Jeff Bezos, Jamie Dimon, and Warren Buffett unite to disrupt healthcare’s profit motive

  • January 30, 2018 (BigThink.com)

by STEPHEN JOHNSON

Jeff Bezos, Amazon; Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan; Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway (Getty)

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase announced on Tuesday plans to create an independent company that would provide innovative healthcare services to their U.S. employees.

“The ballooning costs of healthcare act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy,” said Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO, Warren Buffett, in a joint press release. “Our group does not come to this problem with answers. But we also do not accept it as inevitable. Rather, we share the belief that putting our collective resources behind the country’s best talent can, in time, check the rise in health costs while concurrently enhancing patient satisfaction and outcomes.”

The proposed company would be “free from profit-making incentives and constraints,” and plans to focus first on developing technology that would provide “simplified, high-quality and transparent healthcare at a reasonable cost.”

That “reasonable cost” line will likely resonate with Americans. The U.S. spends about twice as much per-capita on healthcare as other developed countries. In 2016, healthcare spending accounted for about 18 percent of the U.S. GDP. That’s more than double the share it held in 1980.

CBS

Rising healthcare costs can be attributed, in part, to inefficiencies in the system: requiring patients to see a doctor to get prescriptions filled, time-consuming administrative tasks, and a lack of serious price competitionbetween hospitals. This new venture could begin to change that.

“This is the start of a restructuring of the healthcare industry. This could be the catalyst for something bigger,” said Chuck Self, chief investment officer with iSectors, to CNN. “It’s part of the Amazon-ization of the nation, but it’s now clearly more than just Amazon.”

The markets seem to agree. Stocks of major healthcare companies took a big hit on the morning of the announcement, including a more than 4-percent dip by CVS and Walgreens.

It’s yet unclear when or how the new company will go about providing services to employees, or whether it will be able to compete seriously with the larger, more established providers who have the major advantage of scale. Still, the industry will surely keep close tabs on the new venture of the three behemoth companies, all of whom have a track record bringing innovation to their respective sectors.

“The three of our companies have extraordinary resources, and our goal is to create solutions that benefit our U.S. employees, their families and, potentially, all Americans,” said Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase.

What Trump Will Not Be Talking About in His State of the Union

He will surely not be apologizing for the many lies he told American voters.

"The Koch brothers and their billionaire friends are planning to spend some $400 million in the 2018 midterm elections supporting right-wing Republicans. We will beat them, however, because we are in the midst of creating a political revolution." (Photo: Sally Prevost/flickr/cc)

“The Koch brothers and their billionaire friends are planning to spend some $400 million in the 2018 midterm elections supporting right-wing Republicans. We will beat them, however, because we are in the midst of creating a political revolution.” (Photo: Sally Prevost/flickr/cc)

Tuesday night is Trump’s State of the Union speech. Nobody knows exactly what he will be discussing, but I’m absolutely certain what he will NOT be talking about.

He will surely not be apologizing for the many lies he told American voters: how he promised to defend the interests of working people, but then sold them out to Wall Street and the billionaire class.

During his campaign he promised to provide health care to “everybody,” but then supported legislation which would have thrown 32 million Americans off of the healthcare they had. Although we managed to stop his effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, 3.2 million fewer Americans today have health insurance than when Trump first came into office, and millions more will lose their health insurance as a result of the repeal of the individual mandate.

During his campaign he promised to pass tax reform legislation designed to help the middle class. The legislation that he signed will, at the end of 10 years, provide 83 percent of the benefits to the top 1 percent, drive up the deficit by $1.7 trillion and raise taxes for millions of middle class families.

During his campaign he promised to take on the outrageously high prices of the pharmaceutical industry which, he told us, was “getting away with murder.” Then, as president, while drug prices continue to soar, he appointed a drug company executive as Secretary of Health and Human Services who worked to triple insulin prices.

During his campaign he promised to take on the greed of Wall Street, but then proceeded to appoint more Wall Street titans to high positions than any president in history. Now, with Wall Street firmly behind him, he is trying to repeal the modest provisions of the Dodd-Frank legislation which provide some consumer protections against Wall Street thievery.

Trump will also not be talking about the role that he has played in significantly lowering the respect that people all over the planet have for the United States. Once, not so many years ago, we were considered to be the political and moral leader in the world, the country most admired. Now, according to a recent Gallup poll, since Trump has been president median approval of U.S. leadership plummeted to 30 percent, down from 48 percent in 2016.

Trump will not talk about his efforts to undermine democracy in the United States and his support for authoritarianism abroad. He will not mention his encouragement to Republican governors to accelerate efforts for voter suppression, and his admiration for the leaders of countries like Russia, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines.

