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Transform the Justice System







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

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!

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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:




Court: Evidence To Free Mumia, To Be Continued...
Rachel Wolkenstein, lawyer for Mumia, reports on the August 30th hearing, 2018
  _  _  _  _  _  _  _
District Attorney Larry Krasner Opposes Mumia Abu-Jamal's Petition for New Rights of Appeal – Despite Clear Evidence of Ronald Castille's Bias and Conflict of Interest When He Participated As a PA Supreme Court Justice Denying Abu-Jamal's Post-Conviction Appeals from 1998-2012
Next Court Date: October 29, 2018

September 1—Additional demands for discovery made by Mumia's lawyers at the August 30 court proceeding led to Judge Tucker granting a 60-day continuance. The new date for oral argument that Mumia's appeal denial should be vacated and new appeal rights granted is now scheduled for October 29, 2018.  

Two weeks ago, Mumia's lawyers were told by the DA's office that they discovered close to 200 boxes of capital case files that had not been reviewed. A half-dozen were still not found. Last Monday, just days before the scheduled final arguments, a May 25, 1988 letter from DA Castille's office to PA State Senator Fisher (a virulent proponent of expediting executions) naming Mumia Abu-Jamal and 8 other capital defendants was turned over to the defense. 

Krasner's assistant DA Tracey Kavanaugh said the letter was meaningless and opposed the postponement, insisting there is no evidence that Castille had anything to do with Mumia's appeals. Mumia's lawyers argued that finding the background to this communication would likely support their central argument that DA Ronald Castille actively and personally was developing policy to speed up executions, and that he was particularly focused on convicted "police killers." Mumia Abu-Jamal was unquestionably the capital prisoner who was most zealously targeted for execution by the Fraternal Order of Police. 

Judge Tucker agreed with Mumia's lawyers that a search is needed to establish whether Castille was personally involved in this communication. Additional discovery was ordered with Judge Tucker's rhetorical question, "What else hasn't been disclosed?" But the Judge narrowed the required search to particulars around the May 25, 1988 letter.

Not brought out in court is the fact that Mumia's appeal of his trial conviction and death sentence was still pending in May 1988. The PA Supreme Court didn't issue its denial of this first appeal of Mumia until March 1989. This makes any reference of Mumia's case as a subject of an execution warrant highly suspect and extraordinary, because his death sentence was not "final" unless and until the PA Supreme Court affirmed. [The lawyers have not publicly released a copy of the May 25, 1988 letter, so analysis is limited.]

Mumia's lawyers said they would discuss discovery issues with the prosecution and might file a further amended petition with the intention of proceeding to oral argument on the next court date, October 29. 

On Judge Tucker—He is the chief administrative judge overseeing post-conviction proceedings. On August 30 and previously on April 30 opened his courtroom early to for Maureen Faulkner and the Fraternal Order of Police to occupy half of the small courtroom. Not surprising, no consideration was given to Mumia's family including his brother Keith Cook, international supporters from France and the dozens of other supporters who had lined up before 8AM to get into the courtroom. Even press reps suggested that the press be given seats in the jury box to open up space for even lawyers working with Mumia. Even that small consideration was rejected by Judge Tucker.

A more in-depth piece on DA Larry Krasner's opposition to Mumia's petition will be sent out soon. In the meantime, go to: www.RachelWolkenstein.net.

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.



Join us this Friday, Sept. 7th as we rally against the last Urban Shield to take place!

As we celebrate our victory over Urban Shield and bid farewell to the largest militarized SWAT training in the world, we will be uplifting community demands to build up community-based emergency preparedness and disaster response that are not based on policing and militarization. To that end, our rally on Friday is packed with local and international leaders who will be speaking about their first hand experience in responding to disasters, resisting militarization, and how these issues overlap. Speakers include:
  • Pablo Paredes, Boricuas in Berkeley - speaking about the impacts of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico, the state's militarized response, and how community members organized effective disaster response
  • Joye Braun, Indigenous Environmental Network - speaking to the militarized crackdown of water protectors at Standing Rock and people's resistance
  • Yara Herrero de Freitas, Movement of People Affected by Dams - speaking to the community organizing and opposition to dam construction in Brazil
  • Lara Kiswani, Arab Resource and Organizing Center - speaking to the Stop Urban Shield Coalition's work and victory ending Urban Shield
  • And more!
Friday, September 7th
From 4pm to 6pm
Facebook Event Page
Alameda County Sheriff's Office
1401 Lakeside Dr.
Oakland, CA 94612
More info:
Earlier this year, communities in the Bay Area achieved a huge victory by ending Urban Shield after a prolonged grassroots campaign. With 2018 as its last year – we want to amplify our victory and defend our gains in fighting police militarization! On September 7th, coinciding with the Peoples Climate Movement - Bay Area mobilization, we will be rallying against the Alameda County Sheriff's Office hosting the final Urban Shield militarized war games and weapons expo. While the Sheriff's Office and law enforcement officials continue to justify the need for militarized policing programs by citing a need to respond to emergency situations and disasters, we know that true emergency preparedness comes from building up community strength, response, and resilience.

From the recent natural disasters in Puerto Rico, Sonoma County California, and Texas, to crises in Haiti, New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, and the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland, we have seen how militarized police responses only contribute to the violence and chaos that people face in these situations. During these disasters, we have seen how it is neighbors and community members themselves that are the most effective first responders. In defeating Urban Shield, we seek to uplift community based models of preparedness and response over policing and militarization.
Join us for a rally and mobilization featuring cultural artists, powerful speakers, and disaster survivors as we draw the connection between militarism and climate change, and demand real community based preparedness and responses to natural and man-made disasters that do not rely on militarization.



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."






presidio 27
Presidio 27 "Mutiny" 50 years later
Podcast with Keith Mather
During the Vietnam War era, the Presidio Stockade was a military prison notorious for its poor conditions and overcrowding with many troops imprisoned for refusing to fight in the Vietnam War. When Richard Bunch, a mentally disturbed prisoner, was shot and killed on October 11th, 1968, Presidio inmates began organizing. Three days later, 27 Stockade prisoners broke formation and walked over to a corner of the lawn, where they read a list of grievances about their prison conditions and the larger war effort and sang "We Shall Overcome." The prisoners were charged and tried for "mutiny," and several got 14 to 16 years of confinement. Meanwhile, disillusionment about the Vietnam War continued to grow inside and outside of the military.
"This was for real. We laid it down, and the response by the commanding general changed our lives," recalls Keith Mather, Presidio "mutineer" who escaped to Canada before his trial came up and lived there for 11 years, only to be arrested upon his return to the United States. Mather is currently a member of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of Veterans for Peace. Listen to the Courage to Resist podcast with Keith.

50th anniversary events at the former Presidio Army Base
October 13th & 14th, 2018
Saturday, October 13, 7 to 9 pm
Presidio Officers' Club
50 Moraga Ave, San Francisco
Featuring panelists: David Cortright (peace scholar), Brendan Sullivan (attorney for mutineers), Randy Rowland (mutiny participant), Keith Mather (mutiny participant), and Jeff Paterson (Courage to Resist).
Sunday, October 14, 1 to 3 pm
Fort Scott Stockade
1213 Ralston (near Storey), San Francisco
The events are sponsored by the Presidio Land Trust in collaboration with Veterans For Peace Chapter 69-San Francisco with support from Courage to Resist.

484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559
www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist


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


    1) Man Who Wrongfully Spent 17 Years in Prison in 'Doppelgänger Case' Seeks $1.1 Million
    By Christine Hauser, August 30, 2018
    Richard A. Jones, left, and Ricky Amos.

    Nearly two decades ago, Richard A. Jones was convicted of aggravated robbery after being picked out of a lineup by witnesses who said he stole a cellphone in a Walmart parking lot in Kansas.
    But while Mr. Jones, who maintains he is innocent, was serving his 19-year sentence at Lansing Correctional Facility, inmates told him he looked like a prisoner named Ricky.
    That resemblance would eventually lead to his freedom.
    Last year, a judge threw out Mr. Jones's conviction after the original witnesses were shown side-by-side photographs of the two men and said they could not tell them apart. Now Mr. Jones, 42, is trying to get his life back on track.
    On Wednesday, he filed a petition in the 10th Judicial District Court of Kansas, seeking more than $1.1 million in compensation from the state — or about $65,000 for each year of the 17 years he spent in prison for a robbery he said he did not commit, starting when he was 25 years old and a father of two young daughters.

    He is also seeking help with tuition, housing and counseling.
    "It took a big chunk of my life that I can never get back," Mr. Jones said in an interview on Thursday. "I am just trying to get stable in my everyday life. I am still transitioning."
    His daughters are now 24 and 19, he said, and he is a grandfather.
    "At that time I was pretty much trying to be responsible as a father," he said. "I was not perfect, but I was a big part of their lives, and when I got incarcerated it was hard for me because I was used to being around for my kids."
    "It was a hard pill to swallow," Mr. Jones said.
    Richard Ainsworth, Mr. Jones's lawyer, said Thursday that they were hoping for a certificate of innocence and for compensation so he could "finally move forward with his life after spending over 17 years in prison for a crime he did not commit."
    "This compensation is relatively small given the unfathomable hardship of 17 years of wrongful imprisonment," the petition says.
    The petition, reported by The Kansas City Star on Wednesday, is the latest twist in what has been described as the "doppelgänger case," which is set out in court documents that trace the nearly two decades of Mr. Jones's ordeal of arrest, conviction, imprisonment and, finally, freedom.

    Mr. Jones's case highlights the flaws in convictions based on eyewitness identification, which is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions in the United States. Eyewitness identifications play a role in more than 75 percent of convictions overturned through DNA testing, according to the Midwest Innocence Project, which helped him win release.
    In Mr. Jones's case, there was no physical evidence placing him at the scene in the Roeland Park parking lot on May 31, 1999, according to the petition. That day, he was at his home in Kansas City, Mo., cleaning up after a party with his girlfriend and her sisters, the petition said.
    But in Roeland Park, across the state border, at 8 p.m. the same day, a man tried to grab a woman's handbag as she got out of her car. She resisted but he escaped with her phone, and she saw the back of his head, she told a detective.
    Two other people saw the attack, but the three descriptions ranged from a light-skinned black man to a dark-skinned Hispanic to a tanned white man, the petition said.
    The getaway car was traced to a man who said he and friends were in search of money for drugs and picked up a man they barely knew as "Rick." He was shown hundreds of photographs in a database of men with similar names and features, according to the petition, and erroneously chose Mr. Jones as the one he had driven to the parking lot robbery.
    Mr. Jones was arrested in April 2000, the petition said. In a lineup, his photograph was the only one among the six images to be that of a light-skinned man.
    "Witnesses were presented with no other option but to choose Jones in the lineups as created," said Alice Craig, one of the lawyers and researchers at the University of Kansas School of Law's Project for Innocence who helped win his release.

