Articles ~ Action ~ Event change from Sat. to Sun ~ Announcements for Mon., Feb. 11 & Feb. 12 (from Adrienne Fong)

Periodic Announcements

Please encourage groups you are involved in to post events on Indybay:

Thank you to all who are posting there!

  Check Indybay for other events that might interest you.

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

CHILDCARE Please indicate for events. This is a JUSTICE ISSUE!


A. Tensions over Mission District gentrification flare at hearing on 16th Street project – February 7, 2019

B. Haiti: Thousands in Haiti demand resignation of Moise – February 7, 2019

C. An Arizona City Warns It Will Sue If Razor Wire Isn’t Removed From Its Border Fence – February 7, 2019

D. HHS official says agency would never have supported family separation tactics – February 7, 2019

E. NBC’s Jawdropping McCarthyite Smear of Tulsi Gabbard


Tell Congress to END U.S. Support for War in Yemen NOW!


Congress could vote on this as early as next week.

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Event changed from Saturday  to Sunday:

Sunday, February 10, 1:00pm, U.S. Hands Off Venezuela Rally

Lake Merritt Columns

599 Embarcadero


Rally to demand U.S. Hands Off Venezuela in support of the elected Maduro Bolivarian government at The Lake Merritt Columns/Pergola/ThePillars, 599 El Embarcadero, Oakland
We demand:
No U.S. Coup!
– No troops
– No sanctions
– Return Venezuelan money to the legitimate Maduro government
– No proxy interventions (i.e. through Colombia or Brazil)
Recognize the elected Maduro Bolivarian government 
No recognition of the self-imposed, rogue Guaidò “government”.
Initiated by:
We Are All Venezuela

Sponsors: We Are All Venezuelans + 3 Other groups


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Monday, February 11 & Tuesday, February 12

Monday, February 11

1.  Monday, 11:00am. Habeas Hearing + Pack the Court for Joaquin

450 Golden Gate Ave.


11:00am – Press Conference

12 Noon – Hearing

Please join us to accompany Joaquin and his family for a press conference and a hearing in federal court

Joaquin’s legal team has filed a habeas petition asking a federal judge to issue an injunction prohibiting ICE from re-detaining Joaquin. A temporary injunction is currently in place until February 12. At the hearing, the judge will determine whether to extend the injunction or rescind it and permit ICE to incarcerate Joaquin, separating him from his U.S. citizen family. We hope to pack the court to envelop Joaquin and his family with support!

Brief Hx:

Joaquin arrived in the United States when he was about 10 years old, when he was brought from Mexico to Los Banos, CA. He became a lawful permanent resident (“LPR”) and enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He served the United States on board the USS Tarawa and was deployed to Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He received several medals, including the Navy Unit Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, among others. He believed when he enlisted that service in the military would provide automatic citizenship. In fact, he may have been told by military officials that he was already a U.S. Citizen.

Since being released, Joaquin has focused full time on his rehabilitation. He completed a 6-month in-patient rehabilitation program, continues to attend domestic violence offender classes, and regularly meets with mental health professionals at the VA. His VA social worker has written that he is “among the most remarkable veterans I have worked with, and his resilience, perseverance, and hard work have resulted in him meeting and exceeding his many goals.” Joaquin has also advocating for other immigrants in similar situations as his, speaking in congregations and speaking to public officials.

Follow the Central Valley’s support for Joaquin and his family below:
Tuesday, February 12, 2019, at 9AM-
Accompany Joaquin at his ICE check-in at ICE Fresno Sub Office:
2440 Tulare Street
Fresno, CA 93721
Visit the FB page for more information:

Sponsors: Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity & Pangea Legal Services


2.  Monday, 12Noon – 1:00pm, Living Graveyard

Oakland Federal Building
1301 Clay Street (nr. 12th St. BART)

Covered with sheets to represent the dead of the war of occupation on Iraq, people lie down on the city sidewalk in front of the Federal Building, This is legal, non-violent witness Please bring a white sheet to cover yourself with.  A pad to lie on is recommended.

Iraqi Deaths 3,102,080

U.S. Deaths 4,566  Coalition 4,889

Syrian Deaths, unknown  • Afghan Deaths 30,000 + 

Pakistani Deaths over 1,000 from drone attacks  

Palestinian Deaths Thousands

U.S. Deaths in Afghanistan  2,419

Coalition Deaths in Afghanistan  3,56`

Itching for a fight with Iran

In his State of the Union speech Trump said, “18 years ago, violent terrorists attacked the USS Cole.  .  .  .  My administration has acted decisively to confront the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, the radical regime in Iran.  .  . .  They do bad, bad things. To ensure this corrupt dictatorship never acquires nuclear weapons, I withdrew the United States from the disastrous Iran nuclear deal.”

From NPR’s fact check: “While the U.S. has pulled out. . . some European countries, Russia & China are working to save it. Iran has complied with the 2015 deal, which requires limits and inspections of its nuclear facilities in return for relief from economic sanctions.

