The Oscar Grant Foundation is hosting the 9th Annual Oscar Grant Vigil "Speak Up and Judge Fairly" on January 1, 2018 from 12 p.m. - 4 p.m. at the Fruitvale Bart Station.

The Oscar Grant Foundation (OGF) was established on August 13, 2010, as a Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation.  It was organized after the criminal trial and subsequent conviction of former B.A.R.T. Police Officer Johannes Mehserle for the January 1, 2009 unlawful killing of Oscar Julius Grant III.  Oscar's mother, Rev. Wanda R. Johnson, now heads the Foundation, and its mission is to help bridge the gap of distrust between individuals in at-risk communities and law enforcement.

See flyer below for more information:




From Clifford Conner

Dear friends and relatives

Every day the scoundrels who have latched onto Trump to push through their rightwing soak-the-poor agenda inflict a new indignity on the human race.  Today they are conspiring to steal the tips we give servers in restaurants.  The New York Times editorial appended below explains what they're trying to get away with now.

People like you and me cannot compete with the Koch brothers' donors network when it comes to money power.  But at least we can try to avoid putting our pittance directly into their hands.  Here is a modest proposal:  Whenever you are in a restaurant where servers depend on tips for their livelihoods, let's try to make sure they get what we give them.

Instead of doing the easy thing and adding the tip into your credit card payment, GIVE CASH TIPS and HAND THEM DIRECTLY TO YOUR SERVER. If you want to add a creative flourish such as including a preprinted note that explains why you are doing this, by all means do so.  You could reproduce the editorial below for their edification.

If you want to do this, be sure to check your wallet before entering a restaurant to make sure you have cash in appropriate denominations.

This is a small act of solidarity with some of the most exploited members of the workforce in America.  Perhaps its symbolic value could outweigh its material impact.  But to paraphrase the familiar song: What the world needs now is solidarity, sweet solidarity.

If this idea should catch on, be prepared for news stories about restaurant owners demanding that servers empty their pockets before leaving the premises at the end of their shifts.  The fight never ends!

Yours in struggle and solidarity,


The Trump Administration to Restaurants: Take the Tips!

The New York Times editorial board, December 21, 2017

Most Americans assume that when they leave a tip for waiters and bartenders, those workers pocket the money. That could become wishful thinking under a Trump administration proposal that would give restaurants and other businesses complete control over the tips earned by their employees.

The Department of Labor recently proposed allowing employers to pool tips and use them as they see fit as long as all of their workers are paid at least the minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour nationally and higher in some states and cities. Officials argue that this will free restaurants to use some of the tip money to reward lowly dishwashers, line cooks and other workers who toil in the less glamorous quarters and presumably make less than servers who get tips. Using tips to compensate all employees sounds like a worthy cause, but a simple reading of the government's proposal makes clear that business owners would have no obligation to use the money in this way. They would be free to pocket some or all of that cash, spend it to spiff up the dining room or use it to underwrite $2 margaritas at happy hour. And that's what makes this proposal so disturbing.

The 3.2 million Americans who work as waiters, waitresses and bartenders include some of the lowest-compensated working people in the country. The median hourly wage for waiters and waitresses was $9.61 an hour last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Further, there is a sordid history of restaurant owners who steal tips, and of settlements in which they have agreed to repay workers millions of dollars.

Not to worry, says the Labor Department, which argues, oddly and unconvincingly, that workers will be better off no matter how owners spend the money. Enlarging dining rooms, reducing menu prices or offering paid time off should be seen as "potential benefits to employees and the economy over all." The department also assures us that owners will funnel tip money to employees because workers would quit otherwise.

t is hard to know how much time President Trump's appointees have spent with single mothers raising two children on a salary from a workaday restaurant in suburban America, seeing how hard it is to make ends meet without tips. What we do know is that the administration has produced no empirical cost-benefit analysis to support its proposal, which is customary when the government seeks to make an important change to federal regulations.

The Trump administration appears to be rushing this rule through — it has offered the public just 30 days to comment on it — in part to pre-empt the Supreme Court from ruling on a 2011 Obama-era tipping rule. The department's new proposal would do away with the 2011 rule. The restaurant industry has filed several legal challenges to that regulation, which prohibits businesses from pooling tips and sharing them with dishwashers and other back-of-the-house workers. Different federal circuit appeals courts have issued contradictory rulings on those cases, so the industry has asked the Supreme Court to resolve those differences; the top court has not decided whether to take that case.

Mr. Trump, of course, owns restaurants as part of his hospitality empire and stands to benefit from this rule change, as do many of his friends and campaign donors. But what the restaurant business might not fully appreciate is that their stealth attempt to gain control over tips could alienate and antagonize customers. Diners who are no longer certain that their tips will end up in the hands of the server they intended to reward might leave no tip whatsoever. Others might seek to covertly slip cash to their server. More high-minded restaurateurs would be tempted to follow the lead of the New York restaurateur Danny Meyer and get rid of tipping by raising prices and bumping up salaries.

By changing the fundamental underpinnings of tipping, the government might well end up destroying this practice. But in doing so it would hurt many working-class Americans, including people who believed that Mr. Trump would fight for them.



What They Aren't Telling You About The J20 Trial That Could Change America

Six Trump inauguration protesters currently face DECADES in jail for simply being at a protest where OTHER PEOPLE were violent. This trial is flying under the radar of most corporate media and will set a massive precedent for future protest-related convictions. Whether you're for or against Trump, you should be against the criminalization of dissent.




Christmas and the Contradictions of Capitalists Who Celebrate It

By Mark P. Francher, December 13, 2017


"Oppressed communities around the world need to divorce themselves from empires."

On Christmas morning, many major shareholders and executives of oil companies, weapons manufacturers, mining corporations and other enterprises that are part of the military-industrial complex will rise with their families and spend a day feasting and trading obscenely expensive gifts. It is, of course, possible they will say an obligatory prayer of thanksgiving, but there will be scant mention, let alone in-depth consideration of the life of the individual whose birthday has become the annual excuse for the capitalist system to wage a no-holds-barred campaign to promote among working people and the poor a lust for material excess, waste and mindless consumption.

Corporate big shots will not consider that the little baby born in Bethlehem about 2,050 years ago grew into a man who found himself in the midst of a revolutionary maelstrom. He watched as an overseas empire headquartered in Rome deployed its military troops and enforcers to occupied Palestine where they went house-to-house extorting the meager financial resources of desperately poor people and torturing and killing those who resisted. Modern day capitalists will not think about the guerrilla fighters ("Zealots") who ambushed and killed Roman soldiers. Nor will they contemplate that at least one of these fighters was recruited into Jesus' trusted circle of disciples.

"Jesus walked streets teeming with ragged, disease-ridden, starving people who were made this way by Roman imperialism."

Expensive art collections of today's wealthy families contain Renaissance paintings of a sanitized, idealized First Century Palestine where a delicate, nicely-groomed white Jesus moved easily through idyllic grassy pastures attired in pastel silk robes and sandals. On Christmas morning it will be these Biblical fantasy images that will float through the minds of corporate executives rather than thoughts of the real Palestine that Jesus experienced. Jesus walked streets teeming with ragged, disease-ridden, starving people who were made this way by Roman imperialism. As for Jesus himself, we don't know precisely what he looked like, but we do know he was not the white man in Renaissance paintings. To escape death, the baby Jesus was taken into Africa to hide. It was not a place where a white infant would blend into the local population.

While it is likely capitalists will consider none of these facts about the historical Jesus on Christmas, it is practically certain that as they piously sing Christmas carols about a figure they claim to worship, they will fail to see the parallels between the Roman Empire and 21st Century U.S. imperialism. They will definitely fail to acknowledge the blood on their own hands, and the fact that Jesus would point an accusing finger at them for their role in oppressing and killing the people he loves.

"Today's wealthy families idealize a delicate, nicely-groomed white Jesus who moved easily through idyllic grassy pastures attired in pastel silk robes and sandals."

At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus proclaimed that his mission was to fulfill prophesy and preach the good news to the poor, heal broken hearts, preach deliverance to captives, restore sight to the blind and to set the prisoners free. By contrast, corporate executives practice a religion of greed and materialism that causes hopelessness, despair and frustration among the poor. The U.S. Empire holds captive numerous political prisoners and it leads the world in maintaining a soul-killing, racist, mass incarceration enterprise.

Jesus was not as preoccupied as were his revolutionary comrades with the troubles of this world. From his perspective our journey on this planet was a momentary experience leading to an eternal life in the hereafter. Thus, his first priority was saving souls. But he also had compassion for the people around him and he understood the need for effective resistance to oppressive forces. His approach is one that oppressed people in the current era -- particularly the people of Africa and the African Diaspora -- would do well to emulate. He simply divorced his community from the empire.

"The U.S. Empire leads the world in maintaining a soul-killing, racist, mass incarceration enterprise."

When Jesus' foes attempted to trick him by giving him the Hobson's choice of either telling his followers to pay taxes to Rome or to instead become tax resisters, Jesus recognized the contrived dilemma. Calling on a bitter, angry oppressed community to pay taxes to the empire would destroy his credibility. Urging tax resistance would bring down the heavy hand of the empire prematurely. He brilliantly responded by essentially saying that if Rome wants the coins it minted, give them back. But coins are only objects that represent labor, time, industry, talent, loyalty and energy. Jesus said those things belong only to God, and the empire was not entitled to receive them.

Members of the First Century Christian community divorced themselves from the Roman Empire and totally committed themselves to their own community. Whatever resources they possessed, financial and otherwise, were placed in a communal treasury. Likewise as individuals had material needs, they withdrew from the treasury the resources that they needed. In this way they eliminated poverty. This simple, but effective method of organizing an economy was not lost, and was expressed many years later in the familiar axiom: "From each according to his abilities and to each according to his needs."

Oppressed communities around the world need to divorce themselves from empires. While imperialism controls many of their natural and financial resources, whatever other financial resources these communities possess, as well as political commitment, skills, talent, time, and energy must be held in common and shared for revolutionary purposes. If the revolutionary vision is of a society that shares, then the practice of sharing must be part of even the earliest stages of a revolutionary process.

Mark P. Fancher is an attorney who writes frequently for Black Agenda Report. He is the author of: I Ain't Got Tired Yet: The Spiritual Battles of Enslaved African Christians and their Descendants. He can be contacted at mfancher(at)Comcast.net.



Working people are helping to feed the poor hungry corporations! 

Charity for the Wealthy!

GOP Tax Plan Would Give 15 of America's Largest Corporations a $236B Tax Cut: Report

By Jake Johnson, December 18, 2017






The decision of the Trump administration to declare that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and that the US will move its embassy to Jerusalem is a violation of the rights of the Palestinian people, of international law and a number of United Nations resolutions. It is a bipartisan action which is supported by most Democrats and Republicans in Congress and by past presidents from both parties.  It once again affirms Washington's support for the brutal Zionist regime in Israel and its genocidal policies towards the Palestinian people.

