Weekly list of political activities from Patricia Gray

If you know of an upcoming event that may be of interest to this list serve, please let me know by Tuesday of the week when it is going take place so I can put it on the calendar.

Wednesday, February 1
8:00 am         Montgomary BART station, S.F.
                        NO DAPL, WELLS FARGO ACTION
                        Join us to deliver a petition to the banks demanding
                        that they do not finance the oil pipe line.
                        sponsored by Rainforest Action, Idle No More,
                                            Lakota People’s project, Bay Area
                                            Friends of the Earth
                        Please come bright and early
3:00 – 5:00 pm       Milton Marks Auditorium, 455 Golden Gate Ave.
                            lower level, S.F.
                            HEALTH CARE IS A RIGHT!
                            Over the last ten years insurance rates have tripled.
                            Now Trump wants to get rid of Obama Care.  We
                            need to tell our elected officials that health care\
                            is a top issue. Take action to rein in skyrocketing
                            costs of health care.  The meeting is open to the
                            public due to Senate Bill 546.  It gives us the
                            opportunity to tell officials how price rises hurt us
                            and our families.
                            sponsor  Calif Labor Federation
6:00 – 8:00 pm       Women’s Building   3543 18th St. S.F.
                            THIS IS NOT NORMAL!
                            Attend this special meeting of San Francisco
                            Vision to create a plan to resist the Trump agenda
                            in San Francisco.  We will focus on housing and
                            homelessness.  We hope you will join us for this
                            important event.
                            sponsor  San Francisco Vision
6:00 – 8:00 pm        Redstone Labor Temple,  2940 16th St.  S.F.
                             HOW IMMIGRATION POLICY AND TRADE
                             POLICY ARE LINKED
                             Speaker  David Bacon
                             David is a California writer and documentary
                             photographer.  A former labor organizer, he
                             documents labor, war and migration and the and
                             the criminalization of migrants. His latest book is
                             The Right to Stay Home discussing alternatives
                             to forced migration and the criminalization of
                             sponsor,  Lilving Wage Coalition
                             info  415-863-1225
Thursday, Feb. 2
7:30 pm       Peace Action Office   2201 Broadway, Oakland
                   (enter on 22nd St.)   2nd floor conference room
                   3 blocks from 19th St. BART
                   This will be an informal roundtable discussion on how
                   can we build Beloved Communities based on peace
                   and social justise?  Come with your ideas on international
                   peace mongering!
                   sponsors   National officers of Peace Action
Friday February 3, 2017
4:00 – 6:00 pm        South San Francisco City Hall
                             400 Grand Avenue, South City
                             HERE TO STAY, NO BANS NO WALLS!
                             Come to a rally in front of City Hall to show
                             solidarity with all oppressed people.  Currently
                             under attack are immigrants, Muslims, women,
                             and queer persons.
                             Our points of unity are:
                             *no human being is illegal
                             *education is a right
                             *no history is illegal–ethnic studies for all students
                             *living wage
                             *accessibility for people with disabilities
                             *stop U.S. Empire
                             organized by #4South City
7:00 pm          2969 Mission St.  S.F.
                      PSL Public Forum
                      Trump wants to end Obama Care, restrict Muslim
                      immigration and build a wall on the Mexican border.
                      refreshments will be served
Saturday February 4
1:00 am     Mission YMCA   4080 Mission St. S.F.
                 The housing crisis continues.  The rent for a one bedroom
                 apt. is $3,490.00 a month.  The median home value is
                 more than $1,100.000.  evictions continue to rise.
                               Assembly Member David Chin
                               State Senator Scott Weiner
                               members of the community and YOU.
                 sponsored by ACCE – Alliance of Californians for
                                      Community Empowerment
1:00 am   Quantum Marcial Arts.  2390 Mission St. 
               Master Rachael Evans has been teaching martial arts
               for over thirty years.  Wear loose comfortable clothes and
               bring a water bottle.  Come and learn how to keep yourself
1:30 am    Women’s Building, 3543 18th St. S.F.
               Come and speak out against racism and Bigotry.  Unite to
               support women. immigrants, people of color, LGBTI and the
               poor against hate.
               Sponsor   S.F. United Against Trump
3:00 pm    518 Valencia St.   (at 16th St. near BART)
                speakers:  Barry Hermanson, Norma Myers, Murrey Pender
                                 Brian Stompe and Don Beckler
                Trump and Congress want to gut the Affordable Care Act,
                Privatize Medicare, cut back Medicade and privatize the
                the Veterans Administration.  Trump atacks means more
                costs for the 99% and more profits for the 1%.
                Sponsor   Single Payer Now
4:00 pm     Civic Center UN Plaza
                 Join the resistance against racist and exclusionary
                 Executive Orders against immigration. Immigrants make
                 America great. Come and share your immigration stories.
                 Host   Kayla Razavi
Sunday February 5
10:00 am – 3:00 pm      8032 MacArthur Blvd  Oakland
                                  PEOPLE SKOOL
                                  People skool is an intensive weekend for people
                                  with race, class and/or formal education to learn
                                  from poverty sholary about the frame work for
                                  communities reparations.  With theater, verse,
                                  ritmo and poetry.
                                  Sunday’s program is specifically for folks with
                                  race, and/or class and/or formal education
                                  Questions?  poorsolidarityfam@gmail.com
3:00 pm              2470 Lyon St. S.F. (home of Senator Feinstrein)
                          PEOPLE’S TOWN HALL AT FEINSTEIN’S – 
                          TELL TRUMP NO!
                          Our message is simple and powerful for Feinstein to
                          vote against Jeff Sessions for US Attorney General.
                          sponsored by People’s Town Hall Project
3:30 pm      5600 3rd St. S.F. 
                 Open Circle is taking steps to repeal the law enforcement
                 officers Bill of Rights.  President Trump wants police
                 officers to have more racial profiling, more stop and
                 frisk and more killer cops and zero accountability.  We
                 need to work together on this issue.  This is a pot luck
                 event.  Please feel free to bring a dish, snack or (non
                 alcoholic)  drink to share.
                 Armstrong Place is at the corner of Armstrong across
                 from MLK park.

