To: Philadelphia Deputy District Attorney Ronald Eisenberg and the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office

Release Mumia Abu-Jamal Case Records


Release all the records and files regarding Mumia Abu-Jamal's legal case!

Why is this important?

A petition filed on behalf of political prisoner and renowned journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, seeking a new appeal in his decades-long case, was heard in the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas on April 24, 2017. During the session, Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker ordered the Philadelphia District Attorney's office to turn over all records pertaining to Mumia's legal case. 

If released, these records will reveal a grave conflict of interest in Mumia's appeal case, identifying Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille as a biased contributor to the case. Justice Castille, who has in the past denied Mumia's appeals, also played a significant role in Mumia's conviction during his trial on charges of killing a police office. Castille was Assistant DA at the time of Abu-Jamal's trial in 1982. In addition, he was appointed as the Philadelphia District Attorney during Mumia's direct appeal in 1988. 

What else can you do? 

A ruling to implement Judge Leon Tucker's recent order to release Mumia's court documents could be made as soon as May 30, 2017. Please call or e-mail the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office now to pressure them to follow the court's order to release all the records and files regarding Mumia Abu-Jamal's legal case.

Phone: 215-686-8000

E-mail: DA_Central@phila.gov



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











Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:













September 11-17 
Topple white supremacy! 
Come to Durham Sept. 12
or host local actions

An informal alliance of national, regional and local organizations are pulling together a national call for a coordinated week of actions to topple white supremacy and state repression from Sept. 11-17, in the wake of events in Durham and Charlottesville. 

Tuesday, Sept. 12, will be the first court date for activists who allegedly toppled a Confederate statue in Durham, as well as the one-month anniversary of the righteous resistance to white supremacists in Charlottesville and the murder of anti-fascist protester Heather Heyer there. 

In Durham, Sheriff Mike Andrews has been attempting to intimidate the movement by targeting activists allegedly involved in toppling the statue on Aug. 14, and others involved in protesting at a planned Ku Klux Klan rally on Aug. 18. The activists who have been arrested so far have court dates on Sept. 12 and Oct. 11.

We are asking for folks who can to come to Durham for the 12th as well as organize local actions in their cities to protest monuments of white supremacy (whether they be statues, prisons, police brutality, etc). The vision is to spark hundreds of actions, and find hundreds of new organizers. 

Join us!   Sign on at

and list your action.

National Call to Action to Smash White Supremacy

In the wake of the violent attacks in Charlottesville by organized Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and the KKK, with complicity from the police, we are calling for organizations and individuals to join this call to smash white supremacy! 

Take action between Monday, Sept. 11th and Sunday, Sept. 17thfor Charlottesville, for Durham, for your own community such as rallies, marches, direct action, press conferences, teach-ins, etc.

Actions across the country have shown that now, more than ever, is the time to take bold and courageous action. We must act now to counter the rise and emboldening of white supremacists in our communities and in the state. 

Tuesday, Sept. 12th is the one-month anniversary of the the murder of anti-racist protester Heather Heyer. It is also the court date for the courageous young people in Durham, N.C., who pulled down a confederate monument in their city. On September 12th, organizers are mobilizing in defense of these arrestees and the Durham community. Will you join them by coming to Durham and/or planning a solidarity action in your city?

In Durham, Sheriff Mike Andrews has been attempting to intimidate the movement at large by targeting activists allegedly involved in toppling the statue on Aug. 14, and others involved in protesting at a planned Ku Klux Klan rally on Aug. 18. Andrews has been targeted by activists for allowing horrible conditions to continue at the Durham County Jail, where at least five people have died as a result and where, in the most recent outrage, prisoners are only allowed visits from their loved ones via video; and for his department's collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The struggle against white supremacy in all its forms is just! The events in Charlottesville, followed by the action in Durham that toppled the Confederate monument, are part of a growing movement to combat some of the most heinous, racist sections of far right that have been emboldened by Trump. In response, cities across the country have preemptively taken down Confederate monuments — not because these politicians want to "do the right thing," but because they fear rebellion and the strength of a united, multinational movement. 

In spite of this, Trump's bellicose attacks on our movement have continued — including the egregious pardoning of arch-racist Sheriff Joe Arpaio — providing an opening for the witchhunt by the Durham sheriff against anti-racist activists and for attacks from the far right. The days of action from September 11-17, both in Durham and around the country, will continue the march forward to tear down white supremacy.




Week of:  7 October 2017

It's time to resist!  TOGETHER!


For decades, determined activists around the world have been resisting occupation, militarism, and foreign bases on their lands.  Their struggles have been courageous and persistant.  Uniting our resistance into a global action for peace and justice will make our voices louder, our power stronger and more radiant. 

This fall, during the first week of October, we invite your organization to plan an anti-militarism action in your community as part of the first annual Global Action Against Military Bases. As we resist together to abolish war and stop the desecration of Mother Earth, we create a world where every human life has equal value and a safe environment in which to live. This is the beginning of an annual effort that will better unite our work and strengthen our connections with each other. Will you join us in this united effort to resist war?


On October 7, 2001, in response to the events on September 11, the United States and Great Britain launched the "Enduring Freedom" mission against Afghanistan. These military forces began their assault on a country already battered by the Soviet invasion and years of a devastating civil war. Following 9/11, a new doctrine of Permanent Global Warfare was established, and its destabilizing impacts have drastically worsened since that fateful day.

We live in an increasingly more volatile world with ever- expanding global wars. Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, Palestine, Libya, Mali, Mozambique, Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan are just some of the hot spots. War has become a strategy for global domination. This perpetual state of war is having a devastating impact on our planet, impoverishing communities and forcing massive movements of people fleeing from war and environmental degradation.  

Today, in the Trump era, global warfare is intensifying rapidly. The US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreements accompanies a destructive energy policy that ignores science and eliminates environmental protections, with consequences that will fall heavily on the future of the planet and all who live on it. 


The use of such weapons as the MOAB, "the mother of all bombs," clearly shows the ever more brutal course of the White House. In this framework, the richest and most powerful country, which possesses 95% of the world's foreign military bases, regularly threatens military intervention against other major powers.  This pushes Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and other countries to grotesquely expand their own militaries, leading to worsening global tensions and instability.


It is time to unify all those around the world who oppose war. We must build a network of resistance to US bases, in solidarity with the many years of active resistance movements in Okinawa, South Korea, Italy, the Philippines, Guam, Germany, England, and elsewhere.

On October 7, 2001, the world's richest country began its perpetual military assault and occupation of Afghanistan, one of the world's poorest nations. We propose the week of October 7, 2017 as the first annual GLOBAL ACTION AGAINST MILITARY BASES. We invite all communities to organize solidarity actions and events sometime during the first or second week of October. Each community can independently organize a resistance that meets their own community's needs. We encourage community organizing meetings, debates, public speaking events, vigils, prayer groups, signature gathering, and direct actions. Each community can choose its own methods and locations of resistance: at military bases, embassies, government buildings, schools, libraries, public squares, etc. To make this possible, we need to work together as a united front, giving strength and visibility to every initiative. Together we ARE more powerful.

As Albert Einstein said: "War cannot be humanized. It can only be abolished." Will you join us?  Let's make this possible, together.

With the deepest respect,

First signatories

NoDalMolin (Vicenza – Italy)

NoMuos (Niscemi – Sicily – Italy)

SF Bay Area CODEPINK (S. Francisco – USA)

World Beyond War (USA)


Hambastagi (Solidarity Party of Afghanistan)

STOP the War Coalition (Phiilippines)

Environmentalists against War (USA)



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.

Prison Radio is a 501c3 project of the Redwood Justice Fund. We record and broadcast the voices of prisoners, centering their analyses and experiences in the movements against mass incarceration and state repression. If you support our work, please join us.

www.prisonradio.org   |   info@prisonradio.org   |   415-706-5222

Thank you for being a part of this work!



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)  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.



        2)  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




        3)  A Sea of Health and Environmental Hazards in Houston's Floodwaters

         AUG. 31, 2017


        Officials in Houston are just beginning to grapple with the health and environmental risks that lurk in the waters dumped by Hurricane Harvey, a stew of toxic chemicals, sewage, debris and waste that still floods much of the city.

        Flooded sewers are stoking fears of cholera, typhoid and other infectious diseases. Runoff from the city's sprawling petroleum and chemicals complex contains any number of hazardous compounds. Lead, arsenic and other toxic and carcinogenic elements may be leaching from some two dozen Superfund sites in the Houston area.

        Porfirio Villarreal, a spokesman for the Houston Health Department, said the hazards of the water enveloping the city were self-evident.

        "There's no need to test it," he said. "It's contaminated. There's millions of contaminants."

        He said health officials were urging people to stay out of the water if they could, although it is already too late for tens of thousands.

        "We're telling people to avoid the floodwater as much as possible. Don't let your children play in it. And if you do touch it, wash it off," Mr. Villarreal said. "Remember, this is going to go on for weeks."

