Fascists Defeated

Left overtakes the fascists and their fronts in San Francisco and Berkeley 

By Chris Kinder

August 27, 2017—Anti-fascist demonstrators in huge numbers overwhelmed the conservative, Christian-prayer and pro-Trump cover operations for the alt-right/white-supremacist/fascist mobilizations scheduled for the San Francisco Bay Area yesterday and today. Media outlets tilted their coverage of these events against the left, blaming black bloc and others for what little violence there was. But the huge numbers of counter-demonstrators sent the needed message: fascism must be crushed and not allowed to grow into a new level of threat against immigrants, Black and Brown people, other minorities and the working class generally.

In San Francisco on Saturday the 26th, the reactionaries' cover group—"Patriotic Prayer"—chickened out at the last minute from their plan to assemble at Crissy Field, and planned instead to have a "press conference" (with the same speakers!) in a smaller park nearby. But that plan was swamped by thousands of counter protesters, while the fenced-off park was left empty. A tiny handful of these rightist creeps were left to wander around town, and out of town, to no avail. 

Mass mobilization is what dissuaded these fascist enablers from going forward, and that included a resolution by the ILWU longshore workers Local 10 to shut down the port that day and march to Crissy Field to show the resolve of the anti-racist working class to oppose fascism. This resolution to shut down the port in protest of a racist event, on the part of a union, which has opposed apartheid in South Africa, the police murder of Oscar Grant, and the imprisonment of innocent former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal with similar actions, gave a big boost to the anti-fascist mobilization. The fact that this workers' action turned out not to be necessary—due to the event's cancellation—is a credit to all those who came out. The message received from the ILWU was "we're there when you need us."

In Berkeley, where we were today, the "hundreds" or "thousands" of counter-demonstrators to the "No Marxism In America" rightist rally—as it was reported in the media—could easily have been 10,000 or more. They filled the streets for many blocks around the downtown area, and soon took over MLK Jr. Park, where the rightists' rally was to have been held. Their numbers included many individuals and organizations, perhaps as many as 100 organizations. Some arguments and fights occurred between anti-fascist demonstrators and the handful of rightists who showed up, allegedly to defend their "free speech." And herein lies a problem to be addressed.

Rightists were shown the door

The rightists who showed up and who were shown the door—chased out of the park and in one case beaten to the ground—mostly portrayed themselves as "Trump supporters." And the media—as in NBC Local Bay Area (www.nbcbayarea.com), and SFGate (www.sfgate.com)—both underestimated the size of the protestors' demonstration in my opinion; and also blamed the leftists for restricting the "free speech" of these rightists, and for causing the violence. NBC blamed the leftists—black bloc included—for "assaulting" "at least three people." KPFA News, however, reported that at least one of these so-called Trump supporters had on an Islamophobic T-shirt. This "Trump supporter" reportedly said to his leftist opponent in argument, "When is the last time you saw a lynching?" And his opponent said, "What about Charlottesville?" (KPFA.org)

In Charlottesville, a "Unite the Right" rally claimed free speech rights as well. They did this as a Black man was beaten nearly to death by a pack of Nazis in a local garage near the rally; and a protestor, Heather Heyer, was killed by a Hitler-lover participant of the rally who drove his car into a crowd of protestors, also wounding many others! 

We won't forget Babi Yar!

One sign seen among the marchers in Berkeley today, hand written and barely legible from a distance, referred to some deep background about Nazis that must never be forgotten. It spoke of a person's grandparent who had been killed by German Nazis at Babi Yar in Ukraine when they invaded that country (then part of the USSR) in 1941. Their plan was to kill all the Jews, along with others, and enslave the rest of the population. Nearly 34,000 Jews were shot down and dumped into the ravine at Babi Yar on that day, September 19, 1941. 

And this is not some irrelevant story that you can dismiss as ancient history! The local Ukrainian Nazi organizations that aided the Germans that day still exist; and they were key players in the U.S.-orchestrated coup in Ukraine in 2014, which was a major anti-Russian aggressive move. (Ukraine has never conducted any war crimes investigations against its Nazi sympathizers!) And now Trump, the idiot-in-chief of American imperialism, has (whether intentionally or not) unleashed the rotting corpses of Nazism and KKK in the U.S., like so many living dead. Their threat against minorities and all working people digs up the pogroms, Babi Yar, the Holocaust, and the brutal lynchings over many decades in the U.S., the nooses of which still swing sometimes today (including in the port of Oakland!) Their threat to humanity remains alive. 

Support free speech, but not for fascists

Free speech is important, and the left must oppose all official state legal controls on speech, whether of the left or right. And while free speech should be extended to non-fascist speakers that some of us on the left may disagree with (such as Richard Dawkins, for instance), the left should not extend this to actual fascists, or to groups which cover for them, like the Alt-Right, or these "Christians" or "Anti-Marxists" in San Francisco and Berkeley this weekend. For these people, "free speech" means let us continue the KKK-enforced racism of the South after Reconstruction, the murderous thuggery of the Greensboro Massacre of 1979, and Charlottesville today. 

So what about it? "Free speech" for these groups and their alleged "Trump supporters" who, in the wake of Charlottesville, wanted to repeat the same thing in the Bay Area? I don't think so. Today, the left did its job pretty well.



Have Black Lives Ever Mattered?

Have Black Lives Ever Mattered? (City Lights Open Media)

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

A Book Review by Robert Fantina

With the recent acquittal of two more police officers in the deaths of unarmed Black men, the question posed by the title of this book is as relevant as it ever was. Through a series of concise, clear essays, Mumia Abu-Jamal details the racism against Blacks, comparing today's behaviors with the lynchings that were common in the south prior to the decade of the sixties. He points out the obvious: The passage of Civil Rights legislation hasn't changed much; it simply changed the way racism operates.

The ways in which the white establishment has worked to oppress Blacks is astounding. After the Civil War, when slavery was no longer legal, "whites realized that the combination of trumped-up legal charges and forced labor as punishment created both a desirable business proposition and an incredibly effective tool for intimidating rank-and-file emancipated African Americans and doing away with their most effective leaders."

Abu-Jamal states that, today, "where once whites killed and terrorized from beneath a KKK hood, now they now did so openly from behind a little badge." He details the killing of Black men and women in the U.S. with almost complete impunity.

There are two related issues Abu-Jamal discusses. The first is the rampant racism that enables the police to kill unarmed Blacks, as young as 12 years old, for no reason, and the second is the "justice" system that allows them to get away with it.

One shocking crime, amid countless others, occurred in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2012; a police officer was acquitted in the deaths of two, unarmed Blacks, after leaping onto the hood of their car and firing 15 rounds from his semi-automatic rifle into the car's occupants. That is 137 shots, at point blank range, into the bodies of two unarmed people.

If this were an anomaly, it would be barbaric, but it is not: it is common practice for the police to kill unarmed Blacks, and, on the rare occasions that they are charged with a crime, for the judges and juries to acquit them.

In the U.S., Black citizens are disproportionally imprisoned. With for-profit prisons on the rise, this injustice will only increase.

Abu-Jamal relates story after story with the same plot, and only the names are different. An unarmed Black man is stopped by the police for any of a variety of reasons ranging from trivial (broken tail light), to more significant (suspect in a robbery). But too often, the outcome is the same: the Black man is dead and the police officer who killed him, more often than not white, is either not charged, or acquitted after being charged.

The Black Lives Matter movement formed to combat this blatant injustice, but it will be an uphill battle. As Abu-Jamal says, "Police serve the ownership and wealth classes of their societies, not the middling or impoverished people. For the latter, it is quite the reverse." As a result, people of color suffer disproportionately, too often winding up on the wrong side of a gun.

What is to be done? Abu-Jamal refers to the writings of Dr. Huey P. Newton, who calls not for community policing, but for community control of the police. Abu-Jamal argues forcefully for a new movement, "driven by commitment, ethics, intelligence, solidarity, and passions; for without passion, the embers may dim and die."

Have Black Lives Ever Mattered? is powerful, disturbing, well-written, and an important book for our day.

Robert Fantina is the author of Empire, Racism and Genocide: A History of U.S. Foreign Policy. His articles on foreign policy, most frequently concerning Israel and Palestine, have appeared in such venues as Counterpunch and WarIsaCrime.org.

New York Journal of Books, July 2017








Haiti: Stop the Repression. 

No impunity. NO NEW ARMY

 The people of Haiti need our solidarity in the face of the increasing violence of the fraudulently imposed government of Jovenel Moise

Thursday July 14, 2017, in Petionville, Haiti, near Port-au-Prince, a young book vendor was shot to death by a police officer in front of horrified witnesses. The police used tear gas and batons against a crowd outraged by the murder and the quick, forcible removal of the body in a perceived attempt at a cover up. This is the latest of recent extra-judicial killings by the Haitian police and paramilitary forces.

The brutal killing occurred as the occupation government of Jovenel Moise, installed in the fraudulent elections of November 2016, is pushing to restore the brutal and corrupt Haitian military, which was disbanded by then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1995. Moise has stated that he wants the Army back within two years. Haitians remember the US-supported bloody rampage by former members of this army that claimed thousands of lives during the period of the 2004 coup d'etat against the elected government. The US/UN forces and occupation governments subsequently integrated many of these killers into the Haitian police and government paramilitary units.  

This announcement takes place at a volatile moment in Haitian society. The Haitian police and other government paramilitary forces, accompanied by UN occupation forces, have carried out criminal attacks against protesting teachers, students, factory workers, market women, street vendors and others who are victims of government extortion, theft of land, money and merchandise.

On July 10 - 12, 2017, during three days of peaceful protest for an increase in the minimum wage, Haitian police attacked the workers from the industrial park in Port-au-Prince with tear gas, batons and cannons shooting a liquid skin irritant. One of the beaten workers is a woman who had recently returned to work from giving birth.

·      On June 12, the government-appointed rector of the Haitian State University used his car to hit and run over a protesting university student. The government prosecutor has ignored the complaint filed by the students against the rector and is instead pursuing the victim's colleagues in a blatant attempt to harass and intimidate them. 

·      In May 2017, units of the Haitian police and paramilitary forces again attacked the people of Arcahaie protesting the government's plan to remove the main revenue-generating district from the community, located about 30 miles northwest of Port-au-Prince.

·      In May 2017, a food vendor in Petionville was killed after he was deliberately hit and run over by a car of the municipal paramilitary forces according to outraged witnesses.

 ·      On March 20th, 2017, police officers were videotaped shooting at the car carrying President Aristide and Fanmi Lavalas presidential candidate Dr. Maryse Narcisse as they returned from court. The police officers were reportedly observed returning to the national palace; there was no condemnation of this blatant assassination attempt by the government.

Adding a newly organized Haitian Army to this mix is a sign that the Haitian government is planning on more repression. The Haitian military's purpose was to protect Haitian dictatorships and to attack any challenges by the Haitian people.  Whether under the Duvalier dictatorships from 1957-1986 or when the military overthrew the democratically elected Aristide government in 1991, leading to the killing of over 5000 people, the military has been a central anti-democratic institution in Haitian society. When then-President Aristide disbanded the narco-trafficking Haitian military in 1995, the Army was eating up 40% of the national budget in a country with fewer than two doctors per 10,000 people.

Now this infamous military is being restored just as the United Nations is said to begin a staged withdrawal of its troops. This is similar to what happened following the U.S. occupation of Haiti from 1915-1934, a period in which 20,000 Haitians were killed. As the U.S. forces withdrew, they left in place a neo-colonial army with Haitian faces to do their bidding and continue the repression of popular discontent.

Haitians are saying NO to the restoration of an additional repressive military force.  They are demanding an end to police terror and an end to impunity.  We join their call.

E-mail and phone-in campaign to:

·       Say No to the Restoration of the brutal Haitian military

·       Hold the US and UN occupation accountable for the terror campaign by the Haitian    police and security forces they train and supervise.

·       Say No to impunity for police terror in Haiti


-  US State Department: HaitiSpecialCoordinator@state.gov

-  Your Member of Congress: 202-224 3121

- UN Mission in Haiti: minustah-info@un.org

Sent by Haiti Action Committee

@HaitiAction1 and on FACEBOOK




Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:










CODEPINK Fall Action at Creech:  

Oct. 5 to Oct. 12    (All welcome!)

(Oct. 7 is the 16th Anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan)

SHUT DOWN CREECH: Spring 2018: Apr. 8-14.  (National Mass Mobilization to Resist Killer Drones)

(Thanks to Sandy Turner, from Ukiah, CA, for sharing this link!)

The Pentagon and CIA now have Brett Velicovich, their own drone veteran and CEO of an "online drone retail store" (Dronepire, Inc. and Expert Drones) , to glorify drone killing. Shameful that NPR couldn't ask the very difficult and important questions.  Lots of public education is needed to help people separate fact from fiction!