Tonight You Should Be at the Nearest Federal Courthouse Denouncing Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee

If you’re still trying to convince yourself that a 21st century coup is not underway, please, please snap out of it

January 31, 2017 (CommonDreams.org) by Michael Moore

His upcoming action tonight demands an immediate response from us. Most of the country lives near a city with a federal courthouse (US District Court) or federal office building. Find the federal courthouse near you here. (Image: Common Dreams / CC BY 3.0)

The following message was posted to Michael Moore’s Facebook page Tuesday morning:

Another Dark Day Is Upon Us.

There’s no way to put a good face on what will happen tonight at 8pm when Donald J. Trump begins his attempted takeover/coup of our United States Supreme Court. Tonight he will announce his first choice to fill the seat the Republicans have refused to let President Obama fill for the past year.

And there’s more bad news on the horizon. Justice Anthony Kennedy has indicated he will retire this year. And many are worried about Justice Ginsberg’s health. Thus Trump may have a chance to fill THREE seats on the court. This will damage the country for the rest of (many) of our lives.

His upcoming action tonight demands an immediate response from us. Most of the country lives near a city with a federal courthouse (US District Court) or federal office building.

Find the federal courthouse near you here.

We need to go in large numbers to our local federal site at 7pm ET tonight to protest his pick whom he’s promised will make abortion illegal. Call your local media to let them know you’re going to be there. Take pix and video and post them on social media. We must be loud and present on this most important issue on this most important night. I’ll keep you posted here throughout the day…

Michael Moore is an activist, author, and filmmaker.  See more of his work at his website MichaelMoore.com

ACLU: Airport protests against the Muslim Ban

A note from SF: We are asking that people who have been expecting or are expecting visitors to arrive at SFO from one of the seven countries in yesterday’s executive order – Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen – and have not heard from their visitors or have heard that their visitors have been detained or denied entry to please contact the ACLU of Northern California and leave a message at 415-621-2488. We will be checking this voicemail regularly throughout the weekend. Please leave a message slowly and clearly with contact information for the caller as well as the following information about the visitors if possible: id, country of citizenship, form of visa or entry authorization, date and time of arrival, flight number and airline. We stand ready to challenge detentions and denials of entry where possible to do so.

If detained at CA airport under Executive Order call local hotline:

SFO 415-621-2488
LAX 213-977-5245
SAN 619-398-4485

Why Trump’s Inauguration is Not the Beginning of an Era — but the End (by Peter Leyden)

“We are suffering just now from a bad attack of economic pessimism. It is common to hear people say that the epoch of enormous economic progress which characterized the 19th century is over; that the rapid improvement in the standard of life is now going to slow down — at any rate in Great Britain; that a decline in prosperity is more likely than an improvement in the decade which lies ahead of us.

I believe that this is a wildly mistaken interpretation of what is happening to us. We are suffering, not from the rheumatics of old age, but from the growing-pains of over-rapid changes, from the painfulness of readjustment between one economic period and another…”

–John Maynard Keynes, Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren (1930)

I spent a good chunk of the holiday break in a cabin with a spectacular view of a bay just off the Pacific Ocean outside the tiny town of Inverness north of San Francisco. It reminds me of the view from the cabin I grew up with in the American heartland, outside the Twin Cities in Minnesota. Looking out over the natural beauty of this amazing country of ours helped me think through the tumultuous past year with a big-picture, more timeless perspective. It helped me get clear about what lies ahead.

