San Francisco media turns alleged recall petition theft into cause celebre

Lee Heidhues 6.17.2021

The San Francisco Chronicle has blown up the apparent theft of Petitions seeking to recall several School Board members into a cause celebre. 

The Chronicle for months has been aggressively advocating to bring down School Board member Allison Colins. The Chronicle has published lurid details about Ms. Colins problems with the Department of Building Inspection, her interactions with members of the public and her remarks directed towards the Asian-American community in its nonstop campaign.

Alison Collins I 3.31.2021
Beleaguered School Board member Allison Colins

The apparent theft of Recall petitions has given the Chronicle another opportunity to put the School Board recall with Alison Collins front and center as its target.

In addition to the attached article the Chronicle ran a lengthy feature by its award winning columnist going into granular detail about this incident.

https://www.sfchronicle.com/local/heatherknight/article/Meet-the-S-F-dad-working-on-the-school-board-16250710.php

San Francisco Chronicle – Megan Cassidy 6.17.2021

An employee for Jewish Vocational Service in San Francisco was fired after a now-viral video caught him allegedly stealing petition signatures for a recall campaign against three members of the city’s school board.

A statement from JVS, published online Thursday, stated that the company had begun a fact-gathering mission about the employee after becoming aware of the video. The company said the employee was off-duty at the time and “apparently interfering with the petition-gathering process of the San Francisco Board of Education recall.”

JVS helps people in the Bay Area train for and connect with living-wage jobs, according to company’s website.

JVS and School Board Recall IV  6.17.2021.jpg

 

“We immediately placed the employee on administrative leave and, now, after a thorough review we have dismissed the employee,” the firm’s statement read. “We are grateful for the guidance and support we’ve received from the San Francisco community, of which we have been honored to be a part of for almost 50 years.”

Recall campaign officials applauded the decision in a tweet Thursday afternoon.

JVS and School Board Recall I 6.17.2021
Alleged theft of San Francisco School Board Recall petitiions

“We appreciate the thoughtfulness of @JVSBayArea in making this decision and upholding democracy and the rights of the people to hold our elected leaders accountable without fear, intimidation or disruption,” the tweet said.

Police said that about 11:20 a.m. on May 30, officers responded to a reported theft at Third Avenue and Clement Street and spoke to a campaign volunteer who said a man approached him during the signature drive, took the petition paperwork and then walked away.

“The victim confronted the suspect and after a verbal confrontation the suspect returned the petition paperwork back to the victim,” police officials said in a statement. “The suspect then fled on foot. Officers also met with witnesses that gave their accounts of the incident.”

San Francisco police said they were aware of the possible identification of the suspect being posted on social media and said they are working “diligently”on the case.

https://www.sfchronicle.com/local/article/The-man-accused-of-stealing-school-board-recall-16256020.php

DA Boudin requested suspect be jailed awaiting trial. Judge denied the motion

Lee Heidhues 6.16.2021

Buried in San Francisco Chronicle Megan Cassidy’s thorough report about the latest assault on an elderly Asian American is the following:

“(Daniel) Cauich has been arrested in recent months as well, most recently on May 18 for burglary allegations. Court records show prosecutors filed charges including first-degree burglary in this case, and requested that Cauich be held in jail while he awaited trial. A judge denied this motion and Cauich was released on June 7, court records show.”

https://www.sfchronicle.com/crime/article/Man-arrested-in-stabbing-of-94-year-old-woman-in-16253697.php

Former acting District Attorney Suzy Loftus, who was defeated by incumbent DA Chesa Boudin in November 2019, willfully ignored the truth. She saw fit to break her political silence and launch an attack. 

Suzy and Greg Suhr I 7.26.2019

“This cannot become normal in our city. SF is meant to be a refuge & a safe place for all – but it has turned into a hotbed for Anti-Asian hate. This is not my city — I urge all of our leaders to demand accountability & challenge the excuses and blame coming from @chesaboudin “

This completely baseless and unfounded political assault by Suzy Loftus on the DA is the latest indication there are powerful forces behind the Recall attempt trying to oust Chesa Boudin from office.

