Wells Fargo former CEO John Stumpf fined $17.5 million, banned for life from banking

Former Wells Fargo Chairman and CEO John Stumpf reached a regulatory settlement that will bar him from the banking industry for life.

By Mark Calvey  – Senior Reporter, San Francisco Business Times
Jan 23, 2020 (bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco)

Wells Fargo former Chairman and CEO John Stumpf has agreed to pay a fine of $17.5 million and accept a lifetime ban from the banking industry in a settlement the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced Thursday.

Two other former C-suite executives of the San Francisco bank also settled and were fined. Hope Hardison, Wells Fargo’s (NYSE: WFC) former chief administrative officer and director of corporate human resources, agreed to pay a fine of $2.25 million and a personal cease and desist order that requires her to refrain from certain conduct in the future. The bank’s former Chief Risk Officer Michael Loughlin will pay a fine of $1.25 million and a personal cease and desist order.

Five other former senior executives cited by the OCC have not yet settled and can request a hearing to challenge regulators’ allegations.

The OCC is pursuing action against Carrie Tolstedt, Wells Fargo’s former head of community banking, which is what the bank calls its retail banking operation. The regulator is seeking a $25 million civil fine and a ban from the banking industry.

“Throughout her career, Ms. Tolstedt acted with the utmost integrity and concern for doing the right thing. A full and fair examination of the facts will vindicate Carrie,” her attorney Enu Mainigi of Williams & Connolly LLP said in a statement.

Other former senior executives that have not settled with the OCC, and the relief the agency is seeking, are Claudia Russ Anderson, former community bank group risk officer, with the regulator seeking a $5 million fine and a ban from the banking industry; former General Counsel James Strother, facing a $5 million fine and a personal cease and desist order; former Chief Auditor David Julian, who faces a $2 million fine and personal cease and desist order; and former Executive Audit Director Paul McLinko, who faces a $500,000 fine and personal cease and desist order.

It comes as fallout continues from 2016 revelations that the bank had opened large numbers of accounts without customer authorization. The scandal led to Stumpf’s ouster in October 2016.

“The actions announced by the OCC today reinforce the agency’s expectations that management and employees of national banks and federal savings associations provide fair access to financial services, treat customers fairly and comply with applicable laws and regulations,” Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting said in a statement.

Following the OCC’s actions against the bank’s former executives, Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf told employees Thursday, “The OCC’s actions are consistent with my belief that we should hold ourselves and individuals accountable. They are also consistent with our belief that significant parts of the operating model of our community bank were flawed.

“At the time of the sales practices issues, the company did not have in place the appropriate people, structure, processes, controls or culture to prevent the inappropriate conduct. This was inexcusable,” Scharf said.

The OCC alleges that the former executives failed to perform their duties and responsibilities, contributing to the bank’s sales-practices misconduct dating from 2002 to October 2016.  

While Establishment Erupts Over Anti-Corruption Expert Pointing Out Biden’s Troubling Record, Progressives Say: Look at the Troubling Record

January 21, 2020 by Common Dreams

“Here’s the thing: nominating a candidate like Biden will make it far more difficult to defeat Trump.”

by Eoin Higgins, staff writer


Joe Biden speaking at a campaign event for Hillary Clinton at a September 27, 2016 rally at Drexel University, in Philadelphia.

Joe Biden speaking at a campaign event for Hillary Clinton at a September 27, 2016 rally at Drexel University, in Philadelphia. (Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

After establishment Democrats exploded over a column making the argument that former Vice President Joe Biden is too corrupt to credibly present voters an alternative to President Donald Trump in the 2020 general election, progressives presented more evidence from Biden’s past that make the case against his candidacy.

A column Monday by Zephyr Teachout, a professor of law at Fordham University and supporter of the Democratic presidential bid of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), set off a firestorm for asserting Biden has a “corruption problem” and that his past makes the former vice president a “weak candidate” compared to others in the primary field.

“Here’s the thing,” wrote Teachout, “nominating a candidate like Biden will make it far more difficult to defeat Trump.”

Teachout detailed three major areas of concern: Biden’s prioritization of the financial industry over working Americans, his ties to the healthcare industry, and his connections to the fossil fuel industry. The potential for Trump to use Biden’s record against him in a general election, said Teachout, should not be underestimated.

“Corrupt politicians always use whataboutism,” Teachout wrote. “With Biden, we are basically handing Trump a whataboutism playbook.”

Cenk Uygur, the Young Turks host running for Congress in California’s 25th district, said on Twitter that the argument against Biden for corruption was an easy one to make.

“Of course Biden is corrupt,” said Uygur. “He takes millions in campaign contributions and votes with his donors. It’s obvious.”

Establishment Democrats and members of the media cried foul over the piece, calling it an attack and placing the blame for it at Sanders’ feet.

The Hill‘s Krystal Ball replied by noting the double standard in which it is off the table for Sanders and his team to mark legitimate distinctions between the senator and other candidates while his rivals are allowed to levy unfounded attacks against him.

