Iden­tify the an­ar­chists

San Francisco Chronicle - - OPINION -

The black-clad, masked an­ar­chists have no agenda ex­cept de­struc­tion. They don’t care about Pres­i­dent Trump one way or an­other, and they’re dis­rupt­ing le­git­i­mate, peace­ful protests. Who ben­e­fited most from the Berke­ley vi­o­lence? The in­vited bigot who was to speak. (I won’t men­tion his name; he’s had too much pub­lic­ity al­ready.) It’s past time for a co­or­di­nated ef­fort to deal with the black bloc, in­clud­ing lo­cal and (if a univer­sity is in­volved) cam­pus po­lice, plus large cadres of peace­able demon­stra­tors. As soon as the black bloc cowards step for­ward, they should be sur­rounded, con­fronted, cuffed and ar­rested. Weapons of any kind should be taken from them and con­fis­cated.

They should be iden­ti­fied and charged. This will re­quire strat­egy ses­sions and the full com­mit­ment of law en­force­ment and al­lied helpers. Pro­tec­tive gear should be supplied. Uni­ver­si­ties, with help from po­lice and le­gal ex­perts, should be teach­ing how to iden­tify and han­dle dan­ger­ous an­ar­chists, who have been al­lowed to en­dan­ger marchers, shop­keep­ers and any­one else in their vicin­ity for far too long. Kristin Anund­sen, San Fran­cisco

Block ev­ery­thing from GOP

Re­gard­ing “Pelosi as­sails Trump’s de­crees” (Feb. 6): House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi sig­naled that there were ar­eas that Repub­li­cans and Democrats can work to­gether. This is ex­actly why we need new leadership in the Demo­cratic Party. We want the Democrats to pull a Sen. Mitch McCon­nell on Pres­i­dent Trump. We don’t want to make the next years easy for Trump, but make him fight ev­ery step of the way. Pelosi, more back­bone and less blab! Leonard Dorin, Lafayette

Cor­po­rate bias in trade

“The Amer­i­can re­treat” (Edi­to­rial, Feb. 3) rightly de­cries ac­tions by the new Pres­i­dent Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion that have un­der­mined our pres­ence on the global stage. But, you in­cor­rectly credit Trump with the demise of the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship. Sup­port for that agree­ment had col­lapsed on its own — months be­fore the elec­tion af­ter los­ing sup­port from Democrats like House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi, Hil­lary Clin­ton, and the ma­jor­ity of the Demo­cratic cau­cus.

Un­crit­i­cal sup­port for deeply flawed and un­pop­u­lar agree­ments that re­in­force cor­po­rate priv­i­lege at the ex­pense of work­ers and the en­vi­ron­ment only re­in­force the Trump agenda by illustrati­ng that elites still don’t get the boil­ing dis­con­tent among Amer­i­can work­ers. The North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment dis­lo­cated mil­lions of Mex­i­can agri­cul­tural and in­dus­trial work­ers and set off an un­prece­dented 15 years surge in un­doc­u­mented mi­gra­tion. If we want to beat Trump’s char­la­tanism at home and main­tain our stand­ing in the world, we need to chal­lenge long-stand­ing cor­po­rate bias in our trade agree­ments. Ted Lewis, San Fran­cisco

Lit­i­ga­tion is­sues

“Firms be­hind suits can stay in shad­ows” ( Jan. 28) is a com­plete mis­char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of an un­prece­dented new or­der is­sued re­cently by the U.S. District Court for the North­ern District of Cal­i­for­nia re­quir­ing dis­clo­sure of law­suit fun­ders. As was re­ported by sev­eral other news or­ga­ni­za­tions, the court was the first in the coun­try to re­quire lawyers bring­ing class ac­tion law­suits to iden­tify any third parties who are in­vest­ing in or gam­bling on the out­come of that law­suit for their own profit.

The Chron­i­cle’s one-sided story also states that lit­i­ga­tion fun­ders rarely in­vest in class ac­tions. How does the reporter know that, since all of these lit­i­ga­tion in­vest­ments are done in se­cret? Though Bur­ford Cap­i­tal claims not to in­vest in class ac­tion cases, their in­volve­ment with three other fun­ders — in in­vest­ing mil­lions in a class ac­tion law­suit against Chevron — was only dis­cov­ered af­ter a fed­eral judge un­cov­ered mas­sive fraud in the case.

