May 2016 Archives

What Are You Most Afraid Of?

"The 2016 race is transcendentally bizarre," writes Maureen Dowd for The New York Times. "We have two near-nominees with the highest unfavorables at this point in the race of any in modern history. We seem to have a majority of voters in both parties who are driven by the desire to vote against the other candidate, rather than for their own."

My greatest fear is that endorsement of the political platforms of any of these contenders to the American throne condemns prospects for a better world for the rest of humanity.

In "Who is Barack Obama Really?" Dennis Loo argues for a People's Choice:

When we vote for candidates from either Party we are not deciding whom we like better. We are legitimating what those candidates do and stand for. When and if you cast a vote for Obama you [were] saying that you are okay with what he has done - his presidential kill list, his drone attacks, his refusal to prosecute torturers, his perpetuating of torture and places like Guantanamo, his suspension of habeas corpus, due process, and the rule of law, his vengeful attacks on whistleblowers, his mass incarceration and mass deportations, his failure to address global warming, his failure to defend women's abortion rights...

You're saying that you endorse this because you are not refusing to delegitimate it by publicly refusing to vote in their elections charade. This is the message you are sending. Is that the message you want to send?

The above excerpt from an article written in 2012 is more relevant than ever, and should resonate with people of conscience who struggle with "what to do?" in today's electoral miasma:

The way you change political policies is by movements that influence how people think. You don't do this through voting. You do this through impacting public opinion. And the ways of doing that are various, including participating and helping to organize protests and speaking out through your body, your voice and/or through your pen/keyboard and where you donate your time, energy and money.

Join World Can't Wait when the war parties convene July 2016.

Update: Sergeant Justin Erb, 45, has been identified as the officer who fired a single shot May 19 that killed 29-year-old Jessica Williams Nelson 

About 100 mourners marched from Third and Palou to the Bayview police station Friday night to honor the latest victim of trigger-happy cops.

"Her name is Jessica Williams, and she did not deserve the fate that was dealt her by the State," writes Dan Moshenberg at

Jessica's "street mom" Jennifer Williams, whose last name Jessica adopted, said "She was a strong and talented woman, and a little bit bossy. There's no reason for her to die the way she did. It's senseless."

"No one deserves that fate, and no one deserves that treatment," added Moshenberg. "Jessica Williams is the name of `urban redevelopment' and skyrocketing real estate markets. Jessica Williams is the name of militarized and uncontrolled policing, witch-hunting, all in the name of zero tolerance and urban revitalization. Jessica Williams, 29 years old, Black, female, was sitting in a stationary car when she was killed." 

Jessica's five children are being raised by a sister.

From 2000 to today, San Francisco police officers have been involved in 95 shootings. Forty have been fatal.
In response to a rash of "officer involved shootings", San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee proposes... to add to the arsenal of lethal SFPD weapons! How many times must we say NO? 

Hundreds of deaths. Zero oversight. Tasers were supposed to curb the use of deadly force - so why have over 500 people died from Taser-related injuries since?

Film Screening: "Killing Them Safely"
Tuesday May 31, 6:30pm 
Roxie Theater
3117 - 16th Street, San Francisco
At a time when questions about police methods are at the forefront of the national dialogue, Killing Them Safely brings together archival footage and eye-opening interviews with experts on both sides of the debate.
Following the screening, filmmaker Nick Berardini and San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi will address questions around San Francisco Police Commission plans to outfit SFPD officers with Tasers.
Co-Sponsors: ACLU Northern California, Public Defenders Racial Justice Committee, Coalition on Homelessness, Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus, National Lawyers Guild-SF, 48 Hills, OccupySF Action Council

Jessica Williams: Say Her Name

revised May 21, 8 pm 

Jessica Williams was 29, unarmed, the latest victim of an unchecked killing spree by San Francisco police officers that could no longer be accommodated with "reform" platitudes from city administrators.

"[Police] Chief Suhr's departure, which comes days after he pledged not to resign, is the latest in a series of exits of big-city police chiefs who have come under intense pressure during the past year after public anger over the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of police officers," write NY Times correspondents Thomas Fuller and Timothy Williams. More on that here.

