Prison Facts from the American Friends Service Committee

1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102, AFSC.org

Lifetime likelihood of imprisonment for..

Momentem is growing to change this unjust system that imprisons so many of us. On May 8, 2018, Tucson, Arizona banned for-profit jails and detention centers. We need change like this to spread. Help use this momentum to lead to lasting change in cities and states around the country. Donate today to support our work to  end mass incarceration, and for-profit prisons, and promote a reconciliation and healing approach to criminal justice issues.

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George Lester Jackson (September 23, 1941 – August 21, 1971)This extraordinary video is from a 16mm film "work print" made in 1971–1972, and includes interviews with George Jackson, Georgia Jackson (George and Jonathan Jackson's mother) and Angela Davis, while she was still in the Marin County Courthouse Jail—before her acquittal. We have not been able to identify the other prisoners. As you will see, the film has no titles or other credits. The discovery of such amazing, previously unknown historic materials always leaves us thrilled and in awe, deepening our understanding of those times and affirming the mission of the Freedom Archives.



Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/

Questions and comments may be sent to info@freedomarchives.org




*!URGENT PRESS RELEASE FOR SISTA RAMONA AFRICA!* WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 21 AT 4504 KINGSESSING AVENUE SHE HAS GIVEN SO MUCH OF HER LIFE FOR ALL LIFE NOW IT'S OUR TURN, COME COVER THE STORY SPREAD IT FAR AND WIDE ONAMOVE PAM AFRICA 267 760 7344 We are asking our community and our supporters to come out or watch via live stream. since sista Pam will be speaking This is a battle for our warrior sister Ramona AFRICA FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 215-387-4107 or Marilyn Kai Jewett 215-379-1163 MEDIA ADVISORY UPDATE ON RAMONA AFRICA PHILADELPHIA, August 21, 2018 – The MOVE Organization will hold a news conference 10:00AM, Wednesday, August 22 in front of 4504 Kingsessing Avenue to provide an update on the health of its Minister of Communications Ramona Africa. Ramona, the sole survivor of the May 13, 1985 Holocaust that murdered 11 men, women and children, has been gravely ill for the past few months. She has been hospitalized due to complications from post-traumatic stress disorder that resulted in a stroke. During her diagnosis, it was discovered that Ramona also has cancer. "Ramona's dis- ease is a direct result of the on-going war waged on our Move Family by this government," said Pam Africa. "Two of our family members died in prison under suspicious circumstances termed "cancer." Now Ramona is diagnosed with "cancer" and once again, she's battling to be a survivor. We are standing strong and fighting for the proper medical care for our sister." The hospital has informed the MOVE Family that Ramona's insurance will no longer cover her hospital and therapy bills, and that she will be released from both hospital and therapy unless she can pay the bills herself. To that end, a Go Fund Me page has be established to raise money for her care. People can donate funds at www.gofundme.com/helpsaveramonaafrica. The M OVE Family will provide details on Ramona's medical diagnosis and what is needed for her care and recovery. Your coverage is encouraged.





Prisoner Hunger Strike August 21-September 9

The start of the strike was symbolically timed to mark the 47th anniversary of the death of the Black Panther leader George Jackson in San Quentin prison in California. The end of the strike, September 9, marks the day in 1971, when 1,000 of the Attica prison's approximately 2,200 inmates rioted and took control of the prison, taking 42 staff hostage.



Letter of Support for the 2018 Prison Strike from Termite Collective in Canada

News Article

August 25, 2018

August 21, 2018

To who it may concern,

We are a group made up of individuals from diverse backgrounds, including volunteers, former inmates, and currently incarcerated inmates. Many of our members are inmates serving life sentences, several of our group members have been incarcerated for more than a quarter century and two have been incarcerated for more than forty years (each). We have accumulated over 300 years of incarceration in Canadian penitentiaries.

Recently we read an article about the call for a National Prison Strike (America). While our countries may not be the same and the names of the draconian laws and policies are different; the results are the same.

The prison industrial complex exists to make money off and from the needless suffering of human beings. While conditions in most Canadian prisons seems to be, if not better, shall we say different than in America? We have much in common. We too are over incarcerated, overcrowded, over worked, underpaid, under fed, under educated. We too suffer undue delays of parole hearings. We too are separated from our loved ones. We too suffer poor healthcare (in Canada, a country with free universal healthcare) and we too are tired of being subjected to the abuses of callous and masochistic staff.

Up until a few years ago, our system was much better than it is now. Then we had our own Donald Trump moment; our was not a former reality TV star, ours was a right wing religious nut case named Steven Harper. He made sweeping "prison reforms" such as cutting inmate pay in half, cutting most rehabilitation programs, and cutting many other services, especially those designed for lifers. He even cut most of the chaplaincy staff, and then outsourced the remaining chaplaincy to another country (America). Recently, a decision was made in Orlando, Florida to cut the number of chaplains in a Canadian prison. A full time chaplain lost his position, for which he was only being paid 4 hours a week; and no reason was even given. Luckily, after some outside pressure, that particular decision was reversed.

All in all, our Trump-lite, Steven Harper, introduced a huge piece of legislation he named Safer Streets and Communities. Everyone else commonly referred to it as the omnibus crime bill. In this lovely bit of legislation, he rolled the Canadian prison system back at least 50 years. He had plans to go even further; he wanted to revoke our right to vote. Yes, convicted felons in Canada can still vote, even while still incarcerated, even lifers. But, Harper wanted to take away that right! Harper also wanted to introduce a life means life (no change for parole) policy and at one point he talked about making all sentences indefinite sentences (life); meaning that you would only get out (even for minor offenses) when the powers that be say you are reformed. Which, in most cases, would be never!

Thankfully he was defeated before he could implement those particular heinous policies. The current government made a lot of promises for change, but have actually done very little. I guess we have to be thankful that at least they haven't made things any worse.

In short, yes this was a rather long-winded way to say something, in short; but here it goes:

We the inmates in Canadian prisons offer you our support, our solidarity, and our prayers; we hope that your demands will be met and that your conditions will improve. No human beings should be kept in cages and treated worse than animals; in fact, if animals were treated like prisoners, PETA would go off!

The practice of making money from the suffering of other human beings (prisoners) must stop! All incarcerated and detained men and women are entitled to respect, dignity, humane treatment, proper healthcare, and access to rehabilitation programs and release from prison.

Respectfully yours,

the Termite Collective

Recent Articles:

Strike Statement to the Press; August 22, 2018

Comrade Malik speaks out on nationwide program of political repression against prison organizers

How to Make Anti-Repression Phone Calls to a Prison

Solidarity rally with nationwide prison strike in Milwaukee

Support Prisoners Who Vowed to Strike!

Get Involved

Support IWOC by connecting with the closest localsubscribing to the newsletter or making a donation.



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:




Mumia Abu-Jamal's appeal request continued

By the Associated Press, August 30, 2018

(Philadelphia) -- Arguments in a request by former death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal to have his previous appeals vacated have been postponed.

The district attorney's office turned over a document Monday that the defense says could show State Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille was personally involved in the case. The judge Thursday ordered the parties to continue searching for additional documents before he hears arguments in October.

Lawyers for the former Black Panther, who spent 29 years on death row following his conviction in the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police Officer Daniel Faulkner, are petitioning to throw out the previous appeals to file a new appeal.

The defense has said Castille should have recused himself. When Castille was Philadelphia district attorney, his office succeeded in getting the state Supreme Court to uphold Abu-Jamal's conviction.

An earlier story appears below. 

(Philadelphia) -- Former death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal is scheduled to be back in court requesting that his failed appeals attempts be vacated, so he can once again appeal his case.

Today's hearing on his request was continued from April to give attorneys time to find a document the defense said was necessary to show the bias of state Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille.

Lawyers for the former Black Panther, who spent 29 years on death row following his conviction in the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police Officer Daniel Faulkner, are petitioning under the Post-Conviction Relief Act to have his previous appeals thrown out to make way for the new appeal.

