Message to the troops: Do not collaborate with the illegal immigrant detention camps

Dear Friend.

In our new October PDF newsletter, we're again talking about the massive military-hosted immigrant detention camps decreed this summer by the Trump Administration. Just the idea of these concentration camps brings back memories of the forced relocation and incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. While resistance has slowed them down, they are moving forward. Many of us thought something like that could never happen again, and yet, here we are.

We need to reach the troops with this simple challenge: Do not collaborate with the illegal immigrant detention camps. With your help, we'll spend one penny per military service member--$20,000--on a strategic outreach campaign. Our stretch goal is two cents.

Along with everything else you can do to resist this affront to humanity, please support our campaign to challenge military personnel to refuse these illegal orders. Your tax-deductible donation of $50 or $100 will make a huge difference.

Also in this issue: Army Capt. Brittany DeBarros / Shutting down recruiting center; Hoisting peace flag / Presidio 27 "mutiny" 50th anniversary events / Whistleblower Reality Winner update--"So unfair" says Trump

More info


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

www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist




New "Refuse War" Shirts

We've launched a new shirt store to raise funds to support war resisters. 

In addition to the Courage to Resist logo shirts we've offered in the past, we now  have a few fun designs, including a grim reaper, a "Refuse War, Go AWOL" travel theme, and a sporty "AWOL: Support Military War Resisters" shirt.

Shirts are $25 each for small through XL, and bit more for larger sizes. Please allow 9-12 days for delivery within the United States.

50% of each shirt may qualify as a tax-deductible contribution.


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

www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist



Courage to Resist

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Trump calls on military to deploy to the southern border

DoD formally approves military-hosted immigrant concentration camps as non-military sites fill up

Brittany DeBarros is a captain in the US Army; however, her quote above reflects her personal views and not those of the US military.

Hi Friend.

The President of the United States, Donald Trump, once again declared that active duty US military personnel need to be deployed to the southern border in order to repel, "the assault on our country." (Militarytimes.com, October 18, 2018)

It's easy to attack a ragtag group of immigrants, traveling in a public caravan, seeking asylum, and this kind of rhetoric plays well to his anti-immigration base, leading up to the midterm elections. However, it's more than just rhetoric.

This summer, the Trump Administration ordered the military to detain tens of thousands of immigrants in tent cities across the United States. Eight military installations were identified, primarily those near the southern border with unused air strips. The military agreed, and the Department of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services (HHS) got onboard.

In light of Trump's escalating declarations of mobilizing the military to enforce immigration laws, we believe it is urgent that we take the administration at its word. Our government  intends to have the military build these camps, because they plan on detaining tens of thousands more immigrants in the United States – very soon.

"I was sent to a camp at just 5 years old — but even then, they didn't separate children from families," stated actor George Takei recently (June 19, 2018 Foreign Policy op-ed), comparing today's immigrant detention camps to what Japanese American citizens, himself included, endured during World War II. "My family was sent to a racetrack for several weeks to live in a horse stall, but at least we had each other."

We need military service members to speak up and share with us what's happening as plans develop. Courage to Resist believes that all military personnel have a moral and legal obligation to refuse to comply with any order that involves collaboration with these immigrant concentration camps.

Read our complete update

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Event: Military ordered to host camps

SoleSpace, Oakland, California

Monday, November 5th ~ 6pm

In the SF Bay Area? You're invited to a public discussion, "Military ordered to host immigrant concentration camps," on Monday, November 5th at SoleSpace in Uptown Oakland, 1714 Telegraph Avenue. The event will begin promptly at 6:00 pm with a flamenco performance in honor of the youth currently being held at Tornillo Port of Entry. At 7:15 pm, attorney James Branum will present "Military law for civilian attorneys & advocates, an introduction" (90 min.). Attorney CLE credits available. Hosted by Courage to Resist and the Objector Church with military law presentation co-sponsored by the Bay Area Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild. For more info, visit couragetoresist.org/nov5

oct 2018 newsletter

In your new October 2018 PDF newsletter:

  • US military ordered to host massive immigrant concentration camps
  • Army Capt. Brittany DeBarros tweets truth
  • Shutting down recruiting center; Hoisting peace flag
  • Presidio 27 "mutiny" 50th anniversary events
  • Whistleblower Reality Winner update--"So unfair" says Trump 


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

www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist



Transform the Justice System







Court: Evidence To Free Mumia, To Be Continued...

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

October 29, 2018: A victory—the judge granted a 30-day extension to defense attorneys seeking to have Mumia's previous appeals vacated so they can file a new appeal!

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.



A Call for a Mass Mobilization to Oppose NATO, War and Racism

Protest NATO, Washington, DC, Lafayette Park (across from the White House)

1 PM Saturday, March 30, 2019.

Additional actions will take place on Thursday April 4 at the opening of the NATO meeting

April 4, 2019, will mark the 51st anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., the internationally revered leader in struggles against racism, poverty and war.

And yet, in a grotesque desecration of Rev. King's lifelong dedication to peace, this is the date that the military leaders of the North American Treaty Organization have chosen to celebrate NATO's 70th anniversary by holding its annual summit meeting in Washington, D.C. This is a deliberate insult to Rev. King and a clear message that Black lives and the lives of non-European humanity really do not matter.   

It was exactly one year before he was murdered that Rev. King gave his famous speech opposing the U.S. war in Vietnam, calling the U.S. government "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world" and declaring that he could not be silent.

We cannot be silent either. Since its founding, the U.S.-led NATO has been the world's deadliest military alliance, causing untold suffering and devastation throughout Northern Africa, the Middle East and beyond.

Hundreds of thousands have died in U.S./NATO wars in Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Yugoslavia. Millions of refugees are now risking their lives trying to escape the carnage that these wars have brought to their homelands, while workers in the 29 NATO member-countries are told they must abandon hard-won social programs in order to meet U.S. demands for even more military spending.

Every year when NATO holds its summits, there have been massive protests: in Chicago, Wales, Warsaw, Brussels. 2019 will be no exception.

The United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) is calling for a mass mobilization in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, March 30.  Additional actions will take place on April 4 at the opening of the NATO meeting. 

We invite you to join with us in this effort. As Rev. King taught us, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

No to NATO!

End All U.S. Wars at Home and Abroad!

Bring the Troops Home Now! 

No to Racism! 

The Administrative Committee of UNAC,

To add your endorsement to this call, please go here: http://www.no2nato2019.org/endorse-the-action.html

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

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



Good News! Kevin "Rashid" Johnson has been moved back to Sussex 1 state prison in Virginia and he is no longer on death row. His property has been returned and he's able to receive and send 

mail and make phone calls.

Many thanks to all who phoned and wrote to the prison on his behalf.


you can also hear a recent interview with Rashid on Final Straw podcast here: https://thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org/post/tag/kevin-rashid-johnson/

Write to Rashid:

Kevin Rashid Johnson's writings and artwork have been widely circulated. He is the author of a book,Panther Vision: Essential Party Writings and Art of Kevin "Rashid" Johnson, Minister of Defense, New Afrikan Black Panther Party, (Kersplebedeb, 2010).

Write or email:

Kevin Johnson, #1007485

Sussex II State Prison

24414 Musselwhite Drive

Waverly, VA 23891




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.



Stop JROTC Programs

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

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

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

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

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

Onward in divestment,

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

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



Major George Tillery




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

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

Sex for Lies and Manufactured Testimony

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Major Tillery Needs Your Help:

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

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

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

Major Tillery and family


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

    Go to JPay.com;

    code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

    Tell Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner:

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

    Call: 215-686-8000 or

    Write to:

    Major Tillery AM 9786

    SCI Frackville

    1111 Altamont Blvd.

    Frackville, PA 17931

    For More Information, Go To: JusticeForMajorTillery.org


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

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



    Free Leonard Peltier!

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

    By Leonard Peltier

    Art by Leonard Peltier

    Write to:

    Leonard Peltier 89637-132 

    USP Coleman I 

    P.O. Box 1033 

    Coleman, FL 33521

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



    Working people are helping to feed the poor hungry corporations! 

    Charity for the Wealthy!








    Billionaires around the world enjoyed their most profitable period in recorded history, increasing their wealth by around 20 percent in 2017 as the gap between the super-rich and the rest of humanity continued to widen.

    The world's richest people added $1.4 trillion to their fortunes last year, according to a new report published by Swiss bank UBS and cited by The Guardian. This represents a faster rate of growth than ever before, including the infamous uber-capitalist Gilded Age in the U.S, which produced hugely influential and wealthy family dynasties.

    According to the UBS Billionaires 2018 report, a new group of super-elites is emerging. It said the Gilded Age "bred generations of families in the U.S. and Europe who went on to influence business, banking, politics, philanthropy and the arts for more than 100 years. With wealth set to pass from entrepreneurs to their heirs in the coming years, the 21st century multi-generational families are being created."

    The U.S. remains home to the highest number of billionaires, at 585, Business Insider noted. China, though behind at 373, is rapidly closing the gap. Twelve years ago, there were only 16 Chinese billionaires, but now they represent almost 20 percent of the global total. As the report suggested, the "Chinese Century" is progressing well.

    There were 2,158 billionaires worldwide last year, UBS said. Of those, 179 were new members of the club, more than 40 of whom inherited their wealth—a situation expected to become more common over the next 20 years due to the number of billionaires over the age of 70.

    This trend marks a "major wealth transition," the report suggested, noting that over the past five years, "the sum passed by deceased billionaires to beneficiaries has grown by an average of 17 percent each year, to reach $117B in 2017."

