Emergency Speakout/Rally
No U.S. War in Iran!
End the Sanctions Now

Tuesday, June 25, 6:00 P.M.
24th and Mission St. Bart Plaza

Join us to say NO to a new war in the Middle East!

Initiated by ANSWER Coalition
For more information: 415-821-6545



Political Prisoners and Assange: Carole Seligman At S.F. Assange Rally
As part of an international action to free Julian Assange, a rally was held on June 12, 2019 at the US Federal Building in San Francisco and Carole Seligman was one of the speakers. She also speaks about imperialist wars and  the cases of Mumia Abu-Jamal and Fumiaki Hoshino.
For more info:
Production of Labor Video Project



Act Now to Save Mumia's Eyesight and to 

Demand His Release!

Tell them to approve Mumia's cataract surgery immediately!

Tell them to release Mumia Abu-Jamal NOW because he can receive better healthcare outside of prison and also because he is an innocent man!
Mumia Abu-Jamal

To: Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel, SCI Mahanoy Superintendent Theresa A. Delbalso, Dr. Courtney P. Rodgers

Mumia's vision has rapidly deteriorated. It has been confirmed that Mumia currently suffers conditions that seriously threaten his eyesight. These include glaucoma, a vitreous detachment and cataracts in both eyes. This threat seriously jeopardizes his life and well-being, as well as his journalistic profession.

An outside eye doctor is recommending surgical procedures to remove the cataracts on both eyes, but SCI-Mahanoy Doctor Courtney Rodgers is delaying scheduling the needed examinations and surgeries with Mumia's outside ophthalmologist. Rodgers works for Correct Care Solutions, a notorious for-profit prison and immigration detention medical company that, according to the Project on Government Oversight, has been sued at least 1,395 times with complaints alleging a range of charges, including wrongful death, malpractice and inadequate healthcare.

Meanwhile Mumia faces increasing nerve damage to his eyes. He is unable to read or do other things requiring normal vision. This delay echoes the years of delays Mumia experienced getting treatment for hepatitis C. By the time the DOC was finally forced by Federal Court to treat Mumia with the Hep C cure, it was too late to prevent cirrhosis of the liver.

African Americans are 1.5 times more likely to develop cataracts than the general population and five times more likely to develop related blindness.

Not only is his overall health deteriorating as he is threatened by permanent blindness, his failure now to receive the immediate attention he requires is cruel and unusual punishment, especially as an innocent man who has been unjustly incarcerated for almost four decades.
Furthermore, considering his multiple ailments and the threat of blindness, we demand that Pennsylvania officials allow a real and humane "compassionate release" now, not the "fake compassionate release" of transfers from prison to care facilities that Pennsylvania will only grant when a prisoner is within a year of dying. Mumia's family, friends and supporters are ready now to provide the healthcare Mumia requires if he were home.

Mumia is not alone in enduring these cruel and unusual assaults on the health of those ageing and ill behind prison walls. According to Bureau of Justice statistics, over 130,000 of U.S. prisoners are elderly, a 400 percent increase between 1993 and 2013. Mumia himself has noted the significant number of those confined at his own prison who suffer similar life-threatening illnesses that require immediate attention. Across the nation elderly prisoners experience a torturous journey toward the end of their lives without any "compassionate release." Once again, as we fight for Mumia's right to treatment and for his release, we fight for the freedom of all the imprisoned from mass incarceration's cruel and unusual conditions.

Mumia should be released now not only because he can receive better healthcare outside of prison but also because he is an innocent man!

Take Action:

1.    Sign the petition
2.    Call: Dr. Courtney P Rodgers – (570) 773-7851 and SCI Mahanoy Superintendent Theresa A. Delbalso - (570) 773-2158

3.    Call: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf – (717) 787-2500; PA DOC Secretary John Wetzel – (717) 728-2573; Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner – (215) 686-8000

Write to Mumia at:
Smart Communications/PA DOC
Mumia Abu-Jamal #AM-8335
SCI Mahanoy
P.O. Box 33028
St. Petersburg, FL 33733


50 years in prison: 

FREE Chip Fitzgerald 
Grandfather, Father, Elder, Friend
former Black Panther 
Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald has been in prison since he was locked up 50 years ago. A former member of the Black Panther Party, Chip is now 70 years old, and suffering the consequences of a serious stroke. He depends on a wheelchair for his mobility. He has appeared before the parole board 17 times, but they refuse to release him.

NOW is the time for Chip to come home!

In September 1969, Chip and two other Panthers were stopped by a highway patrolman. During the traffic stop, a shooting broke out, leaving Chip and a police officer both wounded. Chip was arrested a month later and charged with attempted murder of the police and an unrelated murder of a security guard. Though the evidence against him was weak and Chip denied any involvement, he was convicted and sentenced to death.

In 1972, the California Supreme Court outlawed the death penalty. Chip and others on Death Row had their sentences commuted to Life imprisonment with the possibility of parole. All of them became eligible for parole after serving 7 more years. But Chip was rejected for parole, as he has been ever since. 