The 1947 UN resolution on Palestine took away half of the land of the Palestinian people and gave it to Zionist leaders for a Jewish state.  It proclaimed Jerusalem would have a special international administration, recognizing the fact that it held a special standing for the various religions of the people in the region and around the world.  These policies were a direct violation of the rights of the Palestinian people.  But this was not enough for the Zionist regime.  They wanted all of the land of the Palestinian people and so, through a series of military actions and discriminatory policies, much of the Palestinian population was driven from the land and multi-generations today live as refugees in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and other countries of the Palestinian diaspora.  The land that was left for the Palestinian people within Palestine has been continually encroached upon, with illegal Jewish-only settlements, destruction and seizure of Palestinian property and land, and the setting up of walls and Jewish-only roads and check points for Palestinians, restricting their movement in their own country.  Gaza has become an open-air prison, with the densely packed population refused the right to freely leave Gaza while the Israeli government controls how much food, drinkable water, building materials, electricity and other necessities will be allowed for the beleaguered people to minimally survive.

This most recent move of the Trump administration, knowingly provoking a backlash wreaking more violence and oppression on the Palestinian people, fully exposes Washington's unqualified backing for Israel's apartheid regime.  This latest outrage must be opposed throughout the United States and the world.  We urge all to join these protests or to build actions in your communities.

Return Jerusalem to the Palestinian people!

Free Gaza!

Support Self-Determination and the Right of Return for all Palestinians!

Solidarity with Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against the Zionist State of Israel!

End all US aid to Israel!

Support UNAC

As we come to the end of another year with the escalation of wars at home and abroad, UNAC asks you to donate generously to keep our urgent work going and to keep the antiwar movement strong (https://www.unacpeace.org/donate.html).  UNAC is a broad coalition of peace and justice activist organizations.  We are growing, but we depend on the support of people like you to build the kind of united mass movements that can truly make a difference [read more]

Visit the UNAC Blog:


Please contribute to UNAC:  https://www.unacpeace.org/donate.html

If your organization would like to join the UNAC coalition, please click here: https://www.unacpeace.org/join.html

To unsubscribe from this list, please send an email to UNAC-unsubscribe@lists.riseup.net




Addicted to War:

And this does not include "…spending $1.25 trillion dollars to modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and $566 billion to build the Navy a 308-ship fleet…" 


Dear Comrades, attached is some new art, where Xinachtli really outdid himself some.

Kaepernick sports new T-shirt:

Love this guy!




Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:











Save the San Francisco Bay View Newspaper

From: SF Bay View <editor@sfbayview.com>

Date: December 19, 2017 at 6:42:58 PM PST

To: SF Bay View <sfbayview@lists.riseup.net>

Subject: [sfbayview] Bay View faces loss and challenge

Reply-To: SF Bay View <editor@sfbayview.com>

Bay View faces loss and challenge

With profound sadness, we bid farewell to Troy Williams, who we'd hoped would lead the Bay View's regeneration and build it into the New York Times of the Prison Abolition Movement he envisioned. Our challenge today is survival; we must face the fact that the fate of the Bay View is in your hands. To grow the number of hands willing to help, please share this message far and wide.

Please keep reading. There may not be a January paper without your help.

The problem: Advertising revenue is down for all newspapers still in print including the Bay View. Each monthly Bay View paper used to carry its own weight, with ads sufficient to pay the basic expenses of printing, distribution and mailing – and then some. Not any more. In 2017, total income from all sources – ads, subscriptions and donations – averaged only $8,000 per month. Those three basic expenses total almost $7,000 a month, and the Ratcliffs' social security barely covers the rent and a bit of the utilities.

People always ask, "Why not go web-only, like Black Agenda Report," an excellent and very influential source of news and analysis. The Bay View's role is different. The Bay View is the only publication in the country widely distributed both inside prison and out. Of the 20,000 papers we print every month, 3,000 are mailed to subscribers in prisons around the country (who pass them around to thousands more) and the other 17,000 are distributed in hoods around the Bay. 

Therein lies the solution:  The millions of people in prison and the hoods are our FREEDOM FIGHTERS. From the most intense oppression, like diamonds from coal, comes an unquenchable thirst for liberation – and the Bay View gives that force a voice and an organizing network. As a result, the Prison Abolition Movement is burgeoning everywhere and, to its leaders, the Bay View is essential. Similar energy in the hoods is making the Bay View fly off the stands faster than ever. 

Subscription revenue is way up, but at just $24 for a year, that income is a big help but it's not sufficient to pay the big bills. For that, we need more advertising and donations. 

Advertising – Are you or your friends or colleagues organizing an event for Martin Luther King Day in January or Black History Month in February? Email your flier or postcard and we'll quote you an affordable price for running it in the Bay View. Same for agencies and nonprofits with goods or services our readers should know about. Special low prices apply to Religious Directory ads and Black Pockets Directory ads for professionals and entrepreneurs. Call 415-671-0789 today to discuss an advertising campaign to support your project and your newspaper.

Donations – Hit the DONATE button near the top left side of the Bay View homepage to make a big donation if you're able or a smaller recurring donation. More and more readers are doing that, keeping the Bay View alive. The Bay View also has a nonprofit arm, so your donation can be tax deductible; read all about it HERE. I repeat: There may not be a January paper without your help. At the moment, we are flat broke.

The Ratcliffs are "older than dirt" and need to pass the torch to new leadership and a real newspaper staff. For that, we need a major fund drive. We hear about successful social media drives. Are you an expert on that or want to learn? Email editor@sfbayview.com to volunteer for a fundraising or development committee, and let's make it happen!

Good news: new website coming soon – An expert website designer is volunteering to build the Bay View a new website that can easily be read on your mobile device. A beautiful new website should convince potential donors, advertisers and subscribers that the Bay View will outlive the Ratcliffs!

Indulge in some recent stories and discover new ones every day at sfbayview.com ...

News & Views

Ajit Pai is a serious enemy to the masses. He heads the FCC. He led the charge to strip the internet of net neutrality protections, and you will soon see drastic changes that will disenfranchise and strip power from millions of people who depend upon on the internet. Net neutrality is what makes the Internet such a powerful platform. It's a democratizing aspect. We are all one click away for any user wishing to access our material. The million-dollar company and the poor blogger are accessible by all. The excuse to end net neutrality is that we should not have regulations. The long term impact is to keep the ability to communicate to the masses in the hands of a few who are rich, powerful and in position to afford full access.

Veteran acquitted in self-defense case – jurors speak out against injustice

A veteran accused of going overboard when fighting back against his attacker was acquitted of all charges – and jurors are choosing to speak out about the injustice of his case, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced today. A jury on Dec. 14 acquitted Darryl J'Eronn. If convicted, J'Eronn faced up to seven years in state prison. Jurors, who were outraged J'Eronn was charged, took less than 10 minutes to decide to acquit him.


The height of racial resentment: White cops

If white voters are racially resentful and if their resentments remain consequential for their selections at the ballot box, we might wish to understand who among the white population in the U.S. evinces the most racially resentful and racially conservative attitudes and why. Some recent sociological work has examined this question and found at least one primary suspect: white police officers.

Soaring thyroid cancer rates north of NYC may be caused by Indian Point nuke plant emissions

The rate of new thyroid cancer cases in the four counties just north of New York City, which was 22 percent below the U.S. rate in the late 1970s, has soared to 53 percent above the U.S. rate. This change may be a result of airborne emissions of radioactive iodine from the two Indian Point nuclear power reactors, at the crossroads of Westchester, Rockland, Orange and Putnam counties, and operating since the mid-1970s. Large increases occurred for both men and women in each county.

Trump oblivious to Black history: An appeal for civil conversation about the civil rights legacy in Mississippi by Dr. Amos C. Brown

The backlash against President Donald Trump's recent visit to the new Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum underscores an issue far more significant than a polarizing president. It was further proof that the wounds from decades upon decades of racial injustice in our nation, and in Mississippi in particular, remain deep. The pain and the sensitivities are ever-present, as is the continued socio-economic oppression that has kept African Americans as second-class citizens.


Let Zimbabwe reflect and regroup by Obi Egbuna

Because of the rapid political transition that has recently taken place in Zimbabwe, this 37-year-old nation's most ardent supporters and defenders, along with its most hateful detractors helped make the resignation of former President and revolutionary icon Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe and the installation of the current President Comrade E.D. Mnangagwa not only Africa's top story, but the primary focus of the entire planet.


Behind Enemy Lines


They say the police said I was a snitch, but what does that make you? by Shaka Shakur

So tell your little neo-fascist friends – who have no life outside of what revolves around these prison plantations – that they're right. As long as we have sick individuals who have lost touch with their own sense of humanity, who play with and destroy our lives, who refuse to see us as human beings deserving of respect, I'm going to keep on so-called snitching! Now, go tell, gossip, chat about that!


Cold disregard: Texas prison guards and University of Texas medical staff ignore excruciatingly painful spider bite by Noah 'Comrade Kado' Coffin

South Texas is testament to the conditions and effects of a rapidly changing climate. Monstrous storms, unprecedented temperatures late into winter time – what has occurred as result of these conditions? The number of birds and bugs now present here on Eastham Unit is astounding. Thousands of roosting birds leave an inch layer of excrement on the recreation cages' concrete floor nightly. The roach, ant and spider population has grown, which brings me to the topic of this exposé.


Tell Gov. Jerry Brown, 'Drop LWOP' by California Coalition for Women Prisoners

We are writing to ask you to join with California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP) in our statewide campaign to DROP LWOP and secure sentence commutations for all those serving Life Without the Possibility of Parole (LWOP). LWOP is an inhumane sentence which denies people the possibility to rehabilitate and change. We are asking Governor Brown to use his executive powers to commute the almost 5,000 people serving LWOP sentences to parole-eligible sentences.


Crossing the electronic prison firewall by Ann Garrison

Six California prisoners wrote to me in 2015 to ask about the Hepatitis C cure, shortly after the San Francisco Bay View newspaper published my interview with activist attorney Peter Erlinder titled "US prisoners sue for constitutional right to lifesaving Hep C cure." They'd been able to read it because the Bay View sends a print edition to prisons all over the country every month. I tried and failed to answer those letters and I've felt bad about it ever since. I would have swiftly responded to all the prisoners who wrote to me about the Hep C cure if I'd been able to send electronic mail.


Thanksgiving on Death Row by Kevin Cooper

As I sit here in a 4½-by-11-foot cage on Thanksgiving Day, I first and foremost am thankful to be alive. On Feb. 10, 2004, I came within three hours and 42 minutes of being strapped down to a gurney, tortured with lethal poison and murdered by volunteer prison-guard executioners. So, yes, I am very thankful to be alive. I am also very thankful for all the people – my legal team, friends, family, supporters and activists working to end the death penalty – who have helped make my being alive possible. I have respectfully asked the governor and others to look at my case with an open mind, outside the legal box that has me close to being killed for murders of which I am innocent.


Culture Currents


Journalist, poet Frank Marshall Davis (1905-1987) fought fascism to cure the disease of American racism

Journalist and poet Frank Marshall Davis is an important voice who channeled his social convictions through the power of the pen, and proved to be an unsung hero in the struggle for human rights. "Frank Marshall Davis established his reputation as a socially minded poet employing free-verse forms." His work has been recognized by the National Poetry Foundation, stating on their website: "Davis concerned himself with portraying Black life, protesting racial inequalities, and promoting Black pride."