    The new generation of billionaires, UBS said, "seem highly motivated, committed to their chosen careers, the family business and/or doing social good." Born in the information age, they "are more willing to take risks" and "have more information and can be more courageous about trying new ideas and being entrepreneurial."

    It might be party time for the super-rich, but in an era of growing inequality this news will do little to comfort the rest of the world. The globe's richest 1 percent now own around half of the world's entire wealth, their share having risen from 42.5 percent in 2008, according to a 2017 Credit Suisse report cited by The Guardian.

    Humanity's 3.5 billion poorest citizens, making up some 70 percent of the world's working population, account for only 2.7 percent of global wealth.

    The revelations of the Panama and Paradise Papers, leaked in 2015 and 2017 respectively, shed some light on how the globe's richest people squirrel away their wealth. Rather than reinvesting and creating jobs as proponents of the widely discredited trickle-down economic theory argue, the super-rich often take money out of national economies and hoard it offshore using tax avoidance loopholes.

    The UBS report did contain some good news. Some of the vast fortunes of global billionaires will be given away to charity thanks to the Giving Pledge—a plan launched by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, the world's second and third richest people. More than 180 people have so far signed up to give up at least half their wealth.



    2) Dear Customer: We're Shutting Off Your Water

    By Wenonah Hauser and Mary Grant, October 29, 2018


    Demonstrators in 2014 protested against the Detroit Water and Sewer Department after it disconnected service to thousands of residents for nonpayment. [And they still don't have clean water!!!...BW]

    What do you do when you turn on your faucet and no water comes out? We estimate that 15 million Americans faced that problem in 2016 when they fell behind on their water bills and their water was shut off.

    Our organization, Food & Water Watch, surveyed the two largest public water systems in each state to determine how many of their residential customers had lost their water for failing to pay their bill. Seventy-three providers responded. The results shocked us.

    The water systems that responded shut off an average of 5 percent of their residential customers, totaling more than a half-million households and affecting an estimated 1.4 million people. The highest shut-off rates took place in cities with high rates of poverty and unemployment. Based on these findings, we estimate that water was shut off to 15 million people nationwide in 2016.

    Our survey didn't look at how long people went without water service. But a recent analysis by the Center for Michigan found that more than 900 Detroit homes went without water for at least three months this year after being disconnected. Making the problem worse for people already behind on their bills, most utilities charge reconnection fees to turn the water back on, in addition to a down payment on the past-due amount.

    In several communities, water has become unaffordable, forcing families to choose between it and other essentials, like food, medicine and transportation. Detroit and New Orleans stood out in our survey. A typical water bill in those cities exceeds $1,000 a year, putting this critical service beyond the budgets of low-income households. For the poorest fifth of households in those cities, typical water bills amounted to more than 9 percent of their income. Most shut-offs happen in the South, particularly in Arkansas, Louisiana and Florida, and in Oklahoma, according to our results.

    This problem is a result of decades of federal underinvestment in water infrastructure, and the inequities that have driven widening wealth and income inequality across the country. As the federal government has cut back support for water and sewer systems, localities have been forced to maintain them with their own resources as infrastructure deteriorates. Federal funding for water and sewer systems has fallen by 74 percent in real dollars since its peak in 1977, according to our analysis. One result is that household water costs have increased at three times the rate of inflation, as real household income has dropped, according to the National Academy of Public Administration.

    And the problem will only become worse. Without any meaningful changes on the federal level, for instance, cities like New Orleans and Jacksonville, Fla., will need to continue to raise rates that are already unaffordable for low-income households to maintain and upgrade their water and sewer systems. A recent study by a researcher at Michigan State University found that if water rates continue to rise as projected, about 36 percent of American households will be unable to pay their water bills by 2022. 

    There are solutions. 

    Local governments can develop affordability programs for low-income customers that cap their water bills according to the customer's ability to pay. The city of Philadelphia, where 40 percent of customers were delinquent, began such a program last year. Water utilities should also adopt lenient payment schedules and payment plans with extended schedules, and offer sufficient notice to customers before shutting off their water. Cities with the fewest shut-offs in our survey gave customers from 35 days after the bill was due to 144 days from the billing date to pay their bills before being disconnected.

    States should require public and private utilities to track water shut-offs for nonpayment and reconnections and make that information available publicly on their websites. At the federal level, the critical need is for more money to repair and update water systems. In total, according to the latest estimates by the Environmental Protection Agency, our drinking waterand wastewater systems need at least $744 billion in investments over the next 20 years.

    Federal policies that adequately fund public water are critical in addressing the interrelated infrastructure and water affordability crises. The Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity and Reliability Act would provide the $35 billion a year needed to maintain and upgrade our water systems. We expected the legislation to be reintroduced in the next session of Congress.

    Water affordability is a national problem, and we need a federal commitment to ensure that every household in the country has access to safe water.

    Wenonah Hauter is the executive director of Food & Water Watch, a nonprofit environmental advocacy organization for clean water and healthy food systems. Mary Grant is director of the group's Public Water for All campaign.



    3) California Tenants Take Rent Control Fight to the Ballot Box

    By Conor Dougherty, October 12. 2018


    A rally in San Francisco by supporters of Proposition 10, a ballot initiative that would loosen California's restraints on local rent control laws.

    LOS ANGELES — From pulpits across Los Angeles, Pastor Kelvin Sauls has spent the past few months delivering sermons on the spiritual benefits of fasting. The food in the sermon is rent, and landlords need less of it. "My role is to bring a moral perspective to what we are dealing with around the housing crisis," Pastor Sauls explained.

    In addition to a Sunday lesson, this is an Election Day pitch. Pastor Sauls is part of the campaign for Proposition 10, a ballot initiative that would loosen state restraints on local rent control laws. The effort has stoked a battle that has already consumed close to $60 million in political spending, a sizable figure even in a state known for heavily funded campaigns.

    Depending on which side is talking, Proposition 10 is either a much-needed tool to help cities solve a housing crisis or a radically misguided idea that will only make things worse. Specifically, it would repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which prevents cities from applying rent control laws to single-family homes and apartments built after 1995.

    The initiative drive builds on the growing momentum of local efforts to expand tenant protections. "In the midst of the worst housing and homeless crisis that our country has ever seen, how does a bill that restricts local government's ability to address it go untouched?" asked Damien Goodmon, director of the Yes on 10 campaign, which is primarily funded by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Los Angeles.

    Proposition 10 has won prominent endorsements from backers including the California Democratic Party and The Los Angeles Times. But opponents have also amassed editorials and broad support, mainly from a coalition of construction unions, nonprofit housing developers and local chambers of commerce.

    Among those fighting the initiative is a relatively recent class of landlords — private equity firms like Blackstone Group, which accumulated a vast residential real estate portfolio after the housing market collapse a decade ago. Landlords warn that repealing the Costa-Hawkins law would create deep uncertainty among developers, making California's housing shortage worse by discouraging construction.

    "This is a serious problem, but the solution to that problem should not land solely on the rental housing industry," said Tom Bannon, president of the California Apartment Association, a landlords' group.

    The California fight reflects a renters' rights movement that is bubbling up in churches and community centers across the country, a semi-coordinated stand of low-income tenants against the gentrifying American city. Last month in the Roxbury section of Boston, about 300 people gathered for an afternoon assembly on how to blunt evictions and economic displacement. The event offered free child care and had organizers speaking English, Spanish and Cantonese.

    Many of these groups are affiliated with a housing and racial justice group called Right to the City Alliance, whose Homes for All campaign has organized tenants in about 50 cities. Even outside California, Homes for All members are closely following the Proposition 10 campaign.

    "We're both watching and learning from how they are building this broad-based movement," said Lisa Owens, executive director of City Life/Vida Urbana, a tenants' rights group in Boston.

    In California and elsewhere, the problem is a lack of affordable housing that has led to cramped households, longer commutes and rising homelessness. About a quarter of the nation's tenants paid more than half of their income in rent in 2016, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard.

    Among the contributing factors are rising construction costs and increasingly stringent land-use regulations that have slowed construction and held back the supply of lower-cost rental housing. New building has skewed toward the upper end of the market, while the share of the overall housing stock affordable to lower-income renters has declined.

    Homeownership has historically been the pressure-release valve for rising rents. But home prices have grown beyond what most people can afford, and private equity firms have turned single-family-home renting into a larger and more concentrated sector.

    Private equity firms like Blackstone — which has a stake of about 40 percent in Invitation Homes, with about 82,000 homes in 17 markets — have become something of a foil for the Proposition 10 campaign. "Meet Donald Trump's uber-rich buddies" begins a "Yes on 10" ad, which proceeds to detail the personal connections among private-equity landlords like Stephen Schwarzman, Blackstone's multibillionaire chief executive, and President Trump.

    Eva Jimenez, who lives with her husband and four children in an Invitation Homes property in Oakland, answered her door in a "Yes on 10" T-shirt ("Because the rent is too damn high," it said on the back). With rents rising, tenants who live in single-family homes that are ineligible for rent control, like Ms. Jimenez, have become active in the Proposition 10 campaign, and she is a member of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, which is running the "Yes on 10" Campaign with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

    Given how confusing it can be to explain the Costa-Hawkins law and how the ballot initiative would change things, Ms. Jimenez said that when she distilled her pitch to "everything is about rent control," it resonated deeply with neighbors.

