“Another Man Executed by the San Francisco Police” by jpmassar (dailykos.com)

Nieto

There was Alex Nieto. ThenAmilcar Perez-Lopez. But it was Mario Woods’ firing squad execution in December of 2015 that lit up San Francisco, with politicians, commissioners and police pooh-bahs all pledging to “do something” about use of force policies that amount to nothing less than a license to kill. Anytime. Anywhere. Swearing to implement de-escalation techniques. Claiming they would arm officers with shields so they could deal with people holding knives.

But it was all talk; it’s had no effect. Because on Thursday, April 7th, in the Mission District of San Francisco, a homeless man, Luis Gongora, allegedly “brandishing” a knife, was executed on the street by SFPD. The police say he had stood, that he was lunging at them. Witnesses say he was sitting on the ground.  Police say he was waving the knife around. Witnesses say the kitchen cutting board knife was on his hip.

There is no known video of the execution per se. There isn’t even a picture of the man.

What has been made available, via a surveillance camera, is a clear video of the police cars rolling up, the policemen getting out, one with a bean-bag rifle, and them shouting at the man as they approach him. There’s no Youtube video available yet so I can’t embed it, but it is available here, and it is only a minute twenty.  The first shot occurs as the officers move out of the viewing area, at 00:38. Watch it.

The police claimed (at least initially) that they attempted to de-escalate the situation, but they are lying. The video clearly shows two officers approaching the man, one with a rifle pointed at him, one or both of them shouting at him.  This is not a de-escalation technique! Especially when it is not clear that the man a) understands English and b) is not mentally ill or in some kind of altered state.

Then the one with the rifle allegedly fires four bean-bag (“less lethal”) rounds at the man to no effect, or so the officers claim. (This is the same kind of weapon that tore a hole in Scott Olsen’s skull on October 25th, 2011 in Oakland, CA). Finally, the officers shoot and mortally wound Gongora (he is taken to the hospital and dies there from his wounds).

They could have de-escalated. They could have stayed where they were. The video clearly demonstrates this. Even the San Francisco Chronicle’s police apologist columnist agrees:

First, the concept of “time and distance”  when confronting a suspect armed with a knife didn’t happen in this case. The idea is to keep the suspect contained, give him some time to run out of steam, and hopefully defuse the situation.But video of the incident shows the cops went from leaving their cars to firing beanbag rounds in 25 seconds. Six seconds later, the first shots were fired. That doesn’t look good.

No, Nevius, it doesn’t. They could have tried talking instead of shouting; they could have tried talking to him in Spanish, or waiting for someone to be available to do so.  They could have done almost anything other than what they did do, and Luis Gongora might well still be alive. They did not.  Because they didn’t have any reason to.

The police no longer exist (if they ever did) to protect and serve the public. They make it clear from their statements and their attitudes that their only concern is to protect and serve themselves.  Until both the laws regarding extra-judicial murder by cop are changed, and police attitudes are changed, this is not going to stop.  The next execution of Alex Amilar Mario Luis Gongora is just an unknown, but certain, number of days in the future.

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“There’s a remedy for homelessness” by Mike Zint (peoplestribune.org)

The homeless-led group, First They Came For The Homeless, protests San Francisco’s notorious “sit/lie”law outside of Macy’s, a big supporter of the law. PHOTO/PETER MENCHINI

BERKELEY, CA — Throughout history, there have been those that have plenty, and those that have nothing. When those with nothing have suffered enough, they rise up, and take what they need. We are in a time of great need right now. We need a system that puts the people before profit. We need a system based on community. We need a system that represents all people equally. We need a minimum quality of life guarantee.

But these things are not possible. Take just one issue. Homelessness. This is simple to solve. Giving them housing is the obvious solution. Unfortunately “giving” something is bad. There is no profit in that. So, that is not an option. Allowing them tents for shelter will alleviate suffering, and provide storage, security, privacy, personal space, and most importantly, stability to improve their situation. Instead of allowing this, cities attack homeless looking to take care of themselves. They steal the people’s gear, destroy personal possessions, medicines, identification, and tragically, memories. Pictures, family heirlooms, and such. This is done without regard for the law. And the cities get away with it because the homeless cannot fight back in the legal system. To make matters worse, the media uses drugs and mental disabilities to define homeless people. They are “lazy and want everything for free.” If that were true, the torture homeless endure would surely motivate them, right? But there is nothing but more abuses. Torture leads to drug abuse and insanity.  Communities notice what the press says, and miss the homeless grandmother with the backpack blending in. How about the college student doing homework, while wondering whose couch is available. How many abandoned veterans are there?