“So the Sanders campaign isn’t allowed to point things out that are objectively true, while other campaigns are celebrated for nasty invented smears,” Ball tweeted of an attack on the campaign from New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. “Got it.”

Jon Schwarz, a writer for The Interceptopined that Krugman’s distaste for the attacks was based in his support for Biden and not in a real interest in keeping the primary fair.

“Note Krugman doesn’t say anything here is false, and is not denying Biden is corrupt,” said Schwarz. “Krugman surely knows Biden is corrupt (although in the standard Washington way, not the insane lurid Trump way). Krugman just objects to anyone mentioning these facts.”

Sanders, for his part, disavowed Teachout’s article and claimed not to believe Biden is corrupt in an interview with CBS News

“Thanks for acknowledging this, Bernie,” Biden tweeted in response. “These kinds of attacks have no place in this primary. Let’s all keep our focus on making Donald Trump a one-term president.”

Giving Biden the ability to pivot away from discussing that history and calling for ignoring it altogether, said Intercept journalist Mehdi Hasan, is a problem.

“It is political malpractice that none of his rivals have brought up Biden’s sponsorship of the infamous bankruptcy bill on behalf of the credit card industry in Delaware at a single TV debate so far,” Hasan said, “which allows Biden to then put out tweets like this.”

Journalist Sam Adler-Bell agreed and noted the possibility of the GOP taking advantage of a gaping hole in Biden’s credibility with voters.

“Biden is corrupt and the Sanders campaign is justified in saying so,” said Adler-Bell. “Just on electability grounds, Biden’s record is a huge opening for Trump (also corrupt).”

As a number of progressives pointed out, Biden’s history at the very least hints at corruption and nepotism of the kind described by Teachout and used by Republicans to defend Trump from impeachment over withholding aid to Ukraine until the country’s leaders announced an investigation into Biden’s son Hunter’s employment by gas company Burisma.

With the politics of impeachment looming and Biden’s documented history of promoting the interests of corporate donors clear to anyone willing to look, the time to air out the current national frontrunner’s record is now, said Current Affairs editor Nathan J. Robinson.

“If we don’t point out the truth, we risk getting stuck with a corrupt candidate that Trump will crush,” Robinson said.

Teachout, in her column Monday, called on Democrats to choose a different path.

“We still have time to break with this culture of corruption,” wrote Teachout. “We don’t have to choose Biden’s way, which would give Trump a perfect foil.”

“We have a rare opportunity to end a larger culture of corruption and we should take it,” she added. “We will regret it if we don’t.”Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.

Articles ~ Actions ~ Events, Tuesday, Jan. 21 – Monday, Jan. 27 ~ Save the Dates (from Adrienne Fong)

Am not back posting on a regular basis.

– Please post your events on Indybay: https://www.indybay.org/calendar/?page_id=12

    Thank you to all who are – See Indybay for other events.

ACCESSIBILITY: Please include Accessibility Information on events! 


A. Homeless Moms Evicted From Oakland Home May Return – January 20, 2020

B. Volunteers build unapproved tiny home development in Oakland median – January 19, 2020


C. While Moms 4 Housing faced eviction in Oakland, these San Francisco women faced the end of their own eviction battle  – January 19, 2020

D. Human rights groups urge Israel to halt aerial herbicide spraying along Gaza fence  – January 17, 2020

E. French Popular Uprising: Revolution or Frozen Conflict? 
– January 17, 2020

F. Appeals Court Dismisses Landmark Youth Climate Lawsuit Vs. U.S. Government – January 17, 2020


G. Trump administration abruptly moves hundreds of immigrant hearings out of San Francisco – January 17, 2020


H. Iran has a ‘shockingly strong’ war-crimes case against Trump over Soleimani’s killing — and it could win – January 15, 2020



1. Write your Senators: No war with Iran!

  SIGN: http://act.winwithoutwar.org/letter/write-your-senstore-no-war-with-iran/?source=MO20200117

2. Tell Congress: Defund Trump’s Border Wall!

  SIGN: https://act.winwithoutwar.org/act/tell-congress-defund-trump-border-wall?source=em20200117&t=5&referring_akid=6014.294094.Totv61

News broke this week that the Trump administration plans to illegally redirect another $7.2 billion from the Pentagon to pay for the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. 

3. EPA could end pesticide drift protection.

  SIGN: http://www.panna.org/take-action/epa-could-end-pesticide-drift-protection-p?utm_source=action&utm_medium=alert&utm_campaign=wps&link_id=0&can_id=c87beac9d89e805cb6fbba756eb8c008&email_referrer=email_702457&email_subject=urgent-epa-could-end-pesticide-drift-protection

Tell EPA we should be strengthening rules that protect farmworkers from pesticide spray drift, not dismantling them.