    Economists have an almost universally dim view of rent control laws, and a number have supported the landlords' contention that Proposition 10 could make California's housing problems worse. Under current law, California landlords can raise their rent as much as they like after a rent-controlled tenant leaves. If the Costa-Hawkins law is repealed, cities could write laws that barred them from ever raising their rents to market rates. That could prompt landlords to convert apartments into owner-occupied housing, worsening the shortage of affordable rentals.

    This does not, however, mean that economists are against providing low-income renters with relief. A number of scholars, including Rebecca Diamond, a Stanford economist, have found that rent control laws slow displacement, particularly among poor or older tenants, but also accelerate gentrification. A stronger support system, such as tax credits that insure against increasing rents, could offer protection without distorting the housing market.

    Tax credits are expensive to the state budget, however, and have little chance of becoming law any time soon. Rent control, by contrast, doesn't cost taxpayers anything in dollars, at least not right away, and despite the long-term concerns of economists, it has the potential to help tenants now.

    Repealing the Costa-Hawkins law has been a goal of tenant advocates almost since it was enacted in 1995. But given the shoestring budgets of community groups, there had been no sustained effort capable of funding a statewide political campaign.

    Enter Michael Weinstein, the president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Los Angeles. The foundation, the world's largest AIDS charity, is on a pace to generate some $2 billion a year in revenue in 2020, most of it from a chain of nonprofit pharmacies.

    While nonprofits are barred from engaging in partisan political spending, they are free to run voter initiatives. Mr. Weinstein has become widely known for his willingness to bankroll state and local ballot measures, including an anti-development ordinance in Los Angeles, a statewide initiative to reduce the price California pays for pharmaceuticals and another that would have required condoms in pornography. All failed

    So far the "Yes on 10" campaign has raised about $17 million, virtually all of it from the foundation. The landlords have raised $42 million. Support for the measure is trailing opposition among likely voters, according to a recent poll by the Public Policy Institute of California.

    Regardless of the outcome, the rent control battle seems unlikely to subside soon. Separate from Proposition 10, tenant activists have put rent control measures on the 2018 ballot in several California cities, and are gathering signatures for more after that.

    And Mr. Weinstein said that win or lose, he was not going away. If Proposition 10 fails, he has promised to pay for another bid to repeal the Costa-Hawkins law, possibly in 2020. "I'm kind of like gum on your shoe," he said.

    Lauren Hepler contributed reporting from Oakland, Calif.



    4) Trump Persuaded Struggling People to Invest in Scams, Lawsuit Says

    By Maggie Haberman and Benjamin Weiser, October 29, 2018


    President Trump at Joint Base Andrews, Md., on Saturday.

    A new lawsuit accuses President Trump, his company and three of his children of using the Trump name to entice vulnerable people to invest in sham business opportunities.

    Filed in federal court in Manhattan on Monday, the lawsuit comes just days before the midterm elections, raising questions about whether its timing is politically motivated. It is being underwritten by a nonprofit whose chairman has been a donor to Democratic candidates.

    The allegations take aim at the heart of Mr. Trump's personal narrative that he is a successful deal-maker who built a durable business, charging he and his family lent their name to a series of scams.

    The 160-page complaint alleges that Mr. Trump and his family received secret payments from three business entities in exchange for promoting them as legitimate opportunities, when in reality they were get-rich-quick schemes that harmed investors, many of whom were unsophisticated and struggling financially.

    Those business entities were ACN, a telecommunications marketing company that paid Mr. Trump millions of dollars to endorse its products; the Trump Network, a vitamin marketing enterprise; and the Trump Institute, which the suit said offered "extravagantly priced multiday training seminars" on Mr. Trump's real estate "secrets."

    The four plaintiffs, who were identified only with pseudonyms like Jane Doe, depict the Trump Organization as a racketeering enterprise that defrauded thousands of people for years as the president turned from construction to licensing his name for profit. The suit also names Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump as defendants.

    A White House spokeswoman for Mr. Trump and two lawyers for the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

    The suit is not the first to accuse Mr. Trump of fraud. Shortly after his election in November 2016, he agreed to pay $25 million to settle a series of lawsuits, including one by New York State's attorney general, that alleged unscrupulous practices by Trump University, another venture that claimed to sell access to his real estate secrets. Mr. Trump settled without acknowledging fault or liability, his lawyer said at the time.

    And in June, the New York attorney general's office filed a lawsuit seeking to dissolve the Donald J. Trump Foundation, claiming the charity had engaged in self-dealing and other violations. The foundation's lawyers called the suit a political attack.

    But the new suit alleges "a pattern of racketeering activity" involving three other organizations. Roberta A. Kaplan and Andrew G. Celli Jr., two lawyers for the plaintiffs, said in a statement that they were not aware of "any prior case against the Trumps alleging consumer fraud on this scale."

    "This case connects the dots at the Trump Organization and involves systematic fraud that spanned more than a decade, involved multiple Trump businesses and caused tremendous harm to thousands of hardworking Americans," the statement said.

    Asked about the suit's timing, Ms. Kaplan and Mr. Celli said their firms — Kaplan, Hecker & Fink and Emery, Celli, Brinckerhoff & Abady — had conducted a lengthy investigation and the plaintiffs were eager to file. "The case is being brought now because it is ready now," the lawyers said.

    The lawyers said a nonprofit organization, the Tesseract Research Center, was funding the lawsuit by paying attorney's fees and costs.

    Morris Pearl, the Democratic donor who is the nonprofit's chairman, said in a statement that his organization hoped to draw attention to the challenges faced by people who sustain losses but cannot seek redress through the courts " because of the extreme wealth and power on the other side."

    The lawyers said they were asking the court to allow the plaintiffs to proceed using pseudonyms because of "serious and legitimate security concerns given the heated political environment." The lawyers also declined to make their clients available for interviews.

    The four plaintiffs each invested in ACN after watching promotional videos featuring Mr. Trump.

    According to the lawsuit, ACN required investors to pay $499 to sign up to sell its products, like a videophone and other services, with the promise of additional profits if they recruited others to join.

    Mr. Trump described the phone in an ACN news release as "amazing" but failed to disclose he was being "paid lavishly for his endorsement," the suit says.

    One plaintiff, a hospice worker from California identified as "Jane Doe," decided to join ACN in 2014 after attending a recruitment meeting at a Los Angeles hotel where she listened to speakers and watched Mr. Trump on video extol the investment opportunity.

    For her, the video was the "turning point," the lawsuit said.

    "Doe believed that Trump had her best interests at heart," the suit said.

    Jane Doe then signed up for a larger ACN meeting in Palm Springs, Calif., which cost almost $1,500, and she later spent thousands more traveling to conventions in Cleveland and Detroit, according to the suit.

    In the end, she earned $38 — the only income she would ever receive from the company, the suit said.

    Susan Beachy contributed research.



    5) The Neuroscience of Hate Speech

    By Richard A. Friedman, October 31, 2018


    Do politicians' words, the president's especially, matter?

    Since he has been in office, President Trump has relentlessly demonized his political opponents as evil and belittled them as stupid. He has called undocumented immigrants animals. His rhetoric has been a powerful contributor to our climate of hate, which is amplified by the right-wing media and virulent online culture. 

    Of course, it's difficult to prove that incendiary speech is a direct cause of violent acts. But humans are social creatures — including and perhaps especially the unhinged and misfits among us — who are easily influenced by the rage that is everywhere these days. Could that explain why just in the past two weeks we have seen the horrifying slaughter of 11 Jews in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, with the man arrested described as a rabid anti-Semite, as well as what the authorities say was the attempted bombing of prominent Trump critics by an ardent Trump supporter?

    You don't need to be a psychiatrist to understand that the kind of hate and fear-mongering that is the stock-in-trade of Mr. Trump and his enablers can goad deranged people to action. But psychology and neuroscience can give us some important insights into the power of powerful people's words. 

    We know that repeated exposure to hate speech can increase prejudice, asa series of Polish studies confirmed last year. It can also desensitize individuals to verbal aggression, in part because it normalizes what is usually socially condemned behavior.

    At the same time, politicians like Mr. Trump who stoke anger and fear in their supporters provoke a surge of stress hormones, like cortisol and norepinephrine, and engage the amygdala, the brain center for threat. One study, for example, that focused on "the processing of danger" showed that threatening language can directly activate the amygdala. This makes it hard for people to dial down their emotions and think before they act.

    Mr. Trump has managed to convince his supporters that America is the victim and that we face an existential threat from imagined dangers like the migrant caravan and the "fake, fake disgusting news."

    Were the men arrested in the synagogue shootings and bombing attacks listening? Robert Bowers, for example, apparently blamed Jews for helping transport members of the Central American migrant caravan. It seems he did not think the president was going far enough in protecting the country from invaders. "I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered," he wrote online before the murderous rampage. And Cesar Sayoc Jr., accused of mailing bombs to CNN, echoed the president in a tweet: "More lies con job Propaganda bye failing failing CNN garbage."

    But you don't have to be this unhinged to be moved to violence by incendiary rhetoric. Just about any of us could be susceptible under the right conditions.

    Susan Fiske, a psychologist at Princeton, and colleagues have shown thatdistrust of an out-group is linked to anger and impulses toward violence. This is particularly true when a society faces economic hardship and people are led to see outsiders as competitors for their jobs.

    Mina Cikara, a psychologist at Harvard and a co-author of that study, told me that "when a group is put on the defensive and made to feel threatened, they begin to believe that anything, including violence, is justified." 