Suzy Loftus is a City Hall political creature.  Prior to her appointment by Mayor London Breed as acting DA less than a month before the 2019 election she was a Police Commissioner and a staff attorney for the Sheriff’s Department.

Suzy Loftus is a protege of disgraced ex Chief of Police Greg Suhr, who was forced from office in disgrace by late Mayor Ed Lee following a number of police shootings of civilians.  Suzy Loftus was a Police Commissioner at the time.

Chesa in Court 5.7.2021

DA Boudin in Court

It is high time that the voters of San Francisco realize who is behind the attempted Recall of District Attorney Chesa Boudin.

It is a blatant City Hall power grab by the entrenched interests.  Politicans, bureaucrats and the Police Officers Association who opposed Chesa Boudin’s candidacy and are resentful of his incumbency.

These same forces are doing  everything within their power to take him down.

This cannot be allowed to happen.

Top photo – Chesa Boudin being sworn in by Mayor London Breed as his wife Dr.Valerie Block looks on – January 8, 2020

President-elect Pedro Castillo’s ‘Free Peru’ a Marxist-Leninist vanguard party

The South American nation of Peru has apparently chosen an avowed Marxist-Leninist as its new President, former school teacher Pedro Castillo (pictured above).  His opponent, Keiko Fujimori is the daughter of imprisoned former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, currently imprisoned for corruption and alleged human rights abuses.

https://www.dw.com/en/peru-denies-pardon-to-ex-president-fujimori/a-16867559

Should the election result stand Pedro Castillo will have a difficult task implementing his political agenda. The Peruvian legislature will be dominated by conservatives and supporters of defeated candidate Fujimori. Still the election of an avowed radical as President of Peru will be a closely analyzed event in the coming months.

Excerpted from Deutsche Welle 6.16.2021

Until four years ago, Pedro Castillo was a teacher in a rural school in the Andes. Then he gained national notoriety as the leader of a teachers strike, and now he’s president of Peru.

Born in Tacabamba in 1969, Castillo served as a young man in the local Rondas Campesinas — patrols organized by farmers during height of the the internal conflict to protect communities from guerrilla attacks in the 1980s and ’90s, when the armed forces, as well as the Maoist guerrilla group Shining Path and the Marxist-Leninist Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, terrorized rural Peru. The state did little to help, and many believe that the government continues to neglect the rural poor.

In 2002, Castillo failed in his bid to become mayor of Anguia, a district capital in Cajamarca. But in 2017 he rose to prominence as the leader of a nationwide teachers strike, playing a key role in its success. Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, president at the time, eventually met a number of their demands, including higher salaries.

Peru President Pedro Castillo III 6.16.2021.jpg
Keiko Fujimori and Pedro Castillo at campaign debate

Castillo appears to have won a razor-thin majority in Peru’s June 6 presidential runoff. After a protracted vote count, he claimed victory on Wednesday, although his election rival, the economically liberal authoritarian Keiko Fujimori, whose imprisoned father is a former president himself, has made allegations of fraud and pledged to fight the result.

Castillo’s party, Free Peru, takes a Marxist-Leninist vanguard approach to socialism, which has led some opponents of the new president to say they fear that democracy may now be in jeopardy. But the members of the right wing in Peru are always quick to maintain that their leftist opponents are jeopardizing democracy. There’s even a word for it: “terruqueo” — often groundless accusations that leftists are sympathizing with communism-based terror organizations.

 

Guillermo Bermejo, a member of Free Peru who was elected to Congress in spring, does have ties to Shining Path, according to the public prosecutor’s office. “We are socialists, and our path to a new Constitution is a first step, and, if we take power, we are not going to leave it,” Bermejo says on recording that he says was made a year ago. “If, in the worst-case scenario, it were to go bad for us, it must go bad under our flag — not under someone else’s.”