Planet Asia

Underground rappers don't get recognized like those who are singing hip hop music today. The underground music is usually done by independent artists who may have a separate label and are known mostly in their communities but also tour worldwide to get their name known. This description suits a particular artist who came from Fresno, California. His name was Asiatic, but he changed it to Planet Asia.

Otis Redding and Muhammad Speaks

Dec. 10, 2017, was the 50th anniversary of Redding's transition. Jay Z and Kanye West introduced the hip-hop generation to Redding in 2011 when they recorded the track, "Otis." Forty-four years before that, Redding was on top – known as the most popular male vocalist on Planet Earth. Redding was so popular in England that he ended Elvis Presley's eight-year reign as the "world's best male vocalist" on Melody Maker's annual pop poll in 1967. According to Amiri Baraka, Redding said things in Muhammad Speaks "more 'radical,' Blacker, than many of the new musicians."

Proud Boys

One of the strangest organizations in the rising "alt-right" movement, the headline-grabbing mix of white supremacism, racism and right-wing populism, has to be Proud Boys. The group takes on something of a libertarian credo similar to that of their founder, former editor and co-founder of Vice Magazine Gavin McInness, and are all-male "Western chauvinists" who "do not apologize for creating the Western world," according to their Facebook group pages.

Wanda's Picks for December 2017

Those of us in the San Francisco Bay Area reflect on the legacy and work that illustrated the life of Queen Mother Makinya Kouate. After Maulana Karenga gave the students from Merritt College a mimeographed sheet with notes about a harvest festival called Kwanzaa, the Oakland-Berkeley team started hosting community Kwanzaas in their homes. Later Sister Makinya would travel to Africa and learn more about harvest festivals


If you want folks to know about your business or service or event, Advertise in the Bay View, online or in print. Call 415-671-0789 any time. We'll make it affordable!

Support SF BayView with a donation to the Prisoners Subscription Fund. Prisoners say, "The Bay View keeps me alive," and hundreds are waiting to be placed on the Bay View mailing list.

Check the Bay View Calendar of Events daily. You're sure to find an event that beckons you to get involved – and many are free!


Find a friend among the Bay View Pen Pals, who write, "I would love to hear my name at mail call."

Looking for a job, a contract, affordable housing or a scholarship or other opportunity? Check theBayView Classifieds today.

Finally, follow the Bay View on Facebook and Twitter – and lead everyone you know to do the same. 

To reach the Bay View, email editor@sfbayview.com

To subscribe to this list, email sfbayview-subscribe@lists.riseup.net.

Mary Ratcliff

SF Bay View

(415) 671-0789



Standing Rock raised the stakes for the global environmental and indigenous rights movements. Now, another victory. A North Dakota judge has ruled that my legal team is entitled to substantially more evidence from the North Dakota State Prosecutor's office than has been forthcoming in other water protector cases. We will be able to take sworn testimony and demand documents from Energy Transfer Partners and their private, militarized security firm, TigerSwan.

The timing on this ruling is important for all environmental protectors. 84 members of Congress—nearly all Republicans—recently sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions encouraging him to invoke the domestic terrorism statute to prosecute fossil fuel protesters. These attacks on our fundamental constitutional rights, spearheaded by Donald Trump and parroted by congressional shills of Big Oil, should deeply concern all citizens who value our right to speak freely and demonstrate.

Our team has produced a new video that explains how I was singled out and targeted—and the justification for our bold legal strategy to expose the illegal and immoral wedding of the fossil fuel industry, law enforcement, and militarized private security forces. You'll see why I took action on behalf of my people, millions of others downstream, and Unci Maka—Grandmother Earth. Please watch it, and share it widely.

Share on Facebook

Don't lose sight of what Standing Rock means. My tribe—one of the poorest communities in the nation—won't stop leading the struggles to protect the earth and freedom of expression. Continue to stand with me, my courageous fellow defendant HolyElk Lafferty, and hundreds of others being represented by our ally organization, the Water Protector Legal Collective. Our fight is your fight—and it is nothing less than the movement to protect freedom and the earth for future generations.

Wopila—I thank you.

Chase Iron Eyes

Lakota People's Law Project Lead Counsel

Lakota People's Law Project

547 South 7th Street #149

Bismarck, ND 58504-5859

United States









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 



Prison Radio UPDATE:

Please sign this petition:

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


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

Judge Orders DA to Produce Complete File for Mumia's Case

Dear Friend,

This just in! Judge Leon Tucker of the Common Pleas Court of Philadelphia has ordered the District Attorney of Philadelphia to produce the entire case file for Cook v. the Commonwealth- the case file in Mumia Abu-Jamal's criminal conviction, by September 21st.

The DA's office has to produce the entire file for "in camera" review in Judge Tucker's chambers. This mean Judge Tucker thinks that a thorough review of all the relevant files is in order! Or in other words, what has been produced under court order from the DA'a office has been woefully deficient.

Judge Tucker worked as an Assistant District Attorney in the late 90's, so he knows what is in -and not in- files. Cook v. the Commonwealth comprises at least 31 boxes of material held by the DA. Will they turn over "all information and the complete file" for Mumia's case, as Judge Tucker has ordered?

This in camera review by Judge Tucker himself means that an independent jurist will personally inspect the documents the DA produces. See the order here.  Stay tuned for more information following September 21. This is just one step in a long walk to freedom. It is a step that has never been taken before.

OPEN the files. Justice Now!



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





Campaign to Stop Modern Day Slavery in Colorado, Demanding Equal Rights to the Under Represented


Petitioning Denver FBI & US Department of Justice

Stop Slavery in Colorado

On May 29, 2008 at approximately 10:00 p.m. Omar Gent was driving in his car headed to the gas station; however was pulled over by local police for what was stated to be a "traffic violation". Omar was then arrested on scene and taken to be identified as the suspect of a local robbery. The victim was shown a photo of Omar Gent (which is illegal) and then was taken to the traffic stop where Omar was already handcuffed in the back of the police car and a one-on-one show up was held at a distance of approximately 20-30 feet; the victim  was unable to identify Omar as the suspect during the first show up.  After given a second show up the victim believed he was 90% sure Omar was the suspect.

Coworkers #1 and #2  were not present at the time of the robbery but were used as witnesses to help identify the suspect. Coworker #1 was also taken to the one-on-one show up and was asked to identify Omar as the suspect and he could not as he stated "I have astigmatism" and was not 100% sure Omar was the man.  Coworker #2 positively identified Omar Gent as the suspect because he stated, "there aren't that many black men in Parker Colorado." At the pretrial suppression of ID/photo line up the victim picked three other black men all with different builds and heights; although prior the victim was "90% sure" he had identified the right man. In addition, Coworker #1 stated during the trial that he was angry when he made the ID because he was ready to go home and coworker #2  told him that it was Omar.

Omar's car was illegally searched without consent or warrant. After his arrest and enduring many hours of integration, Omar asked for an attorney, yet all he received were more questions and did not receive the legal representation requested.  During interrogation, the police tried to coerce Omar to confess to the robbery or else they would throw his family out of their home.  Omar maintained his innocence and did not confess to the crime and as a result the police kept their word. Four Colorado Police Officers forcefully entered Omar's home  and began to search his home without a warrant or consent; Omar's family was present and told police that they were not given permission to enter. The police forced Omar's family out of their home into the Colorado winter night. The police took what they wanted during the illegal search of Omar's home. Omar's family filed a complaint against the city because of the illegal search of their home.  In efforts to conceal the police officers' wrongdoing, the presiding Judge sealed the legit complaint. In addition, the video interrogation showing Omar requesting to have legal representation and police threats to throw his family out of their home unless he confessed was deemed inadmissible in court.

Omar has written proof that he requested a preliminary hearing to challenge the charges of probable cause but he was illegally denied the right--without Omar's knowledge and approval the public defender waived his rights to a preliminary hearing.  Omar was then charged with an infamous felony yet never received a grand jury indictment (which is required by Colorado Bill of Rights for felony charges). Due to the fact that Omar was never indicted, he was subsequently denied his sixth Amendment right (to confront and cross examine witnesses). Omar has been fighting his case by seeking justice for the violation of his civil rights. Help us stop illegal imprisonment in Colorado.

  • This petition will be delivered to:
    • Denver FBI and US Department of Justice 

"Please help us by stopping the mass incarceration in Colorado! Basic civil rights are being violated and we need your help to shed light on this issue." 

Sign then share this petition at: 




Pack the Court for Mumia on January 17!

8-11am, Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center- 1301 Filbert St.

On January 17, Mumia Abu-Jamal's criminal case goes back to court! In a court case that could eventually lead to Mumia Abu-Jamal's freedom, Judge Leon Tucker has ordered the District Attorney's office to present new testimony in reference to Ronald Castille, the former Philadelphia DA and Supreme Court Judge's role in Mumia's criminal conviction.

We need to fill the court room and increase pressure on the DA's office, the court, the DOC and the Governor to release the files in addition to diagnosing and treating Mumia's skin problems.

Friend- we have until December 31st to reach our year-end campaign goal to keep prisoners' voices on the airwaves, and we're just $18,250 away from getting there!

With less than two weeks remaining, now is the time to stand up to corporate media and the U.S. prison system by turning up the volume on prisoners' journalism.

Please show your love and solidarity for people in prison by making a tax-deductible gift to amplify their voices today.

Contribute Now >

In less than 30 days, 142 supporters have stepped up to defend prisoner journalism by raising $17,000 to keep prisoners' voices on the air! Now we need your help to raise the remaining $18,250 to further our reach with recording and distributing uncensored commentaries, journalism and testimony from people in prison. 

Friend, please click here to amplify prisoners' voices with a tax-deductible gift of $35, $100 or even $250 today!

Give $150 or more today, and you'll get a beautiful hand-made messenger bag or yoga mat bag (your pick) made by Sweet Dreams!

Thank you.

Noelle Hanrahan, P.I.

Contribute Now >

PS- Give $150 or more today to defend prisoners' voices, and you'll get a beautiful hand-made messenger bag or yoga mat bag (your pick) made by Sweet Dreams!

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.




stand with reality winner


Since our last legal update, there have been two important developments in Reality's case, giving us some insight into the arguments both sides intend to use in the trial.

The defense continues to build a case against the government's abuse of the Espionage Act, a strategy Reality's lawyers started laying out in their recent bail appeal. Taking that strategy further in a court brief on October 26th, they laid out a strong First Amendment challenge to the government's interpretation of the Espionage Act in cases involving whistleblowers.

If the defense's challenge succeeds, it would strengthen whistleblower protections significantly, and deny the government one of the main tools it uses to silence dissent.

Meanwhile, the government is doubling down on its strategy to put Reality's personality and politics on trial. A court filing, also on October 26th, repeated the same handful of sentence fragments obtained from eavesdropping on Reality's private conversations which the government claims is proof that she "hates America."They go on to make absurd claims about Reality's ability to flee the country while under total surveillance and without a passport, in their ongoing attempt to force her to serve time before she's been convicted of any crime.

Read the rest of the article at Stand With Reality.