        Flooding always brings the danger of contamination and disease, though epidemics from floods in the United States have been rare. This inundation, which put nearly 30 percent of the nation's fourth-largest city underwater, will pose enormous problems, both immediately and when the waters finally recede.

        Dr. David Persse, Houston's director of Emergency Medical Services, said officials were monitoring the drinking water system and the sewer system, both of which he said were intact so far. But hundreds of thousands of people across the 38 Texas counties affected by Hurricane Harvey use private wells, according to an estimate by Louisiana State University researchers, and those people must fend for themselves.

        "Well water is at risk for being contaminated," Dr. Persse said, "and the well owner is really the one who is responsible. In the City of Houston, we have folks that use well water but we strongly recommend against it — and this will sound awful — we don't take responsibility for it."

        Harris County, home to Houston, hosts more than two dozen current and former toxic waste sites designated under the federal Superfund program. The sites contain what the Environmental Protection Agency calls legacy contamination: lead, arsenic, polychlorinated biphenyls, benzene and other toxic and carcinogenic compounds from industrial activities many years ago.

        Kathy Blueford-Daniels grew up just a block away from one of those sites, a wood-treating facility that used cancer-causing creosote and other toxins. As a young girl, she would try to avoid the plant and the pungent, oil-like goo that lined the ditches around it.

        Now 60, Ms. Blueford-Daniels still lives on the same block, in Houston's Fifth Ward. So when Harvey's rains started to pour into her neighborhood, she immediately began to wonder what the rising waters would carry off the old industrial property.

        "I wasn't so fearful of the storm. But I'm scared of that site," she said. "I thought: This is going to be a travesty. The contamination could be going anywhere."

        An E.P.A. spokesman, David Gray, said in a statement that the agency would inspect two flooded Superfund sites in Corpus Christi, but he did not specify which ones or say whether additional sites elsewhere in Texas would be checked.

        Houston also lies at the center of the nation's oil and chemical industry, its bustling shipping channel home to almost 500 industrial sites. Damaged refineries and other oil facilities have already released more than two million pounds of hazardous substances into the air this week, including nitrogen oxide as well as benzene and other volatile organic compounds, according to a tally by the Environmental Defense Fund of company filings to Texas state environmental regulators.

        "We're very concerned about the long-term implications of some of the emissions," said Elena Craft, a senior health scientist and toxicologist at the Environmental Defense Fund in Texas.

        "As well as the flooding and the impact on pipelines, there's underground and aboveground storage tanks," she said. "It's a suite of threats."

        Houston's sewer systems have also long struggled with overflows, drawing scrutiny from federal regulators who worry about raw sewage seeping into groundwater. Like dozens of cities across the country, Houston has been negotiating a consent decree with the E.P.A. that would require the city to upgrade its pipes and overhaul its maintenance regime.

        "Houston's had problems with their sewer system in the past. They already had cracks and leaks that were allowing storm water to get into the sewers," said Erin Bonney Casey, research director at Bluefield Research, a water-sector consultancy based in Boston.

        "When it rains, the sewer pipes get infiltrated with storm water. The pipes exceed their capacity and you get discharge of a mix of sewer water and storm water," she said. "As you can imagine, this raises major concerns around disease and contamination of local water supplies."

        Marc Edwards, the Virginia Tech professor who helped identify the Flint water contamination crisis, said Houston's abundance of private water wells added to the city's woes. People who evacuate return home and use them, to their great risk.

        "Poop from animals and humans that normally does not get into the water supply is present" in the wells, he said, and "if they are present in water that you drink it would cause massive epidemics in a matter of days."

        He added: "Everything else, as horrible as it is, is really a more chronic secondary concern. It's pretty rare that those things are present in flood water, short term, in levels that can kill you."

        Stan Meiburg, a former acting deputy director of the E.P.A., said one hope was that there was just so much water that it might dilute pollutants and fecal matter in the water.

        But he also worried about people who had three or four feet of water in their houses and would not realize that all the pesticides and hazardous products they keep under the sink would now have contaminated their houses.

        "After Katrina, when the floodwaters receded, we had to go around to assist communities to pick up debris and leftover chemicals, like propane tanks, pesticide containers that were compromised and household hazardous waste," said Mr. Meiburg, now director of graduate programs in sustainability at Wake Forest University.

        "The water is going to be polluted," he said. "You know that from the get-go."



        4)   Melania Trump and the Chilling Artifice of Fashion



        Yesterday, heated debate over Melania Trump's travel attire nearly overshadowed the very purpose of her trip: to bear witness to the devastation of the Houston hurricane. At stake was whether Melania's look — slim black pants, face-framing blowout, green silk bomber, mirrored aviators, and sky-high snakeskin stilettos — was appropriately sober and practical for communing with victims of biblical-level flooding.

        Those shoes especially drew critical fire. "Melania is wearing stilettos to a hurricane zone," tweeted a Wall Street Journal reporter. "Trump is the kind of woman who refuses to pretend that her feet will, at any point, ever be immersed in cold, muddy, bacteria-infested Texas water," observed the Washington Post. Some rushed to defend the First Lady, wielding the usual claim that women's fashion should be beneath our notice. "I don't know why anyone should care what anyone wears when they're on their way to help people," declared Trevor Noah on his show.

        But there is more going on here, and it's being ignored by detractors and defenders alike. The problem is not that Melania Trump wore an unsuitable, blithely out-of-touch outfit, although she did. The problem is that this administration turns every event — no matter how dire — into a kind of anesthetized luxury fashion shoot, which leads us to some disturbing political truths.

        Fashion-magazine layouts have a particular feel to them. We know it well: stylized, blank, alluring in an anonymous way, suggestive of sex, but devoid of sensuality or personal emotion. The photographs draw us in, but the models don't return our gaze. Instead, they tend to wear a kind of frozen, faraway gaze, a look that frees us to gawk unashamedly, without fear of being caught staring. Fashion models feign ignorance of the camera lens in order to signal that we are not their interlocutors, but rather voyeurs whose desires are roused only to be rechanneled toward the items for sale (clothes, jewels, handbags, etc.).

        Such photos exist to cast the fetishizing spell of the commodity over us. They create, that is, a dissociative relationship with the viewer. And while Melania Trump was known to have been somewhat stiff as a model, she has clearly mastered that squinty, middle-distance gaze, which she regularly employs as First Lady.

        Melania dresses and moves as if she were awkwardly performing a theatrical role, much as Ivanka does. Their oddly stilted presence in political settings seems to transform all occasions, no matter how "presidential," into advertisements. This is not because they were both once models, but because they cannot stop posing like models. (Ironically, successful models learn to avoid such obvious artificiality, since it makes the unreality of fashion shoots too glaring.)

        The Trump women evince a dazed blankness and anonymity that in turn cast doubt on the reality of everything around them. When you see Melania headed to Marine One, or dining with world leaders, or standing on a White House balcony, the entire scene looks like a magazine spread in which "real" people, equipment, and buildings are being used merely as dramatic backdrops for a fashion layout. On Tuesday, this meant that instead of being a supporting presence in the president's trip to survey flood damage, Melania became the star and the trip morphed into a simulacrum, a kind of Vogue shoot "simulating" a president's trip. In other words, the realness of everyone and everything else (including hurricane victims) faded and the evacuated blankness of the commercial overtook the scene.

        And this is how something as apparently trivial as women's style reveals a profound truth at the heart of this administration and its relationship to America's citizens: It is as dissociative as a fashion advertisement, brought to power by manipulating and rechanneling the electorate's desires for wealth and possessions. This truth seeps out of every photographed occasion, including and especially those featuring the Trump women.

        So Melania dominated the scene yesterday (witness how much we were talking about her), but it was not with her personality. Rather it was the power of the commodity that she wielded — the power of transactional commerce purveyed with utter irreality and disconnection, which it has been her role to channel, and which feels disturbingly recognizable to us in our commerce-saturated society.

        Driving that home, Melania actually later donned, somewhat heartbreakingly, a black cap with FLOTUS emblazoned on it — not "America," or the awful "MAGA," or her name, or the name of the devastated city she was visiting, or that of a sports team, or even a worthy organization she could have supported, such as the Red Cross. No, Melania wore a hat with the acronym of her role written on it. A non-person-specific hat, making clear that she is just a temporary occupant of this role. She labeled herself.

        That's what models — and in this case also presidents — do: They inhabit anonymously temporary, unreal worlds born of the realm of luxury logo goods. The devastation in Houston is a tragedy, but so too is this administration's blank, model's stare — its mirrored shades in the face of human sorrows. This is not just about fashion. It's about the urgency of recognizing a certain genre of hypnotizing, dehumanizing spell, and snapping ourselves out of it.

        Rhonda Garelick is the author of Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History.



        5)  The Houston Stadium Grift Comes Home to Roost

        As the waters rise, it is unconscionable to keep spending money on sports arenas so billionaires can plunder and vultures like Joel Osteen can stay on the grift.