“U.S. officials acknowledge Iran’s compliance but say the deal should require broad changes in Iran’s behavior in the Middle East and on human rights. . . Trump says he will force Iran to renegotiate a new deal.”

Iran did not attack the Cole

It is quite clear from CNN’s report and the Britannica online encyclopedia that the Cole was attacked by “Muslim militants associated with the organization al-Qaeda.”

It is evident that Trump is using the historic Cole attack to drum up hostilities against Iran, which is actually at odds with al-Qaeda.

Info: Ecumenical Peace Institute,,

3.  Monday, 3:00pm – 4:00pm, SF Speak Out @ Japan Consulate to Stop Re-starting of Japananese Nuke Plants

San Francisco Japanese Consulate

275 Battery St. (nr. California)


Join No Nukes Action when we have our monthly action at the San Francisco Japanese Consulate to opposed the restarting of Japan’s nuclear plants. The Abe government has claimed that it has “decontaminated” Fukushima and is coercing the refugees and their children and families to return to the area or lose their housing subsidies. The facts are that the melted nuclear rods are still highly dangerous and hot requiring thousands of tons of water. The government wants to release this radioactive water which is in hundreds of tanks surround the plants into the Pacifica ocean despite the opposition of fisherman and the community.

In order to get the 2020 Olympics the Abe government claimed that Fukushima problem had been solved and that it was “decontaminated”. This is was an overt brazen lie and falsification of the real situation and show the real political charter of the Abe government. 
At the same time, there is an increase in the amount of cesium in the waters around Fukushima nearly eight years after the explosion of the nuclear plants and contamination of Fukushima, Japan and the world.

The Abe government is also pushing for militarization and removal of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution that prevents military interventions outside Japan. They are also pushing for a new US military base in Okinawa despite the opposition of the mass of Okinawan people and the governor. This base would also have US nuclear ships and weapons which is presently against the US Japan Security Agreement. The US has already violated this agreement many times and used Okinawa as a base for illegal wars around the world.


4.  Monday, 5:00pm – 6:00pm, Rally prior to Taser Forum: Demand Truth and Transparency of DA, Sheriff (See item # 5)

400 County Center

Rally in Courtyard

Redwood City

Rally prior to San Mateo County Taser Forum to demand Truth and Transparency in San Mateo County from all elected officials: SMC Board of Supervisors, District Attorney, Sheriff and Coroner

Tasers used by law enforcement have resulted in the recent deaths of 3 people in San Mateo County: Chinedu Okobi – Oct 3, 2018, Warren Ragudo – Jan 16, 2018, and Ramsey Saad – August 13, 2018. 

#Justice4Chinedu, the Raging Grannies Action League, and members of the faith community call on District Attorney Wagstaffe to immediately release all the videos and 911 Call logs for Oct 3, 2018 in the matter of the murder of Chinedu Valentine Okobi, on Oct 3, 2018 in Millbrae, CA by five (5) SMC Sheriff Deputies. 

#Justice4Chinedu explains: “It has been over 120 days since the murder of Chinedu Valentine Okobi at the hands of San Mateo County Sheriff’s officers.”


5.  Monday, 5:00pm, San Mateo County Board of Supervisors Taser Study Session (See item # 4)

400 County Center – First Floor

Redwood City

Must go through building security

Long overdue, the SMC Supes have decided to have a COMMUNITY Study Session on the use of Tasers, by county Law enforcement. In 2018 Law enforcement tased 3 persons to death. Public Comment is part of this session, and we need all people to come and speak up about use of the murdering weapons which are used as an extension of excessive force by law enforcement.

Justice4Chinedu, and members of the community at large, have been speaking out at BoS meetings since his death on 3 Oct 2018, requesting the immediate release of video and 911 call logs for this date. The Board of Supes have done nothing, in spite of unrelenting public comment, and contact from constituents, and on 4 Dec 2018, they approved a $4M contract with Axon, the taser manufacturer without an RFP. This was in the afternoon, the same day, after >90 mins of public commentary in the morning.

Come let our Supervisors, DA & Sheriff know what we think of their underhanded tactics, and egregious duplicity in this matter, and for those who have no voice!

Study Session on Tasers Speakers: 
* John C. Beiers, San Mateo County Counsel
* David A. Silberman, Chief Deputy County Counsel 
* Sheriff Carlos Bolanos 
* Undersheriff Mark Robbins 
* Detective Michael Tabak Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) 
* Michael Brave, Axon Director, CEW Legal 
* Amy Nguyen, Axon Litigation Counsel & CEW Legal Advisor 
* Alan Schlosser, Senior Counsel, American Civil Liberties Union 
* Julie Traun, Bar Association of San Francisco 
* Zian H. Tseng, M.D., M.A.S., UCSF

If you wish to speak to the Board during the meeting, please fill out a green speaker’s slip as you enter the Board Chambers.