The Brexit vote in England and then the election of Donald Trump, those two unexpected but consequential convulsions, are going to bring some big changes, many to be feared, but others to be welcomed. To my mind, both were driven by fear of the future and “a wildly mistaken interpretation of what is happening to us.” Both are going to make for some near-term chaos, but in the end I actually think they are going to accelerate changes that finally need to come.

I did not see Trump coming. I was one of those who could not believe that the America I knew, a country of decent, common-sense people, could elect a person like him. I was despondent on election night and disoriented for weeks. I’ve spent the last couple months listening, reading, thinking, and staying open to what is really happening, and what now needs to be done. On the eve of his inauguration, here’s my positive reframe of what I think is really going on:

Trump Begins The End

Trump is a symptom of something much bigger and more fundamental going on in the world. So are the people behind Brexit in Great Britain. They are not driving the change, they are reacting to the change. They are not showing the way forward, they are making desperate attempts to cling to the past, a past that is gone forever.

The world is in the relatively early stages of an almost inevitable transition to what can be best understood as a new 21st-century civilization. Relatively early — meaning roughly one-third of the way through. And almost inevitable — meaning it can be derailed if we make some catastrophic political choices.

There are three fundamentally different characteristics of this civilization: One, it will be run totally on digital technologies, smarter and smarter, more and more interconnected computers. Two, it will be totally global and operate on a planetary scale. And three, it will have to be sustainable, in its energy usage and its impact on the planet.

All three of these shifts are well underway and can be tracked and explained by pointing to investments, the morphing of the advanced economy, the positioning of leading companies, and just following what innovative people are doing. In many ways, these developments are happening despite what governments do. Governments can make things better, and accelerate changes, or slow down changes, but they can’t stop them at this macro level.

That said, politics can really screw things up. Changes of this magnitude can be very scary. New digital technologies allow totally new ways to do almost everything so they are very disruptive to old industries. The newest developments arriving just now are especially scary — self-driving cars, advanced robots, artificial intelligence. The globalization of everything is unleashing floods of cheap goods as well as waves of migrants.

It’s easy for politicians to whip up public fears against these changes and rally people to go back to the old ways, to make America great again. This is the standard playbook for right-wing nationalism. In the 1930s, when Keynes wrote the prescient passage above, that era’s right wing took those fears and drove a good chunk of the world into fascism and a world war. Today Trump is heading down that path — but he won’t get far.

I think Trump ultimately is going to do America and the world a service by becoming the vehicle that will finally take down right-wing conservative politics for a generation or two. He is getting the entire Republican conservative establishment to buy into his regime. He is creating an administration that is blatantly all about rule by — and for — billionaires, sold out to the oil and carbon industries, and celebrating an out-of-control corporate capitalism. It will be a caricature of conservative policies. In short order he will completely and irrevocably alienate all the growing political constituencies of the 21st century: the Millennial Generation, people of color, educated professionals, women. He’ll eventually do the same for a significant number of more moderate Republicans. And does anyone out there really think Trump will do anything for the white working class that got him elected? Watch as repealing Obamacare blows up in his face.

I think the backlash will be fast and furious. And it won’t just be Trump that goes down — it will be large swaths of conservative Republicans who will be almost helpless to stop Trump or distance themselves from him. They will pay the price for creating the conditions that created him. I think the next 4 to 8 years are going to see a serious sea change in politics — to the left, not the right. The analogy is closer to what happened to the conservative Republicans coming out of the 1930s — they were out of power for the next 50 years.

A Hillary Clinton win would not have brought about that kind of political transformation. She would have ground out some progress through trench warfare and built somewhat on Obama’s legacy— but the Republicans would have locked her down worse than they did with Obama. Hillary would not have been able to finally bring down the conservative movement and its archaic ideology. The conservatives arguably brought a healthy revitalization to Western politics in the Reagan/Thatcher era. But that vitality is long gone and the movement has been running on the same old out-moded ideas for decades now. The world needs to move on.

Hillary would not have been the transformational leader that America needs right now either. We need leadership to help take the world to the next level, making the full transition to digital technologies, reshaping capitalism to rebalance massive inequalities, and making big progress on climate change.

California is the Future

Where do we look for that leadership? Without outsiders taking much notice, California has gone through that political transformation, as usual, early. We were trapped in the polarized politics that paralyzed government in the 1990s and 2000s. We had the high numbers of immigrants who were scapegoated. We had a frustrated electorate elect a Hollywood celebrity with no government experience with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Been there, done that.

Today California is totally run by a new generation of progressive Democrats. Every single state-wide office. Super majorities in both Houses. There are no conservative Republican elected officials to speak of in California right now. The conservative ideology, those policies, are dead.

I’ve long been thumping the idea that California is the future. The San Francisco Bay Area is obviously ground zero for Silicon Valley and tech. It’s about as good a melting pot of global influences as anywhere on the planet. And it’s on the front lip of clean energy and sustainability. So that would be a good place to look for how those three massive 21st-century shifts will play out.

