Why China Is Running Circles Around America

A highway interchange in Yanan, China. (David Leo Veksler / CC BY-SA 2.0)

By Ellen Brown (truthdig.com)

“One Belt, One Road,” China’s $1 trillion infrastructure initiative, is a massive undertaking involving highways, pipelines, transmission lines, ports, power stations, fiber optics and railroads connecting China to Central Asia, Europe and Africa. According to Dan Slane, a former adviser in President Trump’s transition team, “It is the largest infrastructure project initiated by one nation in the history of the world and is designed to enable China to become the dominant economic power in the world.” In a Jan. 29 article titled “Trump’s Plan a Recipe for Failure, Former Infrastructure Advisor Says,” he added, “If we don’t get our act together very soon, we should all be brushing up on our Mandarin.”

On Feb. 12, Trump’s own infrastructure initiative was finally unveiled. Perhaps intending to trump China’s $1 trillion megaproject, the administration has now upped the ante from $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion, or at least that’s how the initiative is billed. But as Donald Cohen observes in The American Prospect, it’s really only $200 billion, the sole sum that is to come from federal funding. And it’s not even that after factoring in the billions in tax cuts in infrastructure-related projects. The rest of the $1.5 trillion is to come from cities, states and private investors, and because city and state coffers are depleted, that chiefly means private investors. The focus of the administration’s plan is on public-private partnerships, which, as Slane notes, are not suitable for many of the most critical infrastructure projects, because they lack the sort of ongoing funding stream—such as a toll or fee—that would attract private investors. Public-private partnerships also drive up costs, compared with financing through municipal bonds.

In any case, as Naked Capitalism blogger Yves Smith observes, private equity firms are not much interested in public assets, and to the extent that they are, they are more interested in privatizing existing infrastructure than in funding the new development that is at the heart of the president’s plan. Moreover, local officials and businessmen are now leery of privatization deals. They know that the price of quick cash is to be bled dry with user charges and profit guarantees.

The White House says its initiative is not a take-it-or-leave-it proposal, but the start of a negotiation, and that the president is “open to new sources of funding.” But no one in Congress seems to have a viable proposal. Perhaps it is time to look more closely at how China does it.

China’s Secret Funding Source

While American politicians argue endlessly about where to find the money, China has been forging full steam ahead with its megaprojects. A case in point is its 12,000 miles of high-speed rail, built in a mere decade, as American politicians were still trying to fund much more modest rail projects. The money largely came from loans from China’s state-owned banks. The country’s five largest banks are majority-owned by the central government, and they lend principally to large, state-owned enterprises.

Where do the banks get the money? Basically, they print it. Not directly. Not obviously. But as the Bank of England has acknowledged, banks do not merely recycle existing deposits but actually create the money they lend by writing it into their borrowers’ deposit accounts. Incoming deposits are needed to balance the books, but at some point these deposits originated in the deposit accounts of other banks. Because the Chinese government owns most of the country’s banks, it can aim this funding fire hose at its most pressing national needs.

China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, issues money for infrastructure in an even more direct way. It has turned to an innovative form of quantitative easing, in which liquidity is directed not at propping up the biggest banks but at surgical strikes into the most productive sectors of the economy. Citigroup chief economist Willem Buiter calls this “qualitative easing” to distinguish it from the quantitative easing engaged in by Western central banks. According to a 2014 Wall Street Journal article:

In China’s context, such so-called qualitative easing happens when the People’s Bank of China adds riskier assets to its balance sheet—such as by relending to the agriculture sector and small businesses and offering cheap loans for low-return infrastructure projects—while maintaining a normal pace of balance-sheet expansion [loan creation]. …

The purpose of China’s qualitative easing is to provide affordable financing to select sectors, and it reflects Beijing’s intention to dictate interest rates for some sectors, Citigroup’s economists said. They added that while such a policy would also put inflationary pressure on the economy, the impact is less pronounced than the U.S.-style quantitative easing.

Among the targets of these surgical strikes with central bank financing is the One Belt, One Road initiative. According to a 2015 Bloomberg article:

Instead of turning the liquidity sprinkler on full-throttle for the whole garden, the PBOC is aiming its hose at specific parts. The latest innovations include plans to bolster the market for local government bonds and the recapitalisation of policy banks so they can boost lending to government-favoured projects. …

Policymakers have sought to bolster credit for small and medium-sized enterprises, and borrowers supporting the goals of the communist leadership, such as the One Belt, One Road initiative developing infrastructure along China’s old Silk Road trade routes.

‘Nonperforming Loans’ or ‘Helicopter Money’?

Critics say China has a dangerously high debt-to-gross domestic product ratio and a “bad debt” problem, meaning its banks have too many “nonperforming” loans. But according to financial research strategist Chen Zhao in a Harvard University study titled “China: A Bullish Case,” these factors are being misinterpreted and need not be cause for alarm. China has a high debt-to-GDP ratio because most Chinese businesses are funded through loans rather than through the stock market, as in the U.S., and China’s banks are able to engage in massive lending because the Chinese chiefly save their money in banks rather than investing it in the stock market, providing the deposit base to back this extensive lending. As for China’s public “debt,” most of it is money created on bank balance sheets for economic stimulus. Zhao writes:

During the 2008-09 financial crisis, the U.S. government deficit shot up to about 10 percent of GDP due to bail-out programs like the TARP. In contrast, the Chinese government deficit during that period didn’t change much. However, Chinese bank loan growth shot up to 40 percent while loan growth in the U.S. collapsed. These contrasting pictures suggest that most of China’s four trillion RMB [RMB refers to renminbi, the official currency of the People’s Republic of China] stimulus package was carried out by its state-owned banks. … The so-called “bad debt problem” is effectively a consequence of Beijing’s fiscal projects and thus should be treated as such.

China calls this government bank financing “lending,” rather than “money printing,” but the effect is very similar to what European central bankers are calling “helicopter money” for infrastructure—central bank-generated money that does not need to be repaid. If the Chinese loans get repaid, great; but if they don’t, it’s not considered a problem. Like helicopter money, the nonperforming loans merely leave extra money circulating in the marketplace, creating the extra “demand” needed to fill the gap between GDP and consumer purchasing power, something that is particularly necessary in an economy that is contracting due to shrinking global markets following the 2008-09 crisis.

In an article last December in the Financial Times, titled “Stop Worrying about Chinese Debt, a Crisis Is Not Brewing,” Zhao expanded on these concepts, writing:

[S]o-called credit risk in China is, in fact, sovereign risk. The Chinese government often relies on bank credit to finance government stimulus programmes. … China’s sovereign risk is extremely low. Importantly, the balance sheets of the Chinese state-owned banks, the government and the People’s Bank of China are all interconnected. Under these circumstances, a debt crisis in China is almost impossible.

Chinese state-owned banks are not going to need a Wall Street-style bailout from the government. They are the government, and the Chinese government has a massive global account surplus. It is not going bankrupt any time soon.

What about the risk of inflation? As noted by the Citigroup economists, Chinese-style qualitative easing is actually less inflationary than the bank-focused quantitative easing engaged in by Western central banks. And Western-style quantitative easing has barely succeeded in reaching the Fed’s 2 percent inflation target. For 2017, the Chinese inflation rate was a modest 1.8 percent.

What to Do When Congress Won’t Act

Rather than regarding China as a national security threat and putting our resources into rebuilding our military defenses, we might get further ahead by studying its successful economic policies and adapting them to rebuild our own crumbling roads and bridges before it is too late. The U.S. government could set up a national infrastructure bank that lends just as China’s big public banks do, or the Federal Reserve could do qualitative easing for infrastructure as the People’s Bank of China does. The main roadblock to those solutions seems to be political. They would kill the privatization cash cow of the vested interests calling the shots behind the scenes.