Trump will not talk about his belief that climate change is a “hoax,” and his appointment of agency leaders who are undermining our ability to move toward sustainable energy and protect the environment.

Trump will not talk about how he is the first president in modern history who is intentionally trying to divide this nation up based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or nation of origin. He will not be mentioning his overt and covert efforts to win the support of white supremacists.

And on and on it goes. I suspect that there will be a lot more interest in what Trump will NOT be talking about in his speech than what he will discuss..

I don’t have to tell you what you already know.

The very bad news is that Donald Trump is president of the United States and he is pushing the most dishonest, reactionary and divisive agenda in modern American history.

There is good news, however. And that is that, in an unprecedented way, we are witnessing a revitalization of American democracy with more and more people standing up and fighting back. We are seeing the growth of grassroots organizations and people from every conceivable background starting to run for office – for school board, city council, state legislature and Congress.

And these candidates, from coast to coast, are standing tall for a progressive agenda: Medicare for All, a $15 an hour minimum wage, free tuition at public colleges and universities, transformation of our energy system away from fossil fuels, a woman’s right to choose and pay equity, progressive taxation, fair trade, criminal justice and immigration reform and much more.

Yes. The Koch brothers and their billionaire friends are planning to spend some $400 million in the 2018 midterm elections supporting right-wing Republicans. We will beat them, however, because we are in the midst of creating a political revolution. When ordinary people, by the millions, demand economic, racial, social and environmental justice – we will not be denied.

Keep the faith and please remember, despair is not an option.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006 after serving 16 years in the House of Representatives. He is the longest serving independent member of Congress in American history. Elected Mayor of Burlington, Vt., by 10 votes in 1981, he served four terms. Before his 1990 election as Vermont’s at-large member in Congress, Sanders lectured at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and at Hamilton College in upstate New York. Read more at his website. Follow him on Twitter: @SenSanders or @BernieSanders

Jesus Was a Proto-Communist Jewish Hobo Who Criticized the Rich

How Can Republicans Be Christians? Who Would Jesus Kick Off Welfare?

The fact that white evangelical and born-again Christians act as one of the cornerstones for failed beverage-retailer Donald Trump’s base of supporters is somehow unsurprising and, at the same time, cartoonishly odd. It is unsurprising because the right half of the neoliberal-capitalist binary cycle is often branded as a revival of allegedly traditional Christian values, while the “left” half is branded as a Unitarian or ‘spiritual but not religious’ counter-punch to save all of the helpless minorities. Rinse and repeat every 4 – 8 years. The strange part is that Trump could objectively be described as the living, breathing incarnation of the antithesis to everything Jesus advocated and died for. Jesus — the anointed one, IssaYeshuahHaMeshiach — you know, that guy whose ideas are supposed to be the basis of Christianity?

Jesus of Nazareth vs. ‘Christian’ Political Views:
What Would Jesus Do (to Immigrants, Muslims, & Poor People)?

“In a Trump administration, our Christian heritage will be cherished, protected, defended, like you’ve never seen before. Believe me. I believe it. And you believe it. And you know it…”
— former bankruptcy applicant, Donald Trump

According to gospel accounts, Jesus was a homeless Jew who openly associated with sex-workers and social outcasts as he walked the Levant spreading a mystical and frankly proto-communist interpretation of the Hebrew scriptures. After three years of teaching controversial ideas that upset Judea’s priestly class, he was accused of fomenting rebellion and executed by European Imperialist forces at the age of 33 in Roman-occupied Syria Palaestina.

Jesus’ Family Was Dirt-Poor & Sometimes Homeless

“Teenage mothers [shouldn’t] get public assistance unless they jump through some pretty small hoops. Making them live in group homes makes sense”
— Trump

Jesus was literally born in a trough used to feed livestock in a barn because his mother — an unmarried woman named Mary — and her partner, Joseph, had no place to sleep. His family was homeless and, as any reasonable person would guess, the experience of poverty informed Jesus’ worldview quite a bit. On more than one occasion, Jesus flat-out told rich people to sell all of their stuff and hand out the proceeds to the poor. Many of his most well-known sayings are pretty savage critique of the wealthy:

Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. […] But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry” -Jesus, Luke 6:21, 24-25

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” -Jesus, Mark 10:24-25

Who Would Jesus Kick Off Welfare?

