On August 9th, the Saudis bombed a school bus in Yemen! Dozens of young children have been killed, and many more wounded. The local health department chief in Saada province said 43 were killed and at least 61 injured. Most are children under the age of 10. The bombs that killed these children were made in the USA. For people living in the United States, the blood is on our hands!

Call the State Department ASAP at 202-647-6575 and press 8 for the comment line. Say something like: "I want the State Department to condemn the Saudis for bombing Yemeni children and I want the US to stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia."

Since the Saudis intervened militarily in an internal Yemeni conflict in 2015, they have been committing war crimes by repeatedly bombing civilians, including marketplaces, hospitals, schools and homes. According to Yemen Data Project, an independent group collecting data about the Yemen conflict, the Saudi-UAE coalition carried out 258 airstrikes on Yemen in June alone — nearly one-third of which hit residential areas.

Meanwhile, US weapons companies, particularly Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, make billions of dollars from this carnage. If you want to stop this global proliferation of weapons, join our #Divestfromwar team by contacting divest@codepink.org.

Let the US government know how disgusted you are. Call the State Department right now at 202-647-6575 and press 8. Let them know that you want them to condemn the Saudis for bombing Yemeni children and you insist that the US stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia.

Share now on Facebook and Twitter to spread the word!



With heavy hearts,

Ann, Ariel, Brienne, Eric, Jodie, Kirsten, Mark, Medea, Nancy, Natasha, Paki, Rita, Sarah, Sophia and Tighe



The Song Of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist

by Graeme Darling

I've been working my arse off for years,

So that parasites can sit on theirs,

Counting all the money they have stolen from me.

These venal cannibals are legal criminals,

Cloaking their immorality in the joke of respectability.

It's the same story in every capitalist trap;

The most essential employees ( exploitees ) are treated like crap.

Decent folk on scrimping wages strain, scrub and mop,

While bloodsucking turds ride on their backs to the top.

You don't need to know the Communist Manifesto

To recognise injustice that's manifestly so.

This situation blights every organisation, I'm telling you true;

The higher the pay, the less work they do!

I'm sick and tired of being trod into the ground,

I'd turn this crazy pyramid the right way round.

The bosses in armchairs should clean toilets and stairs,

And experience an existence of struggling for subsistence.

Along with a decent minimum, I'd have a wage maximum.

Four to one should be the widest disparity;

Anything more is an utter obscenity.

This economic system of domination wreaks global exploitation;

Our training shoes are made by kids in sweatshops,

The Earth is ravaged for our phones and laptops.

We must side with the oppressed of every form and nation;

The universal kinship should be our motivation.

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists: a literary exposure of The Great Money Trick of capitalism

By Jenny Farrell, August 3, 2018








"Give me your tired, your poor 

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. 

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. 

Send these, the homeless. Tempest-tost to me, 

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"















Lezley McSpadden started a petition demanding Missouri Governor, Mike Parson, appoint a special prosecutor to reopen the case of Mike Brown.

Tell Missouri Gov. Mike Parson: 

Appoint a special prosecutor for Mike Brown's case!

Four years ago, my son, Mike Brown, was fatally gunned down by Officer Darren Wilson as he surrendered with arms in the air, pleading for his life. The world erupted and nothing has been the same since that nightmarish summer. My family and community took their outrage and pain to the streets. We made public pleas for the officer who murdered my son in broad daylight to be indicted and convicted. Yet, we were denied justice. My heart was broken over and over again. It has been 4 years, but I cannot forget. I will not stop fighting until Mike gets the justice he deserves.

Newly elected Missouri Governor, Mike Parson, has the opportunity to right this terrible wrong by appointing a special prosecutor to reopen my son's case. 

Over the course of three months after Mike was murdered, my family and I waited as St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney, Bob McCulloch presented my son's case to a grand jury before the police investigation was over. McCulloch completely ignored standard protocol for a Prosecuting Attorney by enlisting the help of a grand jury to determine the charges against Officer Darren Wilson. It was a setup from the beginning. McCulloch abdicated his role as a County Prosecutor by making a politically calculated move that would shield him from criticism from the police and the media. 

Here are the facts:

  • McCulloch overwhelmed the jury with redundant and misleading information in an effort to manipulate the jury's confidence in Wilson's guilt.
  • A lawsuit was filed by one of the grand jurors detailing challenges and exposing their experiences on the grand jury.2
  • McCulloch admitted to allowing witnesses he knew were NOT telling the truth to testify before the grand jury. 3

The evidence is too significant to ignore. McCulloch thought he could avoid public scrutiny and accountability at the conclusion of this case. But he is wrong. I will not allow Bob McCulloch to get away with obstructing justice for my son. 

McCulloch cannot be allowed to get away with forgoing any and all responsibility as a high-level prosecutor. McCulloch's actions set a horrible precedent for prosecutors across the country. The primary charge for a prosecuting attorney is to fairly seek and achieve justice. McCulloch instead chose to make a political move with no regard for my family's pain. Furthermore, the relentless state-sanctioned violence against Black people has been nonstop since this nightmare began. Year after year, month after month, day after day, Black people remain targets for a bloodthirsty police force. This year alone, there have been over 600 incidents of deadly police encounters.4 Prosecutors are one of the few leverage points we have over the police. We must send a strong message to not only people in Missouri but to everyone around the country - killer cops will be held accountable.  

I am holding onto all hope that we get the justice we deserve. I believe in the resilience of our communities. And I believe that we will win. 

With love, 

Lezley McSpadden


    1. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/77984?t=12&akid=15843%2E46097%2EOtfN0y
    2. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/77985?t=14&akid=15843%2E46097%2EOtfN0y
    3. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/77735?t=16&akid=15843%2E46097%2EOtfN0y
    4. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/7854?t=18&akid=15843%2E46097%2EOtfN0y

Sign Here:




With your help, we just might free him!

Rally To Free Mumia

Tuesday August 28th

4 pm at 14th & Broadway, Oakland CA

A Philadelphia court now has before it the evidence which could lead to Mumia's freedom. The evidence shows that Ronald Castille, of the District Attorney's office in 1982, intervened in the prosecution of Mumia for a crime he did not commit. Years later, Castille was a judge on the PA Supreme Court, where he sat in judgement over Mumia's case, and ruled against Mumia in every appeal! 

According to the US Supreme Court in the Williams ruling, this corrupt behavior was illegal!

But will the court rule to overturn all of Mumia's negative appeals rulings by the PA Supreme Court? If it does, Mumia would be free to appeal once again against his unfair conviction. If it does not, Mumia could remain imprisoned for life, without the possibility for parole, for a crime he did not commit.

The Philadelphia DA's office has turned over some, but not all, evidence of Castille's complicity in this frame-up prosecution. Call DA Krasner at: (215) 686-8000 to demand full disclosure!

• Mumia Abu-Jamal is innocent and framed!

• Mumia Abu-Jamal is a journalist censored off the airwaves!

• Mumia Abu-Jamal is victimized by cops, courts and politicians!

• Mumia Abu-Jamal stands for all prisoners treated unjustly!

• Courts have never treated Mumia fairly!

Will You Help Free Mumia?

The rally is called by the Free Mumia Coalition of the Bay Area.

Initial sponsor/participants include: Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal,

Workers World Party, Oakland Teachers for Mumia, Alameda County Peace and Freedom Party, and the Oscar Grant Committee. 

Endorse and participate in this action! Send your info to: cskinder44@gmail.com



Right now, Californians have the opportunity to make waves not just in our state, but around the globe. Together, we can make California the first major economy in the world to stop all new fossil fuel development and embark on a racially, economically just transition to 100% clean energy.

In the past year Trump has launched unprecedented attacks on frontline communities, the Clean Power Plan, and the EPA. Meanwhile, Governor Brown would like to build his legacy around the climate - but he has yet to stand up to Big Oil and prioritize a clean energy future for all of us. Now Governor Brown is hosting the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco September 12-14 with public officials from around the world.

That's why we're planning the largest climate march the West Coast has ever seen – days before the Summit, as part of a global day of action. Sign up to march in San Francisco on September 8.

Eight weeks later, millions more will take these demands to the polls, making Climate, Jobs, and Justice deciding issues in the mid-term elections and beyond.

We won't be acting alone. Bay Resistance is working with the California Environmental Justice Alliance, Idle No More SF Bay, 350, People's Climate Movement, and hundreds of other labor, faith, environmental justice, and community groups.

Mark your calendars to Rise for Climate, Jobs & Justice on September 8th. Then sign up to paint the largest street mural ever with us that day, so elected officials hear our message loud and clear!

In solidarity,

Kung, Celi, Kimi, Irene, and the Bay Resistance team



Kevin "Rashid" Johnson Self Portrait, 2013

To: Virginia Department of Corrections; Chief of VA Corrections Operations David Robinson

We call on the Virginia Department of Corrections to immediately release Kevin "Rashid" Johnson from solitary confinement and not to transfer him again out of state.
Why is this important?

Click here to sign this petition.

Kevin "Rashid" Johnson has been a Virginia prisoner (#1007485) since 1990. During his imprisonment, he became a human rights advocate and a journalist. His journalistic work in particular exposes abuses by prison administration and staff. His related steps toward litigation have resulted in his being "interstate compacted" or transferred back-and-forth between state prisons.

Currently, Rashid is being held in solitary confinement with no legitimate security justification at Sussex I State Prison in Virginia. Between 2012 and June of 2018, he has been transferred to prisons in three other states (Oregon, Texas, and Florida) before being returned to a different prison in Virginia. He was kept in solitary confinement in Texas and Florida, where he witnessed and suffered many acts of abuse by prison staff. All this, in reprisal for his political and journalistic activity.

Each state prison transfer has subjected Rashid to serious abuses -- the most recent being caged in a freezing cold cell without heat or a blanket for over a week. Over the years, Rashid has had his life threatened by corrections officers and endured explicit, violent retaliation for exercising his First Amendment right of protected free speech. 

Rashid expects to be transferred again soon and to be subjected to more serious conditions of extreme isolation.

Kevin Rashid Johnson does not advocate for violence or illegal activity and has not been charged with anything of the like during his imprisonment. He is not a threat to the Virginia Department of Corrections – he is an imprisoned journalist and human rights advocate – and should be released from solitary confinement immediately.

Help by adding your name here.

Solitary confinement has been increasingly recognized by courts and society as a torturous means of punishment. This punitive measure has been imposed on Kevin Johnson not because of any violent conduct on his part but because of his relentless exposure of abuses by prison officials, his willingness to challenge those abuses through the legal system, and his efforts to educate fellow prisoners and encourage them to challenge by peaceful means the unhealthy and humiliating conditions to which they are subjected. Using solitary confinement as a tool to silence someone who exposes prison abuses and advocates for prison reform is a human rights abuse and unconstitutional.

Click here to demand the immediate release of Kevin Johnson from solitary confinement and for the VADOC not to transfer him again out of state.

After signing the petition, please use the tools on the next webpage to share it with your friends.

This work is only possible with your financial support. Please chip in $3 now. 

-- The RootsAction.org Team

P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Frances Fox Piven, Lila Garrett, Phil Donahue, Sonali Kolhatkar, and many others.


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

> Kevin "Rashid" Johnson: The Rising Tide of Hate in Amerika: A Sign of the Times



immigrant camps

US Military Ordered to Host Massive Immigrant Concentration Camps

We believe that all military personnel have a moral and legal obligation to refuse to comply with any order that involves collaboration with these camps.

Actual concentration camps are in the process of development at military bases across the Southern United States. This isn't the first time in US history that facilities are being constructed and used to imprison large numbers of a persecuted minority in a relatively small area with inadequate facilities (the definition of a concentration camp). Previous examples of this are now infamous, such as the so-called Japanese internment camps. We're now on the brink of adding a new chapter to this dark history.

Potential locations have been identified as:

  • Tornillo Port of Entry, Texas - capacity 360 teenagers CURRENTLY ACTIVE
  • Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas - capacity 45,000
  • Fort Bliss, Texas
  • Dyess Air Force Base, Texas
  • Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas - capacity 20,000
  • Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Air Station, California - capacity 47,000
  • Navy Outlying Field Wolf and Silverhill, Alabama - capacity 25,000
  • Yuma Marine Corps Air Station, Arizona
  • Concord Naval Weapons Station, California - capacity 47,000 CANCELLED

to support resistance

Military officials, in response to pressured deadlines from the White House, have stated that these camps can begin to be operational by mid-August. Estimates are that capacity for another 10,000 people can be added each month. The White House's stated timeline of 45 days out from June 27th has local base commanders scrambling and caught unaware.

In addition to providing the land, military personnel will construct the camps while private agencies will manage the operations. While this simplified explanation of operations seeks to minimize the military's role, it omits the endless capacities in which the armed forces will surely be facilitating the functioning of these camps such as with water, electricity, sewage, trash, and all of the other services to go allow with sustaining tens of thousands of immigrant detainees.

The military is strictly prohibited from domestic policing as stated in the constitution yet military personnel are being drafted into doing just that with this rising domestic enforcement of immigration policy. Just because Trump/Sessions Co. declares a war on immigrants, doesn't make it an actual war. Being quite clearly an illegal order, the question is who will refuse to aid and abet?



484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559

www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist





All Hands on Deck:  Get Malik Washington out of Ad-Seg!

Several weeks ago, friends and supporters of incarcerated freedom fighter Comrade Malik Washington were overjoyed to hear that he was getting released, finally, from Administrative Segregation (solitary confinement) at Eastham Unit in Texas--until TDCJ pulled a fast one, falsely claiming that he refused to participate in the Ad-Seg Transition Program to get him released back to general population.  

This is a complete lie:  Malik has been fighting to get out of Ad-Seg from the moment he was thrown in there two years ago on a bogus riot charge (which was, itself, retaliation for prison strike organizing and agitating against inhumane, discriminatory conditions).  

Here's what actually happened:  when Malik arrived at Ramsey Unit on June 21, he was assigned to a top bunk, which is prohibited by his medical restrictions as a seizure patient.  TDCJ had failed to transfer his medical restrictions records, or had erased them, and are now claiming no record of these restrictions, which have been on file and in place for the past ten years.  Malik wrote a detailed statement requesting to be placed on a lower bunk in order to avoid injury; later that night, he was abruptly transferred back to Ad-Seg at a new Unit (McConnell).  