If you wish to provide a written comment during the meeting in lieu of speaking, please submit a pink written comment slip, which will be distributed to the Board and included in the official record.

If you wish to submit your written comment in advance of the meeting, please email it to:

Sponsor: Justice For Chinedu

Info:  &

6.  Monday, 6:00pm – 8:00pm, What Is The Untold Story of the Buffalo Soldier

Bandung Books

2277 International Blvd.


F R E E Food + L I V E Performances
L I M I T E D Capacity

Join us for a community forum, in commemoration of Philippine Solidarity Week and Black History Month. As we uplift the African-American Buffalo Soldiers’ acts of solidarity, fighting alongside Filipino Revolutionaries during the Philippine-American War, we look to the past for lessons to guide our future.

120 years after the war — one in which over 1 million Filipinos died in just 3 years — U.S. intervention in the archipelago continues; in fact, it never ended. 

However, the National Democratic movement is reaching even greater mass support, as the U.S.-DuterTrump regime creates worsening conditions for the broad masses of urban poor, workers, women, indigenous peoples, and others.

While the origin of the name “Buffalo Soldier” is debatable and controversial, and the soldiers’ role in the American Indian Wars is heartbreaking, one thing is for certain: African-American persons of conscience made a bold and dangerous choice after witnessing the plight of Filipinos during the Philippine American War. It is their brave acts of solidarity that we uplift on this 120th Anniversary of the fight against U.S. imperialism in the Philippine islands.

Sponsor: Anakbayan East Bay


Tuesday, February 12

7.  Tuesday, 6:00pm – 7:30pm, Medicare for All Barnstorm

The Women’s Building

3543 18th St.


Demand that Congress pass Medicare for All (M4A)! Come to the SF M4A barnstorm, a mass organizing rally. Activists across the country will be hosting M4A barnstorms in February after a real single-payer bill is introduced in the house. This is part of a national grassroots pressure campaign – see the map – to bring a real M4A bill to a vote.

Sponsor: DSA


8.  Tuesday, 6:00pm – 8:00pm, Do No Harm Coalition 2019 Kick-Off

UCSF Library CL213 / 214 – Lower level


Accessibility: Free Event! UCSF Library is Wheelchair Accessible so you can take an elevator down to the lower level.

 We are able to interpret in Spanish, please contact the us if you would like other forms of interpretation and we will try to accommodate.

All are welcomed

Come celebrate Do No Harm in their 2019 Kick-Off – we’ll be having speakers Rupa Marya and Maria Cristina Gutierrez speak on their work with the Frisco5 Hunger Strike, Mothers on the March, and the Justice Study as well as connecting with local community organizations around housing, gentrification, policing, and immigration.

Rupa Marya, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine at UCSF, Faculty Director of the Do No Harm Coalition and a leading figure at the intersection of medicine and social justice, investigates the health effects of police violence on communities through The Justice Study and is helping set up the Mni Wiconi free community clinic under Lakota leadership at Standing Rock. She is also the leader of the internationally touring band Rupa and the April Fishes.

Maria Cristina Gutierrez, Frisco5 Hunger Striker, Mothers on the March Leaders, and Organizer with the Black and Brown Club of SF. She has been living and organizing in San Francisco’s Mission District the past 35 years.


9. Tuesday, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, Resisting the Coup in Venezuela: Emergency Teach-In

The Eric Quezada Center for Culture & Politics

518 Valencia St.


Wheelchair accessible

This event will be recorded and available for viewing remotely.
” To request language interpretation, CART transcription, or other access needs, please contact

Join Center for Political Education for a discussion about the US-backed coup attempt in Venezuela, the history of intervention in the region, and discussion about what groups in the Bay Area can do to respond to this crisis.

On January 23rd, Juan Guaidó, the relatively unknown head of Venezuela’s National Assembly from the right-wing Popular Will party, declared himself acting president and rejected President Nicolas Maduro’s swearing-in to a second term. President Trump and a coalition of regional allies in Latin America, anchored by right-wing governments in Brazil and Colombia, immediately recognized Guaidó as the country’s new president. It is now apparent that Guaidó had been plotting this take-over with forces in the US,, Colombia and Brazil. The US government has announced billions of dollars in new sanctions against the country’s state-owned oil company PDVSA aimed at crippling Venezuela’s economy, while cynically offering to provide humanitarian aid, and has appointed notorious cold warrior Elliott Abrams as the US special envoy responsible for “restoring democracy in Venezuela”.

Venezuela is undoubtedly experiencing an unprecedented political and economic crisis. The response from much of the Left within the United States has largely been one of confusion and silence.

conversation will be led by: 
” Carolina Morales, queer Venezuelan organizer 
” Roberto Lovato, a writer and journalist based at the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto.