We are getting poorer. Everyone feels it. Americans are a broken ankle away from homelessness. Next year, there will be more of us out here. And where are city councils on this? Politicians pretend to care, while fence sitting on critical issues that developers or businesses districts don’t like. Not one politician will ever represent the poor. The proof is everywhere, sleeping on cardboard, in front of abandoned buildings.

So, our numbers grow. It’s at 2.5 million now. They are in great need of compassion. They are in great need of respect. And the greatest need of all, the need to survive. And that need will always be filled, or the people will die trying. When a few million more have suffered enough in this country, we will repeat history.

We encourage reproduction of this article so long as you credit the source.
Copyright © 2016 People’s Tribune. Visit us at http://peoplestribune.org

Note from Mike Zint:

There is a sickness in the world. It’s called greed.

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WHAT ARE THE PANAMA PAPERS? A GUIDE TO THE BIGGEST DATA LEAK IN HISTORY by Luke Harding (via The Guardian and Occupy.com)

The Panama Papers are an unprecedented leak of 11.5 million files from the database of the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca. The records were obtained from an anonymous source by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The ICIJ then shared them with a large network of international partners, including the Guardian and the BBC.

What Do They Reveal?

The documents show the myriad ways in which the rich can exploit secretive offshore tax regimes. Twelve national leaders are among 143 politicians, their families and close associates from around the world known to have been using offshore tax havens.

A $2 billion trail leads all the way to Vladimir Putin. The Russian president’s best friend – a cellist called Sergei Roldugin – is at the centre of a scheme in which money from Russian state banks is hidden offshore. Some of it ends up in a ski resort where in 2013 Putin’s daughter Katerina got married.

Among national leaders with offshore wealth are Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s prime minister; Ayad Allawi, ex-interim prime minister and former vice-president of Iraq; Petro Poroshenko, president of Ukraine; Alaa Mubarak, son of Egypt’s former president; and the prime minister of Iceland, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson.

An offshore investment fund run by the father of British prime minister David Cameron avoided ever having to pay tax in Britain by hiring a small army of Bahamas residents to sign its paperwork. The fund has been registered with HM Revenue and Customs since its inception and has filed detailed tax returns every year.

A lengthier overview of the revelations can be found here.

What is Mossack Fonseca?

It is a Panama-based law firm whose services include incorporating companies in offshore jurisdictions such as the British Virgin Islands. It administers offshore firms for a yearly fee. Other services include wealth management.

Where Is It Based?

The firm is Panamanian but runs a worldwide operation. Its website boasts of a global network with 600 people working in 42 countries. It has franchises around the world, where separately owned affiliates sign up new customers and have exclusive rights to use its brand. Mossack Fonseca operates in tax havens including Switzerland, Cyprus and the British Virgin Islands, and in the British crown dependencies Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man.

The Transfer of Wealth: The Hiding Places

Mossack Fonseca data seen by the Guardian relates to more than 200,000 companies for which the firm acted as registered agent. Often used lawfully to anonymously hold property and bank accounts, these companies were registered in a range of tax havens and this map shows the most popular locations among its clients. The British Virgin Islands held more than 100,000 companies.

The Intermediaries

Rather than dealing directly with company owners, Mossack Fonseca mostly acted on instructions from intermediaries, usually accountants, lawyers, banks and trust companies. In Europe, these offshore facilitators are concentrated in Switzerland, Jersey, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom.

The Hidden Owners

Where does the money flowing offshore come from? The information is hard to discover because real owners usually hide behind nominees, people with no real control and no assets in the company who simply lend their signature. A small sample of about 13,000 owners from all over the world, recently compiled by Mossack Fonseca, gives some indication. China and Russia top the list.

How Big Is It?

Mossack Fonseca is the world’s fourth biggest provider of offshore services. It has acted for more than 300,000 companies. There is a strong UK connection. More than half of the companies are registered in British-administered tax havens, as well as in the UK itself.

How Much Data Has Been Leaked?

A lot. The leak is one of the biggest ever – larger than the U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks in 2010, and the secret intelligence documents given to journalists by Edward Snowden in 2013. There are 11.5 million documents and 2.6 terabytes of information drawn from Mossack Fonseca’s internal database.

Are All people Who Use Offshore Structures Crooks?

No. Using offshore structures is entirely legal. There are many legitimate reasons for doing so. Business people in countries such as Russia and Ukraine typically put their assets offshore to defend them from “raids” by criminals, and to get around hard currency restrictions. Others use offshore for reasons of inheritance and estate planning.

Are Some People Who Use Offshore Structures Crooks?