    "None of the other photos matched the description provided by the witnesses," she said in a statement after he was released from prison in June 2017.
    During a jury trial, the witnesses, seeing Mr. Jones in person, said they were not sure whether he was the attacker, the petition said. But Mr. Jones was convicted and sent to prison in 2000.
    In prison, he was told about Ricky Amos when inmates started confusing the two. "I took it with a grain of salt," Mr. Jones said Thursday.
    But an idea started brewing that he thought could help him, once again, assert his innocence. "I knew it was, at that time, it was my only shot," he said. "I could not lose. I had to throw it out there."
    Mr. Jones sought the help of the Project for Innocence, and Mr. Amos's photograph was tracked down, the project said.
    "They looked like they could have been twins," Chapman Williams, a former intern who had worked on the case at the Project for Innocence, said in 2017. "From there, other pieces of the puzzle began fitting together."
    Mr. Amos's address was identified as the place where the getaway car had stopped to pick up "Rick," the petition said. A spokesman for the Johnson County district attorney did not immediately return a call about Mr. Amos and the status of the robbery case.

    Mr. Jones filed a motion for postconviction relief, the petition said, and Judge Kevin Moriarty held a hearing last year. Two of the witnesses recanted their identifications.
    Judge Moriarty concluded that the court "has no doubt that a jury would not be able to reach a determination that this defendant was guilty, and this court does not believe any reasonable jury could have made such a decision in this case."
    On June 7, 2017, Mr. Jones walked free.
    "I just want my name to be clear," he said.


    2) Every Generation Gets the Beach Villain It Deserves
    By Nellie Bowles, August 30, 2018
    Martin's Beach. Vinod Khosla bought the land nearby on what he says was a whim, has never spent a single night there, and regrets it enormously.

    It sounds simple. For nearly a decade, the venture capitalist Vinod Khosla has been fighting in court to keep the public off a piece of beach that abuts his property on the Pacific coast. What could be more familiar than another case of rich Californian versus the oceangoing citizenry?
    But the first thing you need to understand about this absurd war is that it didn't begin with Mr. Khosla buying a beach house. Just south of Half Moon Bay, Mr. Khosla bought an entire beach village — forming a limited liability company that owned the land beneath about 47 cottages, and a little shop that at one point sold ice cream, and the only viable path to the sand.
    The next things to understand are that he bought the place on what he says was a whim, has never spent a single night there, and regrets it enormously.
    And the last thing — given that the case has wound itself to the Supreme Court, and could upend one of California's most sacred promises to its citizens — is that Mr. Khosla is willing to keep litigating this for the rest of his life and has about $3 billion to spend on it.

    Over the years, successive California titans have come up against the vexing fact that the beach cannot be privatized. The State Constitution establishes that property below the mean tide line belongs to the public, and the Coastal Act of 1976 enshrines this, mandating that public access be maximized consistent with (and here is the tricky part) "constitutionally protected rights of private property owners." Mr. Khosla, through his L.L.C., is being sued by a nonprofit called the Surfrider Foundation over the matter of whether a permit is needed to block the road, and the thrust of his defense is that his property rights are being violated.
    If every generation in California gets the beach villain it deserves — if the producer David Geffen's battle in Malibu at the turn of the century epitomized the last, Hollywood-based era of wealth creation — then Mr. Khosla is the sandy antagonist of the digital age.
    Mr. Geffen, humiliated in the press and shamed by his community, eventually gave up his fight. But Mr. Khosla, who by cofounding Sun Microsystems cemented his place in history as an inventor of the commercial internet, seems immune to criticism. Almost since the day in 2008 that he bought the 53-acre hillside known as Martin's Beach, he has been in court, enduring attacks from multiple parties and crashing through obstacles using every legal tool available. He is driven by an almost manic belief that things must be done right and must be done fair. And somewhere along the line, the State of California triggered him.
    Now, by dint of his character, which ticks all the major boxes of the venture capitalist archetype — aggressive, shameless, obsessive and optimistic — Mr. Khosla could disrupt the entire California coastal system. The stakes are both enormous and hilariously low.
    If he wins, he could reshape the laws that govern 1,100 miles of shore. And if he loses, all he would be forced to do is apply for a permit to change the hours of operation on a single gate. The legal volleys would undoubtedly continue; Californians do not easily give up a good surf spot. But the last person against whom to wage a war of attrition is Vinod Khosla.

    'If This Hadn't Ever Started, I'd Be So Happy'

    The tea awaits Mr. Khosla on a bright purple leather coaster. The glass walls of the conference room at Khosla Ventures, his investment firm, are the same shade. The banister too, the sofa downstairs, a hose cord outside, all that exact purple.
    Mr. Khosla is on time. He's 63 years old and thin, with close-cropped white hair, and when he pops into his chair he has no interest in small talk. We already know each other. Mr. Khosla is loath to give interviews about Martin's Beach, and it is certainly not in his best interest to do so, given that I've told him for years that he's making a fool of himself with this beach, a place he doesn't even like, and that his quest offends me, a native Californian.

    But now Mr. Khosla wants to tell his side. He wants me to know that he is right. And where some shy from conflict, Mr. Khosla seeks it, almost destructively. So he invited me to his purple lair.
    "A billionaire is a bad word in this country now," he says, as his tea cools. "And that pains me."
    Mr. Khosla has no public relations team, no one sitting in the corner eyeing us — and in Silicon Valley, there always is. Bad publicity, he says, cannot compel him to do anything he does not want to do.
    He's wearing black jeans and white-soled slip-on walking shoes. He keeps his body open, friendly, leaning forward, sometimes swaying a bit. He holds long eye contact even as he's moving. He hops out of his chair frequently. Sometimes he feigns ignorance of what all the fuss is about.
    "I've never claimed people can't come in from the ocean," he says, seeming to suggest they swim around a rocky promontory. ("No, not death," he says, when I call later to clarify. "Boats.")

    Mr. Khosla says he does not even want to triumph. "If I were to ever win in the Supreme Court, I'd be depressed about it," he says. "I support the Coastal Act; I don't want to weaken it by winning. But property rights are even more important."
    He does not want the beach at all, really. He does not swim. For fun, he hikes.
    "I mean, look, to be honest, I do wish I'd never bought the property," Mr. Khosla says. "In the end, I'm going to end up selling it."
    "If this hadn't ever started, I'd be so happy," he adds. "But once you're there in principle, you can't give up principle." He frames the struggle in the Silicon Valley patois of contrarianism. "I'd rather do the right hard things now that I'm in," he says, "than the wrong easy things."

    An Old-School Agitator

    Early in his career, with Sun and then Juniper Networks, Mr. Khosla helped build the foundation of personal computing and global connectivity. But in more recent years, he has fashioned a new image as Silicon Valley's agitator.
    He doesn't golf with the other venture capitalists. He doesn't go to the Rosewood, their luxury hotel watering hole. He says food slows him down, so most days he fasts till dinner. His version of the inspirational Stanford Business School talk was to tell a class of 400 people that fewer than 5 percent of them were going to do relevant things in the end. He has said repeatedly that most venture capitalists are harmful to companies.
    "This is why I get unpopular with other V.C.s," he says. "Because I tell them they're not adding any value."
    Mr. Khosla's bluntness makes it difficult to find people who take his side of the Martin's Beach battle. Bring his name up around Sand Hill Road, the nexus of venture capital in Menlo Park, Calif., and people grimace. Email the friends he suggested you email, and the responses vary.

    "Vinod is deeply principled, and therefore sometimes difficult to work with," Jack Dorsey, the chief executive of Twitter and Square, wrote in an email. Mr. Khosla has been a mentor and adviser on both companies and is a frequent dining companion. (Mr. Dorsey also fasts until dinner.) "But that comes from a place of putting what he cares about above all else."
    Mr. Khosla advocates truth-telling at every juncture, even if it is painful. He calls the book "Lying," by Sam Harris, his philosophy for life. When he started Khosla Ventures in 2004, he put the phrase "I prefer brutal honesty to hypocritical politeness" on the website, and it has always been there. As an example, he brings up thank-you notes and how he instructs his longtime assistant, Ruthie, to handle them.
    "When somebody sends me a gift — I get a lot of gifts — I ask Ruthie to not say, 'That was wonderful,'" he says. "If it wasn't, I have her send a nice note back saying, 'Thank you, that was very interesting.'"
    Mr. Khosla is obsessed with things being just right. He designed the penholder in one of Khosla Ventures' conference rooms. He designed the door handles. He built the table. "We went through 12 manufacturing processes, and this was a vertical machine wire brush of Douglas fir," he says, rubbing his hands on it.
    The grass outside is fescue, and he chose it. There are flowers, and he picked every bulb. Mr. Khosla selected the species of bamboo that grows between them, and he designed the paper towel dispenser in the bathrooms.
    Shortly after he points out to me that there are no visible light switches in the building, we climb a set of stairs to the roof, and he jolts when he sees what looks like one of the accursed toggles. But the switch is just to open the glass ceiling, and we ascend to the prairie grass on the roof. (Fescue, thank god.)
    This obsessiveness actually works within Silicon Valley, where there is a culture of peculiar perfectionism. When the technology executive Keith Rabois took a job as one of Mr. Khosla's partners, he says, he did so in large part because of the whiteboards.

    "I walked in when I was interviewing, and I was like, 'Oh, my god, I'm in love,'" Mr. Rabois recalled. "I've tried to put whiteboards in offices for years, and they always don't clean properly. But in our office, the whiteboards are immaculate. That alone makes me happy. And I knew I could work there every day."
    The "beach issue," as it is called internally at Khosla Ventures, has surprisingly not been a problem in the office. "It's an incredible negotiating tool for me," said Samir Kaul, another partner at Khosla Ventures.
    When a company was trying to "screw" the firm, Mr. Kaul brought up news articles about the beach at a meeting. "I said: 'My boss is going to the Supreme Court for a beach he's never gone to. We're not posturing here. This guy's not going to settle,'" Mr. Kaul said. "And then I just sat there."

    'It's Really, Like, Wow'

    Mr. Khosla's legal team now includes Paul Clement, the former United States solicitor general, who since 2000 has appeared before the Supreme Court in more cases than any other lawyer.
    His skills are being applied to a dispute that began with the most minor of directives. After buying Martin's Beach, Mr. Khosla was told by the county that he had to either (a) keep open a road that the public used to get to the beach, and not charge more than the 1972-era rate of $2 a car for parking, or (b) apply for a Coastal Development Permit to change access. He chose (c) neither, and was sued by his fellow citizens.
    Mr. Khosla went on to sue the California Coastal Commission as an entity and its officers in their personal capacity. He sued the State Lands Commission and San Mateo County, and, again, its officers. He alleged extortion and infringement of his rights. In his view, the government was forcing him to operate a money-losing parking business. In one legal maneuver, he traced the property back to the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo between the United States and Mexico, claiming it supersedes the Coastal Act.