Parole for Lifers basically stopped under Governors Deukmajian, Wilson, and Davis (1983-2003), resulting in increasing numbers of people in prison and 23 new prisons. People in prison filed lawsuits in federal courts: people were dying as a result of the overcrowding. To rapidly reduce the number of people in prison, the court mandated new parole hearings:
·        for anyone 60 years or older who had served 25 years or more;
·        for anyone convicted before they were 23 years old;
·        for anyone with disabilities 

Chip qualified for a new parole hearing by meeting all three criteria.

But the California Board of Parole Hearings has used other methods to keep Chip locked up. Although the courts ordered that prison rule infractions should not be used in parole considerations, Chip has been denied parole because he had a cellphone.

Throughout his 50 years in prison, Chip has been denied his right to due process – a new parole hearing as ordered by Federal courts. He is now 70, and addressing the challenges of a stroke victim. His recent rules violation of cellphone possession were non-violent and posed no threat to anyone. He has never been found likely to commit any crimes if released to the community – a community of his children, grandchildren, friends and colleagues who are ready to support him and welcome him home.

The California Board of Parole Hearings is holding Chip hostage.

We call on Governor Newsom to release Chip immediately.

What YOU can do to support this campaign to FREE CHIP:

1)   Sign and circulate the petition to FREE Chip. Download it at https://www.change.org/p/california-free-chip-fitzgerald
Print out the petition and get signatures at your workplace, community meeting, or next social gathering.

2)   Write an email to Governor Newsom's office (sample message at:https://docs.google.com/document/d/1iwbP_eQEg2J1T2h-tLKE-Dn2ZfpuLx9MuNv2z605DMc/edit?usp=sharing

3)   Write to Chip: Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald #B27527,
P.O. Box 4490
Lancaster, CA 93539

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

Free Chip Fitzgerald

We the residents of California are calling for the release of Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald, a former member of the Black Panther Party who has served 50 years in the California State prison system. He was first eligible for parole in 1976 and has served more than three times the average sentence ...
Free Chip Fitzgerald. 215 likes. Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald was born and raised in Compton, California. In early 1969, he joined the Southern California...
by Ann Garrison. On April 26, former Black Panther Herman Bell was released from prison in New York State after 45 years. That leaves at least 10 surviving members of the Black Panther Party behind bars, including Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald, who is currently held at the California State Prison-Los Angeles.
Not an average day for us at KAOS NETWORK, today was a petition signing for the well known Late black panther ROMAINE " CHIP " FITZGERALD ...

Free Romaine "Chip" FitzgeraldPolitischer Gefangener in Kalifornien, USA



Support Chuck Africa for Parole

Michael Africa Jr. started this petition to Pennsylvania Governor

Charles Sims Africa #AM 4975 has been in prison since age 18. He is now 59 years old and a recovering cancer patient. He has been eligible for parole since 2008 but continually denied because of  his political views.
Charles has 8 codefendants. Two has died in prison, four has been released from prison onto parole. Chuck's sister Debbie Sims Africa is one of the four codefendants released onto parole.
Since coming home from prison, Debbie is thriving. Our community of support has supported Debbie to excel and we are committed to do the same for Chuck so that he can excel as well. 



Media Alert: Eddie Africa of the #MOVE9 is home after four decades of incarceration!

For Immediate Release 
(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) The Abolitionist Law Center and the People's Law Office  are proud to announce that Eddie Africa, of the MOVE 9, has been released from state custody after more than forty years of incarceration. Earlier this morning, Eddie Africa was released from SCI Phoenix after being transferred from SCI Mahanoy, where he spent the majority of his incarceration. He has been fighting for parole for the last ten years. 
The MOVE 9 are 9 individuals who were incarcerated following an August 8, 1978 police siege of the MOVE Organization home in West Philadelphia. The MOVE 9 were all sentenced to 30-100 years after the death of an officer during the raid.
"Eddie's release is a victory for him, his family and the movement that has been fighting for his freedom. This is the newest chapter in the decades-long struggle to free all the MOVE 9, which is a struggle that continues with the fight to free Delbert and Chuck Africa, who are both up for parole this year." ~ Brad Thompson
Eddie is the fifth member of the MOVE 9 to be released on parole, all represented by lawyers from Abolitionist Law Center and People's Law Office. Like Debbie , Janet, Janine, and Mike Africa, who were recently released, Eddie is now able to experience holding his loved ones outside of prison walls for the first time in decades. Eddie was a father when he was arrested and has four adult children and several grandchildren who he has been able to maintain strong relationships with. Today is the first day his grandchildren will be able to hug him outside of a prison wall. The release of the Move members, after more than forty years, is the culmination of the MOVE organization, public support, legal action, and policy changes.
Two other members of the MOVE 9 remain incarcerated (Chuck and Delbert Africa), while two others (Merle Africa and Phil Africa) died in custody. Abolitionist Law Center and People's Law Office represent Delbert and Chuck in the struggle for their freedom. To support the fight, you may donate to the MOVE9 Legal Fund.
Press Contact:
Bret Grote, bretgrote@abolitionistlawcenter.org