        6)  Colin Kaepernick salutes Fred Hampton, as NFL continues to snub him

        September 3, 2017

        by Ann Garrison


        "Salute to Colin Kaepernick" – Art: Kevin Brown-Mason, AX-0565, SATF F2B 8-1U, P.O. Box 5244, Corcoran CA 93212

        On Aug. 30, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick posted birthday wishes to Fred Hampton with Hampton's picture and a quotation of something he said: "You can kill a revolutionary, but you can't kill the revolution."

        The 49ers played the Chicago Bears last year on Dec. 4, 2016, the anniversary of Hampton's assassination by a tactical unit of state, city and federal officers. Kaepernick wore a Fred Hampton T-shirtto the postgame press conference, where reporters asked whether he would continue to kneel during the national anthem to protest police violence and oppression in the Black community. He responded:

        "Yeah, I will continue to do it. There are a lot of issues that still need to be addressed, and I do think there is significance in being here today, seeing that it is the anniversary of the assassination of Chairman Fred Hampton. Being in Chicago, being able to acknowledge a Black figure, a Black leader like him, is very important. His role in being a leader in this community and bringing this community together is something that needs to be acknowledged."

        In other postgame press conferences, he appeared wearing T-shirts bearing images of Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Huey Newton and the Black Panther Party. In Miami, he even sported a Fidel Castro T-shirt, guaranteeing that the Miami Dolphins wouldn't sign him this year. When asked why, he said that he believed in the investment in education that Castro prioritized.

        The Dolphins ultimately signed a quarterback with a much less impressive record and, at the end of August, Kaepernick still didn't have a job with the NFL. Some sportswriters said he was a perfect fit for the Arizona Cardinals, but the Cardinals signed Blaine Gabbert instead. Gabbert was the 49ers backup quarterback last year while Kaepernick started.

        NFL team owners can't claim with any credibility that Colin Kaepernick offended their patriotism when he took a knee during the national anthem last year to protest police brutality and oppression of the Black community. In 2015, an oversight report authored by Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake revealed that the Pentagon, to enhance recruiting, had paid professional sports teams $6.8 million of taxpayer money for patriotic displays during the games, with the largest share by far going to NFL teams.

        The displays included National Guard flag runners to lead players out of the tunnel onto the field, color guard ceremonies, Salute to Service military appreciation game days, military appreciation games and tickets to attend them, recognition of one National Guard soldier as the soldier of the game at each home game, "into battle ceremonies" before kickoff and an opportunity for 80 National Guard soldiers to hold a large American flag stretched across the field.

        The owners are clearly worried about their profit margins; in a comic moment, the owner of the Baltimore Ravens said he was so worried that he asked fans to pray for him as he considered signing Kaepernick. Ultimately, he and the other owners all seem to have calculated that the number of fans who might boycott the NFL because Kaepernick's protest offended them would be greater than those now planning to do so because he inspired them. Kaepernick supporters are planning rallies outside every stadium in the country for each team's opening game in the regular season,

        The NFL's treatment of Kaepernick isn't stopping other NFL players, 70 percent of whom are Black, from protesting during the national anthem. It's made them more determined. So has the extreme right's white nationalist rally in Charlottesville which led to the death of Heather Heyer when a young Neo-Nazi slammed on the gas and drove his car into a crowd of counter protesters.

        SF 49ers safety Eric Reid knelt during the national anthem with Colin Kaepernick and linebacker Eli Harold last season, but said he didn't plan to continue the protest this year and would concentrate on his game instead. He's apparently changed his mind, because he knelt during the anthem in the 49ers preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, Aug. 28, even though none of the rest of the 49ers joined him. Reid played college football for the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

        The NFL's treatment of Kaepernick isn't stopping other NFL players, 70 percent of whom are Black, from protesting during the national anthem. It's made them more determined.

        Sports Illustrated published this complete list of protesting players that added up to 25, or 55 if the 30 Cleveland Browns who locked arms during the anthem are counted as well:

        • Marshawn Lynch, Raiders (sat during the anthem)
        • Michael Bennett, Seahawks (sat)
        • Cliff Avril, Seahawks (sat)
        • Seth DeValve, Browns (knelt)
        • Duke Johnson Jr., Browns (knelt)
        • Terrance Magee, Browns (knelt)
        • Isaiah Crowell, Browns (knelt)
        • Kenny Britt, Browns (knelt)
        • Ricardo Louis, Browns (knelt)​
        • Jabrill Peppers, Browns (knelt)
        • Calvin Pryor, Browns (knelt)
        • Jamar Taylor, Browns (knelt)
        • Christian Kirksey, Browns (knelt)
        • Jamie Collins, Browns (knelt)
        • Ron Brooks, Eagles (knelt)
        • Shalom Luani, Raiders (knelt)
        • Eric Reid, 49ers (knelt)
        • Cameron Jefferson, Bills (raised fist)
        • Malcolm Jenkins, Eagles (raised fist)
        • Jurrell Casey, Titans (raised fist)
        • Wesley Woodyard, Titans (raised fist)
        • Robert Quinn, Rams (raised fist)
        • Jeremy Lane, Seahawks (stood with his back to the field and flag)
        • Chris Long, Eagles (put his hand on teammate Malcolm Jenkins's shoulder)
        • Derek Carr, Raiders (put his hand on teammate Khalil Mack's shoulder)
        • Justin Britt, Raiders (put his hand on teammate Michael Bennett's shoulder)
        • DeShone Kizer, Browns (put his hand on teammate's shoulder)
        • Britton Colquitt, Browns (put his hand on teammate's shoulder)
        • Rodney McLeod, Eagles (put his hand on Malcolm Jenkins's shoulder)
        • Other Browns players, such as Jason McCourty and Shon Coleman, stood near the group of kneeling players on Monday night in an apparent show of support.
        • About 30 Browns players stood with their arms linked together before their game against the Buccaneers.

        On Aug. 23, several thousand people showed up for a rally outside NFL headquarters in New York City. One of the most moving speakers there was New York City activist Tamika Mallory:

        "They say, 'Well, people get dropped from teams all the time. People don't get picked up all the time.' That's what they say. But those who are saying that to you are confused. They have decided to ignore racism, bigotry and white supremacy in this country. That is what they would have you do, to turn your eyes from what you see.

        "We are not stupid, brothers and sisters. Don't let them tell you that we are out here for one man. I like Colin Kaepernick. I think he is a good dude. I've seen him, I've talked to him, I've met with him. I think Colin Kaepernick is wonderful, but I didn't come out here today for one man. Even Colin Kaepernick would tell you that he didn't just kneel for himself or his family. He kneeled for all of us. Colin Kaepernick took a knee for my 18-year-old son, and that is why I am here today."

        On Matt Sedillo's blog, The Southwest Political Report, contributor Amoja Sumler wrote:

        "While I honor Colin for his stand, I am not boycotting the NFL because he was railroaded, as tragic as that is. I am boycotting the NFL because it is an organization that can only exist through the overwhelming utilization of Black and minority people, and yet it does not honor those real lives nearly as much as it "honors" a symbolic flag.

        "Symbols are powerful. The flag is powerful. Colin as a symbol is powerful. The loss of the lives of citizens who have not been convicted of a crime is powerful, but also an actuality. They are who I will honor. I choose to honor them in a variety of ways, up to and including boycotting my favorite American sport."

        Oakland writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View, Black Agenda Report, Black Star News, Counterpunch and her own website, Ann Garrison, and produces for AfrobeatRadio on WBAI-NYC, KPFA Evening NewsKPFA Flashpoints and for her own YouTube Channel, AnnieGetYourGang. She can be reached at anniegarrison@gmail.com. In March 2014 she was awarded the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for promoting peace in the Great Lakes Region of Africa through her reporting.



        7)  Waiting for a Perfect Protest?

         SEPT. 1, 2017




        A demonstrator clashed with a policeman during a civil rights protest in Nashville in 1964.CreditBettmann Archive/Getty Images 

        Media outlets and commentators representing a range of political persuasions have called attention to recent outbreaks of violence in Berkeley, Calif., Boston and other locations where anti-racist and anti-fascist demonstrators have gathered. Intentionally or not, they have often promoted a false equivalency between groups that advocate white supremacy and those that seek to eliminate it.

        Even mainstream media outlets that typically fact-check the president seem to have subtly bought into Mr. Trump's "both sides" narrative regarding right- and left-wing extremism. They've run headlines that highlight small violent skirmishes while ignoring the thousands who marched and protested peacefully, to say nothing of the injustices that inspired the protests.

        Our complaint here is not about the right-wing media outlets that we know will continue to delegitimize anti-racist protest in any form — whether it's peacefully sitting during the national anthem, marching in the streets, staging boycotts or simply making the apparently radical claim that "black lives matter." Rather, our concern at this moment is with our moderate brothers and sisters who voice support for the cause of racial justice but simultaneously cling to paralyzingly unrealistic standards when it comes to what protest should look like.