10. Tuesday, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, White Supremacy and Capitalism: Why you can’t abolish one without overthrowing the other – Screening

Revolution Books – Berkeley

2444 Durant Ave.


Discussion & video clips from the filmed speech by Bob Avakian, “WHY WE NEED AN ACTUAL REVOLUTION AND HOW WE CAN REALLY MAKE REVOLUTION.” 
Watch the trailer here:


“Inspired and Inspiring”: 10-Year-Old Boy Scout Wins Praise After Taking a Knee During Pledge of Allegiance

February 08, 2019 by Common Dreams

“This is why Colin Kaepernick’s work is so powerful. A 10-year-old white Boy Scout from North Carolina taking a stand against discrimination.”

by Julia Conley, staff writer

Ten-year-old Liam Holmes of Durham, North Carolina knelt in protest during the Pledge of Allegiance at a public event this week. (Photo: @LinseyDavis/Twitter)

A 10-year-old Boy Scout won the praise of a local mayor as well as online observers Friday when the story of his decision to peacefully protest during the Pledge of Allegiance went viral.

Liam Holmes and his Cub Scout Pack had been invited to recite the pledge at a city council meeting at City Hall in Durham, North Carolina on Monday. After a discussion with his father about professional athletes who have taken a knee in recent years to protest police brutality and the police shootings of unarmed black Americans, Holmes decided to stage his own demonstration.

“What I did was took a knee against racial discrimination, which is basically [when] people are mean to other people of different colors,” Holmes told CBS 17, an affiliate station in Durham.

Holmes’ father expressed surprise and pride in an interview with the station, while Mayor Steve Schewel let the room know right away that the boy’s protest was welcomed at City Hall.

“To the scout that expressed his conscience by kneeling, we will say that we endorse and appreciate all expressions of conscience in the Durham City Council,” said Schewel.

On social media, others expressed their support for Holmes as well.

Some also gave credit to former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for first taking a knee during the national anthem at NFL games, starting in 2016. Some football players continued the protests in the most recent season, and athletes in other professional sports have joined as well.

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


FRI, 2/8/2019 – BY ELLEN BROWN (


The Green New Deal endorsed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and more than 40 other U.S. Representatives has been criticized as imposing a too-heavy burden on the rich and upper-middle-class taxpayers who will have to pay for it, but taxing the rich is not what the Green New Deal resolution proposes. It says funding will come primarily from certain public agencies, including the Federal Reserve and “a new public bank or system of regional and specialized public banks.”

Funding through the Federal Reserve may be controversial, but establishing a national public infrastructure and development bank should be a no-brainer. The real question is why we don’t already have one, like China, Germany, and other countries that are running circles around us in infrastructure development. Many European, Asian and Latin American countries have their own national development banks, as well as belonging to bilateral or multinational development institutions that are jointly owned by multiple governments. Unlike the U.S. Federal Reserve, which considers itself “independent” of government, national development banks are wholly owned by their governments and carry out public development policies.

China not only has its own China Infrastructure Bank but has established the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which counts many Asian and Middle Eastern countries in its membership, including Australia, New Zealand, and Saudi Arabia. Both banks are helping to fund China’s trillion-dollar “One Belt One Road” infrastructure initiative. China is so far ahead of the United States in building infrastructure that Dan Slane, a former advisor on President Trump’s transition team, has warned, “If we don’t get our act together very soon, we should all be brushing up on our Mandarin.”

The leader in renewable energy, however, is Germany, called “the world’s first major renewable energy economy.” Germany has a public sector development bank called KfW (Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau or “Reconstruction Credit Institute”), which is even larger than the World Bank. Along with Germany’s non-profit Sparkassen banks, KfW has largely funded the country’s green energy revolution.

Unlike private commercial banks, KfW does not have to focus on maximizing short-term profits for its shareholders while turning a blind eye to external costs, including those imposed on the environment. The bank has been free to support the energy revolution by funding major investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Its fossil fuel investments are close to zero. One of the key features of KFW, as with other development banks, is that much of its lending is driven in a strategic direction determined by the national government. Its key role in the green energy revolution has been played within a public policy framework under Germany’s renewable energy legislation, including policy measures that have made investment in renewables commercially attractive.

KfW is one of the world’s largest development banks, with assets as of December 2017 of $566.5 billion. Ironically, the initial funding for its capitalization came from the United States, through the Marshall Plan in 1948. Why didn’t we fund a similar bank for ourselves? Apparently because powerful Wall Street interests did not want the competition from a government-owned bank that could make below-market loans for infrastructure and development. Major U.S. investors today prefer funding infrastructure through public-private partnerships, in which private partners can reap the profits while losses are imposed on local governments.


Renewable energy in Germany is mainly based on wind, solar and biomass. Renewables generated 41% of the country’s electricity in 2017, up from just 6% in 2000; and public banks provided more than 72% of the financing for this transition. In 2007-09, KfW funded all of Germany’s investment in Solar Photovoltaic. After that, Solar PV was introduced nationwide on a major scale. This is the sort of catalytic role that development banks can play, kickstarting a major structural transformation by funding and showcasing new technologies and sectors.