STAND WITH REALITY WINNER ~ PATRIOT & ALLEGED WHISTLEBLOWERc/o Courage to Resist, 484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610 ~ 510-488-3559

standwithreality.org ~ facebook.com/standwithreality

STAND WITH REALITY WINNER ~ PATRIOT & ALLEGED WHISTLEBLOWERc/o Courage to Resist, 484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610 ~ 510-488-3559

standwithreality.org ~ facebook.com/standwithreality



Major Tillery — Still Rumbling

October 22— Major Tillery's challenge to his 1985 conviction for a 1976 murder and assault goes to a Pennsylvania Superior Court appeals panel on October 31. Tillery's case is about actual innocence. It highlights Philadelphia's infamous culture of police and prosecutorial misconduct.  The only so-called evidence against him was from lying jailhouse informants who were threatened with false murder prosecutions, and plea and bail deals on pending cases. A favorite inducement for jailhouse informants in the early 1980's was "sex for lies." Homicide detectives brought the informants and their girlfriends to police headquarters for private time in interview rooms for sex.

This is Major Tillery's 34th year in prison on a sentence of life without parole. Over twenty of those years were spent in solitary confinement in some of the harshest federal and state "control units."

"Major Tillery, for many years known as the jailhouse lawyer who led the 1990 Tillery v. Owens prisoners' rights civil case, spawned from unconstitutional conditions at the state prison in Pittsburg, is still rumbling these days, this time for his life as well as his freedom."

- Mumia Abu-Jamal, Major: Battling On 2 Fronts, 9/17/17

This past year the PA Department of Corrections (DOC) acknowledged that Major Tillery has hepatitis C, which has progressed to cirrhosis of the liver. The DOC nonetheless refused to provide treatment, ignoring the federal court ruling in Abu-Jamal v. Wetzel that the DOC's hep-C protocols violate the constitutional requirement to provide prisoners adequate medical care. With the help of the Abolitionist Law Center, Major Tillery is now receiving the anti-viral treatment.

Tillery has been doubly punished in prison for his activism in support of fellow prisoners. His 1990 lawsuit, Tillery v. Owens resulted in federal court orders to the PA Department of Corrections to provide medical and mental health treatment and end double-celling. He challenged the extreme conditions of solitary confinement in the NJ State prison in Trenton, Tillery v. Hayman (2007). His advocacy for Mumia Abu-Jamal in February 2015 helped save Mumia's life. Major Tillery filed grievances for himself and other prisoners suffering from painful and debilitating skin rashes. For these acts of solitary with other prisoners, just months after he re-entered general population from a decade in solitary confinement, Tillery was set up with false prison misconduct charges and given four months back in "the hole." Major Tillery filed a federal retaliation lawsuit against the DOC. Recently, Major succeeded in getting a program for elderly prisoners established at SCI Frackville.

Major Tillery filed a pro se Pennsylvania state post-conviction petition in June 2016 to overturn his 1985 conviction. Just three months later Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker dismissed the petition without even allowing a hearing, stating that it was "untimely."

For his appeals and continuing investigation, Major Tillery now has the pro bono representation of Philadelphia criminal defense attorney Stephen Patrizio:

"I took on Major Tillery's defense, which exposes prosecutorial misconduct in convicting Major Tillery of a nine-year old murder based solely on the testimony of jailhouse informants. This testimony was recanted in the informants' sworn statements that detail the coercion and favors by homicide detectives and prosecutors to manufacture false trial testimony.

"Now the DA's office wants to uphold the unconstitutional application of 'timeliness' restrictions applied to post-conviction petitions to dismiss Major Tillery's petition, arguing he is too late in uncovering that the DA's office knowingly put a lying witness on the stand."

Major Tillery's appeal is to win his "day in court" on his petition based on his innocence and misconduct by the police and prosecution. At the same time, the investigation continues to further uncover the evidence of this misconduct.

Financial help is needed to cover the expenses of the appeal process and continuing investigation.



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 and; 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 and; 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 and; 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 and; 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 and; tell the people the truth about police terror and; 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 and; 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. 








1)  The Ten Plagues

A parable

By Dr. Nayvin Gordon

At a time not so long ago, in a place not so far away, there lay a rich and powerful kingdom. It was a time of frustration and turmoil. The people were agitated as were their representatives who endlessly bickered and fought. Finally a new President was elected by the Election College and installed in the White Castle. The new President could no longer stand the dysfunctional congress and so began to rule by Executive Decree. When he was not signing decrees, he was off playing golf. Over the years the Imperial President grew distant from his people and the land plunged into the dark and turbulent times of "The Ten Plagues."

 The Plague of Lies was the first plague to befall the kingdom.

 One fine day as the President sat at his desk in the White Castle in the town known as Wash-and-DeeCeit, the noon day sun suddenly grew dark as a huge cloud of lies rose from the White Castle, high into the sky. The cloud then settled, thick and sticky, over all the land. For endless days and nights the good people did not know if there was peace or war, more tax or less, global warming or global cooling…they were confused and angry. While they were reeling in confusion the second plague befell them.

The Plague of Blood

Up in the north of the land, in the village known as Flintsville, the people discovered that their drinking water was poisoning their blood. Many fell ill, adults and children too. Quickly people called to ask for clean water. Politicians in Wash-and-DeeCeit said not to worry they would look into the matter. The poor folk were in the midst of finding clean water when the next plague struck the kingdom.

The Plague of White Sheets

One night as the good people slept in their warm beds, beneath the White Castle rose ghosts of a brutal past. A horde of white sheets escaped into the night. They rose through the worms and slime of the earth and what followed them through was a noose knotted rope all braided in red, white and blue. Pausing a moment at the White Castle gate, the hoard was handed torches of hate. The people quickly sought help from Wash-and-DeeCeit. Promptly a tweet did they receive—"There are good people on many sides." 

The Off-shore Plague 

Early one morning, across the land, in small towns and large, people found the factory doors shut tight and locked. A note on the gates read—"We have moved offshore." Desperate for work, many took minimum wage jobs, while others fell into homelessness. The good citizens pleaded with Congress for help. As they waited, the fifth plague silently slipped into the kingdom.

The Plague of Addiction

Overworked and underpaid, the people suffered. They sought help for their pains wherever they could. Pain pills of every size flooded the land as Doctors wrote prescriptions for pains of all kinds. Before long, millions could not live without their opium pills. From across the land friends and family begged for help from Wash-and-DeeCeit, but little helped did they receive.

The Plague of A.I.

A hurricane wind blew Pink Slips across the land and jobs were taken by robots of all kinds. The plague swept through jobs of almost every type—from checkers to truck drivers, from clerks to teachers, pink slips even reached accountants and lawyers. There seemed to be no stopping this plague when the next one was laid.

The Plague of Bloodsuckers

 The Imperial President had spent much of his gold for wars in distant lands. Now he and his billionaire buddies were desperate for cash, so he sent his minions across the land. Like a swarm of mosquitoes, gnats and vampire bats, they sucked the life out of the hard working folk. First they were bitten with fees, taxes, surcharges, fines and debts. Finally they shredded the social safety net. The people were exhausted but had not given up when the next plague struck.

The Plague of Hail

From shore to shining shore, the land had been flooded with guns. Guns were sold to rich and poor, and many were laid low by a hail of gunfire. Both young and old died every day as hands on triggers killed thousands they say. The President was strongly assailed but sadly it was to no avail. 

The Plague of Darkness

The President grew tired of the kingdom's rules and regulations. He ordered the elimination of rules of protection, and the land fell into a period of "Darkness and Deregulation." The air became dark and foul, as poisons by the barrel poured on fields and farms. Toxins leached down to the streams, rivers and sea. Blood-colored dead zones spread across the ocean. The good folk grew sick. Many illnesses did they suffer. Finally the darkness grew so deep that the sun disappeared and the land was plunged into darkness. Thus the final plague did enter the land.

Death of the Firstborn

 As the darkness spread over the land a fungus, not seen before, began to multiply. It grew so fast that it covered the roads, land, and houses. This new fungus gave off a toxin, which caused paranoia to spread across the land. People attacked each other and those with guns began to shoot. Family and friends, neighbors and strangers were shooting and dying. When the air cleared and the sun was bright the fungus began to wither, and the people came to their senses. Only then did they realize that they had killed their firstborn. 

The poor folk cried and grieved throughout the kingdom. 

Their patience had finally been utterly exhausted. Those at work could work no longer and laid down their tools. One by one they took their children, and started to march. They came from all parts of the land. As their numbers swelled into the millions, a human tidal wave flooded into Wash-and-DeeCeit occupying every inch surrounding the White Castle. The people were standing together as far as the eye could see.

 A message was sent to the President: we want gun control and a bright new world. And they waited. Finally The President's minions came before the people with a proclamation. "The Imperial President will hereby immediately halt all production and distribution of guns. When the sun rises we will begin a dialogue with the people."

A great cry of joy rang out across the land. The people rejoiced. The vast millions filling the streets realized that they had forced the President's hand, the greatest ruler of the know world. Tall and proud the mighty people stood, they now knew that there was no power on earth greater than the people standing together as one. 

Now they were free,

Neither plagues nor presidents

Nor pleading on their knees, 

Would keep them from their destiny.

Dr. Gordon, a California Family Physician, has written many articles on health and politics.



2)  In Opioid Battle, Cherokee Want Their Day in Tribal Court

Decimated by addiction, its heritage at risk, the Cherokee Nation is trying to sue pharmacies and distributors. But it may be blocked from doing so.

 DEC. 17, 2017




A medication disposal box at Walgreens Pharmacy in Claremore, Okla. This collection program was among efforts that Walgreens said it was making to combat the opioid crisis.CreditRuth Fremson/The New York Times

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Cherokee children were disappearing.

At weekly staff meetings, Todd Hembree, the attorney general of the Cherokee Nation, kept hearing about babies in opioid withdrawal and youngsters with addicted parents, all being removed from families. The crush on the foster care system was so great that the unthinkable had become inevitable: 70 percent of the Cherokee foster children in Oklahoma had to be placed in the homes of non-Indians.

"We have addicted mothers and fathers who don't give a damn about what their children will carry on," said Mr. Hembree, a descendant of a revered 19th-century chief. "They can't care for themselves, much less anything else. We are losing a generation of our continuity."

Across the country, tens of thousands of people are dying from abuse of prescription opioids. Here in the capital of the Cherokee Nation, the epidemic is exacting an additional, deeply painful price. The tribe's carefully tended heritage, traditions and memories, handed down through generations, are at risk, with so many families now being ruptured by drugs.

That fear is driving an unusual legal battle. Like authorities in dozens of cities, counties and states, including Ohio, New Jersey and Oklahoma itself, Mr. Hembree has sued big opioid distributors. Attorneys general from 41 states recently joined forces to investigate similar options. But instead of going to state court, Mr. Hembree filed his case in the Cherokee Nation's tribal court.

The Cherokee suit argues that the pharmacy chains WalmartWalgreens and CVS Health, as well as the giant drug distributors McKessonCardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen, flouted federal drug-monitoring laws and allowed prescription opioids to pour into the Cherokee territory at some of the highest rates in the country. Such neglect, Mr. Hembree claims, amounts to exploitation of a people.

The companies have responded by asking a federal judge to deny the tribe's authority to bring the case. They argue that a tribe cannot sue them in tribal court, much less enforce federal drug laws. They have questioned whether a Cherokee reservation even legally exists.

"We believe this lawsuit has no merit," a CVS spokesman said.

Both sides have mobilized battalions of prominent lawyers.