In other words, to use the Keynes framework that started this piece, California is already living in the next economic period — and it’s booming. The next economy is working here — and working for the vast majority. Even the white working class is on board. Trump lost to Hillary in California by 4 million votes.

Now add to that a state and local political environment where progressives have no meaningful opposition and an open field ahead of them. I think we’re going to see an explosion of innovation that roughs out a new way forward for the center-left in America and even has implications for Europe and the world.

My company Reinvent is really fortunate to be in the middle of that swirl of possibilities. We bring together top innovators in deep conversations about how to solve complex challenges — and then make media about the ideas to emerge. We partner with forward-thinking organizations who want to generate new ideas and drive more innovation in a field. We also host What’s Now: San Francisco that each month focuses on the latest developments in one of the many fields exploding in innovation across the region.

Look for innovation to now move into hyper-drive in the realms of government and politics throughout California — and particularly in the San Franicsco Bay Area. I know our company is working on ways to catalyze these kinds of conversations and do our part to reinvent political grand strategy along the lines of what I’ve been laying out here. But there are already many efforts popping up to move this next-generation politics forward.

The Real Beginning is Still Obama

Now it’s possible that this whole analysis I have laid out is wrong. After all, I predicted that Hillary was going to win this last election. (Though who didn’t?) But it’s certainly worth seriously considering a scenario like this. Republicans clapping at Trump’s Inauguration should be very careful about what they wish for. Democrats wringing their hands in anguish should pause too.

Stay open to counter-intuitive, out-of-the-box interpretations. Too few of us did last year. Be ready to make hard choices when unexpected new options open up quickly. We all may be faced with them soon. Brace for the big changes to come. They’re coming.

Most of all, for those who supported President Obama, stay hopeful. I truly believe that the politics and policies that President Obama helped usher in will prevail in the end. In the big-picture view of history, the brief Trump reign will be seen as a difficult but necessary step in the massive transition between one economic period to another.

Obama’s decade of work will be seen, in the decades to come, as the truly enduring foundation. He laid the groundwork for what will certainly become the all-digital, fully global, sustainable civilization of the 21st century.

Join us for NewCo Shift Forum, taking place Feb. 6–9 in San Francisco. We are bringing 400 of the best minds in business, technology, and government together for two days of focused, action-oriented dialog.

  • Go to the profile of Peter Leyden

    Peter Leyden

    Founder & CEO of Reinvent, a media company; Tech & Future Trends Speaker; Author 2 Books; former Wired ME, journalist, politico. Reinvent.net & PeterLeyden.com

  • NewCo Shift

    NewCo Shift

    Covering the biggest shift in business and society since the industrial revolution

  • New Announcements for Sunday, Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday (from Adrienne Fong)

    Send Items for Announcements to Pat by Tuesday’s: pat1936@gmail.com

    New Announcements

    Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday

    Sunday, January 29

    Sunday, 9:30am – 10:45am,  UU Forum: Lois Bactus: “Medical Students for Choice”

    First Unitarian Universalist Society
    1187 Franklin St.

    9:00am – Coffee & breakfast available for nominal fee
    9:30am – program

    Lois Bactus is the Executive Director of Medical Students for Choice. Focus is to remove stigma surrounding abortion by integrating abortion into medical education at all levels.

    Sunday, 12 Noon – 2:00pm, Practicing Solidarity During Immigration Raids in SF: Rapid Response Network Training

    Ignatian Spiritual Life Center
    1611 Oak St.

    Become part of a team of committed people ready to respond and be present during any ICE raids of homes and workplaces. This training will provide information on how to:

    + Be a part of the team of “first responders” at the site of an ICE raid and connect the families affected with the resources for social and legal services available to them in San Francisco

    +Document any abuses during raids, and help build visibility by giving a real face to the mass deportations. You will gather information to tell the real story about WHO is being affected!

    +OR if you don’t want to be a “first responder”, you can join the Accompaniment Team and play a supporting role in assisting families who are affected by raids—they may need rides to appointments, food, help connecting to services, etc.

    Organized by: Faith in Action Bay Area, Pangea Legal Services, the Archdiocese of San Francisco & the Ignatian Spiritual Life Center

    Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/272399289841146/

    Sunday, 3:00pm – 4:00pm, Tell Feinstein: No More Trump Nominations! None! (Progressive Press Conference)

    2470 Lyon St.

    Presser at Feinstein’s SF Home: 1/29 at 3 pm: Stop Sessions!

    Simple and powerful message for Sen. Feinstein: Vote against Jeff Sessions for U.S. Attorney General.

    Feinstein is sitting on the fence regarding this nightmare nominee to be the nation’s top law enforcement official, which we find unacceptable.

    She has already crossed the aisle to vote in favor of Trump’s CIA director this week.

    The earliest she may vote on the Sessions nomination is Tuesday

    Host: Ben Becker and Michael Petrelis.

    Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/699640200198107/

    Sunday, 5:00pm, Refuse Fascism Meeting

    2940 – 16th Street (nr. 16th Street BART)

    This is an important juncture, and we need to step back, discuss, and think about what has happened, what we did, and how and what we need to do to fight forward. We urge you to attend.


    Monday, January 30

    Monday, 6:00pm – 9:00pm, OccupyForum – Documentary: “Heist Who Stole the American Dream”

    Black and Brown Social Club
    474 Valencia St. (btw. 15th & 16th Sts.)

    After the film – Skype discussion with director Donald Goldmacher.

    “Heist traces the worldwide economic collapse to a 1971 secret memo entitled“Attack on American Free Enterprise System.” Written over 40 years ago by the future Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell at the behest of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the 6-page memo, a free-market utopian treatise, called for a money-fueled big business makeover of government through corporate control of the media, academia, the pulpit, arts and sciences and destruction of organized labor and consumer protection groups.

    But Powell’s real “end game” was business control of law and politics. Heist’s step by step detail exposes the systemic implementation of Powell’s memo by bothU.S. political parties culminating in the deregulation of industry, outsourcing of jobs, and regressive taxation –  all of which led us to the global financial crisis of 2008, the continued dismantling of the American middle class, and the “election” of Donald Trump.

    Tuesday, January 31

    Tuesday, 5:30pm – 8:00pm, Save City College General Assembly

    CCSF – Ocean Campus
    Phelan Ave. MUB 280

    Updates and actions: Delegation to NACIQI in Washington to delist the ACCJC, Land grab at Balboa Reservoir, Sanctuary campus, Student report: Ending CCSF as a long-time sanctuary, by arming campus police and more.

    Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/01/26/18795808.php

    Wednesday, February 1

    Wednesday, 6:00pm – 8:00pmDavid Bacon on How Immigration Policy and Trade Policy are linked

    Redstone Labor Temple

    2940 16th Street

    Presentation by David Bacon, a California writer and documentary photographer. A former union organizer, today he documents labor, the global economy, war and migration, and the struggle for human rights.  His latest book, The Right to Stay Home (Beacon Press, 2013), discusses alternatives to forced migration and the criminalization of migrants. Sponsor Living Wage CoalitionInfo: 415-863-1225, sflivingwage@riseup.net

    “Does a Protest’s Size Matter?” by Zeynep Tufekci (nytimes.com)

    On October 4, 1789, a crowd of women demanding bread for their families gathered other discontented Parisians, including some men, and marched toward Versailles, arriving soaking wet from the rain. They demanded to see “the Baker,” “the Baker’s wife,” and “the Baker’s boy”. The King agreed to meet with some of the women and promised to distribute all the bread in Versailles to the crowd. The arrival of the National Guard on the scene determined to take the King back to Paris complicated things for the King.
    Some of the crowd got into the Queen’s quarters and Marie Antoinette barely escaped by way of a secret passage (still partly intact at the Palace at Versailles) to the King’s room. He agreed to address the people from his balcony. “My friends,” he said, “I will go to Paris with my wife and my children.” It was a fatal mistake. It was the last time the King saw Versailles.

    The Women’s March on Saturday, which took place in cities and towns all across the United States (and around the world), may well have been the largest protest in American history. There were an estimated 3.5 million participants.

    This has to mean something, right?

    After studying protests over the last two decades, I have to deliver some bad news: In the digital age, the size of a protest is no longer a reliable indicator of a movement’s strength. Comparisons to the number of people in previous marches are especially misleading.

    A protest does not have power just because many people get together in one place. Rather, a protest has power insofar as it signals the underlying capacity of the forces it represents.

    Consider an analogy from the natural world: A gazelle will sometimes jump high in the air while grazing, apparently to no end — but it is actually signaling strength. “If I can jump this high,” it communicates to would-be predators, “I can also run very fast. Don’t bother with the chase.”

    Protesters are saying, in effect, “If we can pull this off, imagine what else we can do.”

    But it is much easier to pull off a large protest than it used to be. In the past, a big demonstration required months, if not years, of preparation. The planning for the March on Washington in August 1963, for example, started nine months earlier, in December 1962. The march drew a quarter of a million people, but it represented much more effort, commitment and preparation than would a protest of similar size today. Without Facebook, without Twitter, without email, without cellphones, without crowdfunding, the ability to organize such a march was a fair proxy for the strength and sophistication of the civil rights movement.

    The Women’s March, on the other hand, started with a few Facebook posts and came together in a relatively short amount of time. The organizers no doubt did a lot of work, and the size and the energy of the gathering reflected a remarkable depth of dissent. However, as with all protests today, the march required fewer resources and less time spent on coordination than a comparable protest once did.

