“SF’s Democrats keep up the internal warfare” by David Talbot (sfchronicle.com)

Photo: Gabrielle Lurie, Special To The Chronicle.  Former Supervisor David Campos, seen in this 2016 file photo, said: “We’re obviously not anti-immigrant or anti-Chinese. … But this is one of the worst displays of manipulating the process I’ve seen in years.”

January 9, 2017

‘On soggy, windy Sunday, I witnessed American democracy — in its raw and primal form — in action at a San Francisco labor hall. It was beautiful, and it was ugly.

The occasion was the Assembly District 17 delegates election, a generally obscure exercise in democracy that took place throughout the state this weekend. The 14 delegates selected at the District 17 level, which covers the eastern half of San Francisco, get to attend the California Democratic Party convention in May, where they will swill beverages and rub elbows with minor and major political personalities, as well as vote on resolutions that might or might not influence policy. Normally, these district elections excite interest among only party hacks and political wonks. But in case you hadn’t noticed, things are anything but normal these days.

On Sunday morning, while the rest of the city was still enjoying its coffee, a shockingly long line of San Francisco Democrats braved the rain and wind to cast their votes in the District 17 delegate race at the Laborers International Union hall in the Mission. The line snaked out of the building on 18th Street, rounded the corner on Shotwell, and turned right on 19th, where it finally ended in the wet and gloomy distance. Many people waited for as long as two hours under the leaky skies to vote.

The Trump effect has clearly hit San Francisco. No fewer than 1,500 Democrats turned out for this vote, according to artist Debra Walker, convener for the District 17 election — far more than for the last election, in 2015, when about 900 showed up, she said.

So that’s the good news for all those still in shock after November.

“The message today is that we’re alive and well, and we’re fighting back,” said Brian Salkin, one of the dozens of San Franciscans who threw his hat into the delegates race.

But any hope that the Democratic Party in San Francisco would blissfully unite against Trump was dashed by bitter divisions on full display Sunday morning. The friction that tore apart the national party during the primary season, and has pitted local progressives against centrists, grew red hot as the Democrats’ warring factions converged on the labor building.

“This is Bernie versus Hillary all over again,” said one young voter standing in line, who preferred not to give his name. He supported the so-called Rebuild slate, whose campaign was spearheaded by Assemblyman David Chiu, a pillar of the centrist coalition. The opposing Reform slate included a progressive chorus line of Sanders supporters, tenant organizers, LGBTQ activists and police-reform advocates.

As I entered the building, Reform slate members were fuming about what they alleged was “election-rigging” by their centrist opponents. A line of Bauer rental buses parked in front — observers counted at least five vehicles — was disgorging a steady stream of Chinese-speaking men and women. No one stopped them as they went directly inside the building, cutting in front of the long line of people who were patiently standing in the rain.

I spotted one middle-aged Chinese American woman, who declined to give her name, filling out multiple ballots. When challenged by an independent election observer, she became upset and said she was voting on behalf of relatives who could not read English. Meanwhile, at the table where the woman was filling out ballots, Rebuild slate organizers handed out doughnuts, tangerines, granola bars and bottled beverages to those who had just performed their civic duty.

“This is just more of the same corrupt stuff we saw in the Democratic primaries,” said Reform candidate Ben Becker, as he tried to physically block people from crashing the voter line. The young, ponytailed Becker and his wife, Claire Lau, had co-founded San Francisco Berniecrats, an organization that grew out of the Sanders campaign and became the main engine behind the Reform slate. “Hundreds of people are being bused in from Chinatown today — they don’t know who they’re voting for,” said Becker. “They’re just being told how to vote by David Chiu and his people.”

“We’re obviously not anti-immigrant or anti-Chinese,” said former Supervisor David Campos, a Reform slate organizer. “But this is one of the worst displays of manipulating the process I’ve seen in years.”