Malik was told that Ramsey staff claimed he refused to participate in the Ad-Seg Transition program--this is NOT true, and he needs to be re-instated to the program immediately!  He also urgently needs his medical restrictions put back into his records!


We are extremely concerned for Malik's safety, and urgently need the help of everyone reading this. Please take one or more of the following actions, and get a couple friends to do the same!

1. Call Senior Warden Phillip Sifuentes at Malik's current facility (McConnell) and tell them Keith Washington (#1487958) must be transferred out of McConnell and re-admitted to the Ad-Seg Transition Program!

Phone #: (361) 362-2300 (**048) 00 --  ask to be connected to the senior warden's office/receptionist--try to talk to someone, but also can leave a message. 

Sample Script: "Hello, I'm calling because I'm concerned about Keith H. Washington (#1487958) who was recently transferred to your facility.  I understand he was transferred there from Ramsey Unit, because he supposedly refused to participate in the Ad-Seg transition program there, but this is not true; Malik never refused to participate, and he needs to be re-admitted to the transition program immediately!  I am also concerned that his heat restrictions seem to have been removed from his records.  He is a seizure patient and has been on heat and work restriction for years, and these restrictions must be reinstated immediately."

Please let us know how your call goes at blueridgeABC@riseup.net

2. Flood TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier with calls/emails!  You can use the above phone script as a guide for emails.  

(936) 437-2101 / (936) 437-2123

3. Flood TDCJ with emails demanding that Malik's health restrictions and work restrictions be restored: Health.services@tdcj.texas.gov

You can use the call script above as a guide; you don't need to mention the Ad-Seg situation, but just focus on the need to restore his heat and work restrictions!

4. File a complaint with the Ombudsman's Office (the office in charge of investigating departmental misconduct); you can use the above phone script as a guide for emails.

5. Write to Malik!  Every letter he receives lifts his spirit and PROTECTS him, because prison officials know he has people around him, watching for what happens to him.

Keith H. Washington


McConnell Unit

3100 South Emily Drive

Beeville, TX 78103



Listen to 'The Daily': Was Kevin Cooper Framed for Murder?

By Michael Barbaro, May 30, 2018


Listen and subscribe to our podcast from your mobile deviceVia Apple Podcasts | Via RadioPublic | Via Stitcher

The sole survivor of an attack in which four people were murdered identified the perpetrators as three white men. The police ignored suspects who fit the description and arrested a young black man instead. He is now awaiting execution.

On today's episode:

• Kevin Cooper, who has been on death row at San Quentin State Prison in California for three decades.



Last week I met with fellow organizers and members of Mijente to take joint action at the Tornillo Port of Entry, where detention camps have been built and where children and adults are currently being imprisoned. 

I oppose the hyper-criminalization of migrants and asylum seekers. Migration is a human right and every person is worthy of dignity and respect irrespective of whether they have "papers" or not. You shouldn't have to prove "extreme and unusual hardship" to avoid being separated from your family. We, as a country, have a moral responsibility to support and uplift those adversely affected by the US's decades-long role in the economic and military destabilization of the home countries these migrants and asylum seekers have been forced to leave.

While we expected to face resistance and potential trouble from the multiple law enforcement agencies represented at the border, we didn't expect to have a local farm hand pull a pistol on us to demand we deflate our giant balloon banner. Its message to those in detention:

NO ESTÁN SOLOS (You are not alone).

Despite the slight disruption to our plan we were able to support Mijente and United We Dream in blocking the main entrance to the detention camp and letting those locked inside know that there are people here who care for them and want to see them free and reunited with their families. 

We are continuing to stand in solidarity with Mijente as they fight back against unjust immigration practices.Yesterday they took action in San Diego, continuing to lead and escalate resistance to unjust detention, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and to ICE. 

While we were honored to offer on-the-ground support we see the potential to focus the energy of our Drop the MIC campaign into fighting against this injustice, to have an even greater impact. Here's how:

  1. Call out General Dynamics for profiteering of War, Militarization of the Border and Child and Family Detention (look for our social media toolkit this week);
  2. Create speaking forums and produce media that challenges the narrative of ICE and Jeff Sessions, encouraging troops who have served in the borderlands to speak out about that experience;
  3. Continue to show up and demand we demilitarize the border and abolish ICE.

Thank you for your vision and understanding of how militarism, racism, and capitalism are coming together in the most destructive ways. Help keep us in this fight by continuing to support our work.

In Solidarity,

Ramon Mejia

Field Organizer, About Face: Veterans Against the War

P.O. Box 3565, New York, NY 10008. All Right Reserved. | Unsubscribe

To ensure delivery of About Face emails please add webmaster@ivaw.org to your address book.



Feds extend deadline for public comments on future draft

The feds initially provided only a few days for the public to submit comments regarding the future of the draft in the United States. This mirrored their process of announcing public hearings with only a few days notice. Due to pressure, they have extended the deadline for your online comments until September. 

They need to hear from us!

  • It's time to end draft registration once and for all.
  • Don't expand the draft to women. End it for everyone.
  • No national service linked to the military--including immigration enforcement.
  • Until the US is invaded by a foreign power, stop pretending that the draft is about anything other than empire.
  • Submit your own comments online here.

As we have been reporting to you, a federal commission has been formed to address the future of draft registration in the United States and whether the draft should end or be extended.

The press release states "The Commission wants to learn why people serve and why people don't; the barriers to participation; whether modifications to the selective service system are needed; ways to increase the number of Americans in service; and more."

Public hearings are currently scheduled for the following cities. We encourage folks to attend these hearings by checking the commission's website for the actual dates and locations of these hearings (usually annouced only days before).

  • August 16/17, 2018: Memphis, TN
  • September 19/21, 2018: Los Angeles, CA

For more background information, read our recent post "Why is the government soliciting feedback on the draft now?"

Courage to Resist Podcast: The Future of Draft Registration in the United States

We had draft registration resister Edward Hasbrouck on the Courage to Resistpodcast this week to explain what's going on. Edward talks about his own history of going to prison for refusing to register for the draft in 1983, the background on this new federal commission, and addresses liberal arguments in favor of involuntary service. Edward explains:

When you say, "I'm not willing to be drafted", you're saying, "I'm going to make my own choices about which wars we should be fighting", and when you say, "You should submit to the draft", you're saying, "You should let the politicians decide for you."

What's happening right now is that a National Commission … has been appointed to study the question of whether draft registration should be continued, whether it should be expanded to make women, as well as men register for the draft, whether a draft itself should be started, whether there should be some other kind of Compulsory National Service enacted.

The Pentagon would say, and it's true, they don't want a draft. It's not plan A, but it's always been plan B, and it's always been the assumption that if we can't get enough volunteers, if we get in over our head, if we pick a larger fight than we can pursue, we always have that option in our back pocket that, "If not enough people volunteer, we're just going to go go to the draft, go to the benches, and dragoon enough people to fight these wars."

The first real meaningful opportunity for a national debate 

about the draft in decades . . .

Courage to Resist -- Support the Troops Who Refuse to Fight!

484 Lake Park Ave. No. 41, Oakland, CA 94610




Incarceration Nation

Emergency Action Alert:


In October, 2017, the 2 year court monitoring period of the Ashker v. Governor settlement to limit solitary confinement in California expired. Since then, the four drafters of the Agreement to End Hostilities and lead hunger strike negotiators – Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa, Arturo Castellanos, George Franco, and Todd Ashker, have all been removed from general population and put in solitary in Administrative Segregation Units, based on fabricated information created by staff and/or collaborating "inmate informants." In Todd Ashker's case, he is being isolated "for his own protection," although he does not ask for nor desire to be placed in isolation for this or any reason. Sitawa has since been returned to population, but can still not have visitors.

Please contact CDCr Secretary Scott Kernan and Governor Edmund G. Brown and demand CDCr:

• Immediately release back into general population any of the four lead organizers still held in solitary

• Return other Ashker class members to general population who have been placed in Ad Seg 

• Stop the retaliation against all Ashker class members and offer them meaningful rehabilitation opportunities

Contact Scott Kernan. He prefers mailed letters to 1515 S Street, Sacramento 95811. If you call 916-324-7308, press 0 for the Communications office. Email matthew.westbrook@cdcr.ca.gov and cc: scott.kernan@cdcr.ca.gov

Contact Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.,  c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814; Phone: (916) 445-2841Fax: (916) 558-3160; Email: https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov39mail/

As a result of the administrative reviews established after the second prisoner hunger strike in 2011 and the Ashker settlement of 2015, California's SHU population has decreased from 3923 people in October 2012 to 537 in January 2018.  Returning these four men and many other hunger strikers back to solitary in the form of Ad Seg represents an intentional effort to undermine the Agreement to End Hostilities and the settlement, and return to the lock 'em up mentality of the 1980's.

Sitawa writes: "What many of you on the outside may not know is the long sordid history of CDCr's ISU [Institutional Services Unit]/ IGI [Institutional Gang Investigator]/Green Wall syndicate's [organized groups of guards who act with impunity] pattern and practice, here and throughout its prison system, of retaliating, reprisals, intimidating, harassing, coercing, bad-jacketing [making false entries in prisoner files], setting prisoners up, planting evidence, fabricating and falsifying reports (i.e., state documents), excessive force upon unarmed prisoners, [and] stealing their personal property . . ." 

CDCr officials are targeting the Ashker v. Governor class members to prevent them from being able to organize based on the Agreement to End Hostilities, and to obstruct their peaceful efforts to effect genuine changes - for rehabilitation, returning home, productively contributing to the improvement of their communities, and deterring recidivism.

Please help put a stop to this retaliation with impunity. Contact Kernan and Brown today:

Scott Kernan prefers mailed letters to 1515 S Street, Sacramento 95811. If you call 916-324-7308, press 0 for the Communications office. Email matthew.westbrook@cdcr.ca.gov and cc: scott.kernan@cdcr.ca.gov

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.,  c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814; Phone: (916) 445-2841Fax: (916) 558-3160; Email: https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov39mail/

Read statements from the reps: 

Todd – We stand together so prisoners never have to go through the years of torture we did  (with Open Letter to Gov. Brown, CA legislators and CDCR Secretary Kernan)



"There Was a Crooked Prez"

By Dr. Nayvin Gordon

There was a crooked Prez, and he walked a crooked mile,

He found a crooked lawyer upon a crooked isle,

They bought a crooked election which caught a crooked mission,

And they both lived together in a little crooked prison.

April 28, 2018

"Trumpty Dumpty"

By Dr. Nayvin Gordon

Trumpty Dumpty sat on his wall,

Trumpty Dumpty had a great fall.

All the kingpin's forces and all the KKKlansmem

Couldn't put Trumpty together again.

July 25, 2018

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



It is so beautiful to see young people in this country rising up to demand an end to gun violence. But what is Donald Trump's response? Instead of banning assault weapons, he wants to give guns to teachers and militarize our schools. But one of the reasons for mass school shootings is precisely because our schools are already militarized. Florida shooter, Nikolas Cruz, was trained by U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) program while he was in high school.

Yesterday, Divest from the War Machine coalition member, Pat Elder, was featured on Democracy Now discussing his recent article about the JROTC in our schools. The JROTC teaches children how to shoot weapons. It is often taught by retired soldiers who have no background in teaching. They are allowed to teach classes that are given at least equal weight as classes taught by certified and trained teachers. We are pulling our children away from classes that expand their minds and putting them in classes that teach them how to be killing machines. The JROTC program costs our schools money. It sends equipment. But, the instructors and facilities must be constructed and paid for by the school.

The JROTC puts our children's futures at risk. Children who participate in JROTC shooting programs are exposed to lead bullets from guns. They are at an increased risk when the shooting ranges are inside. The JROTC program is designed to "put a jump start on your military career." Children are funneled into JROTC to make them compliant and to feed the military with young bodies which are prepared to be assimilated into the war machine. Instead of funneling children into the military, we should be channeling them into jobs that support peace and sustainable development. 

Tell Senator McCain and Representative Thornberry to take the war machine out of our schools! The JROTC program must end immediately. The money should be directed back into classrooms that educate our children.

The Divest from the War Machine campaign is working to remove our money from the hands of companies that make a killing on killing. We must take on the systems that keep fueling war, death, and destruction around the globe. AND, we must take on the systems that are creating an endless cycle of children who are being indoctrinated at vulnerable ages to become the next killing machine.  Don't forget to post this message on Facebook and Twitter.

Onward in divestment,

Ann, Ariel, Brienne, Jodie, Kelly, Kirsten, Mark, Medea, Nancy, Natasha, Paki, Sarah, Sophia and Tighe

P.S. Do you want to do more? Start a campaign to get the JROTC out of your school district or state. Email divest@codepink.org and we'll get you started!



October 20-21, 2018

Cindy Sheehan and the Women's March on the Pentagon

A movement not just a protest

By Whitney Webb

WASHINGTON—In the last few years, arguably the most visible and well-publicized march on the U.S. capital has been the "Women's March," a movement aimed at advocating for legislation and policies promoting women's rights as well as a protest against the misogynistic actions and statements of high-profile U.S. politicians. The second Women's March, which took place this past year, attracted over a million protesters nationwide, with 500,000 estimated to have participated in Los Angeles alone.

However, absent from this women's movement has been a public antiwar voice, as its stated goal of "ending violence" does not include violence produced by the state. The absence of this voice seemed both odd and troubling to legendary peace activist Cindy Sheehan, whose iconic protest against the invasion and occupation of Iraq made her a household name for many.

Sheehan was taken aback by how some prominent organizers of this year's Women's March were unwilling to express antiwar positions and argued for excluding the issue of peace entirely from the event and movement as a whole. In an interview with MintPress, Sheehan recounted how a prominent leader of the march had told her, "I appreciate that war is your issue Cindy, but the Women's March will never address the war issue as long as women aren't free."