    There is something else that Mr. Trump does to facilitate violence against those he dislikes: He dehumanizes them. "These aren't people," he once said about undocumented immigrants suspected of gang ties. "These are animals."

    Research by Dr. Cikara and others shows that when one group feels threatened, it makes it much easier to think about people in another group as less than human and to have little empathy for them — two psychological conditions that are conducive to violence. 

    A 2011 study by Dr. Fiske and a colleague looked at "social cognition" — the ability to put oneself in someone else's place and recognize "the other as a human being subject to moral treatment." Subjects in the study were found to be so unempathetic toward drug addicts and homeless people that they found it difficult to imagine how those people thought or felt. Using brain M.R.I., researchers showed that images of members of dehumanized groups failed to activate brain regions implicated in normal social cognition and instead activated the subjects' insula, a region implicated in feelings of disgust. 

    As Dr. Fiske has written, "Both science and history suggest that people will nurture and act on their prejudices in the worst ways when these people are put under stress, pressured by peers, or receive approval from authority figures to do so."

    So when someone like President Trump dehumanizes his adversaries, he could be putting them beyond the reach of empathy, stripping them of moral protection and making it easier to harm them.

    If you still have any doubt about the power of political speech to foment physical violence, consider the classic experiment by the Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram, who in the early 1960s studied the willingness of a group of men to obey an authority figure.

    Subjects were told to administer electrical shocks to another participant, without knowing that the shocks were fake. Sixty-five percent of the subjects did what they were told and delivered the maximum shock, which if real could have been fatal. The implication is that we can easily be influenced by authority to do terrible harm to others — just by receiving an order.

    Now imagine what would happen if President Trump actually issued a call to arms to his supporters. Scared? You should be.

    Richard A. Friedman is a professor of clinical psychiatry and the director of the psychopharmacology clinic at the Weill Cornell Medical College, and a contributing opinion writer.



    6) Google Walkout: Employees Stage Protest Over Handling of Sexual Harassment

    By Amie Tsang and Adam Satariano, November 1, 2018


    In Dublin, outside Google's European headquarters, employees walked off the job on Thursday to protest how the company has treated executives accused of sexual misconduct.

    Employees at Google offices around the world held a wave of walkouts on Thursday to protest the company's handling of sexual harassment.

    The walkouts, which started in Asia and spread across continents, were planned for around 11 a.m. in their time zones. Protests were expected through the day in Google offices in the United States.

    The backlash was prompted by an article in The New York Times last week that revealed that Google had paid millions of dollars in exit packages to male executives accused of harassment, while staying silent about the transgressions.

    As late morning arrived in different time zones on Thursday, Google employees walked away from their work at offices in Singapore; Hyderabad, India; Berlin; Zurich; Dublin; London; and New York.

    Employees posted photos on social media, but it was unclear how long the protests lasted as many of those who stopped working stayed inside the buildings.

    Brenda Salinas, a Google employee in London, did not come to work on Thursday because of an injury, but she expressed her support for the walkout.

    "I've been at Google for over a year," she said. "Last week was one of the hardest weeks of my yearlong tenure at Google, but today is the best day. I feel like I have thousands of colleagues all over the world who like me, are committed to creating a culture where everyone is treated with dignity."

    Ms. Salinas also noted that contract workers were included in the demands from the organizers of the protest. "That doesn't get talked about enough in tech," she said.

    A news release from the organizers noted that "the power structure that inherently diminishes" temps, vendors or contractors was "rooted in the same foundation of inequality."

    On Wednesday, Sundar Pichai, Google's chief executive, said that the company's management was aware of the coming walkouts and that employees would "have the support they need if they wish to participate."

    "Employees have raised constructive ideas for how we can improve our policies and our processes," he added. "We are taking in all their feedback so we can turn these ideas into action."

    The employees who organized the walkout have called on Google to end its use of private arbitration in cases of alleged sexual assault and harassment. They have also demanded the publication of a transparency report on instances of sexual harassment, further disclosures of salaries and compensation, an employee representative on the company board and a chief diversity officer who could speak directly to the board.

    Google's management team has taken steps to calm the concerns in the last week. Mr. Pichai and Larry Page, a co-founder of Google and the chief executive of its parent company, Alphabet, have both apologized, with Mr. Pichai later saying his initial statement "wasn't enough" and apologizing again.

    Google said that it had fired 48 people over sexual harassment accusations over the past two years, and that none had received an exit package. One of the executives whom Alphabet continued employing after he was accused of harassment resigned on Tuesday and did not obtain an exit package, but this has done little to quell the unrest.

    Tensions have been simmering as Silicon Valley workers increasingly push back against decisions by their leaders that they feel do more harm than good. Mr. Pichai has faced rebuke for developing a search engine for China that would censor results. Google employees have also pushed back against the company's artificial intelligence work with the Pentagon.

    Raymond Zhong contributed reporting.



    7) The Fed Is Relaxing Banking Rules. What Goodies Are the Banks Getting?

    By Peter Eavis, October 31, 2018


    A Federal Reserve proposal would loosen regulations on large banks such as Capital One.

    The Federal Reserve proposed on Wednesday loosening rules for 16 financial institutions, an important move forward in the Trump administration's effort to roll back bank regulation.

    The Fed's proposals would affect banks with $100 billion to $700 billion in assets, including U.S. Bancorp, Capital One and American Express. The changes would not apply to the nation's eight largest banks, like Bank of America and Goldman Sachs, which have significantly more loans and securities on their balance sheets.

    In May, Congress passed the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, which pares back some of the regulations introduced after the financial crisis of 2008. The aim was to reduce compliance costs for many banks. Supporters of the law also contended that the banks it covers would not pose a big risk to the wider economy if they were to fail.

    The act required the Fed to examine banks with assets between $100 billion and $250 billion and draft specific rule changes that would lessen regulatory burdens. But the Fed's latest proposals would also relax rules for some banks that have more than $250 billion in assets, which drew criticism from Lael Brainard, a Fed governor appointed by the Obama administration.

    The Fed's deregulation comes at a time when banks do not seem to be weighed down by regulation. Bank profits are surging, and they are making large payouts to shareholders in the form of dividends and stock buybacks.

    Still, Randal K. Quarles, who President Trump appointed to the Fed to oversee bank supervision, said of the Fed's proposals, "I am hopeful that firms will see reduced regulatory complexity and easier compliance with no decline in the resiliency of the U.S. banking system."

    Perhaps the most significant change concerned a rule aimed at making sure banks have enough cash in times of crisis. The rule, known as the liquidity coverage ratio, requires banks to stockpile so-called liquid assets (like Treasury securities) that can be sold quickly to raise cash during a crunch period. The Fed's proposal would allow 11 banks, including large regional lenders like SunTrust and BB&T, to stop complying with the ratio altogether, and it relaxes the ratio for four other firms. The Fed would still require the banks that get to drop the ratio to comply with other liquid standards. But Ms. Brainard said in a statement that the expected reduction in liquid assets would make it more likely that the affected banks would come under greater stress during challenging financial conditions.

    Another big change proposed Wednesday concerned the tests the Fed performs on banks once a year to assess whether they have the financial strength to make it through a financial and economic shock. Bank executives have long complained of the high cost of complying with the tests, but regulators have contended the tests help them and bank executives better understand the risks in their businesses. Under the proposals, 11 banks will be subject to tests once every two years.

    No bank with over $100 billion in assets will escape the stress tests altogether, a signal of their importance to regulators. The Fed also did not relax rules regarding so-called living wills, the plans that banks must draw up to make it easier for regulators to wind down failing firms. But the Fed said proposed changes to the living wills would be coming soon.

    The May legislation also contained language that gave the Fed leeway to adjust regulations for firms with more than $250 billion in assets. In reviewing regulation for these bigger banks, the Fed looked at the risks in the businesses of banks with up to $700 billion in assets. PNC Financial Services has $380 billion in assets, and though it is above $250 billion, it is in a category of banks that would, under the Fed's proposals, enjoy the relaxed liquidity rules. Northern Trust, with a much lower $132 billion in assets, is in a category that does not get that break. The reason is that Northern Trust has significant business overseas. PNC is more of a traditional regional lender.

    Still, in a statement on Wednesday, Ms. Brainard said the proposals softening the requirements for banks with between $250 billion and $700 billion went "beyond the provisions" of the legislation passed in May. The proposed changes "weaken the buffers that are core to the resilience of our system," she added.



    8) Widow of Slain Officer Removed From Mumia-Abu-Jamal Hearing

    By The Associated Press, October 29, 2018



    PHILADELPHIA — The widow of a police officer slain almost four decades ago was ordered removed from a courtroom after protesting a judge's decision to extend the appeal hearing of former death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal (moo-MEE'-ah AH'-boo jah-MAHL').

    The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Maureen Faulkner protested after a judge granted a 30-day extension to defense attorneys seeking to have Abu-Jamal's previous appeals vacated so they can file a new appeal.

    The paper reports that Faulkner was ordered escorted out as she continued to protest, and said on the way out "Thirty-eight years! This is wrong!" She apologized outside the courtroom. The judge said the court was "sensitive to both sides."

    The former Black Panther spent 29 years on death row following his conviction in the 1981 murder of Philadelphia officer Daniel Faulkner.



    9) I Have a Green Card Now. But Am I Welcome?

    By Javier Zamora, November 3, 2018


    Salvadorans fleeing violence at home traveled in Guatemala on Friday as part of a migrant caravan headed to the United States.

