Obama Privately Considered Leading ‘Stop-Bernie Campaign’ to Combat Sanders 2020 Surge: Report

November 26, 2019 by Common Dreams

“From lofty heights, Obama has now become a dampener of hope, a barrier to change, and a threat to progress.”byJake Johnson, staff writer

Former President Barack Obama speaks to guests at the Obama Foundation Summit on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology on October 29, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Former President Barack Obama reportedly told advisers behind closed doors earlier this year that he would actively oppose Sen. Bernie Sanders if the progressive senator from Vermont opened up a big lead in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race.

“Publicly, [Obama] has been clear that he won’t intervene in the primary for or against a candidate,” Politico reported Tuesday. “There is one potential exception: Back when Sanders seemed like more of a threat than he does now, Obama said privately that if Bernie were running away with the nomination, Obama would speak up to stop him.”

“Obama’s post-presidency is grating and full of contradictions. He considers himself a success but the mere fact of Trump’s presidency belies this. He won on hope and counsels hopelessness.”
—David Klion, Jewish Currents

Progressives viewed Obama’s comments as further evidence that the former president, who was elected in 2008 on the soaring promise of “hope and change,” is now using his influence on the Democratic Party to undercut the grassroots push for transformational policies like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.

“Obama’s post-presidency is grating and full of contradictions,” tweeted David Klion, news editor at Jewish Currents. “He considers himself the leader of the party but refuses to lead. He considers himself a success but the mere fact of Trump’s presidency belies this. He won on hope and counsels hopelessness.”

One anonymous Obama adviserwould not confirm to Politico that Obama “would really lay himself on the line to prevent a Sanders nomination.”

“He hasn’t said that directly to me,” the adviser said. “The only reason I’m hesitating at all is because, yeah, if Bernie were running away with it, I think maybe we would all have to say something. But I don’t think that’s likely. It’s not happening.”

According to Politico, Obama plans to speak out more frequently about the state of U.S. politics in the coming weeks. Earlier this month, Obama told a roomful of rich donors that he is worried about “certain left-leaning Twitter feeds” and “the activist wing of our party,” sparking outrage from progressives.

“Over the next year, Obama, according to his closest advisers, will start to emerge with slightly bolder colors,” Politico reported Tuesday. “The boldest might be riding into a battle unfolding on his own side, if he did lead a potential stop-Bernie campaign.”

Obama advisers told Politico they don’t believe Sanders has a chance to win the Democratic presidential nomination. But recent polling suggests the Vermont senator is experiencing what his campaign described as a “surge.”

A Morning Consult tracking poll released Monday showed Sanders has gained nine points in early primary and caucus states since October. Sanders has also jumped back into second place behind former Vice President Joe Biden in Real Clear Politics‘ national polling average.

Obama’s position on Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, has also been antagonistic, according to Politico.

“Back in early 2015, when Warren was considering running for president and started to excite progressives, Obama said privately that if Democrats rallied around her as their nominee it would be a repudiation of him—a clear sign that his economic decisions after the Great Recession had been seen as inadequate,” Politico reported. “There are very few former senior Obama officials in Warren’s campaign.”

David Dayen, executive editor for The American Prospectwrote last week that Obama’s attacks on the progressive wing of the Democratic Party “are music to the ears of the wealthy and powerful.”

“This defense of the reigning economic order, originating with the donor class and media allies, with its effective abandonment of the vulnerable and disenfranchised, with nothing for those struggling to make it in a rigged economy, is a recipe for social and political unrest,” Dayen wrote. “From lofty heights, Obama has now become a dampener of hope, a barrier to change, and a threat to progress.”Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.

Police arrest 22 people, take down ‘Housing Justice Village’ outside Oakland City Hall

Officers arrest activists who hoped to push for policy shift on unhoused

By DYLAN BOUSCHER | dbouscher@bayareanewsgroup.comGEORGE KELLY | gkelly@bayareanewsgroup.comMARISA KENDALL | mkendall@bayareanewsgroup.com and ALI TADAYON | atadayon@bayareanewsgroup.com | Bay Area News Group PUBLISHED: November 24, 2019 at 5:19 pm | UPDATED: November 25, 2019 at 4:33 pm (eastbaytimes.com)

OAKLAND — Police and city workers early Monday morning dismantled a “Housing Justice Village” of about two dozen tents that had been set up the night before at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza outside City Hall to protest what organizers said was the mistreatment of the city’s homeless residents.