    Mr. Khosla won, and for a time closed the gate across the beach road. California's Legislature and governor stepped in to reopen the beach by passing and signing into law legislation to thwart Mr. Khosla. This move required purchasing an easement from him; the State Lands Commission estimated the cost at $360,000, but Mr. Khosla estimated at one point that his loss of privacy was worth at least $30 million. The parties remain at an impasse, and in June, California passed a budget that included language about using eminent domain to take the road if Mr. Khosla does not agree to a price.

    After a decade's worth of billable hours, those in legal combat with Mr. Khosla are somewhat awed by his determination.
    "All he had to do was apply for a permit to change the gate hours," said Angela Howe, the legal director at the Surfrider Foundation, a nonprofit that advocates beach access causes and is Mr. Khosla's primary antagonist. "It's really, like, wow," she said. "Now, if the Supreme Court takes it up, it could rule about every coastal management program in the United States."
    The low point in the conflict was probably in 2012. Mr. Khosla hired guards to stand by the beach access road near a "Do Not Enter" sign, and the police arrested some surfers who hopped over the closed gate. Here was this peculiar billionaire. There were the charismatic surfers. Arrested, they became The Martin's Five. (The charges against them were ultimately dropped.)
    Mr. Kaul said that the forces arranged against his colleague simply do not comprehend how much flak he will absorb in his quest to win.

    "Here's the thing about Vinod," Mr. Kaul said. "He just doesn't care."

    'You Could Say He's Principled'

    Mr. Khosla was born in Pune, India, in 1955 and grew up the middle-class son of an army officer. He says his parents accepted his personality early on, though they also learned he could be a liability.
    "The priests would effectively say, 'If you donate this much money, God will bless you.' How crooked is that? If I ran into a priest, I'd say, 'Oh, you're a crook,'" Mr. Khosla says, recalling being 12 years old.
    After a master's degree in biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and an M.B.A. at Stanford Graduate School of Business, he founded the electronic design company Daisy Systems and then, in 1982, Sun Microsystems. The company sold servers and workstations and created Java, the programming language that formed the foundation for much of today's internet. Later, Mr. Khosla nurtured the creation of Juniper Networks, which built the routers and switches upon which the internet flourished.
    He became a hero of the political left last decade after investing early and heavily in clean technology, and by funding efforts in biofuel, energy storage and solar. Some of his bets succeeded; others failed spectacularly. He has continued to support and invest in eco-friendly start-ups.
    His life plan now is to "reinvent societal infrastructure." He's recently gotten interested in the Yimby movement, a pro-real estate development cause that stands for "yes in my backyard." Mr. Khosla wants to 3D-print houses for the homeless to be installed above parking lots. He sketches this for me on one of the perfect whiteboards.
    He wants people to think bigger, he says. Meanwhile, at Martin's Beach, he is pursuing a scorched-earth campaign around whether a gate needs a permit. In February, Mr. Khosla petitioned the Supreme Court to rule on his case, citing the First Amendment and also the Fifth (the takings clause) and 14th (his right to due process). The justices are now deciding whether to hear the case.
    One recent cold summer Sunday, the rusty gate stood open. A few yards down, someone was collecting $10 from incoming cars. The cottages of Martin's Beach have windows that are thick with salt from the air; some of the houses are small and modest, with peeling paint, and others are more fixed up. The decks were full of barbecues, wicker furniture and driftwood art.

    David Pasternak, 66, was at home making smoked salmon. "If the Supreme Court wants to take the case, they want to go after the California Coastal Act," said Mr. Pasternak, whose family bought the cabin in 1960. "And that's a very serious thing."
    He took a sip of pour-over coffee. "What prompted California to pass the Coastal Act was so we didn't end up like the East Coast — miles and miles without access to the water," he said. "We live in a different country here."
    On some level, Mr. Pasternak admires Mr. Khosla's conviction.
    "He's become the caricature of the rich guy trying to keep people out, and that gives the Coastal Commission a lot of pleasure," Mr. Pasternak said. But, he added, "I don't think he's doing this for money. I really don't think he's doing this out of greed."
    "All they said was he has to apply for a permit, and he says, '[Expletive] you, I'm not going to apply at all,'" Mr. Pasternak said. "It's kind of — I mean, he's awfully sure of himself. You could say he's principled."
    Part of Mr. Khosla's original argument was that Martin's Beach was seldom used. The spot has become more popular as the case has gotten publicity, but on some days it resembles a ghost town. On a recent visit, the shop was long abandoned, with a rusty door handle that barely sat in its socket.
    Mr. Pasternak occasionally gets a knock at his door from beachgoers asking to use the bathroom. The one down at the beach collapsed in a storm. Mr. Khosla was ordered to open the gate, but no one said anything about running water.

    A Legacy, Large and Small

    Mr. Khosla knows that Martin's Beach has now become part of his legacy — a thing that could make the first paragraph or two of his obituary, up there with helping to birth the internet — but this does not make him want to yield. I ask him why he lets a patch of sand take so much of his day.

    "It doesn't, and I don't spend any time on it," he says. "Like, I've spent zero time on it, and I'm not doing press interviews."
    And yet I'm across from him. He begins a diatribe about reporters, something I've heard from him before. "My critique of The New York Times is it's all the news we want to print, fit or not. And. …" This goes on.
    Later, Mr. Khosla emails me. He wants to summarize what is important to him. It's 2,500 words. I am surprised that so much of it is about his failures.
    "I feel I could do the right thing much more caringly and with humility in a much more considerate tone if I could do it over again," he writes. Well — to an extent. This is Vinod Khosla, after all. "I'd still mostly do the same thing."


    3) Under lock and key: I was thrown in solitary and punished for following the warden's orders
    by Jason Renard Walker
    I have limited space, limited time, and am under heavy scrutiny, so I'll get straight to the point. On August 13, 2018, at 10:00 am, the pod officer, Ms Rangel, had me sent to the "front desk" of my 3-building housing location. Officer Ford-Keith told me some visitors were waiting for me in the administration building, "1 building". She wrote me a pass to go. 
    Upon arrival, I was greeted by Captain Gooden; the same captain who was supposed to investigate Lt Estrada and Sgt Gilstrap's role in conspiring to chill my writings via threats of physical harm and disciplinary cases. Instead, he allowed their supervisor to take over and botch my claim. 
    I was put in a room where I met a tall, skinny white male in street clothes and a heavyset black male who pretended to sleep the entire time, but was actually reading my body language. The white male introduced himself as "Sergeant Rodgers from Region 2". He never said who the black guy was.
    They were supposedly there to reinvestigate an ombudsman complaint filed by a Sidney Altonhoff, concerning an article I wrote about prisoners being denied respite areas during heat distress. 
    Apparently, Gooden conducted the initial investigation, but never informed me what the entire ombudsman complaint was based on. And his remedy to solve my issue was sending me to live in the dorms or "two other things" if the unit received another ombudsman complaint on my behalf. The droms actually have hotter living conditions than the buildings. My anecdotal support for the article in question was drawn from a heat stroke incident there. Gooden encouraged me to write him a letter instead of writing a grievance or using the ombudsman. He claimed that route was faster and more effective, but I see it as him trying to keep things off record and away from public scrutiny. Plus, in past investigations, the outcome was the complete opposite. 
    Rodgers admitted that, a month prior, he did a heat audit and found that the prison was in compliance, e.g. the water cooler had ice in it, the fans worked, etc. But I note that these audits were rehearsed by Gooden, who I remember coming to the pod around a month ago, looking in the cooler then walking out. I believe he passed the info to Rodgers. 
    For the record, around July 10 2018, I attempted to mail out the original copy of the article on denied access to respite areas, but the Security Threat Group (STG) confiscated it from the mailroom, claiming it was gang-related material. To prevent me from knowing that particular article was denied, and to delay me sending out another article, the mailroom supervisor, Ms Arnold, claimed incoming mail from an individual was denied because it contained a letter discussing gang stuff. She even had the denial form filled out stating that the letter was incoming mail. She claimed to have read the letter. 
    I spoke to the other mailroom clerk, who told me to appeal it because it was really an article I wrote being sent to the individual talking about heat strokes. I confronted Arnold about this, she claimed she made a mistake. Under pressure, Arnold admitted that the STG office sent her a memo, telling her to deny the article because the words [this section is censored, but from context elsewhere it seems very likely that the censored words are "black panther"] were restricted content.
    But what this delay did was give the prison the heads-up on the basis of my claim, which they took advantage of by making a few adjustments, then staging a heat audit to offset the ombudsman complaints that routinely pour in following my published exposés. This same type of denial was previously overturned on appeal in a similar incident, so it seems likely the censorship of the heat article will be overturned as well. Arnold told me that no matter how many times the DRC uphold my appeals, as long as my articles or their titles contain the same words, they will be denied. 
    Rodgers said he would investigate my allegations of being denied respite. 
    Around 11:40am, me and other prisoners were lined up in front of the law library, waiting for the session to start. Out of nowhere, Lieutenant Ricks, a control freak who is a mirror image of Grace Jones in the movie Mad Max, ordered us to stand on the sidewalk that blocked the protective custody prisoners from coming back from eating. 
    The warden and the major told us if we ever get caught standing there, we would be written "out of place" cases and sent home. They also said that the heat was another reason for us not to be there. The place he told us to stand is in a shaded area, has a constant breeze generated from the roof blocking the sun, and every time the education building is opened, fresh air-conditioned wind blows on us, and we aren't obstructing any traffic flow. And we stay cool. 
    I explained this to Ricks, who said she didn't care about any orders but her own. I asked her if I could use the education building as a respite area, since standing out in the open exposed me to the humidity, and at the time the air wasn't blowing, so it was humid even in the safe zone. I was told that the only thing I would get was "handcuffs, gas and a beatdown" if I didn't comply. 
    Even though the warden told us to contact him if this situation occurred, this request was denied as well. The law library staff, Officer Smith, Officer Nation, Officer Doddy and their supervisor, Wells, are aware of this order, and have previously run off captains who tried what Ricks tried. For one reason or another, they feared confronting Ricks. 
    I explained the respite policy to Ricks, but she didn't care. She stated "I don't give a fuck about a policy, you in the penitentiary, dumbass." I asked her to call her supervisor, but instead she called several lower-ranking staff with a camera and a lieutenant. "Now you getting handcuffed, gassed and beatdown, watch," she said with a devilish grin. 
    I agreed to stand in the open, but she told me it was too late and that I would be beat into compliance. At this point, Officer Doddy came out of the building to see what was going on. She'd forced the witnessing prisoners to stand far away and face in the other direction so they couldn't see or hear. I knew something was wrong, because she used unusual codes over her radio and never stated the actual problem. I believe this alerted certain individuals. 
    Before the camera turned on, I heard the black sergeant tell the other that, when I attempted to put my hands behind my back, to pull me and he would gas me. I believe this was when the "beatdown" would occur. I remained silent and didn't move until my arm was grabbed and handcuffed. 
    Moments before I was handcuffed, the black sergeant pulled out a can of gas and pointed it in my face, and right as he was about to pull the trigger, the white lieutenant told him not to gas me. 
    On my way to lock-up, Ricks took my mesh bag containing my law library materials, and when it was returned, an entire manilla envelope was gone. 
    I received a disciplinary case for refusing to obey an order (refusing to be handcuffed and beaten) and creating a disturbance (requesting respite and refusing to disobey the warden's order). 
    This prevents me from qualifying for parole in June 2019, and it has ultimately resulted in making it harder for me to litigate, as I'm constantly having things taken. 
    At this time, I'm only allowed to have hygiene items, and if it wasn't for another prisoner smuggling me an envelope and a stamp, I wouldn't have been able to send this out as fast as I did. Please flood the warden's office and the Ombudsman with complaints. This is what they fear and it's starting to have some effect.