Lindsay G. Robertson, an authority on Native American law at the University of Oklahoma College of Law who is not involved in the lawsuit, believes that the case will indeed go to tribal court. He pointed to a 1985 Supreme Court ruling, which said that, barring extraordinary circumstances, a federal court should not rule on tribal court jurisdictional questions before they have been fully litigated in tribal court.

A ruling is expected soon and, regardless of the outcome, will almost certainly be appealed.

For the Cherokee, the case is fundamentally about defending their identity and survival as a tribe.

"I believe these companies target populations," said Mr. Hembree, whose office displays include a feathered spear and a dish of bundled sage to burn for traditional blessings. "They know Native Americans have higher rates of addiction. So when they direct their product here, they shouldn't be surprised to find themselves in a Cherokee court."

Born Addicted

On a recent morning, a new mother in the maternity ward at the Cherokee Nation's W.W. Hastings Hospital expected to take her baby home. Instead, in walked Crystal Bogle, a Cherokee Nation investigator.

The newborn had tested positive for numerous opiates, Ms. Bogle told the mother. The Cherokee Nation would be taking the baby into custody, she said, until the mother got clear of drugs.

The mother began sobbing.

Several times a week, Ms. Bogle and her colleagues have similar conversations at hospitals on tribal land. Sometimes, as voices rise, workers must call security guards.

Babies addicted to opioids often have a distinctive, inconsolable shrill cry, nurses at the hospital said. The most severely addicted must be evacuated by ambulance or helicopter to a Tulsa hospital with a neonatal intensive care unit, where, on morphine drips, they slowly withdraw, remaining for up to a month. The costs, which can include years of therapy for developmental delays, are astronomical.

A few months ago, Oklahoma state child welfare workers woke Nathalene Dixon, a non-Indian foster parent, at 1 a.m.: Could she take a Cherokee newborn right away? The 3-day-old, who tested positive for opioids, had been allowed to go home. But when workers got there and saw drugs, they took the baby away. For hours they had been trying, unsuccessfully, to locate an acceptable relative.

By 4 a.m., the infant was handed to Ms. Dixon, a great-grandmother whose mobile home teems with figurines of angels and birds. In two years, she has taken in about a half-dozen Cherokee children.

"I can't understand how parents can find drugs more important than their kids," she said.

Pill Country

Some of the Cherokee Nation's oldest communities crouch along remote switchback roads in the verdant Ozark foothills of Adair County. Families still gather on ceremonial grounds for stomp dancing. Children fling a ball with handmade woven sticks at a wooden fish atop a pole. Many elders speak Cherokee as their first language.

But these communities are also among Oklahoma's poorest, most sparsely populated and isolated. "There's not much work in Adair County," said Shawnna Roach, a tribal marshal who patrols here. "People figured out they could make money selling pills. Sometimes they call the marshals, saying their pills were stolen. Were they really stolen? Or did they sell them? They use our reports as proof to get their prescription refilled."

In the capital, Tahlequah, a college town with cafes, tribal art shops, a heritage center and street signs written in Cherokee and English, opioids have staggered more affluent Cherokee, too. A senior health administrator takes care of her grandson after her opioid-addicted stepdaughter lost custody. A lawyer's two daughters were given prescriptions for high school sports injuries — one is now in jail, the other in rehab.

"Several of my family members are on the pills," said Daryl Legg, who runs an employment program for Cherokee ex-offenders.

His disabled mother wears her clothes to bed to keep pain medication on her, secured from other users in the home. "So one night my brother cut her pants pocket open while she was sleeping," Mr. Legg said.

Tribal Court on Trial

Mr. Hembree filed his lawsuit in the Cherokee Nation's district court, a red brick 1869 building with arched windows on Tahlequah's town square. The courtroom looks like any conventional, if modest, state counterpart. Cherokee lawyers and judges are typically members of the Oklahoma state bar, the Cherokee Nation's bar and often the federal bar.

The right to bring his case, Mr. Hembree says, was established in 1866.

That is when the Cherokee, who had fought with the Confederacy, signed a post-Civil War treaty with the United States. It recognized the Cherokees' sovereignty over "the exterior boundaries of the reservation" that included millions of acres spread across what would become 14 counties in northeastern Oklahoma, home now to more than a third of roughly 360,000 Cherokee nationwide.

That treaty was the final official act of Principal Chief John Ross, a lawyer by training who led the tribe on a forced cross-country march in 1839 along "The Trail of Tears" to resettlement in Oklahoma. He is Mr. Hembree's great-great-great-great grandfather.

On its face, the suit looks like a straightforward neglect case.

Mr. Hembree says that over a five-year period, drug distributors ignored red flags and allowed alarming quantities of prescription opioids — in 2015 and in 2016, 184 million pain pills — to pour into the region within the boundaries delineated by the Treaty of 1866. In doing so, the Cherokee argue, McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen, three corporations which transport about 90 percent of the country's prescription opioids, did not comply with federal drug monitoring and reporting requirements.

Pharmacies, which sold the medication directly, also bear responsibility, the suit says. CVS, Walgreens and Walmart have stores in the Cherokee Nation that are among the top 10 Oklahoma pharmacies for opioid sales. Pharmacists sidestepped their duties, Mr. Hembree argues, looking the other way when filling prescriptions that were obviously photocopied, written for suspicious quantities or refilled too soon.

In response, distributors say they are links in a complex chain that includes companies that make government-approved medications and licensed pharmacists.

"We intend to vigorously defend ourselves in this litigation while continuing to work collaboratively to combat drug diversion," said a spokeswoman for AmerisourceBergen.

The pharmacy chains say their role is to dispense medications prescribed by physicians and that they, too, are making efforts to combat the opioid crisis, such as a recent event at a Walgreens in the Cherokee Nation, touting the company's collection of unused medications.

Tribal courts generally do not have jurisdiction over people who are not Native Americans. The Cherokee are relying on a 1981 exceptioncreated by the Supreme Court: If a non-Indian business has a commercial, consensual relationship with the tribe, the Court said, the tribe may assert authority.

For now, the pharmacies and distributors have asked a federal court for an injunction to stop the case going forward. In their filings, the companies implied that they would not be treated fairly in a tribal court.

Chrissi Ross Nimmo, the Cherokee's deputy attorney general, said in response: "Tribes appear before non-Indian courts, judges and juries every day, and we don't automatically claim unfairness. If the Cherokee Nation has these great courts that we set up and this robust civil code, why not use it?"

The tribe, the companies argue, does not have the authority to enforce federal drug reporting requirements.

As for the Supreme Court's exception? Neither suppliers nor pharmacists, they say, had an agreement with the Cherokee Nation.

And they say that the distribution and sale of prescription opioids did not occur on land over which the Cherokee have sovereignty. The suppliers' headquarters are not in Oklahoma. While some pharmacies are within the Nation, others are not.

In fact, they contend, there is no "Cherokee reservation."

Indeed, much Cherokee land within the 1866 boundaries was sold decades ago. A contemporary map of tribal property would resemble a checkerboard.

But Mr. Hembree contends that the 1866 boundaries still have legal weight; that only Congress can undo the status of a "reservation." Congress has not done so for the Cherokee.

On Nov. 9, Mr. Hembree's position that the Cherokee are, legally, on a reservation got fresh support. Ruling in a criminal case involving a member of Oklahoma's Muscogee Creek tribe, the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit affirmed decisions upholding the treaty boundaries of that tribe's reservation.

But Chief Judge Timothy M. Tymkovich seemed uncomfortable with that result, noting that history had outstripped the treaty, signed some 40 years before Oklahoma became a state. The boundaries issue, he wrote, "might benefit from further attention from the Supreme Court."

For now, the sides await a decision. If the federal judge allows the case to go forward in tribal court, the companies can appeal. But meanwhile, the lawsuit would continue in Cherokee Nation District Court.

The loser of the tribal trial can appeal to the Cherokee Supreme Court. If the five justices rule against the tribe, its case ends. But if the decision goes against the companies, they can return to federal court.

Infusing Treatment with Tradition

As the legal battle unfolds, the tribe pushes ahead with enforcement and treatment — including drug courts, an overwhelmed Suboxone clinic and youth prevention programs. Such efforts are typical in communities across the country. But here, interventions are often steeped in Cherokee references, in an attempt to anchor tribal identity.

"Do you know where your great-grandmother's allotment was?" asks Gaye Wheeler, a drug abuse counselor, who tries to engage Suboxone patients about family lore. "Do you know why your family's last name is Nakedhead?"

At the Jack Brown Adolescent Treatment Center, a residential facility operated by the Cherokee Nation on 22 acres of a former dairy farm, most teens say opioids had been their drug of choice.

They come to the center from Oklahoma's 38 tribes, and their regimen includes making flutes, bowls and drums, attending a sweat lodge and practicing stomp dancing.

"It's important to know who you are and where you come from, to find your resources in your tribe to help you in your recovery," said the director of the center, Darren Dry.

This year Nikki Baker Limore, the Nation's executive director of Indian Child Welfare, initiated a tribal cultural program for children in foster care. Accompanied by a golden retriever puppy named Unali (Cherokee for "friend"), children read Cherokee animal fables and learn basket-making and weaving from the National Treasures — Cherokee elders dedicated to preserving the tribe's traditions.

"We have great-great grandparents who were products of the Trail of Tears," said Mrs. Baker Limore, her voice shaking as she pointed out the children's artwork. "They were resilient, but we lost a lot of tribal members along the way."

"And now," she continued, "you have an opioid epidemic that is wreaking havoc on families, tearing them apart. I am not sure we're going to be resilient enough to overcome this one."



3)  Are High Heels Headed for a Tumble?

 DEC. 16, 2017





Danskos, Birkenstocks and Crocs form a comfort-shoe trifecta of sorts.

At the avant-garde retail temple Opening Ceremony, which opened in 2002, fanciful sneakers, slippers and oxfords greatly outnumber high heels. Eree Kim was a designer there for four years before forming her own comfort-shoe companyHopp Studios.

"I always had trouble finding shoes that were comfortable but also aesthetically what I wanted," Ms. Kim said.

She sees shoes as a means of both self-expression and self-defense. "If I know that I have to take the subway home late at night, I want to be dressed appropriately," she said, adding that during the time she's lived in New York, she's been attacked twice.

"Men have no clue that this is something a lot of women think of," she said.

Uncertainty can subconsciously influence the way people dress, too. On Monday night, at the department store Century 21's downtown location near the World Trade Center, three young Canadian tourists — Jasveen Kang, Kirndeep Nahal and Deepinder Nahal — were waiting for an Uber to pick them up after a long day of walking in utilitarian black boots.

They had woken up to the news of a crude pipe bomb explosion at Port Authority, across the street from their hotel in Times Square.

They had ignored the rows of dressy shoes with heels. Kirndeep, 29, reasoned that New Yorkers might gravitate toward "something that's comfortable to run in, something that you could get to safety in, that wouldn't impede you in any way."

From Louis XIV to Louboutins

High heels have a long and not always feminized history.

They were pioneered by horse owners in 15th-century Persia. Heels helped them stand up and stabilize in stirrups so they could shoot their bows with greater accuracy.