War is indeed Sheehan's issue and she has been fighting against the U.S.' penchant for war for nearly 13 years. After her son Casey was killed in action while serving in Iraq in 2004, Sheehan drew international media attention for her extended protest in front of the Bush residence in Crawford, Texas, which later served as the launching point for many protests against U.S. military action in Iraq.

Sheehan rejected the notion that women could be "free" without addressing war and empire. She countered the dismissive comment of the march organizer by stating that divorcing peace activism from women's issues "ignored the voices of the women of the world who are being bombed and oppressed by U.S. military occupation."

Indeed, women are directly impacted by war—whether through displacement, the destruction of their homes, kidnapping, or torture. Women also suffer uniquely and differently from men in war as armed conflicts often result in an increase in sexual violence against women.

For example, of the estimated half-a-million civilians killed in the U.S. invasion of Iraq, many of them were women and children. In the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, the number of female casualties has been rising on average over 20 percent every year since 2015. In 2014 alone when Israel attacked Gaza in "Operation Protective Edge," Israeli forces, which receives $10 million in U.S. military aid every day, killed over two thousand Palestinians—half of them were women and children. Many of the casualties were pregnant women, who had been deliberately targeted.

Given the Women's March's apparent rejection of peace activism in its official platform, Sheehan was inspired to organize another Women's March that would address what many women's rights advocates, including Sheehan, believe to be an issue central to promoting women's rights.

Dubbed the "Women's March on the Pentagon," the event is scheduled to take place on October 21—the same date as an iconic antiwar march of the Vietnam era—with a mission aimed at countering the "bipartisan war machine." Though men, women and children are encouraged to attend, the march seeks to highlight women's issues as they relate to the disastrous consequences of war.

The effort of women in confronting the "war machine" will be highlighted at the event, as Sheehan remarked that "women have always tried to confront the war-makers," as the mothers, daughters, sisters and wives of the men and women in the military, as well as those innocent civilians killed in the U.S.' foreign wars. As a result, the push for change needs to come from women, according to Sheehan, because "we [women] are the only ones that can affect [the situation] in a positive way." All that's missing is an organized, antiwar women's movement.

Sheehan noted the march will seek to highlight the direct relationship between peace activism and women's rights, since "no woman is free until all women are free" and such "freedom also includes the freedom from U.S. imperial plunder, murder and aggression"that is part of the daily lives of women living both within and beyond the United States. Raising awareness of how the military-industrial complex negatively affects women everywhere is key, says Sheehan, as "unless there is a sense of international solidarity and a broader base for feminism, then there aren't going to be any solutions to any problems, [certainly not] if we don't stop giving trillions of dollars to the Pentagon."

Sheehan also urged that, even though U.S. military adventurism has long been an issue and the subject of protests, a march to confront the military-industrial complex is more important now than ever: "I'm not alarmist by nature but I feel like the threat of nuclear annihilation is much closer than it has been for a long time," adding that, despite the assertion of some in the current administration and U.S. military, "there is no such thing as 'limited' nuclear war." This makes "the need to get out in massive numbers" and march against this more imperative than ever.

Sheehan also noted that Trump's presidency has helped to make the Pentagon's influence on U.S. politics more obvious by bringing it to the forefront: "Even though militarism had been under wraps [under previous presidents], Trump has made very obvious the fact that he has given control of foreign policy to the 'generals.'"

Indeed, as MintPress has reported on several occasions, the Pentagon—beginning in March of last year—has been given the freedom to "engage the enemy" at will, without the oversight of the executive branch or Congress. As a result, the deaths of innocent civilians abroad as a consequence of U.S. military action has spiked. While opposing Trump is not the focus of the march, Sheehan opined that Trump's war-powers giveaway to the Pentagon, as well as his unpopularity, have helped to spark widespread interest in the event.

Different wings of the same warbird

Sheehan has rejected accusations that the march is partisan, as it is, by nature, focused on confronting the bipartisan nature of the military-industrial complex. She told MintPress that she has recently come under pressure owing to the march's proximity to the 2018 midterm elections—as some have ironically accused the march's bipartisan focus as "trying to harm the chances of the Democrats" in the ensuing electoral contest.

In response, Sheehan stated that: 

"Democrats and Republicans are different wings of the same warbird. We are protesting militarism and imperialism. The march is nonpartisan in nature because both parties are equally complicit. We have to end wars for the planet and for the future. I could really care less who wins in November."

She also noted that even when the Democrats were in power under Obama, nothing was done to change the government's militarism nor to address the host of issues that events like the Women's March have claimed to champion.

"We just got finished with eight years of a Democratic regime," Sheehan told MintPress. "For two of those years, they had complete control of Congress and the presidency and a [filibuster-proof] majority in the Senate and they did nothing" productive except to help "expand the war machine." She also emphasized that this march is in no way a "get out the vote" march for any political party.

Even though planning began less than a month ago, support has been pouring in for the march since it was first announced on Sheehan's website, Cindy Sheehan Soapbox. Encouraged by the amount of interest already received, Sheehan is busy working with activists to organize the events and will be taking her first organizing trip to the east coast in April of this year. 

In addition, those who are unable to travel to Washington are encouraged to participate in any number of solidarity protests that will be planned to take place around the world or to plan and attend rallies in front of U.S. embassies, military installations, and the corporate headquarters of war profiteers.

Early endorsers of the event include journalists Abby Martin, Mnar Muhawesh and Margaret Kimberley; Nobel Peace Prize nominee Kathy Kelly; FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley; and U.S. politicians like former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. Activist groups that have pledged their support include CodePink, United National Antiwar Coalition, Answer Coalition, Women's EcoPeace and World Beyond War.

Though October is eight months away, Sheehan has high hopes for the march. More than anything else, though, she hopes that the event will give birth to a "real revolutionary women's movement that recognizes the emancipation and liberation of all peoples—and that means [freeing] all people from war and empire, which is the biggest crime against humanity and against this planet." By building "a movement and not just a protest," the event's impact will not only be long-lasting, but grow into a force that could meaningfully challenge the U.S. military-industrial complex that threatens us all. God knows the world needs it.

For those eager to help the march, you can help spread the word through social media by joining the march's Facebook page or following the march'sTwitter account, as well as by word of mouth. In addition, supporting independent media outlets—such as MintPress, which will be reporting on the march—can help keep you and others informed as October approaches.

Whitney Webb is a staff writer forMintPress News who has written for several news organizations in both English and Spanish; her stories have been featured on ZeroHedge, theAnti-Media, and21st Century Wire among others. She currently lives in Southern Chile.

MPN News, February 20, 2018






Major George Tillery




April 25, 2018-- The arrest of two young men in Starbucks for the crime of "sitting while black," and the four years prison sentence to rapper Meek Mill for a minor parole violation are racist outrages in Philadelphia, PA that made national news in the past weeks. Yesterday Meek Mills was released on bail after a high profile defense campaign and a Pa Supreme Court decision citing evidence his conviction was based solely on a cop's false testimony.

These events underscore the racism, frame-up, corruption and brutality at the core of the criminal injustice system. Pennsylvania "lifer" Major Tillery's fight for freedom puts a spotlight on the conviction of innocent men with no evidence except the lying testimony of jailhouse snitches who have been coerced and given favors by cops and prosecutors.

Sex for Lies and Manufactured Testimony

For thirty-five years Major Tillery has fought against his 1983 arrest, then conviction and sentence of life imprisonment without parole for an unsolved 1976 pool hall murder and assault. Major Tillery's defense has always been his innocence. The police and prosecution knew Tillery did not commit these crimes. Jailhouse informant Emanuel Claitt gave lying testimony that Tillery was one of the shooters.

Homicide detectives and prosecutors threatened Claitt with a false unrelated murder charge, and induced him to lie with promises of little or no jail time on over twenty pending felonies, and being released from jail despite a parole violation. In addition, homicide detectives arranged for Claitt, while in custody, to have private sexual liaisons with his girlfriends in police interview rooms.

In May and June 2016, Emanuel Claitt gave sworn statements that his testimony was a total lie, and that the homicide cops and the prosecutors told him what to say and coached him before trial. Not only was he coerced to lie that Major Tillery was a shooter, but to lie and claim there were no plea deals made in exchange for his testimony. He provided the information about the specific homicide detectives and prosecutors involved in manufacturing his testimony and details about being allowed "sex for lies". In August 2016, Claitt reaffirmed his sworn statements in a videotape, posted on YouTube and on JusticeforMajorTillery.org.

Without the coerced and false testimony of Claitt there was no evidence against Major Tillery. There were no ballistics or any other physical evidence linking him to the shootings. The surviving victim's statement naming others as the shooters was not allowed into evidence.

The trial took place in May 1985 during the last days of the siege and firebombing of the MOVE family Osage Avenue home in Philadelphia that killed 13 Black people, including 5 children. The prosecution claimed that Major Tillery was part of an organized crime group, and falsely described it as run by the Nation of Islam. This prejudiced and inflamed the majority white jury against Tillery, to make up for the absence of any evidence that Tillery was involved in the shootings.

This was a frame-up conviction from top to bottom. Claitt was the sole or primary witness in five other murder cases in the early 1980s. Coercing and inducing jailhouse informants to falsely testify is a standard routine in criminal prosecutions. It goes hand in hand with prosecutors suppressing favorable evidence from the defense.

Major Tillery has filed a petition based on his actual innocence to the Philadelphia District Attorney's Larry Krasner's Conviction Review Unit. A full review and investigation should lead to reversal of Major Tillery's conviction. He also asks that the DA's office to release the full police and prosecution files on his case under the new  "open files" policy. In the meantime, Major Tillery continues his own investigation. He needs your support.

Major Tillery has Fought his Conviction and Advocated for Other Prisoners for over 30 Years

The Pennsylvania courts have rejected three rounds of appeals challenging Major Tillery's conviction based on his innocence, the prosecution's intentional presentation of false evidence against him and his trial attorney's conflict of interest. On June 15, 2016 Major Tillery filed a new post-conviction petition based on the same evidence now in the petition to the District Attorney's Conviction Review Unit. Despite the written and video-taped statements from Emanuel Claitt that that his testimony against Major Tillery was a lie and the result of police and prosecutorial misconduct, Judge Leon Tucker dismissed Major Tillery's petition as "untimely" without even holding a hearing. Major Tillery appealed that dismissal and the appeal is pending in the Superior Court.

During the decades of imprisonment Tillery has advocated for other prisoners challenging solitary confinement, lack of medical and mental health care and the inhumane conditions of imprisonment. In 1990, he won the lawsuit, Tillery v. Owens, that forced the PA Department of Corrections (DOC) to end double celling (4 men to a small cell) at SCI Pittsburgh, which later resulted in the closing and then "renovation" of that prison.

Three years ago Major Tillery stood up for political prisoner and journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal and demanded prison Superintendent John Kerestes get Mumia to a hospital because "Mumia is dying."  For defending Mumia and advocating for medical treatment for himself and others, prison officials retaliated. Tillery was shipped out of SCI Mahanoy, where Mumia was also held, to maximum security SCI Frackville and then set-up for a prison violation and a disciplinary penalty of months in solitary confinement. See, Messing with Major by Mumia Abu-Jamal. Major Tillery's federal lawsuit against the DOC for that retaliation is being litigated. Major Tillery continues as an advocate for all prisoners. He is fighting to get the DOC to establish a program for elderly prisoners.

Major Tillery Needs Your Help:

Well-known criminal defense attorney Stephen Patrizio represents Major pro bonoin challenging his conviction. More investigation is underway. We can't count on the district attorney's office to make the findings of misconduct against the police detectives and prosecutors who framed Major without continuing to dig up the evidence.

Major Tillery is now 67 years old. He's done hard time, imprisoned for almost 35 years, some 20 years in solitary confinement in max prisons for a crime he did not commit. He recently won hepatitis C treatment, denied to him for a decade by the DOC. He has severe liver problems as well as arthritis and rheumatism, back problems, and a continuing itchy skin rash. Within the past couple of weeks he was diagnosed with an extremely high heartbeat and is getting treatment.

Major Tillery does not want to die in prison. He and his family, daughters, sons and grandchildren are fighting to get him home. The newly filed petition for Conviction Review to the Philadelphia District Attorney's office lays out the evidence Major Tillery has uncovered, evidence suppressed by the prosecution through all these years he has been imprisoned and brought legal challenges into court. It is time for the District Attorney's to act on the fact that Major Tillery is innocent and was framed by police detectives and prosecutors who manufactured the evidence to convict him. Major Tillery's conviction should be vacated and he should be freed.

Major Tillery and family


    Financial Support—Tillery's investigation is ongoing. He badly needs funds to fight for his freedom.

    Go to JPay.com;

    code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

    Tell Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner:

    The Conviction Review Unit should investigate Major Tillery's case. He is innocent. The only evidence at trial was from lying jail house informants who now admit it was false.

    Call: 215-686-8000 or

    Write to:

    Major Tillery AM 9786

    SCI Frackville

    1111 Altamont Blvd.

    Frackville, PA 17931

    For More Information, Go To: JusticeForMajorTillery.org


    Kamilah Iddeen (717) 379-9009, Kamilah29@yahoo.com

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



    Free Leonard Peltier!

    On my 43rd year in prison I yearn to hug my grandchildren.

    By Leonard Peltier

    Art by Leonard Peltier

    Write to:

    Leonard Peltier 89637-132 

    USP Coleman I 

    P.O. Box 1033 

    Coleman, FL 33521

    Donations can be made on Leonard's behalf to the ILPD national office, 116 W. Osborne Ave, Tampa, FL 33603



    Whistleblower Reality Winner Accepts Responsibility for Helping Expose Attacks on Election Systems

    After more than a year jailed without bail, NSA whistleblower Reality Winner has changed her plea to guilty. In a hearing this past Tuesday, June 26th, she stated - "all of these actions I did willfully." If this new plea deal is approved by the judge, she will have a maximum prison sentence of five years as opposed to the ten years she faced under the Espionage Act.

    Speaking to the family's relief due to this plea deal, Reality's mother Billie sharedthat "At least she knows it's coming to an end." "Her plea agreement reflects the conclusion of Winner and her lawyers," stated Betsy Reed, "that the terms of this deal represent the best outcome possible for her in the current environment."