Would love for someone to do research on this guy!

Please listen to this interview (filled with misinformation), and consider joining us at Creech in the fall and/or spring to be a voice against the slaughter.  

(Dates below).

Life As A 'Drone Warrior'

NPR interview "with Brett Velicovich about his memoir, Drone Warrior, which details his time hunting and killing alleged terrorists using drones in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places."


PS:  We should have a massive letter writing and phone calling to NPR for this totally biased and dangerous misrepresentation!





Jun 8, 2017

Department of Justice:

Drop the changes against Ms. Reality L. Winner, the defense contractor who allegedly shared with the media evidence of attacks against US election systems by foreign agents. This information should not have been classified. Ms. Winner's prosecution appears politically motivated.

Courage to Resist will attempt to keep signers of the Reality Winners petition up-to-date with periodic news and alerts from her family and attorney. You will be able to opt out at any time.



Reality Winner is a 25-year-old Air Force veteran who was arrested in Augusta, Georgia on June 3rd. She allegedly released classified NSA documents to The Intercept, which were the basis for a story about Russian hacking efforts against US election systems leading up to last year's presidential election. Reality is currently in the Lincoln County Jail in Georgia, and faces up to ten years in prison.

Reality Winner—yes, that is her given legal name—did the right thing, and she should be defended.

Reality allegedly leaked information regarding attempted interference in an election, tampering that many believe assisted in Donald Trump's presidential win—despite earning nearly four million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton. The documents published by The Interceptonly confirm earlier accounts of US election hacking attempts and, given the current administration's extreme antagonisms against facts, the release of these documents was clearly in the public interest. Like the vast majority of government documents that are hidden from public view, these reports should have been declassified by now anyway.

Now Trump's own Department of Justice has targeted Reality. It's a sinister move, but on the other hand, simply a continuation Obama's unprecedented zeal in prosecuting whistle-blowers. Trump inherited an atrocious War on Leaks, and Reality is the latest victim of that war. Her arrest is a signal to the world, and the four million other Americans with access to classified information: Only sanctioned leaks benefiting the government will be tolerated.

There's a striking hypocrisy to Trump's crackdown. Less than a month ago the President was criticized for carelessly leaking classified information to Russian officials during a White House meeting. We now know this information concerned a bomb that is being developed by ISIS. This is standard operating procedure: lawmakers have no issue leaking classified information if it somehow furthers their interest, but they aggressively prosecute citizens who expose actual wrongdoing.

I believe that Reality Winner's possible actions should be understood within the context of recent heroic whistleblowing. Shortly before leaving office, Barack Obama commuted the remaining sentence of US Army soldier Chelsea Manning, who was facing 27 more years in prison for exposing war crimes and corruption. Edward Snowden, who leaked information about our government's massive spying program, was granted asylum in Russia but faces espionage charges back home. Just like Manning, it seems that Reality was able to see the inner workings of the United States' war machine.

She served in the Air Force from 2013 until early this year, working as a linguist. Like Snowden, she would have had a better view than most as to how our security state works. Up until last week, she was a military defense contractor with the Pluribus International Corporation in the suburbs outside of Augusta, Georgia, and had Top Secret security clearance.

The US government has spent tens of millions of dollars in better auditing capabilities since the disclosures by Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. Those that would rather keep the public in the dark as to what their government is doing with their tax dollars and in their name, have redoubled their efforts to identify whistle-blowers much more quickly. Winner's arrest was facilitated by the government's increased ability to more easily identify the relatively small number of people that recently accessed documents in question as well as the yellow-colored, nearly-invisible micro dots that most color printers today use to include a printer's serial number and time stamp on each printed page. This appears to have contributed to the focus on Reality Winner.

Reality is expected to plead not guilty to charges against her today. We don't know exactly why she allegedly released the NSA documents to the press, but we do have some insight into her views about the world. Her social media accounts show a woman who, like a clear majority of Americans, is critical of Donald Trump. She has also voiced support for Edward Snowden, and opposition to the US fabricating a reason to attack Iran.

According to The Intercept, [Winner's leak] "ratchets up the stakes of the ongoing investigations into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives . . . If collusion can ultimately be demonstrated – a big if at this point – then the assistance on Russia's part went beyond allegedly hacking email to serve a propaganda campaign, and bled into an attack on U.S. election infrastructure itself."

We are talking about a potentially monumental story that might require prosecutions, but Reality Winner shouldn't be the one who ends up in jail. While the details of the story continue to unfold, by all indications she deserves our support, and the release of these documents should be celebrated.






4 likeSolidarity Statement from the California Coalition for Women Prisoners




Labor Studies and Radical History

4444 Geary Blvd., Suite 207, San Francisco, CA 94118




(call 415.387.5700 to be sure the library is open for the hours you are interested in. We close the library sometimes to go on errands or have close early) suggested)

7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed on all major holidays and May Day 

We can arrange, by request, to keep the library open longer during the day or open it on weekends. Just ask.


  • Reference Librarian On-site
  • Email and Telephone Reference
  • Interlibrary Loan
  • Online Public Access Catalog 
  • Microfilm Reader/Printer
  • DVD and VCR players
  • Photocopier
  • Quiet well-lighted place for study and research 

For an appointment or further information, please email: david [at] holtlaborlibrary.org 





Thank you for being a part of this struggle.

Cuando luchamos ganamos! When we fight we win!

Noelle Hanrahan, Director




To give by check: 

PO Box 411074

San Francisco, CA


Stock or legacy gifts:

Noelle Hanrahan

(415) 706 - 5222



MEDIA ADVISORYMedia contact: Morgan McLeod, (202) 628-0871




Washington, D.C.— Despite recent political support for criminal justice reform in most states, the number of people serving life sentences has nearly quintupled since 1984. 

A new report by The Sentencing Project finds a record number of people serving life with parole, life without parole, and virtual life sentences of 50 years or more, equaling one of every seven people behind bars. 

Eight states  Alabama, California, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, and Utah  have at least one of every five prisoners serving a life or de facto life sentence in prison. 

The Sentencing Project will host an online press conference to discuss its report Still Life: America's Increasing Use of Life and Long-Term Sentences, on Wednesday, May 3rd at 11:00 a.m. EDT.   

Press Conference Details

WHAT: Online press conference hosted by The Sentencing Project regarding the release of its new report examining life and long-term sentences in the United States. REGISTER HERE to participate. The call-in information and conference link will be sent via email.  


Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. EDT 


  • Ashley Nellis, The Sentencing Project's senior research analyst and author of Still Life: America's Increasing Use of Life and Long-Term Sentences
  • Evans Ray, whose life without parole sentence was commuted in 2016 by President Obama
  • Steve Zeidman, City University of New York law professor and counsel for Judith Clark—a New York prisoner who received a 75 year to life sentence in 1983

The full report will be available to press on Wednesday morning via email.

Founded in 1986, The Sentencing Project works for a fair and effective U.S. criminal justice system by promoting reforms in sentencing policy, addressing unjust racial disparities and practices, and advocating for alternatives to incarceration.




When they knock on your front door: Preparing for Repression


When they knock on your front door: Preparing for Repression


Mothers Message to the NY/NJ Activist Community 

In order to effectively combat the existing opportunism, hidden agendas and to better provide ALL genuinely good willed social justice organizations and individuals who work inside of the New York and New Jersey metropolitan areas... with more concrete guidelines; 

The following "10 Point Platform and Justice Wish List" was adopted on Saturday, May 13, 2017    during the "Motherhood: Standing Strong 4 Justice" pre-mothers day gathering which was held     at Hostos Community College - Bronx, New York.......

"What We Want, What We Need" 

May, 2017 - NY/NJ Parents 10 Point Justice Platform and Wish List 

Point #1 - Lawyers and Legal Assistance:  Due to both the overwhelming case loads and impersonal nature of most public defenders, the Mothers believe that their families are receiving limited options, inadequate legal advise and therefore; WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us in gaining access to experienced "pro-bono" and/or activist attorneys as well as the free resources provided by non-profit social justice and legal advocacy groups.


Point #2 - First Response Teams: The Mothers felt that when their loved ones were either killed or captured by the police that they were left in the hands of the enemy and without any support, information or direction on how to best move forward and therefore; WE WANT and NEED community activists to help us develop independently community controlled & trained first response teams in every borough or county that can confirm and be on the ground within 24 hours of any future incident.


Point #3 - Security and Support At Court Appearances: The Mothers all feel that because community activist support eventually becomes selective and minimal, that they are disrespected by both the courthouse authorities, mainstream media and therefore;   WE WANT and NEED community activists to collectively promote and make a strong presence felt at all court appearances and; To always provide trained security & legal observers... when the families are traveling to, inside and from the court house.


Point #4 - Emotional/Spiritual Healing and Grief and Loss Counseling: After the protest rallies, demonstrations, justice marches and television cameras are gone the Mothers all feel alone and abandoned and therefore;                                                                             WE WANT and NEED for community activists to refer/help provide the families with clergy, professional therapy & cultural outlets needed in order to gain strength to move forward. 


Point #5 -  Parents Internal Communication Network: The Mothers agreed as actual victims, that they are the very best qualified in regards to providing the needed empathy and trust for an independent hotline & contact resource for all of the parents and families who want to reach out to someone they can mutually trust that is able understand what they are going through and therefore;           WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us in providing a Parents Internal Communication Network to reach that objective.


Point #6 -  Community Offices and Meeting Spaces: The Mothers agreed that there is an extreme need for safe office spaces where community members and family victims are able to go to for both confidential crisis intervention and holding organizing meetings and therefore;                                                                                                                                                                                                 WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us in securing those safe spaces inside of our own neighborhoods.   


Point #7 - Political Education Classes and Workshop Training: The Mothers agreed in implementing the "each one, teach one"   strategy and therefore;                                                                                                                                                                                         WE WANT and NEEDfor community activists to help us in being trained as educators and organizers in Know Your Rights, Cop Watch, First Response, Emergency Preparedness & Community Control over all areas of public safety & the police in their respective neighborhoods.


Point #8 - Support From Politicians and Elected Officials: The Mothers believe that most political candidates and incumbent elected officials selectively & unfairly represent only those cases which they think to be politically advantageous to their own selfish personal success on election day and therefore;                                                                                                                                WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us in either publicly exposing or endorsing these aforementioned political candidates and/or elected officials to their constituents solely based upon the uncompromising principles of serving the people.


Point #9 - Research and Documentation: The Mothers believe that research/case studies, surveys, petitions, historical archives, investigative news reporting and events should be documented and made readily available in order to counter the self-serving  police misinformation promoted by the system and therefore;                                                                                                                          WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us by securing college/university students, law firms, film makers, authors, journalists and professional research firms to find, document & tell the people the truth about police terror & the pipeline to prison.


Point #10 - Grassroots Community Outreach and Information: The Mothers believe that far too much attention is being geared towards TV camera sensationalism with the constant organizing of marches & rallies "downtown"  and therefore; WE WANT and NEED for community activists to provide a fair balance by helping us to build in the schools, projects, churches and inside of the subway trains and stations of our Black, brown and oppressed communities where the majority of the police terror is actually taking place. 





My Heartfelt "Thank You!"

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

Several days ago I received a message from both of our lawyers, Bob Boyle and Bret Grote, informing me that the latest lab tests came in from the Discovery Requests.  

And they told me that the Hepatitis C infection level is at zero and as of today I'm Hepatitis C free. 

This is in part due to some fine lawyering by Bret and Bob who—remember—filed the suit while I was in the throes of a diabetic coma, unconscious and thus unable to file for myself.  

But it's also due to you, the people.  Brothers and sisters who supported our efforts, who contributed to this fight with money, time, protests and cramming court rooms on our behalf, who sent cards, who prayed, who loved deeply.  

I can't thank you all individually but if you hear my voice or read my words know that I am thanking you, all of you. And I'm thanking you for showing once again the Power of the People. 

This battle ain't over, for the State's cruelest gift is my recent diagnosis of cirrhosis of the liver. With your love we shall prevail again.  I thank you all. Our noble Dr.'s Corey Weinstein, who told us what to look for, and Joseph Harris who gave me my first diagnosis and who became the star of the courtroom by making the mysteries of Hep C understandable to all.  An internist working up in Harlem, Dr. Harris found few thrills better than telling his many Hep C patients that they're cured.  

This struggle ain't just for me y'all. 

Because of your efforts thousands of Pennsylvania prisoners now have hope of healing from the ravages of Hepatitis C. [singing] "Let us march on 'til victory is won." So goes the old Negro Spiritual, "The Black National Anthem." 

We are making it a reality. I love you all.