Around 80 activists showed up Sunday at the makeshift village bearing signs that read, “Upgrade, don’t evict!” “Housing is a human right” and “Where do we go?” Oakland officials told them throughout the day that camping at the plaza after 10 p.m. would be illegal, according to a news release issued Monday by the city.  TOP ARTICLES1/5READ MOREDrive-by shooter wounds man in East Oakland

By 10 p.m. Sunday, most of the protesters had left, but 22 refused and were cited for overnight camping in a park and booked into jail on suspicion of resisting arrest, the news release says. Their tents and possessions were taken and stored by the city for them to retrieve.

By 8 a.m. Monday, all tents at the plaza had been removed. Police were gone one and a half hours later and city workers were cleaning the sidewalk.

Activists said Monday the city’s response was excessive and typical of how the homeless get brushed off. They haven’t yet come up with a plan to follow up on Sunday’s protests, the activists said, because they are focusing on raising money to bail out the arrested protesters.

Candice Elder, founder of one of the organizations involved in the protest, East Oakland Collective, said about 60 police officers showed up at the plaza and dragged some people out of their tents.

Those arrested include activist Anita Miralle, 44, of Oakland — also known as Needa Bee — who was booked into Santa Rita Jail.

Elder and the other activists had a list of demands for the city: Stop removing people from curbside encampments, halt market-rate development in Oakland and turn attention toward affordable development, among other conditions.

“Do we think the city listened?” Elder asked. “No. Because we don’t think the city cares to begin with.”

The Village, Oakland@VillageOakland

BREAKING: This AM, Oakland unhoused residents created the #HousingJusticeVillage at Oscar Grant Plaza. It is a peaceful protest of the harm and trauma caused by the City of Oakland’s treatment of curbside residents. #StopsTheSweeps #WhereDoWeGoOakland #PublicLandForSanctuary

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Inside and around the tents, activists on Sunday said they planned to stay put to make their point that residents without homes are given short shrift.

“People will see and hear first-hand that (there) are deep discrepancies between what the mayor and her team claim and what is actually happening in the streets,” Needa Bee said in part of a statement posted to social media. “We also want to create space to give our folks the opportunity for some healing after all the trauma and brutality they have endured.”

The Village, Oakland@VillageOakland

#HousingJusticeVillage Press Release

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611:48 AM – Nov 24, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacySee The Village, Oakland’s other Tweets

On Sunday, Bee said groups organized the encampment in secret to prevent law enforcement from blocking off the plaza before the tents went up, adding that housed residents have a stake in their actions.

“First of all, it’s taxpayers’ money. A lot of taxpayers don’t want to see homeless people. They don’t want to be bothered. So if you don’t want to be bothered by us, your money that has been set aside to get us off the streets, should get us off the streets.”

Pointing to a nearby building under construction, Bee said people “should care because their money is being misspent. The reality is, we’re living in Oakland in 2019 where s— like this is going up where, if you’re from the town, you can’t afford that. Everything that has been built in Oakland since 2000 is not for the people from Oakland. It is for people who don’t even live here yet. The jobs are not for us. The housing is not for us. They are building a new Oakland at the expense of the quality of life and human rights and constitutional rights of the people who were born and raised here.”

Kelsey Brenner, 71, said she intended to stay in a plaza tent Sunday as part of the protest.

“I can’t sit by and watch what’s happening: The city is criminalizing homelessness and is not providing enough low-income housing. … I look around at all these high rises going up … my own daughter can’t live here because it’s too expensive,” Brenner said.

“They have these Tuff Sheds where people go for six months and then after that they’re back out on the street. Transitional housing? Six months and then back out on the street. And then they’re just hurting these people from these [homeless] camps.”

Groups involved in setting up and sustaining the encampment included The Village in Oakland, The East Oakland Collective, First They Came For The Homeless, and Homeless Action Group. Another group, Community Ready Corps for Self Determination, performed security training at the protest. Other groups shared donated foods such as coffee, apples, bananas and granola bars with housed and unhoused residents attending the protest or walking by.

A little more than eight years ago, activists and organizers inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement set up camps at the plaza and at Snow Park near Lake Merritt. Police raided and dismantled both camps Oct. 25, 2011, leading to multiple protests and marches and a re-establishment of a plaza camp, which police officers dismantled again Nov. 14, 2011.

“The housing and homelessness crisis is our community’s priority, and we are all working to create more safe shelter spaces for our unsheltered residents while seeking immediate local, state and federal resources to build more affordable housing,” Justin Berton, a spokesperson for Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, said Sunday evening. “Oakland supports every resident’s right to peacefully protest.”

Harry Harris contributed to this report. Contact Dylan Bouscher at 408-920-5088 and George Kelly at 408-859-5180.