4. We cannot allow the International Olympic Committee to silence the world’s top athletes

  SIGN: https://act.colorofchange.org/sign/ioc-stop-silencing-athletes/?source=dm_ncaacongresslookalike_graphic1_r1_ads_fb&fbclid=IwAR1PDNyf1Gwg7NLOvnklV-Yld-HXhbpItJ1FvwJrfadpRnoui2z_TDqhQNQ


Tuesday, January 21 – Monday, January 27

Tuesday, January 21

1. Tuesday, 1:00pm – 3:00pm, Fight for Deeply Affordable Housing

Community Room, Park Branch Library
1833 Page Street (betw Cole & Shrader)

Wheelchair accessible


Theresa Flandrich, a leading SF tenant and affordable housing organizer, will give facts and figures showing that a significant share of SF seniors are too poor to meet the minimum income requirements of SF’s so-called low-income senior housing.  Seniors are the fastest-growing element of homelessness. We must fight for deeply affordable housing within reach of everyone. 

In 2013 Theresa and her son received an Ellis Act Notice which prompted her to organize the fight to keep her home and her community intact. She co-founded the North Beach Tenants Committee to inform residents of their rights;  updated on the current housing crisis;  and what SF is doing to preserve San Francisco for future generations. Theresa brings her powerful experience and energy to Senior and Disability Action, where she continues to fight evictions and improve housing in SF. 

 After Theresa speaks, we will have our monthly SF Gray Panther meeting. 

Host: Gray Panthers

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2020/01/13/18829709.php

2. Tuesday, 6:00pm – 7:00pm, Stand with Refugio and Elvira Nieto – at Alex Nieto’s altar

Bernal Hill

Public transportation # 67 MUNI. Catch it on 24th St. at Mission across from McDonalds

On the monthly anniversary of Alex’s murder on the 21st day of each month, gather with the Nieto’s at Alex’s altar site on Bernal Hill.

All are welcomed

On March 21, 2014, Alejandro “Alex” Nieto, 28 years old, was killed when he was struck by 14 to 15 bullets (of a total of 59 shots) fired by four San Francisco Police Department officers, on Bernal Hill Park, without justification. The officers who killed Alex Nieto are: Sgt. Jason Sawyer (then lieutenant. He is also the killer of John Smart in 1998!), Officer Roger Morse, Officer Richard Schiff, and Officer Nathan Chew.

Wednesday, January 22

3. SF Food Not Bombs – No Food Sharing Today

  Schedule of change: https://sffnb.org/2020/01/14/wednesday-sharing-schedule-changes/

Thursday, January 23

4. Thursday, 6:30pm – 8:30pm, A sneak preview of We Cried Power, a documentary about the Poor People’s Campaign

Redstone Building
2940 16th St. (nr. 16th St. BART)

Venue is wheelchair accessible

Donations accepted.

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s radical legacy and his vision for and leadership of the Poor People’s Campaign, please join the Bay Area Poor People’s Campaign for a screening of a 45-minute sneak preview of We Cried Power, a documentary about the current iteration of the Poor People’s Campaign.

Following the screening, you will hear from active members of the Bay Area Poor People’s Campaign and our goal of raising the funds to get 150 Bay Area residents, including impacted people, to Washington, DC for the June 20th, 2020 March on Washington.

Organized by the Poor People’s Campaign Bay Area Supporters

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/2966248320093023/

5. Thursday, 6:30pm, Decarceration and Public Safety

Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics
518 Valencia St.

Wheelchair accessible; let organizers know if interpretation is requested.

Sign up: https://go.peoplepower.org/event/action_attend/21359?source=ppem_76710&t=2&referring_akid=76710.91606.fQICNY

Light dinner and refreshments provided

The concept of “public safety” has often been used to justify increased police presence in communities of color, prosecuting quality of life offenses, and continuing the crisis of mass incarceration.

After decades of reinforcing increased interactions with the criminal justice system, it’s clear these policies are not working.

Join the San Francisco chapter of the ACLU and its guest panelists on Thursday, January 23 as we explore how alternatives to policing and

incarceration are ultimately more effective ways to promote public safety for all of us.

 Host: ACLU – SF Chapter

Info: https://go.peoplepower.org/event/action_attend/21359?source=ppem_76710&t=1&referring_akid=76710.91606.fQICNY

Friday, January 24

6. Friday, 12Noon – 2:00pm, Protest the San Francisco Police Officers Association  – Weekly protest.

San Francisco Police Officers Association
800 Bryant  @ 6th Street (outside)

Mothers on the March Against Police Murders and Black and Brown for Justice, Peace and Equality

    ‘Declare the Police Officers Association a Non Grata Organization’

    ‘Jail Killer Cops!’

The Police Officers Association claims to be a union, in reality it is an organization that is based on racism, white supremacy and Nazi ideology. It protects police officers that come into our communities to terrorize and murder our black and brown brothers and sisters.

We demand that the San Francisco Police Officers Association be shut down!