    In a recent campaign status update Jeff Paterson, Project Director of Courage to Resist, reiterated the importance of continuing to support Reality and her truth-telling motives. "We cannot forget this Trump Administration political prisoner. Reality needs us each to do what we can to resist." Although Courage to Resist is no longer hosting Reality's defense fund, online monetary support can be contributed to the Winner family directly at standwithreality.org. Reality's inspiring artwork also available for purchase at realitywinnerart.com.

    "It's so important to me as her mom to know just all the people that are writing her, who are touching her, who are reaching out to her giving her that strength and that support . . . Please don't stop that" said Billie Winner-Davis. "And we'll always make sure that everybody knows where she's at, where you can write to her, how you can help her. You know, we'll continue to do that. Just follow us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter. We will continue to do that for her."

    Reality will remain at the Lincoln County jail near Augusta, Georgia, for the next few months pending the sentencing hearing and hopefully will then be transferred to a facility closer to her family.


    484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559

    www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist



    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






    1)  If We Silence Hate Speech, Will We Silence Resistance?

    By Erik Nielson, Dr. Nielson has become well-known as an expert in the use of rap music as evidence in criminal trials., August 9, 2018


    A Black Lives Matter protester at a demonstration in Sacramento, Calif., in March.

    Apple, Facebook, YouTube, Spotify and most other major internet distributors took a bold step this week when they all but banned content from Infowars, a website run by the right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. The tech companies cited their policies against hate speech for their decision, rather than the trafficking in fake news by Infowars. 

    It's tempting to applaud this move, but we should be wary. While Mr. Jones's rhetoric is certainly repugnant, mounting pressure from the political left to censor hateful speech may have unintended consequences, especially for people of color.

    That's because "hate" is a dangerously elastic label, one that has long been used in America to demonize unpopular expression. If we become overzealous in our efforts to limit so-called hate speech, we run the risk of setting a trap for the very people we're trying to defend.

    History offers countless examples. Consider black nationalists of the 1960s and 1970s. Impatient with the lack of progress for African-Americans after the civil rights movement, leaders like Malcolm X routinely inveighed against white America using inflammatory rhetoric. He had no trouble expressing animosity toward the "white devil," and he contemplated violent resistance.

    Malcolm X at a Harlem rally in 1963.

    That put him in the cross hairs of law enforcement, most notably J. Edgar Hoover's F.B.I. Of course, the FBI spied on many other so-called black radicals. Under Hoover's Counterintelligence Program, groups like the Nation of Islam and the Black Panthers were subject to routine surveillance, harassment and even violence. Hoover's justification? He labeled them hate groups. It was a cynical but effective way to turn the tables, framing them as antagonists in the centuries' long struggle for racial equality. 

    Hoover is gone, but the tendency to label black radical organizations as hate groups persists, even among groups with more admirable intentions. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremist and hate organizations across the country, makes the dubious claim that nearly 25 percent of the 954 "hate groups" they follow are "black nationalist" groups. 

    There's no question that black nationalists often argue for racial separation or that many have engaged in bigotry. But it's false equivalence to label black nationalists and white supremacists alike as hate groups. Doing so ignores the centuries of racial terror that gave rise to black nationalism, as well as the power imbalance that keeps it alive. And it gives a powerful tool to people who want to silence radical perspectives. They can call these viewpoints hate speech.

    Take, as one example, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, a Palestinian-led initiative that endorses a series of nonviolent measures to end Israel's systematic oppression of the Palestinians. As it has gained traction in the United States, in large part because of support from prominent African-American intellectuals and organizations, state and federal lawmakers have increasingly tried to shut the movement down by accusing it of hate speech.

    The pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement has increasingly been the target of lawmakers who accuse it of hate speech.

    The New York State Senate, for example, recently passed a bill that would prohibit from receiving public funds "student organizations that participate in hate speech, including advocating for the boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel and American allied nations." Meanwhile, Congress (with support from many Democrats) has been trying to criminalize the movement for years. 

    If people engaged in a boycott can be silenced, even criminalized, for discriminating against the group they accuse of discrimination, we begin to see how problematic it is to punish "hate" speech. It can devolve into the politics of choosing sides, and that is usually bad news for people who lack political clout to begin with.

    Black Lives Matter would know. A movement formed in response to police violence against African-Americans, it has been accused by law enforcement officials, and even some state legislators, of being a hate group, despite the fact that it renounces violence and welcomes allies from all walks of life. 

    By accusing Black Lives Matter of peddling hate, politicians effectively turned the tables on the movement, allowing lawmakers, in some cases, to strengthen protections for the police. Since 2016, several "Blue Lives Matter" bills have been enacted across the country, many of which seek to add police as a protected class covered by hate crimes laws. Following this logic, Black Lives Matter's opposition to police brutality is a kind of hate itself, from which the police require additional protection. Yet killings by police officers are increasing while line-of-duty deaths of police officers are decreasing.

    It is difficult to imagine a more ridiculous outcome. But it speaks to one of the most serious perils of limiting speech: a measure to protect minority perspectives can instead be used to further marginalize them. 

    Despite this, a significant number of young Americans, especially young Americans of color, believe that hate speech should be limited by the government or on college campuses. In addition, some scholars have recently argued for legal restrictions on hate speech.

    But how would stronger limits on hate speech affect progressive protests against white supremacy? What would have been the fate, for example, of the historic Million Man March in 1995, an event organized by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan? The Nation of Islam is a Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group, and Mr. Farrakhan has openly made anti-Semitic comments for years. At the same time, the March was a landmark effort focused on uniting black men in the face of widespread inequality and racism.

    Participants in the 1995 Million Man March, a day of atonement and reconciliation conceived by Louis Farrakhan for African-American men.

    What about the equally historic Women's March in 2017, after it was revealed that some of the event's most prominent organizers had ties to Mr. Farrakhan? Or that they openly revered Assata Shakur, a black revolutionary who was convicted (albeit questionably) of killing a police officer and is now on the F.B.I.'s list of most-wanted terrorists? Predictably, they have been accused by some of embracing hate, yet they organized one of the most significant protests in United States history.

    If we allowed these voices to be silenced on grounds that they promote hate, we'd find ourselves scrambling to defend the radical poets, musicians, filmmakers and other artists who have pushed the boundaries of expression into what could arguably amount to hate speech, but who have done so from the vanguard of social and political protest. 

    That almost certainly explains the response from the music industry when Spotify announced its decision to stop promoting artists who engage in hateful speech or conduct. A number of people, including representatives from Kendrick Lamar's record label, Top Dawg Entertainment, expressed concerns that such a policy would lead to censorship and threatened to pull their music from the service. 

    Within weeks, Spotify reversed course, noting that its policy was "vague." But by silencing Mr. Jones on its platform, it's not exactly clear where Spotify is drawing the line.

    And that's the inherent danger in attempting to limit something like hate. It can be so broadly defined that our efforts to counteract it will be broad, too. 

    If that happens, we risk silencing the voices and perspectives we can least afford to lose. That's not a triumph over hate. That's falling victim to it.

    Erik Nielson (@ErikNielson) is an associate professor of liberal arts at the University of Richmond.

    My comment on this article:

    The flaw in Dr. Nielson's argument is that Black Lives Matter is not lynching white people or running them over with cars; Malcolm X never advocated lynching white people nor did he ever physically attack or threaten white people; Lewis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam never lynched, drove over or beat up white people; The BDS movement never built a wall around Jewish people, nor do they advocate violence against Jewish people. But the Alt-Right does ALL OF THAT AND MORE. These are groups that actively perform violence against Black people and people of color. They speak HATE SPEECH! ——Bonnie Weinstein



    2) Trump Used Racial Slur During 'Celebrity Apprentice,' Former Aide Says

    By Maggie Haberman, August 8, 2018


    Omarosa Manigault Newman was a contestant on the first season of "The Apprentice" and later served was an adviser to Donald J. Trump on the campaign trail and at the White House.

    President Trump frequently used the word "nigger" while he was the host of the reality television show "Celebrity Apprentice" and there are tapes that can confirm it, according to a new memoir by one of Mr. Trump's former White House advisers, Omarosa Manigault Newman.

    The claim is among the more explosive that Ms. Manigault Newman makes in the book, "Unhinged." It was first reported by the British publication The Guardian, which had an early copy.

    Ms. Manigault Newman said she never heard Mr. Trump use the word herself, a point that critics of her credibility are certain to seize on. But she said that by the time she was fired by the White House chief of staff, John F. Kelly, she had come to realize that Mr. Trump was a "racist."

    "It had finally sunk in that the person I'd thought I'd known so well for so long was actually a racist," she said in the memoir. "Using the N-word was not just the way he talks but, more disturbing, it was how he thought of me and African Americans as a whole.''

    Ms. Manigault Newman worked with Mr. Trump on the show as a first-season contestant, and then was an adviser to his campaign and later in the White House. She was fired in December 2017, after what White House aides said were multiple instances of misconduct, including misuse of a car service and attempting to photograph her wedding on White House grounds. The White House has declined to respond to the allegations in her book so far, although several advisers have privately questioned her credibility and pointed out that she was very upset at being dismissed.

    In her book, Ms. Manigault Newman suggested she now believes she was pushed out because she was close to getting hold of the secret tapes revealing Mr. Trump using the racist word.

    She also wrote that she has been investigating the existence of tapes that prove Mr. Trump used the word since late 2016.

    "By that point, three sources in three separate conversations had described the contents of this tape," she said. "They all told me that President Trump hadn't just dropped a single N-word bomb. He'd said it multiple times throughout the show's taping during off-camera outtakes, particularly during the first season of 'The Apprentice.'"

    She added, "I would look like the biggest imbecile alive for supporting a man who used that word."

    When she was fired, she said she had a "growing realization that Donald Trump was indeed a racist, a bigot and a misogynist.''

    She continued: "My certainty about the N-word tape and his frequent uses of that word were the top of a high mountain of truly appalling things I'd experienced with him, during the last two years in particular."



    3)  E.P.A. Staff Objected to Agency's New Rules on Asbestos Use, Internal Emails Show

    By Lisa Friedman, August 10, 2018


    Workers removed asbestos debris from the site of a home destroyed by a wildfire in Coffey Park, Calif., in December. The E.P.A. has proposed new rules governing use of the material.

    WASHINGTON — Top officials at the Environmental Protection Agency pushed through a measure to review applications for using asbestos in consumer products, and did so over the objections of E.P.A.'s in-house scientists and attorneys, internal agency emails show.

    The clash over the proposal exposes the tensions within the E.P.A. over the Trump administration's efforts to roll back environmental rules and rewrite other regulations that industries have long fought.

    Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral and known carcinogen, was once common in insulation and fireproofing materials, but today most developed countries ban it. The United States still allows limited use in products including gaskets, roofing materials and sealants.

    The proposed new rule would create a new process for regulating uses of asbestos, something the E.P.A. is obliged to do under a 2016 amendment to a toxic substances law.

    The E.P.A. says it is toughening oversight. However, the way its new rule is written has spawned a spirited debate over whether it will actually make it easier for asbestos to come back into more widespread use. Consumer groups say the agency should be looking for ways to prohibit asbestos entirely.

    "The new approach raises significant concerns about the potential health impacts," wrote Sharon Cooperstein, an E.P.A. policy analyst, in one of the emails. She, along with a veteran E.P.A. scientist and a longtime agency attorney, said the proposal as designed left open the possibility that businesses could start using asbestos in some cases without getting the government's assessment, putting the public at risk.

    The asbestos plan, which was introduced with little fanfare in June, stems from the E.P.A.'s responsibility to regulate chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act and fulfill an Obama-era amendment that requires the agency to regularly re-evaluate the harmfulness of toxic materials. Asbestos is the most prominent of the current batch of substances the E.P.A. is deciding how best to regulate in the future.

    Andrew R. Wheeler, E.P.A.'s acting administrator, said the E.P.A.'s plan would make it more difficult to use asbestos in products. The E.P.A., he wrote on Twitter, "is proposing a new rule that would allow for the restriction of asbestos manufacturing and processing of new uses of asbestos."

    The Trump administration has made government deregulation — of environmental rulesbanking guidelines and myriad other regulatory areas — a centerpiece of its policy agenda, and the E.P.A. has been at the forefront of the effort. In recent weeks the agency detailed one of its most significant efforts, a major weakening of federal auto-emissions regulations.

    The United States tried to ban asbestos use in the 1970s, but that effort was overturned by the federal courts in 1991. However the ruling did retain a ban on new uses of asbestos. Because of that (and the potential legal liability), use of asbestos declined in the United States.

    Attorney General Maura Healey of Massachusetts is leading an effort among Democratic state attorneys to fight the asbestos plan, calling it a threat to human health. Exposure to asbestos has been linked to lung cancer, mesothelioma and other ailments.

    "In recent years, tens of thousands have died from mesothelioma and other diseases caused by exposure to asbestos and other dangerous chemicals," she said. "If the Trump administration's erosion of federal chemical safety rules continues, it will endanger our communities and the health of all Americans."

    The United States no longer mines or manufactures asbestos. Until recently, Brazil had been the source of about 95 percent of all asbestos used in America, according to the E.P.A., but last year that country banned its manufacture and sale. Since then, Russia has stepped in as a supplier.

    One Russian producer recently signaled enthusiasm for the American market. Last month, the Russian firm Uralasbest posted on Facebook an image of its asbestos packaging that featured President Donald J. Trump's face along with the words: "Approved by Donald Trump, 45th president of the United States." The company is one of the world's largest producers and sellers of asbestos.

    Uralasbest did not respond to a request for comment.

    The new E.P.A. proposal is called a "significant new-use rule" that sets out the guidelines for what types of asbestos uses the federal government considers risky enough to evaluate and perhaps restrict or ban.

    The internal E.P.A. emails indicate that, this year, top E.P.A. officials sought a last-minute change in the language of the rule.