What alternatives are left for cash-strapped state and local governments? Unlike the Fed, they cannot issue money directly, but they can establish their own banks. Fifty percent of the cost of infrastructure is financing, so having their own banks would allow them to cut the cost of infrastructure nearly in half. The savings on infrastructure projects with an income stream could then be used to fund those critically necessary projects that lack an income stream.

For a model, they can look to the century-old Bank of North Dakota (BND), currently the nation’s only publicly owned depository bank. The BND makes 2 percent loans to local communities for infrastructure, far below the 12 percent average sought by private equity firms. Yet, as noted in a 2014 Wall Street Journal article, the BND is more profitable than Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase. Before submitting to exploitation by public-private partnerships, state and local governments would do well to give the BND model further study.

Thomas Piketty says Bernie Sanders’ electoral strategy is the way to beat back the right

New paper explores how both parties were captured by the “elite,” leaving a politically rudderless underclass

KEITH A. SPENCER 03.27.2018 (salon.com)

In a new paper, French political economist Thomas Piketty, author of the bestselling 2013 book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” argues that Western political parties on the right and left have both become parties of the “elites.”

Yet the 65-page paper from the notoriously punctilious economist — titled “Brahmin Left vs. Merchant Right: Rising Inequality & the Changing Structure of Political Conflict” — is more surprising for the lessons it has for the political left in the Western world. Indeed, the left-populist wing of Western political parties, including the American progressive movement restarted by Bernie Sanders, has reason to celebrate: Piketty’s paper aligns with their somewhat counterintuitive strategy that shifting the Democratic Party platform more to the left is actually a winning electoral strategy that can help bring back disenfranchised working-class voters and less educated voters who currently may not vote at all or identify with right-wing populism.

“Using post-electoral surveys from France, Britain and the US, this paper documents a striking long-run evolution in the structure of political cleavages,” Piketty writes in the abstract. He goes on to explain the political changes that have happened since the 1950s and 1960s, when “the vote for left-wing (socialist-labour-democratic) parties was associated with lower education and lower income voters” — in other words, the Labour Party of the United Kingdom, the Socialist Party of France and the Democratic Party of the United States were considered parties that supported and helped destitute and less-well-educated voters.

Yet over time, those parties, Piketty explains, “gradually become associated with higher education voters,” which he describes as creating a system of “multiple-elite” parties where “high-education elites now vote for the ‘left,’ while high-income/high-wealth elites still vote for the ‘right’ (though less and less so).” In other words, both sides of the spectrum became parties of the elite, with no party for less educated folks or the working class.

Piketty argues that this situation “contributes to rising inequality and lack of democratic response to it,” as well as the rise of populists like Trump, Marine Le Pen in France and Nigel Farage in Britain. “Without a strong egalitarian-internationalist platform, it is difficult to unite low- education, low-income voters from all origins within the same party,” he writes.

If the Democratic Party was wise, it might see Piketty’s paper as a chance to improve its electoral strategy. Indeed, the Democratic Party seems to be locked in a battle for its own soul, a fight long-presaged that erupted during the 2016 presidential primary. In one corner sits the Clintonite corporate wing of the party, who believe that the key to Democratic Party strategy is to move to the center in order to pick up moderate conservatives voters who feel left behind by the Republican Party’s far-right shift.

This was Clinton’s strategy to a T: in her election campaign, she bragged about her connections to Henry Kissinger and her support from billionaire Republicans like former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, while being famously dismissive of social democratic policies like single-payer health care.

In the other corner there are those who argue that the Democratic Party will win more voters if it appeals explicitly to class interests and concerns. As Steve Phillips wrote in a Times op-ed last year:

If Democrats had stemmed the defections of white voters to the Libertarian or Green Parties, they would have won Michigan and Wisconsin, and had they also inspired African-Americans in Pennsylvania, Mrs. Clinton would be president.

If progressive whites are defecting because they are uninspired by Democrats, moving further to the right will only deepen their disillusionment.

This “go left” strategy hints at what Piketty calls the “class-based party system” that dominated Western democracies in the 1950s and 1960s. In those decades, “lower class voters from the different dimensions (lower education voters, lower income voters, etc.) tend[ed] to vote for the same party or coalition, while upper and middle class voters from the different dimensions tend[ed] to vote for the other party or coalition.”

Similar as the Democratic factions may seem to the right, which seem unable to distinguish a liberal billionaire like Warren Buffett from a “communist,” they represent radically different positions and have different constituencies. The Clintonite coalition tended to rely on pandering to identity groups and a sort of vague multiculturalism that posited that billionaires, corporations and the poor could live in some kind of perfect harmony, even though the former rely on the exploitation of the latter to exist.

Critics like Phillips argue that Clinton and her DNC lackeys failed to grasp that her milquetoast liberalism lacked a comprehensible ideology: There were no scapegoats, and “America was already great,” in Clinton’s words. Those words appeared tone-deaf to the millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet, who sought a scapegoat and heard a more sensible explanation for their woes from Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, the strategy of Bernie Sanders — mirrored in other left organizing groups in the United States that seek to push the Democratic Party to the left, including Our Revolution and Democratic Socialists of America — is to offer a more serious material analysis of the underpinnings of oppression and suffering in the United States and to scapegoat income inequality caused by an unjust economic system propped up by the elite. Sanders and his counterparts overseas, particularly U.K. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, offer that aforementioned “strong egalitarian-internationalist platform” that has the potential to “unite low-education, low-income voters from all origins,” as Piketty describes.

Though Sanders came up short in the primaries, he was vindicated in the aftermath of the general election in several ways: First, many of the Rust Belt states that Trump carried — states Hillary Clinton had banked on winning — were won by Sanders in the primary, including Michigan and Wisconsin. Second, post-election studies suggested that had Sanders been the Democratic nominee, he would have defeated Trump by a wide margin. Third, Sanders remains the most popular politician in the United States, despite an ongoing bile-spitting campaign orchestrated by Democratic insiders like Sally Albright (who called Sanders “racist” for proposing free college) or Peter Daou (who blames Sanders for Clinton’s loss). Finally, Clinton’s victory was aided considerably by a corrupt party apparatus that was already in the bag for Clinton, as former interim DNC chair Donna Brazile has described.

For Berniecrats, democratic socialists and those even further left, there’s much to love in Piketty’s paper. His conclusion, one echoed by the Sanders wing of the Democratic party, is essentially that ostensibly “left” parties — e.g. the Democrats in the United States, Labour in the U.K. or the Socialist Party in France — have lost the constituencies they once supported and now appeal to the elite, leaving a vast underclass politically unrepresented and rudderless. Piketty is giving them a rudder, if the parties can seize it.

KEITH A. SPENCER

Keith A. Spencer is a cover editor at Salon who writes about the politics of science, technology and culture. Follow him on Twitter at @_kaspencer.

UPDATES ~ SFPD TOWN HALL ~ SAVE the DATE (from Adrienne Fong)

UPDATES:

A. Can the police contract be a vehicle for reform? (March 27, 2018)

https://48hills.org/2018/03/police-contract-reform/

B. Inside the U.S. war in Yemen (March 27, 2018)

https://48hills.org/2018/03/inside-us-war-yemen/ 

Thursday, March 29 

Thursday,  6:00pm, SFPD Town Hall regarding officer involved killing of Jehad Eid on, March 21st.