I found Chiu in front of the building, directing people as they exited the rental buses. He agreed the delegate election was “a chaotic process,” but he strongly denied that his centrist faction was “stacking the vote,” as Campos charged. “There are multiple slates, and everyone is asking people to vote for their candidates,” Chiu said. “I see this as a positive thing — our entire city and state is engaged in the process.”

“We paid for bus rental costs out of my campaign account,” Chiu acknowledged, adding that these expenditures will be reflected in his treasurer’s next report. As for some Chinese-only speakers having their ballots filled out by others, he said: “There were no bilingual ballots, so people needed help.”

But Walker, the election convener, disputed this. “There’s no language problem with the voting,” she said. “The ballot is just a list of names. And if they can’t read the names in English, there are Chinese-language translations.”

Like Chiu, newly elected state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, who also backed the Rebuild slate, put the best possible spin on the tension-filled morning. “This is the ultimate expression of democracy, whatever side you’re on. At the end of the day, we’re all on the same side. We’re all going to unite against the existential threat to our democracy.”

But that unity seemed a distant mirage as I left the building, where I bumped into Kimberly Alvarenga, who lost a hard-fought battle for District 11 supervisor in November by only a few hundred votes. A soaked Alvarenga had been working the line outside the building for three hours on behalf of the Reform slate.

“There were elders, differently abled people, mothers with young kids, all standing in the rain, waiting their turn to vote,” she said. “And then all those people came pouring off the buses and cut in front of them, so they had to wait longer. That’s disingenuous; that’s disrespectful. Democracy needs to be a fair process.”

In the end, the progressive slate prevailed, by a slight margin, taking eight of the 14 seats. Becker was among the winning candidates. Despite winning a majority, progressives were still fuming. “If not for the questionable tactics by the other side, it would have been a progressive sweep,” said Campos. “It’s sad and embarrassing that there was such a horrible process.”

Sunday’s top vote-generator was a member of the centrist slate, Theo Ellington, a 27-year-old public affairs executive for the Warriors. In the midst of Sunday’s mad political circus, the politically ambitious Ellington, whom my family has called “Mr. Mayor” ever since he went to high school with my son, told me, “My job is to bring people together.”

He will have his hands full.

San Francisco Chronicle columnist David Talbot appears Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Email: dtalbot@sfchronicle.com

Share This Item

Chalmers Johnson on American Hegemony

Volume 4 of 5 in the ‘speaking freely’ series. (52 minutes)

Chalmers argues that the age of the “American Empire” is nearing its end.

Author of Blowback, The Sorrows of Empire, and Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic, Chalmers Johnson has literally written the book on the concept of American hegemony. A former naval officer and consultant to the C.I.A., he now serves as professor emeritus of UC San Diego. As co-founder and president of the Japan Policy Research Institute, Mr. Johnson also continues to promote public education about Asia’s role in the international community. In this exclusive interview, you will find out why the practice of empire building is, by no means, a thing of the past. As the United States continues to expand its military force around the globe, the consequences are being suffered by each and every one of us. (Written by Richard Castro.)

Chalmers Johnson † November 20, 2010.

Produced: 2008, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1245364/

For a better quality copy please visit Cinemalibre @ http://www.cinemalibrestudio.com

Share This Item

Berkeleyside Op-ed: Shooters, stabbers, carjackers and tent occupants – one of these things is not like the others

Berkeley police should be spending their time chasing murderers and carjackers, not evicting people from the tents they use for shelter.

By JP Massar

JP Massar is a Berkeley activist working on issues around homelessness, privacy and unjust debt.

What’s wrong with this picture?

From headlines in local papers recently:

“Young woman stabbed; police search for suspect.”

Police hunt for armed and dangerous Berkeley suspect after homicide, stabbing.”

Berkeley police release video of armed bank robbery.

Men, girl arrested after carjacking attempt and robbery.”

Child hurt by shattered glass after Berkeley shooting.”