“The point is, you can never be too greedy”
— Trump

Communist Jesus, Wealth and Poverty

GOP congressmen Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) are pushing a bill to cut 20% of funding for food stamps, claiming Trump seemed “enthusiastic” about the idea in a recent meeting. In other news, congress adopted a 10-year budget resolution in October outlining $800 billion in cuts to non-military spending, which the Urban Institute estimates would deprive 28 million households of $1,230 in yearly public childcare, housing, and food assistance. (And in case you thought this post would let democrats off the hook, make no mistake — despite any false tears, Schumer and his brood of vipers will go along with it as they always do.)

And while Trump’s budget proposes large cuts to food stamps and welfare due to his belief that welfare is “morally offensive” and “robs people of the chance to improve,” Jesus seemed to think not feeding people who were hungry was pretty uncool. In fact, he straight-up insisted on feeding people:

Sell your possessions and give to the poor” -Jesus, Luke 12:33

Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again […] If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return” -Jesus, Luke 6:30, 34-35

“[Jesus] brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty” -Luke 1:52-53

Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” -Jesus, Matthew 5:42

What Would Jesus Do to Immigrants & Muslims?

“They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people”
-Trump

Jesus’ Parable of the Good Samaritan is often misinterpreted. Though “good Samaritan” is often used to label helpful strangers, helping others was not the point of the story — the point was that treating immigrants and folks with different religious or cultural backgrounds as outsiders is a stupid and crappy thing to do. For those who are unfamiliar with the parable, it tells the story of a guy who is robbed and left for dead on the highway. A priest and a Levite — who both enjoyed a high status in Judean society — pass by and leave him bleeding in the ditch. Then, a Samaritan shows up who cleans the guy’s wounds, hoists him onto a camel, and takes him to a nearby bed and breakfast where the Samaritan pays for his room and the parable ends.

The context here is crucial — in first-century Judea, folks had a lot of racist nonsense stuffed between their ears and Samaritans were depicted as an inferior race whose religion was defiled by foreign ideas. This racism was strong in the wealthy and priestly classes, which is why it was pretty intense that Jesus told this parable to a professional expert in Hebrew religious law. When Jesus mentioned the Torah’s commandment to love your neighbor as yourself, the expert asked, “But who counts as a neighbor?” And this is the context in which Jesus throws down his parable.

yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7 - Jesus Was a Proto-Communist Jewish Hobo Who Criticized the Rich

A “Christian” Nation?

Would Jesus have approved of banning Muslims from entering the country? How about the idea of killing their families to win the war on terror? And would he have joined in the chant to “build that wall” or shrugged off the suggestion that Latinx immigrants are likely to be rapists and drug-dealers? These are important questions and, in a sense, they transcend the framework of religion or non-religion. Jesus wouldn’t have been a republican — and while we’re on the subject, he sure as hell wouldn’t be a democrat either. No — Jesus would sooner be the pauper sleeping in a stairwell downtown and — if any non-negligible number of politicians were Christians — you’d think there’d be less of a debate in congress over whether we ought to feed him or not…

In solidarity,
John Laurits

OccupyForum presents . . . Taking Stock of our Actions to Defend Immigrants: Group discussion and planning

OccupyForum presents…

Monday, January 29th from 6:45 – 9 pm at SEIU Local 2

215 Golden Gate Avenue near Civic Center BART station

Information, discussion & community! Monday Night Forum!!

OccupyForum is an opportunity for open and respectful dialogue

on all sides of these critically important issues!

Taking Stock of our Actions to Defend Immigrants:

Group discussion and planning

We are witnessing at this moment the most serious threat to our immigrant communities, at least since Operation Wetback in 1954.  What’s more ominous today is that this attack on immigrants is part of a broader assault on democratic rights aimed at hammering into place a more authoritarian/fascist form of rule.

But it is important to realize that the attacks on immigrants have aroused widespread, diverse and potentially powerful opposition. They include activist groups, churches and faith groups, labor unions, lawyers, and some progressive, especially local, politicians, and immigrant groups themselves.

Last week, in response to threats by ICE to initiate raids and mass roundups in the Bay Area, two demonstrations were held at the ICE headquarters at 630 Sansome. On Thursday it was a coalition of political actors from Refuse Fascism, Occupy, Code Pink and other groups. On Friday it was a convergence of religious forces initiated by the Jewish community. It included activists from Faith in Action and the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity. More people plan to protest on Monday. Each of these groupings brings with them their own strengths and weaknesses, but all are essential and important in forging a broad defense of immigrants.

What strategies do these groups bring to the struggle, what are their differences and their similarities? Can they collaborate and overlap, even as they work independently?