Balboa High School
1000 Cayuga
SF

San Francisco Police Department will be holding a town hall to provide the community with an update on the investigation of the officer involves shooting that occurred on Geneva Avenue and London Street on Wednesday, March 21, 2018.

Info: https://twitter.com/SFPDIngleside 

DATE CHANGE from March 29th to June 21st: 

Thursday, June 21, 2:00pm – 5:00pm, 650 Divis Hearing – Not enough affordable housing! 

SF City Hall, Room 400
1 Dr. Carleton B. Goodlett Place
SF

Affordable Divis sent a letter to 650 Divisadero requesting an adequate amount of on-site affordable housing. After 2 years of delays, we are done waiting. Join us in asking for more affordable housing at 650 Divisadero.

650 Divisadero grew from a 16-unit building to a 66-unit building, without any increase in the on-site affordable requirement.

We oppose 650 Divisadero for not including enough on-site affordable housing. Without sufficient affordable units, this project is neither necessary nor desirable for our neighborhood.
They only offered 9 units to be affordable!
We also oppose Supervisor Breed’s latest Divisadero-Fillmore legislation, which requires only 6% on-site units to be affordable to low income households.

Host: Affordable Divis

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1654117528230673/   

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

SAVE the DATE

April 7th is Luis’s 2nd Year Commemoration. 

10:00am – 11:30am

Luis’s Altar

Shotwell & 19th Streets

SF

Infohttps://www.facebook.com/events/1637320019697845/

Join us in celebrating the life of Luis Góngora Pat! We will start the day with a Mayan ceremony and commemoration of his life led by his family, at his altar @ Shotwell and 19th Streets in the Mission District.

2018 will be the most important year for the family of Luis Góngora Pat. Within weeks they will learn whether D.A. Gascón will charge the officers who killed Luis. By October 22, 2018, the civil rights trial filed by Luis’s widow, Carmen, and his children Rossana, Luis and Angel, will begin.

Summit Against Policing and Jails in San Francisco

10:00am-3pm

 City College Mission Campus.

We will join by NOON!*

We will then join the Summit against Policing and Jails organized by #NoNewJailSF at City College Mission Campus. Our commemoration of the Life of Luis overlaps with the start of the Summit, but we will walk over to City College, Mission Campus as soon as we conclude.

Jose Góngora Pat and Luis Poot Pat, as well as members from Justice for Luis, will participate in a panel, and join us in discussing next steps to end police impunity in San Francisco.

Mayan War Room in Honor of Luís Góngora Pat

6:30pm – 9:00pm

Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts

2868 Mission St.

SF

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/356091888211382/

A Fundraiser and Art & Revolution exhibit of his family’s struggle for justice, including original embroidered protest artwork by Luis’s widow and daughter from Yucatan. The Mayan War Room will operate as a pop-up office space of www.justice4luis.orgduring the month of April.

Saturday, April 7th marks the 2nd year anniversary of the killing of Luis Góngora Pat by two officers of the San Francisco Police Department. Luis was a Mayan man from Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, and a migrant worker in San Francisco for fourteen years. Since his homicide, his family has been on a journey to make Luis’s killers and their abettors accountable. To honor his life and family’s struggle, a pop-up Mayan War Room has been set up for this year’s anniversary.

The Mayan War Room will keep office hours during the month of April to showcase the wide array of strategies, tactics and actions carried out by the family to demand justice in the past two years. Here we will hold a fundraiser for Luis’s family in Teabo on the 7th, and launch a new campaign, in coalition with other supporters and groups, to pressure D.A. Gascón to “Charge Killer Cops or Resign!”

The war room will also display hand-sewn images of Luis by Doña Carmen May Can and Rossana Góngora May, widow and daughter, respectively, and other female relatives of the deceased. The hand embroidered images are intended to speak to the protest posters made by San Francisco artists that also bear Luis’s image. The women of Teabo join the protest from afar with their own artwork rooted in their own artistry and “hilo contado” style for which their village is known.

Berkeley Occupation Update

First they came for the homeless

March 28, 2018

9th circuit Federal Judge Alsup came, he saw the camps, he left. I will update, if possible. His instructions were that neither camp be notified. The visit was not a surprise to me, but it was to the camps.

The judge saw our reality. He saw no preparation for his visit. We succeed or fail, based on the model, and the homeless that are participating.

My fingers are crossed.

–Mike Zint

Santiago Siri: “Crypto Politics: Beyond the Nation-state” | Blockstack Berlin 2018

Throughout the world, we are seeing a decline in democracy. China’s 🇨🇳 Xi Jinping has named himself president for life. In Russia 🇷🇺, Vladimir Putin runs unopposed while state employees vote at multiple polling stations to swell voter turnout statistics. In Spain 🇪🇸, five Catalan leaders are jailed. In Venezuela 🇻🇪, hyperinflation of more than six thousand percent spurs thousands of starving citizens daily across the border to Colombia 🇨🇴 in search of food and crucial medicines.

  

Replace the State with Bitcoin
Despite this dark picture, there is hope, as Santi Siri points out in his hugely popular appearance at the at BlockstackBerlin 🇩🇪 conference earlier this month.  Bitcoin blockchain technology already offers people a way to fight back against the rampant corruption at the core of democracy’s demise. It enables people in developing nations with corrupt governments and fraudulent banking practices to not be held captive to a tyrannical reality – to fight back by opting out. In this sense, Bitcoin is already saving lives. 

But there are also grave challenges. None other than Edward Snowden sounded a clear warning to the world’s leading blockchain developers gathered in Berlin: any technology or innovation that humans are able to create will end up being abused by corrupt actors.  At this writing, powerful, energy-rich nations including Turkey 🇹🇷 and Iran 🇮🇷 are announcing plans for Initial Country Offerings. Venezuela was the first to launch a cryptocurrency – the Petro – and has demonstrated how a state can enact a systematic plan to attack Bitcoin miners and violently appropriate their technology to retain its iron grip on a catastrophically failing economy and the helpless citizens trapped within it.

     

Cryptopolitics
Democracy Earth coined the phrase cryptopolitics because as an organization and movement we are sitting at the intersection of technology and politics.  We believe that blockchain as a censorship-resistant technology that is borderless and can reach any place in the world, can act as a liberating force for communities that need it the most.  The kind of default transparency and permissionless accountability blockchains bring to any organization – even nonprofits like Democracy Earth Foundation – is how governments should be run. It is the promise of democracy made real. 

Token Sale Update
Democracy Earth will hold a token sale in 2Q 2018.  If you are an accredited investor interested in the pre-sale, there is still time to participate – just click the button below to visit our ICO website and download the SAFT (Simple Agreement For Tokens) for review. Investor accreditation is verified by CoinList.  Though SEC regulations prohibit investors from New York or China from participating in the pre-sale, the public sale will be open to all investors, globally.  Join the DEF Telegram channel to stay updated on token sale details and Q&A with the founders.

Democracy Earth Ambassadors
We have recently announced our new Ambassador in Brazil 🇧🇷, Diogo Busse, who will stand for election for Brazil’s House of Representatives as a liquid democracy “Trojan Horse” candidate. In May we will have four more candidates for the City Council of Birmingham, organized by our UK Ambassador Sunny Sangha through his People Power Brum initiative. 