Castillo leads the socially conservative faction of the otherwise-left-wing Free Peru. An evangelical Christian, he has been vocal in his opposition to legalizing abortion and allowing same-sex marriage.

The new president has proposed nationalizing the mining industry, including oil and gas extraction, if contracts with companies are not renegotiated satisfactorily, and overhauling the pension system to favor workers. He aims to ensure that the private sector benefits a majority of Peruvians and plans to boost state spending on agriculture and education.

Castillo has announced plans to “deactivate” the Constitutional Court and create a tribunal to which members are voted in by the public rather than by the legislature. He has also proposed a Constitutional Assembly to rewrite Peru’s constitution “with the color, scent and flavor of the people.”

Just under 50% of voters cast their ballots against Castillo in the second round, and he received 19% support in the first round. Free Peru has 37 of the 130 seats of the unicameral legislature, giving it just under 30% backing from lawmakers. Over half the seats are occupied by Fujimorists, neoliberals and conservatives. “Before he assumes power, Castillo needs to reach some agreements,” the Peruvian political analyst Gonzalo Banda said. “He cannot introduce reforms without the support of Congress.”

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Pedro Castillo supporters work out during the campaign

https://www.dw.com/en/president-pedro-castillo-has-radical-plans-for-peru/a-57924561

Historic Moment. US Senate approves bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday

Given the extreme partisanship in Washington and throughout the country it is a surprise that Congress is going to designate Juneteenth a Federal Holiday.

It is a moment for reflection and celebration that the American government, which permitted the enslavement of Black for decades, is recognizing the cruelty and injustice its Black citizens were forced to endure.

Associated Press 6.15.2021

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would make Juneteenth, or June 19th, a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.

The bill would lead to Juneteenth becoming the 12th federal holiday. It is expected to easily pass the House, which would send it to President Joe Biden for his signature.

Juneteenth commemorates when the last enslaved African Americans learned they were free. Confederate soldiers surrendered in April 1865, but word didn’t reach the last enslaved Black people until June 19, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to Galveston, Texas. That was also about two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves in the Southern states.

Horseback Protest I 6.1.2020
Oakland, CA – Black cowgirl during George Floyd protest May 2020

“Making Juneteenth a federal holiday is a major step forward to recognize the wrongs of the past,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. “But we must continue to work to ensure equal justice and fulfill the promise of the Emancipation Proclamation and our Constitution.”

The Senate passed the bill under a unanimous consent agreement that expedites the process for considering legislation. It takes just one senator’s objection to block such agreements.

Juneteenth II 6.15.2021.jpg
Red: the blood that unites all people of Black African ancestry, and shed for liberation; Black: for the people whose existence as a nation, though not a nation-state, is affirmed by the existence of the flag; Green: the abundant and vibrant natural wealth of Africa, the Motherland.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., had objected in the previous Congress to a bill to celebrate Juneteenth as a federal holiday because of the cost and lack of debate, he said. Johnson noted that he has supported resolutions recognizing the significance of Juneteenth, but he was concerned the new holiday would give federal employees another day off at a cost of about $600 million per year.

“While it still seems strange that having taxpayers provide federal employees paid time off is now required to celebrate the end of slavery, it is clear that there is no appetite in Congress to further discuss the matter. Therefore, I do not intend to object,” Johnson said in a statement before Tuesday’s vote.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and had 60 co-sponsors. He tweeted Monday: “We have a long road towards racial justice in the United States and we cannot get there without acknowledging our nation’s original sin of slavery. It is long past time to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.”

The vast majority of states recognize Juneteenth as a holiday or have an official observance of the day, and most states hold celebrations. Juneteenth is a paid holiday for state employees in Texas, New York, Virginia and Washington.

Under the legislation, the federal holiday would be known as Juneteenth National Independence Day.