Let’s meet and kick around some ideas about this. We see two areas where the movement to stop ICE can be immediately assisted:

1.     Keep up a regular protest presence at ICE calling upon different sections of the community to take the lead in doing this and,

2.     Develop closer coordination, and information sharing, between the different pro-immigrant forces in the field.

Time will be allotted for announcements. Donations to OccupyForum to cover

 costs are encouraged; no one turned away!

Updates ~ Announcements: Monday, Jan. 29 – Wednesday, Jan. 31 (from Adrienne Fong)

ACCESSIBILITY: Please include Accessibility Information on Events! This is a JUSTICE ISSUE!

Check Indybay for other events: https://www.indybay.org/calendar/?page_id=12 

Updates: 

A. Implementation of ‘shock doctrine’ in Puerto Rico denounced (January 26, 2018)

http://caribbeanbusiness.com/implementation-of-shock-doctrine-in-puerto-rico-denounced/

D2 D2-Peter-Munk-George Soros-Cheney-Paul-Wolfowitz-H.W.Bush-GWBush-John-Kerry-Clinton-Sept-Peter-Munk-George Soros-Cheney-Paul-Wolfowitz-H.W.Bush-GWBush-John-Kerry-

B. ICE tracking license plates using Bay Area company’s technology (January 26, 2018)

https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/01/26/ice-to-track-license-plates-using-bay-area-companys-technology-report/

C. Nine Humanitarian Activists Face Federal Charges After Leaving Water for Migrants in the Arizona Desert

https://theintercept.com/2018/01/23/no-more-deaths-arizona-border-littering-charges-immigration/ 

D. Indictments have been made against Hillary, Obama, Soros, Cheney, Bush and many morefor 9/11 in a Nevada state court. (From Pat Gray)

https://www.docdroid.net/zmVDhA4/d2-peter-munk-george-soros-cheney-paul-wolfowitz-hwbush-gwbush-john-kerry-clinton-september-11-attack.pdf  

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Monday, January 29 – Wednesday, January 31

Monday, January 29

1.  Monday, 12Noon – 1:30pm, Gender Politics and Freedom Dreams During the United Farm Worker Movement

UC Berkeley Labor Center
2521 Channing Way
Berkeley

Free

book talk with Christian Paiz, Assistant Professor in Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley.

Absent in farmworker historiographies are the voices of farmworker women who speak of patriarchal and racialized exploitation in post World War II California. For many, patriarchal power originated in domestic violence, strict gender roles and autonomy-denying social conditions. Using original oral interviews, this presentation foregrounds the patriarchal relations within the Mexican farmworker community, and traces its implications for the historiography on farmworker unionization in the 1960s and 1970s. More specifically, it argues for a direct confrontation with Mexican patriarchy so as to trace the racialized, gendered and classed power relations in California’s agricultural countryside. It further argues that only by engaging in this confrontation can we understand farmworker women’s experiences and recognize their political visions during the United Farm Worker Movement.

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/161820511115767/ 

2. Monday, 4:00pm – 9:00pm, Stop ICE Raids! It’s up to us!!!

630 Sansome St.
SF

ICE is still planning massive raids targeting the Bay Area that could start anytime in the next few weeks. It’s on us to STOP these attacks on our immigrant sisters and brothers. Last Thursday we gathered outside ICE headquarters, and some people did non-violent civil disobedience to block ICE vehicles. But much more is needed! 

Earlier this month ICE raided 7-11 stores across the country and arrested immigrant rights leaders. Now they are preparing for a major sweep in the Bay Area to deport more than “1,500 undocumented people,” and “conduct at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at work sites.” Thousands of human beings torn from their lives and loved ones! And the Department of (in)Justice is even considering arresting and prosecuting mayors and other public officials responsible for Sanctuary policies. THIS MUST BE STOPPED! When you attack immigrants, you are attacking us all! 

In the coming days and weeks we will carry out political, non-violent actions to prevent these attacks on our immigrant brothers and sisters as we call upon the entire country to stand with us in resistance.

Host: Refuse Fascism

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/143785279638866/ 

3. Monday, 6:00pm – 8:00pm, Accompaniment Training at Beth Sholom 

301 14th Street
SF

The mission of accompaniment is to build an intergenerational, cross-class, multiracial and multilingual team that walks prayerfully and compassionately with those who are facing deportation, living homeless in our rich city, or resisting exploitation by unfair bosses or landlords.

Come learn how to show up for for specific accompaniment events, such as court hearings, INS check-ins, or visits to detention centers. We will hear stories from those who have been accompanied and those who have provided accompaniment.