    Jason Renard Walker #1532092
    Telford Unit
    3899 Hwy 98
    New Boston, TX 75570

    [typist's note: you can contact the TDCJ Ombudsman at ombudsman@tdcj.texas.gov, as well as the Telford Unit's management at 903-628-3171 and garth.parker@tdcj.texas.gov ]

    4) Writing the Unions' 'Fight-or-Die Survival Chapter'
    The growing labor militancy making headlines has its roots in slow, grinding efforts by workers all over the country.
    "It is a real challenge to labor leaders to recognize that our strength is in working people — in withholding our labor — and not in the statehouse,"
    By Sarah Jaffe, September 2, 2018
    Riot police trying to prevent protesters from blocking an entrance to the mall at 1st and D Streets in Washington, D.C.

    In the past year, the American labor movement was dominated by two things. First, the Janus decision, in which the Supreme Court ruled the public sector was essentially "right to work" — meaning, workers covered by union contracts no longer had to pay the costs of their representation. And second, the "Red for Ed" movement, the wave of teacher strikes, mostly in conservative states with few union protections. 
    The teachers' uprisings, from West Virginia onward across the country, garnered weeks of front-page news and are no doubt helping to fuel the strikes already happening or pending this fall: Thousands of Washington State teachers are walking the picket lines, and Seattle and Los Angeles teachers voted to authorize their own potential strikes. 
    But the underlying story of 2018 is that the growing labor militancy making headlines has its roots in slow, grinding efforts made in recent years by workers constantly denigrated by both major political parties and even written off by much of organized labor itself. Workers are putting in the effort over weeks, months and years to build new unions and to strengthen and reclaim moribund ones, and even to begin to chip away at the wall of new "right to work" laws passed since 2012. Their work has meant a slight uptick in union membership numbers, and a larger one in public approval for unions — suggesting that the more Americans see unions fight, and strike, for what they believe in, the more we want to join them.
    In Missouri, a statewide movement put a referendum on a state right-to-work law on the Primary Day ballot. Not only did voters overwhelmingly overturn the law, but the referendum drew more votes than were cast in the party primaries. Missouri's unions and labor organizations such as Jobs With Justice led the fight, but in a state where only about 9 percent of the work force is represented by a union, labor had to mobilize plenty of nonunion workers to reject the right to work law. The coalition relied heavily on black and Latino voters, almost certainly benefiting from organizing efforts in the wake of the 2014 Ferguson uprising.

    It's too early to tell whether the Missouri vote is a turning point for labor. But perhaps it's time to look back at the 2011 Wisconsin labor protests as such a point. Though waves of attacks in state after state on public- and private-sector union organizing followed Gov. Scott Walker's successful anti-union Act 10, Wisconsin unions have begun to show their power again. This spring's Red for Ed protests recalled the occupied Wisconsin Capitol in the winter of 2011, and if the Wisconsin public sector has been the bellwether for labor under Janus, there is cause for optimism, if not also a cleareyed assessment of just how hard the work will be.
    Amy Mizialko, president of the Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association, said that the union has had to win fights — despite being legally barred from bargaining over anything other than cost-of-living raises — by organizing alongside parents and winning the community over to its side on everything from smaller class sizes to more recess for students. 
    "Even though Act 10 in many ways felt like and was an ending," Ms. Mizialko said, "it's a chapter in the book, and there are lots more chapters that come after it. That's what members have been saying and feeling for seven and a half years — we're writing the fight-or-die survival chapter, but we're not just interested in surviving. We want it all back." 
    Barbara Madeloni, a former president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association who now works for Labor Notes, a media and organizing project for union activists, said that teachers' organizing under unfriendly legal regimes has inspired organizing across sectors: "Workers are showing each other how to access and use their power — and I expect to see more job actions and strikes as they teach each other." 
    Those workers are changing the way union leaders have thought about political power. "It is a real challenge to labor leaders to recognize that our strength is in working people — in withholding our labor — and not in the statehouse," Ms. Madeloni said.

    In New York, retail workers at Verizon Wireless took part in a 2016 companywide strike but have had to fight to keep their union — in late August, they defeated a decertification vote. To Colin Hull, a worker in the four-year campaign for the union in a mostly nonunion sector, more than money, it was about taking some of the power back from the company. 
    With a newly hostile labor board and courts packed with President Trump's appointees, union members and workers fights will continue to be long and grueling, but they have realized that it is this or giving in to the erosion of their lives.
    They are often winning fights against Republicans in power, and their struggles are garnering at least lip service from Democrats considering a presidential run in 2020. But they know that the shift in class power they seek will still, largely, be won in the workplace.
    Sarah Jaffe is the author of "Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt."


    5) A Year After Hurricane Harvey, Houston's Poorest Neighborhoods Are Slowest to Recover
    By Manny Fernandez, Photographs by Ilana Panich-Linsman, September 3, 2018
    The home of Monika Houston, 42, remains untouched after being gutted following Hurricane Harvey.

    HOUSTON — Hurricane Harvey ruined the little house on Lufkin Street. And ruined it remains, one year later.
    Vertical wooden beams for walls. Hard concrete for floors. Lawn mowers where furniture used to be. Holes where the ceiling used to be. Light from a lamp on a stool, and a barricaded window to keep out thieves. Even the twig-and-string angel decoration on the front door — "Home is where you rest your wings" — was askew.
    Monika Houston walked around her family's home and said nothing for a long time. Tears streamed down her cheeks. She and her relatives have been unable, in the wake of the powerful storm that drenched Texas last summer, to completely restore both their house and their lives. Ms. Houston, 43, has been living alternately in a trailer on the front lawn, at her family's other Harvey-damaged house down the block, with friends and elsewhere. Outside the trailer were barrels for campfires, set not to stay warm but to keep the mosquitoes away.
    What help Ms. Houston's family received from the government, nonprofit groups and volunteers was not enough, and she remains in a state of quasi-homelessness. She pointed to the dusty water-cooler jug by the open front door; inside were rolls of pennies, loose change and a crumpled $2 bill.

    "That's our savings," she said as she picked up the jug and slammed it down. "We've never been in a position to save. We've been struggling, trying to hold onto what we have. This is horrible, a year later. I'm not happy. I'm broken. I'm sad. I'm confused. I've lost my way. I'm just as crooked as that angel on that door."

    Monika Houston, 43, has been living in a trailer in front of her flooded and gutted home.

    Houston and other Texas cities hit hard by Harvey a year ago have made significant progress recuperating from the worst rainstorm in United States history. The piles of debris — nearly 13 million cubic yards of it — are long gone, and many residents are back in their refurbished homes. Billions of dollars in federal aid and donations have helped Texans repair, rebuild and recover.
    But this is not uniformly the case, and the exceptions trace a disturbing path of income and race across a state where those dividing lines are often easy to see.
    survey last month showed that 27 percent of Hispanic Texans whose homes were badly damaged reported that those homes remained unsafe to live in, compared to 20 percent of blacks and 11 percent of whites. There were similar disparities with income: 50 percent of lower-income respondents said they weren't getting the help they needed, compared to 32 percent of those with higher incomes, according to the survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Episcopal Health Foundation.

    In many low-income neighborhoods around Houston, it feels like Harvey struck not last year but last month. Some of Houston's most vulnerable and impoverished residents remain in the early stages of their rebuilding effort and live in the shadows of the widespread perception that Texas has successfully rebounded from the historic flooding.
    In the poorest communities, some residents are still living with relatives or friends because their homes remain under repair. Others are living in their flood-damaged or half-repaired homes, struggling in squalid and mold-infested conditions. Still others have moved into trailers and other structures on their property. 
    One 84-year-old veteran, Henry Heileman, lived until recently in a shipping container while his home was being worked on. The container, which had been transformed into a mini-apartment with a bathroom, bed and lattice-lined foundation, was roughly 42 feet long and 6 feet wide.
    The recovery has been problematic for the African-American and Hispanic families who live in some of the city's poorest neighborhoods for several reasons. The scale of Harvey's devastation and the depths of the social ills that existed in the Houston area before the storm played a role. So did a scattershot recovery that saw some people get the government aid and charity assistance they needed, when they needed it, while others had more difficulty or became entangled in disputes and complications with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
    "Everything always hits the poor harder than it does everybody else," said John Sharp, the head of the Governor's Commission to Rebuild Texas, which is helping to coordinate the state response to Harvey and to assist local officials and nonprofit groups.
    These residents have not struggled in isolation. They have been assisted in the past year by officials and volunteers, but their repairs and recovery stalled for different reasons. Some of them no longer seek out help and suffer privately, ashamed of their living conditions but unable to move forward with their lives. Their housing issues are one of many problems they are confronting post-Harvey. Some are disabled, ill, unemployed or caring for older relatives. Some said they or their relatives are taking medication or undergoing counseling to cope with post-Harvey stress.

    "In New Orleans, you could see the remnants of Katrina by the markings of FEMA spray paint on people's homes, and you could see those waterlines," said Amanda K. Edwards, a Houston city councilwoman who has led an effort to identify and knock on the doors of low-income flood victims who have stopped answering phone calls from those trying to assist them. "Those types of visuals are not present here. So it is difficult for people to really appreciate how difficult of a time people are having."

    Amanda Edwards, 36, a Houston city councilwoman, drives through neighborhoods that were badly hit during Hurricane Harvey.