Abu-Jamal's attorneys say Castille is biased because when he was Philadelphia's district attorney, his office succeeded in getting the state Supreme Court to uphold Abu-Jamal's conviction.

He's being held in the state prison in Frackville, Schuylkill County.

Free Mumia Now!

Mumia's freedom is at stake in a court hearing on August 30th. 

With your help, we just might free him!

Check out this video:

This video includes photo of 1996 news report refuting Judge Castille's present assertion that he had not been requested at that time to recuse himself from this case, on which he had previously worked as a Prosecutor:

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.

• 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?

Call DA Larry Krasner at (215) 686-8000

Tell him former DA Ron Castille violated Mumia's constitutional rights and 

Krasner should cease opposing Mumia's legal petition.

Tell the DA to release Mumia because he's factually innocent.



Free Julian Assange NOW!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018, 12:00 Noon

San Francisco UK Consulate

1 Sansome Street, San Francisco

(Near Market Street, Montgomery BART Station)

Don't Allow The Arrest Of Journalist Whistleblower Julian Assange

Initiated By Bay Area Free Julian Assange Action Committee (BAFJAAC)
Endorsed by: United Public Workers For Action

http://www.upwa.info, WorkWeek Radio

The U.S. has been pressuring the Ecuadorian government to force the removal of Julian Assange because of the U.S. embarrassment over the release of emails of governments and politicians criminal activity and corruption. The British government has also spent millions of dollars to surround the consulate and the May government plans to arrest Assange as soon as he is pushed out of the consulate. He is also unable to receive medical care and is a prisoner in the consulate. The effort to silence Julian Assange is not just about him but silencing all journalists and whistleblowers who release information that threatens the exposure of the U.S. and UK government corruption and crimes. The refusal of the U.S. government to prosecute those involved in U.S. crimes in Iraq, Libya and around the world despite the explicit evidence of these crimes provided by WikiLeaks is further reason why the U.S. government is so interested in arresting Assange.

Journalists are also under attack globally as well as in the U.S. And the right of journalists to write and publish material about these activities is something that must be defended. The U.S. and UK government officials are also united in continuing the silencing of journalists and those who want to hold them responsible for the crimes of their governments around the world.

It is time to stand up for Assange and all journalists who are speaking truth to power.

Don't Force Assange Out Of Ecuadorian Consulate!

Hands Off Journalists and Whistleblowers!  

Prosecute the Real Criminals!

Free Julian NOW!

Additional media:

Solidarity Rally For Julian Assange In San Francisco

Australian Journalist Union Supports Assange

Bay Area Free Julian Assange Action Committee BAFJAAC
info@aupwa.info, (415) 533-5942



Labor will Rise on September 8th to march as one in a Labor Contingent for Climate Jobs & Justice that will gather on Steuart Street just below Market at Embarcadero Plaza, at 10 a.m. The ILWU Drill Team and a Fire Engine driven by members of SF Firefighters Local 786 honoring first responders will lead the contingent. The Brass Liberation Orchestra will bring up the rear.

The march will call on the political leaders convening later in the week at the Global Climate Action Summit called by Governor Jerry Brown to take urgent, effective action to address climate change and the threat of runaway global warming. The time for half-measures and symbolic gestures is over. We need a transition to a renewable and sustainable energy system that is rapid, just and equitable for impacted workers and front-line communities.

Please plan to attend. Wear union colors. Bring union banners. Help Labor Rise for Climate, Jobs and Justice on Saturday, September 8th. RSVP at CA.RiseforClimate.org

Sign the Labor Pledge and check out the Labor Council's resolutionendorsing the march.

For more information visit the event's Facebook page or write to http://bit.ly/LaborRiseGoogleGroup.

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



Usher in the "Age of the Healer," and Abolish the "Age of the Warrior."


September 30 - October 6, 2018

Come for all or part of the week!


Shut Down Creech 2016

This summer 2,500 peace activistsconverged at U.S. Air Base Ramstein, in Germany, in their first courageous mass civil resistance to Stopp Ramstein!Ramstein, the largest foreign U.S. military base, plays a critical role in the U.S. Drone Killing Program by acting as THE KEY RELAY STATIONin the U.S. global drone assassination program. Without a relay base like Ramstein, the U.S. could not successfully kill remotely from the other side of the planet. German activists demand an end to Germany's complicity in the illegal and immoral U.S. remote killing apparatus. As one German activist shouted out passionately and movingly in this video: "Stop the Murder!"At least 5 American citizens participated in the protest, including CODEPINK members Ann Wright, Toby Blomé and Elsa Rassbach. Dozens of us blocked two merging roads into one gate for nearly an hour, and ultimately about 15 people were arrested, including 2 Americans. It was an amazing collective stance for peace & justice, and the German police were remarkably humane and civil in how they responded. Fortunately all were released after being detained briefly.

Ramstein's "partner drone base," CREECH AFB, plays an equally important role as a CENTRAL DRONE COMMAND CENTERin the U.S. 

Learn more about Ramstein and Creech in this important Intercept investigative report.

SF Bay Area CODEPINKcalls on activists from across the country to converge this fall at Creech AFB for our 4th annual nonviolent, peaceful, mass mobilization to SHUT DOWN CREECH, and help us put an end to the barbarism of drone murder. Per a NY Times articleover 900 drone pilots/operators are actively working at Creech, remotely murdering people in foreign lands, often away from any battlefield, while victims are going about their daily lives: driving on the highway, praying at a mosque, attending schools, funerals and wedding parties, eating dinner with their family or sleeping in their beds. 


Shockingly, one recent report indicated that about 80% of all drone strikes go totally unreported.We must stand up for the right of all people around the planet to be safe from the terror of remote controlled slaughter from abroad. Drone killing is spreading like wildfirewith at least 10 countries now who have used drones to kill. The U.S is fully responsible for this uncontrolled Pandora's box, by developing and proliferating these horrendous weapons without giving concern to the long term consequences. 


Last April our protestat Creech was reported in over 20 states across the country by mainstream media, including TV, radio, print and military media, thus reaching tens of thousands of Americans about our resistance to these covert and brutal practices. It is remarkable the impact a small handful of peacemakers can have with a well planned action. We need you to help us educate the public and awaken the consciousness of U.S. military personnel. Drone operators themselvesare victims of this inhumanity by bearing deep psychic wounds within. Through our twice daily vigils, we call them over to the side of peace, and encourage them to assess the consequences and reality of having a daily job of remote-control murdering. U.S. drones are the main tool used to terrorize and dominate the planet. We must stand up to these barbaric policies and the system that gives little thought to the world our children's grandchildren will be living in, and the harm it is doing now to our young men and women in uniform. 



Check out our updated website for details on the 4TH Annual SHUT DOWN CREECH.

Let's show the Germans that we have a thriving U.S. resistance to U.S. Global Militarism and Drone Killing too!

We hope to see you there,

Eleanor, Maggie, Toby, Ann, Mary and Tim

Sponsored by S.F. Bay Area CODEPINK

Check out these inspiring videos of this summer's 2018 drone protest at Ramstein, Germany:

Great Overview of Stopp Ramstein(13.5 min - watch the first and last 2-3 minutes)

In Closing: Inspiring words

from Rafael Jesús González, Poet Laureate of Berkeley, Xochipilli Men's Circle

"We cannot say the purpose these millenniums of the Patriarchy have served, but their lopsided reign is toxic and has maimed and sickened men and women and greatly harmed the Earth. It must come to an end. Women, our grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters must now take the reins for we men have made a botch of things. Women must take their power and men must step aside, follow, and support them even as we heal and liberate ourselves by freeing and honoring that which is feminine in our nature: loving, caring, nurturing. We must all free ourselves or none will. The long, long Age of the Warrior must come to an end and we must usher in the Age of the Healer.
Please lead us, our sisters. Together we must heal and heal the Earth or court the demise of all that lives."