    "Upper management asked us to take a different approach," wrote Robert T. Courtnage, an associate chief in E.P.A.'s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, in an April 25 email sent to 13 members of an agency group working on the then-forthcoming proposal. Specifically: Rather than call for all new uses of asbestos to come before the E.P.A. for a risk review, the rule would include just 15 specific uses that would trigger a federal assessment.

    The list of 15 included a number of specific and relatively common uses for asbestos, including as separators in fuel cells and batteries and as a component in vinyl-asbestos floor tile and high-grade electrical paper.

    Mr. Courtnage in his email did not identify who had sought the change. He and other E.P.A. officials who wrote the emails did not respond to requests for comment.

    Critics of the rule argue that limiting the review to 15 uses means other potential uses would avoid examination.

    "This is presuming there's nothing under the sun you could ever do with asbestos other than these 15 things," said Betsy Southerland, former director of the E.P.A.'s office of science and technology, in an interview. Ms. Southerland resigned from E.P.A. last year over the Trump administration's leadership of the agency and is working on opposing the asbestos rule and others for the Environmental Protection Network, a group of agency alumni.

    Narrowing the list to 15 potential uses took E.P.A. scientists and attorneys by surprise, the emails indicate. Three staff members argued in the emails that the agency could not anticipate all future uses of asbestos, and therefore risked letting some uses take place without being weighed for safety risks.

    Under the E.P.A.'s approach, if the agency "failed to correctly anticipate some other new use, then it seems to me that the manufacture of such a product would not be subject to" the new-use rule, wrote Susan Fairchild, an environmental scientist who has worked at the agency since 1991.

    "Asbestos is an extremely dangerous substance with no safe exposure amount," Mark Seltzer, an attorney who has been with E.P.A. more than a decade, noted in another email

    A spokesman for the E.P.A., James Hewitt, said the emails indicated staff and other members of the working group on asbestos "did not fully understand the proposal being developed."

    In a telephone interview this week, Nancy B. Beck, the E.P.A.'s deputy assistant administrator in the agency's chemical safety office, said the rules would to restrict and perhaps even ban some uses of asbestos where no means of doing so currently exist. "Obviously someone out there thinks we are increasing exposure to asbestos when we are doing the opposite," she said.

    The E.P.A. has set a Friday deadline for the public to comment on the asbestos rule, which it intends to finalize this year.

    Before joining the E.P.A. Ms. Beck served as an executive at the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry's main trade association. (An E.P.A. spokeswoman also noted that Ms. Beck also previously worked for the Washington State Department of Health and served in the Office of Management and Budget under two former presidents, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.)

    The American Chemistry Council has not weighed in directly on the proposed asbestos rule.

    Ms. Beck said that, since there is no ban on asbestos, no regulatory process currently exists to stop a company that chooses to put it in something like flooring or roofing materials. But under the rule, some of those ways of employing asbestos — which had over the decades become less common — would now be considered a significant new use. That will force companies to notify the E.P.A. and face an evaluate the risks.

    "If you want to put asbestos in flooring materials you have to come to us first and we have to do a thorough risk evaluation and approve it," she said. "Or we simply prohibit it."

    Asked why the rule specified 15 uses instead of applying to all prospective uses, Ms. Beck said the agency was confident it had included all foreseeable uses of asbestos. "We think we have identified all of the potential possible uses that are out there and could come back into manufacturing," Ms. Beck said. "The universe is covered."



    4) Can You Imagine Living Like This?' Pregnant Woman and Toddler Among Those Killed in Israel's Latest Vicious Assault on Gaza

    "As Israeli airstrikes persist and the living situation gravely worsens, Palestinians in Gaza are on the brink of a full-blown humanitarian crisis due to Israel's 10-year siege. Everyday life in besieged Gaza is shaped by Israeli policy."

    by Jake Johnson, August 9, 2018


    Smoke rises after an Israeli aircraft bombed a multi-story building in Gaza City August 9, 2018. (Photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

    After a massive Israeli bombing campaign in the Gaza Strip early Thursday morning killed a pregnant woman and her 18-month-old daughter, Israel's vicious assault on the occupied Palestinian territory continued throughout the day on Thursday as the nation's air force leveled a major civilian cultural center in Gaza City and slammed more than a 150 other targets.

    Israel's latest attack on Gaza was characterized as the largest escalation since 2014, when Israel killed more than 2,000 Palestinians in a seven-week military operation. Videos and images of Thursday's wave of bombings spread quickly across social media, revealing the intensity and scope of the airstrikes as they pounded buildings and densely populated areas.

    According to Haaretz, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) intentionally targeted civilians "with the goal of causing the residents to understand the price of escalation and placing Hamas in a problematic situation."

    While Israeli officials insisted that their large-scale attack on Gaza was in response to Hamas rocket fire, Haaretz reports that it was in fact the Israeli army that sparked the escalation by killing two Palestinians with tank fire, after they allegedly mistook a training exercise for an actual attack.

    As Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, put it, the "current Israeli bombardment sequence in Gaza started when the Israeli military killed two Palestinians, lied about why, and later admitted to doing so just as a high level Palestinian delegation was on its way to Cairo to discuss longer term cease-fire."

    Angry that major media outlets are highlighting the fact that its latest wave of bombings killed a pregnant woman and her young child, the Israeli government has begun openly pressuring news outlets that dare to report its war crimes accurately.

    After the BBC published a headline that read, "Israeli air strikes 'kill woman and a toddler,'" the Israeli Foreign Ministry issued a formal complaint to the British outlet, and it ultimately changed the headline to, "Gaza air strikes 'kill woman and child' after rockets hit Israel."

    "This is a disgrace," the anti-occupation Jewish advocacy group IfNotNow tweeted in response to the BBC's decision to cave to the demands of the Israeli government. "Even the most respected news sources bow Israeli pressure to present Israel's war crimes as passively as possible."

    Israel's latest bombing campaign in Gaza comes just weeks after Israeli F-16s carried out "wide-scale" airstrikes throughout the occupied territory. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned last month that Israel is preparing to launch a "large and painful military operation," and Thursday's bombardment appeared to be a step in that direction.

    "We don't see the end of the escalation. We are closing in on operation in Gaza," a senior IDF official told Haaretz on Thursday.

    As Israel continues to attack Gaza and strangle its economy with measures that have been denounced as "genocidal policies of collective punishment," the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) noted that "Palestinians in Gaza are on the brink of a full-blown humanitarian crisis due to Israel's 10-year siege."

    "Everyday life in besieged Gaza is shaped by Israeli policy," IMEU added, posting a video compilation that captures the living conditions of millions of the nearly two million people living in the occupied Gaza Strip.

    "The U.N. says Gaza will be unlivable by 2020," IMEU observes. "But can you imagine living like this today?"



    5) Massive Israeli armored convoy heads to Gaza for potentially largest operation since 2014

    By Leith Aboufadel, August 9, 2018


    BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:00 P.M.) – A massive Israeli armored convoy was seen heading towards the Gaza Strip, today, following an intense confrontation last night.

    According to local Palestinian activists, this Israeli armored convoy has position themselves around the Gaza Strip and is preparing to launch a major military operation that is bigger than the one that took place in the Summer of 2014.

    This move by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) comes just hours after the Palestinian forces fired more than 150 rockets towards the settlements surrounding the Gaza Strip.

    Egypt is reportedly attempting to mediate between the Israeli and Palestinians in order to prevent any further escalations.



    6) DNA Links Colorado Murders From 34 Years Ago to an Inmate

    By Christopher Mele, August 10, 2018


    Alexander C. Ewing in a 2008 Nevada prison photo. Mr. Ewing, who is serving a sentence for attempted murder and other crimes in Nevada, was linked by DNA to the murders of four people in 1984 in Colorado, the authorities said on Friday.

    The murders were as inexplicable as they were gruesome: separate killings six days apart in 1984 near Denver that claimed the lives of four people, including a mother and father and their 7-year-old daughter.

    The father suffered 16 blows to the top of his head with a hammer and his throat had been cut, according to court documents. The daughter's and mother's skulls were fractured and the daughter had been sexually assaulted.

    Another daughter, who was 3, was also sexually assaulted and survived blunt-force injuries. Police officers found her next to a teddy bear in a bloody bed.

    In the other murder, a 50-year-old woman was eating a Wendy's hamburger at home when an attacker wielding a hammer struck her 17 times in the head, court records say. She too was sexually assaulted.

    The killings haunted the police officers who responded to the scenes, the authorities would later say, and for decades detectives in the two communities where the murders occurred, Aurora and Lakewood, Colo., pursued leads and developed theories. Some of them retired or died, but the search for answers eluded them — until last month.

    On Friday, officials said that the DNA profile of a man in a Nevada prison on unrelated attempted murder charges matched with evidence found at the Colorado murder scenes.

    At a news conference to announce the break in the cases, Peter Weir, the district attorney for the first judicial district in Colorado, said: "Justice in this case has been delayed. I am confident that justice is not going to be denied."

    An arrest warrant has been issued for the inmate, Alexander C. Ewing, 57, and the authorities will seek to extradite him to Colorado, where he faces murder, sexual assault, burglary and related charges in connection with the four killings.

    Court papers tell a story of what appear to be random home invasions with unclear motives.

    The 50-year-old woman who was killed, Patricia Smith of Lakewood, was found wearing a ring with a gold coin. In the killings of the family — Bruce Bennett, 27; his wife, Deborah Bennett, 26; and their 7-year-old daughter — there appeared to be minimal ransacking.

    While investigators recognized similarities between the murders from the start, technology then was limited. It was not until 2010 that a DNA link was established between the two cases.

    Mr. Ewing has an extensive criminal history in Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada of attempted murders, burglary and escape.

    In Arizona, he was charged in 1984 with breaking into a man's home and beating him on the head with a 25-pound slab of granite, according to court records. The man survived.

    While he was being held on those charges and transported, Mr. Ewing escaped in Nevada and attacked a couple with a wooden ax handle, according to court records. The Arizona case was dismissed after he was convicted in Nevada and sentenced to eight to 40 years.

    The break in the Colorado murders began after Nevada in 2013 mandated the collection of DNA samples from all inmates convicted of felonies. A previous state law applied only to those individuals convicted of a felony after 1997.

    It was not until 2016 that the state attorney general issued an opinion clarifying that the rule applied retroactively to all felons regardless of when they were convicted; Mr. Ewing had been in Nevada prisons since 1984.

    It was not immediately clear when Mr. Ewing's DNA sample was collected, but on July 11, Lakewood detectives were told that the national database had linked his DNA to that found at the murder scenes, court records said.

    "There's got to be a mistake," he told detectives who confronted him in prison, according to court papers.

    He offered no explanation for how his DNA might have been found. Lab reports estimated that the probability of an unrelated individual at random having a matching DNA profile would be 1 in 230 quadrillion, based on evidence from one of the scenes analyzed.

    The Aurora police chief, Nicholas Metz, said at the news conference that officials hoped that the victims' families would gain a "sense of justice and be able to heal just a little bit more."

    In a statement, the family of Ms. Smith said: "It is difficult to imagine how much more fulfilling our lives would have been if Patricia Smith's life had not been taken from us. It's more difficult to imagine her death remaining a mystery. There is some relief."



    7) Science Alone Won't Save the Earth. People Have to Do That.

    We need to start talking about what kind of planet we want to live on.

    By Erle C. Ellis,  August 11, 2018


    This planet is in crisis. The safe limits within which human societies can be sustained, the earth's "planetary boundaries," are being exceeded, a path leading inevitably toward collapse. The experts have spoken. Only if humanity heeds the science, reverses course and lives within earth's natural limits can disaster be avoided.

    Or maybe you believe the opposite: that human ingenuity can continue to overcome those limits, that there is no need for environmental concern.

    Both miss the point. In the age of humans, the Anthropocene, there is no safety in natural limits. Or in overcoming them. For those reasons, we should put the idea of limits off limits.

    The question is not whether two degrees of warming is riskier than 1.5 degrees (of course it is), or whether we are using, as some claim, more than one earth's worth of resources per year (of course not), or how many extinctions per year are sustainable without a collapse of human societies (why allow any at all?). The real question is how we better negotiate among ourselves, across all our many diverse peoples and cultures, so that we can navigate together toward the better futures we wish for, in our different ways.

    On a planet of nearly eight billion people with billions more on the way, natural limits simply don't mean much. Nor are there solutions in limits. The harshest reality of the Anthropocene is that every human action or nonaction generates a labyrinth of consequences, both social and environmental, local and global, some surprising, some predictable, that affect different people very differently.

    The problem is, what works for me will very likely not work for you. So by focusing on environmental limits instead of on the social strategies that enable better environmental and social outcomes, we fail to engage the only force of nature that can help us: human aspirations for a better future.

    There is no way to avoid the environmental consequences of industrial societies operating at planetary scale. We've covered and transformed the planet with the agriculture, settlements and infrastructure that sustain us. In doing so, we've also increasingly impoverished this planet of wild species and wild spaces, and the carbon emissions that power modern lives are causing the earth to warm faster than at any time since the fall of the dinosaurs.

    We need to adjust our expectations. The new normal is not about staying within earth's natural limits. We passed those long ago. It's about winners and losers, and about navigating trade-offs and surprises. The human age will be no Eden or dystopia, but an everlasting struggle among different people seeking different futures. Who, for instance, will suffer from a hotter and less biodiverse planet, who will benefit and who will pay to avoid it entirely? And why haven't we, the people, acted to solve the greatest environmental challenges of our time — global climate change, habitat loss and widespread extinctions?

    One thing is for sure. A better future won't be realized through unquestioning faith in the safety of scientifically defined environmental limits or in unlimited technological capacities to avoid environmental consequences. When there is no single optimal solution, no amount of rational debate, or even computational intelligence, can find one. Science does not, cannot and should not have all the answers — not for earth's limits, nor for human futures. A future governed solely by rationality and scientific evidence offers no safe space in these times.

    The problem is not us; it is that there is no "us." Just as one future will never be best for all people, no single way of thinking, believing or acting will ever be enough to forge our better futures together on this one planet. Decisions informed by scientific evidence will, of course, create better outcomes for people and the planet. But no amount of scientific evidence, enlightened rational thought or innovative technology can resolve entirely the social and environmental trade-offs necessary to meet the aspirations of a wonderfully diverse humanity — at least not without creating even greater problems in the future.