    This is one reason that recent large protests have had less effect on policy than many were led to expect. I participated in the antiwar protests of February 2003 — at that point, likely the largest global protest in history, with events in more than 600 cities. I assumed the United States and its allies could not ignore a protest of that size. But President George W. Bush, dismissing the protesters as a “focus group,” indeed proceeded to ignore us, and the Iraq war began soon after. Mr. Bush was right in one way: The protesters failed to transform into an electoral force capable of defeating him in the 2004 election.

    In 2011, I attended the global Occupy protests, which were held in about 1,000 cities in more than 80 countries — again, likely the biggest global protest ever, at that point. Thanks in part to digital technology, those protests, too, had been organized in just a few weeks. I was optimistic that I would soon see political and economic changes in response to this large-scale expression of resistance to economic inequality. I was wrong, then, too.

    Two enormous protests, two disappointing results. Similar sequences of events have played out in other parts of the world.

    This doesn’t mean that protests no longer matter — they do. Nowadays, however, protests should be seen not as the culmination of an organizing effort, but as a first, potential step. A large protest today is less like the March on Washington in 1963 and more like Rosa Parks’s refusal to move to the back of the bus. What used to be an endpoint is now an initial spark.

    More than ever before, the significance of a protest depends on what happens afterward.

    Consider the Tea Party protests of 2009, which also brought out hundreds of thousands of people in cities throughout the United States, and which also were organized with the help of digital communication. Like any other protest, including the Women’s March, these were symbolic expressions of support, and they also functioned as events where like-minded individuals could find one another. But the Tea Party protesters then got to work on a ferociously focused agenda: identifying and supporting primary candidates to challenge Republicans who did not agree with their demands, keeping close tabs on legislation and pressuring politicians who deviated from a Tea Party platform.

    Last Saturday, as I participated in the Women’s March in North Carolina, I marveled at the large turnout and the passion of those who marched. But if those protesters are not exchanging contact information and setting up local strategy meetings, their large numbers are unlikely to translate into the kind of effectiveness the Tea Party supporters had after their protests in 2009.

    The Tea Party, of course, is not the only model for moving forward. But there is no magic power to marching in the streets that, on its own, leads to any other kind of result.

    The march I attended in North Carolina ended with everyone singing along to a song called “Let’s Get to Work.” For today’s protests, more than ever, that’s the right message.

    “George Orwell and the Power of a Well-Placed Lie” by Robert Kuttner (billmoyers.com)

    George Orwell in 1940. (Wikimedia Commons)

    January 25, 2017.  This post originally appeared at The Huffington Post.

    Last week, I reached for my Philip Roth — his splendid novel, The Plot Against America. This week, I reached for my George Orwell.

    In 1946, as Europe was digging out from the ruin of World War II — a genuine case of mass carnage as opposed to President Donald Trump’s fantasy carnage — Orwell wrote the classic essay on the seductions of propaganda, “Politics and the English Language.”

    Much of the essay, widely assigned in English classes, warns how stale writing leads to sloppy thinking. But the most original part is Orwell’s evisceration of propaganda.

    Long before Trump, the ‘mainstream’ Republican Party made lies a staple of its arsenal, from its lies about Obamacare to its bogus budget numbers to its false contentions of fraudulent voting.

    Combined with his great novel 1984, written in 1949 as a dystopian warning about the way totalitarian practice becomes internalized in totalitarian thinking, these two great works gave us the adjective, “Orwellian.”

    In  1984, we learned the official slogans of the party: “War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength,” only slight parodies of communism and Nazism.

    “Freedom is Slavery” was not far from the infamous greeting at the gates of Auschwitz, “Arbeit Macht Frei.”

    And “Ignorance is Strength” seems to be Donald Trump’s credo and operating premise — ignorance for both himself and his public.

    Orwell’s target was the prettified euphemism, used mostly by extreme left-wing and right-wing parties and governments. If people could be persuaded to accept the reframing, they might well alter their conception of reality.

    In “Politics and the English Language,” Orwell made great sport of pretentious writing and mixed metaphors, such as “The capitalist octopus has sung its swan song.” But he was dead serious about the political point. He wrote:

    Defenseless villages are bombed from the air, their inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called “pacification.” Millions of peasants are robbed of their land and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called “transfer of population.”

    Note that Orwell was writing two full decades before the Vietnam War. Even before the advent of Donald Trump, the misuse of language in our own day has been in many respects more insidious and more corrosive than the plague against which Orwell was warning.

    Orwell’s examples came from either totalitarian governments or far-left and far-right parties in the democracies. In America, a democracy, both major parties have increasingly used Orwellian language ― Republicans far more than Democrats.

    Trump has taken the maneuver to a whole new low. But the earlier Orwellian efforts softened the ground.

    There was a time when most laws had descriptive or technical names, such as the Glass-Steagall Act, the National Labor Relations Act or the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Since former President George W. Bush, pieces of legislation have been treated as branding and marketing opportunities.

    After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush administration hastily assembled a wish list of every overzealous prosecutor and surveillance agent. The initials of the legislation were tortured until they spelled out the U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act, or the Patriot Act for short. What patriot could be against the Patriot Act?

