MURDER!
Thursday Sept. 29
4:15 – 5:30 pm           Bank of America Building 555 California St. S.F.
                                BOYCOTT TRUMP!
                                Workers at the Trump Hotel in Las Vegas voted
                                to unionize in December 2015—the hotel
                                has waged an anti union campaign.  Unite Here
                                calls for a boycott of Mr. Trump’s businesses—
                                Trump is the owner of 555 California St in the
                                Financial District.  We will urge people NOT
                                to patronize this Trump business.
                                sponsor   Unite Here, Local 2
6:00 pm         I – 800 footbridge over pass in Berkeley
                     FAIR ELECTIONS 4 HAITI NOW!
                     We have a banner to tell people about the national
                     movement in favor of Haiti.  Please join us on the
                     sponsors – Code Pink, Haiti Committee, Oscar Grant
7:00 pm      Green Arcade  1680 Market St. S.F.
                  speaker, Derek Cressman, author
                  WHEN MONEY TALKS
                  The high price of ‘free’ speech and the selling our our
                  Democracy—an instruction manual to restore fair
                  info   415-431-6800
Friday Sept. 30
11:00 am      Corner of Geary and Spruce  S.F.
                   STOP THE EVICTION AT 544 CLAYTON: RALLY
                   AGAINST RENT GOUGING!
                   Kate Leist has had her rent increased from $3,105 a
                   month to $8,500 a month—this is more than a working
                   class San Franciscan can afford–the almost three
                   times more is unjust and cruel!
4:30 pm     14th and Broadway, Oakland
                 It’s the 25th anniversary of the US backed military coup
                 that overthrow the Lavalas government of Aristide.
                 Join us in a street demonstration with music and drums
                 and support the demands of the Haitian people.
                  – free and fair elections
                  – stop the terror campaign against poor people
                  – NO US, UN, or OAS interference in the elections.
7:00  pm       2968 Mission St. S.F. (between 25th and 26th sts)
                    Speaker   Dennis Banks, VP candidate for V.P
                                   of the Peace and Freedom Party
                    Dennis is the co founder of the American Indian
                    movement. He will speak about the struggle at Standing
                    $3.00 – $10. donation requested but no one turned away
                    Refreshments will be served
                    info  415-821-6171
Tuesday Oct 4
4:00 pm    1515 Van Ness Ave, S.F.
                AND MARCH
                Luxury housing developers continue to snatch up land to
                develop properties and flip them for profit.  Join us as we
                march to  the Gutierrez family building at 22nd and South
                Van Ness.  We demand action to keep our buildings in the
                hands of the community and out of the hands of real estate
                speculators and luxury housing developers.
                COME AND JOIN US!
                sponsors- Alliance for Community Development (ACCE)
                info  acceaction.org
6:00 pm     Muddy Waters Cafe,  16th st. and Valencia, S.F.
                 SHUT DOWN DIABLO CANYON 
                 We must move to solar power!  We need a safe and sane
                 economy.  We meet every Tuesday to plan the next move
                 in the national campaign to shut down Diablo Canyon.
8:30 pm    Alemeda County Board of Supervisors
               1221 Oak St. Oakland
                CLEAN POWER TO THE PEOPLE!
                Press conference
9:30 pm    Board of Supervisors will vote on establishing a Community
                Choice Energy (CCF) program for Alemeda County

Upcoming Events (from Adrienne Fong)

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, September 27

S 27, Tuesday, 12 Noon – 3pm. We Demand Charges! Press Conference the City Hall

Noon – Press Conference

Hall of Justice
850 Bryant St.

DA Gascon’s Office To DEMAND that DA Gascon charge Killer Cops with Murder!

1:30pm – Steps of SF City Hall

SF City Hall
1 Dr. Carleton B. Goodlett Pl.

2:00pm – Inside City Hall

     For the Board of Supervisors Vote on the Blue Ribbon Panel Report on Police Misconduct in San Francisco.