Juneteenth I 6.15.2021.jpg

https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Senate-approves-bill-to-make-Juneteenth-a-federal-16250580.php

Political brawl. SF Board Prez to Mayor “This is the pot calling the kettle black”

Breaking News 4.15.2019

Liz and Lee Heidhues 6.15.2021

Supervisor Aaron Peskin’s apology was trumped by the political catcalls between Board President Shamann Walton who represents the City’s rapidly gentrifying Hunters Point neighborhood and Mayor London Breed, born and raised in the Western Addition.

This is more than a dispute between two San Francisco neighborhoods involving the Mayor and the President of the Board of Supervisors.  Pictured above in happier times.

It is the two most powerful politicians in San Francisco getting down to business and getting down. There is always tension between the legislative and executive bodies in this town. It is now more pronounced as the Board of Supervisors has a “progressive” majority while the Mayor is considered moderate by San Francisco standards.

One area of dispute between the branches of government is the attempted Recall of “progressive” District Attorney Chesa Boudin. At least seven of  the 11 members of the Board have come out against the Recall effort. The Mayor’s office has been publicly silent while it is a fact that two women spearheading one of the Recall efforts are allies of the Mayor.

Chesa and Mayor Breed 1.21.2021
DA Chesa Boudin and Mayor London Breed

One of my favorite songs encapsulates San Francisco’s latest political cat fight.  “The Thrill is Gone” by the late blues great B.B. King

Excerpted from San Francisco Chronicle 6.15.2021

Supervisor Aaron Peskin issued an emotional apology for his past behavior and expressed remorse for his conduct at Tuesday’s Board meeting, days after he announced plans to enter alcohol treatment.

Peskin’s behavior, which included aggressively berating a department head during last week’s Board meeting, exacerbated existing tensions between the board and the Mayor. During Tuesday’s meeting, Board President Shamann Walton and Mayor London Breed accused each other and their respective staffs of bullying, and called for more respect.

Walton said the board would support Peskin in his recovery.

Earlier on Tuesday, the mayor criticized the board for what she called mistreatment of her staff. She also said Walton “should manage this board appropriately and not be someone who’s also inflicting harm on city staff and other people who are coming forward to testify with the board.”

Walton responded during Tuesday’s meeting that several staff members and some of her department heads are the “true bullies.”

“This is the pot calling the kettle black,” Walton said. “Our Board meetings have never been more efficient and respectful, including when the mayor was president of the board.”

https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/Supervisor-Peskin-s-apology-for-behavior-16249530.php

Cat fight 6.15.2021.jpg

 

 

‘Nightcrawler’ journo Dion Lim bullies victims and witnesses in San Francisco

Liz and Lee Heidhues 6.14.2021

The Washington Post has an in-depth Oped critiquing the salacious reporting done by the media to try and destroy Chesa Boudin. The article analyzes ABC-7 News reporter Dion Lim for her ongoing unethical and lie-laden attack on the San Francisco District Attorney.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/06/14/bogus-backlash-against-progressive-prosecutors/

Dion Lim’s conflict of interest must be exposed. It is obvious she has an agenda in her continuing assaults on DA Boudin.

Dion Lim violates any sense of journalistic ethics when she provides false information to witnesses and victims of crime. She then continues this Jihad against Chesa Boudin by providing the same false information in her on-air reporting.

Nightcrawler III 6.14.2021.png
Nightcrawler on the job

Dion Lim bullies heroes who have acted as good Samaritans when witnessing a crime being committed. She coerces statements from good Samaritans and victims of crime to denounce Chesa Boudin. Dion Lim lies to them by stating the DA is dropping, or has dropped charges, when he has done no such thing.

The “limitation of harm” law states that you must withhold certain information from the public when the accused is a minor. Dion Lim has illegally released information regarding minors. Dion Lim has misstated the actions of the District Attorney who by law is prohibited from divulging information about a crime when a minor is involved.

Dion Lim reported that the case was not being charged. This is a lie. The reality is that the DA’s office had a Court date on calendar but is precluded from discussing the case because it involves a minor.