From Prison Nation,

This is Mumia Abu-Jamal

Prison Radio, May 27, 2017


Court order to disclose DA files in Mumia Abu-Jamal's legal case [video]

This 9-minute video gives background on new revelations about conflict of interest -- an appeals judge who had previously been part of the prosecution team -- in upholding the 1982 conviction of journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal on charges of killing a police officer:


A ruling to implement a judge's recent order for "discovery" could be made on May 30.

Judge Tucker granted discovery to Mumia Abu-Jamal pursuant to his claims brought under Williams v Pennsylvania that he was denied due process because his PA Supreme Court appeals from 1998-2008 were decided by Ronald Castille, who had previously been the District Attorney during Mumia's 1988 appeal from his conviction and death sentence, as well as having been a senior assistant district attorney during Mumia's trial.

The DA is given 30 days—until May 30, 2017—to produce all records and memos regarding Mumia's case, pre-trial, trial, post-trial and direct appeal proceedings between Castille and his staff and any public statement he made about it. Then Mumia has 15 days after receiving this discovery to file amendments to his PCRA petition.

This date of this order is April 28, but it was docketed today, May 1, 2017.

This is a critical and essential step forward!


Dear Friend,

For the first time- a court has ordered the Philadelphia DA to turn over evidence and open their files in Mumia's appeal.   In a complacency shattering blow, the District Attorney's office is finally being held to account.  Judge Leon Tucker of the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court ordered the DA to produce all of the documents relevant to former PA Supreme Court Justice's role in the case. Castille was first a supervisory ADA during Mumia's trial, then District Attorney, and finally as a judge he sat on Mumia's appeals to the PA Supreme Court. 

This broad discovery order follows just days after the arguments in court by Christina Swarns, Esq. of the NAACP LDF, and Judith Ritter, Esq. of Widner Univ.

During that hearing, Swarns made it clear that the District Attorney's practice of lying to the appellate courts would not be tolerated and had been specifically exposed by the U.S. Supreme Court.  In the Terrence Williams case, which highlights Ronald Castile's conflict, the Supreme Court in no uncertain terms excoriated the office for failing to disclose crucial evidence.  Evidence the office hid for years.  This is an opportunity to begin to unravel the decades long police and prosecutorial corruption that has plagued Mumia's quest for justice.  

In prison for over thirty six years Mumia Abu-Jamal has maintained his innocence in the death of Philadelphia Police officer Daniel Faulkner on Dec. 9th 1981.  

"The Commonwealth  must  produce  any  and  all  documents  or  records  in  the  possession  or  control  of  the Philadelphia  District  Attorney's  Office   showing   former   District   Attorney   Ronald   Castille's   personal   involvement   in the  above-captioned  case  ... and public statements during and after his tenure as District Attorney of Philadelphia."

It is important to note that the history of the District Attorney's office in delaying and appealing to prevent exposure of prosecutorial misconduct and the resulting justice.  At every turn, there will be attempts to limit Mumia's access to the courts and release.   it is past time for justice in this case.  

Noelle Hanrahan, P.I.

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Kevin "Rashid" Johnson Packed Off to Florida!

Rashid: I'm off to Florida and a new phase of reprisals for publicizing abuses in US prisons

July 14, 2017

Readers are urged to share this story widely and write to Rashid right away; mail equals support, and the more he gets, the safer he'll be: Kevin Johnson, O-158039, RMC, P.O. Box 628, Lake Butler FL 32054

by Kevin 'Rashid' Johnson


Packed off to Florida

Following Texas prison officials planting a weapon in my cell on March 26, 2017, then stealing most of my personal property on April 6, 2017, in an ongoing pattern of retaliation for and attempts to repress my writing and involvement in litigation exposing and challenging abuses in Texas prisons, including their killing prisoners, I was unceremoniously packed off to the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) on June 22, 2017.

This transfer came as outside protests mounted against the abuses, and Texas officials became more and more entangled in a growing web of their own lies invented in their efforts to cover up and deny their reprisals against me, and also while a contempt investigation was imminent upon a motion I filed in a federal lawsuit brought by relatives of one of the prisoners they'd killed – a killing I'd witnessed and publicized.

Florida, notorious for its own extremely abusive prisons, readily signed on to take up Texas's slack. And being an openly corrupt system unaccustomed to concealing its dirt, FDC officials shot straight from the hip in expressing and carrying on efforts to repress and act out reprisals for my exposing and challenging prison abuses.

The Welcoming Committee

Following a four-hour flight from Texas to Florida, I was driven in a sweltering prison van from an airport just outside Jacksonville, Florida, to the FDC's Reception and Medical Center (RMC) in Lake Butler, Florida. I was forced to leave most all my personal property behind in Texas.

Upon reaching RMC, I was brought from the van, manacled hand and foot into an enclosed vehicle port, where I was met by a mob of white guards of all ranks. I was ordered to stand in a pair of painted yellow footprints on a concrete platform as the guards crowded around me.

I was ordered to stand in a pair of painted yellow footprints on a concrete platform as the guards crowded around me. "This is Florida, and we'll beat your ass! We'll kill you!" said the spokesman.

Their "chosen" spokesman, a tall goofy guard, R. Knight, stepped forward and launched into a speech consisting of threats and insults. He emphasized that I was "not in Virginia or wherever else" I'd been. That "this is Florida, and we'll beat your ass! We'll kill you!" He assured my "Black ass" that my tendency to protest "won't be tolerated here."

He went on and on, like an overseer explaining the plantation's code of decorum and the "place" to a newly arrived Black slave. The analogy is apt. "You will answer us only as 'no sir' and 'yes sir,' 'no ma'am' and 'yes ma'am.' You forget this and we'll kick your fucking teeth out," he barked.

I was then taken through the various stages of being "processed" in: fingerprinted, examined and questioned by medical staff etc. Knight took possession of my property and stole a number of documents and all my writing supplies (five writing tablets, four ink pens, 19 envelopes, stamps), all my hygiene supplies (deodorant, shampoo, two bars of soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, nail clippers) and so on.

All these items that I brought with me from Texas were inventoried and logged by Texas officials. Knight logged and inventoried me as receiving from him only my watch, some legal papers, 15 envelopes and my eyeglasses.

Next, I was taken into an office and sat before a Sgt. L. Colon, RMC's "gang (or STG, Security Threat Group) investigator." He proceeded in the same hostile terms. He explained that he knew all about me and his displeasure with my published articles about prison abuses, and he assured that FDC would put an end to it. He admitted his purpose was to put an STG profile on me, refer it to FDC's central office in Tallahassee to be upheld, and I would then be put on STG file, which in turn would be used to stop my writings.

He proceeded to ask about me being a "Black Panther leader" and, using a thoroughly amateur interrogation method, attempted to have me characterize myself and my party as a gang. When his efforts failed, he charged me with being a "bullshitter." I told him only that I am a member of a constitutionally protected, non-violent communist party and whatever false stigma he wanted to try and invent against me and us was typical of fascist governments and we'd address it publicly and in court. Our "interview" was terminated.

Another nurse did my medical history check, remarking that my blood pressure reading was extremely high, 145/103. Although she had all my medications sitting there in front of her, and I told her I had not received my dose that day, she refused to provide them and did nothing.

Upon arriving in Florida, I had not received my hypertension medications since the prior morning. The sweltering heat was aggravating my condition. During the intake process a routine blood pressure check was done and my reading was around 145/103. The nurse who did the reading passed me on to another nurse who did my medical history check, remarking that my reading was extremely high. Although she had all my medications sitting there in front of her, and I told her I had not received my dose that day, she refused to provide them and did nothing.

Barbaric housing

Following completing the intake process, I was walked a substantial distance across the prison yard carrying my bag of property in handcuffs and the sweltering midday heat, dizzy from my elevated blood pressure.

I was led to K-building, the solitary confinement unit, where I was put into a cell, K-3-102, which had no bunk in it and had a commode that had to be flushed by guards from outside the cell – often they would not flush it when it needed to be and I asked them to. The commode had otherwise been obviously left unflushed for long periods, because inside the bowl was and is a thick, yellowed layer of calcium and waste residue and it reeked of fermented urine and feces.

Just before I entered the cell, it was wet-mopped, not to sanitize it, but to cover the entire floor with water that would not, and did not, dry for over a day afterward due to the extreme humidity and lack of air circulation in the cells. There is no air conditioning in the cell blocks and, unlike in Texas, FDC prisoners may not have in-cell fans.

My cell was infested with ants which would find their way into my bed as I slept on the floor. I received numerous bites from them and I believe also roaches that frequently crawled into the cell. At night, in the pitch black cells – and even when the lights were on – mice and huge, two-inch-long cockroaches, along with the "regular" smaller breed of roaches, ran into and explored the cell.

My cell was infested with ants which would find their way into my bed as I slept on the floor. I received numerous bites from them. At night, even when the lights were on, mice and huge, two-inch-long cockroaches, along with the "regular" smaller breed of roaches, ran into and explored the cell.

The K-building lieutenant, Jason Livingston, posted a special note outside my cell door stating I was on a heightened security status, that I and the cell were to be specially searched any time I exited or entered the cell, that I was to be specially restrained and the ranking guards had to accompany me to and from any destination outside the cell. The pretense was that I was an extreme physical threat.

I was denied my hypertension medications until I briefly fell unconscious on the evening of June 24, 2017.

Following sending word out to an attorney and others about my conditions and experiences, who apparently raised complaints on my behalf, I was moved to a "regular" cell, K-1-204, on June 30, 2017, with a bunk and a commode I can flush. I was repeatedly confronted by various guards who've commented that I'm no dangerous person and they don't understand why I've been profiled or treated as though I am.

A week later FDC officials would come clean, exposing on the record their actual motives for my mistreatment, and "special" security status.

Solitary confinement for publicizing abuses

My readers and others will recall when, in January 2017, I was given a disciplinary infraction by Texas officials for a statement I wrote about suffering their abuses that was published online. When confronted about such retaliatory acts by a PBS reporter, Ms. Kamala Kelkar, TDCJ spokesman Jason Clark initially lied, denying that I received any such infractions, until Ms. Kelkar emailed him a copy of the charge I'd received. He then suddenly changed his story, lying yet again to claim the infraction had been overturned, then declined to answer any further questions.[i]

Clark knew enough to deny and try to cover up such acts of retaliation against a prisoner exercising his right to freedom of speech. Florida officials, however, have come right out admitting and exposing such actions.[ii]

On July 6, 2017, I was confronted by RMC classification officer Jeremy Brown, who notified me that I am to be formally reviewed for placement on Close Management I status, which is the FDC's name for solitary confinement. The reason he gave for this review was the exact STG pretext Sgt. L. Colon told me on my first day was going to be created to justify suppressing my writings about prison abuses.

Brown served me written notification stating my CMI review was based upon my alleged "documented leadership in a Security Threat Group that is certified by the Threat Assessment Review Committee in Central Office." Remember, this is the very same illegal basis upon which California prison officials were indefinitely throwing prisoners in solitary confinement which prompted three historic mass prisoner hunger strikes in 2011 and 2013 and was abolished upon the settlement of a class action lawsuit against the practice in 2015.

My assignment to solitary confinement is for "documented leadership in a Security Threat Group" … This is the very same illegal basis upon which California prison officials were indefinitely throwing prisoners in solitary confinement which prompted three historic mass prisoner hunger strikes in 2011 and 2013 and was abolished upon the settlement of a class action lawsuit against the practice in 2015.

But FDC officials went much further in supporting "comments" to state their true motives for devising to put me in solitary and for my mistreatment up to that point.

As Colon had threatened, an STG label was invented against the New Afrikan Black Panther Party, a party about which Colon admitted he and the FDC had no prior knowledge. The reason the party was designated an STG and gang was because (get this!) I'd written articles while in Oregon and Texas prison systems that were published online about abuses in the prisons which generated concern and perfectly legal protests from the public, which was characterized as my gang following that "caused disruption in the orderly operations" of the prisons.

The notice went on to admit, as I've long contended in my writings, that these writings are the actual reason I've been transferred from state to state – illegal retaliatory transfers – which was characterized as STG activities.

Passing mention was made that I'd received disciplinary infractions while in Oregon and Texas, but no attempt was made to show those infractions bore any connection to my party affiliation. In fact, those who have followed my writings and the series of official reprisals – which is now being admitted by FDC officials – know those infractions were fabricated retaliations, many of which I was prevented from contesting.

So, according to FDC officials, I am a confirmed gang leader because I publicize prison abuses through articles that are posted online and my gang members and followers are members of the public who read my articles and make complaints and inquiries of officials, which acts are characterized as presenting disruptions to prison operations – or in other words throwing a monkey wrench in their business-as-usual abuses.