        As Christian clergy members, we place a high value on nonviolence. We are part of a national campaign that promotes proven solutions to reducing gun violence in our cities, and each of us has worked to achieve peace in our neighborhoods. But we know there has never been a time in American history in which movements for justice have been devoid of violent outbreaks.

        Thanks to the sanitized images of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement that dominate our nation's classrooms and our national discourse, many Americans imagine that protests organized by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and countless local organizations fighting for justice did not fall victim to violent outbreaks. That's a myth. In spite of extensive training in nonviolent protest and civil disobedience, individuals and factions within the larger movement engaged in violent skirmishes, and many insisted on their right to physically defend themselves even while they proclaimed nonviolence as an ideal (examples include leaders of the SNCC and the Deacons for Defense and Justice in Mississippi).

        The reality — which is underdiscussed but essential to an understanding of our current situation — is that the civil rights work of Dr. King and other leaders was loudly opposed by overt racists and quietly sabotaged by cautious moderates. We believe that current moderates sincerely want to condemn racism and to see an end to its effects. The problem is that this desire is outweighed by the comfort of their current circumstances and a perception of themselves as above some of the messy implications of fighting for liberation. This is nothing new. In fact, Dr. King's 1963 "Letter From Birmingham Jail" is as relevant today as it was then. He wrote in part:

        I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can't agree with your methods of direct action."

        National polling from the 1960s shows that even during that celebrated "golden age" of nonviolent protest, most Americans were against marches and demonstrations. A 1961 Gallup poll revealed that 57 percent of the public thought that lunch counter sit-ins and other demonstrations would hurt integration efforts. A 1963 poll showed that 60 percent had an unfavorable feeling toward the planned March on Washington, where Dr. King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. A year later, 74 percent said that since black people had made some progress, they should stop their demonstrations; and by 1969, 74 percent said that marching, picketing and demonstrations were hurting the civil rights cause. As for Dr. King personally, the figure who current moderates most readily point to as a model, 50 percent of people polled in 1966 thought that he was hurting the civil rights movement; only 36 percent believed he was helping.

        The civil rights movement was messy, disorderly, confrontational and yes, sometimes violent. Those standing on the sidelines of the current racial-justice movement, waiting for a pristine or flawless exercise of righteous protest, will have a long wait. They, we suspect, will be this generation's version of the millions who claim that they were one of the thousands who marched with Dr. King. Each of us should realize that what we do now is most likely what we would have done during those celebrated protests 50 years ago. Rather than critique from afar, come out of your homes, follow those who are closest to the pain, and help us to redeem this country, and yourselves, in the process.



        8)  A New Type of Labor Law for a New Type of Worker

         SEPT. 4, 2017




        Labor Day was born in the late 19th century, during a time of raw fear about the path of economic development. Opportunities for decent, middle-class livelihoods seemed to be shrinking, and the "laboring classes" confronted a grim future of what many called wage slavery. Conservatives held most of the seats of power, but reform-minded politicians, activists and policy mavens were thinking big about labor's rights and wrongs.

        Lately, driven by a sense that decent work is becoming a thing of the past, liberals and progressives have been thinking big about these things again: The Democratic congressional leadership has proposed a $15 minimum wage and a huge infrastructure investment, while the Center for American Progress has proposed a New Deal-style federal jobs guarantee. Those are good ideas. But good ideas about economic and social policy aren't enough.

        We can't hope to build a more equitable economy unless working people have strong organizations of their own. During and after the New Deal, unions were essential to forging a broad new middle class — not only because they raised wages and benefits, but also because they countered corporate and financial political power, which today is the greatest impediment to serious change. Without a rejuvenated labor movement, it's almost inconceivable that breakthrough reforms will come to pass.

        Democratic lawmakers know that their party was founded on the proposition that concentrated wealth seeks to convert its economic power into political power and that left to its own devices, it puts our democracy at risk. A new workers' movement would also be a bulwark against the old Jeffersonian nightmare of rule by a self-perpetuating economic oligarchy. For both reasons, progressive lawmakers and policy analysts need to promote a new generation of labor organizations.

        They can do that by putting labor-law reform at the top of their agenda. The National Labor Relations Act was written in the 1930s, when big factories and large industrial companies dominated our economy; its provisions are a terrible fit for today's economy in two basic ways.

        First, because it arose out of the struggles of factory workers with big corporate employers, our labor law encourages bargaining at the employer or work-site level. This made sense when most workers were in large factories. But today's workplaces are much smaller, even if they are owned or controlled by big corporations. Fast food workers are split among thousands of locations. Janitors labor in small groups, at night, out of the public eye. Warehouse workers in Wal-Mart and Target's supply chains are often employed by temporary agencies and hired by day or even hour to load trucks. Uber drivers and Amazon delivery drivers work alone.

        Second, our labor law holds businesses accountable only to the workers whom they "employ" in an old-fashioned, contractual sense. That too made sense in the industrial era, when leading companies had millions of employees. But today, janitors, Amazon delivery drivers and warehouse workers are often employed by subcontractors who have little real power over their livelihoods. And Uber and Lyft drivers are misclassified as independent contractors. As a result, these workers don't have clear rights to bargain with the companies that actually set the rules. And these workers are subject to big restrictions on striking or picketing against such "third party" companies.

        A few simple but bold legal reforms would make a world of difference. First, Congress could pass laws to promote multi-employer bargaining, or even bargaining among all companies in an industry. If all hotel brands, all fast-food brands, all grocers or all local delivery companies bargained together, none would be placed at a competitive disadvantage as a result of unionization, which is often the main reason employers resist it so fiercely. Second, Congress could ensure that organized workers can bargain with the companies that actually profit from their work by expanding the legal definition of employment to cover more categories of workers.

        Smart organizers are already working toward just this sort of labor relations model. Fast Food Forward, the group that has been organizing fast-food workers to demand $15 an hour and a union, is one. Rather than going store by store, they have been taking the fight to the streets and to social media, pushing major chains to take responsibility for working conditions both in their own stores and among franchisees. Strengthening bargaining rights as we've suggested could make that vision a reality.

        As long as that isn't yet possible at the national level, progressive states like New York and California, or cities like Chicago and Los Angeles, could develop this sort of model within their own jurisdictions. That would require modest progressive reform out of Congress, making national labor protections a floor but not a ceiling, just as it has already done with wage, hour and anti-discrimination laws. But that way, as in the pre-New Deal era, states and even cities could experiment with how to empower new sorts of worker organizations.

        Ideas like these cut against the grain of mainstream debate, which assumes that rebuilding the industrial sector is the key to a broad middle-class economy. There is nothing wrong, and much right, with such efforts. Still, the reality is that a great majority of today's working class is no longer in factories, and will never be again. Organized and united under new labor laws that they had a hand in achieving, retail, hospitality, health care and other service workers could become a solid, multiracial working-class base for a progressive Democratic Party.



        9)  Police and Protesters Clash Over Disappearance of Argentine Activist

         SEPT. 2, 2017



        BUENOS AIRES — The disappearance of an indigenous rights activist in Argentina spurred violent clashes between demonstrators and the police on Friday and has raised dark memories of forced disappearances during the country's dictatorship.

        Relatives and supporters say the activist, Santiago Maldonado, was last seen during a confrontation on Aug. 1 between border police officers and supporters of a Mapuche indigenous community that was being displaced from an area in the Patagonia region that belongs to Benetton, the clothing company.

        Family members said they feared that the security forces might have taken Mr. Maldonado into custody without disclosing his fate or whereabouts. The authorities say there is no evidence of foul play.

        But the possibility that the government has secretly taken Mr. Maldonado, 28, into custody has transfixed and angered many Argentines, for whom the memory of mass disappearances and killings during the 1976-83 dictatorship remains fresh.

        "We can't turn a blind eye to a forced disappearance that took place as part of a repressive action by law enforcement," said Marta López, 68, a doctor who joined tens of thousands around the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires on Friday with signs asking, "Where is Santiago Maldonado?"

        That question has reverberated across the country and on social media this week. Argentines have chimed in with Facebook and Twitter posts that provide their location and ask: "But where is Santiago Maldonado?"

        The suspected involvement of the security forces drove many to protest. The clashes left 23 people injured, according to La Nación newspaper. Thirty people were still being detained on Saturday morning, according to the state-run Télam news agency.

        Protesters charged that the government appears to be more concerned with defending the officers who took part in the eviction of the activists blocking a road the day Mr. Maldonado vanished than finding out what happened to him.

        "We need a serious investigation," said Mariano Bejer, 37, who was carrying his 2-year-old son, Santiago, on his shoulders during the protest. "All we want are some answers."

        The case has also become a flash point in the campaign for the coming legislative election, which pits the ruling party of President Mauricio Macri against that of the former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who is running for a Senate seat and has aspirations to stymie the president's agenda.