    My best friends and I try to camp on a Northern California river every summer, in the hopes it becomes tradition. We have done it three of the past four years. This year, because the Russian River was low, we went westward from our usual spot. On our way, we drove past a house with a Confederate flag flying over it. My friends are white; I am not. 

    I felt uneasy when I saw the flag, but not unsafe. A year ago, I would have felt different.

    I had recently returned to California from El Salvador, where I had lived until I was 9. Inside my wallet, I carried a card that granted me the privilege to not have to constantly worry about being stopped, searched, deported. 

    The date printed on my actually green "Permanent Resident" card is July 11, 2018: 7/11, a date that will always remind me of the bright blue 7-Eleven Slurpees I used to drink. And also, in the year 2018, of a long summer of the Trump administration's cruelty on family separation. A summer when "Where are the children?" was a trending topic. 

    Then, even though so many of the kids were still not with their parents, people forgot about the kids, or the people fleeing for their lives and hoping that this country would grant them asylum.

    That was until a few weeks, and now, a few days before the midterm elections. The president stirred up fears of a caravan that was an "invasion of our country" — so dangerous that he is sending thousands of United States troops to intercept the invaders at the border. He's also floated the idea that, despite the Constitution, being born in this country is not a guarantee of citizenship. This is the cynical manipulation of white Americans' fears; fears of the other. Watching this on TV, I feel exactly like I felt in my first days in this country in 1999 — different, unwanted.

    This is the country I can permanently stay in now.

    I was born in El Salvador, a small Central American nation of 6.5 million people, in a town near the coast, 30 minutes from the airport. A civil war that the United States invested in plagued the country for more than a decade before the war finally "ended" in 1992, two years after I was born. El Salvador's homicide rate is one of the highest in the world. My family over there calls it "the situation." As in: We lock our doors at 8 p.m. because of the situation; or, the situation doesn't let us go to that part of town. The situation has driven, is driving and will continue to drive hundreds out of the country. A Salvadoran caravan left the capital last Wednesday.

    My father left because of the war in 1991. Mom followed three years later. I followed, unaccompanied, in 1999. I did not understand what a border was, or what legality meant. What I did understand was that I wanted to be reunited with my parents, to be held by them. 

    I faced corrupt cops in Guatemala, had M-16s pointed at me in Mexico, had a shotgun pointed at me by an Arizona rancher. The group I was traveling with was surveilled, followed by helicopters. The border has always been highly militarized. The caravan is a caravan because it is safer to flee in numbers. 

    Before July 11, I had been under Temporary Protected Status, which the Trump administration says it wants to end, even after a judge ruled it must stay in place. The status is finite, meaning it does not provide a pathway to citizenship. But I worked hard, did well in school, went to college, became a writer, published widely, wrote a book, earned some acclaim. I have known the whole time that every grade, every poem, every student evaluation, every paper has been a piece of evidence that might prove my "worth" to someone judging it. This was enough to clear the way for an Employment-Based Extraordinary Ability visa (EB-1), and then a green card.

    Whether I wanted to or not, I've lived within the exhausting and dehumanizing dichotomy between the good versus bad immigrant narrative. If I behaved badly in school, or wasn't learning English fast enough, I was fulfilling what was expected of me, bare minimum. If I was excelling, I was one of the good ones, one of the immigrants that people often ask, "Why don't they give you papers?" 

    The final step of the green card vetting process was to return to El Salvador, where I hadn't been in 19 years. I had to pass medical exams and an interview at the American Embassy. In other words, to obtain the legal right to remain in the United States, safely away from the country I fled at age 9, I had to go back to that country. I was woken up by gunshots five times while I was there for around a month. 

    While I was in El Salvador in June, waiting for my interview, the Trump administration's policy of separating children from their parents at the border was in full swing. I was staying with my grandfather. One morning I decided to check my email. I hadn't looked at it in days. Someone had sent a link to a news story: "We have an orchestra here," were the words a border patrol agent said in a recording released by ProPublica.org. I knew better than to click the link, but I did anyway. Grandpa had already gone to the market and brought back tamales de elote, beans, queso fresco. He never let me go to the market with him. That little girl's cries and the cries of the other children on the recording were the coldest rain that did not stop. My chest opened and has not closed since. 

    On the Russian River, enjoying the end of the summer, my green card inside my wallet, my friends asked how I would define being American. We tried to come up with definitions, but they seemed to fall short. 

    I remembered waiting for my number to be called at the United States Embassy in San Salvador. G44. Three arrows were painted on the embassy floor, leading from the street to the interview booths. A green one for green card applications. A yellow one for other visas. And a purple one for visitor visas. I followed the green one to a seating area from which I could see the rest of the people in the room, the visitors and the other-visas, make their way to the interview booths. I waited one hour, then another, for G44 to be called. I tried to keep calm as I watched people argue with the officers or simply cry on their way out of the embassy, following the same colored lines they had stepped on hours earlier. I imagined they had all been denied, and wondered how many of them would try to leave by other means.

    It has been strange to navigate the good news of my visa and now my permanent residency, along with the rise of President Trump and his anti-immigrant rhetoric. I still cannot vote until I'm a citizen. That possibility won't come true for another five years. 

    I think the closest thing to defining American is a false sense of safety. With this card in my pocket, I should feel safe, or at least safer, but I truly don't. Not when there has been a rise of people with legal documentation getting stopped by ICE. Not when the president himself is questioning the 14th Amendment. It has been hard for me to accept that I have, in a way, benefited from the "American dream," whatever that may mean today.

    Javier Zamora is the author of "Unaccompanied," a book of poetry.



    10) Rural America's Own Private Flint: Polluted Water Too Dangerous to Drink

    By Jack Healy, November 3, 2018


    Nitrates, a common farming byproduct from manure spreading, have been linked to an array of serious health risks.

    ARMENIA, Wis. — The groundwater that once ran cool and clean from taps in this Midwestern farming town is now laced with contaminants and fear. People refuse to drink it. They won't brush their teeth with it. They dread taking showers.

    Rural communities call it their own, private Flint— a diffuse, creeping water crisis tied to industrial farms and slack regulations that for years has tainted thousands of residential wells across the Midwest and beyond.

    Now, fears and frustration over water quality and contamination have become a potent election-year issue, burbling up in races from the fissured bedrock here in Wisconsin to chemical-tainted wells in New Hampshire to dwindling water reserves in Arizona. President Trump's actions to loosen clean water rules have intensified a battle over regulations and environmental protections unfolding on the most intensely local level: in people's own kitchen faucets.

    In Wisconsin and other Midwestern states where Republicans run the government, environmental groups say that politicians have cut budgets for environmental enforcement and inspections and weakened pollution rules. In Iowa, for example, the Republican-led Legislature dismissed a package of bills that would have blocked any new large-scale hog operations until the state cleaned up its nitrogen-laden rivers and streams.

    "The regulations favor agriculture," said Gordon Gottbeheut, 77, whose nitrate-contaminated well near Armenia, Wis., sits next to a field that is injected with manure. "When they keep cutting enforcement and people, there's nobody to keep track of what's happening."

    There are no precise water-quality surveys of the galaxy of private wells that serve 43 million people in the United States, but sampling by the United States Geological Survey has found contamination in about one of every five wells.

    Few water-quality rules regulate those wells, meaning there is no water company to call, no backup system to turn to, and often no simple way to cure the contamination. In Flint, lead-tainted water prompted a public health emergency that led to a criminal investigation.

    Homeowners say they are forced to choose between installing expensive filtration systems, spending thousands to dig deeper wells, ignoring the problem or moving.

    In Wisconsin, a state report recently found that as many as 42,000 of the state's 676,000 private wells, or 6 percent, were likely to exceed the federal health standards for nitrates, which can come from fertilizer use and manure spreading. Nitrates have been linked to a dangerous blood condition in babies and may increase cancer risks in adults.

    One of those wells belongs to Carol Mount and Clark Elmore, whose home sits atop the sandy, permeable soil just down the road from a 3,000-cow dairy in the Armenia area. This spring, the nitrate levels in their well tested at 45 parts per million. The federal health limit is 10 parts.

    "Our water is screwed," Ms. Mount said. Forty percent of her neighbors whose wells were tested this year also exceeded the federal standards for nitrates.

    Wisconsin's water wars have raged with particular ferocity. Conservation groups say Gov. Scott Walker's administration has diluted environmental oversight to drive a pro-business agenda. A 2016 legislative report found that the state agency responsible for big livestock operations only issued violations in 6 percent of the cases in which its own pollution rules had been broken.

    But now, as Mr. Walker runs for a third term, his Democratic challenger, Tony Evers, has turned polluted wetlands and unsafe water into campaign slogans. In Lodi, north of the state capital, Ann Groves Lloyd is campaigning for the State Assembly with a tongue-in-cheek ad in which she tries to water her cows with plastic bottles and irrigate her fields with a water cooler strapped to a John Deere tractor.

    Some voters who say they cannot drink from the taps or water their livestock without worrying about nitrates or E. coli bacteria say the state's deregulatory spree has gone too far.

    "I blame the government," Jose Rangel said one afternoon as he sat in the living room of his trailer home, reviewing a letter confirming that his 27-foot-deep well had tested at double the federal safety limits for nitrates. "We can't do nothing about it. I'll vote. I want clean water."

    The fight is echoing in state legislative races in New Hampshire, Maine, North Carolina and Michigan, where candidates have put river contamination and chemical spills at the center of their campaigns.