Not ‘Free Stuff,’ But Public Goods: Ocasio-Cortez Denounces Neoliberal Talking Points on Publicly-Funded Education and Housing

November 25, 2019 by Common Dreams

“I never want to hear the term ‘free stuff’ ever again.”

by Julia Conley, staff writer

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke with her constituents in The Bronx on Sunday about a public housing plan under the Green New Deal. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won applause and cheers from her constituents on Sunday at a town hall in the Bronx where she expressed deep frustration with the routine dismissal of investment in public goods as “free stuff.”

“I never want to hear the term ‘free stuff’ ever again,” Ocasio-Cortez told the audience.

The progressive first-term Democrat explained her vision for newly proposed legislation—the Green New Deal for Public Housing—for a $180 billion investment in upgraded public housing that would prioritize communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis, retrofit units with energy-efficient insulation and appliances, and create 250,000 jobs. The bill is cosponsored in the Senate by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).

Like public roads, schools, and libraries, Ocasio-Cortez said, public housing should be recognized as a public good funded by taxpayers, particularly the wealthiest people and corporations.

“It is possible and it’s not that we deserve it because it’s a handout,” the congresswoman said. “People like to say, ‘Oh, this is about free stuff.’ This is not about free stuff… These are public goods.”

Ocasio-Cortez won applause from members of the audience for her plan, including one who shouted of housing, “It is a human right!”

On social media Monday Ocasio-Cortez said public services for the use of all people “are worth investing in, protecting, and advancing for all society and future generations.”

At Sunday’s town hall, Ocasio-Cortez denounced the term “free stuff” to dismiss progressive proposals for benefits already available to people in many developed countries as a “neoliberal” talking point.

“I’m already hearing some of these neoliberal folks who are trying to flip the script on us and say…’Oh, I don’t want to pay for a millionaire’s kids to go to college,'” she said.

The argument makes no more sense, Ocasio-Cortez suggested, than saying publicly-funded infrastructure unfairly benefits the rich.

“I believe all people should be able to go to a public library,” she said. “Everyone can drive on our roads, everybody should be able to send our kids to public school, and every person who needs it should have access to public housing that looks like this.”

Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.

The End of the Rule of Law: The 12 Impeachable Offenses Committed By Trump

November 25, 2019 by Truthdig

“If we take a narrow approach to impeachment, that will mean that all the more egregious violations will be viewed as having been endorsed and not rebuked and successive presidents will feel they have a green light to emulate Trump on everything except a Ukrainian shakedown.”

by Chris Hedges

"The most serious constitutional violations are the ones that are institutional usurpations." (Photo: Mr.Fish)

“The most serious constitutional violations are the ones that are institutional usurpations.” (Photo: Mr.Fish)

Bruce Fein, a former senior official in the Department of Justice and a constitutional scholar, has identified 12 impeachable offenses committed by Donald Trump. But, as he notes, many of these constitutional violations are not unique to the Trump administration. They have been normalized by Democratic and Republican administrations. These long-standing violations are, for this reason, ignored by Democratic Party leaders seeking to impeach the president. They have chosen to focus exclusively on Trump’s attempt to get the Ukrainian president to open an investigation of Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in exchange for $400 million in U.S. military aid and a visit by the Ukrainian leader to the White House. Ignoring these institutionalized violations during the impeachment inquiry, Fein fears, would legitimate them and lead to the death of democracy.

In a letter on Friday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, also signed by Ralph Nader and Louis Fisher, Fein warns that Trump is “shattering our entire constitutional order.” He lists as the president’s most serious constitutional violations the “defiance of congressional subpoenas and oversight; spending billions of dollars on a southern border wall not appropriated for that purpose; continuing or expanding presidential wars not declared by Congress; exercising line-item veto power; flouting the Emoluments Clause; and, playing prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner to kill any person on the planet based on secret, unsubstantiated information.” But he also notes that many of these violations are not unique to Trump and were also carried out by Barack Obama and George W. Bush.

“Many of the Democrats in the past have been complicit in these violations,” Fein said when I reached him by phone in Washington, D.C. “They have unclean hands. They have acquiesced in illegal surveillance, as revealed by Edward Snowden. The most serious constitutional violations are the ones that are institutional usurpations. These usurpations [by both parties] have permanently weakened, if not eviscerated, the power of the legislature versus the executive.”

“We have a Congress whose members, by and large, do not want the responsibilities the Constitution entrusts them with,” Fein continued. “They like to give away everything to the president and then clamor if something goes bad. The most worrisome constitutional violations are, unfortunately, ones many members of Congress rejoice in. It enables them to escape making hard choices that might compromise their ability to win reelection. But you can’t rely on a past dereliction to justify its perpetuation indefinitely.”

“If we take a narrow approach to impeachment, that will mean that all the more egregious violations will be viewed as having been endorsed and not rebuked and successive presidents will feel they have a green light to emulate Trump on everything except a Ukrainian shakedown,” Fein said. “This is dangerous for the country. This could boomerang, even if we get rid of Trump, by endorsing these usurpations forever. This would be a return to a one-branch government like the monarchy we overthrew in 1776. The unwitting result is to further the [power of the] executive rather than diminish it, which is what should be happening.”