        Mrs. Kirchner, a polarizing but still widely popular figure, has portrayed Mr. Maldonado's case as emblematic of a government that is callous toward the poor and other marginalized Argentines. She attended a Mass on Friday in Mr. Maldonado's honor at a church in Buenos Aires Province.

        Sergio Maldonado, the brother of the missing activist, addressed the throngs who had gathered at the Plaza de Mayo in the capital.

        "The state continues to deny his disappearance, and it seems like it denies his mere existence," Mr. Maldonado said. He called for the resignation of the security minister, Patricia Bullrich, drawing sustained jeers from the crowd and chants of "Oust her."

        Santiago Maldonado's case is being investigated as a forced disappearance, but the prosecutor in charge of the investigation has said no evidence has emerged to date that security forces took him into custody.

        Ms. Bullrich and other senior officials have said that the government is diligently searching for Mr. Maldonado, although she has questioned whether he was even present at the protest.

        Human rights groups have called on the Argentine government to conduct an independent investigation. Last month, the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances urged the authorities to adopt an "integral and exhaustive strategy for the search and location" of Mr. Maldonado.

        "When someone goes missing, no matter under which circumstances, time is of the essence," José Miguel Vivanco, the executive director of the Americas Division at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement last month.

        "This is all the more important when the person may have been forcibly disappeared by security forces."

        Mr. Macri's chief of staff, Marcos Peña, called for restraint after Friday's clashes. "Starting with President Mauricio Macri and the entire team, the priority is that Santiago Maldonado turn up alive," he told reporters. 

        Mr. Maldonado was reportedly among a group of activists who blocked a road in the southern province of Chubut to demand the release of the Mapuche leader Facundo Jones Huala, who is wanted in Chile on terrorism charges.

        The sit-in sparked clashes in an area owned by Benetton. Mapuche activists have contended for years that part of the territory is rightfully theirs.



        10)  When Gentrification Knocks on the Wrong Door

        Monxo Lopez is a popular man. He wishes he was not.

        Total strangers hound him, calling, writing and knocking on his door, all with the same question: Does he want to sell his red brick rowhouse nestled on a historic South Bronx block in Mott Haven? When he complained to a friend who worked in real estate, the friend replied: "You know, you can get a million and a half."

        Given that he paid $400,000 for his four-story house in 2004, he could make a tidy profit. Others in his neighborhood have received similar offers, thanks to the rush of gentrification, development and speculation transforming Mott Haven and Port Morris, immediately south of it. Now branded as hot, he'd rather it was not.

        "I come from Puerto Rico, where my sister lives in the same house where we grew up," said Mr. Lopez, who lives with his wife, Libertad Guerra, and their 4-year-old daughter Xul. "We don't see this as an investment, we see this as our home. I have no desire to sell."

        It's not surprising that his house attracts attention, since it is on a stretch of Alexander Avenue north of East 138th Street that was once known as "Irish Fifth Avenue" for the doctors and lawyers who settled there in the early 20th century. After enduring decades of abandonment, blight and crime, the area has begun to bounce back. The fear is it may bounce completely out of the reach of longtime residents who are being pressured to sell, or renters whose landlords are increasing rents or harassing them to leave.

        Gentrification had brought him to the Bronx from Brooklyn after his Fort Greene neighborhood changed drastically. Local stores and restaurants closed, replaced by pet shops and boutique pizzerias, while corner delis went upscale, touting gourmet food and organic cookies. Faces in the neighborhood changed.

        "It started to feel more fragmented, with less of a neighborhood vibe," said Mr. Lopez, who is among the founders of South Bronx Unite, an activist group that is challenging the pace of development. "And when the neighborhood started changing, people started calling the cops to our apartment because we had music and dancing. When gentrification touched us that way, we knew we had to move."

        His Bronx house was a bargain compared with Brooklyn apartment prices, not a small consideration for him, an adjunct professor and musician, and his wife, who runs a cultural center on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It is sunny, with lots of wood, stained glass panels over the windows and a spacious yard facing a lush wall of ivy. There is room for Xul's toys, his guitars and a basement recording studio. The kitchen is the heart of the place.

        But he had inklings of déjà vu in 2006, when Barbara Corcoran, the real estate guru, decreed that the South Bronx was among the five hottest real estate markets in the nation. She said "public money is flowing in" and that the arrival of artists and musicians "can really revitalize an area." She even advised people to look for expensive coffee as a sign of an area on the upswing.

        "It started to feel more fragmented, with less of a neighborhood vibe," said Mr. Lopez, who is among the founders of South Bronx Unite, an activist group that is challenging the pace of development. "And when the neighborhood started changing, people started calling the cops to our apartment because we had music and dancing. When gentrification touched us that way, we knew we had to move."

        His Bronx house was a bargain compared with Brooklyn apartment prices, not a small consideration for him, an adjunct professor and musician, and his wife, who runs a cultural center on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It is sunny, with lots of wood, stained glass panels over the windows and a spacious yard facing a lush wall of ivy. There is room for Xul's toys, his guitars and a basement recording studio. The kitchen is the heart of the place.

        But he had inklings of déjà vu in 2006, when Barbara Corcoran, the real estate guru, decreed that the South Bronx was among the five hottest real estate markets in the nation. She said "public money is flowing in" and that the arrival of artists and musicians "can really revitalize an area." She even advised people to look for expensive coffee as a sign of an area on the upswing.

        Those comments rankle Mr. Lopez and other residents of the area — located in the country's poorest urban congressional district — who remember when community activists rallied people to demand that officials address the blight in the 1980s. It also bothers him that creative types are reduced to selling points when the South Bronx has been an incubator for music, art and fashion.

        Fear turned to outrage when Keith Rubenstein announced the construction of luxury towers in Port Morris, an area that he tried to rename "The Piano District" until withering criticism had him drop it (though another developer recently invoked that name). There has been talk of "rebranding" the area, prompted by the arrival of boutiques and cafes.

        "I see it as an effort to erase the history of the neighborhood and the cultural and social achievements of this community," Mr. Lopez said. "It's like we're not here. They talk about all these new businesses, and they ignore the ones that have been serving this community. It erases the history of communities that have been here through the good and the bad times."

        Mr. Lopez hopes that development can be slowed, and has embraced the idea of a community land trust to obtain city-owned buildings or lots that can be turned into local anchors like a cultural center and serve as a barrier against speculation. His group received a $40,000 grant to explore possible new uses for a vacant city-owned drug rehabilitation clinic.

        But the real and continuing crisis, he said, remains affordability: with Bronx residents paying a greater percentage of their income on rent, the city needs more affordable housing. Until, then, he sees his refusal to sell as a political act, holding the line against unchecked development.

        "We know neighborhoods change," he said. "We're not afraid of change. But what we don't want to see is the people who want to remain to be displaced."



        11)  Handling of Police Killing Spurs Grand Jury Inquiry Into Prosecutor

         SEPT. 1, 2017




        ALBANY — The New York State attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, intends to impanel a grand jury this month to investigate a district attorney in relation to the fatal police shooting in Troy, N.Y., of an unarmed motorist in 2016.

        The investigation concerns Joel Abelove, the district attorney in Rensselaer County, regarding his actions in the death of Edson Thevenin, a 37-year-old man who was shot and killed by the policeduring a traffic stop last April.

        Mr. Thevenin, who was black, was shot after a brief, hectic car chase as the police investigated him for possible drunken driving. The chase ended after a Troy police sergeant, Randall French, was pinned between his cruiser and Mr. Thevenin's vehicle, according to police accounts; the officer then shot at Mr. Thevenin eight times, killing him. Supporters of the sergeant's actions that night have suggested that Mr. Thevenin's car effectively acted as a weapon in the incident.

        Shortly after the episode, Mr. Abelove presented evidence to a grand jury in the case, which declined to bring charges against the sergeant. But Mr. Schneiderman protested that decision and sued Mr. Abelove, saying that the Rensselaer prosecutor had usurped the authority of the state attorney general, violating a 2015 executive order from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo that gave Mr. Schneiderman's office the power to investigate police-related shootings of unarmed civilians.

        That order came after a series of cases in the state and nationwide in which police use of force was being questioned, particularly against black men, including the 2014 chokehold death of Eric Garner on Staten Island.

        The grand jury will be asked to consider both Mr. Abelove's actions in relation to the shooting, as well as the circumstances of the shooting itself, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation. Mr. Schneiderman's office declined to comment on the case.

        Mr. Abelove is the first district attorney to be the subject of a criminal grand jury by Mr. Schneiderman, a Democrat.

        Since Mr. Thevenin's death, the case has continued to dog Mr. Abelove, a Republican, and the City of Troy, about 10 miles northeast of Albany. Last September, Mr. Thevenin's widow, Cinthia, filed suit in federal court against Sgt. French and the city. The city has argued that Mr. Thevenin's own carelessness, recklessness and negligence caused his death.