    And speaking of torture, that activity, prohibited by the Geneva Conventions, was rebranded as “enhanced interrogation.” Sending American captives off to prisons in allied nations where there were no limits on torture was called a “rendition.” If a document was censored, that was now termed “redacted.” Even the mainstream press, shamefully, has succumbed to that usage.

    As Orwell would have appreciated, “censored” is plain English. Censorship sounds like something we might want to oppose or at least suspect. “Redacted” is a bland, unfamiliar and bureaucratic word that suggests a neutral and presumably defensible process. And the Obama administration found the word just as convenient as Dick Cheney, Bush and company did.

    After the Patriot Act, it became standard procedure for both parties to give laws propagandistic names, though the Republicans were the repeat offenders. One of the worst pieces of bipartisan education legislation ever, later repudiated by both parties because of its overreliance on teach-to-the-test, was called the “No Child Left Behind Act.” Who could be against that?

    Trump’s strategy is to flood the zone — to proliferate so many lies that by the time one lie is rebutted, he has put out several more, and he seems to believe even the lies that contradict previous lies.

    Republican advocates of school vouchers, mindful of the well-established support for public schools, began rebranding them as the more sinister sounding “government schools.” When President George W. Bush sponsored a tax-subsidized drug insurance program run by private insurance companies, he made sure to brand it “Medicare Part D,” since Medicare was a broadly supported public program — even though his drug program was a pure windfall to the drug industry and had nothing whatever to do with Medicare.

    This may seem like small beer, but it is one of several trends on the use of language that has misled and cheapened public discourse ― and laid the ground for Trumpism. At the extreme, the trend feeds the ability of demagogues to persuade citizens that up is down, or black is white.

    Fox News, the most flagrantly biased of the cable channels, pioneered the trend with its slogan, “Fair and Balanced.” As any serious person knows, Fox is a propaganda organ, while the reputable news organs, from The New York Times to NPR, really do make an effort to separate fact from opinion.

    Long before Trump, the “mainstream” Republican Party made lies a staple of its arsenal, from its lies about Obamacare to its bogus budget numbers to its false contentions of fraudulent voting.

    Trump has embellished this technique by lying, then accusing his critics of lying, until the debate is hopelessly scrambled. Trump manufactures phony stories, then accuses the media of “fake news.”

    Adolf Hitler was the first to describe the technique of repeating a lie so often that people would come to believe it. He called it the “Big Lie.”

    Bill Moyers and four historians on the big lie behind the rise of Trump.

    From his denial of climate change to his denial that Obama was born in Hawaii, Trump has dusted off the Big Lie. But then he does the classic Big Liars one better ― by denying the denial.

    As Jonathan Swift wrote in 1710, “Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it, so that when men come to be undeceived, it is too late.” A version misattributed to Mark Twain has it that “a lie is halfway around the world while the truth is putting its boots on.” You get the point.

    Trump’s strategy is to flood the zone — to proliferate so many lies that by the time one lie is rebutted, he has put out several more, and he seems to believe even the lies that contradict previous lies. Ignorance really is Trump’s strength.

    In his Inaugural address, Trump claimed that America is succumbing to a horrible crime wave, when if fact serious crime is at a 30-year low. Republican demonizers of the Affordable Care Act bemoan the high out-of-pocket expenses, when in fact all the Republican replacements would raise deductibles and co-pays. And so on.

    Trump has resurrected the Big Lie. But, pathetically, he also resorts to the Little Lie.

    On his first full day in office, Trump’s main concern was whether his was bigger — his inaugural crowd. Though it was easily verified that Obama’s inaugural had a larger crowd, as did the women’s march the next day after Trump’s show, a livid Trump sent out his press secretary to rail at the press for understating Trump’s size. The press spokesman, Sean Spicer, himself told at least seven easily verifiable lies.

    I am feeling a little better than I did on Inauguration Day, in part because of the good cheer and political resolve modeled at the several women’s marches — but also because you can sense the wheels starting to come off the Trump bus.

    Call it the New Separation of Powers. Trump’s inner circle is a snake pit of intrigue between the likes of Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Trump is at odds with senior members of his own cabinet, who are at odds with each other. Trump’s ad libs, like his abrupt support for universal health coverage, regularly cut the legs out from under his Republican Congress.

    Trump may wish he were a total dictator, but this is still a democracy. Lies can work during campaigns but at some point, when you try to govern, reality has a way of intruding. Eventually, the truth does get its boots on.


    Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, a professor at Brandeis University’s Heller School and a distinguished senior fellow of the think tank Demos. He was a longtime columnist for Business Week and continues to write columns in The Boston Globe. He is the author of Obama’s Challenge (2008) and other books. Follow him on Twitter: @rkuttner.

    Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi: the White House will ‘shut out the press’

    New Announcements (from Adrienne Fong)

    Send Items for Announcements to Pat By Tuesday’s: pat1936@gmail.com 


    (Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Monday)

    Thursday, January 26

    Thursday, 2:00pm,  Protest – Against executive order by Trump. NO Stop Trump / Pence


    Federal Building (old)
    450 Golden Gate


    We Publicly Oppose, Condemn, Pledge to Resist & Call on Everyone to Resist Trump’s Orders, Plans, and Actions:
    * Building Trump’s Wall
    * Expanding border agents & giving them more power
    * Jails for immigrants
    * Targeting Central Americans who are fleeing violence
    * Banning, or restricting visas for people from majority Muslim countries
    * Punishment for sanctuary cities
    * Expanding use of torture including waterboarding
    * Reopening CIA “Black Sites”
    * Guantanamo

    After Rally, we will go to Twitter protest then to the No DAPL

    Sponsor: Refuse Fascism Bay Area

    Info: refusefascism.bayarea@gmail.com

    Thursday, 6:00pm – 8:00pm, We Resist! No KXL No DAPL

    San Francisco Federal Building
    90 – 7th Street

    Stand up for clean air, water and soil!

    Trump signed a memoranda to push through the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.

    By allowing these pipelines, Trump has confirmed his misguided commitment to the fossil fuel industry and total disregard for the millions of people who have stood against these dangerous projects. We will not stand idly by while he pushes through policies that make his friends in the fossil fuel industry more wealthy while violating Indigenous Treaty rights, using eminent domain to steal people’s land, poisoning the water, air and soil, and disavowing the overwhelming majority of scientists working to mitigate a climate catastrophe.

    Sponsors: Idle No More, SF Bay working with our allies: Stand, 350.org, Movement Rights, Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network, Diablo Rising Tide, Rainforest Action Network, Chinese Progressive Association, Native American Health Alliance, Do No Harm Coalition, Sierra Club and others.

    Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1218148114907184/

    Friday January 27

    Friday, 1:00pm – 4:00pm, Emergency March Nodapl Oakland


    Oakland City Hall
    1 Frank Ogawa Plaza

    Trump signed an executive order green lighting the pipeline, this is not only illegal it is a devastating blow to the water protectors who are fighting so hard to preserve our future.

    An injury to one is an injury to all. Because of this we support everyone struggling for their voices to be heard and to have the dignity of a life free from violence and oppression at the hands of the police, the US government, and its citizens.

    We will be meeting at city hall on a day where people are going to be in it! We will then march to Bank of America and Wells Fargo, as they are actively funding the pipeline.

    Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/166515370503585/

    Saturday, January 28

    Saturday, 12Noon – 5:00pm, Silence is Violence Protest 1/28 (Title change)


    555 California St. (BoA Building that Trump owns 30% of)

    During this protest, we are going to maintain a focus on the recent decisions to move forward with the Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines, but we are going to rename the event as to respect the indigenous leadership of the #NoDAPL movement.

    Everyone has the right to protest oppression and state sanctioned violence (i.e., police brutality, lack of access to healthcare, prison, etc.) and express that in whatever way makes the most sense to them.

    Sponsor: Fuck TrumpSF

    Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1712125485744954/

    Saturday 12Noon – 1:00pm, Human Billboard: Black Lives Matter! No Trump Agenda in Oakland

    Grand Lake Farmers Market
    Grand Ave.

    Join us under the awning of the Grand Lake Theater at Lakeshore and MacArthur Blvd. in Oakland, rain or shine, to call attention to racial injustice and demonstrate solidarity.

    Locally and nationally, folks have been holding weekly gatherings on prominent street corners and freeway overpasses, holding signs and making visible our support for the Movement for Black Lives and communities targeted by Trump. These gatherings – or “human billboards” – have been a simple yet effective way of channeling anger and sadness over injustice into collective action and solidarity.

    For those of us who are white, it’s a way to express a unified voice in opposition to Trump and the white nationalist politics he represents, and to commit to ending white silence and visibly supporting racial justice.

    Sponsor SURJ Oakland/SF Bay Area

    Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1727008294279765/

    Saturday, 12Noon – 3:00pm, Vigil for Angel Ramos, murdered by Vallejo police

    111 Amador St.

    The family of Angel Ramos is holding a vigil and a march and requests community support. Angel Ramos was murdered by Vallejo police on January 23rd, 2017

    Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/639687539544259/

    Monday, January 30

    Monday, 8:15am – 1:00pm, All Voices Needed! Defend Refinery Caps!

    Bay Area Air Quality Management District
    375 Beale St., Suite 600

    Staff of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District will try to kill our proposal for caps on refinery emissions  at the meeting of the Air District’s Stationary Source Committee.

    Show support and tell committee members to set limits on toxic and greenhouse gas emissions in order to prevent buildout of new oil industry infrastructure and the massive importation of tar sands oil.

    More information here bit.ly/2jZFlhv

    Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/646323955554049/