All are welcomed to stand with us even if you can only make it for a few minutes

7. Friday, 6:00pm – 11:00pm, Angel’s 3rd angelversary celebration

1722 Sacramento St.

Come join our family as we come together to celebrate the the 3rd anniversary of the murder of angel Ramos there will be food and drinks starting at 6pm then we will be doing a candlelight and balloon release hope to see everyone there

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/499020911011037/

Saturday, January 25

Global Day of Protest Against War on Iran

See Indybay for other Bay Area listings: https://www.indybay.org/calendar/?page_id=12

Note:  In SF the annual “Walk for Life” is also happening – they are against Women’s choice and abortion

8. Saturday, 11:00am – 12 Noon, 5G Free Berkeley-Global Action Day

2209 Shattuck

Gather in front of Verizon at 11am. Around 11:15, we’ll march to MLK Park, then back to Shattuck in front of ATT, TMobile and other nearby cellphone stores. We plan to end up back at Verizon by noon. Just an hour and an easy 5 or 6 block walk.

Host: Wired – Wireless Radiation Education & Defense

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/180961259769761/

9. Saturday, 11:00am – 1:00pm, Global No More War! Free Assange & Manning Solidarity

Meet at:

Powell & Market St.

We must stand/speak out in solidarity on this GLOBAL day of protest for NO.MORE.WAR!
We the People stand against DIRECT THREAT to FreePress/FreeSpeech by oligarchy INTIMIDATION, SILENCING and WAR distraction! WE ARE FIGHTING FOR OUR VERY DEMOCRACY ON TRIAL, while truth-tellers Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning sit jailed for revealing WAR CRIMES!

We the People stand against root threat to FreePress/FreeSpeech by oligarchy silencing! WE ARE FIGHTING FOR OUR VERY DEMOCRACY ON TRIAL! We demand the perpetual war machine and the killing, torture and jailing of truth-tellers to STOP! We demand the freedom of multi-award-winning journalist, publisher and Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange. We demand the release of whistle-blower Chelsea Manning who revealed war crimes (https://youtu.be/5rXPrfnU3G0) that go unpunished to this day. Please see Defend dot Wikileaks dot org for facts.

The attack and arrest by the British government and police on Julian Assange with the direct support of the US-controlled ($4.2 BILLION PAID in IMF to:) Ecuadoran government and the US government is an attack on all journalists, whistleblowers, and democracy. It is aimed at closing down all alternative media. The news We the People hear shall only be controlled by the government, says the government. There is NO PROSECUTION of the war criminals exposed by WikiLeaks, Assange, Chelsea Manning or other journalists and whistleblowers- now under attack and imprisoned; property seized without warrants, homes invaded and turned over- regularly- IN THIS COUNTRY!

PLEASE BRING signs and any bull horns you have to this NON-VIOLENT PROTEST.**

Hosts: Bay Area Action Committee To Free Julian Assange (BAACFJA) via BayAction2FreeAssange dot com.

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2020/01/12/18829698.php

10. Saturday, 12Noon – 3:00pm, San Francisco: Global Day of Protest – No War on Iran!

Meet at:

Powell & Market St.

The Trump administration is dragging the United States into a war with Iran that could engulf the whole region and could quickly turn into a global conflict of unpredictable scope and the gravest consequences.

The people of the world need to rise up and stop it. For all who believe in peace, for all who are opposed to yet another catastrophic war, now is the time to take action.

Hosts: ANSWER & 5 Other groups

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/748408058987196/  or  https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2020/01/06/18829487.php

Sunday, January 26

11. Sunday, 9:30am – 11:00am, How to win a campaign for better mental health care

Unitarian Universalist Society
1187 Franklin St. (nr Geary Blvd)

UU Sunday Morning Forum:

San Francisco is currently in two campaigns for better mental health care: for the homeless, using city funds; and through Kaiser Permanente. Our speaker is an active Unitarian Universalist with roots in the Bay Area as well as experience as a professor of Public Health at the Univ. of Minnesota. Her award-winning book, The Crusade for Forgotten Souls, concerns a campaign led by Unitarians in Minnesota in the late 1940s and early 1950s that was remarkably successful

John Buehrens will introduce Professor Foote and moderate the discussion.

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/12/29/18829321.php

12. Sunday, 11:00am – 1:00pm, Defend India’s Constitution, Prevent Genocide

540 Arguello (nr. Geary Blvd)

Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), along with several coalition partners in the US, invites you to join a national day of protest against the draconian Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and in solidarity with the millions in India whose rights are being brutally suppressed. CAA has ignited worldwide protests since it violates India’s secular constitution (Articles 14 and 15) and is reminiscent of Nazi Germany’s Nuremberg laws that made religion a criteria for Citizenship. CAA in combination with the National Register of Citizens (NRC) lays the legal foundation to denaturalize millions. The Indian government has already embarked on building the largest network of detention centers in the world for the millions of impoverished and marginalized citizens.

Host: Indian American Muslim Council

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/501041097203314/

12. Sunday, 1:00pm – 4:00pm, Rekindling the Movement that Won Abortion Rights

New Valencia Hall
747 Polk St. (nr. Ellis)

Wheelchair accessible

Homecooked lunch served at 12:15 pm for $8-10 donation (work exchange available if necessary)

At FSP Bay Area’s monthly branch meeting, veteran abortion rights defender Nancy Reiko Kato analyzes the critical fight that led to this fundamental right for women.