Bush and Obama bequeathed to us nine illegal wars, if we include Yemen. None were declared by Congress, as is demanded by the Constitution.

Bush and Obama bequeathed to us nine illegal wars, if we include Yemen. None were declared by Congress, as is demanded by the Constitution. Bush placed the entire U.S. public under government surveillance in direct violation of the Fourth Amendment and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which makes it a crime for the government to surveil any American citizen without authorization by statute. Under the Executive Order 10333 the president spies on Americans as if they were foreigners, although this surveillance has not been authorized by statute. Bush embarked on a global program of kidnapping and torture, including of foreign nationals, which Obama continued. Bush and Obama carried out targeted assassinations, usually by militarized drones, across the globe. And Obama, reinterpreting the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force Act, gave the executive branch the authority to assassinate U.S. citizens. The killings began with drone strikes on the radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and, two weeks later, his 16-year-old son. Such a violation denies U.S. citizens due process. By signing into law Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act, Obama—whose record on civil liberties is even more appalling than Bush’s gutted the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the use of the military as a domestic police force.

These two presidents, like Trump, violated treaty clauses that required Senate ratification. Obama did this when he signed the Iran nuclear deal and Trump did this when he walked away from the deal. Bush and Obama, like Trump, violated the appointments clause of the Constitution by appointing people who were never confirmed by the Senate as required. The three presidents, to override Congress, all routinely abused their right to use executive orders.

At the same time the courts, a wholly owned subsidiary of corporate power, have transformed the electoral system into legalized bribery through the Citizens United ruling, handed down by the Supreme Court in 2010. Corporations pouring unlimited money into elections was interpreted by the court as the right to petition the government and a form of free speech, essentially overturning the people’s rights by judicial fiat. Also, the courts have steadfastly refused to restore basic constitutional rights including our right to privacy and due process. “The constitutional rot is in all three branches,” Fein said.

The 12 impeachable offenses committed by Trump and singled out by Fein are:

1. Contempt of Congress

Trump made clear his contempt of Congress when he boasted, “… I have Article II, where I have the right to do whatever I want as president.”

“President Trump has repeatedly and unconstitutionally systematically undermined the congressional oversight power, including the ongoing congressional impeachment inquiry of the President himself, by instructing numerous current and former White House staff and members of the executive branch to defy congressional subpoenas on an unprecedented scale far beyond any previous President,” Fein wrote to Pelosi. “Without congressional authority, he has secretly deployed special forces abroad and employed secret guidelines for targeted killings, including American citizens, based on secret unsubstantiated information. He has unconstitutionally endeavored to block private persons or entities from responding to congressional requests or subpoenas for information, e.g., Deutsche Bank. He has refused to provide Congress information about nepotistic or other security clearances he granted in opposition to his own FBI security experts. He has refused to disclose his tax returns to the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee contrary to a 1924 law, 26 U.S.C. 6103 (f).”

2. Abuse of the Powers of the President and Abuse of Public Trust

“Unlike prior presidents, he has made presidential lies as routine as the rising and setting of the sun, confounding civil discourse, truth and public trust,” the memo to Pelosi reads. “He has disrespected, belittled, and serially preyed upon women, mocked the disabled, incited violence against the mainstream media and critics, and encouraged and displayed bigotry towards minorities and minority Members of Congress, including intercession with Israel in serious violation of the Speech or Debate Clause, Article I, section 6, clause 1, to deny two Members visitor visas.”

3. Appropriations Clause, Revenue Clause

“Congress has consistently voted much less money than President Trump requested to build an extensive, multi-billion-dollar wall with Mexico,” the memo reads. “In violation of the Clause and the criminal prohibition of the Anti-Deficiency Act, President Trump has committed to spending billions of dollars far in excess of what Congress has appropriated for the wall. The congressional power of the purse is a cornerstone of the Constitution’s separation of powers.”

Article I, Section 7, Clause 1 of the Constitution requires all revenue measures to originate in the House of Representatives.

“In violation of the Clause, President Trump has raised tens of billions of dollars by unilaterally imposing tariffs with limitless discretion under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962,” the memo reads. “He has become a Foreign Trade Czar in imposing tariffs or quotas or granting exemptions from his trade restrictions in his unbridled discretion to assist political friends and punish political enemies. Literally trillions of dollars in international trade have been affected. Riches are made, and livelihoods destroyed overnight with the capricious stroke of President Trump’s pen.”