        In February, the governor signed an order specifically permitting the attorney general's investigation of Mr. Thevenin's death. A month later, Mr. Abelove's cellphone was seized by Mr. Schneiderman's office, according to The Times Union of Albany, which also reported the impaneling of the grand jury on Friday.

        John W. Bailey, a lawyer for Mr. Abelove, said the district attorney had requested to speak to the grand jury, which he expected to sit in late September. "We sincerely hope that this is a very careful and thoughtful look at what exactly happened," Mr. Bailey said. "We're hoping that the A.G. is convening a grand jury to look at the entire situation."

        Since the governor's 2015 executive order, Mr. Schneiderman's office has investigated 11 cases in which law enforcement officers have caused the death of an unarmed civilian, according to an August report. As a result, one police officer has been charged, in the 2016 death of Delrawn Small in Brooklyn, and five other cases remain under investigation. Five cases have been closed with no action.



        12) What the Media isn't Telling You About North Korea's Missile Tests

        Here's what the media isn't telling you about North Korea's recent missile tests.

        Last Monday, the DPRK fired a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan's Hokkaido Island. The missile landed in the waters beyond the island harming neither people nor property.

        The media immediately condemned the test as a "bold and provocative act"  that showed the North's defiance of UN resolutions and "contempt for its neighbors." President Trump sharply criticized the missile test saying:

        "Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime's isolation in the region and among all nations of the world. All options are on the table."

        What the media failed to mention was that,  for the last three weeks, Japan, South Korea and the US have been engaged in large-scale joint-military drills on Hokkaido Island and in South Korea. These needlessly provocative war games are designed to simulate an invasion of North Korea and a "decapitation" operation to remove (Re: Kill)  the regime. North Korea's supreme leader, Kim Jong-un has asked the US repeatedly to end these military exercises, but the US has stubbornly refused. The US reserves the right to threaten anyone, anytime and anywhere even right on their doorstep. It's part of what makes the US exceptional. Check out this excerpt from an article at Fox News:

        "More than 3,500 American and Japanese troops kicked off a weeks-long joint military exercise Thursday against the backdrop of an increasingly belligerent North Korean regime. The exercise, known as Northern Viper 17, will take place on Hokkaido — Japan's northern-most main island — and will last until Aug. 28….

        "We are improving our readiness not only in the air, but as a logistical support team," Col. R. Scott Jobe, the 35th Fighter Wing commander, said in a statement. "We are in a prime location for contingency purposes and this exercise will only build upon our readiness in the case a real-world scenario occurs." (US, Japanese troops begin joint military exercise amid North Korea threat", Fox News)

        Monday's missile test (which flew over Hokkaido Island) was conducted just hours after the war games ended. The message was clear: The North is not going to be publicly humiliated and slapped around without responding. Rather than show weakness, the North demonstrated that it was prepared to defend itself against foreign aggression. In other words, the test was NOT a  "bold and provocative act" (as the media stated) but a modest and well thought-out  response by a country that has experienced 64 years of relentless hectoring, sanctions, demonization and saber rattling by Washington. The North responded because the Washington's incitements required a response. End of story.

        And the same is true of the three short-range ballistic missiles  the North tested last week. (two of which apparently fizzled out shortly after launching.)  These tests were a response to the 3 week-long joint-military drills in South Korea which involved  75,000 combat troops  accompanied by hundreds of tanks, armored vehicles, landing craft, heavy artillery, a full naval flotilla and flyovers by squadrons of state of the art fighters and strategic bombers.  Was the North supposed to sit on its hands while this menacing display of brute military force took place right under its nose???

        Of course not. Imagine if Russia engaged in a similar operation over the border in Mexico while the Russian fleet conducted "live fire" drills three miles outside of San Francisco Bay. What do you think Trump's reaction would be?

        He'd blow those boats out of the water faster than you could say "Jackie Robinson", right?

        So why the double standard when it comes to North Korea? Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

        North Korea should be applauded for showing that it won't be intimidated by the schoolyard bully. Kim knows that any confrontation with the US will end badly for the North, even so, he hasn't caved in or allowed himself to be pushed around by the blustering, browbeating thugs in the White House. Booyah, Kim.

        By the way, Trump's response to Monday's missile test was barely covered in the mainstream media, and for good reason. Here's what happened two days later:

        On Wednesday,  a US-led flight-group of  F-35B fighters, F-15 fighters and B-1B bombers conducted military operations over a training range east of Seoul. The B-1B's, which are low-altitude nuclear bombers, dropped their dummy-bombs on the site and then returned to their home base. The show of force was intended to send a message to Pyongyang that Washington is unhappy with the North's ballistic missile testing project and is prepared to use nuclear weapons against the North if it fails to heed Washington's diktats.

        So Washington is prepared to nuke the North if they don't straighten up and do as they are told?

        It sure looks that way, but who really knows?  In any event, Kim has no choice but to stand firm. If he shows any sign of weakness, he knows he's going to end up like Saddam and Gaddafi. And that, of course, is what's driving the hyperbolic rhetoric; the North wants to avoid the Gaddafi scenario at all cost. (BTW, the reason Kim has threatened to fire missiles at the waters surrounding Guam is because Guam is the home of Anderson Airforce Base which is the point-of-origin for the B-1B nuclear-capable bombers that have been making threatening flyovers on the Korean Peninsula for some time now. The North feels like it has to respond to that existential threat.

        Wouldn't it help if the media mentioned that fact or does it better serve their agenda to make it look like Kim is barking mad by lashing out against the 'totally innocent' United States, a country that only seeks to preserve the peace wherever it goes?

        Give me a break!

        It is so hard to find anything in the media that doesn't reflect Washington's bias and hostility. Surprisingly, there was  pretty decent article at CBS News last week written by a former Western intelligence officer with decades of experience in Asia. It's the only article I've found that accurately explains what's  really going on beyond the propaganda. Check it out:

        "Prior to President Trump's inauguration, North Korea made it clear it was prepared to give the new U.S. administration time to review the policy and come up with something better than President Obama's.  The only wrinkle was that if the U.S. went full-steam ahead with its annual joint exercises with South Korea (especially if that were accompanied by more talk of "decapitation" and more flights of strategic bombers over the Korean peninsula), the North would react strongly.

        In short, the U.S. did, and the North reacted.

        Behind-the-scenes contacts went up and down, but couldn't get traction.  In April, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un paraded new missiles as a warning, to no effect.  The regime launched the new systems, one after another.  Still, Washington's approach didn't change." (Analysis: Pyongyang's view of the North Korea-U.S. crisis", CBS News)

        Okay, so now we know the truth: The North gave it their best shot and came up snakeeyes, mainly because Washington doesn't want to negotiate, they'd rather twist arms (Russia and China), tighten the embargo and threaten war. That's Trump's solution. Here's more from the same piece:

        "On July 4, after North Korea's first successful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch, Kim sent a public signal that the North could put the nuclear and missile programs "on the table" if the U.S. changed its approach.

        The U.S. did not, so the North launched another ICBM, very deliberately deeming it a warning to the U.S. that they were to be taken seriously. Still, more B-1 bombers flew over the Peninsula, and the U.N. Security Council passed new sanctions." (CBS News)

        So, the North was ready to do some serious horse-trading, but the US balked. Kim probably heard what a wheeler dealer Trump was and figured they could work something out. But it hasn't happen.  Trump has turned out to be a bigger bust than Obama, which is pretty bad.  He not only refuses to negotiate but he also delivers bellicose threats almost every day. This isn't what the North was expecting. They were expecting a   "non interventionist" leader who might be receptive to a trade-off.

        The current situation has left Kim with no good options. He can either cave in and terminate his missile program altogether or increase the frequency of the tests and hope that they pave the way for negotiations.   Kim chose the latter.

        Did he make a bad choice?


        Is it a rational choice?


        The North is betting that its nuclear weapons programs will be valuable bargaining chits in future negotiations with the United States. The North has no plan to nuke the west coast of the United States.  That's ridiculous! That doesn't accomplish anything. What they want is to preserve their regime,  procure security guarantees from Washington,  lift the embargo,  normalize relations with the South,  extricate the US from the political affairs of the peninsula, and (hopefully) end the irritating and endlessly provocative 64 year US occupation. Yankee go home. Please.

        Bottom line: The North is ready to deal. They want negotiations. They want to end the war. They want to put this whole nightmare behind them and get on with their lives. But Washington won't let them because Washington likes the status quo. Washington wants to be a permanent feature in South Korea so it can encircle Russia and China with lethal missile systems and expand its geopolitical grip bringing the world closer to nuclear Armageddon.

        That's what Washington wants, and that's why the crisis on the peninsula will continue to boil.



        13)  Trump Moves to End DACA and Calls on Congress to Act

         SEPT. 5, 2017



        WASHINGTON — President Trump on Tuesday ordered an end to the Obama-era executive action that shields young undocumented immigrants from deportation and called on Congress to replace the policy with legislation before it fully expires on March 5, 2018.