From eyewitness accounts Friday morning, 1/6/17:

“5 AM Jan 6 – Berkeley Police raiding First They Came for the Homeless camp now at Spruce and Rose. 34 BPD officers, 8 City workers, 13 City squad cars, 1 paddy wagon, and 4 Public Works trucks – all to evict 8 disabled, unsheltered tent occupiers.”

And from the East Bay Times 1/7/17:

City spokesman Matthai Chakko said Friday that “it takes a tremendous amount of resources” to disperse a camp.

There are things police should be doing. Arresting carjackers, searching for armed and dangerous suspected murderers and dealing with armed robbery suspects are three of them. Figuring out how to prevent or minimize such incidents is another. What the City of Berkeley’s police should not be doing is evicting homeless people – especially at 5:00 AM using large-scale operations that take ‘a tremendous amount of’ resources.

The Berkeley City Manager has lost all sense of proportion here. An autocrat who is not subject to accountability by the people or their elected representatives, she has seen fit to launch 15 raids against a single group of politically active homeless people. On the day before meteorologists predicted one of the worst rainstorms in memory she decided it was a good idea to evict and harass this same group, along with at least one other set of homeless individuals, confiscating possessions. All while on our streets we end up with victims of stabbings and children threatened by gunshots.

The end result of all this expenditure of time and effort? There are still as many homeless residents in Berkeley as there were before the raids, if not more. There is still no housing for them. The City is now potentially liable for civil lawsuit damages arising from these raids, just as happened with the Black Lives Matter protest two years ago. Berkeley is now the proud owner of yet another set of actions intended to squash dissent and political speech; actions that have operated in total disproportion to any conceivable threat.  And who knows how many crimes that could have been prevented with a sensible deployment of resources.

When 900 people sleep in doorways and bushes around town, mostly out of sight and out of mind, no one cares to care. But let a group be “in your face” about the situation of the unhoused – suddenly outrage is the order of the day and the engines of oppression rev into overdrive. Just days ago 34Berkeley Police were marshaled (more than half of an entire shift!) to demonstrate once again that the City will brook no opposition. Similar “shock and awe” displays have taken place previously. The City sends the only message it wishes to send – go to a shelter and hope that there is space, be grateful if we don’t arrest you (and if we do we’ll charge you with “lynching”), otherwise sit down and shut (tf) up.

Berkeley could do it differently. Berkeley’s homeless are not nails and Berkeley has other tools than hammers. First They Came for the Homeless has ideas on that here: http://tinyurl.com/jmqp4kj. Please check them out.

Share This Item

DECLINE of EMPIRES: The Signs of Decay

Uploaded to YouTube on Jan 22, 2008:  Chalmers Johnson, author of Blowback, Sorrows of Empire and Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic, talks about the similarities in the decline of the Roman and Soviet empires and the signs that the U.S. empire is exhibiting the same symptoms: overextension, corruption and the inability to reform.

Chalmers Johnson was president of the Japan Policy Research Institute, a non-profit research and public affairs organization devoted to public education concerning Japan and international relations in the Pacific. http://www.jpri.org/

Chalmers Ashby Johnson (August 6, 1931 – November 20, 2010) was an American author and professor emeritus of the University of California, San Diego. (from Wikipedia)

Share This Item

ADEM (Assembly District Election Meetings) Results – Reform Slate Wins!

Posted by  on January 09, 2017

In AD17, East SF, the SF Reform Democrats won 8/14 through a contentious and chaotic election.

Assembly District 17: Laura Clark, Gladys Soto, Davi Lang, Alysabeth Alexander, Leah Pimentel, Angeles Roy, Mia Satya, Theo Ellington, Rafael Trujillo, Peter Gallotta, Wade Woods, Todd David, Benjamin Becker, Nima Rahimi.

For AD19, West of SF and Daly City, all 8 candidates of the SF Reform Democrats won, and almost all of their recommendations from Ting’s slate got elected as well. So progressives got 13/14!