    Days after the one-year anniversary of Harvey's Texas landfall on Aug. 25, Ms. Edwards drove to the home of a victim in the Houston Gardens neighborhood. She parked in the driveway of a flood-damaged home that, from the outside, appeared in good condition. Ms. Edwards was told that the African-American man inside lives in his home without electricity. As Ms. Edwards stood on the man's doorstep, he called out to her with the door closed, telling her he did not want any visitors.
    Nearby, Ms. Edwards was given a tour of Kaverna Moore's gutted home. Ms. Moore, 67, lived in her home for months after Harvey and finally moved in with her son in March. Her repairs stalled after she was denied disaster assistance by FEMA.
    She sorted through her papers and pulled out the FEMA denial letter. It was dated September 23, 2017, and stated that she was ineligible because "the damage to your essential personal property was not caused by the disaster." The letter baffles her. She lost her furniture, her carpet, her shoes and her appliances when about 2 feet of floodwater inundated her home. A contractor's estimate to repair the damage to the physical structure, including replacing the sheet rock and installing new doors, was $18,605. She appealed the FEMA denial but never heard back.
    She said she has no idea when she will be back in her home. She was waiting for Habitat for Humanity to work on the house.
    "I miss my house," Ms. Moore said. "I miss it a whole lot. I come by every day. Check my mail. Sometimes I come and sit on the porch."

    Kaverna Moore, 67, was living in her gutted and moldy house until March, when she had to have surgery and moved in with her son.

    Patricia Crawford waits, too.
    Ms. Crawford's house remains under repair while she undergoes cancer treatment. Ms. Crawford, 74, went to live with a friend after Harvey. She moved back into her house — the house she grew up in — in June, before it was ready, then moved out after a few days. Her house remains a work in progress, with unpainted walls and construction padding on the floors, the rooms strewn with power tools. Her bed is still tightly wrapped in plastic.
    She received some money from FEMA but was denied other assistance. So she waits, living with another friend and counting on help from relatives and nonprofit groups like the Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation.
    "It's been hard," Ms. Crawford said one afternoon as she sat on a sofa at her half-finished house. "Have you ever felt like you were just lost? Well, that's the way I feel. I feel lost. My doctor told me that if I didn't stop grieving, she was going to put me in the hospital. But I'm doing better."

    Patricia Crawford, 74, visits her home in the Kashmere Gardens neighborhood of Houston.

    No local, state or federal agency has been tracking how many people remain displaced after Harvey. It is unclear how many residents are struggling to complete repairs or have had their recovery stall. In the Kashmere Gardens section of northeast Houston — the low-income, predominantly African-American neighborhood along Interstate 610 where Ms. Houston and Ms. Crawford live — Keith Downey, a community leader, estimated that at least 1,500 Harvey victims in the area were not back in their homes.
    In the Kaiser and Episcopal survey, based on phone interviews with more than 1,600 adults in 24 Harvey-damaged counties in June and July, three out of 10 residents said their lives were still "very" or "somewhat" disrupted from the storm.
    The race and income disparities identified in the survey are likely a result of what existed before the storm, said Elena Marks, president and chief executive of the Episcopal Health Foundation and a former health policy director for the city of Houston. "If you went into the storm with relatively few resources, and then you lost resources, be it income or property or car, it's going to be harder for you to replace it," she said. "The farther behind you were before the storm, the less likely you are to bounce back after the storm."

    Local, state and federal officials expressed concern for low-income Harvey victims, but they were unable to explain why so many of them continue to struggle. City officials say there has been no shortage of resources and services for poor residents affected by the storm, including the 14 neighborhood restoration centers the city opened, mostly in low-income areas. FEMA said it has put $4.3 billion into the hands of affected Houstonians.
    "There are thousands of families who live in low-income communities, who already were operating at the margins before Harvey, and the storm pushed them down even further," the mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner, said in an interview. "We want to reassure them that they have not been forgotten."
    Mr. Turner, who visited Kashmere Gardens and other neighborhoods to mark the anniversary of Harvey, described the problem as a federal and state issue, citing the $5 billion in federal Community Development Block Grant disaster-recovery funds that were approved for Texas, but that Houston has yet to receive.
    "We know that the city is going to receive $1.14 billion dollars in C.D.B.G. funding for housing," Mr. Turner said. "But you can't disperse what you don't have."
    Kurt H. Pickering, a spokesman for FEMA in Texas, said the agency had seen no evidence that low-income areas were receiving less support from the agency. He said that federal assistance was designed not to make a person whole after a disaster, but to help start the recovery process. "FEMA does everything possible to assist every family in every way," within the bounds of its regulations, Mr. Pickering said.
    In Kashmere Gardens, Ms. Houston ended the tour of her house on Lufkin Street after a few minutes.
    "I can't stay in here too long because I start coughing," she said.
    She spoke of the past 12 months as a series of disputes and broken promises. She said she felt abandoned by FEMA, contractors, reporters and celebrities who visited the neighborhood and failed to follow up on repairs. "We're no more than 15 minutes from River Oaks," she said, referring to one of the wealthiest areas of Houston. "It's not just the government. Don't nobody care."

    Ms. Houston, a former truck driver, walked to the middle of Lufkin and turned around to face the house. The yard with the trailer was cluttered, but the house appeared normal. 
    "When you stand here, you would never know what lies behind those walls," she said. "Look at it. You don't even know how broken it is. That's the sad part."

    A portrait of Patricia Crawford's parents still hangs in her home, although she is unable to move back.

    Michelle O'Donnell contributed reporting from Houston.


    6) An Old Sore for Mexico's Next President: The 43 Missing Students
    By Paulina Villegas, September 3, 2018
    Family members of the students who disappeared four years ago in Iguala, Guerrero, marching in Mexico City last month.CreditCredit

    AYOTZINAPA, Mexico — Four years after the disappearance of 43 students in southern Mexico, the case remains unsolved, international human rights groups said Monday, as they called on the next president to conduct a proper investigation.
    The case of the missing students prompted global outrage and shook Mexico to its core, plunging President Enrique Peña Nieto's approval ratings to new lows. At a ceremony on Monday at their school in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, representatives from several rights groups said their disappearance had still not been explained.
    The official account, disputed by international experts, is that the students were kidnapped by local police officers who turned them over to a drug gang. The gang killed them and burned their bodies in a nearby garbage dump, leaving no remains.

    "The commission does not accept that narrative," said Esmeralda Arosemena de Troitiño, rapporteur for Mexico at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. "No more talk about what they describe as 'historic truth,' because it hurts us, it outrages us and the families of the victims simply do not tolerate it."

    Ms. Arosemena said the commission hoped that President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who takes office on Dec. 1, would take advantage of the change in government to open an independent investigation. He defeated the candidate from Mr. Peña Nieto's party in the July election.
    Mr. López Obrador has repeatedly said that he is committed to further investigating the case with the help of international human rights organizations and making sure that "justice is done."
    "The doors of the country will be opened," he said last month. "There will be no obstruction or obstacles that will keep us from discovering the truth in the Ayotzinapa case."
    The rights groups said a new investigation should examine the role of the federal police and the military in the students' disappearance, possible obstruction of the investigation by government officials, and accusations that at least 34 of the 129 people arrested in connection with the case had been tortured.

    Empty seats with photographs of the missing students at a graduation ceremony.

    Representatives from the commission, the United Nations and Mexico's top human rights agency appeared Monday at Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos, where the missing students, many of them sons of farmers, were training to become rural teachers in hope of escaping lives of poverty. The male-only school has a history of leftist activism, with students using radical tactics like blocking roads and throwing rocks at police officers.

    At the school's basketball court, 43 empty chairs were lined up behind the podium to represent the missing young men. A crowd of current students invoked the date the students disappeared, chanting: "September the 26th will not be forgotten. Alive they took them, alive we want them back!"
    On that night in 2014, about 100 students left the school to hijack several buses for transportation to a march in Mexico City, a longstanding tradition that was mostly tolerated by bus companies and law enforcement officials.
    But this time, police officers and other gunmen pursued the stolen buses and opened fire on the students in a coordinated assault in and around the city of Iguala. Six people were killed and dozens wounded. The 43 missing students, who had been pulled off two of the buses, were last seen being taken away by the police. The remains of only one have been identified.
    The case became emblematic of the tens of thousands of disappearances during Mexico's decade-long drug war, bringing protesters into the streets by the thousands and throwing Mr. Peña Nieto's presidency into crisis.
    Last week, ahead of his final state of the union address, Mr. Peña Nieto said in a video released on Twitter that his administration stood by the official findings. He said it was understandable the victims' parents could not accept the painful truth — a remark that caused indignation among the victims' families and human rights groups.
    International investigators arrived in 2015 at the invitation of the Mexican government. But after they contradicted the official version of events, they said, the government began a campaign of harassment and stonewallingthat made it impossible for them to do their work. The investigators left the following year.

    In June, a federal court ordered the Mexican government to investigate the case again, calling the first inquiry "neither prompt, effective, independent nor impartial." The court ordered that the new investigation be supervised by a truth commission to be led by Mexico's human rights body and victims' families, who have already waited years for answers.
    "Anger is all I can feel," said Delfina de la Cruz, mother of Adán Abraham de la Cruz, who was 24 when he went missing. She was at the school on Monday, along with at least one relative of each of the 43 missing students.
    "It's been four years and the government has done nothing," she said. "All we can hope is for the international experts to help us, because no one else will."



    7) Mediterranean Death Rate Is Highest Since 2015 Migration Crisis
    By Patrick Kingsley, September 3, 2018
    A woman's body and a migrant who survived were pulled from the Mediterranean Sea by a Spanish agency about 85 miles off the Libyan coast in July.

    LONDON — The sea journey between North Africa and Italy is now deadlier than at any point since the peak of the European migration crisis in 2015, even as unauthorized migration along the route has fallen to its lowest level in the same period, according to data released on Monday by the United Nations.
    For every 18 migrants who reached Italy by boat during the first seven months of 2018, one person drowned attempting that voyage. The toll is nearly triple the death rate during the period in 2015, and roughly double the rate in 2016, when a record number of migrants landed without authorization in Italy, which for most of the 21st century has been the main port of entry for people hoping to reach Europe by boat.
    The United Nations' announcement was made against a backdrop of heightened political and social tension across Europe, where migration has helped strengthen local economies by increasing consumer demand while also creating additional pressure on state institutions and stoking the popularity of far-right parties and causes. Far-right politicians now share power in Italy and Austria, and have polled unusually well in Sweden and Germany, where thousands of far-right sympathizers rallied in the eastern town of Chemnitz this week in protest over immigration.

    The rising Mediterranean death rate is largely due to a spike in shipwrecks that occurred after Matteo Salvini, Italy's far-right interior minister, barred most rescue vessels from bringing migrants to Italian ports in June, according to a separate analysis by Matteo Villa, a migration specialist at the Italian Institute for International Political Studies, a research group in Rome. Around 1,600 migrants died in the Mediterranean in the first seven months of this year.