        The government will no longer accept new applications from undocumented immigrants to shield them from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, administration officials announced Tuesday. But officials said about 800,000 current beneficiaries of the program will not be immediately affected by what they called an "orderly wind down" of former President Barack Obama's policy.

        President Trump signaled the move early Tuesday morning in a tweet, then Attorney General Jeff Sessions formally announced the move to shift the responsibility for the immigration issue to lawmakers.

        "The program known as DACA that was effectuated under the Obama administration is being rescinded," Mr. Sessions told reporters, adding that "The policy was implemented unilaterally, to great controversy and legal concern."

        Mr. Sessions called the Obama-era policy an "open-ended circumvention of immigration laws" and an unconstitutional use of executive authority. "The executive branch through DACA deliberately sought to achieve what the legislative branch specifically refused to authorize on multiple occasions," he said.

        "The nation must set and enforce a limit on how many immigrants we accept each year, and that means all cannot be accepted."

        Elaine Duke, the acting Homeland Security secretary, said in a statement that Mr. Trump chose to "wind the program down in an orderly fashion that protects beneficiaries in the near-term while working with Congress to pass legislation."

        The announcement was an effort by Mr. Trump to honor his campaign pledge to end Mr. Obama's immigration policy, while avoiding an immediate termination of protections and work permits for the so-called "dreamers," many of whom have lived in the United States since they were small children.

        "We are people of compassion, and we are people of law, but there is nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration law," Mr. Sessions said.

        Referring to Mr. Trump's campaign promise to immediately terminate DACA, Mr. Sessions said Tuesday's action was what "the president had promised to do," adding that Mr. Trump "has delivered to the American people."

        But the announcement formally started the clock on revoking legal status from those protected under the five-year-old program.

        Officials said some of the current immigrants already receiving protection under the Obama-era plan will be able to renew their two-year period of legal status until October 5. But the announcement means that if Congress fails to act, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children could face deportation as early as March to countries where many of them have never lived.

        Immigration officials said that they do not intend to actively target the young immigrants as priorities for deportation, though without the program's protection, the immigrants are considered subject to removal from the United States and would no longer be able to work legally.

        Homeland Security officials said no specific guidance would be issued to agents to shield the young undocumented immigrants from deportation. It would be up to Congress to extend such protection, they said.

        Still, the president was conflicted until the end about how to address the plight of dreamers, waffling repeatedly in recent days about how to phase out the program.

        As late as one hour before the decision was to be announced, administration officials privately expressed concern that Mr. Trump might not fully grasp the details of the steps he was about to take, and when he discovered their full impact, would change his mind, according to a person familiar with their thinking who spoke on condition of anonymity without authorization to comment on it.

        Mr. Trump's action is certain to be met with condemnation from immigration advocacy groups, who have characterized it as a coldhearted move that would yield no benefit to the nation while endangering nearly a million young people raised in the United States who are seeking to work and pay taxes.

        One such group, United We Dream, tweeted back at Mr. Trump Tuesday morning, urging him not to take action against DACA.

        The president's move is also likely to be greeted with skepticism and frustration by many of his most conservative supporters, who had expected that Mr. Trump would put a permanent end to what they view as an illegal abuse of executive authority by former President Barack Obama to grant amnesty to undocumented immigrants.

        And it is unclear whether the Republican-controlled Congress will be willing to pass legislative protections for the young, undocumented immigrants. Republicans have repeatedly blocked similar legislation from passage for more than a decade.

        Speaker Paul D. Ryan recently suggested that he believes Congress should handle the issue, saying that "this is something that Congress has to fix."

        But more conservative members of Mr. Ryan's caucus are certain to oppose such moves, supported by loud, anti-immigrant hawks who dominate talk radio and conservative news programs.

        Even in the bitter immigration debates of the past decade, children who were illegally brought to the United States at young ages by their parents, and who graduated from high school or sought to enter the military, have held a sympathetic place in the conversation.

        They were branded as Dreamers for their inspiring personal stories and regarded by members of both parties as deserving of a special status. Opinion polls have found the public overwhelmingly supports granting them some form of legal standing that allows them to stay and work in the country where they were raised.

        Mr. Trump, who made his hard-line immigration stance a calling card of his presidential campaign, savaged Mr. Obama for taking executive action in 2012 to protect Dreamers, calling his action unconstitutional and illegal, and vowing to immediately terminate the program if he won the White House.

        But Mr. Obama made a personal appeal to his successor about the program and said it was one of the few initiatives he would speak out to defend after leaving office. And after being sworn in, Mr. Trump began to equivocate, musing aloud about the fate of "these incredible kids," and promising to deal with them with "great heart" even as his core supporters complained that he was betraying an important campaign promise.

        In recent weeks, his dilemma has grown more dramatic, after 10 state attorneys general wrote to Mr. Sessions, threatening to mount a legal challenge to DACA unless the administration phased out the program by Sept. 5. In a recent meeting at the White House, Mr. Sessions informed Mr. Trump he would not defend what he considered an unconstitutional order in court, according to people familiar with the conversation, and numerous officials at the White House and the Department of Homeland Security made the case to the president that his administration would look foolish if it argued in favor of preserving it.

        In June, the administration ended a similar program Mr. Obama created in 2014 to expand eligibility for DACA and give legal status to as many as five million parents of citizens and legal permanent residents. That order was blocked by a legal challenge by the State of Texas, and the Supreme Court announced last year that it had deadlocked on the case, 4 to 4.

        The attorneys general said if Mr. Trump did not take similar action to terminate DACA, they would amend the Texas lawsuit to include it and work to have a court overturn the program along with the other two.

        As rumors about Mr. Trump's impending move to end DACA ran rampant in recent days, advocacy groups and progressive activists agitated strongly against the decision, warning that it would be particularly divisive in the wake of the racially charged violence in Charlottesville, Va., last month.



        14) Houston and a Humanitarian Society

        Our collective response to the Houston tragedy is proof that greed and capitalism aren't the only ways to run society

        By Paul Buchheit

        AlterNet, September 4, 2017


        In the worst moments of the tragedy in Houston, something remarkable about America burst into view, as government, business, military, and especially ordinary citizens put aside thoughts of personal gain and dedicated themselves to the needs of their fellow human beings and their animals.

        People in Texas and around the nation pitched in, through their labors and donations: neighbors and first responders saved lives; the Red Cross and other charitable organizations, including local churches, brought food, supplies and medicine to hurricane victims; many GoFundMe initiatives were set up; the business community (especially furniture man Jim McIngvale) donated their goods and services; government officials remained focused on the people they were elected to represent; and even the military contributed with rescue helicopters. No one seemed to care about the skin color, religion or politics of those in need. 

        The empathy and cooperative spirit—some might call it socialism—that gripped America was delightful to behold. But soon, we return to reality. 

        Capitalism has no incentive to help the poor, the victims of disaster, or even children 

        The New York Times summarized, "The free market often does a terrible job of providing basic services to the poor—see, for instance, the lack of grocery stores and banks in many low-income neighborhoods."

        It is we the taxpayers who support the children, elderly and disabled who make up the great majority of the recipients of life-sustaining programs. The business world has little incentive to safeguard the population against pollution and industrial poisons, or to maintain infrastructure in the inner cities and rural townships, or to make sure everyone has the opportunity for a living-wage job. And except for brief surges of generosity after cataclysmic events, big corporations have little incentive to provide for the long-term well-being of people struck down by catastrophe. Large corporations also avoid many of the taxes needed to fund federal disaster programs. 

        Perhaps worst of all, there is little capitalist motivation to secure the lives of children. Righteous conservatives rally behind the unborn, but say little about the excessive deaths of children being born in the U.S. Our infant mortality rate is among the highest in the developed world.

        The disregard for the lives of children reflects a disdain for poor women in America: their children are more likely to die than poor mothers in other countries. 

        How capitalism kills 

        Drugs and depression: As the pharmaceutical industry keeps pushing opioids, Americans are suffering "deaths of despair" from drugs, alcohol and suicide. One out of every six Americans has taken a psychiatric drug such as an antidepressant or sedative in the past year. About 75 percent of heroin addicts used prescription opioids before turning to heroin, which is killing people at a rate three times greater than just seven years ago.

        Americans are also dying from alcoholism at a record rate. Suicide is at its highest level in 30 years.

        Job stress 

        The suicide rate is also clearly linked to unemployment and deteriorating work conditions, especially since the 2008 recession. 

        Dirty air and water 

        By one estimate, fossil fuels kill more people around the world every year than wars, murders and traffic accidents combined. Up to 4.5 million deaths each year are linked to our carbon-intensive economy. 

        Killing the public trust 

        The public response to the devastation in Houston shows the perseverance and efficiency of people working together for a common purpose. The same should be encouraged in public education, health care and affordable housing.

