anything i can't justify as a remotely connected to web development will go here instead of

In downtown Minneapolis this evening, police say a man shot and killed another man and then shot and killed himself while police were pursuing. This may well be true. Police actions following this are unacceptable— again, and maybe will be noticed when not overshadowed by police murdering someone outright.

Minneapolis police, instead of heroically protecting a Target and another store that have reportedly gotten windows smashed (if their excuse for existing is protecting property), have:

  • kettled (cut off from leaving) parts of the crowds
  • maced people
  • fired rubber-tipped bullets (baton rounds, also known as kinetic impact projectiles, less lethal alternative to bullets)

And now they have declared “unlawful assembly”, after their violence has antagonized protesters and gawkers and people-who-just-happened-to-be-there alike, which is often a prelude to mass arrests.

This is police escalation and indiscriminate violence, not de-escalation, protecting of lives, or any reasonable thing they could be doing.

There are a lot of dumb takes on Twitter. But one of the dumbest lately was someone saying a Green New Deal wouldn't move unemployment because we're not a nation of laborers like we were in the 1930s.

He seemed to be arguing two things simultaneously— that public works need 'laborers', presumably manual laborers, and that “we” don't do that kind of work anymore so won't be put to work by the Green New Deal. If it were true that there were no manual labor jobs at all, maybe such jobs would be just what the 40% of people who are working age but do not have any job at all need and want. But of course there are lots of 'laborer' jobs, and lots of unemployed and unemployed laborers.

The main problem with that particular dumb take, though, was the sheer amount of ignorance embedded in it. Some correctives:

  1. The New Deal employed all sorts of people, including artists.
  2. The main problem with the New Deal employment programs is they didn't employ enough people and they ended too soon. World War II did more to put people to work, and we need a much larger effort than that. Saying a Green New Deal won't reduce unemployment because most people now are not laborers is like saying World War II won't reduce unemployment because most people in 1941 were not soldiers— people adapt to society's needs if given a chance, and any one role needs to be supplemented by work spread throughout the whole economy.
  3. If capitalism has encouraged people to develop skills that we have no need for (hint: it has), that's just one more thing we need to fix, even if that means teaching (we need more teachers and trainers too!) advertising executives how to blow insulation into old walls.
  4. But clearly, a Green New Deal at the scale needed to save both human civilization and the environment (hint the environment still has to come first) will need a huge number of technical non-manual work, and even marketers and communication people, if only to drown out dumb takes like that guy's.

Can you imagine an armed officer showing up at your home and handing you a notice that your home must be removed and police will return in 48 hours to dismantle it?

The Minneapolis Parks & Recreation Board must dismantle their $6.5M/year police force.

#DefundThePolice now.

Don't want people in the parks? Use some of that money to join @mplssanctuary partner ZACAH in giving people hotel rooms.

Don't think that's feasible long-term? You're right! Join @DefendGlendale and organize to put pressure on @MPLSPubHousing to rise to the occasion and begin a massive expansion of public housing rather than privatizing it.

The evaporating pretensions of the @MplsParkBoard to stand for sanctuary shows that having a police force around will mean repression and violence, even violent eviction from living spaces, before doing the hard work for justice. #AbolishPolicing to remove a block on progress.

All the police budgets in the world won't solve poverty, the rigged economy, and lack of society-wide help and solidarity. But police are, by design, very effective at shielding power from accountability and disrupting efforts to build countervailing power, even mutual aid.

Police disperse, jail, and brutalize to stop movements. We see it suppressing encampments for housing justice and protests against police brutality itself.

We need to see this strategy and stop it from being applied. The one-third of us unable to pay for housing are up next.

Contact the Twin Cities Solidarity Network (at or through me) for eviction defense in Minneapolis / St. Paul and area (we'll connect you with other people in your neighborhood or who have the same landlord or property management company to increase your power).

And the Workers Defense Alliance can help connect you to copwatch groups forming throughout the cities. Get to know your neighbors and build capacity to reduce and resist police terror!

There's never been an easier time to be a hero. Stop the fascists before they start using guns on you. Defend your local post office.

Most great labor victories have been won when workers fight for more than themselves— fighting for and together with families and communities at the very least, and oftentimes for the people as a whole or workers as a class very much in mind. Well, now postal workers are called to fight for themselves, for their country, for democracy.

Help them.