Because of their connection to sport and wealth, heels went on to become a signifier of social class in Western Europe. During the Renaissance, heels and platforms could give men a competitive advantage among their shorter peers, as well as elevate them from the streets, where people poured out their chamber pots. Courtesans soon adopted them as a status symbol, wearing extra-high chopines, or platforms, to tower above other court members in a symbolic show of sexual dominance.

Women throughout the European courts began to adopt high heels in the 16th century. Catherine de Medici wore heels to her wedding in 1533. Queen Elizabeth I favored them over other footwear.

By the late 17th century, it wasn't uncommon to see men in four-inch heels. Long before Cardi B received her first pair of Louboutins, Louis XIV wore five-inch red heels and decreed that the early "red bottoms" would be worn only by members of the royal court.

In the 18th century, flatter shoes became the preferred style. Heels re-emerged as a trend at the end of the 19th century for women only. The first American high-heel factory opened in 1888, and this "antiquated fashion," responsible for many podiatric and orthopedic ailments, surged.

As Prohibition and temperance reform swept the United States in the 1920s, high heels became a topic of legislation. A Utah bill proposed that heels higher than one and a half inches would be met with, at a minimum, a $25 to $500 fine, and possibly jail time up to one year.

Though they're no longer punished by law for their footwear choices, women in the public eye are still defined by whether they do or don't wear heels — certainly any woman walking alone on the street, but first ladies as well. A 1959 article in this newspaper proclaimed that "Pat Nixon's political trademark around the world might well be her high heels." Ahead of a trip to the Soviet Union with her husband, then vice president, a friend suggested that Mrs. Nixon pack a pair of "sensible walking shoes." Her response? "I've worn high heels in a lot rougher places."

So too might have been the response of Melania Trump, who earlier this year was mocked on social media for boarding Air Force One in stilettos on her way to survey Hurricane Harvey's damage in Texas.

While she goes high, others in her position have often gone low with their heels. Michelle Obama was both praised and pilloried for her sensible shoes. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis also favored less-precarious footwear: square-toe flats, riding boots and kitten heels.

The first lady made her taste very clear in a letter to Marita O'Connor, a personal shopper for Bergdorf Goodman, who had sent her a selection for the Inaugural Ball: "Your shoes arrived today and I am sorry to say that I do not really like any of them. They have that vamp which I do not like."

Still, for many women, "that vamp" is just what they seek. This year's breakout hip-hop star, Cardi B, has become synonymous with the Louboutins she raps about in "Bodak Yellow."

In an interview with Billboard, the rapper's stylist Kollin Carter explained the appeal of the red-soled stilettos to women like Cardi B: "Where she's from, when girls are ready to get dressed up that's what you wear. And in real life, before 'Bodak' blew up, she wore red bottoms because that's what it means to make it in the Bronx. It's a status symbol that the masses can relate to; everyday girls work hard and save up their money to have that shoe."

Worn to Run

Louboutins and other high-end heels signify wealth and can lend confidence to the women who can afford them. They are also "a way to literally try to make your body look more like the cultural body ideal," said Renee Engeln, a professor of psychology at Northwestern University and the author of the book "Beauty Sick." "They're to lengthen your legs and change the way your shape looks from behind. That's not accidental."

That's what Christian Louboutin meant when he told The New Yorker, "The core of my work is dedicated not to pleasing women but to pleasing men."

Valerie Steele, the director and chief curator of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, says that heels are here to stay. "High heels are the number-one sartorial symbol of erotic femininity, and that's not changing anytime soon," she said.

But Ms. Steele agreed that periods of heightened anxiety can affect the shoes women wear — our preferences change with history. In 2000, this newspaper wrote that heels were in demand "as never before." By the end of the following year, Ms. Steele said, flats and sneakers had become ubiquitous in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. And a year after that, the kitten heel crept back, as it periodically does.

"The one hard-and-fast rule in fashion is that if it swings in one direction, it will swing back in the other direction," Ms. Steele said.

The cohort of high-profile high-heel naysayers is vocal today. Gal Gadot wore flats throughout her "Wonder Woman" press tour earlier this year. Serena Williams paired her Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen wedding gown with custom bedazzled Nikes. And ahead of Cannes in May, Kristen Stewart spoke out against the film festival's no-flats rule, installed in 2015. "If you're not asking guys to wear heels and a dress," she told the Hollywood Reporter, "then you cannot ask me either." (She wore heels. But still!)

When asked why she ditched heels during the film's promotion, Ms. Gadot told USA Today that it was a matter of health and safety. "I love wearing high heels — I think it's beautiful, it's sexy, whatever," she said. "But at the same time, especially stilettos, it puts us out of balance. We can fall any minute. It's not good for our backs. Why do we do it?"

Similar questions inform Prof. Engeln's research. "Why do the things we do for ourselves have to hurt?" she asked. "Why do the shoes we choose for ourselves make us less able to run away if we need to run away? You only need to spend a few minutes on the internet these days to see that, yes, there are quite a lot of times when, unfortunately, it would help to be able to run. Why do the things that we do supposedly for ourselves cause us long-term physiological damage?"

Last year, in The New Yorker, the writer Mary Karr called for the uninvention of high heels. It seems more likely that they will be reinvented. Two companies led by women have developed ergonomic high heels whose insoles are designed to promote stability and even weight distribution, and prevent heel-related hospital visits (provoking, for those of a certain age, amused memories of the Easy Spirit "Looks Like a Pump, Feels Like a Sneaker" commercial, echoed in a 2014 McDonald's commercial that featured a group of women dribbling a soccer ball in platform heels).

In the film "Jurassic World" starring Bryce Dallas Howard, her character outruns a Tyrannosaurus rex in high heels.

But in the sequel, she's given a solid pair of boots.

If Ms. Hutchinson has her way — she will receive a verdict on her emoji proposal in January — the high heel as a signifier of femininity will soon be going the way of the dinosaur. She spoke of the ballet flat as an artifact, positioning it alongside another emoji candidate for 2018: the brick wall.

"If you're a historian in 50 years time, and you start going through emoji with a fine-tooth comb, you'll be able to say, this brick wall must have happened in 2017," she said. "You can look at the flat shoe and say that was the year women decided to find their voice and collectively protest gender-stereotypical norms."



4)   The Legacy of Taft-Hartley



5)  In Protests of Net Neutrality Repeal, Teenage Voices Stood Out

 DEC. 20, 2017




"The internet is a big part of my life," said Anooha Dasari, 16, a high school junior, adding that the repeal of net neutrality is "dangerous." CreditLyndon French for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — When Anooha Dasari, 16, heard the federal government was about to kill rules that guaranteed an open internet, she contacted her United States representatives for the first time, asking them to stop the action.

The Mundelein, Ill., high school junior then passed around a link to classmates for a website that automatically placed calls, web comments and emails to the Federal Communications Commission, the agency that was moving to repeal the so-called net neutrality rules. When the F.C.C. voted last week on the rollback, Ms. Dasari stayed glued to her smartphone for updates while taking her American government class.

"For research, for news, to communicate with friends, the internet is a big part of my life," Ms. Dasari said. "It has formulated my personality, opinions and political ideology. If it is controlled, my generation of students could be inclined to be just on one part of the spectrum. That's dangerous."

Millions of Americans have been caught up in a bitter debate over the repeal of net neutrality rules that prevented broadband providers from blocking websites or demanding fees to reach consumers. But the most vocal and committed activity may have come from generation internet, the digitally savvy teenagers in middle and high school who grew up with an open internet.

The repeal of net neutrality has gotten many of these teens politically engaged for the first time, with fears that the dismantling of rules could open the door for broadband providers like AT&T and Comcast to distort the experience of accessing anything online with equal ease. For them, a dry issue that has often been hard to understand outside of policy circles in Washington has become a cause to rally around.

"For students that have used an internet that is open and without tolls their whole life, as complicated as net neutrality is, kids can get their heads around it pretty easily," said John Lewis, the head of Gunston School, a private high school in Centreville, Md.

Net neutrality's repeal will not take effect for several weeks. Internet service providers including AT&T and Comcast have promised they won't block or throttle sites or create fast lanes for certain content. And several efforts are underway to scale back the rollback, including the introduction of a Congressional bill and potential lawsuits.

The opposition by many teenagers is rooted in how they are among the most avid users of the internet and smartphones. Virtually all youth between ages 13 and 17 own or have access to a smartphone and 94 percent use social media, according to an April 2017 study by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Many are gaining access to devices at younger ages, with 98 percent of children from newborn to 8 years old accessing a mobile device at home, compared with 52 percent in 2011.

Many became digital users when net neutrality was in effect. Net neutrality has existed in various forms since about 2006, when the F.C.C. first created open internet guidelines for broadband providers known as the "Four Internet Freedoms." In 2015, the F.C.C. declared that broadband had become utility-like and deserved extra government oversight. Since 2006, more and more children began using Netflix, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube and all manner of other apps and online services.

In the days before the F.C.C. voted on net neutrality repeal last week, children and teenagers organized protests in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Keene, N.H. They wrote letters and sent tweets to F.C.C. commissioners and volunteered for texting and phone campaigns to push members of Congress to use their authority to overturn or dilute the F.C.C. decision.

Alli Webb, 18, a senior at Gunston, missed school last week ahead of the F.C.C. vote with permission from Mr. Lewis and her parents. With three other students, she drove two hours to downtown Washington to stand in front of a Verizon store during lunch hour. There, she hollered slogans to save net neutrality rules with signs that read "Stop F.C.C.!" and "Equal Opportunity: Still Loading."

"This is really bad for technology, innovation and our future," said Ms. Webb, who wants to study computer science in college. "This is going to totally change the internet." She said she feared start-ups would have to submit to the demands of internet service providers to showcase their sites, which could hold back entrepreneurs.

At Southside High School in Rockville Centre, N.Y., net neutrality dominated conversation in the lunchroom last week and throughout the day of the vote, last Thursday as students checked for updates.

"I've met lots of friends on Instagram and I communicate with my mom and with all my friends at least 10 times a day on social media," said Matthew Baxley, 15, a 10th grader who recently participated in a texting effort to protest the repeal. "The internet is at the center of a lot of what I do and care about."

Some teachers had to make adjustments. Laurie Crowe, a high school history teacher in Kyle, Tex., tried to give an exam to 11th graders at Lehman High School last Thursday but couldn't get her students off their phones and laptops. She was surprised to find them streaming the F.C.C. vote. Eventually, she postponed the exam so they could watch the five commissioners cast their votes and explain their positions.

When the F.C.C. chairman, Ajit Pai, cast the final vote to dismantle the rules, students slammed their laptops shut and tore off their earphones in disappointment, Ms. Crowe said.

"These kids felt very indignant and betrayed by this decision because they feel entitled to information and the internet," she said.

Ms. Dasari remains determined to fight. She said she would continue to push lawmakers to salvage open internet rules through legislation and she is following the news for lawsuits challenging the repeal.

"I will tweet and email and call and stay in the process," she said. "We have time and we won't go away."



6) You Cannot Be Too Cynical About the Republican Tax Bill

By Thomas B. Edsall, December 21, 2017


The rush to enact the tax bill was designed to mask — as a break for the middle class — what is in fact a $1.4 trillion package of benefits for key donors and lobbyists, the richest members of Congress, President Trump, his family and other families like his.