Assembly District 19: Wendy Aragon, Amy Bacharach, Brigitte Davila, Maureen Dugan, Amy Erb, Kelly Groth, Li Lovett, Ian Fregosi, Xavier Aubuchon-Mendoza, Paul Hill, Jonathan Lyens, Gabriel Medina, William Walker, Alan Wong.





From SFBerniecrats.com

Share This Item

First They Came for the Homeless update

January 9, 2017

Assistant #Berkeley city manager Greg Daniel has declared war on the homeless protectors, serving a 24-hour eviction notice on the good people at First They Came for the Homeless.

Despite the protests of Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin, and city council people, the city managers office has engaged three-month long campaign against the homeless here in Berkeley.

We are asking all their friends and supporters to please call the Berkeley city managers office at 510-781-9000.

We are also asking for our friends and supporters to show up at 4 a.m., Wednesday morning, at corner of Adeline and Russell streets to help with our protest.

We could use your support down here at the corner of Adeline and Russell Street please come and show your support!

I know I said support a lot, But this effort it’s taken the support and concentration of thousands of people from the city of Berkeley. We thank you for your kindness and love.

Image may contain: 1 person, tree, outdoor and nature
Image may contain: one or more people, tree, sky, outdoor and nature
Image may contain: tree, sky and outdoor
Share This Item

‘First They Came for the Homeless’ GoFundMe site

OK, after much confusion, we have again set up a GoFundMe. We are raising money for our continued action in Berkeley. We have been raided 15 times, costing the homeless protesters thousands of dollars in needed gear. The poor tour has created change, and continues to do so. We need your help to keep it going. There is tremendous community support for what we are doing. Thank you for that.

Please share. We expect another raid within the week. We are back on Adeline, near Ashby Bart.

FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE HOMELESS is a homeless advocacy group currently engaged in an on-going protest against the lack of homeless services in Berkeley, .CA. Your contributions are what make this protest, The Poor Tour, possible.

Link:  https://www.gofundme.com/first-they-came-for-the-homeless

Share This Item

The Money Masters Full Documentary- The rise of the bankers

A Bill Still documentary. The powers of financial capitalism had a far-reaching plan, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole…Their secret is that they have annexed from governments, monarchies, and republics the power to create the world’s money…” THE MONEY MASTERS is a 3 1/2 hour non-fiction, historical documentary that traces the origins of the political power structure that rules our nation and the world today. The modern political power structure has its roots in the hidden manipulation and accumulation of gold and other forms of money. The development of fractional reserve banking practices in the 17th century brought to a cunning sophistication the secret techniques initially used by goldsmiths fraudulently to accumulate wealth. With the formation of the privately-owned Bank of England in 1694, the yoke of economic slavery to a privately-owned “central” bank was first forced upon the backs of an entire nation, not removed but only made heavier with the passing of the three centuries to our day. Nation after nation, including America, has fallen prey to this cabal of international central bankers. Segments: The Problem; The Money Changers; Roman Empire; The Goldsmiths of Medieval England; Tally Sticks; The Bank of England; The Rise of the Rothschilds and Rokafellas; The American Revolution; The Bank of North America; The Constitutional Convention; First Bank of the U.S.; Napoleon’s Rise to Power; Death of the First Bank of the U.S. / War of 1812
Un projet de loi documentaire Still. Les pouvoirs du capitalisme financier avaient un plan de grande envergure , rien de moins que de créer un système mondial de contrôle financier dans des mains privées capables de dominer le système politique de chaque pays et l’économie du monde dans son ensemble … Leur secret est qu’ils ont annexé des gouvernements, des monarchies , républiques et le pouvoir de créer l’argent du monde … «L’argent MASTERS est un non-fiction 3 1/2 heures , documentaire historique qui retrace les origines de la structure du pouvoir politique qui gouverne notre nation et le monde d’aujourd’hui . la structure du pouvoir politique moderne a ses racines dans la manipulation cachée et l’accumulation de l’or et d’autres formes de l’argent . le développement de pratiques réserves bancaires fractionnaires dans le 17ème siècle a apporté à une sophistication ruse les techniques secrètes utilisées initialement par orfèvres frauduleusement à accumuler des richesses . Avec la formation de la Banque privée de l’Angleterre en 1694 , le joug de l’esclavage économique à une banque privée “central” a été forcé sur le dos de toute une nation , pas supprimé mais seulement fait plus lourd au fil des trois siècles jusqu’à nos jours . Nation après nation , y compris l’Amérique , a été la proie de cette cabale des banquiers centraux internationaux . Segments: Le problème ; Changeurs d’argent ; Empire romain ; Les orfèvres de l’Angleterre médiévale ; Bâtons de pointage ; La Banque d’Angleterre ; La montée des Rothschild et Rokafellas ; La Révolution américaine ; La Banque de l’Amérique du Nord ; La Convention constitutionnelle ; First Bank du U.S .; Rise to Power de Napoléon ; Mort de la Première Banque des États-Unis / guerre de 1812

Share This Item

Sanders will lead Democratic drive to organize rallies in every state against Medicare/Medicaid cuts

Bernie Sanders doing the Democratic Party job of persuading congressional colleagues to help organize nationwide pre-inaugural protest rallies over potential cuts in Medicare and Medicaid, as well as other health matters Republicans are likely to take up in Congress come January.

By Meteor Blades (dailykos.com)

In what Tim Fernholz at Quartz calls the Democrats’ “first major gesture of opposition” to the incoming Trump regime, Senator Chuck Schumer, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, and Senator Bernie Sanders have put their signatures on a letter to congressional colleagues Wednesday that might have come as a surprise to many of them. It encourages them to join with Sanders to help organize pre-inaugural rallies in their states to rouse opposition to a Republican-driven budget bill “that will severely undermine the health needs of the American people.” Leftover money from the Sanders campaign will fund the organizing effort.

The expected budget bill provisions, as you see in the full letter below, are a direct attack on Medicare and Medicaid, the three say, and will likely include hikes in prescription drug prices and a threat to nursing home care for millions of Americans.

Called “Our First Stand: Save Health Care,” the resistance rallies are slated for Sunday, Jan. 15. Here’s Fernholz:

Sanders, whose run for the Democratic presidential nomination this year emboldened the left wing of the Democratic party, has seen his cachet rise in a party looking for leadership following Hillary Clinton’s defeat in November. Amidst the recriminations and a messy race to head up the party’s national committee, it hasn’t been clear who would be the face of Democratic opposition to Trump. Now, we have an answer.

While Sanders’ harsh critique of the millionaire and billionaire class turned off professional Democrats who benefit from the global economy during his primary run, the election results have convinced party leaders that they need to better articulate how their economic policies will lead to broadly shared prosperity.

These rallies can perform several purposes, the obvious ones being to stir up resistance before the regime takes office and a chance for elected Democrats to unify people around a crucial common objective—fighting against further destruction of the New Deal/Great Society legacy of social welfare programs. But the rallies can also give citizens a chance to let their representatives know that they had better show some spine against the Republican agenda. There should be no pretending that, just because all the ceremonial trappings of democracy are present, we should normalize what’s going on. We shouldn’t. And our representatives shouldn’t.

In that light, a Sanders’ spokesman repeated what’s been heard before from the senator and others about being willing to cooperate with Trump and Republicans “where they can find agreement.” In normal times, this would sound like plain old common sense. It would be encouraging to live in such times, when bipartisanship thrives. But we haven’t been there for quite some while. And the line-up of cabinet appointments indicates it’s soon going to be far worse. Too many Democrats have harmed the interests of their constituents by behaving as if most Republicans believe that cooperation is a two-way street. They obviously do not. And they need to be treated like they don’t.

Here’s the two-page letter:

Share This Item