Yes. In a speech last year in Singapore, David Cameron said “the corrupt, criminals and money launderers” take advantage of anonymous company structures. The government is trying to do something about this. It wants to set up a central register that will reveal the beneficial owners of offshore companies. From June, UK companies will have to reveal their “significant” owners for the first time.

What Does Mossack Fonseca Say About the Leak?

The firm won’t discuss specific cases of alleged wrongdoing, citing client confidentiality. But it robustly defends its conduct. Mossack Fonseca says it complies with anti-money-laundering laws and carries out thorough due diligence on all its clients. It says it regrets any misuse of its services and tries actively to prevent it. The firm says it cannot be blamed for failings by intermediaries, who include banks, law firms and accountants.

Originally published on The Guardian

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#NUITDEBOUT: A MOVEMENT IS GROWING IN FRANCE’S SQUARES by Sam Cossar-Gilbert (via ROAR and Occupy.com)

Over the last month France has been rocked by mass protests, occupations and strikes, as a new generation takes to the streets to express its rage at labor reforms and growing inequality. Over a million people have mobilized across the country to say on vaut mieux que ça — “we are worth more than this.”

The Loi de Travail or Labor Law is one of a number of neoliberal and security reforms introduced by the Socialist government that continues to dismay the general population. It will make it easier for companies to fire staff and reduce payouts to laid-off employees, and it threatens the 35-hour workweek.

The spark for the initial demonstration was lit by a group of young activists who launched L’appel du 9 Mars, started a collective and organized a Facebook event that drew thousands of supporters. A petition against the Labor Law drew 1,000,000 signatures and group of YouTubers also created a viral video #OnVautMieuxQueCa. Local unions first responded to the call to mobilize, and were eventually joined by some of the larger national trade unions.

March 9 saw over 500,000 people take to the streets across France in a massive display of people power. Chants rang out: “Youth in pain, elders in misery, that is not the society we want,” and: “The youth are in the streets, your law is gone.”

The government was left scrambling to announce changes to the unpopular labor reform, which according to polls are opposed by up to 70 percent of the population. To many commentators the mobilizations were a flashback to 2006, when protests against the Contrat première embauche (CPE) was withdrawn after students brought the country to a standstill.

In France, unemployment currently sits at 10 percent, and the rapid growth of the movement is in part related to the economic and political crisis affecting much of Europe. It is a response not only to the new Labour Law, but also the feeling that something has gone profoundly wrong with the political system. Elected officials do not seem to represent the people they serve, and social and economic policies are determined purely by market concerns.

On March 31, over 1.2 million took to the streets across the country in a massive general strike. Not all major unions joined the strike, but institutions from schools to the Eiffel Tower were closed. In Paris, a sign of protesters’ determination was on display as tens of thousands marched for hours in the pouring rain.

Most of the time when there is a protest in France people go out in the streets, express themselves and then go home. I remember receiving a soaking wet flyer at the end of the protest on March 31 asking me to come to the Place de la Republique for #NuitDebout — “night on our feet” — and thought that these people had little chance of starting a French version of Occupy in such horrible weather. But for days now thousands of people have occupied the main square in Paris, held debates and general assemblies, and organized working groups, movie screenings and music concerts attended by thousands.

The occupations are not yet as big those of the indignados in Spain in 2011, but there are stronger links to the trade unions and different types of actions happening all over the country. No two movements will be the same. Yet there is a similar magic in the air and a feeling like anything is possible — from midnight marches to endless meetings and an impromptu brass band concert.

One of the movement’s main slogans — rêve général is a highly symbolic play on words that changes grève général, or “general strike”, into “general dream”. The movement has also invented a new calendar, with each new day being another day in March, leading to hashtags like #mars33, #mars34 and #mars35.

The #NuitDebout occupations are structured in a very similar way to those of the 15-M movement in Spain, with participatory decision-making structures and the belief that people should have a much greater say in democratic processes. It is organized chaos, with free food, professional sound systems, a website, live streaming and a medical tent, but with no one really in charge.

From Occupy Wall Street to Gezi Park, #NuitDebout is part of an ongoing wave of mobilizations that seeks to challenge the rule of the 1 percent by taking back public space and creating a glimpse of a better world. The leak of the recent Panama Papers validates these movements’ critique by clearly showing how the political and financial elite enrich themselves and the expense of the common good, without paying their fair share of taxes.

The beauty of the square occupation model is that it enables people to engage politically and express themselves in myriad ways. This was on display at the Place de la République in Paris last night, when a group of friends built a wooden house in just under an hour, while Congolese migrants sang revolutionary songs about French colonialism and a late-night debate took place on economic and labor policy.