Join the discussion on how best to keep abortion and expand reproductive justice!

For information: 415-864-1278 • bayareafsp@socialism.com • fb.com/fspbayarea

Host: Freedom Socialist Party –Bay Area & New Valencia Hall

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1183663771831029/  or  https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2020/01/19/18829888.php

Monday, January 27

13. Monday, Rally Against Mass Evictions

510 3rd St.

Fred Craves is the owner of Gamechanger LLC. For over a year, he and his lackeys, The Law offices of Alan J horowitz and “the Evictors” have been harrassing The West Oakland Wood St community, all in attempt to develop the land beneath their feet.

Join The United Front Against Displacement and The West Oakland Wood St Community in a Rally against the Law offices of Alan J Horowitz. These law offices call themselves “The Evictors” and specialize in helping landlords evict working people. The Billionaire Fred Craves is using these law offices to harrass and take legal action against the homeless residents of Wood st. These crooks want to develop the land and make millions, leaving the homeless people of Oakland with nothing and nowhere to go.

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2020/01/19/18829866.php


Protect our Children from Contamination and Cancer—we must not build schools on Treasure Island

Tuesday January 28, 2020 6:00 PM

Public Comment For Upcoming San Francisco School Board Meeting

San Francisco Unified School District
550 Franklin St.
San Francisco

Protect our Children from Contamination and Cancer—we must not build schools on Treasure Island

 “My name is Dr. Nayvin Gordon. I am a board Certified Family Medicine Physician who has worked in California for 40 years.  

     It is no secret that the Navy contaminated Treasure Island with nuclear radiation for decades.  Based on the extent of radiation contamination already discovered, the entire island must be assumed to be contaminated.  The world has long known about the dangers of radiation. Some examples are:  death and cancer from the nuclear bombs exploded in Hiroshima and Nagasaki; the mutations and growth defects of babies born to women who were given x- rays when pregnant; the high cancer rate in nuclear plant workers; the deaths and cancers after the nuclear plant Chernobyl explosion.

 Radiation, even at very low levels, causes genetic mutation, growth defects, leukemia and cancers.  Radiation is dangerous to life, especially to children and pregnant women who are more sensitive to radiation damage. 

     Since 1980 the incidence of cancer in children has been increasing at 3% every year. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10379458 The Center for Disease Control (CDC) documents a steady rise in childhood leukemia and brain cancer from 1999 through 2010.  Our children do not need more radiation in their environment.”

Dr. Nayvin Gordon, 1/20/20  gordonnayvin@yahoo.com

Speak-Out Against Another Charter School on Radioactive SF Treasure Island

Stop Poisoning The Students, Teachers & Staff

Wednesday February 5


San Francisco City Hall Rm 400


Join United Public Workers For Action UPWA, Defend Public Education NOW!  and other community members and trade unionists protesting the decision of London Breed’s Treasure Island Development Authority Board to approve a charter at the radioactive contaminated Treasure Island. There has been a decades-long cover-up of the dangers at the Island that continues today. Tetra Tech radiation health and safety inspectors were illegally fired and bullied after reporting the falsification of testing and dangerous radioactive materials on the island. This radioactive material still exists on the island and is a threat to health and safety. This is a super-fund site that has not been cleaned up despite the efforts of agencies like SFUSD, DPH, and TIDA to declare that this site and Hunters Point is safe.

This charter school which they now say they want to open up on a closed public school is a serious danger to the lives of the students,  faculty and. staff.  It had previously been shut down by SFUSD because of serious and deadly health and safety issues for the students,  staff, and teachers. The conditions at the public school when it was operating will also be reported on at the press conference.

Despite calls by UPWA and others about these dangers, there continues to be another charter on the Island. Speakers will report on the highly dangerous site and the systemic cover-up of the radioactive dangers including to residents of the island and how this is a threat to any potential students at this charter, the other charter and the lack of protection for the residents and tenants at the island.

Initiated by United Public Workers For Action
For more information
Endorsed by
Defend Public Education NOW!

The 11 Most Anti-Capitalist Quotes from Martin Luther King Jr.

January 21, 2019 by Raw Story

The truth is, most politicians would distance themselves from Dr. King’s stunning (and spot on) indictments of capitalism.

by Katie Halper


The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. waves to onlookers while leading the 125,000 strong 'Walk to Freedom' on Woodward Avenue in Detroit in 1963.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. waves to onlookers while leading the 125,000 strong ‘Walk to Freedom’ on Woodward Avenue in Detroit in 1963. (Photo: Tony Spina / Detroit Free Press)

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. To be fair, I guess I should wish “Sorry it’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day” to the people who don’t believe it should be a holiday and the politicians who voted against making it one. I’m talking to you, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) Sen. John McCain (R-AZ),  Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA).

While both parties attempt to claim Dr. King, the Republicans have a much harder time doing so without distorting history and the truth. But the truth is, most politicians would distance themselves from Dr. King’s stunning (and spot on) indictments of capitalism.  There are, of course, a few exceptions, here and there.