KfW is not only one of the biggest but has been ranked one of the two safest banks in the world. (The other is also a publicly-owned bank, the Zurich Cantonal Bank in Switzerland.) KfW sports triple-A ratings from all three major rating agencies, Fitch, Standard and Poor’s, and Moody’s. The bank benefits from these top ratings and from the statutory guarantee of the German government, which allow it to issue bonds on very favorable terms and therefore to lend on favorable terms, backing its loans with the bonds.

KfW does not work through public-private partnerships, and it does not trade in derivatives and other complex financial products. It relies on traditional lending and grants. The borrower is responsible for loan repayment. Private investors can participate, but not as shareholders or public-private partners. Rather, they can invest in “Green Bonds,” which are as safe and liquid as other government bonds and are prized for their green earmarking. The first “Green Bond – Made by KfW” was issued in 2014 with a volume of $1.7 billion and a maturity of five years. It was the largest Green Bond ever at the time of issuance and generated so much interest that the order book rapidly grew to $3.02 billion, although the bonds paid an annual coupon of only 0.375%. By 2017, the issue volume of KfW Green Bonds was $4.21 billion.

Investors benefit from the high credit and sustainability ratings of KfW, the liquidity of its bonds, and the opportunity to support climate and environmental protection. For large institutional investors with funds that exceed the government deposit insurance limit, Green Bonds are the equivalent of savings accounts, a safe place to park their money that provides a modest interest. Green Bonds also appeal to “socially responsible” investors, who have the assurance with these simple and transparent bonds that their money is going where they want it to. The bonds are financed by KfW from the proceeds of its loans, which are also in high demand due to their low interest rates; and the bank can offer these low rates because its triple-A ratings allow it to cheaply mobilize funds from capital markets, and because its public policy-oriented loans qualify it for targeted subsidies.


KfW’s role in implementing government policy parallels that of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) in funding the New Deal in the 1930s. At that time U.S. banks were bankrupt and incapable of financing the country’s recovery. Roosevelt attempted to set up a system of 12 public “industrial banks” through the Federal Reserve, but the measure failed; so he made an end run around his opponents by using the RFC that had been set up earlier by President Hoover, expanding it to address the nation’s financing needs.

The RFC Act of 1932 provided the RFC with capital stock of $500 million and the authority to extend credit up to $1.5 billion (subsequently increased several times). With those resources, from 1932 to 1957 the RFC loaned or invested more than $40 billion. As with KfW’s loans, its funding source was the sale of bonds, mostly to the Treasury itself. Proceeds from the loans repaid the bonds, leaving the RFC with a net profit. The RFC financed roads, bridges, dams, post offices, universities, electrical power, mortgages, farms, and much more; and it funded all this while generating income for the government.

The RFC was so successful that it became America’s largest corporation and the world’s largest banking organization. Its success may have been its nemesis. Without the emergencies of depression and war, it was a too-powerful competitor of the private banking establishment; and in 1957, it was disbanded under President Eisenhower. The United States was left without a development bank, while Germany and other countries were hitting the ground running with theirs.

Today some U.S. states have infrastructure and development banks, including California; but their reach is very small. One way they could be expanded to meet state infrastructure needs would be to turn them into depositories for state and municipal revenues. Rather than lending their capital directly in a revolving fund, this would allow them to leverage their capital into 10 times that sum in loans, as all depository banks are able to do.

The most profitable and efficient way for national and local governments to finance public infrastructure and development is with their own banks, as the impressive track records of KfW and other national development banks have shown. The RFC showed what could be done even by a country that was technically bankrupt, simply by mobilizing its own resources through a publicly-owned financial institution. We need to resurrect that public funding engine today, not only to address the national and global crises we are facing now but for the ongoing development the country needs in order to manifest its true potential.

green banks, public banks, Reconstruction Finance Corporation, RFC Act, Green Bonds, Green New Deal

Originally published by Web of Debt




Al Drago/Bloomberg

On Thursday, a resolution for the Green New Deal—a climate change-focused public infrastructure bill spearheaded by Congressperson Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—was released to the public.

The resolution is just that—a resolution, and not an actual bill. So it doesn’t get into nitty-gritty details as to exactly how it will achieve net zero emissions by 2050, a goal recently stated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to be the only way to keep warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial, late-nineteenth century levels.

However, the resolution does establish a set of values, and names stakeholders that should be included in an eventual Green New Deal bill. The resolution specifically states that the Green New Deal bill will create “appropriate ownership stakes” for the public, support ‘community grants, public banks, and other public financing.” In short, the resolution places public ownership front and center.

This may sound abstract. However, there’s an excellent way to ensure that the public has ownership in Green New Deal assets, and has agency in a world with the Green New Deal: Nationalize public utilities.