Talk to letter carriers and to people at the post offices. Find out where the sorting machines are. Set up watches.

Do the same at mailboxes in targeted areas. Heck, help people there jump through the hoops to vote early and physically drop off their ballots. While there, ask people what they really want out of voting. Find out ways to show up for people when not asking for their vote, and then demand the same of our politicians.

Plan to bring the same attention and energy to every other way the vote is suppressed (that has already led to at least two stolen presidential elections out of the past five).

Especially now that the House of Representatives has started to interrogate the suited saboteurs in D.C., there's very little chance charges against anyone who surrounds or occupies a postal service facility to protect it will result in a conviction. There's never been an easier time to be a hero.

A few political hit men appointed by Trump can't finish destroying the quintessential United States institution, the post office, in the months it is needed to run the election— if we fight rather than passively being in the right.

Are you one of the many Democrats who thinks Trump is trying to start a civil war, just because he says or endorses stuff like “Leave the Democrat cities to rot” all the time? That thinks he's bringing fascism to the United States just because he basically says so, has concentration camps for immigrants (and people his loyal federal agents suspect of being immigrants), and is trying to sabotage the upcoming election?

Do you know who is going to be his explicit partner in all of this? Your local police force.


Seriously, start abolishing the police in your city today.

The New York Police Department just endorsed Trump. The president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis campaigned with Trump. The Boston police violently attacked local residents counter-protesting the out-of-town fascist-organized “Straight Pride March” and then the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association strongly protested that anyone would pay bail for the victims of their on-duty violence. (Boston police may not have gotten around to formally declaring their alliance with the most openly racist and sexist President in a hundred years due to their former president being charged with raping a young girl.)

Lets take it as a given that you are clear on the danger of Trump and his wannabe fascist friends.

You may not agree with those of us who want a world “where nobody is in a position to oppress or exploit anyone else, and in which all the means to achieve maximum moral and material development are available to everyone” (to quote Errico Malatesta), but we are your essential allies in fighting off the reactionary, fascist, and white supremacist movement that has found a home in the Republican party and an unabashed booster in Trump.

And we need you to call off the cops.

The police who will do Trump's bidding and choose his side—and the side of his armed supporters—in a coup against democracy in the United States are mostly locally funded. Stop the local police from attacking the anti-fascist and other radicals in your town today, or else your police will be able to help Homeland Security maintain Trump's grip on this country in 2021.

I am thrilled to finally be with a credit union in Minneapolis, but my experience joining one illustrates the need for credit unions to rethink their approach and be ready to serve all people.

I've stopped waiting for Village Financial Credit Union to open in North Minneapolis. (As i went to link to i see that Google hosting took their site down). My pledge of membership is still good if the community pulls off a miracle and resurrects this essential project.

When Village looked like it was going to come to fruition, it was set to be the first credit union chartered in the United States in a decade. That is the first sign of a systemic crisis; there should be many new member-controlled organizations being formed to meet the banking, investing, and lending needs of diverse communities. North Minneapolis, and much of the United States, very much needs a Black-directed co-operative financial institution, as Village set out to be, for some of the reasons i experienced joining one of the credit unions we do have.

There was no problem with any particular person; the problems are on a level of policy and possibly procedures and implementation, which are undoubtedly common across credit unions.

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union was the credit union that came up most often in recommendations from friends and in searches for nearby branches or ATMs— especially for credit unions that didn't appear to require me to get a job with city government or move across town to be eligible! Not that it means it was close. There's almost no credit union presence on the Northside, and not many banks either— we mostly have check-cashing and payday loan places here.

I applied online for Affinity. This was frustrating for technical reasons— their integration with Plaid was broken and that stymied the required step of paying for membership in an organization to ensure eligibility and making an initial deposit. Given my further experiences, i find it bad form to be asked for payment before being approved. But that's minor. The real problem was when the Paid integration was removed and i was able to apply a few days later.

Got through everything, and then later got this e-mail:

Dear Benjamin,

We’re sorry, but we can’t open your account and/or add your name as an owner/signer on an account. At least we can’t do it via the online account application process.

The Reason Why

We couldn’t verify sufficient details about your credit history.

This is all because i refused to get one of the hundreds of scammy credit card offers shoved at me when i was in college, and proceeded to live my entire life without borrowing or lending money outside of friends and family.

But it's also a damned stupid reason to be turned down for a savings account or a checking account, which involve me putting my own money in.