As we celebrate Martin Luther King Day, let’s look at some of the things he said challenged capitalism and are left out of most history books.

  1. “I imagine you already know that I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic… [Capitalism] started out with a noble and high motive… but like most human systems it fell victim to the very thing it was revolting against. So today capitalism has out-lived its usefulness.”– Letter to Coretta Scott, July 18, 1952.
  2. “In a sense, you could say we’re involved in the class struggle.”Quote to New York Times reporter, José Igelsias, 1968.
  3. “And one day we must ask the question, ‘Why are there forty million poor people in America? And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth.’ When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. And I’m simply saying that more and more, we’ve got to begin to ask questions about the whole society…”Speech to Southern Christian Leadership Conference Atlanta, Georgia, August 16, 1967.
  4. “Capitalism forgets that life is social. And the kingdom of brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of communism nor the antithesis of capitalism, but in a higher synthesis.”Speech to Southern Christian Leadership Conference Atlanta, Georgia, August 16, 1967.
  5. “Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all God’s children.”– Speech to the Negro American Labor Council, 1961.
  6. “We must recognize that we can’t solve our problem now until there is a radical redistribution of economic and political power… this means a revolution of values and other things. We must see now that the evils of racism, economic exploitation and militarism are all tied together… you can’t really get rid of one without getting rid of the others… the whole structure of American life must be changed. America is a hypocritical nation and [we] must put [our] own house in order.”– Report to SCLC Staff, May 1967.
  7. “The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism and evils of racism.”Speech to SCLC  Board, March 30, 1967.
  8. “I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective – the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed matter: the guaranteed income… The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization, when men ate each other because they had not yet learned to take food from the soil or to consume the abundant animal life around them. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.”– Where do We Go from Here?, 1967.
  9. “You can’t talk about solving the economic problem of the Negro without talking about billions of dollars. You can’t talk about ending the slums without first saying profit must be taken out of slums. You’re really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you are messing with folk then. You are messing with captains of industry. Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong with capitalism.”– Speech to his staff, 1966.
  10. “[W]e are saying that something is wrong … with capitalism…. There must be better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism.”– Speech to his staff, 1966.
  11. “If America does not use her vast resources of wealth to end poverty and make it possible for all of God’s children to have the basic necessities of life, she too will go to hell.”– Speech at Bishop Charles Mason Temple of the Church of God in Christ in support of the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike on March 18th, 1968, two weeks before he was assassinated.

Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast, Martin Luther King’s Socialism: with Historians Gerald Horne & Justin Williams, below. Bonus segment with Horne available here.

© 2019 Raw Story

Katie Halper

Katie Halper is a writer, comedian, filmmaker and the host of “The Katie Halper Show,” a weekly WBAI radio show and podcast (become a patron of the show on Patreon here). Her writing has appeared in New York Magazine, Common Dreams, Rolling Stone, Salon, The Guardian, and The Nation, and she has appeared on MSNBC, Sirius Radio, Fox News Radio and “The Young Turks.”  Follow her on Twitter: @Kthalps

Bernie Sanders Has Been Getting It Right for 40 Years. Now, Says His Movement: ‘We Are Going to Win’

January 20, 2020 by Common Dreams

“We’ve never ever in our lifetimes had a true champion of social, economic, and climate justice this close to the White House.”

 by Jon Queally, staff writer


Sen. Bernie Sanders delivers remarks during a campaign rally in Exeter, New Hampshire on Saturday, January 18, 2020 while artist Molly Crabapple holds a drawing she did of the 2020 Democratic candidate. (Drawing: Molly Crabapple)

Sen. Bernie Sanders delivers remarks during a campaign rally in Exeter, New Hampshire on Saturday, January 18, 2020 while artist Molly Crabapple holds a drawing she did of the 2020 Democratic candidate. (Photo and Drawing: Molly Crabapple/Courtesy of the artist)

“It’s going to be the most epic case of moral whiplash the world has ever seen. And it’s going to inspire the people around the world.”

They are not official members or designated surrogates of the campaign, but a potent and dynamic trio are among those showing up on the trail for Sen. Bernie Sanders these days, determined to tell all who will listen just how profound an opportunity voters in the United States now have before them: the chance to elect an unapologetic progressive and visionary to the most powerful elected office in the country at a time when people and the planet need a champion they can trust unlike any time in living memory.

Photo of a drawing by artist and write Molly Crabapple of actor and progressive activist John Cusack at a campaign rally in New Hampshire over the weekend. (Credit: Molly Crabapple/Courtesy of the artist)

Photo of a drawing by artist and write Molly Crabapple of actor and progressive activist John Cusack at a campaign rally in New Hampshire over the weekend. (Credit: Molly Crabapple/Courtesy of the artist)

Ahead of Monday’s official commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr., actor and activist John Cusack, journalist and public intellectual Naomi Klein, and writer and artist Molly Crabapple were among those who joined Sen. Bernie Sanders on the campaign trail in New Hampshire over the weekend to meet with voters and explain to rally-goers why their preferred candidate—coupled with the grassroots movement he now leads—represents something extremely rare in U.S. politics.