Journalism’s “code of ethics” states that truthfulness, accuracy, impartiality, and public accountability apply to reporting news.

Conflicts of interest are to be avoided as well as disclosing names of minor children in the interest of “limitation of harm.”

Obviously, Dion Lim has escaped from under the gimlet eyes of the Radio Television Digital News Association.

Nightcrawler I 6.14.2021
Flag of The Nightcrawler

Dune coming to the big screen October 1

June 13, 2021

The 1965  classic novel Dune by Frank Herbert is coming to the big screen later this year. Dune was scheduled for release last year. The Pandemic stalled its premiere.

Dune is directed by Dennis Villeneuve. His most recent production was Blade Runner 2049.  It was a well received follow up to the cult favorite Blade Runner originally released in 1982

Dune is sure to be one of the fall’s must see movies

Attached is a link to the Dune trailer.  Looks like can’t miss cinema.

Dune II 6.13.2021
Chani portrayed by Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman, an Oakland, CA native
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Sand worm in Dune

Good Riddance!!!! Bitter Bibi Gets the Boot as Prime Minister of Israel

In typical Trump like fashion Bibi Netanyahu echoed his political soulmate leaving office in a blaze of incendiary rhetoric. It has been his trademark persona during his tenure as Israel’s Prime Minister.

The World is a better place today.  Netanyahu has been ousted from power. Facing trial for corruption he joins the ranks of leaders who used political office for personal gain and were finally shown the door.

It’s dispiriting that  Netanyahu held onto power for 12 years, terrorized Israel’s Palestinian population, and relentlessly engaged in his bellicose warlike activities against neighboring States in the Middle East.

Breaking News 4.15.2019

Excerpted from The Daily Beast 6.13.2021

JERUSALEM—Benjamin Netanyahu’s long and boisterous rule came to an end on Sunday with one final broadside against the world.

The embittered ex-prime minister channeled his inner Trump to claim the Israeli election was fraudulent and label his opponents fascists and turncoats, and compare them to the regimes in Iran and North Korea. He lashed out at President Biden, claiming the state of Israel faced an existential threat if its government was not powerful enough to say “no” to the United States.

In fact, the new government was voted into power democratically on Sunday, with a parliamentary vote granting a laser-thin ruling majority to a coalition of opposition parties led by the new prime minister, Naftali Bennett, and new foreign minister Yair Lapid.

Bennett, 49, and Lapid, 57, signed a rotation agreement, with Bennett serving as prime minister for the first two years.

Almost unknown outside of Israel, Bennett, a nationalist hardliner, and the centrist Lapid succeeded where almost a generation of politicians have failed: to replace Netanyahu, 71, whose 12 years in office made him Israel’s longest-serving prime minister and the country’s most dominant modern leader.

Netanyahu did not depart gracefully. He cast aspersions on his rivals and derided the alleged illegitimacy of the new government, declaring its formation “a fraud,” and “possibly the greatest fraud in history.”

In his parting shot in the Knesset, Netanyahu claimed that his ouster could bring about the very destruction of Israel.

Bibi III 6.13.2021
Bibi – Out of power after 12 years

He belittled Bennett, who entered politics by serving as Netanyahu’s chief of staff. “Bennett? He doesn’t have the international standing, the ability, or the knowledge. An Israeli prime minister must be able to say ‘no’ to an American president…. An Israeli government that cannot stand up strongly to the international community—it is no surprise they are celebrating in Iran today.”

Netanyahu also made the totally unfounded allegation that Biden would not safeguard Israel, and compared the Iran deal—which was signed by President Obama and wrecked by President Trump—to Americans failing to stop the Holocaust.

“The new American administration asked me to keep our disagreements quiet,” he said, explaining that he replied “No!” to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. “But I told them we wouldn’t do it, and I’ll tell you why. The lessons of history are in front of my eyes. In 1944, at the height of the Holocaust, President Roosevelt refused to bomb the trains and the gas chambers, which could have saved our people.”