I have gotten multiple bank accounts without having a credit inquiry run on me. For Affinity, it was the only way to identify me when applying online— which is bad enough, but even in person with photo ID, my credit was checked again for no good reason (and found non-existent again, but in-person i was able to open the account).

Credit unions are in the habit of running a hard pull on your credit when you apply for membership. This practice has to stop, period.

For all that our Affinity representative who ultimately helped us with car-side service said it was to “get a birds eye, 360 degree view of you, know what you need” and that “credit is important to us”, it serves nothing so much as to exclude people who need the services of a credit union the most.

The other problems were not being clearly informed of the credit check while submitting the application online; not being immediately informed that i could continue with the online application if i made it to the credit union in person the next day; and being mis-informed that i would need my social security card.

But the main problem is reliance on the unaccountable, error-ridden, and hack-prone credit rating agencies.

If this was so much trouble for me, a middle-aged business owner (also cooperatively, of course) with multiple existing accounts at financial institutions and relatively plenty of money (compared to twenty percent having no or negative wealth) to move into a new account, how does this work for someone with less documentation? With no time or trust to try a second or third time for approval? With bad credit because one of the dozen parasitical monopoly corporations added fees equaling thousands of percent in interest to a returned payment on a water bill, with the big evil bank that credit unions should be replacing putting their own pile of fees for bouncing a check or falling below a minimum balance, sending people from scraping by to being cast out as financial lepers?

Whether Village rises again, Affinity comes to the Northside, or other credit unions step up, there is a vast need here and in neighborhoods throughout the United States that requires credit unions to do more than add physical locations. Credit unions need to design policies and practices for inclusion.

Then maybe with representation in democratic financial organizations, people who are currently excluded and marginalized will have a vehicle to help work towards equity, towards economic justice.

We need credit unions to support many creative and crucial correctives to the cruelty and brokenness of our current economy, including community currencies and other ways of connecting people to economic activity. Wealth as it is currently distributed, based on great crimes of the past and present, from slavery to redlining to discriminatory insurance rates to wage theft to the simple coercive exploitation of having to sell labor to capitalists who can hoard wealth without limit while we have to work to survive the next month, needs to be bypassed to the greatest extent possible.

Credit unions can be a huge part of a fair future, of building a solidarity economy, but first they need to become representative of the people with the greatest stake in this future.

As a small business owner, the whole idea of sending Payroll Protection through the business makes no sense. That money should be sent directly to every person and if they choose to stick with a company (like our worker-owners would) or to spend their money at a business, great.

If your workers don't want to help keep your company going (perhaps you'd have to grant ownership as an incentive), your business doesn't deserve the money.

Everybody deserves what is needed to live, no questions asked, and in the United States that's US dollars.

Really curious what the capitalist justification for giving relief money to corporations instead of people is. Because the answer has got to be some steps along the way toward a need for central planning, and socialists will happily eat that answer as a free lunch.

People can't be trusted with their own spending decisions? But the companies competing in the allegedly free market which is allegedly the outcome of such decisions are sacrosanct and must be preserved?

There's no logic to opposing giving people equal money—now in the pandemic/depression and always—that's not at core about preserving inequality, about ensuring that there's a class of people to be exploited.

Workers need to take control and run things well, no matter what their sabotaging capitalist-appointed bosses say. (This goes for every business or organization but especially the postal service right now.)

'Friday Night Massacre' at US Postal Service as Postmaster General—a Trump crony—Ousts Top Officials

Healthcare is a Human Right, but other ways to convince?

Amy Vaz:

How can we do a better job selling #MedicareForAll ? I have been thinking about this quite a bit over the past two years. Our main line, “Healthcare as a human right,” Doesn’t speak to people on the other side. It just doesn’t, But there are many other untapped elements, that do.

The bottom line is that there are not enough of us lefties to really move the needle on this, BY OURSELVES. Healthcare is something, around which we should be able to coalition build, across the ENTIRE spectrum... A little bit of introspection: I don’t think we’ve done this well.

This is one of the topics @AnandWrites and @AndrewYang discussed in this great interview.... I agree with their approach of making the business case for it, although that is often frowned upon on the left, I think we need to do it, In order to expand the support base.

I also think there is something that is going to be a necessary step in this project, which I don’t believe we have done well or even at all, and that is to sell it to doctors, or at a very minimum actively work to dispel the myths / industry talkingpoints, geared towards them.