        Instead, we have profit-seekers promoting forms of "school choice" that eliminate the poorest and neediest students, while draining money from the public system, even as state governments continue to cut school funding. We have a privatized healthcare system that spends more and performs more poorly than most other developed countries. We have hardly any places in the U.S. where a working-class family can afford housing, and yet the federal housing budget is targeted for a cutback. 

        In capitalist America, we even face the absurdity of proposed budget cuts for FEMA and National Flood Insurance, both of immeasurable importance after Hurricane Harvey, and inevitably to the victims of future natural disasters. 

        Despite the overwhelmingly caring and cooperative response to the Houston tragedy, we face the continuing absurdity of a winner-take-all capitalist system trying to convince us that the words "public" and "social" are somehow un-American. That is twisted thinking. America at its best is a community of people working together without visions of dollar signs in their eyes. 

        Paul Buchheit is the author of Disposable Americans (2017). He is an advocate for social and economic justice. His essays, videos, and poems can be found at YouDeserveFacts.org.

        AlterNet, September 4, 2017




        15) Capitalism, the State and the Drowning of America

        —Counter Punch, September 8, 2017


        As Hurricane Harvey lashed Texas, Naomi Klein wasted no time in diagnosing the "real root causes" behind the disaster, indicting "climate pollution, systemic racism, underfunding of social services, and overfunding of police." A day after her essay appeared, George Monbiot argued that no one wants to ask the tough questions about the coastal flooding spawned during Hurricane Harvey because to do so would be to challenge capitalism—a system wedded to "perpetual growth on a finite planet"—and call into question the very foundations of "the entire political and economic system."

        Of the two choices, I vote for Monbiot's interpretation. Nearly forty years ago, the historian Donald Worster in his classic study of one of the worst natural disasters in world history, the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, wrote that capitalism, which he understood as an economic culture founded on maximizing imperatives and a determination to treat nature as a form of capital, "has been the decisive factor in this nation's use of nature."

        Care must be taken not to imagine capitalism as a timeless phenomenon. Capitalism has a history and that history is important if we are to properly diagnose what happened recently in Texas and is about to happen as Hurricane Irma bears down on Florida. What we need to understand is how capitalism has managed to reproduce itself since the Great Depression, but in a way that has put enormous numbers of people and tremendous amounts of property in harm's way along the stretch from Texas to New England.

        The production of risk began during the era of what is sometimes called regulated capitalism between the 1930s and the early 1970s. This form of capitalism with a "human face" involved state intervention to ensure a modicum of economic freedom but it also led the federal government to undertake sweeping efforts to control nature. The motives may well have seemed pure. But the efforts to control the natural world, though they worked in the near term, are beginning to seem inadequate to the new world we currently inhabit. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built reservoirs to control floods in Houston just as it built other water-control structures during the same period in New Orleans and South Florida. These sweeping water-control exploits laid the groundwork for massive real estate development in the post–World War II era.

        All along the coast from Texas to New York and beyond developers plowed under wetlands to make way for more building and more impervious ground cover. But the development at the expense of marsh and water could never have happened on the scale it did without the help of the American state. Ruinous flooding of Houston in 1929 and 1935 compelled the Corps of Engineers to build the Addicks and Barker Dams. The dams combined with a massive network of channels—extending today to over 2,000 miles—to carry water off the land, and allowed Houston, which has famously eschewed zoning, to boom during the postwar era.

        The same story unfolded in South Florida. A 1947 hurricane caused the worst coastal flooding in a generation and precipitated federal intervention in the form of the Central and Southern Florida Project. Again, the Corps of Engineers set to work transforming the land. Eventually a system of canals that if laid end to end would extend all the way from New York City to Las Vegas crisscrossed the southern part of the peninsula. Life for the more than five million people who live in between Orlando and Florida Bay would be unimaginable without this unparalleled exercise in the control of nature.

        It is not simply that developers bulldozed wetlands with reckless abandon in the postwar period. The American state paved the way for that development by underwriting private accumulation.

        Concrete was the capitalist state's favored medium. But as the floods mounted in the 1960s, it turned to non-structural approaches meant to keep the sea at bay. The most famous program along these lines was the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) established in 1968, a liberal reform that grew out of the Great Society. The idea was that the federal government would oversee a subsidized insurance program for homeowners and in return state and local municipalities would impose regulations to keep people and property out of harm's way.

        At the same time that the U.S. government launched the NFIP, a Keynesian crisis that would extend over the course of the next decade-and-a-half began to unfold. Declining corporate profits were brought on by rising wages, mounting class conflict, escalating competition from Japan and western Europe, and increased consumer and environmental regulation. The profit squeeze combined with stagflation and widespread fiscal problems to produce major economic dislocation.

        A new form of capitalism began to slowly emerge as business responded to the crisis. Major institutional change occurred in the global economy, in the relationship between capital and labor, and most important for our concerns here, in the state's role in economic life. In the early 1970s the Business Roundtable was established as a corporate lobbying group. Among its tasks was to undermine various forms of consumer and environmental regulation.

        This was the context for the assault on the liberal flood insurance program. By the 1990s, under the Clinton Administration, the pretense of regulating land use on the local level was all but dismissed in favor of a policy that simply encouraged localities to do the right thing to ensure the safety of people and property. It is not an accident that one of the worst-hit developments in Houston—southern Kingwood—was built in the last years of the twentieth century and the aughts right in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's designated 100-year floodplain.

        Nor is there anything the least bit natural in how cities in the postwar United States have functioned as profitable sites for capital accumulation. Developers have been able to derive profits from capitalist urbanization in coastal locations because of what was effectively a giant subsidy by the American state.

        Flirtation with disaster is, in a sense, the essence of neoliberal capitalism, a hyperactive form of this exploitative economic order that seems to know no limits. Some might find comfort in the words of Alexander Cockburn: "A capitalism that thrives best on the abnormal, on disasters, is by definition in decline."

        Others, myself included, worry that the current organization of this market economy to benefit the interests of capitalists, with its blind, utopian faith in the price mechanism, is likely to head in precisely the direction that the economic historian Karl Polanyi predicted in 1944. An institutional arrangement organized around a "self-adjusting market," he warned, "could not exist for any length of time without annihilating the human and natural substance of society; it would have physically destroyed man and transformed his surroundings into a wilderness."

        Ted Steinberg teaches history at Case Western Reserve University. He is the author of Acts of God: The Unnatural History of Natural Disaster in America.



        16)  Activists disrupt entry of Israeli weapons to London arms fair

        Asa Winstanley Activism and BDS Beat 6 September 2017



        Protesters attempted to stop Israeli weapons entering a massive arms fair in London on Monday.

        Activists are this week protesting the event as it sets up shop. The conference showcases the arms industries of countries all over the world, including notorious human rights abusers like Saudi Arabiaand Israel.

        The Defence and Security Equipment International exhibition, or DSEI – which advertises itself as "the world leading" arms industry fair – opens for business next week.

        Amnesty International and London Mayor Sadiq Khan have both called for the event to be scrapped.

        On Monday, activists carrying Palestinian flags and banners delayed the entry of trucks into the ExCel Centre, where the event is held.

        "Illegal and immoral"

        The Campaign Against the Arms Trade, or CAAT, reported that some activist even boarded one of the trucks, attempting to stop it proceeding.

        According to CAAT, the truck was carrying a military vehicle know as a SandCatmade by the Israeli company Plasan.

        The group said police arrested eight people on Monday. The activists were released later in the day but it is not clear if they will be prosecuted.

        Protester Sarah Wilkinson told The Electronic Intifada that she had been supporting Palestine for nearly 40 years. She said the British government should "stop supporting Israel" and its "illegal and immoral" actions. "It's our duty to be there to protest for Palestine," she said.

        On Tuesday, disruptions continued, with some activists suspending themselves from a bridge, intending to block a road leading to the arms fair.

        CAAT said that 15 more protesters were arrested on Tuesday.

        "Shut it down"

        Andrew Smith of the Campaign Against the Arms Trade said of the the arms fair that it was "time to shut it down for good."

        The London fair "will bring many of the world's most appalling regimes together with the biggest arms companies," Smith added. "Right now UK fighter jets and bombs are playing a central role in the destruction of Yemen; what will be the next atrocity they are used in?"

        According to the Campaign Against the Arms Trade, past DSEI events have attracted military delegations from abusive regimes including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan and Bahrain.

        Like other Israeli arms firms, Plasan advertises its weapons as "field proven" – in other words they have been tested on Palestinians.

        The firm is based in Sasa, a kibbutz established on the land of a destroyed Palestinian village in the Galilee.

        In 1948, Zionist militias attacked the village, forcing out the population in an orgy of destruction that killed dozens.

        According to right-wing Israeli historian Benny Morris, the Israeli forces committed "atrocities" against the civilian population.

        Kibbutz Sasa – named after the Palestinian village it erased – was established in 1949 as a Jews-only colony by the supposedly "socialist" Hashomer Hatzair Zionist movement.



















































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