According to FDC officials, I am a confirmed gang leader because I publicize prison abuses through articles that are posted online and my gang members and followers are members of the public who read my articles and make complaints and inquiries of officials, which acts are characterized as presenting disruptions to prison operations.

For this I am to be thrown into solitary, which means any future posting and publishing of writings by me about prison abuses will be characterized as my continuing to engage in STG or gang activities, and any legal public protests as my gang members threatening prison security.

I didn't make this up, it's all in writing; read it HERE (scroll down to "SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS"). This is where taxpayers' monies are going in financing these ubiquitous gang busting units. And should you protest, you will be labelled a gangster yourself. I won't belabor the point.

Dare to struggle, Dare to win!

All Power to the People!

[i] Kamala Kelkar, "Resistence Builds Against Social Media Ban in Texas Prisons," PBS NewsHour Weekend, Jan. 29, 2017, 5:23 p.m. EST

Send our brother some love and light – and share this urgent story widely. The more people who write to him now, the safer he'll be: Kevin Johnson, O-158039, RMC, 7765 S. Cr. 231, P.O. Box 628, Lake Butler FL 32054.











Defying the Tomb: Selected Prison Writings and Art of Kevin "Rashid" Johnson featuring exchanges with an Outlaw Kindle Edition

by Kevin Rashid Johnson (Author), Tom Big Warrior (Introduction), Russell Maroon Shoatz(Introduction)



Major Battles On

For over 31 years, Major Tillery has been a prisoner of the State.

Despite that extraordinary fact, he continues his battles, both in the prison for his health, and in the courts for his freedom.

Several weeks ago, Tillery filed a direct challenge to his criminal conviction, by arguing that a so-called "secret witness" was, in fact, a paid police informant who was given a get-out-of-jail-free card if he testified against Tillery.

Remember I mentioned, "paid?"

Well, yes--the witness was 'paid'--but not in dollars. He was paid in sex!

In the spring of 1984, Robert Mickens was facing decades in prison on rape and robbery charges. After he testified against Tillery, however, his 25-year sentence became 5 years: probation!

And before he testified he was given an hour and a ½ private visit with his girlfriend--at the Homicide Squad room at the Police Roundhouse. (Another such witness was given another sweetheart deal--lie on Major, and get off!)

To a prisoner, some things are more important than money. Like sex!

In a verified document written in April, 2016, Mickens declares that he lied at trial, after being coached by the DAs and detectives on the case.

He lied to get out of jail--and because he could get with his girl.

Other men have done more for less.

Major's 58-page Petition is a time machine back into a practice that was once common in Philadelphia.

In the 1980s and '90s, the Police Roundhouse had become a whorehouse.

Major, now facing serious health challenges from his hepatitis C infection, stubborn skin rashes, and dangerous intestinal disorders, is still battling.

And the fight ain't over.

[©'16 MAJ  6/29/16]

Major Tillery Needs Your Help and Support

Major Tillery is an innocent man. There was no evidence against Major Tillery for the 1976 poolroom shootings that left one man dead and another wounded. The surviving victim gave a statement to homicide detectives naming others—not Tillery or his co-defendant—as the shooters. Major wasn't charged until 1980, he was tried in 1985.

The only evidence at trial came from these jailhouse informants who were given sexual favors and plea deals for dozens of pending felonies for lying against Major Tillery. Both witnesses now declare their testimony was manufactured by the police and prosecution. Neither witness had personal knowledge of the shooting.

This is a case of prosecutorial misconduct and police corruption that goes to the deepest levels of rot in the Philadelphia criminal injustice system. Major Tillery deserves not just a new trial, but dismissal of the charges against him and his freedom from prison.

It cost a lot of money for Major Tillery to be able to file his new pro se PCRA petition and continue investigation to get more evidence of the state misconduct. He needs help to get lawyers to make sure this case is not ignored. Please contribute, now.


    Financial Support: Tillery's investigation is ongoing, to get this case filed has been costly and he needs funds for a legal team to fight this to his freedom!

    Go to JPay.com;

    code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

    Tell Philadelphia District Attorney

    Seth Williams:

    Free Major Tillery! He is an innocent man, framed by police and and prosecution.

    Call: 215-686-8711 or

    Write to:

    Major Tillery AM9786

    SCI Frackville

    1111 Altamont Blvd.

    Frackville, PA 17931

      For More Information, Go To: Justice4MajorTillery/blogspot


      Rachel Wolkenstein, Esq. (917) 689-4009RachelWolkenstein@gmail.com



      Commute Kevin Cooper's Death Sentence

      Sign the Petition:


      Urge Gov. Jerry Brown to commute Kevin Cooper's death sentence. Cooper has always maintained his innocence of the 1983 quadruple murder of which he was convicted. In 2009, five federal judges signed a dissenting opinion warning that the State of California "may be about to execute an innocent man." Having exhausted his appeals in the US courts, Kevin Cooper's lawyers have turned to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights to seek remedy for what they maintain is his wrongful conviction, and the inadequate trial representation, prosecutorial misconduct and racial discrimination which have marked the case. Amnesty International opposes all executions, unconditionally.

      "The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man." - Judge William A. Fletcher, 2009 dissenting opinion on Kevin Cooper's case

      Kevin Cooper has been on death row in California for more than thirty years.

      In 1985, Cooper was convicted of the murder of a family and their house guest in Chino Hills. Sentenced to death, Cooper's trial took place in an atmosphere of racial hatred — for example, an effigy of a monkey in a noose with a sign reading "Hang the N*****!" was hung outside the venue of his preliminary hearing.

      Take action to see that Kevin Cooper's death sentence is commuted immediately.

      Cooper has consistently maintained his innocence.

      Following his trial, five federal judges said: "There is no way to say this politely. The district court failed to provide Cooper a fair hearing."

      Since 2004, a dozen federal appellate judges have indicated their doubts about his guilt.

      Tell California authorities: The death penalty carries the risk of irrevocable error. Kevin Cooper's sentence must be commuted.

      In 2009, Cooper came just eight hours shy of being executed for a crime that he may not have committed. Stand with me today in reminding the state of California that the death penalty is irreversible — Kevin Cooper's sentence must be commuted immediately.

      In solidarity,

      James Clark
      Senior Death Penalty Campaigner
      Amnesty International USA

        Kevin Cooper: An Innocent Victim of Racist Frame-Up - from the Fact Sheet at: www.freekevincooper.org

        Kevin Cooper is an African-American man who was wrongly convicted and sentenced to death in 1985 for the gruesome murders of a white family in Chino Hills, California: Doug and Peggy Ryen and their daughter Jessica and their house- guest Christopher Hughes. The Ryens' 8 year old son Josh, also attacked, was left for dead but survived.

        Convicted in an atmosphere of racial hatred in San Bernardino County CA, Kevin Cooper remains under a threat of imminent execution in San Quentin.  He has never received a fair hearing on his claim of innocence.  In a dissenting opinion in 2009, five federal judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals signed a 82 page dissenting opinion that begins: "The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man." 565 F.3d 581.

        There is significant evidence that exonerates Mr. Cooper and points toward other suspects:

          The coroner who investigated the Ryen murders concluded that the murders took four minutes at most and that the murder weapons were a hatchet, a long knife, an ice pick and perhaps a second knife. How could a single person, in four or fewer minutes, wield three or four weapons, and inflict over 140 wounds on five people, two of whom were adults (including a 200 pound ex-marine) who had loaded weapons near their bedsides?

          The sole surviving victim of the murders, Josh Ryen, told police and hospital staff within hours of the murders that the culprits were "three white men." Josh Ryen repeated this statement in the days following the crimes. When he twice saw Mr. Cooper's picture on TV as the suspected attacker, Josh Ryen said "that's not the man who did it."

          Josh Ryen's description of the killers was corroborated by two witnesses who were driving near the Ryens' home the night of the murders. They reported seeing three white men in a station wagon matching the description of the Ryens' car speeding away from the direction of the Ryens' home.

          These descriptions were corroborated by testimony of several employees and patrons of a bar close to the Ryens' home, who saw three white men enter the bar around midnight the night of the murders, two of whom were covered in blood, and one of whom was wearing coveralls.

          The identity of the real killers was further corroborated by a woman who, shortly after the murders were discovered, alerted the sheriff's department that her boyfriend, a convicted murderer, left blood-spattered coveralls at her home the night of the murders. She also reported that her boyfriend had been wearing a tan t-shirt matching a tan t-shirt with Doug Ryen's blood on it recovered near the bar. She also reported that her boyfriend owned a hatchet matching the one recovered near the scene of the crime, which she noted was missing in the days following the murders; it never reappeared; further, her sister saw that boyfriend and two other white men in a vehicle that could have been the Ryens' car on the night of the murders.

        Lacking a motive to ascribe to Mr. Cooper for the crimes, the prosecution claimed that Mr. Cooper, who had earlier walked away from custody at a minimum security prison, stole the Ryens' car to escape to Mexico. But the Ryens had left the keys in both their cars (which were parked in the driveway), so there was no need to kill them to steal their car. The prosecution also claimed that Mr. Cooper needed money, but money and credit cards were found untouched and in plain sight at the murder scene.

        The jury in 1985 deliberated for seven days before finding Mr. Cooper guilty. One juror later said that if there had been one less piece of evidence, the jury would not have voted to convict.

        The evidence the prosecution presented at trial tying Mr. Cooper to the crime scene has all been discredited…         (Continue reading this document at: http://www.savekevincooper.org/_new_freekevincooperdotorg/TEST/Scripts/DataLibraries/upload/KC_FactSheet_2014.pdf)

             This message from the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. July 2015












        1)  In Houston, Anxiety and Frantic Rescues as Floodwaters Rise

         AUG. 27, 2017


        HOUSTON — What felt like an apocalyptic onslaught of pounding rains and rapidly rising floodwaters brought the nation's fourth-largest city to its knees on Sunday, as highways and residential streets turned to rivers, waist-high waters choked off access to homes and hospitals, and officials begged boat owners to pitch in with an enormous and frantic rescue operation.

        It was a scene that evoked Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana in 2005, with worried residents punching holes in roofs in anticipation of the water rising even higher and people being rescued by helicopters from soggy rooftops.

        The chaos inflicted by the remains of Hurricane Harvey played out across an enormous swath of Texas, most conspicuously in this metropolitan area of 6.6 million that has long been used to major storms blowing in off the Gulf of Mexico, but that has seldom, if ever, faced a scene quite like this one.

        The storm, which made landfall late Friday as a Category 4 hurricane, has so far left five people reported dead, many others injured and untold numbers of homes and businesses flooded, damaged or destroyed on both the coast and far further inland. Even the National Weather Service seemed overwhelmed by the scope of the devastation.

        "This event is unprecedented & all impacts are unknown & beyond anything experienced," the federal service said on Twitter on Sunday. "Follow orders from officials to ensure safety."

        In Houston on Sunday morning, Mayor Sylvester Turner declared that "most major thoroughfares and their feeder roads" were now "impassible." He urged those whose lives were not endangered to refrain from calling an overburdened 911 system, noting that officials had already received more than 2,000 rescue calls by Sunday morning.

        Some people posted addresses of their flooded homes on Twitter and Facebook, with photographs of half-submerged furniture or families stranded on roofs, to try to draw the attention of rescue crews.

        Mr. Turner announced the opening of the George R. Brown Convention Center as a shelter, and said the number of other shelters to open would "dramatically increase." West of Houston, San Antonio was housing roughly 1,000 evacuees in emergency shelters as of Sunday afternoon. A few hundred evacuees are also in emergency shelters in Dallas, to the north, and that city was preparing to house up to 5,000 more in a "mega-shelter" planned to open as early as Tuesday morning in the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

        In Houston, harrowing close calls shook many families.

        Maya Wadler, 17, recalled the moments before she was rescued from her home Sunday around 4 a.m. The water, she said, "bubbled up from the doors, seeped in from the windows."

        "Everywhere you turned," she said, "there would just be a new flowing puddle. It just kept filling. It passed the outlets. I was so scared. We didn't know what would happen. And there is no one you can call."

        Ms. Wadler was eventually helped onto a dump truck driven by rescue workers.

        "I was sitting in the corner holding my dad really tight," she said. "I usually just trust my parents that everything is going to be O.K. But I looked up and I saw that my dad was closing his eyes, the water was getting in his eyes. And I just thought: He has absolutely no idea where we are going to go."

        For a vast swath of southeast Texas, there may be more trouble in the days ahead. The National Weather Service said the storm was expected to linger for a number of days. It predicted an additional 15 to 25 inches of rainfall along the upper Texas coast and southwest Louisiana through Friday. The service also raised the possibility of 50 inches of total rainfall in some areas, exceeding previous Texas records.