4. Emoluments Clause

“Article I, section 9, clause 8 prohibits the President (and other federal officers), without the consent of Congress, from accepting any ‘present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatsoever, from any King, Prince, or foreign state.’

“President Trump has notoriously refused to place his assets in a blind trust,” the memo reads. “Instead, he continues to profit from opulent hotels heavily patronized by foreign governments. He has permitted his family to commercialize the White House. He has compromised the national interest to enrich family wealth on a scale unprecedented in the history of the presidency.”

5. Treaty Clause

Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 requires Senate ratification of treaties by two-thirds majorities. The text is silent as to whether treaty termination requires Senate ratification, and the Supreme Court held the issue was a non-justiciable political question in Goldwater v. Carter, 444 U.S. 996 (1979).

“President Trump flouted the Treaty Clause in terminating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia unilaterally,” the memo reads. “The treaty assigned the termination decision to the ‘United States.’ The President alone is not the United States under the Treaty Clause.”

6. Declare War Clause

Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 empowers Congress alone to take the nation from a state of peace to a state of war. That power cannot be delegated.

“In violation of the Declare War Clause, President Trump has continued to wage or has initiated presidential wars in Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and has used special forces offensively in several African nations,” the memo reads. “President Trump has claimed authority to initiate war against any nation or non-state actor in the world—not in self-defense—on his say-so alone, including war against North Korea, Iran, or Venezuela.”

7. Take Care Clause; Presentment Clause

Article II, Section 3 obligates the president to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

“In violation of that trust, President Donald J. Trump deliberately attempted to frustrate special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of collaboration between the Trump 2016 campaign and Russia to influence the presidential election,” Fein points out. “Among other things, the President refused to answer specific questions relating to his presidential conduct; endeavored to fire the special counsel; dangled pardons for non-cooperating witnesses; and, urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reverse his recusal decision to better protect his presidency. In all these respects, the President was attempting to obstruct justice.”

“President Trump has also systematically declined to enforce statutory mandates of Congress by arbitrarily and capriciously revoking scores of agency rules ranging from immigration to the Consumer Financial Protection Board to the Environmental Protection Agency in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act or otherwise,” the memo reads. “He has routinely legislated by executive order in lieu of following constitutionally prescribed processes for legislation.”

“In violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, Mr. Trump has dismantled and disabled scores of preventive measures to save lives, avoid injuries or disease, help families, consumers, and workers, and detect, deter, and punish tens of billions of dollars of corporate fraud,” the memo continues. “He has disputed climate disruption as a ‘Chinese hoax,’ compounded the climate crisis by overt actions that expand greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, and excluded or marginalized the influence of civil service scientists.”

8. Due Process Clause

The Fifth Amendment provides that no person shall “be deprived of life … without due process of law.”

“In violation of due process, President Trump claims power, like his immediate two predecessors, to act as prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner to kill American citizens or non-citizens alike, on or off a battlefield, whether or not engaged in hostilities, whether or not accused of crime, and whether or not posing an imminent threat of harm that would trigger a right of preemptive self-defense,” the memo reads.

9. Appointments Clause

“President Trump has repeatedly appointed principal officers of the United States, including the National Security Advisor and Cabinet officials, who have not been confirmed by the Senate in violation of the Appointments Clause, Article II, section 2, clause 2,” the memo reads. “On a scale never practiced by prior presidents, Mr. Trump has filled as many as half of Cabinet posts with ‘Acting Secretaries’ who have never been confirmed by the Senate.”

10. Soliciting a Foreign Contribution for the 2020 Presidential Campaign and Bribery

“President Trump has endeavored to corrupt the 2020 presidential campaign by soliciting the President of Ukraine to contribute something of value to diminish the popularity of potential rival Joe Biden, i.e., a Ukrainian investigation of Mr. Biden and his son Hunter relating to potential corrupt practices of Burisma, which compensated Hunter handsomely ($50,000 per month). In so doing, Mr. Trump violated the criminal campaign finance prohibition set forth in 52 U.S.C. 30121,” Fein’s memo reads.

“President Trump solicited a bribe for himself in violation of 18 U.S.C. 201 in seeking something of personal value, i.e., discrediting Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign with the help of the President of Ukraine to influence Mr. Trump’s official decision to release approximately $400 million in military and related assistance,” it adds.

11. Violating Citizen Privacy

“Government spying on Americans ordinarily requires a warrant issued by a neutral magistrate based on probable cause to believe crime is afoot,” the memo reads. “President Trump, however, routinely violates the Fourth Amendment with suspicionless surveillance of Americans for non-criminal, foreign intelligence purposes under Executive Order 12333 and aggressive interpretations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.”