    Migrants on the deck of a Spanish boat after being rescued off the coast of Libya last month.

    The arrival rate, which had already plummeted before Mr. Salvini entered office in May because of measures taken by his predecessor, has fallen only slightly under the new minister. An average of 2,200 people have arrived in Italy in each of the three months since Mr. Salvini's appointment, compared with an average of 2,700 during the three months that preceded it.
    That higher rate was around 80 percent below the levels during the peak of the crisis.
    Unauthorized migration between Libya and Italy fell markedly last summer, thanks to controversial negotiations between Marco Minniti, Mr. Salvini's predecessor, and Libyan militias that control the southern Mediterranean smuggling trade. But the death rate did not rise, largely because of the continued presence off the Libyan coast of private rescue boats run by nongovernmental organizations.
    Mr. Minniti's government introduced protocols that deterred those boats from working close to the Libyan coast, and empowered the Libyan Coast Guard to intercept and return more migrants to Libya. But the private boats could still deliver rescued migrants to Italian ports.
    That changed in June, days after Mr. Salvini's appointment, when a boat run by Doctors Without Borders and SOS Mediterranean was forced to sail to Spain after being denied entry to ports in Sicily. Merchant vessels and Italian Navy ships have since also been refused permission to disembark rescued migrants in Italy.

    This has left rescue responsibilities almost solely to the Libyan Coast Guard, an informal alliance of badly resourced and poorly trained sailors drawn from competing Libyan militias.
    "A major factor contributing to the increased death rate is the decreased search and rescue capacity off the Libyan coast this year compared to the same period last year," the United Nations refugee agency said in its report.

    Mr. Villa described the situation as "a cautionary tale" for European officials who seek to justify countermigration measures with an argument that they are trying to save lives by stopping the smuggling trade.
    "If your objective is to reduce the death rate, then you should be very wary of delegating rescue to the Libyan Coast Guard, because they are clearly unable to deal with levels of more than 3,000 departures per month," Mr. Villa said.
    Migration specialists and rights activists have also criticized the policy of returning migrants to Libya, where civil war and the breakdown of law and order have created dangerous conditions for migrants, who are sometimes held for ransom or put to work in slaverylike conditions by the militias who have nominally rescued them.
    Fighting in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, has placed thousands of detained migrants at risk, according to Doctors Without Borders, which operates a mission on the Libyan mainland as well as off the Libyan coast.

    "Many of the detention centers in Tripoli are on the front line of the fighting, and the latest escalation of violence has left people trapped for days in appalling conditions without food," Ibrahim Younis, the organization's head of mission in Libya, wrote in an email.
    "Those that have recently managed to escape the detention centers to nearby neighborhoods are at risk of being caught in the crossfire," Mr. Younis said, adding that local hospitals where the organization refers migrants for secondary care "have stopped discharging patients due to the fact that conditions outside are too dangerous, leaving less and less beds available for new patients."


    8) Amazon, Following Apple, Reaches $1,000,000,000,000 in Value
    By David Streitfeld, September 4, 2018
    Amazon's founder and chief executive, Jeff Bezos, is richer, by far, than anyone in the modern world.

    SAN FRANCISCO — When Apple's market value crossed a trillion dollarslast month, the reason was simple: It makes devices that a lot of people are willing to spend a lot of money on.
    Now Amazon has become the second American company to cross that once-unimaginable line. Its founder and chief executive, Jeff Bezos, is worth nearly as much as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett put together.
    This time, the explanation is more complicated.
    Amazon captures 49 cents of every e-commerce dollar in the United States. It employs more than 550,000 people and generates $178 billion in annual revenue. It sells everything from computing space to peanut butter to appointments with plumbers.
    But the thing it has always sold the most — to investors, customers, the media — is excitement.
    In the beginning, Amazon was an exciting new way to shop for books: online. Then it was an exciting new way to read (Kindle e-books), an exciting new way to publish (CreateSpace), an exciting new way to power the internet (Amazon Web Services), an exciting new way to get deliveries (Amazon Prime), an exciting new way to make your house a high-tech outpost (Alexa).

    Long before Amazon went to Hollywood and began making movies, it was the star of its own show, generating vast amounts of attention just for being Amazon. No company ever managed to turn its lack of profit into such effective drama, or the question of what its next move would be.

    Amazon's search for a second headquarters, the company having run out of room and patience in its hometown, Seattle, set off a nationwide frenzy among politicians. Mr. Bezos even gamified his philanthropic plans, taking to Twitter to solicit advice about what he should do. (One popular recommendation: Pay your warehouse workers more.) Would Amazon collapse, or would it eat the world? It was the corporation-as-reality series, and it's been a long-running hit.
    Public companies usually live under the tyranny of Wall Street, which prizes profits to the exclusion of all else. When Facebook and Twitter recently purged their rolls of fake users and began devoting more effort to cleaning up their acts, Wall Street did not applaud this civic-minded move but pummeled their shares.
    Mr. Bezos made clear when Amazon went public in 1997 that he would not work for Wall Street, and the result was a company cast in an entirely different mold. It never feared losing money. In a real sense, there were no consequences for being wrong.

    Behind the drama is a relentless and sometimes scary ambition. Amazon is the Jay Gatsby of American companies, believing that tomorrow it will run faster, stretch its arms out farther, fulfill the desires of consumers in ways that no other business possibly could. You will live in Amazon's world, it says, and you will like it.
    The retailer has retained this futuristic luster even as Facebook, Twitter and Google, which touted their own versions of technoparadise, have become suspect. It has retained its allure even as many of its ventures have tanked. Remember Kindle Singles? They were electronic articles hailed as the virtual reinvention of nonfiction. No one even noticed when the program fizzled.

    "We like to go down unexplored alleys and see what's at the end. Sometimes they're dead ends," Mr. Bezos said in 2009. "Sometimes they open up into broad avenues and we find something really exciting."
    One of the great benefits for Amazon of this approach is that it is impossible to tell where reality ends and hype — or perhaps even madness — begins.
    Take Amazon's drone program, which it first announced on "60 Minutes." "I know this looks like science fiction," Mr. Bezos said, as he showed a film of an unmanned vehicle delivering a package. "It's not." He said there were "years of additional work" to be done, but declared himself an optimist. Drone delivery, he predicted, would be a reality in "four, five years."

    That was December 2013. Roughly a million features were written about Amazon and its drones, nearly all with the subtext: Isn't this the coolest thing ever?
    Over the years, the company kept raising the stakes, as if they were not already high enough. Amazon applied a few years ago for a patent for an "aerial fulfillment center" that would float at 45,000 feet. Drones would fly out of it with your order and then glide down to your backyard.
    What delivery could possibly be important enough to merit such a crazy system? The patent has a suggestion: "Prepared hot food." We wanted flying cars, but we got flying burritos instead.

    The fulfillment center, which looks in drawings like a blimp tugging a warehouse, has other uses besides delivering dinner. It would drift down to 2,000 feet to what the patent calls "the advertising altitude," where it would present information "about items and/or services." Perhaps it will be just like the movie "Blade Runner," and the floating ads will tout the joys of working in Amazon's off-world colonies. The patent was granted this summer.
    Still not impressed? Earlier this year Amazon got a patent to more or less bomb people with their packages. The drone would drop the burrito or Stephen King blockbuster from a height of as much as 25 feet, in theory cushioning the plunge with an airbag.
    Haye Kesteloo, senior editor of the news site DroneDJ, noted that there are many hurdles to routine delivery by drone, even if the vehicles are not being launched from airships. The claimed drone attack on President Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela will not help soothe nervous citizens.

    Nevertheless, Mr. Kesteloo, like Mr. Bezos, proclaims himself an optimist. "Companies like Amazon will make routine drone deliveries to consumers by 2025," he said — only twice as far away as promised.
    There are reasons to be skeptical about even this schedule. But that's the magic of Amazon. Even if the drones do not pan out, they have kept attention focused on the company, fulfilling a different part of the business plan. There is scarcely any oxygen left to discuss the more contentious aspects of Amazon, like its scorn for taxes or its plans to capture much of local government purchasing.
    "There is no doubt anymore," said Ron Nussbaum, who runs an investment management fund called Maverick Value in Los Angeles. "The stock always goes up and no one doubts it will keep going up."

    Mr. Nussbaum, who stresses that overall his investments are profitable, might be the last Amazon skeptic. "It's an honor," he said.
    And an expensive one. Last year, when Amazon crossed $1,000 a share, he started buying "put" options — bets that the stock would decline. One of his puts has dropped 85 percent; another, 92 percent. To get to the $1 trillion valuation, Amazon's stock crossed the $2,050.27 per share mark on Tuesday.
    Mr. Nussbaum is planning to buy more. He thinks people are confusing their impressions of Amazon the company with Amazon as an investment.

    "If I fill up your gas tank for $1 but it costs me $2, you can say it's a great product but it doesn't make any sense as a company," he said.
    Apple had profits of $48 billion last year. Amazon's were less than a tenth of that. If profits were all that mattered, Amazon should be worth about $100 billion, the size of United Technologies or Texas Instruments. That is nothing to sneeze at, but nothing to get people excited either.
    [How Apple's $1 trillion valuation dwarfs that of other huge companies.]
    Even before Amazon hit $1 trillion, the milestone was old news. There was a poll on Facebook run by a group of young Wall Street investors. The question: Would Amazon or Apple be the first to hit $2 trillion?
    The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of Amazon. Dreams will always triumph over devices.


    9) A Black Restaurant Owner Says He Tried Assisting a White Patron in Distress. Police Arrested Him.
    By Jan Ransom, September 3, 2018
    Clyde Pemberton, the owner of the restaurant, MIST Harlem, was punched in the chest by a customer and then arrested after employees called 911.

    The one place a wealthy black business owner might least expect to be arrested on flimsy charges by the police would be at a popular restaurant he owns in the heart of Harlem.
    But that's what happened to Clyde Pemberton, the owner of MIST Harlem, who along with two of his employees sued the New York Police Department last week in Manhattan federal court for false arrest and violating his civil rights. His lawyers say the entire incident suggested racial bias and was an example of the kind of interactions with law enforcement that often strain the department's relationship with minority communities.
    On June 1, 2017, Dr. Pemberton, a retired psychiatrist, was holding a business meeting at his restaurant when he saw two women leaving the bathroom, dragging a third woman who was visibly unconscious across the room at 10:30 p.m., the complaint states. The women, who were all white, knocked over a stanchion of a rope blocking off a section of the restaurant to customers.
    When Dr. Pemberton, now 68, walked over to the women to ask what was wrong and suggested the unconscious woman be placed in a chair, one woman punched him in the chest and referred to him with a racial slur, according to the complaint.