At a pair of rallies on Saturday—one in Exeter and another in Manchester—Cusack argued that Sanders stands in the great prophetic tradition of civil rights icons like MLK Jr., Fanny Lou Hammer, and Ella Baker as well as other warriors for social justice throughout U.S. history such as Eugene Debs, Phil and Daniel Berrigan, and Dorothy Day.

A writer and longtime activist in addition to his career as an actor, Cusack co-authored the book, along with Indian novelist Arundhati Roy, “Things that Can and Cannot Be Said,” and is also a founding board member of the Freedom  of the Press Foundation which advocates for journalist freedoms and free speech.

Cusack told the crowd in Manchester that what the Sanders campaign has undertaken is not isolated from the great social and labor movements of the past, but rather the continuation of an ongoing struggle against capitalist greed, militarism, racism, sexism, and the pervasive inequities that only a great many people joined together in community and solidarity can overcome.

When he came on the national political scene in the 1980’s, said Cusack, Sanders “said all the things that cannot be said—and he was absolutely fearless. This was a man with a deep and powerful connection to the truth—a person with remarkable courage—who proclaimed the absolute need for justice equality and dignity for all people.”

During his career since, Cusack continued, Sanders has told the nation “what we needed to hear, not what we wanted to hear.” And Cusack argues Sanders’ honesty is proof that he respects the American people.

“When a person respects you, they tell you the fuckin’ truth,” Cusack told the crowd in Exeter, though he immediately apologized for the language and jokingly wondered if the campaign—for which he is a volunteer—might fire him.

Like MLK Jr., Cusack argued in his speech, Sanders has taken positions—often lonely positions—unpopular in his day but prophetic for their time. Like Dr. King, Sanders “voiced the forbidden connections between capitalism, imperialism, racism, sexism—yes, even global warming—the era of endless wars that he saw coming, and the war economies that [President Dwight] Eisenhower warned about.”

“When Bernie Sanders is in the White House, he is going to fight for us. And how do we know that? Because he has always fought for us.” —Molly Crabapple, artist and writer

For Cusack, it is the “deep and powerful connection to the truth” of Sanders that sets him apart.

“He spoke for the absolute need for justice and equality and dignity for all people,” said Cusack, and did so in a way that was “unrelentingly powerful in its moral clarity.”

Sanders has “offered a principled and visionary critique of American empire,” he added, and “publicly, loudly, and boldly rejected the hideous lie that uncheck greed and predatory capitalism—in all its cruelty—was good.”

For his consistency and steadfastness over the years, Cusack said it is clear that Sanders is “one of the true inheritors of the mantle of the great American voices for justice in America.”

Watch Cusack’s remarks in Manchester on Saturday:

“For 40 years we’ve endured class warfare from above,” Cusack said. “And for 40 years Bernie Sanders was there fighting back. And for four decades, Bernie was right—again and again and again.”

“We’ve never ever in our lifetimes had a true champion of social, economic, and climate justice this close to the White House,” Cusack added. Calling Sanders “a profile of courage, clarity, and consistency for 40 years,” he told the crowd it is crucial to understand that the senator’s critique of the “neoliberal period” the nation has been living through since Ronald Reagan has been spot on, and that unfortunately his “prophetic warnings have come to pass.”

But has “the world caught up to Bernie Sanders’ moral vision?” Cusack asked. “Well, that’s up to us.”

Commentators on social media noted just how unusual it is for surrogates to deliver such far-ranging critiques on behalf of their preferred candidate.

In remarks at an event in Conway, New Hampshire on Sunday afternoon, writer and artist Molly Crabapple—who has, in fact, drawn what the Green New Deal could and should look like—said, “I believe we have to be able to see the future we are fighting for.”

After denouncing Trump as a “reality TV show huckster”—someone who “stokes vile bigotry while he and his rich friends rob America blind”—Crabapple asked: “Do you know what beats the politics of hate? The politics of solidarity.”

“We have the chance to elect a president who has spent his whole life fighting for the working class,” she added. “When Bernie Sanders is in the White House, he is going to fight for us. And how do we know that? Because he has always fought for us.”

Joining Crabapple and Cusack on the trail for the Sanders campaign over the weekend was Naomi Klein, a friend of both and another well-known progressive who in November endorsed Sanders not only based on his longtime commitment to social justice but because she also believes there is simply no other candidate in the race who has adequately shown they understand the “existential urgency” of the climate crisis.

“For 40 years we’ve endured class warfare from above. And for 40 years Bernie Sanders was there fighting back.” —John Cusack, actor and activist“We are here saying ‘Not me, Us,'” Klein said during the Exeter rally on Saturday, “because we know that even if the White House has turned into the set of some twisted, never-ending, nuclear-armed reality TV show—this is, in fact, not a show. This is reality. And we need a real human being in the White House who gets the stakes—the unfathomable stakes—of the moment that we are living; that gets it in their bones. And that person is Senator Bernie Sanders.”