The speed from introduction to passage — seven weeks, with no substantive hearings — effectively precluded expert examination of the legislation's regressive core, its special interest provisions and the long-term penalties it imposes on the working poor and middle class through the use of an alternative measure of inflation — the "chained CPI."

Only last Friday, when the legislation came out of conference committee and was no longer subject to amendment — and when decisive majorities of House and Senate Republicans had publicly committed to vote for the legislation — did experts and journalists begin to fully catch up with its defects.

Two days before Congress gave final approval, a group of 13 tax law experts released the most incisive critique of the tax bill to date, a 30-page document called "The Games They Will Play: An Update on the Conference Committee Tax Bill."

The primary authors of the report — Ari Glogower, David Kamin, Rebecca Kysar, and Darien Shanske — describe the legislation as "a substantial blow to the basic integrity of the income tax" that will "advantage the well-advised in ways that are both deliberate and inadvertent."

The authors cite a wide range of specific flaws, but their main argument is that the measure is gravely deficient at its core:

The most serious structural problems with the bill are unavoidable outcomes of Congress's choice to preference certain taxpayers and activities while disfavoring others — and for no discernible policy rationale. These haphazard lines are fundamentally unfair and inefficient, and invite tax planning by sophisticated taxpayers to get within the preferred categories.

Glogower, Kamin, Kysar, and Shanske argue that some of the most egregious loopholes and schemes permitted by the legislation are that individual taxpayers

will be able to shield their labor income from tax by simply setting up a corporation and having their income accrue in the form of corporate profits. As a result, income that would have been taxed at the high individual rates is instead taxed at the low corporate rate.

Second, the legislation creates a huge incentive for anyone in a position to do so to change his or her status from employee to "independent contractor or a partner in a firm. The game is clear: Don't be an employee, instead be an independent contractor or partner in a firm." The ability to make this shift is available primarily to the well-paid.

The legislation, according to Glogower and his colleagues, also fails to present a coherent rationale:

the fundamental problem is the lack of any underlying logic in deciding who benefits from the pass-through deductions, and who does not. Independent contractors and partners benefit, but not employees. Why? An owner of real estate through a REIT benefits, but not the doctor in the building. Why? An architect benefits in some ways that a lawyer does not. And so on.

The bill encourages tax evasion. Glogower and his colleagues cite

opportunities to use rate differentials and ill-considered transitions to engage in transactions that serve to basically pump money out of the Treasury and into the pockets of well-advised taxpayers.

To provide an example, they use a company that purchased equipment under existing law, which provides them with tax breaks on the cost spread out over the years in a depreciation schedule. The new law allows companies to immediately write off the full cost of buying equipment, known as expensing.

"So," the authors ask, "what does that mean?"

It means that old property can still get the benefit of expensing, but only if it is sold to another party. If the original owner holds it, they have to depreciate according to the old rules; if they sell it to another party, then suddenly the full cost is eligible for expensing, and the net effect is an immediate deduction of the existing tax basis of the asset. The parties can split the resulting surplus. It appears that the buyer of the asset could even lease it back to the existing owner, so that the property doesn't even have to go anywhere.

I emailed some of the authors of this report for their individual thoughts.

Michael Kane, a law professor at N.Y.U., wrote in response that the bill will

create new incentives to shift tangible assets (and jobs) abroad. Given President Trump's relentless message about U.S. jobs, it is incomprehensible to me that we are about to pass something that has this effect without any kind of meaningful discussion of the issue.

Daniel Hemel, a law professor at the University of Chicago, raised a crucial question about the long-term effects of the legislation's adoption of chained CPI, a method of calculating the rate of inflation for the earned-income tax credit and other sections of the tax code that provide breaks to working- and middle-class families.

He noted that

lower and middle-income families, who are especially dependent upon inflation-indexed deductions, credits, and bracket thresholds, will feel the impact increasingly as time goes on.

In the first year, 2018, the changed inflation rate raises a relatively modest $31.5 billion but it grows every year, reaching $37 billion in 2027. "To be sure," Hemel wrote, "this affects everyone to some degree, but most of the burden is paid for by families in the bottom four quintiles."

In the long term, Hemel argued,

this is a very subtle way to increase taxes on the lower and middle classes and then use those revenues to pay for a massive tax cut for corporations.

What may prove even more significant is that the shift to chained CPI — a less generous, slower-growing measure of inflation than the one currently in use — would not only result in a tax increase over time, it would set a precedent for Republicans who would like to use the same method to pare back so-called entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. It is, in effect, a backdoor method of reducing benefits for the elderly and the disadvantaged without public scrutiny or debate.

This full-speed-ahead strategy simultaneously constrained the ability of the press to explore the special interest provisions buried in the legislation.

One exception is the work of three reporters from International Business Times — Alex Kotch, David Sirota and Josh Keefe — who have pursued this line of inquiry for the past week. A recent story disclosed that a provision inserted at the last minute into the bill stands to lower taxes on the income of 14 Republican Senators.

Along parallel lines, a liberal think tank, the Center for American Progress, now estimates that Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, will get an annual tax break of somewhere between $21,500 and $205,000 based on his 2016 financial disclosure statement. The center's calculations are based on Johnson's reported income from three holdings he said produced a minimum of $215,002 up to a maximum of $2,050,000.

And the 2016 financial disclosure statement filed by Senator Steve Daines, Republican of Montana, shows income from real estate holdings of $487,500 to $4,305,000. If Daines' tax cut is computed using the same method that the center used for Johnson, it would be between $47,582 and $430,500.

Not only are many senators direct beneficiaries of the legislation, but 15 of the top 20 Senate recipients of contributions from the real estate industry are Republicans, according to Open Secrets, ranging from Marco Rubio at $3.27 million to Chuck Grassley at $276,636.

Perhaps most important, the measure rewards those who need it least— the very wealthy — while leaving those most in need with modest and temporary tax breaks. The bill will diminish opportunities for social mobility by doubling the estate tax exemption, further entrenching generation after generation at the top of the income distribution.

As my colleague Jim Tankersley put it on Dec. 16, the final version of the legislation

offers little redress to workers who have grown to believe that the country's tax law thicket advantages those with power, political connections and lawyers on retainer. Its evolution undermines a central selling point for a bill that is already seen by most Americans as unlikely to benefit them, according to polls.

The accompanying chart, which is based on an analysis done by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, describes the distribution of the benefits by income groups over the next decade.

See chart at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/21/opinion/republican-tax-bill-trump-corker.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region&region=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region

Despite the fact that the measure is a tax cut, the majority of Americans, 53 percent, currently disapprove of the law and 35 percent approve, according to a CBS Poll. Most Americans believe the bill will help large corporations (76 percent) and the wealthy (69 percent), while 35 percent believe it will help the middle class and 24 percent said their own families will gain.

A tax expert who insisted on anonymity in order to protect client confidentiality, emailed me his critique of the bill:

(1) The corporate rate reduction is permanent, for individuals only temporary. Completely obnoxious. In effect the money "saved" within the 10 year budget window by making those individual cuts temporary helped to underwrite the cost of making the corporate/pass though side permanent

(2) Carried interest provision. When Trump was careening around in his populist candidate mode, he promised to end it. Here is one campaign promise that he "somehow" failed to redeem when the clear and available chance presented itself.

(3) Restriction on state and C local tax deduction — consciously vindictive imposition of double taxation on citizens of certain Democratic states; corporations and pass through businesses, the darlings of the Republicans, still get to deduct those very same taxes in full.

(4) Expanding the standard deduction but financing the cost of so doing by repealing the personal exemptions is a bit of a bait and switch maneuver. Some people might be worse off.

(5) In a bill in which 100s of billions of dollars were sloshing around to provide steep tax cuts for already wealthy and highly prosperous corporations and pass through businesses, the Republicans could only find the will to raise the refundable portion of the child care tax credit from $1000 to $1400. Rubio wanted it to be raised to $2000 and his Republican brethren refused to even meet him halfway. Pitiful.

(6) Deduction for extraordinary medical expenses — retention of this deduction did not even get the five-year sunset window applied to all the other individual tax provisions, two years only. Vicious.

(7) Pass through business taxation — the bill is a massive tax gift to some of the wealthiest people in the country, who are conducting business operations in non-corporate form or are investors in same.

The tax bill not only alters the competitive structure of American industry but includes such major provisions as opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil drilling and the elimination of mandatory individual health insurance under Obamacare.

What amounted to three major pieces of legislation were approved by the full House and the Senate Finance Committee, "two weeks after the bill was unveiled, without a single hearing on the 400-plus-page legislation," as Thomas Kaplan and Alan Rappeport put it in The Times.

How well does this procedure stand up to the requirements Senator Ben Sasse specified in his maiden Senate speech on Nov. 3, 2015? In it, Sasse argued that the Senate was failing in its responsibility to fully air and debate the important issues before the county, calling for what he called "a cultural recovery inside the Senate":

One of our jobs is to flesh out competing views with such seriousness and respect that we should be mitigating, not exacerbating, the polarization that does exist ...

Good teachers don't shut down debate; they try to model Socratic seriousness by putting the best possible construction on arguments, even — and especially — if one doesn't hold those positions.

Or, for that matter, how well does the bill fit with Senator John McCain's determination to lay down the law on "regular order," as outlined in an Aug. 31 op-ed in the Washington Post? "We are proving inadequate not only to our most difficult problems but also to routine duties," McCain wrote. Or as McCain noted during the debate over legislation to repeal Obamacare, he was calling

for a return to regular order, letting committees of jurisdiction do the principal work of crafting legislation and letting the full Senate debate and amend their efforts. We won't settle all our differences that way, but such an approach is more likely to make progress on the central problems confronting our constituents. We might not like the compromises regular order requires, but we can and must live with them if we are to find real and lasting solutions.

So far, however, only one Republican senator has suffered real costs for deciding to vote for the tax bill.

Just over two months ago, Bob Corker drew a line in the sand on the bill: if it raised the deficit, he would vote no:

No way that Bob Corker is going to vote for a tax reform bill that I think in any way is going to add to the deficit. It's not going to happen, never. It's never going to happen. Never, never, ever.

On Oct. 5, Susan Davis of National Public Radio put Corker on recordwith a series of quotes that he may have come to regret:

This is the most passionate thing for me, period, that I work on. Not foreign policy. Not banking. It's this deficit issue.

For Corker, this issue went way beyond routine politics: "Deficits matter," he forcefully asserted. "They are a greater threat to us than North Korea or ISIS."

This past week Corker has decided that the deficit is no longer "the most passionate thing for me." Instead, he voted for a tax bill that will increase the deficit by $1.46 trillion over ten years. In a statement, Corker declared:

In the end, after 11 years in the Senate, I know every bill we consider is imperfect and the question becomes is our country better off with or without this piece of legislation. I think we are better off with it.

All of this raises a basic question. How could nearly every Republican representative — and all 52 Republican senators — support the tax bill? The best answer may be the most cynical: because it benefits key leaders, their friends, their heirs and their donors.

After looking at the legislation in its entirety — its substance and the procedures used to get there — it is difficult to conclude that the motivations of its sponsors are either benevolent or somehow in the best interests of the country. More likely it is hypocrisy and venality mixed up into one awful bill.