Host: Faith in Action Bay Area

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1506611389456237/

Action away from Bay Area: 

4. Monday, 3:00pm – 5:00pm, & Tuesday,1/30 – 6:00am – 8:00am,  Occupy Beale AFB: Abolish Armed Drones! 

Vigil 3:00 to 5:00 PM, Wheatland Gate, Intersection of S. Beale Rd. and Ostrom Rd.
Dinner at local Marysville restaurant with celebration of Shirley Osgood’s Birthday.

And Peace Camping at Main Gate afterwards, 4675 N. Beale Rd. 

(Parking at end of N. Beale Rd.)

Tuesday, January 30
Vigil 6:00 to 8:00 AM, Main Gate, 4675 N. Beale Rd. 
Optional Breakfast, Debriefing and Future Planning in Marysville afterwards

Join us in the Circle of Life! We will stand in defense of the right of our muslim and non-muslim brothers and sisters to live safe from the harm of U.S. hellfire drone missiles, perpetual wars, and U.S. Occupation.  DEMILITARIZE!

FMI & Carpooling: 
Nevada County: 941-320-0291 
Bay Area: Toby: (510)215-5974, ratherbenyckeling@comcast.net 

Chico: Chris Nelson 530-345-7590 
Sacramento: 916-284-0944, bbinks

Tuesday, January 30 

5. Tuesday, 8:45am – 10:00am, Protect Marin’s Coast From Offshore Drilling

Marin County Government
3501 Civic Center Dr., Room 330
San Rafael

Take action and protect our coast! Oppose the Trump administration’s proposal to sell new leases for offshore oil drilling in federal waters along the coast of California.

The Marin County Board of Supervisors will vote on a resolution to protect our coast from offshore drilling and fracking/

speak in support of passing a resolution to protect our coast, ocean and the marine life who inhabit it.

Host: Turtle Island Restoration Network

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/750295281827555/ 

6. Tuesday, 8:00pm – 9:00pm, Spring 2018 Info Session: Anti-Trafficking Coalition at Berkeley 

UC Berkeley
229 Dwinelle Hall
Berkeley

Come join us for our first info session of the semester for a rundown about our cause and what we do!

The Anti-Trafficking Coalition at Berkeley is a community of interdisciplinary student activists, academic researchers, and community partners collaborating to end human trafficking. 

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/402181786877016/ 

Wednesday, January 31 

7. Wednesday, 4:30pm – 9:00pm, Free Ahed Tamimi

4:30-6pm Rally at the Oakland Federal Building (1301 Clay St)

6:15-9pm Celebrate Ahed Tamimi’s resistance on her birthday at Reem’s pop up in West Oakland (1700 Center Street)

Stand with Ahed Tamimi & all Palestinian Political Prisoners

On January 31, the struggle continues. Palestinian teen activist Ahed Tamimi will mark her 17th birthday behind bars – as the next Israeli military court hearing is convened against her. Ahed is one of 360 Palestinian children in Israeli prison and nearly 6,200 total Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails. As her birthday approaches, take action to stand with Ahed and demand her freedom and that of her fellow imprisoned Palestinians!

Organized the Palestine Action Network

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/176604366280137/

8. Wednesday, 6:00pm – 7:30pm, SF Main Branch Library: Fingerprints Over Frisco Book Tour 

SF Main Library
100 Larkin St.
SF

Fingerprints over Frisco! San Francisco’s People’s Poet Tony Robles reads from his new book of short stories and poems Fingerprints of a Hunger Strike, a collection that honors the Frisco Five Hunger Strikers and those who fight to keep the soul of San Francisco intact through activism, art and day to day survival. “Make no mistake, this is an important compilation. They are masterful, unpretentious, and expressive of the dreams and aspirations we all share” says Neeli Cherkovski, poet and biographer of Charles Bukowski. This collection follows 2015’s Cool Don’t Live Here No More–A letter to San Francisco, poems and short stories from a native son of the city. Joining Tony will be poets Kayvan Zahiri and Jackie Ramos.

A book sale and signing will follow the readings.

Sponsor: Filipino American Center

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/309180849570748/ 

9. Wednesday, 6:00pm – 8:00pm, “Deported” Film Screening / Q&A 

Keker, Van Nest, & Peters LLP
633 Battery St.
SF

Free – space limited to first 75 RSVPs

The Asian American Criminal Trial Lawyers Association and its sponsors invite you to join us for a film screening of “Deported,” a five-part documentary series on NBC Asian American Presents. Q&A with Director Sahra V. Nguyen and the Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus legal team, will follow. The panel will discuss the recent targeting of Cambodian and Vietnamese refugees by ICE and the struggles faced by this community. 