12. Suppression of Free Speech

“President Trump is violating the First Amendment in stretching the Espionage Act to prosecute publication of leaked classified information that are instrumental to exposing government lies and deterring government wrongdoing or misadventures, including the outstanding indictment against Julian Assange for publishing information which was republished by the New York Times and The Washington Post with impunity,” the memo reads.

“The Republic is at an inflection point,” the letter to Speaker Pelosi reads. “Either the Constitution is saved by impeaching and removing its arsonist in the White House, or it is reduced to ashes by continued congressional endorsement, whether by omission or commission, of limitless executive power and the undoing of checks and balances.”

Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Truthdig.com. Hedges graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books, including: War Is A Force That Gives Us MeaningWhat Every Person Should Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.  His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.

No teams have called Kaepernick since workout, report says

Ex-49ers QB Colin Kaepernick impressed at Atlanta workout, but likely angered NFL by changing venues

Free agent Colin Kaepernick participates in a workout for NFL football scouts and media Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 in Riverdale, Ga. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)

By MICHAEL NOWELS | mnowels@bayareanewsgroup.com | Bay Area News Group PUBLISHED: November 24, 2019 at 10:36 am | UPDATED: November 25, 2019 at 4:04 am (eastbaytimes.com)

Colin Kaepernick has been waiting by the phone for a week, but it’s all been in vain.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, no NFL team has called Kaepernick in the week since he participated in a workout intended to draw interest from teams and end his three-year exile from the league.

Of course, the lack of interest may have little to do with how the former 49ers star looked on the field in Atlanta. Kaepernick and his representatives pulled out of the NFL-organized workout just a few hours before its start, opting to set up their own workout in the Atlanta area and invite teams and media to attend. They cited the NFL’s insistence Kaepernick sign an unusual waiver, plus the fact that media weren’t invited to the league-planned workout, as reasons for the switch-up that left teams scrambling to attend.

The NFL is a league more insistent on dictating terms than any other, and its teams largely take on that same mentality. Kaepernick doesn’t appear to be interested in leaving behind his penchant for challenging authority, making for a difficult marriage between him and any NFL team.

“I’ve been ready for three years. I’ve been denied for three years,” Kaepernick said after his workout last Saturday, imploring the NFL and its teams to “stop running.”

The Niners attended Kaepernick’s workout along with six other teams, and the 25 teams that didn’t see it in person received video of the event.

The fact that no team has reached out showing interest underlines just how bleak the odds are Kaepernick will be signed, Schefter says.


November 25, 2019 – Update from Adrienne Fong

This morning, 19 people were arrested outside Oakland City Hall.

Bail Funds are needed for 19 unhoused people & their advocates arrested for sleeping on the lawn at city hall donations can be sent to EOC via PayPal – kandace.e@gmail.com . All are being held at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.

Each person needs $375. for the bail bonds to get out. Folks are charged with PC 148 (A)C “obstructing an officer”. Arraignment is Wed 11/27, 9 AM.

See more info below photo!

Photo by:  Lauren Montana Swiger 

Image may contain: night and outdoor

KTVU Coverage:  

Police clear activists at Oakland City Hall who were protesting ‘cruel’ treatment of homeless (See site for photos)


Oakland police cleared out a group of homeless activistis just after midnight on Monday just outside of City Hall.

Police said the group had violated the city’s curfew and some activists had to be physically carried away. City workers broke down tents and tossed them into the back of a truck. Roughly a dozen people were detained and their hands were cuffed in zip ties, according to witnesses. 

The move by police follows what had been a mostly peaceful protest first set up Sunday at noon by a group called Housing Justice Village at Frank Ogawa Plaza near Oakland City Hall. Activists set up  camp to provide a safe place for the city’s homeless population and protest what organizers say are civil and human rights violations committed by the city.

The activists are calling for an end to what they say are “cruel and inhumane anti-homeless practices” by the city, including eviction and demolition of camps, and towing of recreational vehicles.

The village camp at City Hall is intended “to create space to give our folks the opportunity for some healing after all the trauma and brutality we have all endured,” said Housing Justice Village founder Needa Bee.

The camp opened with about 18 people who Bee said have nowhere else to go, along with both “housed and unhoused” supporters. “We’re tired of being pushed around and treated like we’re not human,” Bee said, adding that “People are welcome to come down and find out how they can plug in” to help

“We’re here to protest on behalf of unhoused folks and ask questions” about funding and solutions the group says were approved two years ago but have not been implemented. The homeless population in Oakland has doubled during that time, Bee said.

“We call it a village, but it’s definitely bigger than just a village,” Bee said. “The reality is the mayor (Libby Schaff) has an amazing PR machine and we want to utilize this time to get the truth out.”

Organizers say they plan to distribute meals, make legal support available, hold discussions on solutions to homelessness, offer skill training, and nightly moving screenings. The camp posted updates on Facebook at and on Twitter.