7)  As Overdoses Mount, Cities and Counties Rush to Sue Opioid Makers

 DEC. 20, 2017




"We've had enough here," said Ilene Shapiro, the county executive of Summit County, Ohio. A scale model of a billboard in her office showed her throwing a punch in an antidrug message.CreditTy Wright for The New York Times

AKRON, Ohio — Citing a spike in overdose deaths, growing demands for drug treatment and a strained budget, officials here in Summit County filed a lawsuit late Wednesday against companies that make or distribute prescription opioids. On Monday, Smith County in Tennessee did the same. And on Tuesday, nine cities and counties in Michigan announced similar suits.

Cities, counties and states across the country are turning to the courts in the spiraling opioid crisis. What began a few years ago with a handful of lawsuits has grown into a flood of claims that drug companies improperly marketed opioids or failed to report suspiciously large orders. Close to 200 civil cases have been filed by local governments in the federal courts; dozens of other suits are playing out in state courts; and attorneys general from 41 states have banded together to explore legal options.

"There's a new case being filed virtually every day, and I don't see any end in sight," said Paul J. Hanly Jr., a lawyer who represents some of the local governments.

Scores of plaintiffs' lawyers met in Cleveland this week, where a judge has been assigned to oversee at least 189 of the federal cases — an indication, some lawyers say, that the legal fight could start to move more quickly and that its disparate strands might be worked out in one place. Some lawyers liken the situation to the state litigation against the tobacco industry in the 1990s, which ended with a global settlement, and involved some of the same lawyers.

"This litigation is like a big hammer — it's like a tool where you're hitting somebody upside the head to get their attention," said Mike Moore, who as Mississippi attorney general filed the first state caseagainst the tobacco industry in the 1990s and who now represents some government entities. "We have a public health emergency. It's time to quit talking about it and, if people are serious about fixing it, let's sit down and resolve it."

Representatives for some of the drug makers and distributors deny the claims in the lawsuits and say they intend to vigorously defend their companies. In written statements, several companies pointed to efforts that they and industry groups have taken to stem opioid abuses and noted the role of the federal authorities, including the Food and Drug Administration, in overseeing their products. They also rejected comparisons to tobacco.

"Unlike the past tobacco litigation, our medicines are approved by F.D.A., prescribed by doctors, and dispensed by pharmacists, as treatments for patients suffering from severe pain," Robert Josephson, a spokesman for Purdue Pharma, which developed OxyContin, said in a written response to questions.

Here in Akron, officials said legally prescribed painkillers were often a precursor to addiction, overdose and drug abuse. Nanette Kelly, an Akron resident, said she became hooked on prescription pain pills after a back injury years ago and eventually turned to heroin.

"It's hard to stay straight and be good," said Ms. Kelly, who is undergoing treatment, "because there's just heroin everywhere."

Matthew J. Maletta, executive vice president and chief legal officer at the drug company Endo, said a comprehensive solution "must not only consider the product supply chain, but also individual patient risk factors and the role of prescribing health care providers." Criminal trafficking of the drugs, including illegal internet sales and importation, also must be addressed, he said.

The legal battle is playing out as the sale of prescription opioids, which include oxycodone and hydrocodone, have quadrupled since 1999, as have overdose deaths. More than 183,000 people died from overdoses tied to prescription opioids in the 15 years leading up to 2015. And the larger drug crisis, including heroin and fentanyl obtained illicitly, is swamping the resources of local governments and draining their budgets, officials say.

Summit County officials say they spent $66 million dealing with the crisis between 2012 and last year. The county's child protective agency spent more than $21 million in that period relocating children from homes where a relative was using opioids. Akron firefighters average around 100 overdose responses each month. And a mobile morgue was brought in when the medical examiner ran out of room.

"We've had enough here," said Ilene Shapiro, the county executive, who has declared a public health emergency. She said she hoped the courts could force changes in the way the drugs are marketed and, perhaps, impose a hefty financial settlement or judgment.

In Barberton, a small city in Summit County that is also suing, rookie police officers must quickly master how to make death notifications, how to refer addicts to treatment and how to administer Narcan, the overdose antidote. The police chief, Vince Morber, said the pharmaceutical companies "owe us an apology."

"They absolutely knew what they were doing: Their business practices, the way they did it, the way they marketed it," said Chief Morber.

But legal experts said the lawsuits against the drug makers and distributors are anything but simple. The cases vary when it comes to the companies they name as defendants and are complicated by all sorts of elements — including the roles of others in what has happened, from medical doctors to heroin dealers to the F.D.A., which regulates prescription medications.

"My guess is that nobody wants to really try these cases," said Richard C. Ausness, a professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law.

Critics say the litigation is a sideshow in the opioid debate — a chance for lawyers to make money and politicians to make headlines — rather than a lasting solution in the overwhelming crisis, which the president's Council of Economic Advisers last month estimated as having cost $504 billion in 2015.

"Indeed, by allowing them to take credit for doing something about the problem, the lawsuits may take the pressure off of public officials" to make real changes, Lars Noah, a professor at the University of Florida College of Law, said.

But lawyers for some counties, cities and states say the litigation could force real changes, such as far wider availability of overdose antidotes, sufficient money to get all addicts into treatment, and the development of a robust prevention and education program. The consolidation of the federal cases in a so-called multidistrict litigation could also speed the process, the lawyers said.

"It's a major opportunity to have a significant impact on this health epidemic now and not five years from now," said Joseph F. Rice, whose firm, Motley Rice, represents some of the cases, and who played a central role in negotiating the tobacco settlement. "Will the parties take advantage? Will the court take advantage? That's yet to be seen."

In Summit County, the number of fatal drug overdoses has subsided slightly since a peak of 298 last year, but paramedics, politicians and law enforcement officials still view opioids as an uncontained epidemic with no easy fixes.

Firefighters say they sometimes revive the same person again and again, and the medical examiner has gotten used to notifying families of drug deaths of multiple relatives. One woman lost two siblings and two nephews to overdoses in less than a year. Charlene Maxen and her husband, Jim, lost their two sons to opioid overdoses in the same month in 2015.

"I used to look at people that never had a family and say, 'What do they do when they get old?'" said Mr. Maxen, a retired accountant. "We're going to find out."

Dan Horrigan, the mayor of Akron, said the crisis had become "a gut punch to the community, and we need to be able to get a handle on it." He said a number of ground-level efforts to help addicts here showed promise, but "there is a fire going on and it needs more water to put it out."

Among the signs for hope: A health clinic that opens before dawn and provides methadone for people seeking to end their opioid addictions; home visits by city workers offering help to people who recently overdosed; and Judge Joy Malek Oldfield's drug court, where a stream of young defendants approached the bench on Monday to receive praise, scoldings and even applause.

"When you get sober, it's not just rainbows and unicorns," the judge told one. "But it's a better life, don't you think?"

Judge Oldfield said about 90 percent of people in drug court were addicted to opiates, which she called "much more difficult to manage" than other addictions. One man, shackled and clad in an orange jail jumpsuit, appeared in front of her again on Monday. He had relapsed not long ago.

"I'm glad you're alive," Judge Oldfield told him.



8)  Drilling in Arctic Refuge Gets a Green Light. What's Next?

 DEC. 20, 2017





The Canning River, which forms the northwestern border of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. CreditKatrina Liebich/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

President Trump on Wednesday was poised to sign the new tax bill, passed by Congress, which lifts a decades-old ban on oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Alaska. Here's a look at what might happen now.

Will exploration begin immediately?

No. Both supporters and opponents say it could be years before the first lease sale, a precursor to any drilling. The new legislation requires that the Department of Interior conduct one sale within four years and a second within seven. But there are many steps that must be taken before those sales can be held, and the process is not completely clear. Lawsuits and other actions by opponents of drilling could slow things, both before and after any lease sales.

The Interior Department will have to identify lands in the 1.5 million acres of the refuge along the coastal plain, known as the 1002 area, for leases. Once the department comes up with a list of options, there will be at least one comment period in which the public will have a chance to be heard.

One question mark is whether new seismic studies will be undertaken. Such studies can reveal underground formations that have high oil development potential, and the only ones that were done in the refuge are more than three decades old.

Based on the old studies, the United States Geological Survey has estimated that the 1002 area contains from 5 to 16 billion barrels of oil. David W. Houseknecht, a senior research geologist with the survey, said the agency was about to re-analyze the data using improved software in hopes of reducing the uncertainty of that estimate. But new studies using modern three-dimensional technology could produce even better estimates.

The Interior Department in September proposed allowing new studies, but it is unclear whether oil companies, if allowed, would undertake them, or whether the Interior Department would wait for them to be done before conducting a sale. Oil companies have bid on drilling leases in other areas with less-than-ideal information.

What can Democrats do?

For now, not much. The Democrats' ability to halt progress toward drilling in the refuge hinges on the party's ability to recapture the majority in one or both houses of Congress in the 2018 midterm elections.

"We're going to take our case to the American public now," Senator Maria Cantwell, a Washington Democrat who has led the fight against drilling in the refuge, said Thursday.

Senator Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, said he believed voter outrage was coalescing around a number of Trump administration actions, including rolling back environmental regulations and moving to withdraw from the Paris agreement on climate change. Opening the Arctic refuge to drilling will be a "tipping point" with voters, he predicted.

"When we win in 2018, we will then ensure accountability on this and begin the process of reversing legislatively what has happened," Senator Markey said. Democrats' ultimate aim, he said, would be to give the Arctic refuge permanent legal protection.

What about environmentalists?

Potentially more than Democratic politicians, at least in the nearer term.

Environmental activists have said they would work with Democrats in Congress, but would also seek to block drilling through legal or procedural means and by mobilizing public opinion against it.

Adam Kolton, director of the Alaska Wilderness League, alluded to a new media campaign but did not provide details.

Suzanne Bostrom, an attorney for Trustees for Alaska, an environmental law firm, vowed that opponents of drilling would fight the Department of Interior "every step of the way." She did not detail activities that might prompt lawsuits or other legal actions.

"This is certainly not a short process or something that's going to play out immediately," Ms. Bostrom said.

What will the oil industry do?

Kara Moriarty, president and chief executive of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, an industry group, said that recent speculation that oil companies were not interested in drilling in the refuge was inaccurate. "Industry support for having access to the coastal plain has never wavered," she said.

Helping to fuel that speculation was a disappointing federal oil lease sale in another part of Alaska several weeks ago. But Ms. Moriarty said that a sale of leases on nearby state-owned land at the same time had been successful. And the state's varying geology makes it difficult to compare the prospects for different regions, she said.

Dr. Houseknecht said that the geological survey had received calls from companies as far away as Australia wanting to know how they could get access to the existing seismic data. (The answer: Only by forming a partnership with one of the 11 current companies that paid for the work.)

Ms. Moriarty said that although there was industry interest in drilling in the refuge, the threat of lawsuits by environmental groups meant that it was crucial for government and industry to take time and do everything correctly.

Robert Dillon, a consultant and former aide to Senator Lisa Murkowski, the Alaska Republican who championed the drilling provision, said that those who supported opening the refuge were not bothered by the prospect that oil might not actually flow for many years.

"We're not planning for tomorrow," Mr. Dillon said. "We're planning for 10, 20 years from now. We're talking about the next generation of Alaskans."
































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