    For this reason and others, putting expert scientific narratives at the center of decision making, like "nonnegotiable environmental limits," rather than focusing on opportunities for collective betterment, has led only to increasing divisions over which experts to trust. If we are to continue improving the human world, while retaining the nature we love, it will be necessary to get beyond polemics and expertise, scientific or otherwise. In the end, it is people, and their institutions — not science — that will decide the future.

    No one wants a hotter, more polluted and less biodiverse planet, though most people want the modern lifestyles made possible by cheap energy, abundant food and industrial productivity. Even now there are no technological limits to supplying these lifestyles to eight billion, or even to 11 billion, people, with far less harm than we're currently causing to the one planet all of us must live on. To do so is merely costly. Extremely costly, because rebuilding energy systems to make them carbon neutral, ensuring that land, water and other resources are used sustainably, adapting to climate change and cleaning up pollution don't come cheap. But there is one hard limit. No better future will be possible if those most able to bear the costs — those who've benefited the most, the wealthy and the vested interests of this world — don't step up to pay for it.

    The greatest challenge of our time is not how to live within the limits of the natural world, or how to overcome such limits. It isn't about optimizing our planet to better serve humanity or the rest of nature. To engage productively with the world we are creating, we must focus on strategies for working more effectively together across all of our diverse and unequal social worlds. If we truly intend to make this work, we need to leave behind treasured but outmoded beliefs in a stable balance of nature, unlimited human ingenuity and nonnegotiable environmental limits defined only by experts.

    The Anthropocene is not the end of our world. It's just the beginning. Collectively, we have the potential to create a much better planet than the one we are creating now. So let's start talking about the better future we want, and less about the future we don't. It's about articulating values, and about sharing, fairly, the only planet we have with one another and the rest of life on earth. The planet we make will reflect the people we are.

    Erle C. Ellis is a professor of geography and environmental systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and the author of "Anthropocene: A Very Short Introduction."



    8) Malcolm X. Mosque No. 7. Hotel Theresa. Remembering Harlem's Muslim History

    By Sharon Otterman, August 12, 2018


    Katie Merriman, the guide of the walking tour, explains the history of the Nation of Islam, whose Muhammad Mosque No. Seven is tucked on West 127th Street.

    Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem around 125th Street is now lined with artisanal French restaurants, wood-fired pizza joints and brunch places serving kale salad. A new Whole Foods supermarket shines from the corner. On Sundays, luxury tour buses idle at curbs, unloading foreign tourists who want to experience a gospel church service or a neighborhood meal.

    So it is an apt time to remember what lies behind the rapidly changing streetscape, particularly the legacy of the man for whom the boulevard is named. That is the mission of Katie Merriman, a 32-year-old Ph.D. student from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who gives free walking tours about the Muslim history of Harlem about five times a year to help preserve a legacy that is at risk of being forgotten.

    On the last Sunday in July, about 30 people gathered on a warm morning to walk through the Harlem streets for nearly three hours, to visit Muslim-related sites past and present. Many of the places Ms. Merriman pointed out were already gone or transformed beyond recognition. The site of the African National Memorial Bookstore, where Malcolm X studied black history into the night, is now a 19-story state office building. A local mosque, Masjid Aqsa, that served the area's African Muslim immigrants, was pushed out in 2012 after its rent more than tripled, and its former site is now a vacant lot. (Two years later, it found a new home in East Harlem.)

    The tour passing the Allah School in Mecca Street Academy, which is home of the Five-Percent Nation. The storefront was given to the group in the 1960s by Mayor John V. Lindsay.

    "We are here because a lot of this history is being erased," Ms. Merriman, whose own roots are Irish-American, told the group at the start of the walk. "The reason I am giving this tour is because you are mostly not going to see plaques. These histories are mostly oral histories and not written down."

    Many of the people on the tour were Muslims in their 20s with Arab or South Asian roots, who wanted to learn about a history they felt connected to as Muslims but knew little about. Some, economically, were gentrifiers themselves, new residents of the neighborhood, but they wanted to feel like part of the community they now called home.

    "Back home, we think of America as a country that Muslims have only recently immigrated to," said Tasneem Ebrahim, 21, a Columbia University undergraduate from Bahrain. "And nobody learns about the fact that Muslims were here since the beginning, since the first time people came to this country."

    A longtime member of the Five-Percent Nation points to a portrait of its founder, Allah, in the Allah School in Mecca Street Academy. The group splintered from the Nation of Islam in the 1960s.

    The tour showed Islam as it is lived today in Harlem. Young girls in white hijabs kidded around in front of an Islamic center on West 116th Street, on a street that anchors a neighborhood sometimes called Little Senegal. Tucked on West 127th Street, a few steps away from the bustling brunch scene, was the Nation of Islam's Muhammad Mosque No. Seven, which Malcolm X had led (in an different location), before breaking with the group in 1964.

    Men wearing bow ties and suits, the signature attire of men in the Nation, sold literature and guarded the door. Brother Richard Muhammad greeted the tour and invited everyone inside another time, when services were not in session.

    Around the corner on Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard was the Allah School in Mecca Street Academy, the home of the Five-Percent Nation, a splinter group of the Nation of Islam. Their storefront and garden, given to the group for $1 in the 1960s by Mayor John V. Lindsay, remains largely unchanged amid a streetscape of new condos and rental buildings. A caretaker, Ahrieff Allah, 76, welcomed the visitors in to see collages of photographs and a portrait of Allah, the group's founder, who had been called Clarence 13x when part of the Nation.

    Muhammad Mosque No. Seven belongs to the Nation of Islam, which Malcolm X had led in a different location before breaking with the group in 1964.

    "He is the father of everything you are about to see here," Mr. Allah said, gesturing to the portrait.

    Ms. Merriman explained to the group how Allah, who gave himself the name of God in Islam, preached that men were the creators of their own futures, and that black men were God personified. The ideas of the group, which is also known as the Nation of Gods and Earths, have traveled incognito into mainstream culture through lyrics of hip-hop artists like Nas, Busta Rhymes and Wu Tang Clan, who were influenced by it.

    "Breakin' it down. Word is Bond. Starting a Sipher," Ms. Merriman said. "This is all coming out of this philosophy."

    People participating in the tour look at books and pamphlets that the Nation of Islam sold outside Muhammad Mosque No. Seven. About 30 people gathered for the tour.

    On the corner of 124th Street and Adam Clayton Powell, the shining white Hotel Theresa, once the nicest hotel in Harlem, still stands, but it has become an office building. It is there in 1960 that Malcolm X met with Fidel Castro, and where Malcolm founded his Organization of Afro-American Unity in 1964, shortly after his break with the Nation. Yet no plaque commemorates this history.

    Different strands of Islam mixed in New York, creating the seeds for diverse forms of worship, Ms. Merriman explained at the tour's start. In the 1920s, Bengali ship workers jumped ship, moved to Harlem and married into the black community. A Muslim missionary from Sudan, Satti Majid, spread the ideas of Sunni Islam. The history of Islam in New York, she added, is as old as the city itself, in part because 10 to 15 percent of slaves are believed to have been Muslim.

    "Muslim history is New York City history," she said.

    Ms. Merriman's personal link to the subject is through her father, who grew up in Washington Heights. In 1965, he biked over to the Audubon Ballroom the night Malcolm X was murdered there to see what the chaos was. At Vassar College as an undergraduate, Ms. Merriman started to unpack for herself the events of Sept. 11, and decided she wanted to help reduce misunderstandings surrounding Islam. She has been giving her tour since 2014, mostly spreading the word through Facebook. Hundreds of people express interest each time she offers one.

    Ms. Merriman did not mention her personal connection to the subject until the end of the tour, even though her identity as a non-Muslim woman of European heritage was the first thing some of the participants noticed. "She knows what she knows," said Luqman a-Rahman, 29, an African-American who was raised Muslim in Crown Heights, midway through the tour. "She is going to give me the sandwich, and then someone I know is going to give me the dressing."

    But for Sahar Amarir, 25, a French Moroccan graduate student from Paris doing a summer internship in New York, the idea of a white woman leading a multicultural group on a tour of Muslim Harlem made perfect sense given the liberal context of New York City, she said.

    "I think as far as the philosophical idea of cosmopolitanism goes, this is the closest that human beings ever got to that," she said. "What's fascinating, being in America in this time of polarization, is that you are seeing the worst and you are seeing the best."



    9)  Monsanto Ordered to Pay $289 Million in Roundup Cancer Trial

    By Reuters, August 10, 2018


    Monsanto, the maker of Roundup, was found liable in a lawsuit filed by a school groundskeeper who said the company's weedkillers caused his cancer.

    A California jury on Friday found Monsanto liable in a lawsuit filed by a school groundskeeper who said the company's weedkillers, including Roundup, caused his cancer. The company was ordered pay $289 million in damages.

    The case of the groundskeeper, Dewayne Johnson, 46, was the first lawsuit to go to trial alleging that Roundup and other glyphosate-based weedkillers cause cancer. Monsanto, a unit of the German conglomerate Bayer following a $62.5 billion acquisition, faces more than 5,000 similar lawsuits across the United States.

    Mr. Johnson's lawyers said he developed non-Hodgkin's lymphoma after using Roundup and Ranger Pro, another Monsanto glyphosate herbicide, as part of his job as a pest control manager for a California county school system.

    Dewayne Johnson, 46, was awarded $39 million in compensatory and $250 million in punitive damages.

    The jury in Superior Court of California in San Francisco deliberated for three days before finding that Monsanto had failed to warn Mr. Johnson and other consumers of the cancer risks posed by its weedkillers.

    It awarded $39 million in compensatory and $250 million in punitive damages.

    Monsanto said in a statement that it would appeal the verdict. More than 800 scientific studies and reviews "support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer, and did not cause Mr. Johnson's cancer," the company said.

    The lawsuit, filed in 2016, was put on the fast track for trial because of the severity of Mr. Johnson's cancer. His doctors said he was unlikely to live past 2020.

    Brent Wisner, a lawyer for Mr. Johnson, said in a statement that jurors had seen for the first time internal company documents "proving that Monsanto has known for decades that glyphosate and specifically Roundup could cause cancer." He called on Monsanto to "put consumer safety first over profits."

    in September 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency concluded a decades-long assessment of glyphosate risks and found that the chemical was not likely carcinogenic to humans. But the World Health Organization's cancer arm in 2015 classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans."



    10)  America Has Stopped Being a Civilized Nation

    In 1985, Billy Ray Irick committed a hideous crime in Tennessee. Last week, the state of Tennessee responded in kind.

    By Margaret Renki, August 12, 2018


    Anti-death penalty protesters outside of the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution before the execution of Billy Ray Irick in Nashville on Aug. 9.

    NASHVILLE — On Thursday morning, The Knoxville News Sentinel published a front-page story by Matt Lakin about the imminent execution of Billy Ray Irick. The inmate had been on death row since 1986, a year after he confessed to raping and murdering a 7-year-old child left in his care. The little girl was named Paula Dyer. She called her murderer "Uncle Bill." The print headline read, "Paula Dyer's last day on Earth." 

    Thursday was Billy Ray Irick's last day on Earth. His execution was the first in Tennessee since 2009.

    The physical evidence against him was incontrovertible, and no one is questioning his guilt. But there are big questions about whether Tennessee should have executed him. As Nashville Scene's Steven Hale has reported in depth, Mr. Irick apparently suffered from severe mental illness. He spent much of his childhood in a home for abused and troubled children. He told people the devil was giving him orders. He chased another little girl down the street with a machete. 

    Based on post-trial affidavits from Paula Dyer's stepfamily, the psychologist who pronounced Mr. Irick fit to stand trial in 1986 later questioned that judgment. "Is he fit for execution? That combination of words," Mr. Hale writes, "like so many in the lexicon of the death penalty, twists the English language into a peculiar shape. But it is crucial." In the United States, executing an insane person is unconstitutional.

    Another problem with this execution is Tennessee's new protocol for lethal injection. The first drug administered in an execution is supposed to put the inmate to sleep so he can't feel the effects of the other two drugs: the one that causes paralysis and the one that stops the heart. But midazolam, the sedative in Tennessee's execution cocktail, doesn't always render complete unconsciousness. It's possible for the inmate to feel the effects of the next two drugs, and what he feels is akin to being suffocated and burned alive at the same time. 

    The United States Supreme Court had declined to delay the execution, but Justice Sonia Sotomayor strongly dissented: "In refusing to grant Irick a stay, the court today turns a blind eye to a proven likelihood that the state of Tennessee is on the verge of inflicting several minutes of torturous pain on an inmate in its custody," Justice Sotomayor wrote. "If the law permits this execution to go forward in spite of the horrific final minutes that Irick may well experience, then we have stopped being a civilized nation and accepted barbarism."

    This is the unvarying pattern in death-penalty cases: arguments in favor of lenience, arguments in favor of severity and a perfectly realistic assumption that nothing at all will change. Some victims will be more sympathetic than others. Some death-row prisoners will be harder to hate. Defense attorneys will point out extenuating circumstances. Critics will list the pragmatic arguments against the death penalty — from its failure to deter crime to the racial disparities in its application to its terrifying permanence.

    It would be a tiresome litany if not for the fact that a human life hangs in the balance. It would be a tiresome litany if not for the fact that in state executions, the executioner is always you.

    Plenty of people are happy to play the role of public executioner. A recent poll from the Pew Research Center found that 73 percent of white evangelical Christians supported the death penalty in cases of murder. Even among Catholics, 53 percent believe capital punishment is an appropriate response to a crime like Mr. Irick's. This is a curious position, coming from people who drive cars bearing "Choose Life" bumper stickers. It is especially curious considering Pope Francis's recent unequivocal condemnation of the death penalty. "The death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person," the Catechism of the Catholic Church now reads. That dignity "is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes."

    Then too, there is the matter of our own dignity, the dignity of those of us in whose name and for whose "protection" the state has decided — in cold blood, with calm premeditation — to take a human life. We are not doing it out of fear or rage or insanity. We are doing it out of a primitive need for vengeance.