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





The Quakers about Jamil Al-Amin

Newark Office

89 Market St. 6th floor - Newark, NJ 07102 (973) 643 1924 - nymro@afsc.org

Re: Imam Jamil Al-Amin (formerly known as H. Rap Brown) (PDF)

July 7, 2018

Dear John Lewis:

I am addressing this to you with copies to others because this is both a professional as well as a personal letter. I spent almost eight years in the south during the civil rights era, serving in Tennessee under the leadership of Maxine and Vasco Smith of the Memphis NAACP and then at Highlander for a year and a half. Professionally, I have the privilege of directing the Prison Watch Program for the American Friends Service Committee. The AFSC is a faith based Quaker organization with a deep belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome injustice. Our Prison Watch Program has been providing witness to conditions of confinement in United States prisons for over four decades, speaking truth to power via publications, public speaking and all forms of media.

In my professional capacity as a monitor of US prisons, I am often called upon to document the treatment endured by a specific person in our criminal legal system. Imam Jamil Al-Amin has been of special interest to me because of his leadership during that important era opposing the racism with which this country has governed. Since then, he has been convicted of serious charges in Georgia, spending the last 18 years in different prisons. He has sustained a number of physical transfers away from his family in Georgia, including spending many of those years in solitary confinement in both the state and federal systems, with no explicit charges for this type of placement. The use of isolated confinement for political dissidents from the civil rights era has been well documented. It was Andrew Young who, as US representative to the United Nations, noted that the United States had what he "would consider political prisoners". In later years, any number of us noted the differential treatment borne by political dissenters who ended up in US prisons. The use of extended isolation was used on many of them, including the Imam. The impact of this extended isolation has been medically documented as extremely damaging to the human psyche.

This should serve as a letter of human rights concern about the Imam. Of specific and current concern is his medical condition, as well as his age. The Imam was diagnosed at the federal Butner Medical Center in 2014 with a pre-cursor stage of multiple myeloma, an incurable form of cancer related to leukemia. This disease causes weight loss, kidney failure, rib fractures and other skeletal abnormalities. It is a medical condition which needs regular medical monitoring. He has been moved twice since his time in a medical facility and is currently at the USP in Arizona. His family and supporters feel continuing concern about his well-being. His disease coupled with his age make the Arizona weather often difficult for him. The long physical, and therefore emotional, separation from family is wearing on the Imam and his entire family. Punishment for a verdict of guilt in the United States is removal from society. The isolation and neglect he endured at ADX, and the current isolation from his home state of Georgia is beyond acceptable. It is hard for me, as a professional witness, to fathom the rationale for this ongoing placement. It also remains difficult for me to understand why this person, or any other person in prison, would be denied access to scholars and journalists. Because of his well-documented history of activism, there are those who would like to interview the Imam as a way of authenticating and studying this history.

Because I have been an activist since the Civil Right Era, my personal awareness of the Imam's life has been ongoing during the decades I have coordinated the AFSC Prison Watch Program. I remain profoundly impacted by the treatment of the Imam and other imprisoned political dissenters from my era of activism. They have endured inappropriate torture in the form of years of solitary confinement. Many, including the Imam, have also endured what can only be described as purposeful medical neglect. It seems to me that it is time for legislators of conscience to investigate our elderly imprisoned citizens, many who have suffered severely for their political beliefs. They need to be released. Short of that, they need to be close to home and cared for medically.

On a personal level, I have always felt very attached to my brave generation - from those who served in Vietnam to those who marched in the South. My own youthful experience in the south was full of many of those people being murdered, being spit at, called a race traitor and feeling unprotected from such hatred. I remember not understanding what there was to hate so deeply and feeling as if we were in a war against black and brown people. H. Rap Brown was an integral part of that very important force to the country towards real social change.

I have been witness since that time to what has happened to so many protesters from my generation who ended up in US prisons. You cannot give me a reason for their "specialized" treatment - the poor medical care which feels purposeful; for keeping families miles apart for no understandable reason; and for the general cruelty to the elderly in our society's prisons no matter why they were convicted. The Imam is currently 75 years old and is serving a life sentence without parole. It doesn't seem logical to keep him from his family, from Georgia or from dialogue with those who seek that with him. It certainly doesn't speak well of our criminal legal system to not provide appropriate medical care.

We need legislators of integrity to consider interceding in what can only be seen as ill-chosen restrictions and neglect. I am specifically reaching out to you because I have imagined a dialogue between you and the Imam, and I wondered if even you would be allowed to see him. Aside from his conditions of confinement issues, perhaps the most disturbing thing of all is that his voice has been deliberately silenced.


Bonnie Kerness, MSW


Prison Watch Program

Cc: Ben Chavis

Bennie Thompson

# # #



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?

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?

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.

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.

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.






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).

  • 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!





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



    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) Australia Plans to Deny Chelsea Manning an Entry Visa, Citing 'Criminal Record'

    By Isabella Kwai, August 29, 2018


    Chelsea Manning at a conference in Montreal in May.

    SYDNEY, Australia — The Australian government said on Wednesday that it would not grant a visa to Chelsea Manning, a former American soldier sentenced to prison for sharing classified government documents, because she failed a character test required for entry.

    Ms. Manning was scheduled to conduct a speaking tour of Australia through September, beginning with an appearance this Sunday at the Sydney Opera House with the American journalists Ronan Farrow, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Maureen Dowd.

    On Wednesday, Ms. Manning said she would "work it out," reported Guardian Australia, and the group organizing the event said it would push for her to be allowed into the country.

    "We are very disappointed to learn that the Department of Home Affairs has taken this approach and will be vigorously advocating for her ability to enter Australia," Think Inc., the event's organizer, said in a statement on Thursday.

    The department, in a notice sent Wednesday to Ms. Manning, wrote that she did not pass the character test required for entry into Australia because of her "substantial criminal record."

    In 2013, Ms. Manning, then known as Bradley Manning, was found guilty of leaking more than 700,000 classified government documents to WikiLeaks, including reports from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and dossiers on detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

    She received a 35-year sentence for violating the Espionage Act, but after serving seven years, her sentence was commuted last year by President Barack Obama in one of his last acts before leaving office. Soon after her sentencing, Ms. Manning announced she was transgender and would begin her transition to becoming a woman.

    A divisive figure who is seen by some as a whistle-blower and others as a traitor, Ms. Manning has encountered pushback over other speaking engagements. She declined one at Harvard University after criticism prompted the dean to revoke a fellowship offer there.

    Suzi Jamil, Think Inc.'s president, called on the Australian government to reconsider its impending decision.

    "We hope that the minister for Home Affairs and his department will not stand in the way of the Australian people hearing Ms. Manning's story," she said in a statement, citing the need for people "to hear about vital issues around data privacy, artificial intelligence and transgender rights."

    Think Inc. said Thursday it had submitted an application to the two ministers overseeing home affairs and immigration asking them to "apply their ministerial discretion to allow Ms. Manning entry into Australia."

    In a statement on Thursday, the Department of Home Affairs said it did not comment on individual cases.

    The news comes as questions have emerged over a decision by the former minister of immigration, Peter Dutton, to use his discretionary powers andgrant a tourist visa to an au pair after she was to be deported. Mr. Dutton has denied doing anything improper. On Thursday, Penny Wong, a lawmaker for the opposition, called for an explanation from the government, saying the action seemed "inconsistent," on Radio National.

    The Australian government has canceled visas or prevented entry of other notable public figures, including the singer Chris Brown, the rapper Snoop Dogg and David Irving, a Holocaust denier.

    But those critical of the government's actions have pointed to recent visits from contentious figures like Lauren Southern, a far-right Canadian commentator, and Milo Yiannopoulos, a right-wing British commentator.

    Conservative politicians in New Zealand have also called for Ms. Manning to be banned from entering that country, where she is slated to speak next month.

    "This is a convicted felon, sentenced to 35 years in jail, coming in here for money," Michael Woodhouse, a former minister of immigration for the National Party, told the news site Stuff.

    "She is wanting to be hailed as a hero for stealing military secrets and state secrets."



    2) Who'd Be on Your Spaceship? A School Exercise Backfires in Ohio

    By Christina Caron, August 30, 2018


    A downtown area of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. A controversial class exercise assigned to some of the city's middle school students has inflamed parents.