Decrying how little progress was made—and how much opposition there was to even incremental change the last time Democrats had control of the White House and Congress—Klein, whose latest book is “On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal,” argued what Sanders represents is something that was nearly impossible to imagine just a few years ago.

“I want you to picture what it would look like to have a president in the White House,” Klein said, “who we didn’t have to find and drag, kicking and screaming, to stop new pipelines and new corporate trade deals that don’t mention climate change or new fracking projects—but who actually was an organizer-in-chief who understood the existential urgency and wanted to lead this transformation with movements driving it from below.”

Watch Klein’s speech in Manchester on Saturday:

At the rally in Conway on Sunday, Klein espoused confidence that Sanders will win the Democratic nomination and ultimately defeat Trump in November.

“It’s going to be the most epic case of moral whiplash the world has ever seen,” Klein said. “And it’s going to inspire people around the world to find their own survival instinct and act like the house is on fire—because it is.”

Though clear-eyed about the challenges and opposition the Sanders campaign now faces, Klein said, “I believe we can perform this miracle.”

“It’s going to be the most epic case of moral whiplash the world has ever seen. And it’s going to inspire people around the world.” —Naomi Klein, author and activistBut she didn’t always feel that way, she admitted to the crowd.

“I did not always believe that a man as principled as Bernie Sanders, with his record fighting against war and greed and for the rights of working people and a healthy environment, could be president,” she said.

Why? Because, she told the crowd, “I think the answer is that our expectations were low because our expectations had been systematically lowered for a very long time.”

Like Cusack, Klein invoked the 40-year period of neoliberalism since Reagan as a time of defeats and defensive measures for the progressive movement.

“Don’t get me wrong,” Klein said, “we put up some good fights: against bad trade deals and factory shut downs, and illegal wars and polluting pipelines and healthcare cut-backs and racist police violence. And sometimes we won a single victory in these fights. Mostly we didn’t.”

Watch Klein’s speech in Conway on Sunday:

According to Klein, Sanders’ run in 2016 changed this dynamic for social movements, organizers, and regular people in significant ways. And now, with a larger, more organized movement behind him than ever before—representing millions of people who previously did not realize just how many others there were or how powerful they could be—something has profoundly changed in ways that once seemed impossible to imagine.

And while Sanders and the grassroots movement that he is leading are now on the verge of something potentially historic, Klein warned “there is profound responsibility” for what happens next, “because now our entire planet hangs in the balance” in the crucial years ahead.

“And if Bernie was right about what we should have done in the past 40 years,” Klein continued, “then it’s time to believe that he is right about what we can do in the next 40 years. To really believe it. Because screw being right—this time we are going to win.”

“Screw being right—this time we are going to win.” —Naomi KleinFor progressives who share the critique of society’s ills and the economy’s shortcomings that the Sanders campaign articulates, Klein argued that now—in this moment which Crabapple described as a moment of both “danger” and “possibility”—is not the time for ruminating on what could have been or lamenting lost opportunities in the past.

Citing a phrase Cusack delivered the day before when he described Sanders as someone with the “future in his eyes,” Klein ended her speech Sunday by saying it’s increasingly clear the world is catching up to the wisdom Sanders has long been offering.

“He was waiting for us,” she said. “All of us. The power of us. The power so long suppressed under that blanket of lies.”

And that, she concluded, is “what this campaign is all about.”

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Sen. Bernie Sanders says there’s a massive amount of racial disparity in America

Washington Post Live Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders says there is a massive amount of racial disparity in America, from income inequality to healthcare gaps. “When I talked about creating an America that works for all people, it means doing away with the systematic, systemic racism that exists from coast to coast.” Sanders also said, “Trump thrives on fear, and fear very often is based on just not knowing people who are a little bit different than we are…the way we beat fear and xenophobia is by understanding, at the end of the day, that people no matter what the color of their skin is, no matter what their religion is, end up having the same dreams and the same aspirations.”

(Contributed by Bob of Occupy)

#Moms4Housing: Meet the Mother & Daughter Armed Police Just Evicted from a Vacant House in Oakland

(DemocracyNow.org) January 16, 2020 – We continue our conversation with Oakland mother Misty Cross, who was evicted alongside other mothers fighting homelessness Tuesday from a vacant home they had been occupying for two months. Facing homelessness and skyrocketing rents, the working mothers moved into the house on 2928 Magnolia Street in November and stayed despite an eviction notice from real estate developer Wedgewood Properties. Their movement — Moms 4 Housing — gained international attention and became a rallying cry against rampant income inequality and homelessness in the Bay Area and across the U.S. But early Tuesday morning, Cross and three others were arrested by a heavily militarized police force, sparking outrage. All four were released on bail Tuesday afternoon. We also speak with Cross’s daughter Destiny Johnson and Oakland activist Carroll Fife, the director of the Oakland office for Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.