After launching this past December, we have brought the Democracy Earth Ambassadors program up to full speed, announcing Ambassadors in Brazil 🇧🇷Thailand 🇹🇭Sri Lanka 🇱🇰, andEngland 🇬🇧.  The response to our call for Ambassadors has been truly overwhelming! We are continuing to process applications from the US 🇺🇸, Belgium 🇧🇪, Mexico 🇲🇽, Australia 🇦🇺, Costa Rica 🇨🇷, Panama 🇵🇦, Israel 🇮🇱, Uruguay 🇺🇾, Netherlands 🇳🇱, and Wales and will formally re-open the application process at Ambassadors.Democracy.Earth in the second quarter.

More Ambassador activity:

  • Watch Ambassador Sunny Sangha interviewed on television here 
  • Due to strong demand among university students, we will launch later this year a branch of the program that will build our movement on college campuses. Stay tuned!

Social, Community, Media

  • We launched our Meet The Team interview series on Medium, where the most recent post turns the spotlight on the Democracy Earth Embassies director, Paula Berman
  • Venezuelan-born developer Eduardo Medina talks about the challenges facing his countrymen and the promise blockchain-based democracy holds for their future in this Tales From The Crypt podcast 🎧
  • Our Ambassador in SriLanka writes compellingly about the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal triggering a national emergency social media shutdown in this article How Facebook is Killing Sri Lankan Democracy in Hacktivism
  • Democracy Earth community contributor Avital Balwit published this fascinating article for the Virginia Review of Politics, Democracy Decentralized; How Blockchain Voting Will Revolutionize Government  
  • Pressed for time? Santi Siri gives a tightly-packed 20 minute overview of presentations made earlier this month at the BlockstackBerlin and Fast Forward Accelerate Good events on thisDemocracy Salon podcast 🎧

Thank you for reading, and thank you as always for being part of the Democracy Earth community!
🌎

Santiago Siri
Founder & President

Democracy Earth Foundation
A 501(c)(3) nonprofit in San Francisco, California.
democracy.earth

Connect on Twitter 
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Our mailing address is:

Democracy Earth Foundation

3450 Sacramento St.
#349

San FranciscoCA 94118

After the shooting November 11, 2011 Emily Palen


Brian Castellani

Published on Dec 7, 2011

Occupy Oakland November 11, 2011, Emily Palen, “the day we witnessed the shooting”

November 11th, 2011 Occupy Oakland Shooting.

Emily Palen #OO supporter and musician. Emily plays violin professionally for event’s, for yoga teachers and yoga studios, art openings, and also in downtown San Francisco. She has been a part of Occupy Oakland since day one of the encampment. The day was particularly moving for the both of us, and her violin added an analog depth to the situation.

Occupy Oakland November 11, 2011, Emily Palen, Occupy Oakland, OccupYOGA, “the day we witnessed the shooting,” analog

UPDATES ~ ACTION ITEMS ~ UPDATE ON DAVE W. ~ ANNOUNCEMENTS – Wed., March 28 – Sat. March 31 (from Adrienne Fong)

This most likely will be the last announcement this week until next week – unless the town hall regarding the last SFPD shooting is announced

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

Check Indybay for other events https://www.indybay.org/calendar/    

UPDATES: 

A.  Alameda County Supervisors Vote to End Urban Shield as ‘Currently Constituted’ (March 27, 2018)

https://www.eastbayexpress.com/SevenDays/archives/2018/03/27/alameda-county-supervisors-vote-to-end-urban-shield-as-currently-constituted   

B.  After two tours in Afghanistan, US Army vet deported to Mexico (March 26, 2018)

http://abcnews.go.com/US/tours-afghanistan-us-army-vet-deported-mexico/story?id=54020691&cid=share_facebook_widget   

C.  No charges to be filed against officers in Alton Sterling death, Louisiana attorney general says (March 27, 2018)

https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/27/us/alton-sterling-investigation/index.html

D.  Immigration detainees shouldn’t be coerced into $1-a-day jobs (March 24, 2018)

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-immigration-private-prisons-labor-20180324-story.html 

 3 – ACTION ITEMS: 

1.  Petition: Block Mike Pompeo’s confirmation as Secretary of State

https://www.dailykos.com/campaigns/letters/block-pompeos-confirmation-as-sec-of-state?detail=emailaction&link_id=2&can_id=655968a96e1bce05c463b2f640bf633c&source=email-sign-and-send-a-petition-block-mike-pompeos-confirmation-as-secretary-of-state&email_referrer=email_319496&email_subject=sign-and-send-a-petition-block-mike-pompeos-confirmation-as-secretary-of-state

  We can’t stop the appointment of John Bolton but we can voice our opinion on Pompeo and try to stop his confirmation. 

2. Tell Congress to Protect TPS Holders

http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/6099/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=26037

 Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a legal status which protects refugees whose home countries have suffered natural disaster or war from deportation, has become a victim of the Trump Administration’s war on immigrants.

3.  Help Win Wage Increases For 25,000 Low-Wage Workers

https://chn.ge/2uremSG

  Petition to SF Mayor Farrell and Supervisor London Breed. Petition from Living Wage Coalition 

UPDATE on REDD (DAVE WELSH) 

Dave’s daughter says he is doing better and that it’s OK for people to visit him without pre-scheduling with the family. Be conscious the he tires easily and needs his rest.

He is at SFGH on the 7th Floor in the Senior Trauma Center.

Visiting hours 10am – 5pm.

Family is hoping that he will be moved this week to an East Bay rehab center, to gain upper body strength. He appreciates all the cards and well wishes.

David Redd Welsh
P.O. Box 1102
Berkeley, CA 94701

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Wednesday, March 28 – Saturday, March 31

Wednesday, March 28 

1. Wednesday, 1:00pm – 3:00pm, Emergency protest: STOP the WAR on YEMEN

Fairmount Hotel
950 Mason St.
San Francisco

Crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman is visiting The U.S. to meet with the Trump administration and tech companies. come show support for the Yemeni community against the U.S. and Saudi war on Yemen.

Sponsor: AROC

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/608671916135649/?active_tab=about

2. Wednesday, 4:00pm – 5:00pm, BlackRock: Stop making a killing on killing! 

BlackRock
400 Howard St.
SF

BlackRock is an international investment firm that provides its clients with accessibility to Lockheed Martin stocks; they have more than $5.6 billion invested in the weapon-making company!

And while you may not know BlackRock, the CEO Larry Fink recently made a statement that he was going to start holding the companies they invest in accountable for being responsible corporate citizens. Defense stocks have risen since the U.S. defense budget received an increase from Congress.

Hold BlackRock to its own standards of being socially responsible by divesting from Lockheed Martin and the military-industrial complex and to say stop making a killing on killing!

NOTE: The almost weekly Peace Vigil on Market / Post will not be happening this week – all are invited to attend the BlackRock demo in place of it.

Sponsor: Codepink – SF

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/212196082848014/    

 3. Wednesday, 7:00pm, How Do We Stop Gun Violence? Building Resistance from Tragedy 

Women’s Building
3543 18th St.
SF

While the phenomenon of the lone gunman shooting dozens of people in public is a unique feature of our current moment, gruesome violence has been a central feature of U.S. society throughout its history. Mass shootings are a social phenomenon that demands a social answer. Reforms connected to gun industry regulations might be a first step, but the central question we need to face is how to broaden the scope of discussion to target the root causes of violence in the U.S: imperialism, racism and oppression, exploitation and alienation.

We should take confidence from the collective rage being expressed after the Parkland shooting and recognize that the widespread desire for something to be done can be a powerful thing. But we also have to be aware that this would only increase the powers of the U.S. government, which remains what Martin Luther King Jr. called it 50 years ago: “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.” As this new movement gets off the ground, we need to continue to broaden the scope of debate and demands beyond immediate legislative reforms and what they will and won’t accomplish.