        Flooding was reported in numerous communities in the Texas interior between Houston, to the east, and Austin and San Antonio, to the west. On Sunday, a mandatory evacuation order was issued for the city of La Grange, where the National Service's projected that the Colorado River would crest at 49.1 feet, according to the city's website.

        As inland communities struggled with the flooding crisis, coastal communities that took the brunt of the hurricane's pounding remained punch-drunk.

        In Rockport, where the storm made landfall, hundreds of homes, apartments, businesses, churches and government offices were damaged or destroyed. On Sunday morning, parts of the city were a wreck, pervaded by the sweet stench of gas, wind-battered and littered with downed power lines and tilting utility poles. Injured dogs wandered the streets.

        The storm also blew through key areas for the United States oil and gas industry, and it has already caused some disruption to production. Exxon Mobil, for instance, said on its website on Sunday that it was shutting down operations at its huge Baytown refining and petrochemical complex because of flooding, while heavy rain prompted Royal Dutch Shell to close a large refining facility at Deer Park.

        Shell, one of the largest producers in the Gulf of Mexico, said it had closed two offshore production platforms, Perdido and Enchilada Salsa, and had evacuated most of the workers.

        Still, the gulf produces substantial quantities of oil and gas, and analysts say it is likely that the impact on energy prices and supplies will be limited; substantial stocks of oil are available, and products like gasoline are on hand because of a long period of booming global output.

        In the long term, Texas is likely to face a massive, multibillion-dollar rebuilding effort that may affect a generation — and what is sure to be a daunting and sometimes depressing era of government trailers, red tape and fights with bureaucrats and insurance companies.

        The federal government is promising a muscular response, with 5,000 federal employees — including members of the Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Agriculture Department — on site in Texas and Louisiana to assist state and local officials.

        "We're setting up and gearing up for the next couple of years," Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said on CNN's "State of the Union" program on Sunday.

        For President Trump, the storm is the first domestic disaster to test his administration's competence. On Sunday, in a flurry of tweets, the president wrote, "Good news is that we have great talent on the ground." He announced plans to travel to Texas on Tuesday.

        Hanging over this narrative is the suffering caused by Hurricane Katrina 12 years ago. President George W. Bush was blamed by many for the blundering federal response.

        Texans, however, responded with great empathy and even heroism. Boat owners crossed the Sabine River to conduct water rescues in New Orleans, and the city of Houston threw open its arms to thousands of evacuees.

        Now Texas government will face rebuilding after a disaster of similar scope, both emotional and geographic: Gov. Greg Abbott said on Sunday that 18 counties were covered by a federal disaster declaration signed by President Trump.

        The Houston police chief, Art Acevedo, was among those who said that the state's mythic toughness would help Texans soldier on. "It's sad," Chief Acevedo said in a live video posted to Twitter. "It breaks your heart for our city and our state. But it's Texas. We'll get through."

        The Houston Independent School District said schools and offices would be closed for the week. The city's two main airports announced on Sunday that they had ceased all commercial operations. The Federal Aviation Administration estimated that George Bush Intercontinental Airport would reopen at noon on Monday but that William P. Hobby Airport would remain closed until Wednesday morning.

        Many of Houston's streets were rendered impassable, complicating the focus on rescuing residents isolated by floodwaters or trapped in areas where the water was rising. Harris County officials asked the public to contribute boats and high-water vehicles, which they said were "desperately" needed to help rescue people before nightfall.

        As hard rains continued to fall, cars lay wrecked or stalled out on Houston's interstate highways. People walked the roadways, looking for shelter or help, some vainly holding umbrellas skyward. Others waded through waist-high water, or paddled pirogues and little inflatable rafts. Rescue crews traversed the city in high-water vehicles, their crews in life jackets and helmets, and in trucks towing boats and Jet Skis.

        At Ben Taub Hospital, a Level 1 trauma center in the sprawling Texas Medical Center complex, officials were waiting for rescue workers to evacuate their 350 patients, starting with roughly 18 patients on ventilator support in critical care units, said Bryan McLeod of the Harris Health System.

        Mr. McLeod said that floodwater had entered the basement, and that a sewage pipe had burst. Cafeteria, pharmacy and other operations were suspended. " There's still about waist-deep water around the facility," he said.

        Elsewhere, ghostly scenes underscored the destruction in a place long seen as one of the nation's most dynamic generators of growth and prosperity. Near the Galleria, Houston's famous shopping mall, a stretch of South Rice Avenue had more than two feet of water in some places.

        Gloria Maria Quintanilla appeared as a speck on the horizon, wading through waist-high waters in the middle of the road with a sack thrust over one shoulder and an umbrella perched on the other. Ms. Quintanilla, 60, seemed to epitomize Houston's work ethic, its resolve and its shock.

        "I worked at the hotel up there," she said when a reporter approached. As she walked, she explained that she was an immigrant from El Salvador, here since 1982. She makes $10 an hour washing and ironing sheets and towels at the Doubletree.

        She had started the journey from home more than an hour before.

        "It was my day to work, and I'm a very responsible person," she said, speaking in Spanish. "I had no idea it was going to be like this."



        2)  Unemployment in Black and White

         AUG. 28, 2017




        The recent finding by The New York Times that black students are still vastly underrepresented at the nation's top colleges and universities is one sign of how little the country has managed to do to close racial gaps.

        Unemployment rates among black workers give a similarly gloomy picture. The jobless rate for black Americans is generally about twice that of white Americans, a ratio that improves only somewhat in "good" times, like the present, and persists no matter the level of educational attainment. The overall unemployment rate for black workers is now 7.4 percent and for white workers is 3.8 percent. For college-educated workers, the recent average jobless rate was 4.2 percent for blacks, compared with 2.5 percent for whites.

        The hard truth is that the persistence of twice-as-high joblessness for black workers has led policy makers to accept it is as normal. Just look at the Federal Reserve. Monetary policy is supposed to foster stable prices and full employment. But the Fed has historically favored inflation fighting over boosting employment, a policy bias that generally leads it to raise interest rates before the job market is as strong as possible, as measured by low unemployment and rising pay for all groups of workers. The Fed has already raised rates twice this year and many Fed officials appear to favor a third increase by year's end, with evident disregard for the fact that black unemployment is now at levels that prevailed for white workers in 2012, when the economy was still very much in the shadow of the Great Recession.

        Another hard truth is that even when the economy picks up and employers are on a hiring binge, black people have a harder time getting jobs and are paid less than similarly situated white workers. That is exactly what happened from 1996 to 2000, the last genuinely hot job market, and it points clearly to racial discrimination, not just in hiring, but in a range of public policies that disproportionately affect black people. These include the dearth and high cost of child care, which harms single mothers the most; poor public transportation in many rural and suburban areas, which makes keeping a job difficult; and mass incarceration of black men and the barriers to employment that go with it.

        Other factors include erosion and weakness in the enforcement of labor standards and legal safeguards. The wage gap between black and white workers is larger now than it was in 1979 or in 2000, and has grown the most for college graduates.

        The whole economy is weighed down by the higher unemployment among black Americans, in part because it deprived the economy of consumer demand, the main engine for growth. Worse, the job and wage gap signals a loss of human potential, a singularly valuable form of capital. The economy cannot be said to be at full employment while black workers lag behind their white counterparts. Nor can the society be said to be just or healthy.



        3)  Trump's Pardon of Joe Arpaio, Former Sheriff

        AUG. 26, 2017


        To the Editor:

        Re "Trump Pardons Ex-Sheriff Seen as Migrant Foe" (front page, Aug. 26) and "A Pardon for Arpaio Would Put Trump in Uncharted Territory," by Martin H. Redish (Op-Ed, nytimes.com, Aug. 24):

        President Trump's egregious pardon of Joe Arpaio, the former Arizona sheriff, despite concerns expressed by several political pundits and constitutional scholars, including Mr. Redish, is yet another example of Mr. Trump's scant regard for established processes and protocols. The pardon is also a slap in the face of the judge who had held Mr. Arpaio in contempt of court and was yet to sentence him.

        By repeatedly attacking Congress, the courts and the media, Mr. Trump is showing how little he knows about the Constitution and how our system of government works. Either a stern judicial reprimand or a congressional censure or both might be necessary to disabuse Mr. Trump of his autocratic tendencies.



        To the Editor:

        As a longtime resident of Arizona, I am appalled that President Trump has pardoned Joe Arpaio, the former Maricopa County sheriff. The damage that Mr. Arpaio did to this state and to this community is incalculable, and he did it by flouting not only the law as set down in the Constitution but the law of human decency as well.

        It became a common sight to see his deputies harassing Hispanic-looking people for no other reason than their appearance. The result was not only to terrorize that segment of our community, but also to worsen racial tensions.

        His widely reported and condemned inhumane treatment of prisoners, furthermore, rather than creating a way to render inmates productive members of society upon their release, built a hatred and resentment in them that almost assuredly had the opposite effect.

        I have lived in Maricopa County for 27 years, 24 of those years during Mr. Arpaio's reign. For those who value fair, even treatment under the law and living in harmony with others regardless of differences in race or beliefs, it was a long, bleak trudge of nightmarish proportions.

        Joe Arpaio twisted, bent and broke the very law that he was sworn to uphold, using it as both shield and weapon — something he has in common with Mr. Trump. I am not at all surprised that this president has taken the action that he has, but just because he could do it doesn't make it right, and it's not.


        To the Editor:

        Joe Arpaio was absolved by President Trump for ignoring a court order. Message to Trump associates entangled in the Russia investigation? You need not worry about following any court orders that may be issued. The president has your back, just as he did in the case of Joe Arpaio.




        4)  Trump Forges Ahead on Costly Nuclear Overhaul

        By David E. Sanger and William J. Broad, August 27, 2018


        During his speech last week about Afghanistan, President Trump slipped in a line that had little to do with fighting the Taliban: "Vast amounts" are being spent on "our nuclear arsenal and missile defense," he said, as the administration builds up the military.

        The president is doing exactly that. Last week, the Air Force announced major new contracts for an overhaul of the American nuclear force: $1.8 billion for initial development of a highly stealthy nuclear cruise missile, and nearly $700 million to begin replacing the 40-year-old Minuteman missiles in silos across the United States.

        While both programs were developed during the Obama years, the Trump administration has seized on them, with only passing nods to the debate about whether either is necessary or wise. They are the first steps in a broader remaking of the nuclear arsenal — and the bombers, submarines and missiles that deliver the weapons — that the government estimated during Mr. Obama's tenure would ultimately cost $1 trillion or more.

        Even as his administration nurtured the programs, Mr. Obama argued that by making nuclear weapons safer and more reliable, their numbers could be reduced, setting the world on a path to one day eliminating them. Some of Mr. Obama's national security aides, believing that Hillary Clinton would win the presidential election, expected deep cutbacks in the $1 trillion plan.

        Mr. Trump has not spoken of any such reduction, in the number of weapons or the scope of the overhaul, and his warning to North Korea a few weeks ago that he would meet any challenge with "fire and fury"suggested that he may not subscribe to the view of most past presidents that the United States would never use such weapons in a first strike.

        "We're at a dead end for arms control," said Gary Samore, who was a top nuclear adviser to Mr. Obama.

        While Mr. Trump is moving full speed ahead on the nuclear overhaul — even before a review of American nuclear strategy, due at the end of the year, is completed — critics are warning of the risk of a new arms race and billions of dollars squandered.

        The critics of the cruise missile, led by a former defense secretary, William J. Perry, have argued that the new weapon will be so accurate and so stealthy that it will be destabilizing, forcing the Russians and the Chinese to accelerate their own programs. And the rebuilding of the ground-based missile fleet essentially commits the United States to keeping the most vulnerable leg of its "nuclear triad" — a mix of submarine-launched, bomber-launched and ground-launched weapons. Some arms control experts have argued that the ground force should be eliminated.

        Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told Congress in June that he was open to reconsidering the need for both systems. But in remarks to sailors in Washington State almost three weeks ago, he hinted at where a nuclear review was going to come out.

        "I think we're going to keep all three legs of the deterrent," he told the sailors.

        The contracts, and Mr. Mattis's hints about the ultimate nuclear strategy, suggest that Mr. Obama's agreement in 2010 to spend $80 billion to "modernize" the nuclear arsenal — the price he paid for getting the Senate to ratify the New Start arms control agreement with Russia — will have paved the way for expansions of the nuclear arsenal under Mr. Trump.

        "It's been clear for years now that the Russians are only willing to reduce numbers if we put limits on missile defense, and with the North Korean threat, we can't do that," said Mr. Samore, who is now at Harvard's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. "I think we are pretty much doomed to modernize the triad."