Hosts: APAPA & 5 Others

Info / RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/944652589020569/ 

10. Wednesday, 6:00pm – 9:00pm, A New Way to Stop Police Brutality: #NoJusticeNoDeal 

The Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist
1661 15th Street (nr. 16th Street BART)
SF

For too long, the San Francisco Police Officers Association (the police union) has taken hardline stances and used inflammatory tactics that destroy trust between residents and police. It has blocked or delayed common-sense reforms—like the city’s improved use-of-force policy—and has publicly attacked police accountability champions—including elected officials, prominent athletes like Colin Kaepernick, and its own police members. Unlike other unions focused on wages and benefits and reasonable working conditions for their employees, the SFPOA has used labor law to exert an enormous influence on public policy and public safety. 

Right now, the SFPOA is negotiating a new labor agreement with the city. The city must not approve a new contract increasing police officer pay and benefits unless the SFPOA agrees to respect our values and increase public safety. The SFPOA shouldn’t be allowed to use its bargaining power to make San Francisco less safe. 

We are a growing and diverse coalition of San Franciscans who care deeply about police accountability and community safety. We want to ensure the present negotiations of the SFPOA’s new labor contract reflects our values and our community’s need for safety. To influence these negotiations, we must act now before the contract is finalized by June 2018. 

Host on FB: Faith in Action Bay Area

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/542094689500158/ 

11. Wednesday, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, Ijeoma Oluo in Conversation with Denise Boston: So You Want to Talk About Race?

California Institute of Integral Studies
1453 Mission St.
SF

Ticket info: https://www.ciis.edu/public-programs/event-archive/oluo-ijeoma-lec-fw17

Pre-registration – $10
Members – $8
At the Door – $15

In her new book, So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America. She addresses head-on such issues as privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the “N” word.

Perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between people of color and white Americans struggling with race complexities, So You Want to Talk About Race answers the questions readers don’t dare ask, and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans.

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/11/17/18804607.php

12. Wednesday, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, A Discussion of the essay from Bob Avakian: “Three Alternative Worlds” 

Revolution Books Berkeley
2444 Durant Ave.
Berkeley

Is socialism better wages and healthcare? Or a radical rupture with ALL forms of exploitation and oppression, where not only are basic needs met, but society is characterized by the conscious expression and initiative of the masses of people – a transition to communism?

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/01/27/18806242.php

If immigration authorities raid the Bay Area, could the state stop them?

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents detain an undocumented immigrant. Bay Area immigrant communities worry large-scale raids are coming soon. (Charles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via AP)

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents detain an undocumented immigrant. Bay Area immigrant communities worry large-scale raids are coming soon. (Charles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via AP)

By Casey Tolan | ctolan@bayareanewsgroup.com | Bay Area News Group

PUBLISHED: January 18, 2018 | UPDATED: January 19, 2018

Faced with rumors of massive immigration raids on the horizon in the Bay Area, California leaders are dealing with an uncomfortable truth: There’s not much they can do to stop federal authorities from cracking down.

But if wide-scale sweeps of workplaces do take place over the next few weeks — as immigrant communities fear after a report in the San Francisco Chronicle — it could be the first test for a new state law limiting immigration authorities’ ability to enter private businesses without warrants.

State Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Thursday acknowledged that the federal government has jurisdiction over immigration, even as he told reporters he was prepared to challenge any enforcement actions that violate California law.

Becerra urged undocumented immigrants to go about their daily lives, noting that he had no confirmation that any raids were being planned.

“Regardless of what the rumors are, the law is the law, the constitution is the constitution, and people have rights,” he said. “We’re prepared to challenge any actions by federal immigration enforcement that would violate the constitutional rights of those who live in the state of California.”

One new tool his office might use, Becerra said, is AB450, a state law that went into effect Jan. 1 prohibiting employers from allowing immigration officials to enter the private areas of their workplaces without a judicial warrant. It also bans employers from handing over employee immigration records without warrants in some cases.

Previously, employers could choose to let immigration agents enter their businesses and detain employees even without a warrant. Employers who do that now are subject to civil penalties ranging from $2,000 to $10,000.

“The state is limited in how they can regulate immigration enforcement, but it does have the ability to regulate employer behavior,” said Michael Young, a legislative advocate for the California Labor Federation, which supported the bill.

AB450 was largely overshadowed by the more prominent “sanctuary state” bill that also passed last year, limiting cooperation between local and state law enforcement and immigration authorities. In part because of that bill, it’s unlikely that Bay Area police departments will assist with any future raids.

Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco and the workplace law’s author, said it was intended to “do what we can at the state level to disrupt draconian worksite raids.”