    A second woman struck Dr. Pemberton's employee, Christian Baptiste, in the head with her purse, according to the lawsuit. Employees called 911 as the women continued to yell, push and kick employees, the lawsuit states.
    But, shortly after the arrival of the police officers, who were all white, including some from the 28th precinct, a police supervisor spoke with only one of the women before ordering his officers to arrest Dr. Pemberton, Mr. Baptiste, 42, and another employee, Thomas Debnam. They were charged with unlawful imprisonment. The charges against the men were dismissed in November.
    One of the arresting officers, Anthony Sengco, wrote in his criminal complaint that he observed Dr. Pemberton, Mr. Baptiste and Mr. Debnam blocking the exit to the restaurant and that the men had stated to him that they were trying to prevent the women from leaving. The men deny that they made any such statements to Mr. Sengco or that they were trying to prevent the women from leaving.
    New York Times investigation earlier this year found that "testilying," the practice of testifying or providing statements that are untrue is a stubborn issue within the police department.
    Dr. Pemberton said he explained that he was the owner of the restaurant and a physician, but that officers never asked him what had happened, and that their supervisor had been hostile, according to the lawsuit.

    After spending six hours in custody the men were given a desk appearance and released, according to the lawsuit.
    Dr. Pemberton, the lawsuit states, was arrested "for being a conscientious business owner while black," a reference to the growing list of activities — such as driving while black — that can place someone at risk of being stopped, questioned or arrested by the police.
    The men "did nothing wrong, and no reasonable police officer would have believed they did anything wrong," the lawsuit states. "The NYPD arrested Dr. Pemberton, Mr. Baptiste, and Mr. Debnam not because of their conduct, but because they were there and they are black. Neither their side of the story nor their freedom mattered to the police."
    One of the women was also arrested, according to the lawsuit. She was charged with assault with intent to cause physical injury and other offenses.
    "Everything we did was in the right way and approach, and it was overlooked, ignored and disrespected, our rights as human beings," Mr. Debnam, 32 said in an interview. "There's a flaw in our system."
    The city's Law Department will "review the case and respond accordingly," said the agency's spokesman Nicholas Paolucci.
    Elizabeth Saylor, a civil rights attorney representing the men, said that the officer's statements were not true and that the men never should have been arrested.

    "You don't just arrest everybody on the scene and sort it out later," Ms. Saylor said. "They are privileged black men who have money and the resources to fight this, but despite that it deeply affected them."
    They incurred $15,000 in legal fees to defend themselves.
    Dr. Pemberton, a green card holder who is a native of Trinidad and Tobago, said he has run into issues while traveling in and out of the country after the arrest and even after the charge was dismissed.
    "We thought it was over," he said, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement continued to stop him in airports.
    Dr. Pemberton also said that since the arrest, the police have conducted random checks of his establishment, and have increased their presence there, costing him business. And Mr. Debnam, who had planned on applying to be a teacher, worries now that because of the arrest that his application would be rejected.


    10) Colin Kaepernick's Nike Campaign Keeps N.F.L. Anthem Kneeling in Spotlight
    By Kevin Draper and Ken Belson, September 3, 2018
    Colin Kaepernick tweeted the new Nike advertisement he appears in as part of a new deal with the company.

    Colin Kaepernick, the former N.F.L. quarterback who inspired a player protest movement but who has been out of a job for more than a year, has signed a new, multiyear deal with Nike that makes him a face of the 30th anniversary of the sports apparel company's "Just Do It" campaign, Nike confirmed on Monday.
    The first advertisement from Nike, one of the league's top partners, debuted Monday afternoon, when Kaepernick tweeted it, assuring that his activism and the protest movement against racism and social injustice he started would continue to loom over one of the country's most powerful sports leagues.
    Nike will produce new Kaepernick apparel, including a shoe and a T-shirt, and if the merchandise sells well, the value of the deal will rival those of other top N.F.L. players, according to people close to the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity because Nike had not formally announced it. Nike will also donate money to Kaepernick's "Know Your Rights" campaign.
    The N.F.L. did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The ad and the campaign, coming a few days before the start of the N.F.L. season on Thursday, is likely to annoy the league's top executives and its owners. On Thursday, Kaepernick won a victory in his grievance against the league when an arbitrator let his case, in which he accuses the league of conspiring to keep him off the field because of his activism, advance.

    A wave of on-field protests has continued, with varying degrees of intensity, since summer 2016, when Kaepernick began kneeling during the playing of the national anthem.
    Now, with just one tweet, the former N.F.L. quarterback and Nike have set the world alight, causing a flurry of stories in major publications, inspiring a top trending hashtag across social media and possibly even contributing to a broader decline in the stock market.
    Reaction to Kaepernick's tweet was swift. Almost immediately, "Just Do It" and "Nike" became top trending terms on Twitter in the United States, and by morning the hashtag #NikeBoycott was one of the most used on the social media service. People posted videos and photographs of themselves destroying their Nike apparel in response to the company's decision to work with Kaepernick. Kaepernick has been a Nike endorser since he entered the N.F.L. in 2011.

    Nike's stock price fell more than two percent in early trading Tuesday. It was the worst performing stock in the Dow Jones industrial average, helping to drag the average to a fall for the first part of the day. While some investors are likely nervous that the company's decision to prominently feature Kaepernick could inspire a boycott, the stock price of main competitor Adidas was also down more than two percent. The broader stock market downturn was being blamed on worries about tense negotiations over Nafta.

    The N.F.L. has struggled to contain the on-field protests, which have also included raised fists and other gestures, which league officials have blamed for dragging down the league. Television ratings have declined and certain segments of the fan base have reacted angrily. President Trump has made the N.F.L. a target for not firing players who refuse to stand for the national anthem.
    The protest movement Kaepernick started has been interpreted by some as being disrespectful to the American flag and the military. Political conservatives have widely condemned it. Many of those posting on social media Monday and Tuesday about boycotting Nike or throwing out their Nike gear referenced their connection to and support for the military, even though the players who, like Kaepernick, have protested have made it clear they are not anti-military and some veterans have expressed support for their actions.
    The Kaepernick deal could be awkward for the league.
    In March, Nike and the N.F.L. announced an extension of an apparel deal through 2028. As part of that deal, Nike supplies 32 teams with game-day uniforms and sideline apparel that features the company's swoosh logo. When that deal was announced, Brian Rolapp, the NFL's chief media and business officer, called the company "a longtime and trusted partner" of the league.
    Kaepernick and Nike already had an endorsement deal, dating to when he entered the league in 2011, but it was expiring soon and has now been extended.
    The new Kaepernick ad features a close-up, black-and-white photograph of his face, with copy that references his kneeling and his belief that his activism is keeping him out of the league.
    The ad reads: "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything."
    When asked if Nike had run the campaign by the N.F.L., a spokeswoman, Sandra Carreon-John, responded: "Nike has a longstanding relationship with the N.F.L. and works extensively with the league on all campaigns that use current N.F.L. players and its marks. Colin is not currently employed by an N.F.L. team and has no contractual obligation to the N.F.L."

    The new contract was negotiated by Kaepernick's lawyers, Mark Geragos and Ben Meiselas, and Nike executives.
    Even as the N.F.L. season approaches, the Kaepernick story has continued to dominate the N.F.L. narrative. On Friday, Kaepernick received an ovation from the crowd at the United States Open match between Serena Williams and Venus Williams.
    Serena Williams, LeBron James, Odell Beckham Jr., Shaquem Griffin and Lacey Baker are also part of the "Just Do It" anniversary campaign.
    Nike's decision to make new Kaepernick merchandise and to make him the face of a campaign could, if they are successful for the company, undercut the argument from N.F.L. owners that he is bad for business. Previously, Nike stated that it "supports athletes and their right to freedom of expression on issues that are of great importance to our society," but the company had not used Kaepernick in any recent ad campaigns.
    There is reason to believe that Kaepernick, despite not playing, will move merchandise. During the second quarter of 2017, his officially licensed jersey was the 39th-best selling in the league. As an unsigned free agent, he was the only player in the top 50 of those rankings not signed to a team.
    With Kaepernick seemingly having little chance of playing in the N.F.L. again, Geragos was eager to try to portray him as something more than a football player.
    "I give Nike credit for understanding that he's not just an athlete, he has become an icon," Geragos said.


    11) Like frogs in a slowly boiling pot, Americans are finally realizing how dire their labor situation is
    By Harold Meyerson, September 3, 2018

    Labor union members in a protest outside the Ronald Reagan Medical Center at UCLA on May 8.

    The Labor Question is back, big-time. The term came into use around the turn of the 20th century; it was a shorthand way of asking: What should be done about the working class' smoldering discontent in the wake of industrialization? The anger was palpable, made manifest in waves of worker revolts that stretched from the nationwide rail strike of 1877 through the general strikes of 1919.
    Not all the battles were fought in the plants and in the streets. Progressive state legislatures in the early 20th century enacted laws setting minimum wages and limiting the hours women and children could be compelled to work; the courts routinely struck them down, and just as routinely short-circuited strikes by imposing jail sentences on strikers.
    It was the New Deal, and the rise of unions that the New Deal facilitated, that rendered the Labor Question seemingly moot. In the three decades following World War II, when unions were strong and prosperity broadly shared, the term receded into the history books alongside other phrases – like, say, "slaveholder" – that evoked a dark and presumably buried side of America's past.
    For the last several decades, however, it's the largely egalitarian spirit of the New Deal that has receded into the shadows. The economic inequality that preceded the New Deal is back with us; the Labor Question has returned.

    At the core of the problem is the imbalance of economic power, which takes the form of booming profits and stagnating wages. The Financial Times recently reported that the share of company revenues going to profits is the highest in many years, which necessarily means that the share going to the main alternative destination for company revenues – employees' pockets – has shrunk.
    Nor is this a short-lived phenomenon brought about by the Republican tax cut. In 2011, the chief investment officer of JP Morgan Chase calculated that three-quarters of the long-term increase in U.S. companies' profit margins was due to the declining share going to wages and benefits. A study last year by Simcha Barkai, an economist at the University of Chicago's Stigler Center, found that labor's share of the national income has dropped by 6.7% since the mid-1980s, while the share of the nation's income going to business investment in equipment, research, new hires and the like has dropped by 7.2%. Correspondingly, the share of the nation's income going to shareholders (the lion's share to the very wealthy, among them the CEOs who are compensated with shares) rose by 13.5%. That shift has put American workers at a double disadvantage, as their wages and the private-sector investment that creates jobs and boosts productivity have both hit the skids.
    Like slowly simmering frogs, Americans have required some time to grasp just how dire their situation has become. On Labor Day 2018, however, it's clear that most of them now realize the need to reshuffle the power structure. A Gallup Poll released on Friday showed support for unions at 62%, the highest level in 15 years, with majority backing from every demographic group except Republicans, and even they are evenly split, 45% to 47%.
    The overwhelming public support for striking teachers this spring in such red states as West Virginia, Oklahoma and Arizona was no fluke; another recent poll, this from the venerable education pollster PDK, found 73% support for teachers' strikes, and a remarkable 78% support from parents of school-age children. The two-to-one rejection of a right-to-work law this summer by Missouri voters is further evidence of a pro-labor shift in public opinion, as are the successful unionization campaigns over the past year of such not-easily-fired workers as university teaching assistants and journalists (including those at such venerable anti-union bastions as the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times).