Sponsor: International Socialist Organization – No Cal

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/330552430799060/

Thursday, March 29 

4. Thursday, 2:00pm – 5:00pm, 650 Divis Hearing – Not enough affordable housing!

SF City Hall, Room 400
1 Dr. Carleton B. Goodlett Place
SF

Affordable Divis sent a letter to 650 Divisadero requesting an adequate amount of on-site affordable housing. After 2 years of delays, we are done waiting. Join us in asking for more affordable housing at 650 Divisadero.

650 Divisadero grew from a 16-unit building to a 66-unit building, without any increase in the on-site affordable requirement.

We oppose 650 Divisadero for not including enough on-site affordable housing. Without sufficient affordable units, this project is neither necessary nor desirable for our neighborhood.
They only offered 9 units to be affordable!
We also oppose Supervisor Breed’s latest Divisadero-Fillmore legislation, which requires only 6% on-site units to be affordable to low income households.

Host: Affordable Divis

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1654117528230673/

5. Thursday, 3:00pm – 5:30pm, & Friday, 3/29/18,  Let’s Go See the D.A! Charge the Police! 

Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office
901 G Street
Sacramento

REAL JUSTICE LOOKS LIKE POLICE GETTING FIRED, CHARGED, AND CONVICTED!

The District Attorney is who has the power to do that!
Let’s go PAY HER A VISIT!

D.A. ANN MARIE SHUBERT
DO YOUR JOB AND CHARGE THESE OFFICERS

This D.A. has NEVER charged an officer that murders us. 

Sponsor: Black Lives Matter – Sacramento

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/366518910496908/  

6. Thursday, 3:00pm – 6:00pm, Food Not Bombs – Food prep 

Station 40
3030B 16th Street (between Mission & Julian –across from 16th Street BART)
Ring door bell
(Up a flight of stairs)
SF

   Thursday, 6:00pm, Food Not Bombs – Food Share

   16th Street BART Plaza
   SF

For information or to volunteer: call Micah at 415-738-9249 or send email to sffnbvolunteers@riseup.net.

Food Pickups: Help Needed!

Cooking:  3:00 pm to 6:00 pm–Ring doorbell for entry–Help Needed!

Sharing: 16th and Mission BART Plaza — 6:00 pm–Help Needed!

Cleaning Up:  3030B 16th Street–after Cooking–6:00 pm – 8:00 pm–Help Needed!

7. Thursday, 6:00pm, Know Your Rights in Police & FBI Interactions

Islamic Center of Mill Valley
62 Shell Road
Mill Valley

FBI agents want to talk to you? Have questions about FBI outreach at masajid? Don’t know how to assert your rights?

Come to this brief, interactive presentation at 6:00pm to learn more about your rights if you are visited by the FBI or other law enforcement agents.

Featuring: CAIR – San Francisco Bay Area‘s Ammad Wajahat Rafiqi and Sally Horna

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/155876355104337/

8. Thursday, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, The Reparations Tour: White Solidarity with Black Power Blueprint 

Akwaaba Hall
Uhuru House
7911 MacArthur Blvd.
Oakland

The Reparations Tour: White Solidarity with the Black Power Blueprint is part of a U.S. wide tour building support for the Black Power Blueprint Project, a program for economic and political power in the hands of the African working class of St. Louis in the wake of the mass resistance following the police murder of Mike Brown in 2014.

The Black Power Blueprint is a community project that is purchasing and revitalizing buildings in the heart of the impoverished O’Fallon neighborhood, creating programs for community economic development such as the Uhuru House community center and the One Africa! One Nation! Marketplace and community garden. The project also includes collective renovation of a building to be used as a community kitchen, bakery and African Independence Workforce program for black workers who are coming out of the U.S. colonial prison system.

This tour offers white people an opportunity to support the projects through reparations to the black community and to stand in solidarity with the movement for self-determination and power in the hands of the black working class.

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/03/07/18807224.php

9. Thursday, 7:30pm – 9:30pm, Norman Finkelstein: Gaza: An Inquest Into Its Martyrdom 

First Congregational Church of Berkeley
2345 Channing Way
Berkeley

Advance tickets $12, available at T: 800-838-3006 or Pegasus Books (3 stores), Books Inc (Berkeley), Moe’s, Walden Pond Bookstore, East Bay Books, Mrs. Dalloway’s, $15 door, Benefit KPFA: kpfa.org/events

Based on scores of human rights reports, Norman G. Finkelstein’s new book presents a meticulously researched inquest into Gaza’s martyrdom. He shows that although Israel has tried to justify its assaults in the name of self-defense, in fact Israel’s actions constitute flagrant violations of international law. Finkelstein also documents that the guardians of international law-from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to the UN Human Rights Council-ultimately failed Gaza. One of his most disturbing conclusions is that, after Judge Richard Goldstone’s humiliating retraction of his UN report, human rights organizations succumbed to the Israeli juggernaut. Finkelstein’s magnum opus is both a monument to Gaza’s martyrs and an act of resistance against the forgetfulness of history.

“No scholar has done more to shed light on Israel’s ruthless treatment of the Palestinians than Norman Finkelstein. In Gaza, he meticulously details Israel’s massacres… while demolishing the myths Israel and its supporters have invented to disguise these shocking events.”
– John J. Mearsheimer, Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/03/15/18807400.php   

Friday, March 30

10. Friday, 6:45am – 10:00am, Good Friday Witness

Corner of:

Vasco & Patterson Pass Road
Livermore

Wheelchair accessible

Dr. King and the Cloud

At the corner of South Vasco Rd. & Patterson Pass Rd. outside the Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab, Ecumenical Peace Institute and the Livermore Conversion Project offer a service of worship and nonviolent witness calling for an end to U.S. development of nuclear weapons.

Fifty years after the assassination of Dr. King and fifty years after the initiation of the Poor People’s Campaign, we will hear from Rev. Ben McBride, Co-Director at PICO California and a leader in today’s new Poor People’s Campaign.

Following the procession to the main gate observing Stations of the Cross of Empire, there will be music, liturgical dance and opportunity for nonviolent acts of witness. After the witness there will be a community gathering at a nearby church where light refreshments will be served.

For more information visit http://www.epicalc.org/
Phone 510-990-0374 or 510-654-4983.

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/03/26/18807882.php

11. Friday, 6:00pm – 8:00pm, 7 Last Words of Black Life 

First Congregational Church of Oakland
2501 Harrison
Oakland

“I don’t have a gun. Stop shooting.” -Michael Brown (1996-2014)
“What are you following me for? ” -Trayvon Martin (1995-2012)
“How did switching lanes with no signal turn into this?” -Sandra Bland (1987-2015)
“I wasn’t reaching for it.” -Philando Castile (1983-2016)
“You shot me. You shot me.” -Oscar Grant (1982 – 2009)

We believe that Black people in America are the contemporary crucified life. In observance of Good Friday, we will be holding a service honoring, grieving and lamenting crucified Black Life. We will bear witness to the last words of those crucified at the hands of police brutality, racism and state sanctioned violence. This Good Friday, we will honor the final moments of Jesus’ earthly life through seven of our fallen. We will honor them through word, song and art.