        At issue in the debate over the cruise missile and the rebuilding of the land-based fleet is an argument over nuclear deterrence — the kind of debate that gripped American national security experts in the 1950s and '60s, and again during the Reagan era.

        Cruise missiles are low-flying weapons with stubby wings. Dropped from a bomber, they hug the ground to avoid enemy radars and air defenses. Their computerized brains compare internal maps of the terrain with what their sensors report.

        The Air Force's issuing last week of the contract for the advanced nuclear-tipped missile — to Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Missile Systems — starts a 12-year effort to replace an older model. The updated weapon is to eventually fly on a yet-undeveloped nuclear bomber.

        The plan is to produce 1,000 of the new missiles, which are stealthier and more precise than the ones they will replace, and to place revitalized nuclear warheads on half of them. The other half would be kept for flight tests and for spares. The total cost of the program is estimated to be $25 billion.

        "This weapon will modernize the air-based leg of the nuclear triad," the Air Force secretary, Heather Wilson, said in a statement. "Deterrence works if our adversaries know that we can hold at risk things they value. This weapon will enhance our ability to do so."

        The most vivid argument in favor of the new weapon came in testimony to the Senate from Franklin C. Miller, a longtime Pentagon official who helped design President George W. Bush's nuclear strategy and is a consultant at the Pentagon under Mr. Mattis. The new weapon, he said last summer, would extend the life of America's aging fleet of B-52 and B-2 bombers, as Russian and Chinese "air defenses evolve to a point where" the planes are "are unable to penetrate to their targets."

        Critics argue that the cruise missile's high precision and reduced impact on nearby civilians could tempt a future president to contemplate "limited nuclear war." Worse, they say, is that adversaries might overreact to the launching of the cruise missiles because they come in nuclear as well as nonnuclear varieties.

        Mr. Miller dismisses that fear, saying the new weapon is no more destabilizing than the one it replaces.

        Some former members of the Obama administration are among the most prominent critics of the weapon, even though Mr. Obama's Pentagon pressed for it. Andrew C. Weber, who was an assistant defense secretary and the director of the Nuclear Weapons Council, an interagency body that oversees the nation's arsenal, argued that the weapon was unneeded, unaffordable and provocative.

        He said it was "shocking" that the Trump administration was signing contracts to build these weapons before it completed its own strategic review on nuclear arms. And he called the new cruise missile "a destabilizing system designed for nuclear war fighting," rather than for deterrence.

        The other contracts the Pentagon announced last week are for replacements for the 400 aging Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles housed in underground silos. The winners of $677 million in contracts — Boeing and Northrop Grumman — will develop plans for a replacement force.

        During Mr. Obama's second term, the ground-based force came under withering criticism over the training of its crews — who work long, boring hours underground — and the decrepit state of the silos and weapons. Some of the systems still used eight-inch floppy disks. Internal Pentagon reports expressed worries about the vulnerability of the ground-based systems to cyberattack.

        Mr. Perry, who was defense secretary under President Bill Clinton, has argued that the United States can safely phase out its land-based force, calling the missiles a costly relic of the Cold War.

        But the Trump administration appears determined to hold on to the ground-based system, and to invest heavily in it. The cost of replacing the Minuteman missiles and remaking the command-and-control system is estimated at roughly $100 billion.



        5)  Young Yemeni Girl Is Sole Survivor After Airstrike Topples Her Home

         AUG. 26, 2017




        A young girl pulled from the rubble of her home was the only survivor in her family after an airstrike toppled their apartment building in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa on Friday.

        Buthaina Muhammad Mansour, believed to be 4 or 5, lost eight members of her family in the attack, according to a report from Reuters. Photographs show rescuers carrying the girl from the debris, her bright red top and tiny jeans covered in dust.

        She was taken to a hospital to be treated for her injuries.

        The Friday morning strike was not intended for her home, but hit a nearby vacant building and caused the residential block to collapse. Five of her siblings, her parents and an uncle all died.

        Fourteen people were killed and another 16 injured in the attack, one as young as three years old, according to a report from the International Committee of the Red Cross, whose affiliate responded to the scene of the strike and aided the injured.

        "Such loss of civilian life is outrageous and runs counter to the basic tenets of the law of armed conflict," said the deputy head of I.C.R.C.'s delegation in Yemen, Carlos Morazzani, in a statement.

        Saudi Arabia-led coalition took responsibility for the airstrike a day after the attack citing a "technical mistake" in a statement released by the official Saudi Press Agency.

        In the statement, the commander of the Saudi-led coalition "expressed deep sorrow over the occurrence of this unintentional and accidental incident, collateral damage to civilians and sincere sympathy with their relatives."

        Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab nations have conducted airstrikes in Yemen as part of a long and bloody conflict with Houthi rebels that has plunged the country into a humanitarian crisis.



        6)  Children Are Among the Dead After a U.S.-Backed Raid in Somalia

         AUG. 25, 2017



        MOGADISHU, Somalia — Ten civilians, including three children, were killed in a raid by foreign and Somali forces on a farm in southern Somalia, a deputy governor said Friday. The United States military confirmed that it had supported a counterterrorism operation in the area, and said it would look into the allegations.

        The deaths raise questions about growing American military involvement in Somalia after President Trump approved expanded operations, often in support of Somali forces, against the Shabab, an extremist group linked to Al Qaeda.

        The farmers were killed "one by one" after soldiers stormed into the village, Barire, early Friday, the deputy governor of the Lower Shabelle region, Ali Nur Mohamed, told reporters in the capital, Mogadishu.

        Somalia's Information Ministry at first said that the raid had killed eight Shabab fighters and that the extremists had begun shooting at Somali forces, adding that "no civilians were harmed or killed." A corrected statement said that "it appears that there were different security operations" in the area.

        Three children ages 8 to 10 and a woman were among the dead, the deputy governor said. Their bodies were laid out in a grassy courtyard, wrapped in blankets. Bodies of civilians, especially those killed in misdirected attacks, are often taken from remote areas to Mogadishu to draw media attention.

        "These local farmers were attacked by foreign troops while looking after their crops," Mr. Mohamed told reporters. "The troops could have arrested them, because they were unarmed, but instead shot them one by one mercilessly."

        The United States Africa Command confirmed that American forces had supported the Somalia National Army while it conducted an operation in the area, but it offered no details.

        "We are aware of the civilian casualty allegations near Barire, Somalia," the command said in a statement. "We take any allegations of civilian casualties seriously, and per standard, we are conducting an assessment into the situation to determine the facts on the ground."

        The Shabab, the deadliest Islamist extremist group in Africa, hold vast areas of rural Somalia after being chased out of major cities in recent years by a multinational African Union force and Somali forces. The group continues to threaten the fragile central government and carry out deadly attacks in neighboring countries, notably Kenya.

        This year, Mr. Trump approved expanded military operations against the Shabab, including allowing more aggressive airstrikes and declaring parts of southern Somalia areas of active hostilities.

        The United States and Somalia in recent weeks said strikes had killed the Shabab leaders responsible for planning and executing deadly attacks in Mogadishu, where hotels and military checkpoints are often attacked with bombs.



        7)  Tree-Eating Beetles Set to March Northward as Winters Warm

         AUG. 28, 2017




        For lovers of the stately pine forests of the Northeast, sightings of a destructive tree-eating beetle in recent years have been nothing short of alarming.

        Now, new research from climatologists at Columbia University confirms what ecologists feared: Warmer winters mean the southern pine beetle is here to stay, and is set to march ever northward as temperatures rise.

        Historically, the tiny beetles, which starve evergreens to death, were largely unheard-of north of Delaware. The Northeast's cold winters killed off any intruders.

        The winters are no longer cold enough.

        Over the last 50 years, average annual temperatures in the northeastern United States have warmed by about 1 degree Fahrenheit. But crucially for the beetles, the year's coldest nights — which determine whether they survive the winter — have warmed by as much as 7 degrees Fahrenheit.

        Southern pine beetles are now frequently spotted in New JerseyNew York and parts of New England. And their range will only grow farther as the planet continues to warm, according to a study published on Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change.

        By 2020, swaths of previously unaffected forests along the Atlantic Coast up to Nova Scotia will become vulnerable to a southern pine beetle infestation, the study says.

        By midcentury, some 40,000 square miles of the pitch pine forests from eastern Ohio to southern Maine will be hospitable to the beetle. And by 2080, vast areas of forest in the northeastern United States and into Ontario and Quebec will be vulnerable.

        "You've probably spent summers hiking in the Adirondacks, Cape Cod, Long Island, upstate New York, the New Jersey Pinelands," said Corey Lesk, a climate scientist at the Columbia University Center for Climate Systems Research and the study's lead author. "All those forests are now facing a clear threat, directly, from climate change."

        In the South, the beetles have long been a major forest pest. The beetles tunnel through a tree's bark and feast on a vital layer of tissue that provides the tree with water and nutrients. As the pine dies, its needles fade from green to yellow to red.

        The beetle's northward spread is a reminder of the seemingly countless ways that climate change can upset the established order of ecosystems.

        Matthew P. Ayres, a Dartmouth biologist who researches the beetles but was not involved in the study, said the new analysis could serve as a model for predicting how warmer extremes could alter the ranges of other insects and plants. "It's reasonable to assume that there are hundreds or thousands of other species that may also be affected," he said.

        The Columbia researchers used climate modeling to predict the beetles' spread as global warming intensifies. But unlike previous projections, which have tended to assume uniform temperature increases across a region, the researchers focused on temperatures during winter's coldest nights. Temperatures on those nights must fall to about 8 degrees below zero to kill most beetles, but that is simply not happening across much of the Northeast.

        "It's unique in that it employs our best climate models to project patterns in the coldest night of the winter," Dr. Ayres said of the study. "In biology, that coldest night is more important than average temperatures."

        The situation in the Northeast resembles an outbreak of mountain pine beetles that has ravaged millions of acres of forest across the Western United States and Canada — a devastation that has also been attributed to climate change.

        But beetle infestations in the Northeast have been less visible, partly because they have occurred on relatively flat land. Out West, the dead trees that line the mountainsides are hard to miss.

        Some scientists say an effort over the years to protect forests from firescould have made the problem worse, leaving the forests overgrown. In the South, overcrowded forests have been especially vulnerable to beetles because the trees are already under stress competing with one another for sunlight, water and nutrients.

        Foresters there have brought the pine beetle under control by, among other strategies, thinning even healthy woods, leaving the remaining trees stronger and more ready to withstand a beetle onslaught.

        And suppressing any beetle outbreaks before they reach epidemic levels is crucial, scientists say. In the South, forest managers swiftly cut down trees that have been infested, selling the timber to salvage loggers and paper mills — a strategy that pays for itself. But there is not much of an equivalent industry in the Northeast, making felling the trees more expensive.

        In New York, the state's Department of Environmental Conservation has already felled more than 15,000 trees in Long Island to ward off the beetles, a department spokeswoman said in a statement.

        "This beetle was given the name southern because it was not found in the north," the spokeswoman said. "But as our climate continues to warm, these beetles will find more and more of New York's pine forests suitable for feeding and breeding."



        8)  75,000 Apply for State College Scholarships, but Many Won't Qualify

         AUG. 25, 2017




        This spring, when Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo won approval for his groundbreaking Excelsior Scholarship program to make college tuition-free for some students at New York's public colleges and universities, the state anticipated that 23,000 people would benefit, sharing $87 million in funding.

        Instead, 75,000 people applied.

        And that means, in a program designed to help make higher education more affordable and accessible, roughly two-thirds of those who applied won't get help.

        In some cases, that is because their families exceeded the income cap, which is $100,000 for families this year, rising to $125,000 by 2019. But others did not have good enough grades to qualify, or their schooling had been interrupted in the past for work or personal reasons.

        But while the idea of continued enrollment was mentioned when the scholarships were announced, some people have been surprised to learn that the requirement was retroactive and are now heartbroken.

        And it's students who need the money the most who might have the hardest time meeting these requirements. Robert Kelchen, an assistant professor of higher education at Seton Hall University, said that those in lower income brackets are more likely to take breaks in their education because of work and family responsibilities. As such, the Excelsior program has catered to "traditional age, middle- to upper-class families, and people who can navigate all these hurdles to qualify."

        With many of the state's public colleges starting school this week and next, it was unclear whether the initial projection of 23,000 award recipients would be accurate. The deadline for families to submit supporting financial documents was extended to this past Monday, according to the governor's office, so final statistics are not expected for weeks. Also, community college students may still be enrolling, and current students may be finishing summer courses that could affect their averages.

        Jenny Frenkel, 23, who lives with her mother and younger brother in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, filled out an Excelsior application with high hopes.