    As was the case during the years when the Labor Question was first before the nation, the chief instrument the right relies on to diminish worker power is the courts. The Supreme Court's decision in June in the Janus case, which was meant to reduce the membership and resources of public-sector unions, was just the latest in a string of rulings to advantage corporate and Republican interests. During the past year, however, progressives have put forth some of the most far-reaching proposals in many decades to rebalance economic clout, including bills from two Democratic senators – Massachusetts' Elizabeth Warren and Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin – that would require corporations to divide their boards between representatives of workers and representatives of shareholders.
    Since conservatives and business interests began pecking away at the New Deal's handiwork in the 1970s, class conflict in America has been largely one-sided. On this Labor Day, however, it's clear that the battle has finally been joined. The Labor Question is before us and remains to be resolved.
    Harold Meyerson is executive editor of the American Prospect. He is a contributing writer to Opinion.


    12) Trump Administration Moves to Sidestep Restrictions on Detaining Migrant Children
    By Caitlin, September 6, 2018

    A child who was separated from his mother at the border arrived for a court hearing on his immigration status in Houston in August.

    Moving to bypass restrictions on the detention of migrant families in federal custody, the Trump administration introduced on Thursday a regulation that would upend a federal court settlement that requires such families to be released after 20 days.
    The so-called Flores settlement has become a prime target in the administration's attempt to punish migrants for crossing the border with their children as a means of deterrence. Administration officials have long believed that migrants, primarily from Central America, are bringing children to the United States to shield themselves from consequences of crossing the border without permission.
    "Today, legal loopholes significantly hinder the department's ability to appropriately detain and promptly remove family units that have no legal basis to remain in the country," said the secretary of Homeland Security, Kristjen Nielsen. "This rule addresses one of the primary pull factors for illegal immigration and allows the federal government to enforce immigration laws as passed by Congress."
    The proposal is likely to end up in court, where the federal district judge overseeing the Flores consent decree, Dolly M. Gee, has rejected repeated attempts to modify its provisions.

    The settlement stems from a 1997 consent decree reached in litigation over a migrant child based on claims that federal detention was damaging, physically and emotionally, to children's health. In 2016, the courts extended the settlement to apply to migrant families.

    Unaccompanied migrant children at a shelter in Houston. An administration proposal to bypass restrictions on the detention of migrant families is expected to end up in court.

    The administration has challenged the settlement repeatedly, rhetorically and in court, referring to it as a legal loophole permitting illegal immigration. But as recently as early this year, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions installed a new zero-tolerance border policy that resulted in the jailing of thousands of migrant parents, the administration did not succeed in winning a reprieve from the settlement's provisions protecting children from lengthy confinement.
    Immigrant advocates decried the move for new regulations as a workaround that would put migrant families at risk.
    "The Trump administration has been whittling away at the basic rights of women and children since they came into office. Efforts to weaken or eliminate basic child protection standards by calling them a burden or loopholes, and eliminating their obligations for the basic care of children, is just another example of the administration's abdication of human rights," said Michelle Brané, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women's Refugee Commission. "The court has already had to to step in repeatedly to uphold these basic child welfare principles. It is clear that the administration is incapable of holding themselves accountable."

    The proposed rule, now under review through the departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, would enshrine into regulation the relevant terms of the Flores settlement and terminate the long-running litigation. It would "satisfy the basic purpose" of the settlement agreement by ensuring that all migrant children in government custody "are treated with dignity, respect and special concern for their particular vulnerability as minors," the administration said in its announcement.
    The new regulatory structure would allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold families with children in licensed facilities or those that meet ICE's family residential standards, as evaluated by independent reviewers engaged by ICE.
    The public has 60 days to comment on the proposed rules, followed by a 45-day period in which lawyers who negotiated the original settlement can challenge the government's move in court.


    13) Roy Oliver got jail time for killing Jordan Edwards. Is widespread police accountability next?
    By Chauncey Alcorn, August 30, 2018
    Roy Oliver got jail time for killing Jordan Edwards. Is widespread police accountability next?


    Of the estimated thousands of American police officers who have killed civilians while on the job over the past 13 years, Roy Oliver is only the second to be convicted of murder.
    The former Balch Springs, Texas, patrolman who fatally shot 15-year-old Jordan Edwards in the head with an AR-15 in 2017 was sentenced to 15 years in prison Wednesday night, despite pleas for mercy to jurors from his mother and wife.
    Oliver’s half sister, Wendy Oliver, shocked the court Wednesday by testifying against her own brother during his sentencing hearings, urging jurors to send him to jail for life.
    Prosecutor Mike Snipes said the outcome of this case should restore public trust in the American justice system by demonstrating that bad officers will be held criminally accountable.
    “We believe this case shows if a rogue policeman gets out of line that we will prosecute you,” Snipes said Thursday. “I think that justice was done in the case. All we cared about was Jordan Edwards and his family.”
    The Edwards family’s civil attorney, Lee Merritt, who is representing the late teen’s parents in a planned civil suit against the city of Balch Springs, said Oliver’s conviction and 15-year sentence are a “huge deal” for the country.
    “It does set a precedent,” Merritt said during an interview. “We need cases like this to exist on the books.”
    Oliver’s defense attorneys have already announced plans to appeal his conviction, but Merritt says that appeal is unlikely to succeed.
    “His attorneys would have to find some evidence that was new that was not discoverable previously, or some misconduct on behalf of the prosecutors,” Merritt said. “Despite this being a really important case, it’s very limited [in terms of the evidentiary elements that determined its outcome].”
    Oliver’s case would have to make it through a lengthy Texas criminal court appeals process and be ruled on by the state’s supreme court before his attorneys could bring it before a federal circuit court judge, and ultimately to the U.S. Supreme Court.
    “It’s going to change the law if it’s appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court,” Merritt said. “Texas is certainly one of the worst places for civil rights litigation in the country. We’re always concerned about a judge that has conservative leanings who supports law enforcement creating a roadblock, but that would have had to happen at the trial level, even in Texas.”
    The lasting impact of this rare kind of murder conviction is still debatable, in part because Jordan Edwards was what multiple attorneys referred to as the “perfect victim” — an unarmed honor roll student and popular athlete with no criminal record who was beloved by everyone in his community.
    “Our victim was a beautiful, perfect kid who had a remarkable life ahead of him,” Snipes said. “We felt like the defendant was the converse of that.”
    Merritt said people needlessly killed by police shouldn’t have to be saints for their killers to be held criminally accountable — but it certainly helped in Edwards’ case.
    “We need the Jordan Edwards of the world, unfortunately,” he said. “When the civil rights movement was started, Claudette Colvin was the first woman who refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, but Rosa Parks had to come forward, who was loved by her community and had no blemishes. They used her case to upset Montgomery, which then changed the world.”
    Since 2005, there have been thousands of people killed by police, yet only 93 non-federal law enforcement officers have been arrested for murder or manslaughter for an on-duty shooting, according to Bowling Green State University criminal justice Professor Philip Stinson, whose research focuses on crimes committed by police officers.
    According to Stinson, of those 93 arrested officers, only 33 have been convicted of a crime resulting from those shootings. Sixteen of those officers took a plea deal and seventeen were convicted by a jury.
    The only other officer found guilty of murder in the last 13 years is former Rocky Ford, Colorado, Police Officer James Ashby, who was sentenced to 16 years in prison in October 2016 for the fatal shooting of Jack Jacquez.
    “In the cases where an officer has been convicted, it is often for a lesser offense,” Stinson said Thursday. “Roy Oliver testified in his own defense at his trial. Anecdotally, I can tell you over the last several years when that happens, the officers are generally acquitted or they have a hung jury or a mistrial.”
    Former University of Cincinnati Police Officer Ray Tensingtestified in his own defense twice during two separate trials that resulted in hung juries after Tensing fatally shot an unarmed Sam DuBose on July 19, 2015.
    Tensing told jurors that he feared DuBose was going to run him over with his car during a traffic stop. Footage from Tensing’s body camera didn’t back up his story, compelling UC police to fire him. Earlier this year, Tensing received a police union grievance settlement of almost $350,000 from UC for terminating his employment.
    Former North Charleston, South Carolina, Police Officer Michael Slager pleaded guilty to federal civil rights charges in 2017. Slager’s criminal prosecution for fatally shooting Walter Scott in the back while Scott was running away from the officer resulted in a mistrial after he testified in his own defense — even though the shooting was captured on video by a witness’s cell phone camera.
    Edwards, DuBose and Scott are all black and all three were unarmed when they were killed.
    Oliver’s conviction may be encouraging to police reform advocates, but Stinson doesn’t think this one case says anything definitive about changes in how the criminal justice system treats officers accused of homicides.
    “Policing is very static,” Stinson said. “I don’t think the Oliver case would have much of an effect. We see roughly the same number of shootings each year. We don’t seem to see much change in terms of the conviction rate in these cases. They’re very difficult cases to obtain convictions from prosecutors.”
    Still, Merritt said Oliver’s conviction and sentencing are a step in the right direction. Since the officer’s fate was announced Wednesday, Merritt said he’s seen many people on social media complaining that Oliver’s sentence was too lenient. He’s eligible for parole after 7.5 years, but Merritt said it’s unlikely Oliver will be released before the end of his full sentence.
    “He will be a cop behind bars,” Merritt said. “He’s going to have a really tough time in there. It’s unlikely he’ll make it seven and a half years without doing something to survive that will make it difficult for him to get parole. The inmates will realize he’s up for parole and they’re going to be egging him on to get marks on his record that will not allow for his release.”
    Jordan Edwards’ family was happy Oliver was convicted, but were disappointed he didn’t get a life sentence, according to Merritt, who sees the outcome of the case as a victory.
    “I know it’s difficult for black folks to recognize a win as a win sometimes because we’ve been so abused in this country,” Merritt said. “I don’t want to delegitimize their concerns, but people came together and moved heaven and earth to achieve this conviction. We should at least acknowledge the progress even if we’re not satisfied, which we shouldn’t be.”



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