    An Ohio school superintendent has apologized for a class exercise that asked middle school students to choose from a list of racially, ethnically and religiously diverse candidates to save or leave behind if Earth were "doomed for destruction."

    The assignment presented 12 potential spaceship passengers, including "a militant African-American medical student," "a Hispanic clergyman who is against homosexuality," "an Asian, orphaned 12-year-old boy," "a homosexual male professional athlete," and a "60-year-old Jewish university administrator." The students were instructed to select eight to take to safety on another planet, ranking them from the most deserving to the least.

    "It's disturbing all the way around," said Bernadette Hartman, whose son completed the assignment during an eighth-grade social studies class at Roberts Middle School in Cuyahoga Falls, a large suburb near Akron.

    A photo of the exercise was shared widely online. The teacher used it as an "icebreaker," the superintendent, Todd M. Nichols of the Cuyahoga Falls School District, said in a statement.

    The intent was to "promote tolerance and break down stereotypes," he said, and help fulfill the district's goal of engaging in conversations about "diversity awareness and social justice."

    "The teacher and district offer their most sincere apologies for the offense caused by the content used in this assignment," the statement said. "Future assignments on this topic will be more carefully selected."

    The group exercise, which was given to four seventh- and eighth-grade classes at Roberts Middle School, was not the teacher's invention and had been used at this and other schools for some years.

    Dr. Nichols said the assignment was retrieved from the Center for Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Houston, which posts diversity activities online that are geared toward college students, faculty and staff.

    Niya N. Blair, the center's director, said on Wednesday that the exercise could help students understand their biases, both conscious and unconscious, but that it required proper guidance. Her team receives months of training before administering such exercises, she said.

    "The wrap-up and the facilitation, that's the most important part of it," Ms. Blair said. "I think with any diversity activity, it's important to understand the audience as well as your environment."

    Ms. Hartman, who said her son has a learning disability, said that "no context was given" in class.

    "It's not that I was offended by the text," she said. "I was offended that it wasn't even explained properly to the students, which just furthers bias and tensions."

    Ms. Hartman asked her son about the exercise after discovering it amid his schoolwork early last week.

    "He said, 'Well, we had to rate who we would take — it was kind of like "Survivor,"'" she recalled. "So he honestly had no idea what the purpose of it was."

    Ms. Hartman contacted the school on Aug. 21 and received a voice mail message from the teacher in response, but she said the message only raised more questions. She tried unsuccessfully to reach the principal, she said, before deciding to post a photo of the exercise on Facebook. It caught the attention of other parents and a Cuyahoga Falls councilman, Adam Miller.

    The councilman also posted the assignment on Facebook, stoking widespread outrage. He wrote that the project was "implanting prejudicial thoughts in these young impressionable minds."

    The assignment was not fostering a "culture of caring," Councilman Miller wrote. "This is building a culture of animosity, antagonism & hostility!"

    The teacher, who has taught math and social studies at the school for 15 years, will receive a "strongly worded letter" in his personnel file indicating that he "erred in judgment," Dr. Nichols said in an interview on Tuesday.

    The teacher did not respond to multiple requests for comment this week.

    Cuyahoga Falls is more than 90 percent white, according to the latest census figures.

    "They call it Caucasian Falls," said Andrea Hensley, whose 12-year-old daughter completed the assignment in her math class. "I think it's the reason the community has to address diversity in some of these subjects, because the kids don't have the exposure unless it's sought out."

    Her daughter identifies as gay and wasn't upset by the exercise, she said. She said her daughter chose the gay athlete.

    "I think our kids are confronted by these labels every day," she said. "And so what are we hiding from?"

    Parents said the students chose to focus only on the more innocuous labels during their discussions, rather than the hot-button issues of race and religion.

    Cassie Jebber, whose son is in seventh grade, said "my heart sunk" when she discovered how the characters were described. But then she learned that her son had focused mainly on the characteristics that would allow each candidate to help others on the new planet.

    "What they were talking about together as a class was how to build this better world," she said. But the labels were not shocking. "When I have CNN on and our politicians are speaking, they hear much worse."

    Her son wanted to save the doctor, because he would be able to help people survive, Ms. Jebber said.

    "He didn't pick the police officer because they were really hoping in this new world there wasn't going to be a lot of crime," she added. (The police officer was described as a "racist" who has been "accused of using excessive force.")

    Dr. Nichols said that when he became aware of the exercise last week, he questioned whether it was age-appropriate for seventh and eighth graders.

    "I do think that maturity plays a role in it," he said.

    Ms. Blair, the director of the diversity and inclusion center, explained that, ideally, students will think deeply about their selections and how the rationale plays out in other areas of their lives. It is often uncomfortable, she added.

    "Talking about issues of difference around our identities isn't something that we do often, but we should," she said. "If we're not talking and having these conversations, how can we move forward?"

    Susan Beachy contributed research.



    3) The Continuing Tragedy of the Separated Children

    Just because mass separations have been halted doesn't mean that the crisis is over.

    By The Editorial Board, August 30, 2018


    "I didn't like the sight or the feeling of families being separated," President Trump said on June 20, when he signed an executive order halting his administration's depraved practice of separating migrant children from parents seeking asylum at the nation's southern border. "This will solve that problem."

    It may be that signing such an order was a matter of conscience for Mr. Trump — that he felt morally compelled to address the humanitarian crisis caused by his own "zero tolerance" border policy.

    But if so, the matter should still upset him. While family separations have slipped from the spotlight — allowing Mr. Trump to enjoy his morning executive time without enduring televised images of sobbing migrant children — the crisis itself is far from over. Hundreds of children remain separated from their parents. Many of those who have been reunited bear the scars of trauma. Migrant families continue to be rounded up into government detention centers, though now at least they are being held together. 

    With its zero-tolerance barbarism, the Trump administration managed to do an impressive amount of damage in a very short time. In the six weeks the policy was in effect, more than 2,600 children were taken from their parents, with zero thought or planning for how the families might eventually be reunited.

    Less than a week after the executive order, a federal judge, Dana Sabraw, ruling in a class-action suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, placed a temporary injunction on family separations and ordered the administration to reunite all those it had already torn apart. A deadline of July 26 was set, with children under the age of 5 put on a fast track. 

    More than a month past that deadline, progress is mixed. After a bumpy start, and with occasional foot dragging on the government's part, more than 2,000 children have been reunited with their parents. But the shadow of what these innocents have suffered lingers. Volunteers working with the families report signs of separation trauma and other mental health issues in the children. Some have become withdrawn and silent. Some panic around strangers. Others are terrified to let their parents out of their sight, even to use the bathroom. Medical professionals warn of long-term emotional and psychological damage, including anxiety disorders, depression, trust issues, memory problems and developmental delays. 

    And these are the "lucky" ones. As of late August, more than 500 children still languished in government custody — scared, confused and unsure of ever seeing their parents again. A few dozen have parents who have been deemed ineligible for reunification because of criminal records or other circumstances. (Disqualifying offenses include drug-possession charges, ID violations and drunken-driving convictions.)



    4)   U.S. to End Funding to U.N. Agency That Helps Palestinian Refugees

    By Edward Wong, August 31, 2018


    Residents of the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, lined up to receive food supplies, in Damascus, Syria, in 2014.

    WASHINGTON — The United States government has decided to stop all funding it gives to a United Nations agency that provides assistance to millions of Palestinian refugees, ending a decades-long policy of supporting it, according to a former senior United States aid official.

    The move was pushed hardest by Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and top adviser on the Middle East, as part of a plan to compel Palestinian politicians to drop demands for many of those refugees to return to what they call their homeland, said the former official, R. David Harden, who worked at the United States Agency for International Development until April.

    Each year, the State Department transfers money by the end of September to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, known as Unrwa, which provides aid to Palestinian refugees across the Middle East.