    Paula Dyer was a beautiful little girl who deserved a full and happy life, but Billy Ray Irick's death didn't give it back to her. His death did not erase her terrible suffering or bring her back to the people who have mourned her loss for more than three decades. Justice Sotomayor is right. We are not a civilized nation. We aren't even close.

    Margaret Renkl is a contributing opinion writer who covers flora, fauna, politics and culture in the American South.



    11) Stephen Miller Is an Immigration Hypocrite I Know Because I'm His Uncle.

    By David S. Glosser, August 13, 2018


    Stephen Miller

    Let me tell you a story about Stephen Miller and chain migration.

    It begins at the turn of the 20th century, in a dirt-floor shack in the village of Antopol, a shtetl of subsistence farmers in what is now Belarus. Beset by violent anti-Jewish pogroms and forced childhood conscription in the Czar's army, the patriarch of the shack, Wolf-Leib Glosser, fled a village where his forebears had lived for centuries and took his chances in America.

    He set foot on Ellis Island on January 7, 1903, with $8 to his name. Though fluent in Polish, Russian and Yiddish, he understood no English. An elder son, Nathan, soon followed. By street corner peddling and sweatshop toil, Wolf-Leib and Nathan sent enough money home to pay off debts and buy the immediate family's passage to America in 1906. That group included young Sam Glosser, who with his family settled in the western Pennsylvania city of Johnstown, a booming coal and steel town that was a magnet for other hardworking immigrants. The Glosser family quickly progressed from selling goods from a horse and wagon to owning a haberdashery in Johnstown run by Nathan and Wolf-Leib to a chain of supermarkets and discount department stores run by my grandfather, Sam, and the next generation of Glossers, including my dad, Izzy. It was big enough to be listed on the AMEX stock exchange and employed thousands of people over time. In the span of some 80 years and five decades, this family emerged from poverty in a hostile country to become a prosperous, educated clan of merchants, scholars, professionals, and, most important, American citizens. 

    What does this classically American tale have to do with Stephen Miller? Well, Izzy Glosser is his maternal grandfather, and Stephen's mother, Miriam, is my sister.

    I have watched with dismay and increasing horror as my nephew, an educated man who is well aware of his heritage, has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family's life in this country.

    I shudder at the thought of what would have become of the Glossers had the same policies Stephen so coolly espouses— the travel ban, the radical decrease in refugees, the separation of children from their parents, and even talk of limiting citizenship for legal immigrants — been in effect when Wolf-Leib made his desperate bid for freedom. The Glossers came to the U.S. just a few years before the fear and prejudice of the "America first" nativists of the day closed U.S. borders to Jewish refugees. Had Wolf-Leib waited, his family likely would have been murdered by the Nazis along with all but seven of the 2,000 Jews who remained in Antopol. I would encourage Stephen to ask himself if the chanting, torch-bearing Nazis of Charlottesville, whose support his boss seems to court so cavalierly, do not envision a similar fate for him.

    Like other immigrants, our family's welcome to the USA was not always a warm one, but we largely had the protection of the law, there was no state-sponsored violence against us, no kidnapping of our male children, and we enjoyed good relations with our neighbors. True, Jews were excluded from many occupations, couldn't buy homes in some towns, couldn't join certain organizations or attend certain schools or universities, but life was good. As in past generations, there were hate mongers who regarded the most recent groups of poor immigrants as scum, rapists, gangsters, drunks and terrorists, but largely the Glosser family was left alone to live our lives and build the American dream. Children were born, synagogues founded, and we thrived. This was the miracle of America. 

    Acting for so long in the theater of right-wing politics, Stephen and Trump may have become numb to the resultant human tragedy and blind to the hypocrisy of their policy decisions. After all, Stephen's is not the only family with a chain immigration story in the Trump administration. Trump's grandfather is reported to have been a German migrant on the run from military conscription to a new life in the United States, and his mother fled the poverty of rural Scotland for the economic possibilities of New York City. (Trump's in-laws just became citizens on the strength of his wife's own citizenship.) 

    These facts are important not only for their grim historical irony but because vulnerable people are being hurt. They are real people, not the ghoulish caricatures portrayed by Trump. When confronted by the deaths and suffering of thousands, our senses are overwhelmed, and the victims become statistics rather than people. I meet these statistics one at a time through my volunteer service as a neuropsychologist for the Philadelphia affiliate of HIAS (formerly the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), the global nonprofit that protects refugees and helped my family more than 100 years ago. I will share the story of one such man I have met in the hopes that my nephew might recognize elements of our shared heritage.

    In the early 2000s, Joseph (not his real name) was conscripted at the age of 14 to be a soldier in Eritrea and sent to a remote desert military camp. Officers there discovered a Bible under his pillow which aroused their suspicion that he might belong to a foreign evangelical sect that would claim his loyalty and sap his will to fight. Joseph was actually a member of the state-approved Coptic church but was nonetheless immediately subjected to torture. "They smashed my face into the ground, tied my hands and feet together behind my back, stomped on me, and hung me from a tree by my bonds while they beat me with batons for the others to see."

    Joseph was tortured for 20 consecutive days before being taken to a military prison and crammed into a dark unventilated cell with 36 other men, little food and no proper hygiene. Some died, and in time Joseph was stricken with dysentery. When he was too weak to stand, he was taken to a civilian clinic where he was fed by the medical staff. Upon regaining his strength, he escaped to a nearby road where a sympathetic driver took him north through the night to a camp in Sudan where he joined other refugees. Joseph was on the first leg of a journey that would cover thousands of miles and almost 10 years.

    Before Donald Trump had started his political ascent promulgating the false story that Barack Obama was a foreign-born Muslim, while my nephew, Stephen, was famously recovering from the hardships of his high school cafeteria in Santa Monica, Joseph was a child on his own in Sudan in fear of being deported back to Eritrea to face execution for desertion. He worked any job he could get, saved his money and made his way through Sudan. He endured arrest and extortion in Libya. He returned to Sudan, then kept moving to Dubai, Brazil and eventually to a southern border crossing into Texas, where he sought asylum. In all of the countries he traveled through during his ordeal, he was vulnerable, exploited and his status was "illegal." But in the United States, he had a chance to acquire the protection of a documented immigrant.

    Today, at 30, Joseph lives in Pennsylvania and has a wife and child. He is a smart, warm, humble man of great character who is grateful for every day of his freedom and safety. He bears emotional scars from not seeing his parents or siblings since he was 14. He still trembles, cries and struggles for breath when describing his torture, and he bears physical scars as well. He hopes to become a citizen, return to work and make his contribution to America. His story, though unique in its particulars, is by no means unusual. I have met Central Americans fleeing corrupt governments, violence and criminal extortion; a Yemeni woman unable to return to her war-ravaged home country and fearing sexual mutilation if she goes back to her Saudi husband; and an escaped kidnap-bride from central Asia. 

    Trump wants to make us believe that these desperate migrants are an existential threat to the United States; the most powerful nation in world history and a nation made strong by immigrants. Trump and my nephew both know their immigrant and refugee roots. Yet, they repeat the insults and false accusations of earlier generations against these refugees to make them seem less than human. Trump publicly parades the grieving families of people hurt or killed by migrants, just as the early Nazis dredged up Jewish criminals to frighten and enrage their political base to justify persecution of all Jews. Almost every American family has an immigration story of its own based on flight from war, poverty, famine, persecution, fear or hopelessness. Most of these immigrants became workers, entrepreneurs, scientists and soldiers of America. 

    Most damning is the administration's evident intent to make policy that specifically disadvantages people based on their ethnicity, country of origin and religion. No matter what opinion is held about immigration, any government that specifically enacts law or policy on that basis must be recognized as a threat to all of us. Laws bereft of justice are the gateway to tyranny. Today others may be the target, but tomorrow it might just as easily be you or me. History will be the judge, but in the meantime the normalization of these policies is rapidly eroding the collective conscience of America. Immigration reform is a complex issue that will require compassion and wisdom to bring the nation to a just solution, but the politicians who have based their political and professional identity on ethnic demonization and exclusion cannot be trusted to do so. As free Americans, and descendants of immigrants and refugees, we have the obligation to exercise our conscience by voting for candidates who will stand up for our highest national values and not succumb to our lowest fears.

    Dr. David S. Glosser is a retired neuropsychologist: formerly a member of the Neurology faculties of Boston University School of Medicine and Jefferson Medical College.






    The majority of Democrats feel positively about socialism, while less than half feel the same about capitalism, according to a new Gallup poll released Monday. 

    "The major change among Democrats has been a less upbeat attitude toward capitalism, dropping to 47 percent positive this year — lower than in any of the three previous measures," Gallup wrote. In contrast, 57 percent of Democrats have a positive view of socialism, which is largely unchanged from Gallup's previous polls in 2016, 2012, and 2010.

    The share of Democrats feeling positive about capitalism has never dipped below 50 percent in any the three previous surveys. The previous low-water mark for capitalism among Democrats came in 2010 in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and Wall Street bailouts. 

    It appears that the pessimism about capitalism is making some Democratic voters more receptive to socialist candidates. Democratic Socialists of America — a largely fringe organization with little political power just a few years ago — have captured the Democratic nominations in state legislature and congressional seats across the country in 2018. 

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's victory over powerful Democratic Congressman Joe Crowley in New York's 14th district has garnered the most attention, but Democratic Socialists have also captured the Democratic nominations for Michigan's 13th congressional district (a safe Democratic race with no Republican nominee) and state legislature seats in Maryland, Colorado, Montana, Hawaii and Pennsylvania. And of course the most famous Democratic Socialist, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, seems poised to run for president again in 2020 after a spirited run in 2016.

    Those victories have delighted some Republican operatives who believe that their party will benefit from a socialism-vs.capitalism debate. "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's brand of politics is far more popular among base voters than establishment Democrats care to admit," said Jesse Hunt, national press secretary for the Republican Party's House arm. "The Party has lurched so far to the left it's hardly recognizable, and that will repel the more moderate, pursuable voters Democrats need to win over in 2018." 

    Republicans are far more optimistic about capitalism, with 71 percent expressing a positive view and only 16 percent saying the same about socialism, according to Gallup.

    And some Democratic Party leaders seem to be fearful that the rise of democratic socialism could alienate swing voters who are persuadable in the Trump era. Asked about democratic socialism at a CNN town hall in 2017, Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi said, "Thank you for your question, but I have to say, we are capitalist." 

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a potential candidate for president in 2020 and a frequent ally of Sanders, recently said at a town hall that she is a "capitalist to my bones" but that the current system is rigged in favor of the wealthy and powerful.

    The vast majority of elected Democrats and Democratic nominees in 2018 are not socialists—and many have lost primaries to more "establishment" candidates—but even a few wins is significant after socialism has largely been a non-factor in American politics for the past several decades. The anti-communist fervor of Cold War politics usually made a public association with socialism a nonstarter in both parties. 

    But that stigma appears to be wearing off, especially among young voters, who've lived most of their lives after the collapse of the Soviet Union and entered the job market in the aftermath of the Great Recession. The Gallup survey found that 18-29-year-olds across both parties are more pessimistic about capitalism than any age group, with just 45 percent having a positive view. That's a 12 percent drop since Gallup last asked the question in 2016 and a 23 percent drop since 2010, when 68 percent of 18-29-year-olds expressed a positive view of capitalism. 

    As Ocasio-Cortez, who is 28, said on the night of her victory in June: "This is not an end, this is the beginning."

    Or as she said recently: "Capitalism has not always existed in the world, and it will not always exist in the world."



    13) Here's the Video of Schoolchildren Just Moments Before Being Massacred by U.S.-Backed Saudi Bombing

    By Jake Johnson, August 13, 2018


    "By backing the Saudi coalition's war in Yemen with weapons, aerial refueling, and targeting assistance, the United States is complicit in the atrocities taking place there," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote on Facebook. (Photo: CNN/Screengrab)

    As funeral ceremonies for the 51 Yemenis—including 40 young children—massacred by the latest U.S.-backed Saudi bombing took place in the war-torn district of Saada on Monday, cellphone footage captured by one of the murdered children just moments before the coalition's airstrike hit shows the dozens of kids excitedly gathered on a bus for a long-awaited field trip celebrating their graduation from summer school.

    According to CNN—which obtained and published the footage on Monday—most of the children on the bus were killed by the Saudi airstrike less than an hour after the video was captured.

    This is just the latest horrific attack on civilians by the Saudi-led coalition, which has received explicit military and political backing from the United States. Images sent to Al-Jazeera by Yemen's Houthi rebels suggest that Mark-82 bomb—which is manufactured by the massive American military contractor Raytheon—was used in the strike, though the photos have yet to be independently verified.

    According to the Houthi Health Ministry, 79 people in total and 56 children were wounded in the attack, which quickly drew condemnation and demands for an independent investigation from international humanitarian groups, the United Nations, and a small number of American lawmakers.

    "By backing the Saudi coalition's war in Yemen with weapons, aerial refueling, and targeting assistance, the United States is complicit in the atrocities taking place there," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote on Facebook. "We must end our support for this war and focus our efforts on a U.N.-brokered cease-fire and a diplomatic resolution."

    As Al-Jazeera notes, the U.S. "has been the biggest supplier of military equipment to Riyadh, with more than $90 billion of sales recorded between 2010 and 2015."

    Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has enthusiastically continued the long-standing U.S. policy of backing the Saudi regime no matter how many innocent people it slaughters in Yemen, openly applauding the kingdom for buying so much American weaponry.

    Ahead of Monday's funerals for the dozens of children murdered by the Saudi-led coalition last week, images on social media showed Yemenis digging graves in preparation for the ceremonies.

    As Philly.com's Will Bunch noted in a column on Sunday, the Saudi-led coalition's school bus bombing forced the corporate media—which has almost completely ignored the humanitarian crisis in Yemen—"to pay at least a little bit of attention."