Organized by Justice4 Mario Woods Coalition

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/341465592863949/

Wednesday, September 28

S 28, Wednesday, EST – 2pm-3pm, American Constitution Society – Expert Briefing on Police Use of Force Against Communities of Color

Register: https://events.acslaw.org/rsvp?id=a0YG000000D0zmP&campaign=default&mgs1=32edo3tuN1

PST: 11am – 12 Noon

The American Constitution Society invites you to participate in a conference call:

Expert Briefing on Police Use of Force Against Communities of Color


Kami Chavis
Professor of Law and Director of the Criminal Justice Program at Wake Forest University School of Law

Tracey Meares
Walton Hale Hamilton Professor of Law at Yale Law School
Member of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing

With the deaths of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa and Keith Scott in Charlotte last week, the crisis in police use of force against people of color shows no signs of abating. Despite efforts to train police and hold them accountable, little seems to change.

What legal and structural reforms are necessary to reset the framework within which police operate? How can we keep people safe from police excessive force while ensuring the police can do their jobs?

S 28, Wednesday, 6:00pm – 7:00pm, Vigil for Amilcar Perez Lopez

Mission Police Station
17th Street & Valencia

DA Gascon has still not charged the cops who killed Amilcar.

Info: https://www.facebook.com/groups/353672264838421/551538535051792/?notif_t=group_activity¬if_id=1474916242724556 

S 28, Wednesday 6:00pm – 9:00pm, From Stockton to Oakland: Mobilizing Against Police Terror

Quilombo  Center
2313 San Pablo Ave

A special report and presentation from Stockton organizers and community members about the ongoing battle against police terror and brutality in Stockton, CA.
Hear from family and friends of Colby Friday and James Rivera, Jr about their fight for justice and about how people in Stockton are working to build bridges between the bay area and beyond and how you can show solidarity with their ongoing organizing and participate in upcoming actions.

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1097107370338538/

Friday, October 7

O 7, Friday, 8:00pm, 2 Year Angelversary for O’Shaine Evans (Killed by SFPD)

449 Bryant St.
SF, 94107

On October 7th 2014 O’Shaine Evans was killed by SFPD while sitting in his mother’s car. Today we will remember O’Shaine as the beautiful soul he was and celebrate all of the good memories we had. So please come out and support the family if possible.ONELOVE

Host: Family of O’Shaine

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1173071472750102/

~  ~   ~   ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

NO SF PoLICE COMMISSION on Wednesday  9/28 but  there are two CLOSED meetings going on next Sat. & Sun. Topic  is  on nominations of possible applicants for Chief of Police– see agendas:

Saturday, October 1, 2016 – 9:00am


Police Headquarters, Room 1025
1245 Third Street
San Francisco, CA 94158
United States




  1. Public comment on all matters pertaining to Closed Session
  2. Vote on whether to hold Item 3 in Closed Session (San Francisco Administrative Code Section 67.10) (ACTION)
  3.        Closed Session

Roll Call;

Pursuant to Government Code Section 54957(b) and San Francisco Administrative Code section 67.10(b):  PERSONNEL EXCEPTION:  Public Employee Appointment:  Nomination of possible applicants(s) for Chief of Police (ACTION)


  1. Vote to elect whether to disclose any or all discussion on Item 3 held in closed session (San Francisco Administrative Code Section 67.12(a)) (ACTION)

October 2, 2016 – 9:00am


Police Headquarters, Room 1025
1245 Third Street
San Francisco, CA 94158
United States




  1. Public comment on all matters pertaining to Closed Session
  2. Vote on whether to hold Item 3 in Closed Session (San Francisco Administrative Code Section 67.10) (ACTION)
  3.        Closed Session

Roll Call;

Pursuant to Government Code Section 54957(b) and San Francisco Administrative Code section 67.10(b):  PERSONNEL EXCEPTION:  Public Employee Appointment:  Nomination of possible applicants(s) for Chief of Police (ACTION)


  1.         Vote to elect whether to disclose any or all discussion on Item 3 held in closed session (San Francisco Administrative Code Section 67.12(a)) (ACTION)