        She had enrolled at St. John's University in Queens in 2011, eventually taking out $70,000 in loans, but after suffering a near-fatal jet skiing accident, and racking up thousands of dollars in medical bills, she had to drop out of school. She has since started anew in an associate degree program at SUNY's Fashion Institute of Technology, so when she heard about Excelsior, she said, "I thought, someone is finally looking out for me."

        But when she found out that she did not qualify, she contacted Mr. Cuomo's office and was routed to the state's Higher Education Services Corporation, the state's student financial aid agency. It was to no avail, according to email correspondence she shared with The New York Times.

        "Among others, continuous enrollment is a criterion for Excelsior Scholarship eligibility," one email read. "Due to your break in schooling, you are not eligible for the program. Sincerely, Correspondence Unit."

        "You're kind of beat up, you're kind of distraught," Ms. Frenkel said of her response.

        The program is the first in the country offering tuition help for students at two and four-year public schools. As a "last dollar" program, it comes into play after other scholarships and grants — such as federal Pell grants or the state's generous Tuition Assistance Program, both of which go the lowest-income students — are already taken into account. State officials note that more than 40 percent of applicants to the tuition program are denied.

        Yet New York's program differs in several ways from others aimed only at community college students. While Tennessee took several months to develop its program, New York has rolled out its endeavor with remarkable speed, from the initial proposal in January to passage by the Legislature in April, to the release of formal guidelines in May and the start of applications, in June.

        The program is expected to slice the cost of a degree from a four-year SUNY school — now almost $83,000 for tuition, fees, room and board — by about $26,000. Critics have said that making it a tuition-only award penalizes the poorest students, who often need help with living expenses, books and fees that are not covered by Excelsior.

        Though it is still too early to tell what effect the scholarships will have on how New York students choose colleges, CUNY reported last month that freshman applications increased 9 percent this year to a record 76,000, and attributed some of that surge to the Excelsior program.

        "I'm proud of the widespread enthusiasm and early success of this first-in-the-nation program," Mr. Cuomo said in a statement. "For thousands of working- and middle-class students, Excelsior is a game changer that will provide them access to a high-quality education tuition-free and we look forward to building and expanding on that access every year."

        Those who have been notified that they are receiving Excelsior awards say the money is vital.

        Jacob Zolotarevsky, a 19-year-old sophomore at Stony Brook University from Park Slope, Brooklyn, said that he had qualified for $2,500 a year — or almost half the maximum award of $5,500. (SUNY tuition is $6,670 a year.) His parents, who are divorced, make less than the $100,000 adjusted gross income ceiling from their jobs in the physical therapy field.

        So while he found the online application a bit confusing — "to be honest, it was hard finding out about it" — he says that the money will ease the burden on his family, who are also trying to get his sister and stepsister through college.

        "It definitely helps me a lot," he said.

        But the program won't help the large pool of students who attend college part time and take extra years to earn their degrees.

        Renee Jennings, 37, was once a student at CUNY's Medgar Evers College. But she could not afford to finish — she lived in a homeless shelter at one point — and started working instead. Now an administrative assistant for a church on the Upper East Side, she has taken online classes at the University of the People, a nonprofit, tuition-free accredited online university. The Excelsior program piqued her interest — "Who doesn't want tuition-free education in New York City?" she said — but she was turned off by the residency requirements, among other factors, and decided to continue her online studies.

        "I think they need to restructure it because they're not taking into account the demographics," Ms. Jennings said. "For someone coming out of high school, that's great, but when you're talking about the working man or woman who is trying to get a degree to further their career, it doesn't work."

        Overall, the state expects to spend $163 million on the program, covering about 32,000 students, by the 2021 fiscal year.

        The impact of Excelsior is also being watched closely by officials at the state's private colleges, who worry that their enrollments may suffer, said Mary Beth Labate, president of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, which represents more than 100 private nonprofit colleges in the state.

        While the Legislature set aside an additional $19 million to help private colleges offer tuition awards, Ms. Labate said her group would conduct a survey soon to gauge the full impact on enrollment.

        "I'm as anxious as anyone to see the ups and down," she said. "I do think you will see some schools who are being challenged by this because their recruitment and catchment area very much mirrors the SUNY and CUNY areas."



        9)  Airstrikes in Afghanistan Kill More Than a Dozen Civilians

         AUG. 29, 2017

        "As part of the new American strategy for Afghanistan, announced by President Trump last week, the United States plans to increase air support to Afghan forces trying to regain ground lost to a resurgent Taliban. The United States military used about 1,250 bombs and other weapons in Afghanistan in the first seven months of this year, almost twice as many as in the same period last year."




        KABUL, Afghanistan — Airstrikes in western Afghanistan killed more than a dozen civilians, according to residents and officials on Tuesday, adding to the record number of civilians who have died this year as violence has intensified.

        The exact number of casualties in the airstrikes Monday afternoon in the Shindand district of Herat Province was unclear. Gaelany Farhad, a spokesman for the province's governor, said that 13 civilians and 16 Taliban fighters had been killed in Zer Koh, a remote and mountainous area where factions of the Taliban have a foothold but have sometimes fought one another.

        But several residents contacted by The New York Times said that the Taliban had left the area about three hours before the strikes, and that all of the victims were civilians, many of them women and children.

        A spokesman for the American military in Afghanistan, which often carries out airstrikes to try to provide support to Afghan forces, said that the strikes on Monday were by the Afghan Air Force.

        Dawlat Waziri, a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Defense, confirmed that the country's air force had carried out the strikes, and said that 18 Taliban fighters had been killed. "There are reports of civilian casualties, and the government has appointed a delegation to investigate the incident," Mr. Waziri said.

        But a senior Afghan Air Force official in the west of the country, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the news media, denied his forces were involved.

        As part of the new American strategy for Afghanistan, announced by President Trump last week, the United States plans to increase air support to Afghan forces trying to regain ground lost to a resurgent Taliban. The United States military used about 1,250 bombs and other weapons in Afghanistan in the first seven months of this year, almost twice as many as in the same period last year.

        Amateur photographs and videos of the Herat airstrikes provided by residents but whose authenticity could not be independently verified showed men digging rows of graves in the barren desert and bodies wrapped in blankets lying next to one another. Other video footage showed destroyed mud huts and women wailing as they went from one charred body to the next. The dismembered bodies of young children could also be seen in the footage.

        "From six families we know, 17 women were killed by the airstrikes yesterday afternoon," Abdul Rasoul, a resident of Zer Koh, said in a phone interview. "I lost my sister, Shakiba, and cousins."

        Mr. Rasoul said the strikes happened between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Monday, and that the village had been under Taliban control, with no government presence.

        "The Taliban had left the area three or three and a half hours before the airstrikes," said Ghulam Farouq Hajizada, a rights activist. "Not a single person from the Taliban died — all of the casualties were civilians. The Taliban already knew that an airstrike would come in Zer Koh, that is why they left."

        Mullah Manan Niazi, one of the leaders of a Taliban breakaway faction that has been operating out of Shindand, said the group's fighters had fled the area after seeing a large plane circling above.

        Norruddin Khan, another resident of Zer Koh, also said 17 people had been killed.

        Separately, a suicide bomber struck a bank in Kabul on Tuesday as civilians and military personnel lined up to withdraw cash before a Muslim holiday, leaving five dead and nine others wounded.

        The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast, which struck days after Islamic State fighters attacked a Shiite mosque, killing 40. Abdul Basir Mujahid, a spokesman for the Kabul police, said a suicide bomber on foot had detonated explosives at the gate of the bank, in a residential area near the American Embassy.

        Naweed Hamkar, who survived the explosion, said that he had been withdrawing money from the bank's A.T.M. and had helped a police officer behind him who did not know how to use the machine. He said he was having a snack in front of the bank when the attack started.

        "I heard gunfire, when I turn my head, I saw the suicide attacker — he was wearing a white Afghan robe with a scarf," he said. "I dropped to the ground, he had a pistol in his hand and he was firing on the policeman who was getting money from the machine. He fired four or five bullets and then he blew himself up."

        "After some five to 10 minutes," he continued, "I understood it was finished and I started running."

        Kabul remained on high alert on Tuesday. Security officials have expressed concern that attacks are possible at large gatherings ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha this week.



        10)  It Was an Uneasy Time for Immigrants in Texas. Then the Rains Came.

        "The Border Patrol did not suspend operations at checkpoints in Texas on Saturday even after the storm unleashed destruction in parts of the state, drawing sharp rebukes from human rights activists who said the decision put the lives of undocumented immigrants and mixed-status families at risk. ...'The history is ICE says one thing and does another,' said Barbie Hurtado, a community organizer for RAICES, the San Antonio legal services group. 'The fear is out there. People don't want to come out and say who they are and seek help.'"

        AUG. 29, 2017



        HOUSTON — This has been a harrowing year for the hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who have put down stakes in Houston.

        Stepped-up enforcement of immigration measures put many on edge over deportations, while Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas signed one of the nation's most punitive laws against cities that do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities. President Trump has amplified his harsh line on illegal immigration and renewed his promise to build a border wall.

        Then came the chaos of Hurricane Harvey.

        Families among Houston's estimated 600,000 undocumented immigrants – the largest number of any city in the United States except New York and Los Angeles, according to the Pew Research Center – fled their homes to escape the flooding despite their anxiety over being turned away at shelters or facing hostile immigration agents.

        "People were telling each other that the immigration men were coming to check our papers," said Eloy González, 40, a truck driver who made it to the sprawling shelter at the George R. Brown Convention Center. All he had were the drenched clothes he was wearing when he escaped the flooding in Pasadena, a suburb of Houston where thousands of immigrants live in the shadow of oil refineries.

        "The rumors are false but the fear is still there," said Mr. González, an immigrant from northern Mexico, emphasizing that he was one of the "lucky ones" who is legally in the United States.

        Even as political leaders in Houston sought to reassure residents that routine immigration enforcement would not be conducted at shelters and food banks, many people fleeing their homes expressed dismay over what they described as mixed signals coming from immigration authorities in the upheaval around Hurricane Harvey.

        The Border Patrol did not suspend operations at checkpoints in Texas on Saturday even after the storm unleashed destruction in parts of the state, drawing sharp rebukes from human rights activists who said the decision put the lives of undocumented immigrants and mixed-status families at risk.

        The American Civil Liberties Union said that maintaining the checkpoints stood in contrast to the position taken just last October by the Border Patrol during Hurricane Matthew, when authorities explicitly said that there would be no immigration enforcement checkpoints.

        Officials with the Border Patrol sought to ease fears, contending that the checkpoints in Texas are set up south of areas affected by the storm, but rights groups pointed out that many people in Houston could potentially pass through the checkpoints to reunite with family members or seek refuge in Mexico.

        Public statements from some immigration authorities added to the sense of confusion and unease. In a joint statement Tuesday, the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, said that routine enforcement would not be conducted at evacuation sites, shelters or food banks.

        But in the same statement the organizations said, "The laws will not be suspended, and we will be vigilant against any effort by criminals to exploit disruptions caused by the storm."

        As many immigrants coped with the flooding of their homes, a sense of dread over state and federal immigration policies hung over shelters here in Houston and other parts of the state where people are hunkering down as rain continues to fall.

        Houston, which emerged as one of the nation's most diverse cities after receiving a huge influx of immigrants and refugees from around the world in recent decades, exemplifies the undercurrents of opportunity and distress. Vietnamese and Indian entrepreneurs dominate certain corridors, where they run restaurants and shops. The city is home to the largest Afghan refugee population in the United States.

        But the biggest group hails from Latin America, and many of them are undocumented immigrants who crossed the border to fill jobs in restaurants, hotels and construction.

        Houston has been the destination for thousands of Central Americans fleeing gang violence and poverty since 2014, advocates say. Typically, mothers who arrive with children are fitted with ankle monitors that track their movement while they wait for their asylum case to be adjudicated. The monitors, which are clunky, must be charged every 12 hours or so. Even in normal conditions, they cause rashes and cuts.

        "Most of our clients have ankle monitors, and we don't know how these devices will withstand being underwater," said Miriam Camero, a caseworker in Houston for RAICES, an immigrant legal-aid group based in San Antonio.

        Sowing confusion and fear among some people here, more than two dozen Border Patrol agents from a special operations detachment in South Texas arrived in Houston with a dozen vessels to help with the emergency relief effort. But Manuel Padilla Jr., a chief patrol agent with the agency, found it necessary to go on the local Univision news in Houston to reassure people in Spanish that the agents were here to save the lives of people endangered by the storm, not to check their documents.

        For many undocumented immigrants, the sight of Border Patrol boats on their flooded streets was enough to frighten them. "Just physically and visually seeing the Border Patrol out there caused panic," said Cesar Espinosa, executive director of FIEL Houston, an immigrant rights organization. "They thought they were coming to get them."