"I'm happy Chief Suhr was fired," posts Davey Cook at Vanishingsf.  "At the same time I'm angry as hell a unarmed Black woman was shot and killed ... I wanna know her name.. We wanna know her name? Who was the officer who shot her? They said it was a sergeant.. Was this the same sergeant who was the subject of this article where two officers were deemed snitches??

"With regards to the new 'acting' chief, he's brother named Toney Chaplin.. He's been on the force for 26 years.. I just heard him on KCBS talking about SFPD needs tasers so they wont go around shooting people.. That's total BS..

"SFPD doesn't need tasers, it needs people on the force who aren't sending racist text messages. It needs officers who aren't going around calling officers who are whistle blowers 'snitches'. It needs officers who don't show up to police commission meetings and try and act like Nazi storm troopers in an attempt to intimidate people seeking justice...

"It needs officers who have genuine love and respect for all of SF's citizens and see themselves as a part of the community, not above it.."

No Migrant Crisis,

but rather "a crisis of global injustice caused by war, poverty, and inequality," says Global Justice Now.

Iraq-War-640x350.jpg"Framing the increased flow of people fleeing war and poverty as a 'migrant crisis' misses the point. It assumes that it is the arrival of these people, rather than the situations they are trying to escape, that is the problem. This is why it is necessary to see the migrant crisis for what it is - just one symptom of a number of global crises taking place now...

"ISIS would not be controlling large swathes of Iraq and Syria had it not been for the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. The unwillingness of European countries to welcome the victims of conflicts which they have fueled is nothing short of hypocrisy."

Some Legacy

San Francisco City Hall has been on high alert this week, with what Supervisor John Avalos calls a "military presence" to suppress protest of an epidemic of murder by police. Instead of holding officers accountable, Mayor Lee has allocated sizable funds for additional weapons of intimidation. 

"What good will all of these reforms and new policies do if we have a climate in the department where officers can violate the existing rules and nothing happens?" asks 48hills reporter Tim Redmond.

Mayor Lee faces questions on police violence -- and has no real answers
Lt Gen McFarland now orders air strikes that are expected to kill up to 10 civilians without prior approval from U.S. Central Command.

Blood On Our Hands author Nicolas J. S. Davies warns that we are witnessing the beginning of a joint U.S.-Iraqi massacre in Mosul: "although Al Qaeda and Islamic State have proven adept at manipulating U.S. leaders into ever-escalating cycles of violence, the jihadis cannot directly order American pilots to bomb civilians. Only our leaders can do that, making them morally and legally responsible for these crimes, just as Islamic State's leaders are responsible for theirs."

Presidential candidates enjoin constituents to share culpability in endless wars for empire. NO! We will not endorse criminal acts against humanity with tactical voting. Crimes are crimes, no matter who enables them.

No License to Murder

How many times must we say NO to Tasers? The last thing we need are additional weapons for police to employ against the people they are supposed to protect.  

Abandoned in 2013 after decade-long populist resistance, the plan to equip police with "Conducted Energy Devices" (Tasers) has been revived by police chief Greg Suhr under presumption of "less-lethal" methods of law enforcement -- the chief shamelessly argues that the execution of Mario Woods by police last December might thus have been avoided.

"Far from seeing the police as a source of help and protection, many Americans feel the same way about them as people living under corrupt authoritarian regimes feel about their police or armies," writes USF professor Rebecca Gordon. "They see them as an occupying force, not there to protect and serve but to frighten and extort."

The myth that Tasers save lives is a lie. The advocacy group Truth Not Tasers has documented over 900 deaths from them since 2004. The risk of injury restricts use of Tasers in police training. The U.S. military Electronic Control Weapon Guideline warns against controlled application to personnel as well, causing lawyer Aram James to ask why, knowing the danger, would they want to use it on unarmed citizens in uncontrolled street situations.   

"It's unfathomable to me to think that adding another weapon to an arsenal of a Police Department that is out of control is going to solve our problems; it's not," San Francisco resident Nancy Reiko Kato told commissioners. "The problem is with the policies that allow police to draw their weapons on unarmed people."

WE Won't Go

A message from Courage to Resist:

On April 27th, a congressional committee voted to extend the draft to women as well as men. The vote, held by the House Armed Service committee, attached an amendment to a "must-pass" annual military spending authorization bill (HR 4909).

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