Identify the anarchists
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
“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