Speakers: Terry De Grace-MorrisXan WestJean JeffressVanessa RilesAl Osorio & more

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/154705415347468/ 

12. Friday, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, Grassroots Organizing in Puerto Rico After Maria 

North Berkeley Senior Center
1901 Hearst Ave.
Berkeley

Direct from Puerto Rico, Daniel Orsini, an organizer with Centro de Apoyo Mutuo – CAM (Center of Mutual Support), Caguas, will be discussing how its projects and others, are creating alternative solutions to meet the basic sustenance needs of the Puerto Rican people after Hurricane Maria.

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1709706245735057/ 

13. Friday, 7:00pm – 10:00pm, Film: Freedom Riders

Revolution Books – Berkeley
2444 Durant Ave.
Berkeley

Directed by award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson featuring testimony from the Riders themselves, government officials, and journalists who witnessed the Rides firsthand. Freedom Riders (2011) is the powerful and inspiring story of six months in 1961 when mor-e than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives by deliberately violating Jim Crow segregation laws. They heroically went into segregated bus terminals and used “whites-only” restrooms and lunch counters in Alabama, South Carolina and other Southern states.

They stood up to savage beatings by the Ku Klux Klan, often aided by the cops. In Alabama, Klansmen attacked and firebombed a Greyhound bus, slashing the tires and holding the doors shut, intending to burn the riders to death. When riders exited, they were beaten with baseball bats, iron pipes and bicycle chains.

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/201128810654107/

14. Friday, 7:30pm – 9:30pm, An Evening with Chelsea Manning 

Herbst Theatre
401 Van Ness St.
SF

Tickets – $25 – $60 depending on seating choice

https://www.cityboxoffice.com/ordertickets.asp?p=9646&src=eventperformances

Chelsea Manning worked as an intelligence analyst for the United States Department of Defense, where she publicly disclosed classified documents that revealed human rights abuses and corruption connected to the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Upon being sentenced to 35 years for leaking government documents, an unprecedented amount of time for whistleblowers, she publicly identified as a trans woman and asserted her legal rights to medical therapy. After serving 7 years in military prison, President Barack Obama commuted her sentence to time served.

Since her release, Chelsea has remained a vocal advocate for queer and transgender rights in addition to maintaining her extensive technological knowledge and interests, with particular focus on the growing concerns associated with the impacts of Artificial Intelligence on society. Join Chelsea for a conversation exploring ethical questions presented by Artificial Intelligence and human consciousness, as well as transgender issues and identity.

Host: CIIS Public Programs

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/161038824654818/

Saturday, March 31 

15. Saturday, 10:00am  4:00pm, Protect The Sacred #MMIW Art Build

Greenpeace Wharehouse
955 – 7th Street
Oakland

Ticket info: https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/women-s-history-month-honor-indigenous-women-mmiw

Screen print empowering designs on shawls and bandanas to raise awareness about the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls epidemic around the world. The goal is to make over 1000+ bandanas, to raise awareness of #MMIWmissing Indigenous women shawls to spread among the community to gear up for Earth Day to show the link between Indigenous womyn’s health and wellness and environmental justice.

This event is an intergenerational initiative to empower the community with screen printing skills and make Indigenous voices heard through wearable art to visualize the violence against Indigenous Women and against the Earth.

Sponsor: Indians of All Tribes

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/455857918165049/

16. Saturday, 12 Noon – 2:00pm, Coming Out Out Of The Shadows: Crushing ICE! 

Fruitvale Village (nr. Fruitvale BART)
Oakland

It’s National Coming Out Of The Shadows Month 2018!

For the past 8 years undocumented and immigrant communities have been Coming Out of the Shadows (COOTS) across the US sharing our stories of resistance and resilience in a country that punishes us for our survival.
In a time where xenophobia, family separations, and the criminalization of our communities heightens; we recognize the power of our communities of color when the leadership of directly impacted people transforms the current hate driven political climate. We are the resistance and we are here to crush ICE. From Palestine to Mexico, no borders!

Join us for this community and family-friendly event where we’ll be sharing space, stories, laughter and more.

Sponsor: East Bay Immigrant Youth Coalition, 67 Sueños, California Youth Justice Alliance, ASPIRE

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/904666063037776/

17. Saturday, 3:00pm – 6:00pm, NoTasersSF Research Party 

350 Alabama St.
SF

Prop H is an SF Police Officer’s Association (POA) ballot proposition that would grant power to the POA to write their own use of force policy for tasers, circumventing the Police Commission, Board of Supervisors, and the Police Chief. Prop H isn’t about whether or not SFPD will get Tasers––unfortunately, they will get them in December regardless––this Prop aims to lock into place POA’s total discretion in setting the policy for how the Tasers will be used and funded.

Join us in the DSA Office to research the tremendous toll of tasers on communities, a toll which falls disproportionately upon people of color, communities already targeted by police violence, and the mentally ill. We need your help mobilizing San Franciscans to vote against this unjust ballot measure. Let’s make sure the POA does not get to write their own use of force policy. Our city deserves better.

Brought to you by the DSA Justice Committee

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/177241399741486/

How Australia All But Ended Gun Violence

By CLIFTON LEAF  (fortune.com)

February 20, 2018

On April 28, 1996, a 28-year-old man named Martin Bryant drove his yellow Volvo to a popular tourist spot in Port Arthur, Australia, a former penal colony on the island state of Tasmania, and opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon. Before the day was through, he had shot dead 35 people and wounded 18 others. Twelve of those deaths came at the Broad Arrow Café, where Bryant first ate lunch and then sprayed bullets with his Colt AR-15 SP1, which he had stowed in a tennis bag. At the gift shop next door, he murdered eight more people. Later, he shot a young mother running away with her two children—all three at close range.

He was a loner, with a clean-shaven face and wavy blond hair. His IQ was said to be 66. By all accounts, he was a terrible shot. But with the weapons he carried—the AR-15 and a second, self-loading military-style rifle—aim was almost immaterial. The SP1 could fire several rounds per second with little recoil. Pointing the gun at a crowd of tourists, it was hard not to hit somebody.

If all this sounds too horrifically familiar—an estranged loner, an AR-15, dozens dead in a matter of minutes—there is a remarkable twist to the story. In the wake of the Port Arthur massacre, Australian lawmakers did something about it.

Within just weeks of that tragedy, elected officials in each of Australia’s six states and two mainland territories—pressed forward by police chiefs across the continent and by the then-newly elected prime minister—banned semi-automatic and other military-style weapons across the country. The federal government of Australia prohibited their import, and lawmakers introduced a generous nationwide gun buyback program, funded with a Medicare tax, to encourage Australians to freely give up their assault-style weapons. Amazingly, many of them did. (Simon Chapman, an emeritus professor in public health at the University of Sydney, and an influential proponent of the original firearms legislation, has a very good summary here. You can also read his free ebook here.)

A land of roughneck pioneers and outback settlers, Australia had never embraced much government regulation and certainly not about their guns. This was a land of almost cartoonish toughness and self-reliance, home of Crocodile Dundee and Australian rules football. Here even the kangaroos box. But Port Arthur had followed too many prior deadly shooting sprees and Australians were clearly sick to death of them.

So what happened after the assault-weapon ban? Well therein lies the other half of the story twist noted above: Nothing.

Nothing, that is, in a good way.

Australian independence didn’t end. Tyranny didn’t come. Australians still hunted and explored and big-wave surfed to their hearts’ content. Their economy didn’t crash; Invaders never arrived. Violence, in many forms, went down across the country, not up. Somehow, lawmakers on either side of the gun debate managed to get along and legislate.

As for mass killings, there were no more. Not one in the past 22 years.