    "They're hearing more about water than Donald Trump," said Daniel Squadron, executive director of Future Now, a group that supports liberal causes in statehouse races.

    The Walker administration has defended its environmental record, pointing to new restrictions on manure spreading in eastern Wisconsin, where contaminants can seep through the thin soil and into the cracked bedrock that supplies people's water.

    "The governor is committed to working to ensure that all families in Wisconsin are safe, and will continue to work with those who can help us achieve our shared goals," Austin Altenburg, a spokesman for Mr. Walker's campaign, said in an email.

    Jim Dick, a spokesman for the Department of Natural Resources, said its inspections of major livestock operations were higher than federal goals set by the Environmental Protection Agency for the past two years.

    Agriculture and dairy groups say that farmers drink the same water and also want it to be clean, and are trying to live up to state and federal environmental rules at a moment when low crop prices and President Trump's trade policies have rattled farmers across the country. In corners of Wisconsin, for example, farmers have set up state-supported nonprofits focused on improving water, air and soil health.

    But Kriss Marion, an organic farmer campaigning for State Senate through southern Wisconsin, said the state's wetlands, streams and groundwater were being stripped of protections as industrial farms were allowed to grow larger and larger. She said staff levels at the Department of Natural Resources had been "gutted" under Mr. Walker.

    "That's why I am running," she said. "This is the fight of the decade."

    The Republican incumbent in her district, Howard Marklein, supported a $3 billion incentive package championed by Mr. Walker to draw a huge new electronics factory to Wisconsin that also allowed the factory to bypass environmental and water rules. He has been endorsed by trade groups representing dairy, pork, cattle, potato and corn farmers.

    Water utilities that serve poor, rural areas fall far short of federal standards for drinking water, compared with urban water systems.

    "If it's your own private well, it's your own private problem," said Maureen Muldoon, a groundwater researcher and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

    In Armenia, it is now everyone's problem.

    Wells contaminated by bacteria or hazardous microorganisms can be blasted with chlorine and other disinfectants. But there is no easy fix for nitrates. The Armenia Growers Coalition, a group that represents three big farms in the area, including the 3,000-cow Central Sands Dairy, is delivering bottled water to people and has offered to pay for water-treatment systems.

    The group said it was working with homeowners, and blamed the contamination on "farming practices from decades ago." The owners of the Central Sands Dairy declined to comment beyond sending a statement through the Growers Coalition.

    For some, the water problems have tarnished the natural allure of an out-of-the way town whose nonfarm economy consists of two bars, one of them a strip club. Away from the noise and smell of the thousands of cows, houses are tucked into the red pines and pinned to the banks above the Wisconsin River.

    "It's so sad," said Ms. Leonard, whose well tested at four times the safety limits for nitrates. "It's so beautiful here."



    11)  Analysis: African-Americans pay more for rent, especially in white neighborhoods

    By Dirk Early, Edgar Olsen and Paul E. Carrillo, October 31 2018


    For many years, housing discrimination against African-Americans and other minorities was legal, open, and common throughout the U.S. Racial covenants, openly advertising for white tenants, government policies restricting access to credit for minorities, and threats of violence greatly restricted the housing choices available to minority owners and renters.

    Although the Supreme Court declared the most egregious practices unconstitutional many years ago, racial attitudes still play a major role in housing market outcomes.

    A recent study by Patrick Bayer, from Duke University, and his coauthors have established convincingly that African-Americans pay higher sales prices than whites for identical units in the same neighborhood. Understanding racial rent differences is even more important since nearly 60 percent of black households are renters.

    Our new study, Racial Rent Differences in U.S. Housing Markets: Evidence from the Housing Voucher Program, fills this gap. Using data from rental units in 2000-2002 across all metropolitan areas of the country and the non-metropolitan areas of each state, we estimate racial differences in the rents paid for identical housing in the same neighborhood and show how they vary with neighborhood racial composition.

    Our results indicate that households led by African-Americans pay more for identical housing in identical neighborhoods than their white counterparts, and that this rent premium increases as neighborhoods get whiter.

    In neighborhoods where whites are less than 30 percent of residents, the premium is between 0.5 and 1 percent. The premium rises to about 3 percent in neighborhoods where whites are more than 60 percent of all residents. Chicago does not fare well in this analysis, showing a higher rent premium than most metropolitan areas. We estimate that African-Americans in Chicago pay a rent premium between 5 and 6 percent in neighborhoods that are 80 percent white, although those estimates are imprecisely measured. Still, for a rental apartment costing $1500 per month, this could mean a racial premium of $900 or more per year for an African-American renter.

    We know much more about the extent of discrimination than the causes and our data do not allow us to determine the mechanisms that lead to the racial rent premiums we detect. That said, two explanations fit with our results. Landlords charging different rents based on race almost surely explains some of racial rent premiums, but our primary explanation for racial rent differences is not based on that presumption. It is based on the idea that blacks search less in the whitest areas and hence tend to rent overpriced units in those neighborhoods.

    The aversion of some landlords to dealing with African-American tenants and the aversion of some white tenants to African-American neighbors should lead to a sorting of landlords and tenants. Landlords with little or no aversion to dealing with blacks should work in predominantly black areas and landlords with the greatest aversion in predominantly white areas. A similar sorting across neighborhoods will occur for white tenants. Therefore, blacks might reasonably expect to face the most hostility from landlords and neighbors in the whitest neighborhoods. If blacks search less in those neighborhoods based on this assumption, they will typically end up in overpriced units relative to whites. Longer searches for both African-Americans and whites generally result in lower rent prices.

    The federal Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968 but we still see racial rent and price premiums half a century later. How effective that Act and the other laws aimed at reducing housing discrimination have been in increasing opportunities for minorities should be better understood.

    Since housing is typically the largest cost facing a family, especially for those with low to moderate incomes, the causes of racial rent premiums need to be better understood. Without that, it is difficult to design policies to address this common problem across the US.

    Dirk Early is a professor of economics at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.

    Edgar Olsen is a professor of economics and public policy at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va.

    Paul Carrillo is an associate professor of economics and International Affairs at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.



    12) Belgians Open Homes, and Hearts, to Migrants

    By Steven ringer and Milan Schreuer, November 5, 2018


    Anne-Catherine de Neve, center, at dinner with migrants her family was hosting for the night.

    MONT-SAINT-GUIBERT, Belgium — The migrants while away their days in Brussels at Maximilian Park, near the busy Gare du Nord, playing soccer on the durable artificial grass, checking their smartphones, dodging the police and trying to find a way to Britain.

    Roxane Hauzeur, a designer for a fashion house, began volunteering to help them a year ago, working with a new organization that provides housing and other assistance for the migrants, most of them from Africa and seeking asylum.

    She found herself swept away, transported.

    Ms. Hauzeur started bringing food, then giving rides, but soon she was playing host to up to five people a night in her small Brussels apartment. The experience has transformed her, she said.

    "It was like a tsunami in my life," she said. "You come and meet these people and you realize they're just like you."

    The latest refugee crisis, which peaked in 2015, brought hundreds of thousands of migrants to Europe. And though the numbers have dropped considerably, many in Belgium, as elsewhere in Europe, see the migrants, often young and male, as a threat.

    Ms. Hauzeur and her fellow volunteers at Citizen's Platform for the Support of Refugees, have a different view. "I feel ashamed of my country," she said. "I heard so many times that Europe is the land of human rights, but it's not true."

    Citizen's Platform was the idea of Mehdi Kassou, a 35-year-old Belgian of Moroccan ancestry who left his job with a Korean company to found the group. Roughly 7,000 Belgians volunteer there to help migrants and asylum seekers.

    When Mr. Kassou walks through the park, he is greeted like a rock star. He gets warm hellos, fist bumps and conversation in French and the various Arabic dialects he is trying to learn.

    The migrants who come to Belgium see it as their best way to slip into Britain. But they face a variety of legal complications.

    Under the current rules of the European Union, migrants are supposed to register and seek asylum where they first land. But hoping to move onward, they don't want to register in Belgium, or having already been registered where they landed, in Italy, Greece or Spain, they don't want to be sent back.

    And they have more basic needs.

    "We now house about 650 people a night," Mr. Kassou said, 300 in a building the group got permission to use last December, serviced by some 15 employees. The rest are housed by volunteers.

    Mr. Kassou urges those most likely to qualify for political asylum to apply in Belgium; those who are rejected often appeal.

    The government estimates that only a few thousand illegal migrants are here now, and that just a few hundred roam Maximilian Park

    Officially, the number of asylum seekers in Belgium in 2017 was 19,688, down from 44,760 in 2015. Asylum is granted to fewer than half of those who apply, Mr. Kassou said, but more easily to those from Syria, Eritrea and other areas torn by violence.

    Jails and detention centers are full, and the government is exploringrenting a 300-bed prison boat from the Dutch.

    Some volunteers say the experience of meeting the migrants, and feeding and helping house them, has altered their own lives.

    Ms. Hauzeur's grandmother is from Congo; her father is half-Congolese and came to Belgium at the age of 4. Both are proud of her for her volunteer work, she said, "even if my grandmother is jealous that I know more now about Ethiopia and Sudan than the Congo."

    Another volunteer, Anne-Catherine de Neve, 45; her husband, Yves Hallet, 46; and their three children take in four to six migrants a night, five or six nights a week.

    One recent night, at their modest home here about 40 minutes' drive southeast of Maximilian Park, they sat down with their migrant guests to a dinner of chicken and rice.