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Israelites protest indicted ex-Prime Minister Netanyahu

https://www.thedailybeast.com/its-official-bitter-bibi-gets-the-boot-as-prime-minister-of-israel?ref=home

 

 

A right to privacy. Is the tide turning against surveillance cameras in SF?

Surveillance cameras are insidious, intrusive and a violation of a right to privacy.

Invasions of privacy through omnipresent security cameras take place in public and more dangerously are utilized by ordinary citizens. Private security cameras are an epidemic in San Francisco.  Installation of  private security cameras are unregulated. There is scant enforcement of laws regulating the use of security cameras by the average citizen.

Video surveillance abuse is a terrifying reality, well chronicled in cinema. Following is a Wikipedia link to Surveillance related film.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_featuring_surveillance

San Francisco’s famous Castro District is now taking a look at the presence of surveillance cameras and their impact on the average citizen.

Excerpted from San Francisco Examiner 6.11.2021

Crime-fighting camera networks are springing up in commercial areas all around San Francisco. But public opinion toward the practice could be shifting following revelations last summer that one such video network in Union Square became a tool of police surveillance.

Just take a look at the vote this week from a property owner group that turned down a nearly $700,000 donation to set up a centralized surveillance camera system in the Castro, said Matthew Guariglia, a privacy advocate with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Security cameras I 6.11.2021

“I think Castro might be a line in the sand where the tide begins to turn, so to speak,” Guariglia said. “Even though each neighborhood is its own microcosm with its own political priorities, we might begin to see pushback all over The City toward this type of surveillance.”

Facing privacy concerns from LGBTQ groups, the Castro-Upper Market Community Benefit District became the first of its kind Monday to reject a proposed camera network like the ones already rolled out in Union Square, Fisherman’s Wharf and other areas.

The proposal would have called for installing cameras at crime hot spots along Market Street with funding from Ripple founder Chris Larsen, the same tech investor who is paying for camera networks in other parts of The City in an effort to make San Francisco safer.

 

The idea is to set up cameras that are connected to the same system, rather than standalone devices owned by individual shopkeepers or homeowners, so that police can easily access the footage upon request after a crime occurs in the area.

The networks are being run by special assessment districts, known as community benefit districts or business improvement districts, that collect fees from local property and business owners to make public safety and quality-of-life improvements in their areas.

The Castro vote is the first to come since privacy advocates made the troubling revelation that San Francisco police gained direct, live access to the Union Square cameras last May and June, as looting unfolded during civil unrest over the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd.

Privacy advocates worried the cameras could have a chilling effect on First Amendment activities if used to monitor protests or even events like the Pride Parade, as The Examiner later revealed.

But whether the Castro vote is more than a one-off has yet to be seen.

Surveillance street camera in city and icons
Street camera for surveillance 

 

https://www.sfexaminer.com/news/is-the-tide-turning-against-surveillance-cameras-in-sf/

 

Germany’s Green party: Bickering puts Chancellor hopes in September at risk

Political parties are notorious for internicine warfare which, in striving for political purity, can take down the entire foundation.

This could be happening to the Green Party in Germany. Several weeks ago the political class in Germany was forecasting  a revolution in the nation’s leadership. Fielding a Chancellor candidate for the first time things looked very upbeat for candidate Annalena Baerbock.  Not today.

There are still over three months until the September 26 nationwide election. Plenty of time for the Greens to put their infighting behind them and rally the public in their behalf.

Excerpted from Deutsche Welle 6.10.2021

The Green party has plummeted in opinion polls. At a party conference, delegates will officially nominate Annalena Baerbock as their candidate for chancellor — despite her recent blunders. Heated debates are expected.