    In January, the State Department released $65 million for the agency and announced it was withholding another $60 million that had already been allocated in a budget process for 2018. Now, Mr. Kushner and Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, have decided not to give that amount or any further money, said Mr. Harden, who was briefed on the plans and oversaw projects in the Palestinian territories for more than a decade.

    Since 2010, the average annual contribution from the United States to the United Nations agency has been more than $350 million, a quarter of the agency's budget. In 2017, the United States contributed about $360 million.

    The decision was made this month at a meeting between Mr. Kushner and Mr. Pompeo, Mr. Harden said. Mr. Pompeo argued against cutting the funding so drastically, but Mr. Kushner took a strong stance and won out, he added.

    "What we're seeing right now is a capricious move that has a very high risk of unsettling the region," Mr. Harden said, noting that the relief agency supported about five million refugees across the Middle East.

    Nicholas Burns, a Harvard Kennedy School professor and a former senior United States diplomat who has worked on the Palestinian issue, called the change "heartless and unwise" and a reflection of "the most one-sided U.S. policy since 1948," when President Truman recognized the newly established state of Israel.

    "The Trump Administration's decision to end U.S. assistance to Palestinian refugees is wrong on every level," Mr. Burns said on Twitter. "It will harm innocent people, particularly young Palestinians."

    Mr. Kushner has been working on a proposal for a peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and is seeking a way to get Palestinian leaders to drop demands for the right of most or all of the five million refugees to return to land now under Israel's control.

    The Trump administration has been working to change some decades-old pillars of United States policy on Israel. Last December, Mr. Trump announced that he was recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, breaking with what the United States and nearly every other nation in the world had done for nearly seven decades.

    The vast majority of the five million refugees are descendants of Palestinians displaced in the early- to mid-20th century, and the United Nations aid agency officially considers all of them refugees, consistent with international law and United Nations refugee protocols, said Peter Mulrean, director of the Unrwa Representative Office at the United Nations.

    Mr. Kushner and other American officials are seeking to change that designation by the United Nations agency, in hopes it will alter the debate over which Palestinians have the right of return. Those American officials also believe that defunding the aid agency will give them leverage to force Palestinian and other Arab leaders to drop or reduce the demand for right of return, which is one of the greatest points of contention between Israeli and Palestinian officials, Mr. Harden said.

    Asked about the decision on Thursday night, a State Department official declined to comment.

    The United States is by far the biggest donor to the United Nations agency. Other large donors include European and Middle Eastern nations.

    The Trump administration announced last week that it was diverting $200 million set aside for Palestinian aid in the West Bank and Gaza. That money had been appropriated by Congress in the 2017 budget to the Agency for International Development and is part of a package of assistance given annually to help the Palestinians that is separate from the United Nations allocation. About $35 million of assistance in this channel could still go forward, Mr. Harden said.

    Elizabeth Campbell, a spokeswoman for the United Nations relief agency, said that it had not yet been informed by the Trump administration that the government intended to end all financial support.

    "We remain grateful for the funding that the United States has provided thus far," she said.

    Ms. Campbell noted that the agency provided food assistance to half the population in Gaza, among others, and ensured that all children there had access to education.

    "Unrwa is a public good, providing critical services, such as vaccinations and prenatal care, that are otherwise unavailable to refugees," she said.

    At a security conference in Washington on Tuesday, Nikki R. Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, was asked about reports that the administration intended to end funding for the relief agency. The decision was first reported by Foreign Policy on Tuesday.

    "First of all, you're looking at the fact that there's an endless number of refugees that continue to get assistance," said Ms. Haley, who has been a critic of the agency. "But more importantly, the Palestinians continue to bash America."

    Ms. Haley said she had made a point of showing Mr. Trump the list of countries to which the United States provides donations, and then mentioning that not all of those countries voted in support of the United States at the United Nations. She said the lack of support from Palestinian leaders recently had been particularly galling.

    Last week, John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, visited Israel and was equally critical of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, calling it "a failed mechanism."

    "I think it is long overdue that we have taken steps to reduce funding," Mr. Bolton said, according to Reuters.

    Senior Israeli officials have traditionally discouraged abrupt cuts to United States funding to the agency, Mr. Harden said, and such officials could still call American counterparts to try to persuade them to change their minds.

    In Jordan, where more than two million Palestinian refugees live, the foreign minister, Ayman Safadi, has warned that a drastic cut by the United States to the United Nations agency could potentially be "extremely destabilizing."

    He has said Jordan would intensify efforts to bridge any deficit to agency funding and to rally financial and political support for it.

    Gardiner Harris contributed reporting from Washington, Rick Gladstone from New York and Rana Sweis from Amman, Jordan.



    5) A 'Jane Austen for the Precariat' Adjusts to Success, at 27

    By Ellen Barry, August 31, 2018


    Sally Rooney says she wrote her first novel, "Conversations With Friends," to reach readers like herself, "people who share my ideology or have a similarly jaundiced view of social systems."

    DUBLIN — On the morning of Ireland's abortion referendum this May, the novelist Sally Rooney was sitting on an airplane, scrolling through her Twitter feed and crying. They were tears of anxiety. It was the most important day in her life, politically speaking, a vote she had wanted to cast since she was 15, and as far as she knew the country was split right down the middle. Too much hung in the balance.

    When she landed in Dublin, Ms. Rooney saw women handing out leaflets arguing for a repeal of the abortion ban and blurted out her thanks, "feeling very grateful to them, and feeling like they were my friends — but also realizing they were complete strangers, and that there was nothing really behind my immense emotional attachment to them in that moment."

    Ms. Rooney had plenty of experience as an outsider, at least in her ideas. Raised in conservative northwest Ireland, she identified as a Marxist by her teens, and in college specialized in opinions so fringe-left that they could alienate leftists: that men belong to a privileged class and it is reasonable for feminists to hate them; that prisons should be abolished, as should borders and privately held capital. On the day of the abortion referendum, she expected another reminder that she did not belong.

    As we now know, the result was a landslide vote to repeal the ban on most abortions, propelled by support among voters younger than 25. It meant that in Ireland, the past was past; new people were emerging. Ms. Rooney felt something unusual, that she was part of a coherent group of people who shared a set of ideas.

    "I felt incredibly happy to feel normal," she recalled. "It was like, 'Oh, this is amazing. I feel so at home, walking down the street, seeing people who probably agree with my opinion.'"

    Ms. Rooney, 27, has had that kind of year. Her first novel, "Conversations with Friends," published last spring, received rapturous reviews. Her second, "Normal People," published on Thursday, is on the longlist for the 2018 Man Booker Prize. Both are being adapted for film.

    Most notable, though, is her word-of-mouth success. Her voice has been greeted as something identifiably new: the arrival of millennial fiction. She has been called "the Jane Austen of the precariat," and compared to hipster luminaries like Greta Gerwig and Lena Dunham.

    Ireland voted in May to overturn a ban on most abortions. Ms. Rooney said she had wanted to cast that vote since she was 15.

    And it is true, her characters are people we haven't encountered much in print. They communicate through emails and instant messaging, but do not regard these as degraded forms: They do not just speak, but compose their remarks, like characters in an Oscar Wilde play. They are skeptical of the ability of markets to provide people with a decent life. They view human relationships — especially sex — as deeply political, worthy of unsparing and precise analysis, but do not seem to read the newspaper. Standing at the threshold of adult life, they halt, failing to see any reason to proceed.

    Ms. Rooney, who wrote "Conversations With Friends" while studying for a master's degree in American literature, expected to reach readers like herself, "people who share my ideology or have a similarly jaundiced view of social systems." Her mass-market success is clearly still a little disorienting. "Light and sparkling is the phrase that has been used," she said. "I can't complain if people think it's sparkling, but then there's a sense that wasn't what I set out to do."


    As a student in a Catholic high school a decade ago, Ms. Rooney was required to attend lectures by Pure in Heart, an organization that discouraged premarital sex. The presenters, having gathered a roomful of teenage girls, would ask for a volunteer to extend her arm and would display a length of clear adhesive tape, telling them that the tape signified them as virgins.