But while the bill expressly states that employers should follow federal law, some observers say it might create more confusion. Angelo Paparelli, a Los Angeles immigration attorney, wrote in an analysis of the law that it “would be better titled the ‘Have Your Immigration Lawyer on Speed Dial Act.’”

“It will cause a lot of confusion for employers as to walking the fine line between cooperating with immigration agents and refusing to cooperate,” Paparelli said in an interview. He predicted that if any broad immigration raids do happen in California, the new law would quickly be challenged in the courts.

Immigration agents have other tactics they could use for getting around the law, Paparelli noted. During the Bush administration, for example, authorities often rolled up at workplaces with trucks labeled “Immigration and Customs Enforcement” as an intimidation tactic. Some undocumented workers would try to run away, giving the officers probable cause to arrest them even without a warrant.

Meanwhile, if state leaders wanted to fight the federal government directly, there’s another legal avenue they could take. Lucas Guttentag, a Stanford immigration law professor who previously served in the Department of Homeland Security, said the state or localities may be able to make the legal argument that the Trump administration is selectively enforcing immigration laws in California.

“There’s a real question if the federal government is retaliating against certain states or municipalities because of the political views or the legitimate laws in those jurisdictions,” he said. “The government has to enforce the law evenhandedly.”

Immigration and Customs Enforcement director Thomas Homan told Fox News this month that the agency will significantly step up immigration enforcement across California following the passage of the sanctuary state bill.

ICE spokesman James Schwab on Wednesday declined to comment on reports of upcoming raids, saying that the agency does not release information on “future enforcement activities.”

Homan suggested on Fox that those targeted would be lawbreakers in the country illegally but released by local jail officials rather than turned over to federal authorities, like the man accused in the 2015 fatal shooting of Kate Steinle.

“What they have done is force my officers to arrest dangerous criminals on their turf, in their homes, and their places of business, rather than arresting them in the safety and security of a county jail,” the ICE director told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto on Jan. 2. “It’s ridiculous to knowingly and intentionally put law enforcement at risk.”Democratic leaders across California have condemned the possibility of raids, but if a sweep actually happens, it could show the limits of the state’s ability to resist the Trump administration.

“Local authorities do not get to make immigration law,” said Sue Caro, the Bay Area regional vice-chair for the state Republican Party. “All they can do is try to stall it or get in the way.”

 

Casey Tolan

Casey Tolan covers national politics and the Trump administration for the Bay Area News Group. Previously, he was a reporter for the news website Fusion, where he covered criminal justice, immigration, and politics. His reporting has also been published in CNN, Slate, the Village Voice, the Texas Observer, the Daily Beast and other news outlets. Casey grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and graduated from Columbia University.

(Contributed by Ruthie Sakheim.)

Time for San Francisco to divest from fossil fuels

The San Francisco Retirement Board is expected to vote on Jan. 24 on divestment from fossil fuel holdings. (Courtesy SFERS)

By  and  on January 21, 2018 (SFExaminer.com)

The day before Mayor Ed Lee passed away last December, he published an article on Medium titled, “Divesting from Fossil Fuels for a Cleaner and Stronger Future.” In the piece, Lee wrote that he was looking forward to next week’s San Francisco Retirement Board meeting, when the board will be voting on a long-discussed measure to divest The City’s pension fund from the fossil fuel industry.

“By taking the bold step to divest from fossil fuel assets, we are once again taking a strong stand on the essential issue of the environment,” Lee wrote.

Lee didn’t live long enough to see the day that his city would cut ties with the fossil fuel industry, but on Thursday, the San Francisco Retirement Board has the opportunity to honor his legacy and protect the future of all San Francisco residents by finally making the divestment commitment the mayor, Board of Supervisors and thousands of San Francisco residents have called for.

The board will be voting with the winds of progress at their backs. Just last week, on the other side of the country, Mayor Bill de Blasio made the exciting announcement that New York City would not only be divesting from fossil fuel companies, but also suing Big Oil for the damages they’ve caused to the climate and our communities. “The time is long past due for Big Oil to pay the bill and take full responsibility for the devastation they have wrought,” de Blasio wrote in the Washington Post.

In California, we’ve seen that devastation in terrible detail over the past year. First, it was the terrifying wildfires in Northern California, exacerbated by years of climate-related drought. Then, more fires, this time in the hills around Los Angeles, where whole communities looked like they’d become the set of the next apocalyptic disaster movie. Now, we’re faced with the heartbreaking mudslides around Santa Barbara, a new disaster enacted on the shoulders of the previous tragedy.