In 2002, a mentally impaired student at Monash University in Melbourne shot two people dead and injured five others. He came to his rampage with six handguns, not an assault rifle. Had he been carrying an AR-15, the toll would have been far worse. But even so, Australian lawmakers added a new National Handgun Agreement, a separate buyback act, and a reformulated gun trafficking policy to their legislative arsenal.

There has been no similar shooting spree since.

But it wasn’t just the murderous rampages that faded away. Gun violence in general declined over the following two decades to a nearly unimaginable degree. In 2014, the latest year for which final statistics are available, Australia’s murder rate fell to less than 1 killing per 100,000 people—a murder rate one-fifth the size of America’s.

Just 32 of those homicides—in a nation of 24 million people—were committed with guns. By comparison, more than 500 people were shot dead last year in the city of Chicago alone. (Chicago has about 2.7 million residents.)

Perhaps most remarkable is what happened with gun suicides in Australia in the wake of the post-Port Arthur firearm legislation. They dropped by some 80 percent, according to one analysis.

What stopped many of those would-be suicides—quite straightforwardly, it seems—was the lack of access to a gun, a generally immediate and effective method of killing. (Nine out of 10 suicide attempts with a firearm result in death, a far higher share than attempts by other methods.) Public health experts call such an effect “means restriction.” Some Australians found other ways to take their own lives—but for many, that acute moment of sadness and resolve passed in the absence of a gun.

Suicide “is commonly an impulsive act by a vulnerable individual,” explain E. Michael Lewiecki and Sara A. Miller in the American Journal of Public Health. “The impulsivity of suicide provides opportunities to reduce the risk of suicide by restricting access to lethal means.”

Which brings us back to the here and now. In 2015, an unthinkable 22,103 Americans shot themselves to death with a gun (see Table I-21)—accounting for just over half of the suicides in the country that year.

It isn’t hard to imagine what would happen without all those guns at the ready. In a world of raging hypotheticals, we actually have some good, hard answers for this. All we have to do is look down under. There are millions of American families begging us to do it.

UPDATES ~ ANNOUNCEMENTS from Monday, March 26 – Thursday, March 29 (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. SF Board of Supervisors – March 20, 2018

Declaring Support for United States House of Representatives Bill 669 – Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017]

180248 Sponsor: Tang Resolution declaring support for United States House of Representatives Bill 669, the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017, which prohibits the conduct of a first-use nuclear strike absent a declaration of war by Congress. ADOPTED

    http://sfbos.org/sites/default/files/bag032018_minutes.pdf  page 10 

B. Suspect dies after shootout with San Francisco police (March 22, 2018)

https://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/article/Suspect-dies-after-shootout-with-San-Francisco-12773778.php

   R.I.P. ♥ Jehad Eid ♥

    Will post the SFPD Town Hall when info is available

C. Police shot at a man 20 times in his own yard, thinking he had a gun. It was an iPhone (March22, 2018)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2018/03/21/police-shot-a-man-20-times-in-his-back-yard-thinking-he-had-a-gun-it-was-a-cellphone/?utm_term=.2d9368b2445f

  Body Cam video plus names of officers

  http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/crime/article206557539.html

  R.I.P ♥ Stephon Clark ♥ 

D. Puerto Ricans and Ultrarich “Puertopians” Are locked in a Pitched Struggle Over How to Remake the Island(Naomi Klein – March 20th)

https://theintercept.com/2018/03/20/puerto-rico-hurricane-maria-recovery/ 

E. U.S. Boots and Suits on the Ground in Syria

https://soundcloud.com/taylor-report/boots-and-suits-on-the-ground

*If nothing else, listen to at least the first 5 minutes in which Stephen Gowans notes there are *many* US troops on the ground, illegally, who are not counted in the US’ official narrative on how many of their soldiers occupy Syria.

“Phil interviews Stephen Gowans about his newly published article, “The (Largely Unrecognized) US Occupation of Syria,” in which Gowans indicates that the world media has failed to note that the US has carried out a full-scale military occupation of North-East Syria, East of the Euphrates, which happens to contain most of Syria’s oil and gas industry, and its arable land.

Gowans’ related article:
https://gowans.wordpress.com/…/the-largely-unrecognized-us…/

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

 Redd (Dave) Welsh

Was hit by a hit and run driver in SF. He remains in the hospital and in poor condition, with multiple fractures. He is out of ICU. His family is requesting no visitors at this time. If you would like to send  healing  / good wishes to him you can mail them to:

David Redd Welsh
P.O. Box 1102
Berkeley, CA 94701

Dave has been a supporter of Both SF and Oakland Occupy movements, the Berkeley Post Office occupation and has been supportive of many other causes including Haiti Action Network. He is a talented musician on the piano and writes his own music and sings. His website:http://www.reddwelsh.com/

Thanks to Orion for the info. 

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Monday, March 26 – Thursday, March 29 

Monday, March 26

1. Monday, 12:00am – 12:Midnight, We Can End Urban Shield NOW – Call Alameda County Supervisors!

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors will be voting on the Sheriff’s request to fund Urban Shield 2018 on March 27th. We are organizing to ensure they say NO! We want real, community-based preparedness for emergencies. Police militarization is not the answer.

Call or email the Board on March 26th to urge them to say NO! to the militarized, racialized and xenophobic Urban Shield and to become leaders in prioritizing true community preparedness.

Supervisor Haggerty // josh.thurman@acgov.org  (510) 272-6691
Supervisor Valle // cinthya.munozramos@acgov.org  (510) 272-6692
Supervisor Chan //dave.brown@acgov.org (510) 272-6693
Supervisor Miley // kamika.dunlap@acgov.org  (510) 670-5962
Supervisor Carson // shahidah.lacy@acgov.org  (510) 272-6695

Sample script:

Dear Supervisor _________, I am calling to urge you and your fellow Supervisors to take leadership in putting an end to the harmful and controversial Urban Shield program in Alameda County. On Tuesday, March 27th, you will be asked to decide whether to authorize funding for the Sheriff to hold Urban Shield in 2018.. By rejecting this, Alameda County can be a leader in prioritizing true community preparedness that is not based on fear and militarization. Despite your guidelines and community concerns, Sheriff Ahern has repeatedly demonstrated complete disregard for very serious concerns, most recently shown when he hosted both ICE and the Oath Keepers at last year’s Urban Shield. I urge you to take action by saying no to the authorization of any funding for Urban Shield. Thank you. 

Host: Stop Urban Shield

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/235093070383112/   

2. Monday, 4:00pm – 6:30pm, Free Mumia Abu-Jamal & Stop Police Terror 

Laney College
900 Fallon, D-200 Hall
Oakland

* * * A Teach-In * * *

Speakers:

Arthur League, Cat Brooks, Jack Heyman, Judy Greenspan, Gerald Smith, and Richard Becker
Alia Sharrief
 – hip hop artist
Video – Longshore Workers Shut Down Ports to Free Mumia
Ras Ceylon & Carole Seligman, co-chairs

Who Is Mumia Abu Jamal?
Mumia Abu-Jamal is a revolutionary journalist. A former member of the Black Panther Party and MOVE supporter, he fought racism and police brutality with outspoken radio reporting in Philadelphia in the 1970s. Known as the “voice of the voiceless,” he was an award-winning journalist. His work continues today–from behind bars–with books he has written, and recorded essays on imperialism, war, racism and more.

Because he acted and spoke out against police brutality and racism, Mumia was considered an enemy of the state. He was targeted by the FBI’s COINTELPRO disruption program from age 15, framed for a crime he did not commit, and sentenced to death. His death sentence was overturned, but he now he is serving life without the possibility of parole.

He has been falsely imprisoned now for almost 36 years. Cops, courts and politicians conspired to put Mumia away, and they are still at it; but Mumia has never wavered from insisting on his innocence!

Sponsors: Laney College Ethnic Studies Department and the Free Mumia Coalition

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/986172524878793/

 3. Monday, 7:00pm, Planning meeting for: End the Wars at Home & Abroad Spring 2018 Action 

Niebyl-Proctor Library
6501 Telegraph
Oakland

Rally and March is for April 15, 2018

Join us to rally and march to end wars at home and abroad.

Gather at 11 AM at the Lake Merritt Amphitheater
Rally at 11:30 AM
March to Oscar Grant Plaza at 12:30 PM
Rally at Oscar Grant Plaza amphitheater, 14th and Broadway at 1:30 PM
Speakers and program TBD

Host: End the Wars at Home & Abroad Spring 2018 Action

Info / Endorse: https://www.facebook.com/events/187473998692994/?active_tab=about 

Tuesday, March 27 

4. Tuesday, 10:00am – 1:00pm, We Can End Urban Shield on March 27th

Alameda County Administrative Building
1221 Oak St., 5th Floor
Oakland

10AM Rally & Press Conference
11AM Supervisors Meeting & Urban Shield Vote 

Join the Stop Urban Shield Coalition at the Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting, where they will be voting on the Sheriff’s request to fund Urban Shield 2018. We are organizing to ensure they say NO! We want real, community-based preparedness for emergencies. Police militarization is not the answer.

Sheriff Ahern hosted ICE at the 2017 Urban Shield! We must turn out all our communities for this crucial vote. Alameda County must resist this blatant collusion with the horrific Trump and Sessions administration, and need to act on ending the racist tactics, and technologies being spread by Urban Shield. 

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/997075713789394/ 

Wednesday, March 28 

5. Wednesday, 4:00pm – 5:00pm, BlackRock: Stop making a killing on killing!

BlackRock
400 Howard St.
SF

BlackRock is an international investment firm that provides its clients with accessibility to Lockheed Martin stocks; they have more than $5.6 billion invested in the weapon-making company!

And while you may not know BlackRock, the CEO Larry Fink recently made a statement that he was going to start holding the companies they invest in accountable for being responsible corporate citizens. Defense stocks have risen since the U.S. defense budget received an increase from Congress.

Hold BlackRock to its own standards of being socially responsible by divesting from Lockheed Martin and the military-industrial complex and to say stop making a killing on killing!

NOTE: The almost weekly Peace Vigil on Market / Post will not be happening this week – all are invited to attend the BlackRock demo in place of it.

Sponsor: Codepink – SF

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/212196082848014/   

6. Wednesday, 7:00pm, How Do We Stop Gun Violence? Building Resistance from Tragedy 

Women’s Building
3543 18th St.
SF

While the phenomenon of the lone gunman shooting dozens of people in public is a unique feature of our current moment, gruesome violence has been a central feature of U.S. society throughout its history. Mass shootings are a social phenomenon that demands a social answer. Reforms connected to gun industry regulations might be a first step, but the central question we need to face is how to broaden the scope of discussion to target the root causes of violence in the U.S: imperialism, racism and oppression, exploitation and alienation.

We should take confidence from the collective rage being expressed after the Parkland shooting and recognize that the widespread desire for something to be done can be a powerful thing. But we also have to be aware that this would only increase the powers of the U.S. government, which remains what Martin Luther King Jr. called it 50 years ago: “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.” As this new movement gets off the ground, we need to continue to broaden the scope of debate and demands beyond immediate legislative reforms and what they will and won’t accomplish.

Sponsor: International Socialist Organization – No Cal

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/330552430799060/

Thursday, March 29 

7. Thursday, 2:00pm – 5:00pm, 650 Divis Hearing – Not enough affordable housing!

SF City Hall, Room 400
1 Dr. Carleton B. Goodlett Place
SF

Affordable Divis sent a letter to 650 Divisadero requesting an adequate amount of on-site affordable housing. After 2 years of delays, we are done waiting. Join us in asking for more affordable housing at 650 Divisadero.

650 Divisadero grew from a 16-unit building to a 66-unit building, without any increase in the on-site affordable requirement.

We oppose 650 Divisadero for not including enough on-site affordable housing. Without sufficient affordable units, this project is neither necessary nor desirable for our neighborhood.
They only offered 9 units to be affordable!
We also oppose Supervisor Breed’s latest Divisadero-Fillmore legislation, which requires only 6% on-site units to be affordable to low income households.

Host: Affordable Divis

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1654117528230673/

8. Thursday, 6:00pm, Know Your Rights in Police & FBI Interactions 

Islamic Center of Mill Valley
62 Shell Road
Mill Valley

FBI agents want to talk to you? Have questions about FBI outreach at masajid? Don’t know how to assert your rights?

Come to this brief, interactive presentation at 6:00pm to learn more about your rights if you are visited by the FBI or other law enforcement agents.

Featuring: CAIR – San Francisco Bay Area‘s Ammad Wajahat Rafiqi and Sally Horna

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/155876355104337/

9. Thursday, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, The Reparations Tour: White Solidarity with Black Power Blueprint 

Akwaaba Hall
Uhuru House
7911 MacArthur Blvd.
Oakland

The Reparations Tour: White Solidarity with the Black Power Blueprint is part of a U.S. wide tour building support for the Black Power Blueprint Project, a program for economic and political power in the hands of the African working class of St. Louis in the wake of the mass resistance following the police murder of Mike Brown in 2014.

The Black Power Blueprint is a community project that is purchasing and revitalizing buildings in the heart of the impoverished O’Fallon neighborhood, creating programs for community economic development such as the Uhuru House community center and the One Africa! One Nation! Marketplace and community garden. The project also includes collective renovation of a building to be used as a community kitchen, bakery and African Independence Workforce program for black workers who are coming out of the U.S. colonial prison system.

This tour offers white people an opportunity to support the projects through reparations to the black community and to stand in solidarity with the movement for self-determination and power in the hands of the black working class.

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/03/07/18807224.php

10. Thursday, 7:30pm – 9:30pm, Norman Finkelstein: Gaza: An Inquest Into Its Martyrdom 

First Congregational Church of Berkeley
2345 Channing Way
Berkeley

Advance tickets $12, available at T: 800-838-3006 or Pegasus Books (3 stores), Books Inc (Berkeley), Moe’s, Walden Pond Bookstore, East Bay Books, Mrs. Dalloway’s, $15 door, Benefit KPFA: kpfa.org/events.

Based on scores of human rights reports, Norman G. Finkelstein’s new book presents a meticulously researched inquest into Gaza’s martyrdom. He shows that although Israel has tried to justify its assaults in the name of self-defense, in fact Israel’s actions constitute flagrant violations of international law. Finkelstein also documents that the guardians of international law-from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to the UN Human Rights Council-ultimately failed Gaza. One of his most disturbing conclusions is that, after Judge Richard Goldstone’s humiliating retraction of his UN report, human rights organizations succumbed to the Israeli juggernaut. Finkelstein’s magnum opus is both a monument to Gaza’s martyrs and an act of resistance against the forgetfulness of history.

“No scholar has done more to shed light on Israel’s ruthless treatment of the Palestinians than Norman Finkelstein. In Gaza, he meticulously details Israel’s massacres… while demolishing the myths Israel and its supporters have invented to disguise these shocking events.”
– John J. Mearsheimer, Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/03/15/18807400.php