    "This is you when you decide to sleep with your boyfriend," they would say, attaching the tape to the girl's arm and peeling it off, now cloudy with skin cells. Then they would do the same thing multiple times, to signify multiple partners, so that the tape was clogged with dirty particles, and hold it up before the class, asking, "Would you want to marry this?"

    Ms. Rooney and her classmates sat there, smirking. "No piece of Cellotape strikes me as an adequate marital partner," she said. "We perceived them as bizarre." The abortion ban, she said, was more offensive: "It felt like a vestige of a culture that was not in tune with how people were living their lives."

    Ms. Rooney's fictional twentysomethings furnish a kind of response. In the Dublin circles she describes, the Roman Catholic Church barely figures. Relationships are everything. Sex is described with great care and detail. ("I could hear myself making a lot of noise, but only syllables, no real words. I closed my eyes. The inside of my body was hot like oil," says Frances, the narrator of "Conversations With Friends.") She writes attentively of pain, offering eye-watering descriptions of menstrual cramps caused by endometriosis.

    Ms. Rooney arrived at Trinity College, Ireland's most elite university, from Castlebar in County Mayo, where her father worked as a technician for the state-owned telecom company. Her parents were socialists; they so often repeated Marx's slogan "from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs," that as a child she took it to be "a religious quote, or maybe a parenting guideline." She found her tribe as a competitive debater — at 22, she was the top debater in Europe — and settled into what she would later describe as "an analytic way of living." She and her friend Aoife daydreamed about being "a brain in a jar," liberated from the encumbrance of a body.

    Her characters long for the analytic way, too, but are jolted out of it, again and again, often by sex. "I don't really believe in the idea of the individual," Ms. Rooney said. "I find myself consistently drawn to writing about intimacy, and the way we construct one another."

    They are battered, as well, by economic conditions. The 2008 financial crash, and its catastrophic effect on Ireland's young people, hangs like an invisible backdrop to all of Ms. Rooney's fiction. Her own friends, after receiving prestigious degrees, took retail jobs, or went on welfare, scrambling to pay exorbitant Dublin rents.

    "In my parents' generation, or even before that, people who are in their 30s or 40s, you'd go to college and it was easier to get a job in one of the big law firms, and you'll be set up — you'll be able to get a mortgage," said Ms. Rooney's partner, John Prasifka, 25, a high school math teacher. "Our generation is seeing that's not worked out for us."

    Earlier generations may have naturally shed their leftist beliefs as they lofted into the middle class, he added. But with their cohort, he said, it is difficult to see that happening.

    "I got all my Marxism from Sally," he said cheerfully.


    Last week, to avoid reading the wave of publicity that would accompany the release of "Normal People," Ms. Rooney deactivated her Twitter account.

    This was no small thing. For 10 years, Ms. Rooney has delighted in Twitter, trafficking in cerebral self-mockery ("♫ getting into lengthy Facebook wars about Greek debt / using words like "creditors" and "Eurogroup" in my actual free time / why ♫"); earnest declarations ("the Irish state has always been organized on the unpaid labor of women"); and too-cool-for-school banter ("this New Statesman piece from last year is so bad I laughed until I literally wept.") Ms. Rooney even gave her character Frances, in "Conversation With Friends," a "Twitter voice," which she described as "a tone of casual self-revelation that deprives others of the ability to criticize."

    But now a lot of what she reads on Twitter is about her, and she hates that. The attention is hard for her to bear. During an interview in Dublin, she worried aloud that novelists are over-glamorized, and said newspapers should write more profiles of nurses or bus drivers.

    "I can't help feeling that I am not a very important person, and being treated like one gives me strange feelings," she explained in an email. She lingered over the question of whether, in a world facing climate change and white nationalism, novels about intimate relationships — "small lives" — serve a political purpose. At some point, I realized I was no longer central to the conversation; she seemed to be interrogating herself.

    "You cannot write about what people are really like without making a political adjudication," she said. "All our ideas of what human nature consists of, or how people really feel and experience life are at their base political ideas." Then she paused, and gave a different answer. "I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything, and sometimes I feel, if I really believe this is the state the planet is in, why should I write novels? I must enjoy it."



    6)  Little Decline in Number of Children in Public Housing With High Lead Levels, Report Says, 

    By Luis Ferré-Sadurní, August 30, 2018


    Dr. Mary T. Bassett, center, the health commissioner, noted the correlation between the lack of inspections and steady rates of lead poisoning, but could not "attribute causality to it" because the sample size was too small.

    For more than a decade, New York City made steady progress in reducing the number of children living in public housing who have tested positive for lead, but that trend ended about the same time that the city's housing authority stopped inspecting its apartments for lead-paint hazards.

    That was one upshot of a report on lead poisoning released on Thursday by the city's Department of Health. Overall, the report showed the number of city children with elevated levels of lead in their blood had dropped to a record low of about 5,300.

    "The numbers I've seen, coming out with this report, show that exposure continues to decline," Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference. "We've got more work to do, but exposure continues to decline."

    Still, the report said the percentage of young children in public housing who tested positive for lead remained steady over the last few years, even as it continued to decline citywide.

    About 130 children in public housing younger than 6 tested positive for lead each year from 2015 to 2017, around the same time that the city's public housing authority stopped inspecting apartments for lead paint as was required under local and federal regulations.

    Dr. Mary T. Bassett, the health commissioner, noted the correlation between the lack of inspections and steady rates of lead poisoning, but could not "attribute causality to it" because the sample size was too small.

    The report marks the latest effort to confront a lead-paint controversy that engulfed the administration of Mr. de Blasio after it came to light that the city's public housing authority had failed to inspect for lead-paint hazards in its 176,000 apartments for at least five years.

    The city reached a legal settlement with federal prosecutors earlier this summer to appoint a federal monitor to oversee reforms at the New York City Housing Authority, also known as Nycha. Nycha is the nation's largest public housing system.

    The report comes about a month after it became known that the Department of Investigation had opened an inquiry into the Health Department's handling of lead-paint inspections in public housing.

    Nycha's failure to inspect its properties has raised questions about the number of children in housing developments that have tested positive for lead. City Hall has responded with months of shifting descriptions about the extent of the problem.

    Initially, city officials said only 19 children from housing projects were found to have elevated levels of lead in their blood. On Thursday, they said that since 2012, a total of 1,160 children under 18 living in public housing have been found to have elevated lead levels.

    In response, Mr. de Blasio said the city would expand its efforts and inspect every public housing apartment where lead paint might have been used, or about 130,000 apartments. The testing, which officials say will cost $80 million and will be carried out by private contractors, is expected to begin early next year, according to Jasmine Blake, a spokeswoman for the housing authority.

    "There have been a lot of numbers swirling around and people have been confused by these numbers," said Dr. Bassett, who is leaving on Friday for a position at Harvard. "We want to do our best to clarify the numbers today."

    Since 2010, the number of children that tested positive for lead has dropped 69 percent according to the latest report.

    The report said that 362,119 children were tested for lead poisoning citywide in 2017 and 1.5 percent were found to have lead levels at or above 5 micrograms per deciliter, the minimum amount for which the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that localities intervene. The overwhelming majority, 97 percent, lived in private housing.

    In fact, children living in public housing are tested for lead poisoning at higher rates than children living in private housing, Dr. Bassett said. About 88 percent of children living in Nycha apartments are tested by the time they are 3 years old, compared to 74 percent of children living in private housing, she said.

    Lead can cause devastating harm to children, including stunting their intellectual growth and affecting cardiovascular, hormone and immune systems.



    7) Serving Time Should Not Mean 'Prison Slavery'

    By  Erik Loomis, August 30, 2018


    Since Aug. 21, prisoners across the United States have been on one of the largest prison strikes the nation has seen in years. They have several demands, but at the top is the end of the forced labor the state coerces out of them. Up to 800,000 prisoners a day are put out for work without their choice, usually for extremely paltry compensation that in Louisiana is as low as 4 cents per hour. 

    With often privatized prisons operating with maximum security and limited communication among prisoners, even discovering what is happening remains difficult, yet prisoners have organized themselves nonetheless in one of the most important labor actions in this country. 