The urgency for nationalizing public utilities could not be more poignant. Last week, private natural gas and electricity utility Pacific Gas and Electric Company, better known as PG&E, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. It is currently facing $30 billion in liability fees after a state investigation found that it caused at least a dozen wildfires back in October 2017. The wildfires, sparked by downed power lines, killed at least 46 people and burned more than 200,000 acres of land.

Because PG&E is a private utility company that’s filing for bankruptcy, the company’s tragic mistake is going to cost state residents for years. Per legislation passed at the state level this past September, ratepayers legally have to bear financial responsibility for damage caused by PG&E by paying higher rates for PG&E services. This explains why the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which is in charge of regulating private and public utilities in the state, approved a plan to let PG&E take out $6 billion in loans that will also be funded by ratepayers.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Right now, PG&E is an investor-owned utility, meaning that the company’s express purpose is to maximize the return on investment for stockholders. This affects everything from its management structure to the rates people have to pay for gas and power.

Johanna Bozuwa, a research associate at the Democracy Collaborative focused on the fossil fuel economy, told Motherboard in a phone call that investor-owned utilities also operate with disproportionate power in de facto regional monopolies. “The reality is that these monopolies have a lot of power and often will regulate their own regulators,” Bozuwa said.

Bozuwa explained that investor-owned utilities will often spend their money on lobbying and campaign contributions. In 2018, PG&E spent$8.89 million on lobbying, and $1.29 million on campaign contributions (including $52,010 for Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein).

Investor-owned utilities are set up to prioritize short-term investor profits and not represent the long-term interests and well-being of the people who pay for those utilities. Bozuwa told Motherboard that since companies like PG&E have standard, dirty energy assets, they’re not incentivized to invest in clean energy.

“It’s not only that they have a lot of fossil fuels, it’s that their entire system has operated off of fossil fuels, and they’ve figured out how to make money off of that process,” Bozuwa said.

“So being pushed towards taking climate change seriously and shifting towards renewables… those are all things that are contrary to the investor-owned utility model that makes money specifically off of what they call capital infrastructure and guaranteed rate of return.”

The alternative is a publicly owned utility. According to the CPUC, the ownership structure for a publicly owned utility involves a local government body, and maybe customers and people who live in the area. This group of people would be responsible for setting the rates, and operating and investing in new facilities. Publicly owned utilities can also be financed through tax-free bonds and co-ops for people who can afford to pay in.

This essentially means that communities can decide to achieve “net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition,” as outlined in the Green New Deal resolution, and invest in forms of renewable energy such as solar, wind, and water power.

According to a study published in the Canadian Journal of Economics that focused on public and private electricity utilities in the US, “all but the largest publicly owned utilities deliver distribution services at lower costs than do their privately owned counterparts.” The study also found that publicly owned utilities tend to provide more reliable, higher quality services.

There are already small publicly owned utilities operating on the local level all around the US. Forty-six municipalities in California—including major cities Sacramento, Los Angeles, and Palo Alto—already have publicly owned electricity projects that provide some services to their residents. But these are smaller projects when compared to PG&E, which has a de facto monopoly in the California region with 16 million customers.

The Local Green Energy Alliance, Community Choice energy, and other grassroots organizations in the East Bay Area are currently campaigning to block the CPUC’s efforts for a de facto PG&E bailout. And of course, California isn’t the only state fighting investor-owned utilities. Currently, there’s a campaign in the state of Rhode Island to convert National Grid services to public ownership.

Meanwhile, investor owned utilities continue to put ratepayers at risk, and PG&E isn’t the only example. Take Con Edison, which serves the New York region, for example. In December, a transformer explosion turned the entire New York City sky aqua blue and put thousands of residents in the dark.

According to Bozuwa, if PG&E were to be publicly owned, it could potentially be designed to empower these local projects and regional distributors, as well as Community Choice Aggregators, boards that enable opt-on community options for alternative, renewable forms of energy for residents. Seven US states, including California, already have some Community Choice Aggregators, according to the EPA.

“I think it’s about building multiple scales of public ownership, and not thinking about it as like ‘oh, well the state will run all of this at the state level,’ because it’s a very large, very populous state,” Bozuwa said.

For perspective, 2019 is not the first time that PG&E has filed for bankruptcy. Back in 2001, a drought in the U.S. reduced the amount of energy PG&E was able to import from states other than California (climate change makes droughts both more likely and more intense). That, combined with expensive wholesale rates for electricity, drove the company into bankruptcy. In order to keep the company afloat, ratepayers had to pay $1.6 billion over the course of several years, and California had to give the company $3 billion in Energy Recovery Bonds to save ratepayers money.

In 2019 and in years to come, California will continue to face heightened risk for wildfires and droughts—things that could cause PG&E and other investor-owned utilities that rely on dirty-energy infrastructure to go bottom-up again.