Schaaf’s office did not return comment. 

Thank you to Tristen S. for much of the info.

Record turnout in Hong Kong local elections amid calls for full democracy

NOVEMBER 23, 2019 / 4:06 PM / UPDATED 17 HOURS AGO

Clare JimFelix Tam (reuters.com)

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong residents turned out in huge numbers on Sunday to vote in district council elections seen as a test of support for chief executive Carrie Lam following six months of pro-democracy protests, and polling took place with no major disruptions.

Electoral affairs chief Barnabus Fung said at least 2.94 million people voted, a turnout rate of more than 71% and a record showing that appeared to have been spurred by the political turmoil. About 1.47 million voted in the last district elections four years ago.

First results began to trickle in after midnight.

Jimmy Sham, a candidate for the Civil Human Rights Front, which organised some of the anti-government rallies, won his contest and said the voter numbers should be a sign to the government that it should listen to their voices.

“This election is special because it is a formal confrontation between pro-establishment and pro-democracy parties after months of unrest caused by the misstep of government,” he told Reuters, standing on crutches weeks after he was beaten by men with hammers during a rally in October.

Casting her ballot, the Beijing-backed Lam pledged that her government would listen “more intensively” to the views of district councils in the Chinese-ruled city.

“I hope this kind of stability and calm is not only for today’s election, but to show that everyone does not want Hong Kong to fall into a chaotic situation again,” Lam said.

The district councils control some spending and decide issues such as recycling and public health. A record 1,104 candidates were vying for 452 seats.

If the pro-democracy campaigners gain control, they could secure six seats on Hong Kong’s semi-representative Legislative Council and 117 seats on the 1,200-member panel that selects its chief executive.

The protests started over a now-withdrawn extradition bill that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial but rapidly evolved into calls for full democracy, posing the biggest popular challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012.

They have at times forced the closure of government, businesses and schools as police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon in response to petrol bombs and rocks.

The run-up to the election was marked by attacks on candidates, with one stabbed and wounded and another having part of his ear bitten off.

Ming Lee, 26, who works in event production, said she hoped the higher turnout would benefit the pro-democracy camp that is battling some seats that were once uncontested and dominated by pro-Beijing candidates.Supporters of local candidate Kelvin Lam celebrate, after it was announced he won the local council elections in his district, at a polling station in the South Horizons West district in Hong Kong, China November 25, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

“I hope this vote can counter the voice of the pro-establishment, so as to bring in more voices from the democrats,” she said. “The social problems encouraged people to vote and to focus on political issues.”

Restaurant manager Jeremy Chan, 55, saw the elections as offering Beijing supporters a chance to share their opinions.

“They believe they are fighting for democracy, fighting for Hong Kong, but the rioters only listen to what they want to hear,” Chan said, citing vandalism of businesses seen as pro-Beijing. “Freedom of speech is lost.”


Sunday was also the seventh day of a stand-off at Polytechnic University, whose campus has been surrounded by police as some protesters hid out on the grounds.

“The district council election is almost like a referendum on recent months of social activity,” said a protester clad in a red university tracksuit, his face covered by a red mask.

“My personal liberty to vote has been violated,” said the protester, who said he feared being seized by police if he tries to escape from the campus.

Late on Sunday night paramedics and police were seen escorting a young man in a wheelchair from the campus.

A professor at the university said the man had been found, weak and alone, in one of the rooms on the sprawling site.

Demonstrators are angry at what they see as Chinese meddling in the freedoms promised to the former British colony when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997. They say they are also responding to perceived police brutality.Slideshow (24 Images)

China denies interfering and says it is committed to the “one country, two systems” formula for the autonomy of Hong Kong. Police say they have shown restraint in the face of potentially deadly attacks.


Fung said there had been 3,638 complaints on Sunday, mostly related to the long queues at polling stations.

Well-known pro-democracy advocate Alexandra “Grandma” Wong, who was detained in the city of Shenzhen over the border from Hong Kong in August, said this was “the day that we are longing for”.

“Because I was detained in Shenzhen, my ballot has become a wasted paper. This breaks my heart. Please help add oil for me and vote. All the Best!!! Be Safe!!!” she wrote according to a message on the Lennon Wall protest movement Facebook page.

It was not clear for how long Wong, who became a fixture at protests carrying a large British Union Jack flag, was detained.

Speaking to supporters outside a polling station shortly before it was announced that he had lost in his challenge to a long-time incumbent, pro-democracy candidate Leung Kwok-Hung, known as “Long Hair”, said he was touched by the high turnout but that the political problems were far from solved.

“After the election is over, there is still a long road ahead… Hong Kong people need to continue to fight hard,” he said.