If lit­i­ga­tion fun­ders like Ben­tham IMF and Bur­ford Cap­i­tal re­ally be­lieve what they do is for the pub­lic good, why do they work so hard to keep it in the dark? Lisa Rickard, pres­i­dent of U.S. Cham­ber In­sti­tute for Le­gal Re­form, Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

Fed­eral fund­ing block

It is dis­turbingly clear that we Cal­i­for­ni­ans have a se­ri­ous prob­lem with Pres­i­dent Trump and that Trump has a prob­lem with Cal­i­for­nia. This is an ob­vi­ous po­lit­i­cal fact. Cal­i­for­nia, the largest, rich­est state in the Union, is also the the most Demo­cratic state in the coun­try. We are the em­bod­i­ment of what Karl Pop­per called “the open so­ci­ety.” We em­brace di­ver­sity, with all its at­ten­dant rights and du­ties. Open so­ci­eties, in­evitably, have en­e­mies. As an open so­ci­ety, we can­not cave in to threats and abridge our val­ues ac­cord­ingly. Trump called Cal­i­for­nia “out of con­trol.”

He seems to be in­tent on bran­dish­ing our tax­pay­ers’ fed­eral funds as a weapon against us. Re­gard­ing “‘Im­me­di­ate cred­i­bil­ity’ in Cal fron­trun­ner” (Feb. 6): He has will­ing al­lies among 18 GOP Cal­i­for­nia con­gress­men, who are black­mail­ing Cal­i­for­nia and Gov. Jerry Brown by try­ing to block fed­eral funds for Cal­trans, in­tend­ing to kill the high-speed rail project. The bar­bar­ians are no longer at the gate. They are in­side the gate. Our elected Demo­cratic sen­a­tors and Congress rep­re­sen­ta­tives should make the case with Sec. Elaine Chao that mass trans­porta­tion and in­fra­struc­ture up­grades in our state are in the best in­ter­est of the United States. Eu­ge­nio Fron­gia, Oak­land

Al­low Yiannopoul­us to speak

As one of the 796 peo­ple to have been ar­rested in the early morn­ing of Dec. 4, 1964, at the height of the UC Berke­ley Free Speech Move­ment, I agree with mem­bers of the FSM Ar­chive Board of Di­rec­tors, that how­ever big­oted and ob­jec­tion­able Milo Yiannopou­los and “Bre­it­bart News” may be, he should have been al­lowed to speak on cam­pus.

To pre­vent him from do­ing so was not only an­ti­thet­i­cal to those Amer­i­can val­ues that we hold so dear, but, per­haps more to the point, only serves to en­er­gize and pro­vide a big­ger plat­form to the very peo­ple and or­ga­ni­za­tions whom so many of us — pro­gres­sives, in­de­pen­dents, Democrats and yes, Repub­li­cans — find so rep­re­hen­si­ble.

We must not be re­miss in con­fronting those on the far right, whose vi­sions of how things ought to be lie so be­yond the pale. But nei­ther should we stoop to their level. We need to counter their of­fen­sive words and acts with truth, the strength of our con­vic­tions, and, when nec­es­sary, a will­ing­ness to put our bod­ies on the line, and say, “Enough.” Paul Coop­er­smith, In­ver­ness

Can’t fix what isn’t broken

When will Amer­i­cans stop al­low­ing rightwing Repub­li­can pro­pa­ganda to hornswog­gle us into de­stroy­ing what is in our own in­ter­ests? Trickle-down the­ory never worked, not with the for­mer Pres­i­dent Ron­ald Rea­gan ad­min­is­tra­tion, which led to dou­ble-digit in­fla­tion and un­em­ploy­ment, and not even with its in­ven­tor (read “The Gospel of Wealth”), An­drew Carnegie. His ver­sion led to Pinker­ton Guards, ri­ots and death in the streets. What did and does work is for­mer Pres­i­dent Franklin D. Roo­sevelt’s New Deal, un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits, So­cial Se­cu­rity, Medi­care and now the Af­ford­able Care Act. Please don’t al­low self-in­ter­est ig­no­rance or the mis­guided to dis­man­tle what isn’t broken. Noel Robert­son, Fairfax

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