    The prison strike is a multiracial action, but that African-Americans make up a disproportionate number of the nation's prison population and its leadership of this movement is no accident. This strike is part of centuries' worth of labor actions to protest the compelled labor out of black bodies by a white-dominated society. We should not see the prison strike as an isolated event. It is instead the latest iteration of demands for freedom from forced labor that go back to slavery. 

    From the beginning of black chattel slavery in what became the United States, African-American workers have sought to take control over their lives and work. Sometimes this was through slave revolts such as Nat Turner's rebellion in 1831 Virginia. But more common was individual acts of resistance — running away, slowing down in the fields, stealing food from the master.

    During the Civil War, slaves freed themselves by walking to Union lines. What was a trickle in 1861 became a flood by 1864, as thousands of self-emancipated slaves followed Union soldiers. What the pioneering civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois called the "general strike" of slaves changed the outcome of the war, forcing a reluctant Lincoln administration to move toward the Emancipation Proclamation and then the 13th Amendment, all while slowing the Confederate war effort by undermining the labor force and thus the economy. Slaves could not have won the war by themselves, but their actions were crucial in deciding the war and creating its moral impact. 

    The Civil War may have ended chattel slavery, but the 13th Amendment had a fatal flaw, allowing for an exception from free labor for the incarcerated. Almost immediately, states, especially in the South, used this to control black labor. They began rounding up ex-slaves after the war, passing vagrancy laws that allowed the state to sell their labor. Congressional interference during Reconstruction briefly limited this practice, but by the late 19th century, white rule created a huge economic sector based upon unfree black labor, especially in the prison chain gangs at institutions such as Mississippi's notorious Parchman Farm, symbol of the Jim Crow era's murderous regime against black people, as well as in contract labor, where private employers worked black prisoners into the grave. Increasingly, prison authorities compelled labor out of nonblack prisoners as well.

    The civil rights movement challenged this prison regime, but by no means ended it. In Texas during the 1970s, segregated prison gangs worked under overseers picking cotton for no money. This was modern slavery. In 1978, 1,500 inmates at the Canfield Prison in Ellis, Tex., refused to work in support of a lawsuit (in part against unpaid prison labor) started by a civil rights activist imprisoned in 1972 for inciting a riot during a protest against a white-owned store. They started a prison strike, which spread through the state's prison system, gained nationwide attention and lasted for two weeks. 

    As during the current prison strike, the Texas prisoners had few illusions of immediate victories. But in 1980, the Texas prison labor system was ruled unconstitutional, and no longer would they pick cotton under overseers for no money. This was one victory in a centuries-long struggle; yet Texas has continued to exploit its prisoners for poorly paid work. 

    Just as the public attention of the 1978 strike contributed to that 1980 decision, so might the current prison strike create changes to the current system of prison labor exploitation. That can happen if we make changes to prison labor systems a central demand of our politicians. The strike will continue until Sept. 9, and it is up to us on the outside to make our voices heard in support of these workers.

    Too often, we treat prisoners at outcasts instead of fellow workers. Not only are they stripped of their constitutional rights, but even labor activists do not take their needs seriously as workers. Ending prison labor exploitation — what strike organizers call "prison slavery" — should be at the top of the agenda for the American labor movement, as it is the defining feature of work for the lives of huge swaths of the American working class. 

    Slavery still has never ended in the United States. It continues every day in our prisons. We must wash ourselves of this moral stain on our society and treat prisoners with the human rights that every person deserves.

    Erik Loomis, an associate professor of history at the University of Rhode Island, is the author of the forthcoming book A History of America in Ten Strikes.



    8) For Families Split at Border, an Anguished Wait for Children's Return

    By Kirk Semple and Miriam Jordan, September 1, 2018


    Byron Domingo's sister, Jessica, washing dishes at home in San Pedro Soloma, Guatemala, last month.

    SAN PEDRO SOLOMA, Guatemala — Pablo Domingo isn't getting much sleep these days. He barely eats and can't focus on work.

    His thoughts turn day and night to his 8-year-old son, Byron, whom he hasn't seen since May. That's when Mr. Domingo and the boy crossed into the United States illegally from Mexico. The immigration authorities detained and separated them — deporting the father to his home country of Guatemala and sending the boy to a shelter in Texas.

    Mr. Domingo, his wife, Fabiana, and their 12-year-old daughter want Byron back. And Byron wants to go home. Yet last week the boy began his fourth month in the shelter, a world away from his parents and sister, with no resolution in sight.

    "My boy is very small. He's very sad," Mr. Domingo said in an interview at the family's simple cement-block home here in the western highlands of Guatemala.

    "We can hug each other here," he continued, gesturing to his wife and daughter. "But my son is there alone. Who's going to hug him?"

    Most of the 3,000 or so families that were separated at the border under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy, which was meant to deter illegal immigration, have been reunited under a court order.

    But in more than 500 cases, children are still separated from their parents, including 22 under the age of 5. Their fate lies, to a large extent, in the hands of nonprofit groups that have stepped into the breach left by the government to do the hard work of finding and reconnecting families.

    More than 300 of these cases, like Byron's, affect children whose parents were deported without them. The majority of these families are from Guatemala, followed by Honduras, while a small number are from El Salvador and several other countries.

    Advocates have said in court that the American authorities forced or induced many parents to accept deportation and abandon their hopes of pursuing asylum on the promise of quick reunification with their children.

    But many parents who were deported without their children, like Mr. Domingo, have found that instead of speeding things up, leaving the United States has only delayed reunification. They often don't understand the cumbersome legal process in which their children are trapped, or know when they might be with them again — uncertainty that leaves them anguished.

    "It's been enough pain," Mr. Domingo said. "How much more does the government want us to suffer? It's too much."

    The American authorities decline to comment on individual cases involving minors.

    Last month, under orders from Judge Dana M. Sabraw of Federal District Court in Southern California, the government submitted a strategy to reunify children with parents who had been deported. Its details were ironed out in conference with the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a suit against the government over the separation policy.

    Under the plan, the government has designated officials in various departments to steer its efforts and is coordinating with Central American consular officials in the United States to prepare the children's travel documents. The government has also assumed financial responsibility for repatriating the children.

    But locating the parents in their countries of origin and identifying their children within the immigration bureaucracy is difficult. That burden has fallen to a coalition of American advocacy groups that have taken on the task in the hope of speeding up the process.

    "The A.C.L.U., private firms and N.G.O.s are largely doing what the government should be doing," said Lee Gelernt, the lead A.C.L.U. lawyer in the case. "Is that ideal for all of us? No. Is it necessary? Yes."

    The advocates have been trying to call parents to explain the opaque legal system and connect them with lawyers in the United States. But many of the parents are members of indigenous groups, do not speak Spanish as a first language and live in poor, rural areas of Central America with dubious telephone service.

    There is no working telephone number or contact number at all for 56 parents. To find them, advocacy groups have been deploying teams to the hinterlands of Guatemala, Honduras and elsewhere, sometimes driving to remote villages and going door to door with scant clues in hand.

    "The reality is that for every parent who is not located, there will be a permanent orphaned child, and that is 100 percent the responsibility of the administration," Judge Sabraw said in court last month.

    In consultation with the advocates, some parents have chosen to have their children repatriated as soon as possible. Others are seeking to have their children remain in the United States so they can pursue asylum claims.

    And some parents who feel they were deprived of the right to make an asylum claim hope to have the possibility of returning to the United States to make another attempt, which the Trump administration has indicated it would strongly oppose.

    To mothers like Maximina López Méndez, from the small mountain town of Cuilco, Guatemala, the delays in bringing parents and children back together appear to be part of a perverse plot by the Trump administration to punish them further.

    Ms. López said her 6-year-old son was separated from his father at the border in early May and sent to a children's shelter in Arizona. An immigration judge agreed to repatriate the boy in early July, she said, but he continues to languish in the shelter.

    Everything about the process is bewildering to her.