Reporting by Greg Torode, Sharon Tam, Sarah Wu, Scott Murdoch, Poppy McPherson, Clare Jim, Joyce Zhou, Jessie Pang, Twinnie Siu, Jessie Pang, Athit Perawongmetha and Aleksander Solum; Writing by Jamie Freed, Anne Marie Roantree, Nick Macfie and Josh Smith; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Frances KerryOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Encampment at Oakland City Hall – by Un-housed neighbors (from Adrienne Fong)

Oakland Un-housed Neighbors

have created the



Oakland City Hall

Oscar Grant Plaza

(Frank H. Ogawa Plaza)

14th & Broadway St.

(nr. 12th Street BART)


Indybay Article:


Article & Photos by Dave Id


Un-housed folks who have been traumatized and brutalized by the city of Oakland, whose encampments have been destroyed, have moved onto Oscar Grant Plaza asking “Where do we go?” Where are the millions that were set aside to upgrade, not evict encampments and to build permanent housing for the homeless?

Oakland like other cities is letting people die on the streets.

Tents are up in Oscar Grant Plaza in front of Oakland City Hall to protest the city’s never ending homeless encampment demolitions and evictions, its lack of seriousness and urgency in addressing the housing crisis.  If you can support, come by! 

This action is 24/7.

If you can help with supplies or just come by – all are welcomed!

Action is organized by: The Village, The East Oakland Collective, and First They Came For the Homeless…

The electoral college started with the Holy Roman Empire

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Electoral college.

Illustration from the 1341 Codex Balduini Trevirorum showing the electors in deliberation (left to right: Archbishop of Cologne, Archbishop of Mainz, Archbishop of Trier, Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Saxony, Margrave of Brandenburg and King of Bohemia).

Choosing the king. At the top: the three ecclesiastical princes choosing the king, pointing at him. At the centre: the Count Palatine of the Rhine hands over a golden bowl, acting as a servant. Behind him, the Duke of Saxony with his marshall’s staff and the Margrave of Brandenburg bringing a bowl of warm water, as a valet. Below, the new king in front of the great men of the empire (HeidelbergSachsenspiegel, around 1300)

About this sound

The Prince-electors (GermanKurfürst (listen (help·info)), pl. KurfürstenCzechKurfiřtLatinPrinceps Elector) of the Holy Roman Empire, or Electors for short, were the members of the electoral college that elected the Holy Roman Emperor.

From the 13th century onwards, the Prince-Electors had the privilege of electing the monarch who would receive the coronation at the hands of the Pope. After 1508, the election was sufficient to acquire the Imperial title. Charles V was the last person to be a crowned Emperor (elected 1519, crowned 1530); his successors were only elected Emperors by the electoral college, each being titled “Elected Emperor of the Romans” (Germanerwählter Römischer KaiserLatinelectus Romanorum imperator). In practice, election by the princely electoral college was merely a de jure requirement. De facto the Imperial throne followed the order of succession of the Austrian House of Habsburg: every emperor from 1440 onwards came from the House of Austria except for Charles VII (r. 1742–1745) and Francis I (r. 1745–1765), both of whom were related to the Habsburgs by blood and/or marriage. The Electors merely ratified such inheritance.

The dignity of Elector carried great prestige and was considered to be second only to that of King or Emperor.[1] The Electors had exclusive privileges that were not shared with the other princes of the Empire, and they continued to hold their original titles alongside that of Elector. The heir apparent to a secular prince-elector was known as an electoral prince (GermanKurprinz).

American Authoritarianism and Restoring Constitutional Order | Shahid Buttar | TEDxHarkerSchool

TEDx Talks In an age of heightened security, are our most vital civil liberties at risk? Shahid Buttar of the Electronic Frontier Foundation provides an insight into the history of mass surveillance and incarceration policies, how those policies conflict with the very ideas of a democratic society, and how these policies affect everything from popular movements to our daily lives. Shahid leads EFF’s grassroots and student outreach efforts. He’s a constitutional lawyer focused on community organizing and policy reform as a lever to shift legal norms, with roots in communities across the country resisting mass surveillance. From 2009 to 2015, he led the Bill of Rights Defense Committee as Executive Director. After graduating from Stanford Law School in 2003, where he grew immersed in the movement to stop the war in Iraq, Shahid worked for a decade in Washington, D.C. He first worked in private practice, with public interest litigation projects advancing campaign finance reform, and marriage equality for same-sex couples as early as 2004, when LGBT rights remained politically marginal. From 2005 to 2008, he helped build a national progressive legal network and managed the communications team at the American Constitution Society for Law & Policy, and in 2008 and 2009 he founded the program to combat racial & religious profiling at Muslim Advocates.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx