“Readers’ choice for a Shadow Cabinet” by Spencer Whitney (sfchronicle.com)

 Photo: John Blanchard, The Chronicle

Photo: John Blanchard, The Chronicle

With controversy swelling over President Trump’s picks for the top executives in his administration, we asked readers to create their own shadow Cabinet. That is, to list their choices for the key administrative posts — attorney general, secretaries of defense, interior, commerce, education and others — to advise the president and set the tone for the federal government over the next four years.

Readers read Open Forum writer James W. Loewen’s commentary about shadow Cabinets, a feature of political life in many democracies, and took the invitation to heart: More than 100 readers sent in detailed lists of names of those they felt reflected their views and values and could help steer the country.

Their lists revealed some notable picks:

J. Scott Applewhite, AP.  The Senate GOP may have tried to silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren on the floor, but readers spoke up and chose Warren as their top pick for the Shadow Cabinet in several categories; from Vice President to Secretary of Treasury.

TNS.  As the former Secretary of Labor for President Bill Clinton, Robert Reich’s experience and commentary made him the most voted for Secretary of Labor.

Matt Rourke, AP.  During the primary election, Sen. Bernie Sanders gave Hillary Clinton a run for her money as a candidate. Sanders was top choice as Vice President.

Susan Walsh, AP.  Longtime civil servant and Barack Obama’s right-hand man, former Vice President Joe Biden was chosen for Secretary of Homeland Security.

Michael Short, Special to The Chronicle.  Bay Area native Sen. Kamala Harris, ade the list as Attorney General. Her stances on criminal justice reform has made her a crowd favorite among Democrats.

Denise Truscello.  Comedian Carrot Top, known for his red hair and self-deprecating humor was chosen as Secretary of Agriculture. No word yet if he will change America’s national dish to carrots.

Gene Page, AMC.  One reader suggested a zombie Cabinet: “Daryl Dixon,” “Rick Grimes” and “Michonne” were chosen for their survival skills in a postapocalyptic world. Who better to lead the country against the armies of corpses than the characters from “The Walking Dead”?

Nancy Bissell of Berkeley made sure her shadow Cabinet varied in race, gender and background. Shirlee Graff of Alamo, in particular, deemed it vital to choose a Cabinet with eight women in order to have an equitable gender mix in government.

Some submissions reflected choices based on experience. Others stressed innovation; e.g., Carol McDaniel of Mount Shasta (Shasta County) wanted former President Jimmy Carter for secretary of energy; Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, was singled out by Carol Catudio of Whitethorn (Humboldt County) for secretary of transportation; and UC President Janet Napolitano was offered up as secretary of education. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee was a top choice for secretary of housing and urban development.

Louise Murphy of Daly City poked at the idea of a left-leaning shadow Cabinet: She mailed back a list with no alternatives to the president’s nominees. At the top, she scrawled: “You Lost! We Won! Keep everything as listed.”

Others couldn’t resist the temptation to joke: One reader offered up “Miss Informed” for secretary of education. Political comedian Bill Maher was even a choice for attorney general.

Spencer Whitney is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: swhitney@sfchronicle.com

Homeless leader speaks on homeless realities (PeoplesTribune.org)

Occupiers at Liberty City, Berkeley City Hall in California. PHOTO/SARAH MENEFEE

Occupiers at Liberty City, Berkeley City Hall in California.

Editor’s note: These are posts that Mike Zint, of ‘First they came for the homeless’, wrote on social media on the realities of life on the streets and the movement for homeless rights and the right to housing. He recently led a tent occupation of Berkeley City Hall, which was covered by the People’s Tribune and other media.

Mike Zint:

“During police sweeps you have a few minutes to save your belongings if you are lucky. Cities have no intention of preserving or keeping it for you. The intention is to purposely steal it as punishment for being homeless in public. To fight back is impossible. You need money to do that. Or lawyers. And good luck getting a lawyer. They want big bucks.

Things I used to own: baby pictures, multiple warm sleeping bags, cell phones, computer, extra clothing, back packs, inhalers, and a jewelry making set up that took years to develop. Zero charges, zero arrests, and this has happened multiple times.

Why do they do it? Because there is no room for poor people anywhere. Harass them, steal from them, abuse them, torture them, and maybe they will move along.

Class warfare waged by Chambers of Commerce, commercial districts, business associations are the reality. And it won’t stop until enough people get screwed by the corrupt, greedy system!

“Homeless people get almost no choice. Shelter system, sleep on the sidewalk, hide a tent. Shelters are one step above jail. Abuse by staff, violence, lice, bed bugs, exposure to illness, these exist in shelters. So, is it really a choice?

Sleeping on the sidewalk (exposed) is horrible too. Cardboard for meager insulation, no padding except for a sleeping bag, no privacy except what exists between your nose and the blanket you are hiding under. Yes, hiding is accurate. For mental stability, privacy and security are needed. When a blanket was what l had, that little space had to do. Fear never leaves either. Will I get rousted by cops? Robbed? Beaten? So, the longer you live this way, the worse your mental state becomes.

So, hide a tent is left. This works until you are found. When found, your gear is usually confiscated. You are ticketed. And you spend the next few nights in a shelter, or on a sidewalk exposed.”

“Spread the word. Two cities torturing the homeless now have homeless uprisings. Throughout history, it has been the poorest, most beaten down people who rose up in rebellion. This history will repeat.

“The population is the enemy when the police are militarized. The proof is in the violence, killings, illegal detentions, and lack of accountability. “I’m scared for my life” has become the mantra for murder. Dogs and cats are not even safe. Next year, it will be worse. And it will not change until we make them change. A few thousand protesters will not do it. A few million will get some attention. A national strike will win the day.

We encourage reproduction of this article so long as you credit the source.
Copyright © 2017 People’s Tribune. Visit us at http://peoplestribune.org

Report-back from Sunflower Alliance on ICE raid preparedness and more immigration information (from Ruthie Sakheim)


The BayResistance email list now has 15,000 names. 1500 people came to the event on March 4, which was extremely well organized. It filled Mission High School in SF.

There was simultaneous translation into Spanish, Chinese and sign language; childcare; a scent-free section, etc.

The program opened with percussion from Boom Shake.

Then we heard wonderful speakers: Lara Kiswani from the Arab Resource and

Organizing Center, Guillermina Castellanos from La Colectiva de Mujeres, Emily Lee from San Francisco Rising, and Lita Blanc from United Educators of San Francisco and Alicia Garza.

There were many references to the massive turnout at the airports to prevent detaining of travelers, building on deep relationships of solidarity, centering people of color and led by women.

Alicia made many wonderful points, including:

• Elections matter.

• We need to do organizing as well as resistance, building what we want for the next generation. Referring to the “we are ungovernable” slogan she said we need to fight for governance. This means:

• Organize beyond those who already agree with us

• Don’t just throw rocks at the castle — take it over; get involved in local government for starters.

• Fight every ism like our lives depend on it, and protect yourself, too. Fight for the right of all of us to live in a healthy functioning democracy.

• Get to know your neighbors, bring them to trainings.

• Win hearts and minds — it’s all of us or none of us.

We met in small groups to answer two questions:

– What should we do to build power in the next three months? And

– How build for the general strike on May 1?

There was some report back and collection of notes from the small groups.

Then we went to workshops (which were large). Options were Organizing 101, Direct Action, and Rapid Response to Raids. There was also a Spanish speaking group of janitors and fast food workers, and (I found out later) a group discussing surveillance technology — maybe others I didn’t know about.

I went to the workshop on responding to ICE raids. It was conducted by the San Francisco Immigrant Legal and Education Network (SFILEN). ICE raids in San Francisco should be reported to them at (415) 200-1548. The Alameda County Immigration Legal and Education Partnership hotline is (510) 241-4011. It just went “live” on Friday.

Similar hotlines are being set up around the state. In the meanwhile, ICE raids in other counties (like Contra Costa) can be reported to 844-878- 7801, a statewide number.

I assume the Alameda County rapid response will be similar to what is set up in San Francisco. We should get this phone number (510-241- 4011) distributed widely. If ICE tries to detain a community member, they should call this number and will be advised about their legal rights on the spot (remain silent, don’t open the door, ask for an attorney, don’t open up for ICE warrants – needs to be signed by a judge before it’s legal, etc.).

Anyone who observes an ICE raid should call this number immediately. The hot line folks will send out an alert to volunteers located close to the site of the raid to get observers on the spot. The first step is verification — to make sure there is a raid, it’s not just a rumor. Then watch for violations of constitutional rights (99% of ICE detainments did not involve warrants, (they may have false ICE warrants), so they are unconstitutional!). If someone is detained, the hotline will activate attorneys to provide representation.

We received training on how to do legal observing and I am sure such trainings will be taking place in Alameda County soon. Once you are trained you will be on the hot line list to be contacted if there is a raid near you. I emailed Centro Legal de la Raza, one of the groups involved in the Alameda County hotline, to find out about when there will be Alameda County trainings. Anyone who hears about this should let folks know. There may be webinar trainings in the future too.

Here’s what Centro Legal sent out about the creation of ACILEP.

http://centrolegal.org/legal-service-organizations-community-groups-joined- forces-create-alameda- county-immigration- legal-education- partnership-acilep/

History: White Rose

Monument to the “Weiße Rose” in front of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

The White Rose (German: die Weiße Rose) was a non-violent, intellectual resistance group in Nazi Germany led by a group of students and a professor at the University of Munich. The group conducted an anonymous leaflet and graffiti campaign which called for active opposition against the Nazi regime. Their activities started in Munich on June 27th, 1942, and ended with the arrest of the core group by the Gestapo on February 18th, 1943. They, as well as other members and supporters of the group who carried on distributing the pamphlets, faced unjust trials by the Nazi People’s Court (Volksgerichtshof), and many were sentenced to death or imprisonment.

The group wrote, printed and initially distributed their pamphlets in the greater Munich region. Later on, secret carriers brought copies to other cities, mostly in the southern parts of Germany. In total, the White Rose authored six leaflets, which were multiplied and spread, in a total of about 15,000 copies. They branded the Nazi regime’s crimes and oppression, and called for resistance. In their second leaflet, they openly denounced the persecution and mass murder of the Jews. By the time of their arrest, members of the White Rose were just about to establish contacts with other German resistance groups like the Kreisau Circle or the Schulze-Boysen/Harnack group of the Red Orchestra. Today, the White Rose is well-known within Germany and worldwide.

More at:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Rose