It might need to be rephrased, but healthcare IS a human right and reaching people who truly disagree will be as inefficient as our current health insurance disaster. The large majority even in the US believe this and we need to make achieving universal healthcare seem possible.

That said, @stephen_verdant's Cognitive Politics has some excellent thinking on reaching across divides from very different ways of thinking, and definitely the coalition for health care for all will need to reach more people. The book is worth getting:

Interested in who you hope to reach in more detail, @amyvaz3, and i'll re-read parts of Cognitive Politics with that in mind.

But like occupying a hospital only serving wealthy people, if any are left in COVID-19 times (the system's not entirely broken), will move the needle most!

Amy Vaz:

That looks interesting. The book looks good. I agree that Covid should definitely move the needle, but that aside, I still think we didn’t really get our story straight, during the primary season, and that is when it really mattered. That being said, the fight is NOT over...

Healthcare is a human right, but that is not a talking point that speaks to everyone. We can talk to people about different aspects of it, and it can still be a human right. That doesn’t make it any less so.

I’m not saying to get rid of the phrase, “healthcare is a human right,” I’m saying to ADD on to it, for different audiences.

There are other untapped aspects of having universal healthcare, which could be successful, in different ways, speaking to different people...

I feel like there was kind of a vacuum created during the primary, and what filled it? Unfortunately, this: “How are you going to pay for it?” And we never really recovered from that. We didn’t have enough of a compelling story to counter it.


oh yeah that was painful. The key answer was not made plainly by any primary candidate: the money we're spending badly on the sector can easily cover everything. Your personal costs will go down. We need more, taxes on billionaires go up. But agree more is needed beyond that.

Message i most want out there: The world has been made disastrous by people profiting from it. Unfortunately no one has the trillions of dollars worth of damage done to the environment through global warming and more, but there's still a ton of ill-gotten gains out there.

Before another person dies from lack of medical coverage, before another child's growth is stunted from housing insecurity, before billions of people risk starvation or drowning from global warming— we start to take that stolen wealth back. We build systems that meet our needs.

that's not a direct 'how do we get Medicare 4 all passed in 2021' but being consistent on that larger framing may do two things. 1) scare rich people into granting concessions 2) prepare us all to build power collectively and not scapegoat poor people or immigrants or jews.

Note i said occupying a hospital before. Threats to privilege are the only things that will get the powerful to voluntarily grant us rights, and building power through mutual aid is both a way to do that and to make the powerful not needed— to not have power.

This analysis is not @stephen_verdant endorsed ;–)

Nor is it endorsed by my co-op agaric nor necessarily by me— before we can take over, run, and hold onto a hospital, we need to be able to protect ourselves from eviction, including from public parks:



Amy Vaz:

M4A does not enable us to “take over” anything. Everything would still be privately owned. It’s just a single payer program. It is definitely the compromise/bare minimum. We might in fact, actually need something much more far-reaching, but this should be a doable starting point.


i know; i'm talking about direct action to move the political needle (and to build the skills we need to survive). It's an entirely separate tactic and any effect of getting scared CEOs to push for m4a as they get convinced its in their business interests would be incidental!

There's an old comedy album on Internet Archive called My Husband Doesn't Know I'm Making This Phone Call: Starring Fannie Flagg as “Little Martha” and i looked up who this John and Martha were— Richard Nixon's attorney general John Mitchell and his wife.

The album is from 1971, and makes fun of Martha Mitchell's outspoken reactionary views— real-life examples including quoting her husband saying protests to end the war against Vietnam looked like the Russian revolution, and reportedly saying Senator Fullbright should be crucified. Politics was never polite.

She also regularly shared gossip with reporters. And in 1972, despite attempts by her husband to isolate her, she recognized one of the Watergate burglars as part of her husband's Committee to Re-elect the President and called legendary White House reporter Helen Thomas. The phone was taken from her, and she was beaten. She died less than four years later, at age 57.

Her 'handler'—her captor—at the time was former FBI agent Steve King (apparently no relation to the fascist U.S. Representative), and King repeatedly assaulted her. This violent kidnapper who covered up for Nixon's crimes was appointed to an ambassadorship by Trump, and i didn't even know it until reading Martha Mitchell's Wikipedia page.

Martha's story in detail at Necessary Storms' The Silencing of Martha Mitchell.