An express goal of the the Green New Deal resolution is “to secure for all people of the United 15 States for generations to come…climate and community resiliency.” But we can’t face upcoming decades of climate change with the utility system we have now. If we continue to rely on investor-owned utilities, they will continue to prioritize natural gas. Their systems will fail, wildfires will continue to happen, and ratepayers will pay the cost.

Originally published by Motherboard

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, power utilities, Green New Deal, PG&E bankruptcy, nationalize utilities, Democracy Collaborative, Community Choice Aggregators, renewable energy, clean energy jobs, green jobs, green economy

‘This Needs to Happen Nationally’: Ohio City Ditches Columbus Day to Make Election Day Paid Holiday

February 07, 2019 by Common Dreams

The city of Sandusky, Ohio is swapping Columbus Day for Election Day starting in 2020, ending the yearly celebration of Christopher Columbus and instead ensuring all city workers can get to the polls

by Julia Conley, staff writer

The city of Sandusky, Ohio this week announced it would swap Columbus Day for Election Day, giving all municipal workers a paid day off to vote. (Photo: Chuck Burton/Associated Press)

Heeding a call by progressives including voting rights and indigenous rights groups alike, the city of Sandusky, Ohio will swap Columbus Day for Election Day as a paid holiday—allowing all city workers to take Election Day off so they can vote.

Starting next year, Sandusky, which is home to 25,000 people and lies 60 miles west of Cleveland, will no longer recognize the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas every October, instead prioritizing residents’ ability to get to the polls.

“Sandusky is proud to recognize Election Day as a holiday,” officials wrote on the city’s Facebook page. “What better way to celebrate the value of our employees and citizens than by removing barriers for them to participate in the greatest of American innovations, our democracy.”

The government watchdog group Public Citizen was among those that praised the city for its decision, also calling for the change to be made at a national level.

City manager Eric Wobser told the Sandusky Register that shifting away from the “controversial” Columbus Day holiday, as several cities and towns have in recent years, was also important to the city.

In 2018 alone, about a dozen cities including San Francisco and Cincinnati renamed the second Monday in October “Indigenous People’s Day,” choosing to celebrate Native American history and heritage instead of the European explorer whose journey to the Americas began a genocide which killed an estimated 56 million native people, and centuries of ongoing violence perpetrated against Indigenous people.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has publicly called for Columbus Day to be eliminated nationally and for Election Day to be made a paid holiday instead.

A poll released last Election Day by The Hill and HarrisX found that most respondentswere in favor of making the day a national holiday. Another survey by Pew Research showed that of Americans who did not vote in the 2016 elections, 14 percent didn’t vote because their schedule didn’t allow them to get to the polls—suggesting that a paid holiday would help many to vote.This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

With Major Party Backing, Ocasio-Cortez and Markey Unveil Green New Deal Outlining ‘WWII Scale Transformation’

February 07, 2019 by Common Dreams

“The Green New Deal offers a positive solution to match the scale of our nation’s biggest crises—climate change, structural racism, and skyrocketing inequality.”

by Jake Johnson, staff writer

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks to activists with the Sunrise Movement protesting in the offices of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in Washington D.C., on Nov. 13, 2018. (Photo: Sarah Silbiger/The New York Times via Redux)

In a path-breaking effort to map out a plan that would transition the American energy system to 100 percent renewable energy while creating millions of jobs in the process, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) on Thursday unveiled a Green New Deal resolution with the goal of boldly confronting “the existential threat posed by climate change.”

“It’s time for our leaders to join the center of energy in the Democratic Party and prioritize our planet and its people over the profits of fossil fuel billionaires.” 
—Alexandra Rojas, Justice Democrats

With the early support of at least 60 House Democrats and major 2020 Democratic presidential contenders—including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.)—the resolutions calls for a “national mobilization” to build “resiliency against climate change-related disasters” and “achieve 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources” within the next ten years.

“This resolution outlines a plan to launch a WWII scale transformation of our economy, including a just transition for workers and frontline communities, and moving to 100 percent clean and renewable energy by 2030,” declared the youth-led Sunrise Movement, which launched a petition calling on members of Congress to back the measure.

“This is a huge step,” wrote on Twitter. “For too long, legislation has failed to live up to the scale of the climate crisis. Not anymore. Now, it’s time to come together and fight to make the strongest possible Green New Deal a reality. The climate can’t afford anything less.”

Alexandra Rojas, executive director of Justice Democrats, celebrated the Green New Deal plan as “an earthquake in the Democratic Party” that represents “the most serious solution to rewrite America’s social contract and stave off climate disaster.”

“Any Democrat running for president who wants to be taken seriously on climate and economic policy needs to back Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal resolution,” Rojas said in a statement. “The Green New Deal offers a positive solution to match the scale of our nation’s biggest crises—climate change, structural racism, and skyrocketing inequality. It’s time for our leaders to join the center of energy in the Democratic Party and prioritize our planet and its people over the profits of fossil fuel billionaires.”