    "I want to fight against all the fascism we're seeing," Ms. de Neve said as she cooked. "It's a fight for social rights, and it's quite a fight for Belgium, for Europe, for all countries."

    Ms. de Neve read about the migrants in park in the news and started volunteering a year ago. She takes in the migrants in part, she said, to educate her children.

    "Now they hear, they see, and they understand something, but I think they'll have a better understanding later."

    At first, she said, her oldest son, Robin, now 16, wanted to have nothing to do with the migrants. Then one day, she said, "he called me in the park and asked: 'How many tonight? I'll make up the beds.'"

    Ms. de Neve has learned something about herself, too.

    "Before I would tell myself I wasn't racist," she said. "It's easy to tell yourself that. Being around these migrants in my house I learned a lot about them, and about my own views."

    Her husband said he had been nervous at first, even afraid. "I worried about my children and hid my laptop," he recalled.

    No longer.

    "We've lost maybe 20 euros and some headphones," Mr. de Neve said of the past year. "They are very good people."

    He prefers not to name his employer, but said: "We decided that if we do nothing, then we will be responsible for what happens."

    Charity has, however, created a financial strain. It has been hard for the couple to pay school fees for their own children. So they collect extra and unused food from shops and restaurants to help with the 28 or so dinners they provide every week.

    "We're completely out of money," Ms. de Neve said, laughing. "We'll figure it out later."

    One of her guests on a recent night was a Libyan migrant named Maamar Isneebir, who is known as Omar.

    Now 18, Mr. Isneebir left his home in Khoms, a coastal city east of Tripoli, a year ago. He claims that when he was 11, he fought against the regime of Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi.

    "There is no safety now," he said. "There are militias, there is ISIS."

    There is also little work.

    Mr. Isneebir spent three days at sea, terrified, before reaching Italy, where he was registered. He then made his way to Nice, then Paris, and then to Germany for eight months.

    The Germans told him to return to France, and when the police came to arrest him, he said, he jumped from a window and made his way to Belgium five months ago. He had hoped to go to Britain, but now says he'd like to stay.

    "It's unbelievable to have someone open their house to someone they don't know," Mr. Isneebir said in Arabic, translated by Mr. Kassou, who noted quietly that Libyans have only a 20 percent chance of getting political asylum here. "They treat me like their own child."

    Also at the de Neve home that night was Said Adam, 18. He comes from Darfur, and has been in Belgium nearly 10 months, he said.

    When Mr. Adam came to Italy by boat, he said, "I didn't know where Belgium is." Now, he, too, hopes to stay — though he still seems a little lost.

    Ms. de Neve has few illusions about how much she can do for her guests.

    "I cannot help them, really," she said simply. "The rules are made for them to lose."



    13) Capitalist Ju$tice vs. A Socialist World

    By Bonnie Weinstein, Nov/Dec 2018, Socialist Viewpoint, Vol 18, No. 6


    "Thinking outside the box" is a popular metaphor that means, "to think differently—from a different or new perspective." It's meant to encourage creative thinking—to find new or different ways to solve problems. 

    But when it comes to the rationalization and justification of capitalism by the capitalist class, there is no "outside" of the box. 

    When it comes to war, the capitalists say, "there has always been war—it's human nature to be war-like." When it comes to economic inequality they say, "there has always been a wealthy minority in power over the masses—the wealthy are on top because they are smarter, better, stronger. The poor are poor because they are inferior." 

    This is social Darwinism and it is beat into our heads from the time we are born. We are taught to believe that this is the way it is, has always been, and will always be. It's what justifies Manifest Destiny, slavery and imperialism—the "great white hope" that is meant to "tame and/or slaughter the savages" and establish "civilization,"—i.e., white domination by force of violence. 

    Capitalist Ju$tice is determined by income inequality

    You may have noticed that the wealthy rarely go to jail and almost never get the death penalty or life without parole—these punishments are for the masses. Not for the capitalists.

    In an August 31, 2018 New York Times article by Robert H. Frank titled, "How Rising Inequality Has Widened the Justice Gap," the author states:

    "Rising inequality has harmed low-income families not only by depriving them of a fair share of society's income growth, but also in a more specific way: It has stacked the legal system even more heavily against them. According to a recent survey, more than 70 percent of low-income American households had been involved in eviction cases, labor law cases, and other civil legal disputes during the preceding year, and in more than 80 percent of those cases they lacked effective legal representation."

    That's because in a capitalist society like ours it takes money to have adequate legal representation—just as it takes money to eat, have a home, clothes, medical care, education.

    The article goes on: 

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

    This is because capitalism—by its very structure—is designed to protect the privileges of the wealthy by any means necessary. That is the purpose of the courts, the police and the military. After all, workers are talented and hardworking too, but we are not adequately compensated for it.

    The economic structure of capitalism and the laws created and enforced by capitalists are all designed to allow the wealthy to accumulate the profits that the working masses produce. 

    Workers are only compensated for our labor by what we demand and can win through cooperative actions such mass demonstrations, union organizing and strikes. As revolutionary socialist James P. Cannon once put it, "The ethic of capitalism is: 'From each whatever you can get out of him—to each whatever he can grab.'"1

    Even the so-called democratic electoral system is rigged in favor of the wealthy. It's a system that allows working people to vote for one wealthy representative of the capitalist class over another. We do not get to vote on laws, or who sits on the Supreme Court. We have no say over the cost of credit card interest rates, gas and electric rates, education, food or housing, etc. We have no say over the costs to us, of any of the basic necessities of life. 

    Capitalism is democracy for the wealthy and dictatorship over the working class. 

    Capitalist pillaging and destruction of the world

    Capitalism is a stage of social evolution that has outlived its usefulness. It destroys the world in order to increase private profits for the wealthy. 

    The gap between the rich and the poor has grown astronomically in the last few decades. Not just in the United States but all over the world. And it is reinforced by massive military interventions—led by the United States and its allies—across the globe. 

    Natural resources wherever they are found, are taken by force of violence for the benefit of privately owned corporations under the control of the U.S.-dominated capitalist class. 

    The U.S. war on Afghanistan is a prime example

    In an October 4, 2018 New York Times article by Mujib Marshal titled, "As Afghanistan Frays, Blackwater Founder Erik Prince Is Everywhere," after 17 years of the U.S. war for natural resources in Afghanistan, and, at the cost to taxpayers of $45 billion a year,2 the U.S. wants to privatize the war to better achieve this goal: 

    "Mr. Prince laid out what he called a 'rationalization' of private contracting already happening: a leaner mission of 6,000 private contractors providing 'skeletal structure support' and training for Afghan forces…All of this, Mr. Prince said, would bring down the annual cost of the war to roughly a fifth of the current amount… Mr. Prince lists one of his goals as: 'Develop and produce key rare earth minerals to restore U.S. high-tech manufacturing supply chain.'"

    (By the way, Mr. Prince's sister happens to be Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education under Trump—capitalism is "all in the family.")

    As further proof of the purpose of the U.S. war on Afghanistan, in another New York Times article by Mujib Marshal dated October 6, 2018 titled, "Afghanistan Signs Major Mining Deals Despite Legal Concerns," the author reports:

    "The Afghan government on Friday signed two contracts for the exploration of copper and gold deposits in the north, in a bid to move away from the country's dependence on foreign aid by tapping its mineral wealth. …The contracts, which had been stalled for years, were signed in Washington between the Afghan ministers of finance and mining, and executives from Centar Ltd., an investment company founded by Ian Hannam, a former J.P. Morgan banker who partnered with local Afghan firms to bid for the mines."

    This shows how further enriching the wealth of the capitalist class at the expense of human life and the health of the planet is the very purpose of the capitalist dictatorship and their wars. In fact, the U.S. privately-owned corporations of the military industrial complex are the biggest polluters on our planet.

    Socialism is thinking outside of the capitalist "box"

    So what will socialism—the next stage of human social evolution—look like? 

    Socialism's fundamental economic structure turns capitalism—the private ownership of the means of production—upside-down. 

    Socialism is an economic system that democratizes production in order to fulfill the needs and wants of all on an equal basis, instead of on the accumulation of private profits for the few. 

    Production for need and want instead of private profit will free up resources to ensure safety and efficiency on the job—both for the health and safety of workers and the preservation of our environment. 

    It will eliminate the waste of producing inferior products designed to break down so that they have to constantly be replaced—a standard practice of capitalist production to increase profits. Instead, we can concentrate on the production of durable products that can be upgraded as technology evolves.

    Capitalist production pollutes and destroys the environment because taking the proper precautions to produce durable goods and to preserve the health and safety of workers and the planet cuts into their profits. That's why factories spew their filth in the air, land and sea with abandon and without guilt. 

    Cleaning up the pollution caused by capitalist production is paid for by the taxes taken out of our paychecks—the billionaire CEOs don't pay anything—and they still can't get the job done!

    Socialism will end all that. 

    Without the private, profit-driven capitalist motive of production, we will be free to revolutionize production methods without sacrificing the well being of people or the planet. 

    The goal will be to produce durable goods more efficiently—maximizing automation while gradually shortening the workweek and increasing living standards for all—so that everyone can have, not only all the necessities and wants of life, but more free time to pursue personal interests, the arts, scientific advancements. 

    We will be free to study life on earth, preserve our environment and explore the intelligence and diversity of the species that share our planet with us. 

    It will be a world without racism, sexism, war, jails, poverty, starvation, homelessness, ignorance, despair, drug addiction, crime and pestilence. 