        Houston's mayor, Sylvester Turner, a Democrat, sought to ease some of the anxiety, reflecting Houston's reputation as a frequently progressive, immigrant-friendly city. But Mr. Turner also stepped into the fray over a bill passed by the State Legislature in May, known as Senate Bill 4, scheduled to go into effect on Friday unless a federal judge enjoins it after several localities challenged it in court.

        The law would ban police chiefs, sheriffs and other law-enforcement officials from stopping an officer from questioning an individual about his or her immigration status. It would also mandate that jail administrators honor all requests from ICE to hold an immigrant who is deportable for the agency to pick up.

        In a news conference on Monday, Mr. Turner called for putting the "law on the shelf" while the city focuses on rescuing victims of the storm.

        Still, organizations that assist immigrants expressed an array of concerns over S.B. 4, considered the harshest anti-illegal immigrant law since Arizona passed a tough bill years ago that was watered down by the Supreme Court.

        "The S.B. 4 issue is very real in our community, and although S.B. 4 does not require any local official to check immigration status it certainly has created a climate of fear," said Geoffrey Hoffman, director of the immigration clinic at the University of Houston Law Center.

        "I think the recent words of the mayor may have ameliorated some of our concerns," he added, "but again people do not know how or if things will change after September 1, given the statewide effective date."

        A lack of trust among immigrants has deepened since President Trump was inaugurated in January and immigration arrests, particularly of those without criminal records, ramped up.

        "The history is ICE says one thing and does another," said Barbie Hurtado, a community organizer for RAICES, the San Antonio legal services group. "The fear is out there. People don't want to come out and say who they are and seek help."

        Adding to the fear, Ms. Hurtado said, are reports that Mr. Trump is weighing ending an Obama administration program that has granted permission to stay and work to about 800,000 immigrants who were brought illegally to the United States as children.

        For some of the families sleeping on cots in Houston's convention center, the signals coming from Washington, and the state capital, Austin, were clear, and alarming.

        "All we want to do is work hard and raise a family," said Jorge, a 43-year-old employee of a Houston catering company. Declining to give his last name, he explained that he had to seek shelter with his wife and three daughters after their home was flooded. When he was asked about his immigration status, he simply looked at the floor and said that he and his wife moved to Houston years ago from Guanajuato in central Mexico.

        "This is where we are right now, at the mercy of the elements," he said. "We were already so scared. It would be a disgrace if they come after us now."



        11)  It's a Myth That Corporate Tax Cuts Mean More Jobs

        "According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, AT&T enjoyed an effective tax rate of just 8 percent between 2008 and 2015, despite recording a profit in the United States each year, by exploiting tax breaks and loopholes....Despite the enormous savings AT&T has realized, the company has been downsizing. Although it hires thousands of people a year, the company, by our analysis at the Institute for Policy Studies, reduced its total work force by nearly 80,000 jobs between 2008 and 2016, accounting for acquisitions and spinoffs each involving more than 2,000 workers....The company has also spent $34 billion repurchasing its own stock since 2008, according to our institute report, a maneuver that artificially inflates the value of a company's shares. This is money that could have gone toward research and development or hiring."

        AUG. 30, 2017




        "The arithmetic for us is simple," AT&T's chief executive, Randall Stephenson, said on CNBC in May. If Congress were to cut the 35 percent tax on corporate profits to 20 percent, he declared, "I know exactly what AT&T would do — we'd invest more" in the United States.

        Every $1 billion in tax savings would create 7,000 well-paying jobs, Mr. Stephenson went on to say. The correlation between lower corporate taxes and more jobs, he assured viewers, runs "very, very tight."

        As Congress prepares to take up tax legislation this fall, including an effort to reduce the corporate tax rate, this bold jobs claim merits examination. Notably, it comes from the chief executive of a company that's already paying comparatively little in federal taxes.

        According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, AT&T enjoyed an effective tax rate of just 8 percent between 2008 and 2015, despite recording a profit in the United States each year, by exploiting tax breaks and loopholes. (The company argues that it pays significant taxes, at a rate close to 34 percent in recent years, but that includes deferred taxes and state and local levies.)

        Despite the enormous savings AT&T has realized, the company has been downsizing. Although it hires thousands of people a year, the company, by our analysis at the Institute for Policy Studies, reduced its total work force by nearly 80,000 jobs between 2008 and 2016, accounting for acquisitions and spinoffs each involving more than 2,000 workers.

        The company has also spent $34 billion repurchasing its own stock since 2008, according to our institute report, a maneuver that artificially inflates the value of a company's shares. This is money that could have gone toward research and development or hiring.

        Companies buy back their stock for various reasons — to take advantage of undervaluation, to reward stockholders by increasing the value of their shares or to make the company look more attractive to investors. And there is another reason. Because most executive compensation these days is based on stock value, higher share prices can raise the compensation of chief executives and other top company officials.

        Since 2008, Mr. Stephenson has cashed in $124 million in stock options and grants.

        Many other large American corporations have also been playing the tax break and loophole game. Their huge tax savings have enriched executives but not created significant numbers of new jobs.

        Our report analyzes the 92 publicly held American corporations that reported a profit in the United States every year from 2008 through 2015 and paid less than 20 percent of their earnings in federal income tax.

        We chose this particular tax threshold because, as Mr. Stephenson mentioned, House Republicans are proposing to reduce the federal statutory corporate tax rate to 20 percent, down from the current 35 percent. President Trump wants an even deeper cut, down to 15 percent.

        If claims about the job-creation benefits of lower tax rates had any validity, these 92 consistently profitable firms would be among the nation's strongest job creators. Instead, we found just the opposite.

        The companies we reviewed had a median job-growth rate over the past nine years of nearly negative 1 percent, compared with 6 percent for the private sector as a whole. Of those 92 companies, 48 got rid of a combined total of 483,000 jobs.

        At the companies that cut jobs, chief executives' pay last year averaged nearly $15 million, compared with the $13 million average for S&P 500 companies.

        Instead of tax-rate cuts for these big corporations, the coming tax debate in Congress should focus on making wealthy individuals and big corporations pay their fair share.

        American multinationals hold $2.6 trillion in profits "offshore," on which they would owe $750 billion in federal taxes if the money was repatriated. In most cases, these foreign profit stashes are merely an accounting fiction. Companies retain full access to these funds for use in the United States and could, if their executives so chose, use them to create jobs here.

        Ordinary Americans have to pay all the taxes they owe each and every year. Offshore corporations should be required to do the same.

        Beyond closing loopholes, we need to explore new ways to raise revenue fairly, including a tax on Wall Street speculation.

        Most of us already pay a sales tax on gasoline, clothes and other basics. Why should hedge fund investors and other Wall Street traders pay no tax at all when they engage in short-term buying and selling of millions of dollars' worth of stocks and derivatives? A fee of just a small fraction of 1 percent on each Wall Street trade would encourage longer-term investment while generating huge revenue for real job creation.

        At a town hall this month at AT&T headquarters in Dallas, Mr. Stephenson urged his employees to call Congress and demand a corporate tax cut.

        The message policy makers really need to hear? Stop peddling the myth that "tax relief" for big companies will be good for the rest of us.



        12)  How to Shut Down Fascists

        Dockworkers just showed the labor movement how to shut down fascists

        By Peter Cole

        In These Times, August 29, 2017


          What role should the labor movement play in beating back the resurgence of fascism? Resistance, while a powerful concept, is far too vague. Local 10, the San Francisco Bay Area branch of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU)—and perhaps the most radical union in the United States—demonstrates what can be done.

          This past week, the San Francisco Bay Area—long a center of unionism, social justice movements and radicalism—took center stage. Patriot Prayer is a right-wing organization with a demonstrated history of inciting racist violence, most obviously in Portland, Oregon, while ironically asserting peaceful intentions. The far-right group declared it would rally in San Francisco on Saturday, August 26, 2017.

          Local 10 took a lead role in organizing counter-protests that contributed to the San Francisco event being canceled the day ahead of its scheduled event. The union's role in this wave of popular mobilizations demands consideration.

          At its August 17 meeting, Local 10 passed a "Motion to Stop the Fascists in San Francisco," which laid out members' opposition to the rally and intention to organize. This resolution enumerated the union's justifications, starting with Donald Trump's "whitewashing this violent, deadly fascist and racist attack [in Charlottesville] saying 'both sides are to blame,' and his attacking anti-racists for opposing Confederate statues that honor slavery adds fuel to the fire of racist violence."

          The dockworkers called out Patriot Prayer for inciting violence. "[F]ar from a matter of 'free speech,' the racist and fascist provocations are a deadly menace, as shown in Portland on May 26 when a Nazi murdered two men and almost killed a third for defending two young African-American women he was menacing," they declared. The union called for a protest against Patriot Prayer's scheduled rally in San Francisco.

          The motion ended with an invitation to "all unions and anti-racist and anti-fascist organizations to join us defending unions, racial minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ people, women and all the oppressed."

          As Ed Ferris, Local 10 president and one of the lead organizers succinctly declared in a recent interview with Dr. Suzi Weissman on KPFK, "A woman [Heather Heyer] was killed by Nazis on American soil and that's absolutely unacceptable."

          Local 10's planned counter-march received wide publicity in the Bay Area and across California via the Internet, mass media and social media. Thousands would likely have joined the anti-fascist demonstration, were it not for the rally's cancellation. While Local 10 was hardly the only Bay Area group to mobilize, they played a role in inspiring others to take action. As San Francisco Against Hate noted on Facebook, ILWU Local 10 "has a long history of fighting against racism" so "many other San Francisco community groups and individuals who stand against white supremacy, misogyny and homophobia, will be marching from Longshoreman's Hall to Crissy Field to protest."

          After its first rally was foiled, Patriot Prayer attempted a second at the city's famed Alamo Park. However, thousands of counter-protesters—including ILWU members and union electricians and teachers—got to Alamo Park first and occupied it, overwhelming what few fascists and white supremacists appeared. These protesters joined another large contingent in the city's Mission district, long a working-class neighborhood now suffering from rapid gentrification.

          On Sunday, the focus shifted to the East Bay city of Berkeley where far-right forces planned to gather. Yet, once again, anti-fascists out-organized the right. Upwards of 5,000 people appeared, including—once more—Bay Area dockworkers and union teachers. Among ILWU members present was Howard Keylor, a 90-year-old who led the anti-apartheid boycott that Local 10 conducted in 1984 in solidarity with South Africans.

          Yet, dockworkers have not been immune to the rising tide of hate. Earlier this year, multiple nooses were found on the Oakland waterfront, which followed the discovery of racist slurs spray painted on port equipment. The African-American Longshore Coalition, a caucus of Black longshore workers within the ILWU, has led the efforts to combat such racism. In late May, about one hundred workers stopped work to protest these racist provocations. Derrick Muhammad, Local 10's Secretary Treasurer, commented in late May: "We believe it's a bonafide health and safety issue because of the history behind the noose and what it means for Black people in America."

          Instead of protecting their workers, SSA Marine, the employer, responded by filing a complaint with the port arbitrator who ruled this stoppage illegal. The port's communications director declared, "The Port of Oakland does not tolerate bigotry or discrimination of any kind," but offered no specific comment on the nooses or the work stoppage. The Pacific Maritime Association, to which SSA belongs and which represents West Coast shipping corporations in dealings with the ILWU, declined to comment for this story.

          The ILWU offers an example of a labor union being widely and deeply involved in social justice beyond its own workplaces. It boycotted ships loading material for fascist and racist regimes in Japan in the 1930s, Chile in the 1970s, and South Africa in the 1980s. It stood as one of the few organizations to condemn the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. It actively fought racism in its own workplaces, cities and nation. The ILWU shut down all West Coast ports, on May Day of 2008 to protest the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. On Trump's inauguration day, 90 percent of rank-and-file members in Local 10 refused to report for work.

          In its anti-fascist statement, the ILWU cited its own "proud history of standing up against racism, fascism and bigotry and using our union power to do so; on May Day 2015 we shut down Bay Area ports and marched followed by thousands to Oscar Grant Plaza demanding an end to police terror against African Americans and others."

          The labor movement has been greatly weakened by decades of anti-unionism, but the ILWU and Local 10 remain unbowed. Other unions should follow their lead. And, for the 89 percent of American workers not in unions, they must be reminded that individual acts of resistance—while noble—are nowhere as effective as collective action. Sadly, there will be many more opportunities to act.

        Peter Cole is a Professor of History at Western Illinois University. He is the author of Wobblies on the Waterfront: Interracial Unionism in Progressive Era Philadelphia and is currently at work on a book entitled Dockworker Power: Race, Technology and Unions in Durban and the San Francisco Bay Area.

          —In These Times, August 29, 2017






































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