We must break this cycle of climate devastation, and while it isn’t enough on its own, fossil fuel divestment is a powerful step in the right direction. That’s because the fossil fuel industry is the No. 1 barrier to real climate progress. We have all the technology we need today to move to 100 percent renewable energy for all, but time and again we’ve been hamstrung by the stranglehold fossil fuel corporations have over our political process. That’s just as true in Sacramento, where Big Oil continues to lobby against bold legislation like California’s 100 percent clean energy bill, as it is in Washington, D.C., where President Donald Trump and his cronies are busy fulfilling the industry’s every wish.

Divestment is a powerful way for our cities, states and public institutions to cut ties with this industry, take away their social license to operate and weaken their political power.

Along with being the only moral choice in an ever-warming world, divestment makes good financial sense, as well. As the world moves its energy systems away from fossil fuels, companies like ExxonMobil, who have refused to invest seriously in renewable energy, will be left without a business plan. We saw a sneak-preview of what will likely happen to the fossil fuel sector with the collapse of the coal industry, where company stocks have plummeted by up to 90 percent over the past decade.

Fossil fuel investments are even more at risk as more cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City sue Big Oil and hold them accountable for the damage caused by lying to us about the threat of climate change. If you thought the fines against Big Tobacco for damaging our lungs and lying about it were huge, imagine the charges for destroying our planet. By holding onto to fossil fuel stocks, the San Francisco Retirement Board endangers both its reputation and the investments of our city’s retirees.

Mayor Lee knew that San Francisco was a city that was defined in large part by an embrace of the future, rather than a clinging to the past. As of today, more than 800 institutions representing some $6 trillion in assets have made a fossil fuel divestment commitment. From cities like New York City to educational institutions like San Francisco State University, they’ve taken a bold step forward, protecting their investments and our communities from the devastation being wrecked by fossil fuel companies. It’s time for the San Francisco Retirement Board to join them in taking this step forward. In doing so, they’ll be honoring Lee, following the will of the people, and helping protect our climate and communities for generations to come.

May Boeve is executive director of 350.org. Michael Brune is executive director of the Sierra Club.

(Contributed by Ruthie Sakheim.)

Small, vocal group protests at ICE offices in San Francisco


By: Amber Lee

POSTED: JAN 25 2018 (KTVU.com)

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) – Dozens of people protested at the ICE offices in San Francisco’s financial district Thursday afternoon in response to raids that are expected in the Bay Area.

The group of demonstrators numbered about 40 – small, but vocal.

“If you come for the immigrants, you gotta come through us, if you come for the dreamers, you got to come through us,” demonstrated chanted.

Demonstrators say they oppose the recent ICE raids at 7-11 stores across the country and the much talked about sweeps planned in the Bay Area.

Several protestors of Latin and Middle Eastern descent say even though they’re American citizens, they are affected.

“I’m looking at people sideways, looking at policemen sideways. It puts a lot of trauma, angst and a lot of awareness of my skin color which wasn’t like this before,” says Manuel Rodriguez, who’s Mexican American.

Because of their skin color, Rodriguez and others say they now make sure to have identification with them when they leave home.

They say they’ve spoken with their children about the contribution of immigrants to this country and that deporting someone just for being undocumented is scapegoating.

“Wow, if it’s bad now, imagine when my kids are 20 years old. Racial profiling is going to be worse,” said Dave Ramos, a Salvadoran-American.

A spokesman for ICE issued a written statement saying it respects the rights of all people to voice their opinion without interference: “The Department of Homeland Security remains committed to the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws.”

“We need a movement of millions in the street and not just a movement that comes out for one day,” says Xochitl Johnson with Refuse Fascism, the group leading this protest.

Organizers are urging everyone who opposes the Trump administration policies on immigration to participate in nonviolent actions.

Leaders of other groups such as Women’s March San Francisco say the message is no Muslim ban, no wall, and sanctuary for all.

“Everybody should be coming out. It shouldn’t just be people who are activists or getting involved with the political scene. It should be very individual who cares about human beings,” said Sophia Andary with Women’s March San Francisco.

As darkness fell, the protestors blocked the driveway at the ICE building for a brief time, causing one vehicle trying to leave the parking lot to turn around and exit through another gate.

“A lot of us were at the Women’s March. We see the power of the people and now we want that power to get organized and mobilized to shut this entire agenda down,” says Johnson.

There were federal and San Francisco police officers on scene, but no one was arrested for blocking the driveway.

Another protest is planned outside the ICE building Friday at noon, followed by another on Monday at 4:00 p.m.

(Contributed by Ruthie Sakheim.)