    "Why so long?" she asked. "It's a scar that will remain, that can't be cured with anything."

    She added: "I think he doesn't think I'm doing anything to help him."

    American government officials must not have children, she said. "How else could they not feel this pain of separating parents from their children?"

    Government officials and advocates said that red tape, including lining up travel documents, can delay a child's departure by more than a month. And sometimes social workers in shelters fail to complete the paperwork necessary to expedite release.

    According to the government plan filed last month, the children are now expected to be allowed to leave the country without going before a judge, which may speed things up.

    While many of the families caught up in the Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy said they were fleeing violence in their homeland, that was not the case for Mr. Domingo and his son Byron. Their motivation was economic.

    "We went to give our children a better future," said Mr. Domingo, who works as a laborer on construction sites making the equivalent of a few dollars per day. The family cooks by a wood-burning stove.

    Mr. Domingo and Byron left home in mid-May and, with the help of a smuggler, crossed the border into the United States a week later, immediately turning themselves in to Border Patrol agents.

    Mr. Domingo knew that for years, adults traveling with children generally had been detained for removal proceedings but then quickly released to await their day in court inside the United States. He anticipated the same treatment.

    But that practice changed with the zero-tolerance policy, which had been officially put into effect days before their arrival, and the father and son were separated.

    While in detention, Mr. Domingo said, he was made to sign some documents. They were in English and he did not know what they meant.

    Byron's clothes laid out on the bed he shared with his father. The family can do nothing but wait for his return.

    "They told me that the papers were so that he would be in my arms instantly," he recalled. "Well, they fooled me."

    He now thinks that with that signature, he agreed to be deported. Mr. Domingo was sent home on June 1.

    In July, Byron celebrated his 8th birthday in detention, without his family. The only contact the family has with the boy are brief video phone calls three times a week that are initiated by the boy's social worker in Texas.

    Otherwise, they can only wait in agonizing isolation.

    They don't know the name of the shelter where he is being held. They are not allowed to contact the social worker. They do not have phone numbers for anyone in the United States or Guatemalan governments who might be able to help.

    Mr. Domingo said he received a call in recent days from an American woman — possibly a lawyer, he said — who asked him questions about his son's situation and his own experiences. But he could not remember what organization she was from, did not clearly understand the purpose of the call, and had not spoken with her again.

    The call turned out to be from a lawyer working with Justice in Motion, a Brooklyn-based advocacy group helping to facilitate the reunifications, including getting Byron back to his family.

    The video calls from Byron arrive on WhatsApp, which requires a smartphone and a data plan. Mr. Domingo had neither and was forced to borrow money to pay for them. He had never used the internet before.

    During the calls, Mr. Domingo and his wife have had difficulty connecting emotionally with Byron, they said. He gives clipped answers to their questions and is constantly looking offscreen, as if keeping an eye on someone monitoring his conversations. Recently, he said the place where he was staying was "dangerous," but he did not elaborate.

    These fraught exchanges have left his parents feeling increasingly desperate and helpless. They have heard about the accusations of child abuse in a shelter in Arizona and imagine worse.

    "They are innocent children, and the president is truly punishing them too much," Mr. Domingo said of Mr. Trump. "He has done a lot of damage."

    Kirk Semple reported from San Pedro Soloma, and Miriam Jordan from Los Angeles.



    9) How Rising Inequality Has Widened the Justice Gap

    By Robert H. Frank, August 31, 2018


    Rising inequality has harmed low-income families not only by depriving them of a fair share of society's income growth, but also in a more specific way: It has stacked the legal system even more heavily against them.

    According to a recent survey, more than 70 percent of low-income American households had been involved in eviction cases, labor law cases, and other civil legal disputes during the preceding year, and in more than 80 percent of those cases they lacked effective legal representation.

    Indigent persons charged with crimes are entitled to state-sponsored lawyers, but here, too, funding shortages are widespread.

    The stakes in criminal proceedings are often enormous, but civil disputes often produce life-shattering outcomes as well.

    As Martha Bergmark, executive director of Voices for Civil Justice, an advocacy group, put it in an article published by ThinkProgress: "You can lose your children, you can lose your home, you can lose your livelihood without having legal help to get you through complicated legal proceedings."

    Solving this problem will require not only moral outrage, but also a clearer understanding of how market forces have contributed to it.

    Free-market enthusiasts celebrate Adam Smith's "invisible hand," which describes how markets harness self-interest to serve the broader interests of society. Yet Smith himself understood that greed alone wouldn't create a just community. He believed that markets could function adequately only in the context of an elaborate foundation of laws and ethical norms.

    But even the most carefully devised regulations aren't sufficient. They must also be enforced, which requires costly resources. Generally, we let families decide for themselves whether to incur the necessary expenses to engage in civil disputes. Yet many families simply cannot afford to pay for competent legal representation.

    That's why Congress created the Legal Services Corporation in 1974, a nonprofit whose mission is to support civil legal aid for low-income citizens. But the Legal Services Corporation was never adequately funded. And in the ensuing decades, rising income inequality has contributed both to a reduction in the supply of legal assistance to low-income families and an increase in the need for it.

    Rising inequality has reduced the supply of legal aid by kindling resistance to taxation. A sense of entitlement to income produced by the fruits of one's own labor has always existed, but in today's winner-take-all economy, those on top earn vastly more than before. And changes in campaign finance laws have enabled them to lobby successfully for lower tax rates, contributing to widening budget deficits.

    Those shortfalls help explain why the Legal Services Corporation, which received more than $860 million in 1981, received only $385 million in 2017(both in 2017 dollars).

    Rising inequality has increased the need for legal assistance by inflating the cost to low-income families of achieving other basic goals.

    In almost every modern society, for example, an important goal of parents is to send their children to good schools. But a "good school" is an inescapably relative concept — it is one that compares favorably with other schools in the local environment. And the best schools are almost invariably located in costlier neighborhoods.

    Higher spending on housing by top earners has shifted the frames of reference that shape spending by those just below them, and so on. Because of this expenditure cascade, the median new house in the United States is now 50 percent larger than in 1980, even though median income has grown little in the interim.

    The share of poor families' income spent on housing has thus risen sharply, and the inevitable struggle to keep pace has caused measurable increases in economic and social distress. In United States census data, for example, counties in which income inequality grew most rapidly also saw the biggest increases in bankruptcy filings, long commutes and divorce rates.

    Is this a matter of public concern? Most economists celebrate reliance on market rates of pay in the name of efficiency, but many go on to argue that they also promote a measure of fairness, rewarding those who work hard and invest in developing their skills. Well and good. Yet it is an overreach to claim that market-determined rates of pay are morally just.

    Many top earners are not only talented and hardworking, but they are also lucky to have grown up in privileged circumstances. And it is one thing to say that someone who is 10 percent more skillful should be paid 10 percent more. But in today's winner-take-all marketplace, those who are only 1 percent more talented often earn thousands of times more. These observations are difficult to square with anyone's conception of a just society.

    The good news is that we could relieve both revenue shortfalls and household budget distress — and provide more legal aid to the poor — without causing painful dislocations for the rich.

    Many people who could easily afford the tax increases necessary to pay for more generous social services currently resist that step because they believe it would make it harder for them to buy the special extras they want. But that belief is mistaken, because the standards that define special are elastic. When everyone spends less, those standards adjust accordingly.

    Much private spending is thus mutually offsetting, resembling across-the-board increases in weaponry in arms races that do not alter the balance of power. Because higher taxes don't affect relative purchasing power, they have little effect on people's ability to buy life's luxuries.

    The top 10 percent of households currently pay an average federal income tax rate of 21 percent. An increase of just one percentage point would raise revenue by more than $45 billion annually.

    We could simultaneously support the Legal Services Corporation and other social services more generously and inhibit the expenditure cascades that have made it more difficult to afford these services. And most reassuring to those whose taxes rose, the very same households as before would still be in the top 10 percent.

    It would be instructive to ask wealthy taxpayers who oppose this policy change to explain why.

    Robert H. Frank is an economics professor at the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University.
















































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