The tide is turning against the German Green party. Only seven and a half weeks ago the future looked rosy for the Greens. Annalena Baerbock — their young and dynamic party co-leader — had just been announced as their first candidate for chancellor. The party rose in national polls to almost 30 percent and at times even overtook the CDU and its leader Armin Laschet. The chancellorship seemed within reach for the first time in the Greens’ history.

But a lot has happened since, and the party’s campaign is faltering. The latest “Deutschlandtrend” monthly survey by pollster Infratest dimap puts the Green party at 20% voter support well behind the CDU’s 28. Support for Annalena Baerbock has plummeted by 12% putting her behind her competitors, with the Christian Democratic Union’s Armin Laschet — who had been trailing for weeks — taking the lead.

This weekend the Greens will meet for a digital party conference to agree on their election program. They will also officially nominate Baerbock as the candidate for the chancellorship by a resolution of the party conference.

She and the party need to bounce back after their poor showing in last Sunday’s regional election in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt the Greens received a disastrous just 5.9% of the vote, confirming that the Green party is not attractive for a rural east German electorate. The Green party’s success is in the west of the country and in urban areas but has failed in the region that used to be the communist East German GDR. That region has become the, is the stronghold of the far-right AfD.

Since its founding 40 years ago, the Green party conferences have been famous for their heated debates. Since Habeck and Baerbock took the lead in 2018 observers were surprised to witness carefully choreographed glossed-over events. The Greens have turned mainstream, wrote the commentators.

Greens early days IX 6.10.2021.jpg
Early days in 1980’s – Greens in the streets

The days of harmony may be over now. Climate protection will once again be at the center of the party conference. But grassroots activists risked derailing proceedings by initially submitted over 3,300 amendments to the election program. Now only 20 of them are left. The words “Germany. Everything is in it” run across the program. But the requests for amendments start with the title. 300 party members have called for deleting the word “Germany,” arguing that the program should not be labeled as a national one, but rather as a program for a country in a globalized world.

This was met with scathing attacks from the domestic conservative press. The Greens want their chancellor candidate to run the country, but won’t even acknowledge it by name?  The far-right which wants to curb immigration is diametrically opposed to the Green party’s multicultural integration platform.

Greens Annalena Baerbock VI 5.10.2021.jpg
Chancellor Angela Merkel and Green Chancellor candidate Annalena Baerbock

At the party conference, the Green party leadership must be careful that ever-rebellious grassroots activists don’t write unachievable goals into the election program.

The Greens are already calling for a 70 percent reduction in greenhouse gases from their 1990 level by 2030. A large group of grassroots representatives wants that changed to 85 percent.

Even the 65 percent promised by the current government will only be achieved with maximum effort. The draft of the election program also calls for a speed limit of 130 kilometers per hour for the Autobahn. The grassroots activists want that cut to 100 kilometers per hour. Baerbock knows that these demands will not be received well by a majority of Germany’s car-loving population. But she thinks it is good that the party continues to place its focus on climate protection.

Suggestions like a hefty gas price hike have not gone down well with all voters last week.

Their political opponents accuse the Greens as going over the top with restrictions and regulations and curbs to individual freedom and civil liberties. And they are waiting to pounce on some radical demand. In the 2017 general election campaign, the Green party suggested introducing one mandatory “vegetarian meal day” in German schools. This “veggie day” proposal triggered an outcry and became synonymous with unjustifiable overregulation – a deadly blow to a Green party trying to take the center.

 

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Annalena Baerbock

Baerbock herself has also been under fire after she was forced to admit she had not initially paid tax on more than 20,000€ ($24,000)  Euro she received as a Christmas bonus from the party. She now has. Journalists also found false information in her resume, including claims that she was a member of organizations such as the respected German Marshall Fund.

As the stakes have piled up Baerbock and the Greens have seen their star falling and their dream of leading a government for the first time possibly disappearing. The Greens are now trailing the CDU by 6% to 8% depending on opinion pollsters.

https://www.dw.com/en/germanys-green-party-internal-strife-and-drop-in-opinion-polls/a-57848533