    "It shouldn't have taken so long," Bunch wrote. "This blood is on America's hands, as long as we keep sending the bombs that kill so many Yemenis, and as long as we give the Saudis our unqualified diplomatic support in a messy regional conflict. And yet there's been no public debate about the murky U.S. role out of this, and no clarification from the White House or the Pentagon over what we hope to accomplish by our support of the mayhem."

    "If the American people can take back control of what is being done in our name," Bunch concluded, "maybe we can finally begin washing away this spreading moral stain."



    14) A Crucial Moment for Reproductive Freedom

    By Margaret Viggiani, August 2018


    Alarm over the future of reproductive rights is at a fever pitch in the USA. Attacks abound on state and federal levels. Supreme Court Justice Kennedy's decision to retire has raised the threat that Roe v. Wade, the ruling that legalized abortion nationwide, will be overturned. Trump has already announced his top picks for the vacant position — a veritable who's who of hard-right jurists.

    The stakes are high. Regardless of legal status, women will seek ways to end unwanted pregnancies. The question is whether the procedure is safe and medically sound, or dangerous and holding the threat of criminal prosecution.

    Current assaults. The White House, federal courts and state legislatures are working overtime to demolish what remains of reproductive choice. In April, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge to an Arkansas law that effectively bans medication-based abortions. That means women will need to go to Little Rock for a surgical abortion. In June, U.S. District Court Judge Beth Phillips refused to block a law that severely impacts access to abortion medications across Missouri. That same month, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a California law that required anti-abortion "crisis pregnancy centers" to post signs declaring they did not provide a full range of reproductive care.

    One of Trump's first acts as president was to reinstate the international gag rule. It bans any non-profit group working in other countries and receiving federal funding from even discussing abortion. In March, Trump upped the ante by threatening a domestic gag rule.

    In April, the White House announced intentions to shift the content of the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program to abstinence-only. Immigrant youth are also being targeted. According to the International Business Times, Scott Lloyd, a long-time abortion foe and head of the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement, acknowledged he had instructed that minors in immigration detention who were seeking abortion be taken to anti-abortion pregnancy centers.

    State legislatures are pushing the anti-choice agenda with a vengeance. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 57 percent of U.S. women ages 15-44 live in states that are "hostile or extremely hostile to abortion rights." Only 30 percent of such women live in supportive states.

    Recently, Mississippi passed a 15-week ban on abortion and Louisiana followed suit. Iowa passed an even more stringent 6-week ban. Adding to the injury, a group of fetus fetishists recently asked the Iowa courts to eliminate exceptions for rape, incest and fetal abnormality.

    Wanted: militant feminist movement. Emboldened by Trump, misogynist white nationalists have hit the streets in a far-right assault that includes abortion. But mainstream feminist groups like NOW and NARAL Pro-Choice America have not upped their response. They continue to push "vote Democrat" and "vote pro-choice" as the ultimate solutions. The reality is that Democrats and Republicans have for decades worked together to curtail abortion rights through parental consent laws, age restrictions, and bans on late-term procedures, not to mention cutting the social safety net that poor families rely on.

    Radical Women (RW) has always defended Planned Parenthood from anti-choice attacks, but we have critical differences on how to save reproductive rights. RW believes in rallying the community in massive numbers, applying the lessons of the civil rights movement to educate, agitate and organize at a grass-roots level. This is what produced recent victories in Ireland, where 66 percent of the voters said "Yes" to legalized abortion in May. And in Argentina, where years of organizing just won a major step toward legalization (see article on page 4).

    In the U.S., the massive women's marches of 2017 and 2018 have yet to translate into a coordinated nationwide movement. But there has been more local organizing as the far-right stakes out clinics for attack.

    When Patriot Prayer called a rally against Planned Parenthood in Kent, Wash., 11 groups came together to oppose them. The ad hoc coalition called a demonstration to "Defend women's reproductive freedom" and "Say 'No!' to misogynists and white supremacists."

    Participants included Radical Women, Seattle Clinic Defense, Party for Socialism and Liberation, Seattle Gay News, Freedom Socialist Party, Dyke Community Activists, Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity, ANSWER, Steve Hoffman Campaign for U.S. Senate, International Socialist Organization and Workers World Party. Across the street, the General Defense Committee of the Industrial Workers of the World and anarchists gathered. The feminists mobilized hundreds to confront about two dozen opponents.

    RW Organizer Gina Petry, who helped plan the event, stated: "We outlasted and outshouted the anti-abortionists. Our side was invigorated by wide collaboration and the large turnout. We vowed to continue working together to stop the white supremacists."

    Planned Parenthood leaders, misguidedly, opposed its own defenders. In an email to Radical Women, the clinic security manager expressed their policy to "discourage protesters as well as counter protesters so we treat them alike." Some staffers made it clear they disagreed with this tactic. But the policy encouraged police to treat clinic defenders as the problem, dousing them with pepper spray. Radical Women is protesting to the clinic and the police.

    What about Roe v. Wade? How will community organizing save it? The U.S. Supreme Court has never been a hotbed of liberalism, not even when it decided Roe v. Wade. But courts and legislators are sensitive to the pressure of public opinion.

    The massive feminist movement of the 1960s and '70s changed the discourse on reproductive justice. Regardless of who is the next justice, that kind of intensity is needed now. It's time to turn up the heat.



    15) Fentanyl Used to Execute Nebraska Inmate, in a First for U.S.

    By Mitch Smith,  August 14, 2018


    Carey Dean Moore

    LINCOLN, Neb. — Prison officials in Nebraska used fentanyl, the powerful opioid at the center of the nation's overdose epidemic, to help execute a convicted murderer on Tuesday. The lethal injection at the Nebraska State Penitentiary was the first time fentanyl had been used to carry out the death penalty in the United States.

    The execution, Nebraska's first since 1997, represented a stunning political turnabout in a state where lawmakers voted only three years ago to ban capital punishment.

    The condemned man, Carey Dean Moore, 60, had been convicted of killing two Omaha taxi drivers decades ago and did not seek a reprieve in his final months. But two pharmaceutical companies tried to block the execution in federal court, claiming their reputations would suffer if the killing proceeded.

    The companies could not prove that their products would be used, however, because prison officials refused to identify the suppliers of the drugs to be administered to Mr. Moore. So the execution was allowed to continue.

    Mr. Moore's death, using a previously untested four-drug cocktail, could open a new method for states that have increasingly struggled to find execution drugs as suppliers have clamped down on how their products are used. But the unprecedented use of fentanyl in an execution chamber raised new ethical concerns amid a national opioid crisis that has led to an onslaught of fatal overdoses.

    Scott R. Frakes, the director of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services, said the first of the four drugs was administered at 10:24 a.m. local time, and Mr. Moore was declared dead at 10:47 a.m.

    Before the execution on Tuesday morning, as a steady rain fell in Lincoln, local television journalists filmed reports from the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant across the street from the prison. Police officers stood along the road, and prison guards were on duty in the watch tower. The prison yard, alongside a major highway, appeared empty.

    "We really don't know how fentanyl is going to play out in an execution, as opposed to an opioid overdose," Deborah Denno, a law professor at Fordham University who has studied capital punishment, said in an interview on Monday. "Simply because people are dying as a result of fentanyl doesn't mean they're dying in a way that would be considered acceptable as a form of execution."

    Nebraska has a particularly complicated history with capital punishment. Before Tuesday, the state had not carried out an execution since 1997 and had never killed someone by lethal injection. (The state most recently had used an electric chair.)

    A bipartisan mix of Nebraska legislators voted in 2015 to outlaw capital punishment, citing a mix of moral and financial reasons, and then overrode Gov. Pete Ricketts's veto. But Mr. Ricketts, a Republican, and his wealthy family bankrolled a ballot referendum that gave voters a chance to decide the issue. Nebraskans voted overwhelmingly in 2016 to reinstate the death penalty.

    Mr. Moore, who killed Reuel Van Ness Jr. and Maynard Helgeland in 1979, was among the longest-serving death-row inmates in the country. Mr. Moore had seen previous execution dates come and go and had expressed frustration with the repeated delays. People close to him had said he was ready to die.

    In recent weeks, the state's Roman Catholic bishops, citing a new teaching by Pope Francis that capital punishment is wrong in all cases, urged church members to contact state officials and try to block the execution. Mr. Ricketts is Catholic, but he said the pope's decision would not change his stance on Mr. Moore's execution.

    "While I respect the pope's perspective, capital punishment remains the will of the people and the law of the state of Nebraska," Mr. Ricketts said in a statement earlier this month. "It is an important tool to protect our corrections officers and public safety. The state continues to carry out the sentences ordered by the court."

    Eleven more men remain on Nebraska's death row, and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in some pending cases. Still, it is unclear when and if the state will kill another inmate. The state's supply of one of the drugs used in the cocktail to kill Mr. Moore expires at the end of this month, and another expires in October.

    Scott Frakes, the Nebraska corrections director, said in a court filing this month that execution drugs "are difficult, if nearly impossible, to obtain," and that he has no replacement sources.

    The four-drug cocktail contained diazepam, a tranquilizer; fentanyl citrate, a powerful synthetic opioid that can block breathing and knock out consciousness; cisatracurium besylate, a muscle relaxant; and potassium chloride, which stops the heart.

    "A temporary restraining order or injunction," Mr. Frakes said in the court filing seeking to carry out Mr. Moore's execution, "would more than likely have the effect of changing Nebraska's final death sentence into a de facto sentence of life in prison for Carey Dean Moore."



    16) School Choice Is the Enemy of Justice

    By Erin Aubry Kaplan, August 14, 2018


    LOS ANGELES — In 1947, my father was one of a small group of black students at the largely white Fremont High School in South Central Los Angeles. The group was met with naked hostility, including a white mob hanging blacks in effigy. But such painful confrontations were the nature of progress, of fulfilling the promise of equality that had driven my father's family from Louisiana to Los Angeles in the first place.

    In 1972, I was one of a slightly bigger group of black students bused to a predominantly white elementary school in Westchester, a community close to the beach in Los Angeles. While I didn't encounter the overt hostility my father had, I did experience resistance, including being barred once from entering a white classmate's home because, she said matter-of-factly as she stood in the doorway, she didn't let black people (she used a different word) in her house.

    Still, I believed, even as a fifth grader, that education is a social contract and that Los Angeles was uniquely suited to carry it out. Los Angeles would surely accomplish what Louisiana could not.

    I was wrong. Today Los Angeles and California as a whole have abandoned integration as the chief mechanism of school reform and embraced charter schools instead.

    Fourth- and fifth-grade students at a public charter school in San Jose, Calif., in 2014.

    This has happened all over the country, of course, but California has led the way — it has 630,000 students in charter schools, more than any other state, and the Los Angeles Unified School District has more than 154,000 of themCharters are associated with choice and innovation, important elements of the good life that California is famous for. In a deep-blue state, that good life theoretically includes diversity, and many white liberals believe charters can achieve that, too. After all, a do-it-yourself school can do anything it wants.

    But that's what makes me uneasy, the notion that public schools, which charters technically are, have a choice about how or to what degree to enforce the social contract. There are many charter success stories, I know, and many make a diverse student body part of their mission. But charters as a group are ill suited to the task of justice because they are a legacy of failed justice.

    Integration did not happen. The effect of my father's and my foray into those white schools was not more equality but white flight. Largely white schools became largely black, and Latino schools were stigmatized as "bad" and never had a place in the California good life.

    It's partly because diversity can be managed — or minimized — that charters have become the public schools that liberal whites here can get behind. This is in direct contrast to the risky, almost revolutionary energy that fueled past integration efforts, which by their nature created tension and confrontation. But as a society — certainly as a state — we have lost our appetite for that engagement, and the rise of charters is an expression of that loss.

    Choice and innovation sound nice, but they also echo what happened after the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, when entire white communities in the South closed down schools to avoid the dread integration.

    This kind of racial avoidance has become normal, embedded in the public school experience. It seems particularly so in Los Angeles, a suburb-driven city designed for geographical separation. What looks like segregation to the rest of the world is, to many white residents, entirely neutral — simply another choice.

    Perhaps it should come as no surprise that in 2010, researchers at the Civil Rights Project at U.C.L.A. found, in a study of 40 states and several dozen municipalities, that black students in charters are much more likely than their counterparts in traditional public schools to be educated in an intensely segregated setting. The report says that while charters had more potential to integrate because they are not bound by school district lines, "charter schools make up a separate, segregated sector of our already deeply stratified public school system."

    In a 2017 analysis, data journalists at The Associated Press found that charter schools were significantly overrepresented among the country's most racially isolated schools. In other words, black and brown students have more or less resegregated within charters, the very institutions that promised to equalize education.

    This has not stemmed the popular appeal of charters. School board races in California that were once sleepy are now face-offs between well-funded charter advocates and less well-funded teachers' unions. Progressive politicians are expected to support charters, and they do. Gov. Jerry Brown, who opened a couple of charters during his stint as mayor of Oakland, vetoed legislation two years ago that would have made charter schools more accountable. Antonio Villaraigosa built a reputation as a community organizer who supported unions, but as mayor of Los Angeles, he started a charter-like endeavor called Partnership for Los Angeles Schools.

    This year, charter advocates got their pick for school superintendent, Austin Beutner. And billionaires like Eli Broad have made charters a primary cause: In 2015, an initiative backed in part by Mr. Broad's foundation outlined a $490 million plan to place half of the students in the Los Angeles district into charters by 2023.

    I live in Inglewood, a chiefly black and brown city in Los Angeles County that's facing gentrification and the usual displacement of people of color. Traditional public schools are struggling to stay open as they lose students to charters. But those who support the gentrifying, which includes a new billion-dollar N.F.L. stadium in the heart of town, see charters as part of the improvements. They see them as progress.

    Despite all this, I continue to believe in the social contract that in my mind is synonymous with public schools and public good. I continue to believe that California will at some point fulfill that contract. I believe this most consciously when I go back to Westchester and reflect on my formative two years in school there. In the good life there is such a thing as a good fight, and it is not over.

    Erin Aubry Kaplan, a contributing opinion writer, teaches writing at Antioch University, Los Angeles, and is the author of "Black Talk, Blue Thoughts and Walking the Color Line" and "I Heart Obama."




































































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