    Under a democratic and cooperative socialist society, the free and equal development of each individual's talents and abilities will finally become the condition for the free and equal development of all of us.

    There is only one thing that stands in the way of our road to a socialist utopia—and that is capitalism—the private ownership of the means of production by a tiny, despotic, divisive, parasitic capitalist class that can only survive by oppression, violence and war. Capitalism has to go!

    Under a socialist society—with an ecologically safe and carefully planned communal economy, there are no obstacles that we won't be able to overcome. It will be a society designed to encourage human development to its fullest while preserving and safeguarding the health and welfare of our planet for the benefit of all.

    "Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Proletarians of All Countries, Unite!"

    —The Manifesto of the Communist Party, by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels3

    1 "What Socialist America Will Look Like," by James P. Cannon

    2 "Pentagon says war in Afghanistan costs taxpayers $45 billion a year"



    14) The Nauru Experience: Zero-Tolerance Immigration and Suicidal Children

    By Mirdula Amin and Isabella Kwai, November 5, 2018


    Sajeenthana, 8, with her father after describing her suicidal thoughts and attempts at self-harm in September.

    TOPSIDE, Nauru — She was 3 years old when she arrived on Nauru, a child fleeing war in Sri Lanka. Now, Sajeenthana is 8.

    Her gaze is vacant. Sometimes she punches adults. And she talks about dying with ease.

    "Yesterday I cut my hand," she said in an interview here on the remote Pacific island where she was sent by the Australian government after being caught at sea. She pointed to a scar on her arm. 

    "One day I will kill myself," she said. "Wait and see, when I find the knife. I don't care about my body. " 

    Her father tried to calm her, but she twisted away. "It is the same as if I was in war, or here," he said.

    Sajeenthana is one of more than 3,000 refugees and asylum seekers who have been sent to Australia's offshore detention centers since 2013. No other Australian policy has been so widely condemned by the world's human rights activists nor so strongly defended by the country's leaders, who have long argued it saves lives by deterring smugglers and migrants.

    Now, though, the desperation has reached a new level — in part because of the United States.

    Sajeenthana and her father are among the dozens of refugees on Nauru who had been expecting to be moved as part of an Obama-era deal that President Trump reluctantly agreed to honor, allowing resettlement for up to 1,250 refugees from Australia's offshore camps.

    So far, according to American officials, about 430 refugees from the camps have been resettled in the United States — but at least 70 people were rejected over the past few months.

    That includes Sajeenthana and her father, Tamil refugees who fled violence at home after the Sri Lankan government crushed a Tamil insurgency.

    A State Department spokeswoman did not respond to questions about the rejections, arguing the Nauru refugees are subject to the same vetting procedures as other refugees worldwide.

    Australia's Department of Home Affairs said in a statement that Nauru has "appropriate mental health assessment and treatment in place." 

    But what's clear, according to doctors and asylum seekers, is that the situation has been deteriorating for months. On Nauru, signs of suicidal children have been emerging since August. Dozens of organizations, including Doctors Without Borders (which was ejected from Nauru on Oct. 5) have been sounding the alarm. And with the hope of American resettlement diminishing, the Australian government has been forced to relent: Last week officials said they would work toward moving all children off Nauru for treatment by Christmas. 

    At least 92 children have been moved since August — Sajeenthana was evacuated soon after our interview — but as of Tuesday there were still 27 children on Nauru, hundreds of adults, and no long-term solution.

    The families sent to Australia for care are waiting to hear if they will be sent back to Nauru. Some parents, left behind as their children are being treated, fear they will never see each other again if they apply for American resettlement, while asylum seekers from countries banned by the United States — like Iran, Syria and Somalia — lack even that possibility.

    For all the asylum seekers who have called Nauru home, the psychological effects linger.

    Nauru is a small island nation of about 11,000 people that takes 30 minutes by car to loop. A line of dilapidated mansions along the coast signal the island's wealthy past; in the 1970s, it was a phosphate-rich nation with per capita income second only to Saudi Arabia.

    Now, those phosphate reserves are virtually exhausted, and the country relies heavily on Australian aid. It accounted for 25 percent of Nauru's gross domestic product last year alone.

    Mathew Batsiua, a former Nauruan lawmaker who helped orchestrate the offshore arrangement, said it was meant to be a short-term deal. But the habit has been hard to break. 

    "Our mainstay income is purely controlled by the foreign policy of another country," he said.

    In Topside, an area of old cars and dusty brush, sits one of the two processing centers that house about 160 detainees. Hundreds of others live in community camps of modular housing. They were moved from shared tents in August, ahead of the Pacific Islands Forum, an intergovernmental meeting that Nauru hosted this year.

    Sukirtha Krishnalingam, 15, said the days are a boring loop as she and her family of five — certified refugees from Sri Lanka — wait to hear if the United States will accept them. She worries about her heart condition. And she has nightmares.

    "At night, she screams," said her brother Mahinthan, 14.

    In the past year, talk of suicide on the island has become more common. Young men like Abdullah Khoder, a 24-year-old Lebanese refugee, says exhaustion and hopelessness have taken a toll. "I cut my hands with razors because I am tired," he said.

    Even more alarming: Children now allude to suicide as if it were just another thunderstorm. Since 2014, 12 people have died after being detained in Australia's offshore detention centers on Nauru and Manus Island, part of Papua New Guinea. 

    Christina Sivalingam, a 10-year-old Tamil girl on Nauru spoke matter-of-factly in an interview about seeing the aftermath of one death — that of an Iranian man, Fariborz Karami, who killed himself in June. 

    "We came off the school bus and I saw the blood — it was everywhere," she said calmly. It took two days to clean up. She said her father also attempted suicide after treatment for his thyroid condition was delayed.

    Seeing some of her friends being settled in the United States while she waits on her third appeal for asylum has only made her lonelier. She said she doesn't feel like eating anymore. 

    "Why am I the only one here?" she said. "I want to go somewhere else and be happy."

    Some observers, even on Nauru, wonder if the children are refusing to eat in a bid to leave. But medical professionals who have worked on the island said the rejections by the Americans have contributed to a rapid deterioration of people's mental states. 

    Dr. Beth O'Connor, a psychiatrist working with Doctors Without Borders, said that when she arrived last year, people clung to the hope of resettlement in the United States. In May, a batch of rejections plunged the camp into despair.

    Mr. Karami's death further sapped morale.

    "People that just had a bit of spark in their eye still just went dull," Dr. O'Connor said. "They felt more abandoned and left behind."

    Many of the detainees no longer hope to settle in Australia. New Zealand has offered to take in 150 refugees annually from Nauru but Scott Morrison, the Australian prime minister, has said that he will only consider the proposal if a bill is passed banning those on Nauru from ever entering Australia. Opposition lawmakers say they are open to discussion.

    In the meantime, Nauru continues to draw scrutiny.

    For months, doctors say, many children on Nauru have been exhibiting symptoms of resignation syndrome — a mental condition in response to trauma that involves extreme withdrawal from reality. They stopped eating, drinking and talking. 

    "They'd look right through you when you tried to talk to them," Dr. O'Connor said. "We watched their weights decline and we worried that one of them would die before they got out."

    Lawyers with the National Justice Project, a nonprofit legal service, have been mobilizing. They have successfully argued for the medical evacuation of around 127 people from Nauru this year, including 44 children. 

    In a quarter of the cases, the government has resisted these demands in court, said George Newhouse, the group's principal lawyer.

    "We've never lost," he said. "It is gut-wrenching to see children's lives destroyed for political gain."

    A broad coalition that includes doctors, clergy, lawyers and nonprofit organizations, working under the banner #kidsoffnauru, is now calling for all asylum seekers to be evacuated. 

    Public opinion in Australia is turning: In one recent poll, about 80 percent of respondents supported the removal of families and children from Nauru.

    Australia's conservative government, with an election looming, is starting to shift.

    "We've been going about this quietly," Mr. Morrison said last week. "We haven't been showboating." 

    But there are still questions about what happens next. 

    Last month, Sajeenthana stopped eating. After she had spent 10 days on a saline drip in a Nauruan hospital, her father was told he had two hours to pack for Australia.

    Speaking by video from Brisbane last week (we are not using her full name because of her age and the severity of her condition), Sajeenthana beamed. 

    "I feel better now that I am in Australia," she said. "I'm not going back to Nauru."

    But her father is less certain. The United States rejected his application for resettlement in September. There are security guards posted outside their Brisbane hotel room, he said, and though food arrives daily, they are not allowed to leave. He wonders if they have swapped one kind of limbo for another, or if they will be forced back to Nauru. 

    Australia's Home Affairs minister has said the Nauru children will not be allowed to stay

    "Anyone who is brought here is still classified as a transitory person," said Jana Favero, director of advocacy and campaigns at the Asylum Seeker Resource Center. "Life certainly isn't completely rosy and cheery once they arrive in Australia."

    On Monday, 25 more people, including eight children, left the island in six family units, she said. 

    Those left behind on Nauru pass the days, worrying and waiting.

    Christina often dreams of what life would be like somewhere else, where being 10 does not mean being trapped. 

    A single Iranian woman who asked not to be identified because she feared for her safety said that short of attempting suicide or changing nationality, there was no way off Nauru. 

    She has been waiting two years for an answer to her application for resettlement in the United States — one that now seems hopeless given the Trump administration's policies.

    Each night, often after the power goes out on Nauru, she and her sister talk about life and death, and whether to harm themselves to seek freedom.





























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