Ocasio-Cortez and Markey’s Green New Deal resolutions come after months of relentless grassroots organizing and mass protests spearheaded by the Sunrise Movement and other national green groups, which are continuing to pressuremembers of Congress to back climate solutions in line with the dire predictions of the scientific community.

As Vox‘s David Roberts notes, “the progressive movement has, in rather short order, thrust into mainstream U.S. politics a program to address climate change that is wildly more ambitious than anything the Democratic Party was talking about even two years ago.”

“It’s up to the grassroots to keep pushing at every step of this fight for an expansive vision that ends our fossil fuel addiction and solves the climate crisis.” 
—Erich Pica, Friends of the Earth

“One-hundred percent clean energy, investment in new jobs, and a just transition have gone from activist dreams to the core of the Democratic agenda in the blink of a political eye. There’s a long way to go, but the [Green New Deal] train has come farther, faster than anyone could have predicted.”

While expressing concern that Ocasio-Cortez and Markey’s resolutions don’t contain the words “fossil fuels,” David Turnbull—strategic communications director with Oil Change USA—applauded their effort to outline “bold and important proposals that start to reflect the scope and scale of actions that the climate crisis requires.”

“Today’s resolutions mark the start of a new conversation on climate action in the United States that can finally begin,” Turnbull added, “and we look forward to engaging fully to ensure a managed decline of fossil fuel production is a key part of that discussion.”

Friends of the Earth president Erich Pica echoed Turnbull’s concern about the lack of explicit language calling for the end of fossil fuels and said, “It’s up to the grassroots to keep pushing at every step of this fight for an expansive vision that ends our fossil fuel addiction and solves the climate crisis.”

“The Green New Deal is a strong vision for the future, stuck in the politics of today. We enthusiastically endorse the many pieces of the resolution that call for systemic change. But by failing to expressly call for an end of the fossil fuel era, the resolution misses an opportunity to define the scope of the challenge,” Pica concluded. “While incomplete, the resolution is a good first step toward a Green New Deal.”

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

How To Strike, Brazilian Corruption, & Basic Income w/ Ellen Brown

Redacted Tonight Published on Jan 31, 2019

This episode starts with a look at three stories from Latin America. One of corruption in Brazil, one of a coup in Venezuela, and one of a strike movement in Mexico. Lee also interviewed Ellen Brown who is an attorney and author who has published books on alternative banking. In 2010 she founded the Public Banking Institute to advocate for public banking nationwide. Brown and Lee discuss public banking, Universal Basic Income, and Modern Monetary Theory.

SF Supervisors unanimously approve calling for Sacramento to allow a municipal bank in San Francisco

Public Banking Inst

February 07, 2019

SF Public Bank at City Hall

SF Public Bank at City Hall. Photo courtesy SF Public Bank

On Tuesday, Feb 5, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution by Sup. Sandra Lee Fewer that supports state legislation that would authorize local government bank charters. As reported by Tim Redmond in 48 Hills:

“The more cities get on board, the more pressure legislators will face to approve enabling legislation that would clear the way for a San Francisco public bank.

“And the overwhelming support in this city suggests strongly that this is an issue whose time has come.

The vote followed a special joint hearing Monday held by the State Assembly Banking and Finance Committee, and a long line of speakers at City Hall who spoke in favor of the resolution.

Earlier in January, SF advocates met with unexpected overflow crowds (Facebook link), including Sup. Fewer, for their People vs Wall Street campaign launch (Facebook link). The launch was covered by media outlet El Techolote and KALW public radio.

Ian Firstenberg at the El Techolote writes:

“The coalition’s primary goal is to take power from the capitalist establishment and give the people control over their own money. …

SF Public Banks Coalition co-founder Jackie Fielder, who said she was inspired to help build the movement after witnessing firsthand the violence that erupted at Standing Rock in 2016, listed a few of the principles that would ideally guide the coalition’s bank. They include: local control, community wealth building, public welfare, accountability and transparency, service to underserved communities, Indigenous rights, and of course public ownership.”

KALW public radio in San Francisco talked with Jackie Fielder and Matt Remle, co-founder of Mazaska Talks:

“Indigenous water protectors have pushed for cities to divest taxpayer money from private banks that financially support oil pipelines, and proposed creating public banks instead. Advocates say a bank funded by – and accountable to – the public could better direct its resources to community-serving projects. What would a financial institution accountable to the public look like?”

[Read the full 48 Hills article]

NBC’s Jawdropping McCarthyite Smear of Tulsi Gabbard

The Jimmy Dore Show Published on Feb 5, 2019

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Check out our Merch Store: or Full audio version of The Jimmy Dore Show on iTunes: NBC smears Tulsi as being linked to Russia. Their sources are beyond pathetic…Buckle in for this one…

(Submitted by Bob of Occupy)