As I write, high school students are in the process of blockading schools across the country and planning yet another general strike. It is hard to predict what the future will hold, but for now this new and powerful movement continues to grow across France with new occupations starting up everyday.

Originally published by Roar

France protests, France protest movement, French Labor Law, #NuitDebout, night on our feet

France protests, France protest movement, French Labor Law, #NuitDebout, night on our feet

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A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg

sheeple

PRONUNCIATION:
(SHEE-puhl)
MEANING:
noun: People who unquestioningly accept what’s said by a political leader, marketer, etc.
ETYMOLOGY:
A blend of sheep + people. Earliest documented use: 1945.
USAGE:
“The general public — the mass of sheeple — want to cling to two core beliefs.”
Pinchas Landau; Who’s in Charge?; Jerusalem Post (Israel); Nov 14, 2014.
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Town Hall Meeting & March (another person, Jose, was killed by the SFPD) from Adrienne Fong

Coming Together, Right NOW!

Town Hall Meeting

(Mario Woods Coalition) 

TODAY, April 7, 2016

6:00pm

Horace Mann School
3351 – 23rd Street
SF

Afterwards there will be a march!

8:00pm

RISE UP, SAN FRANCISCO!

Not 24 hours after the Police Commission meeting on use of force yesterday – SFPD killed another homeless, non-threatening victim!

NO MORE.

THIS HAS GOT TO STOP!!! NOW!!!

MarioWoods

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Hey, it’s Ryan. I’ve started an organization called the Permaculture Action Network.

RyanRising
It’s Ryan. I’ve launched an organization with an amazing team of organizers, educators, and artists, the Permaculture Action Network, stemming from the Permaculture Action Tour we organized in the Fall of 2014 with music producer The Polish Ambassador, singer Ayla Nereo, and hip hop MC Mr. Lif.

We’ve organized 45+ Permaculture Action Days across the country after shows and concerts where hundreds of people from the audience came out to plant urban farms and community gardens, install rainwater catchment systems, build earthen structures, and create the physical spaces and systems that empower us to live in greater harmony with the earth and one another.

We’re running a crowdfunding campaign right now, and I’d love for you check it out, both to learn about what I’m up to, as well as to donate if you can and spread the word to folks who may. All the info and a bunch of great rewards we want to give you in reciprocity for your contribution are here – http://facebook.us13.list-manage.com/track/click?u=cfcd1d90023f06875574ef50f&id=8d9485f72a&e=5d307dc325

We’re raising funds to hold a number of Permaculture Action Days with the wildly famous folk band Rising Appalachia in New Orleans, Denver, and the Bay Area, as well as to build our organization, teach courses and workshops, and organize community actions that build a better, just, & regenerative world.

Check out our website – www.PermacultureAction.org, like us on Facebook – http://facebook.us13.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=cfcd1d90023f06875574ef50f&id=944dbe9333&e=5d307dc325 and please do stay in touch!! Looking forward to collaborating with you soon!

Thank you!

Ryan Rising
RyanRising@PermacultureAction.org

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A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg

bankster

PRONUNCIATION:
(BANGK-stuhr)
MEANING:
noun: A banker who engages in dishonest or illegal behavior.
ETYMOLOGY:
A blend of banker + gangster. From the derogatory suffix -ster which also gave us poetaster, mathematicaster, andphilosophaster. Earliest documented use: 1893.
USAGE:
“So far for example, no bankster has been indicted/convicted for having a major hand in running the global economy to the ground.”
Demise of the Prevalent Political Economy; Capital (Addis Abada, Ethiopia); Mar 11, 2013.
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Berkeley Post Office occupation update

First they came for the homeless's photo.
First they came for the homeless's photo.
First they came for the homeless's photo.
First they came for the homeless 

April 7, 2016

An update from BPOD, The Berkeley Post Office Occupation.

The group of drug addicts and dealers remain. This situation is in week 4. Remember, Lt. Rateaver of BPD was on site as BPD officers instructed them where to move to. And, when we complained, the result was to instruct them to put their gear in the community garden. The people’s garden is now 30% destroyed. The worst part of this story is that the front door to the high school is 100 feet away.

What we do is community service. We feed a lot of people. Not just homeless either. UC students come by. Elderly on a fixed income come by. People struggling to survive rely on us. Why this blatant attempt to disrupt and discredit us?

For our secret food supplier, hundreds thank you. And this secret must be kept because this person would lose their job for feeding people. This food would be in a dumpster if they didn’t bring it here.

–Mike Zint

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