Kim Kardashian visits inmate on death row at San Quentin State Prison

By Lee Brown, May 31, 2019
Kim Kardashian at San Quentin State Prison

Kim Kardashian's social justice crusade has taken her to death row.
The reality TV star spent two hours inside a cell in California's San Quentin State Prison, one of the most notorious jails in the US, as part of her latest crusade to free convicted murderer Kevin Cooper, sources confirmed.
"They met for two hours in a cell in the visitors' area of death row — a proper cell with bars," a source said.
The 38-year-old "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" star was pictured wearing an all-black jumpsuit as she entered the prison.
"Kim decided to pay a visit so she could have her first face-to-face with the guy she's trying to free," TMZ said.
She left "more convinced than ever he was framed," the site insisted.
The 61-year-old death row inmate was convicted in 1985 of four murders — including two 10-year-old children — but has maintained his innocence.
Kevin CooperCourtesy Photo
Kardashian — who is studying to be a lawyer to help her social justice mission — publicly announced her involvement in Cooper's case last year.
"Governor Brown, can you please test the DNA of Kevin Cooper?" Kardashian tweeted then-California Gov. Jerry Brown last June.
Cooper's advocates have argued that DNA found on a T-shirt that Cooper says he never wore should be retested.
The current governor of California, Gavin Newsom, has ordered that DNA testing, with results yet to be announced, according to TMZ.
Newsom is also a death penalty opponent and has decided to suspend all executions while he is in office.
Earlier this month, it emerged that Kardashian had quietly bankrolled a successful campaign to free 17 federal inmates serving life sentences for low-level drug crimes over the past three months.
Write to:
Kevin Cooper #C-65304 4-EB-82           
San Quentin State Prison
San Quentin, CA 94974



On Abortion: From Facebook

Best explanation I've heard so far..., Copied from a friend who copied from a friend who copied..., "Last night, I was in a debate about these new abortion laws being passed in red states. My son stepped in with this comment which was a show stopper. One of the best explanations I have read:, , 'Reasonable people can disagree about when a zygote becomes a "human life" - that's a philosophical question. However, regardless of whether or not one believes a fetus is ethically equivalent to an adult, it doesn't obligate a mother to sacrifice her body autonomy for another, innocent or not., , Body autonomy is a critical component of the right to privacy protected by the Constitution, as decided in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), McFall v. Shimp (1978), and of course Roe v. Wade (1973). Consider a scenario where you are a perfect bone marrow match for a child with severe aplastic anemia; no other person on earth is a close enough match to save the child's life, and the child will certainly die without a bone marrow transplant from you. If you decided that you did not want to donate your marrow to save the child, for whatever reason, the state cannot demand the use of any part of your body for something to which you do not consent. It doesn't matter if the procedure required to complete the donation is trivial, or if the rationale for refusing is flimsy and arbitrary, or if the procedure is the only hope the child has to survive, or if the child is a genius or a saint or anything else - the decision to donate must be voluntary to be constitutional. This right is even extended to a person's body after they die; if they did not voluntarily commit to donate their organs while alive, their organs cannot be harvested after death, regardless of how useless those organs are to the deceased or how many lives they would save., , That's the law., , Use of a woman's uterus to save a life is no different from use of her bone marrow to save a life - it must be offered voluntarily. By all means, profess your belief that providing one's uterus to save the child is morally just, and refusing is morally wrong. That is a defensible philosophical position, regardless of who agrees and who disagrees. But legally, it must be the woman's choice to carry out the pregnancy., , She may choose to carry the baby to term. She may choose not to. Either decision could be made for all the right reasons, all the wrong reasons, or anything in between. But it must be her choice, and protecting the right of body autonomy means the law is on her side. Supporting that precedent is what being pro-choice means.", , Feel free to copy/paste and re-post., y
Sent from my iPhone



Celebrating the release of Janet and Janine Africa
Take action now to support Jalil A. Muntaqim's release

Jalil A. Muntaqim was a member of the Black Panther Party and has been a political prisoner for 48 years since he was arrested at the age of 19 in 1971. He has been denied parole 11 times since he was first eligible in 2002, and is now scheduled for his 12th parole hearing. Additionally, Jalil has filed to have his sentence commuted to time served by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Visit Jalil's support page, check out his writing and poetry, and Join Critical Resistance in supporting a vibrant intergenerational movement of freedom fighters in demanding his release.

48 years is enough. Write, email, call, and tweet at Governor Cuomo in support of Jalil's commutation and sign this petition demanding his release.

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of the State of New York
Executive Chamber State Capital Building
Albany, New York 12224

Michelle Alexander – Author, The New Jim Crow
Ed Asner - Actor and Activist
Charles Barron - New York Assemblyman, 60th District
Inez Barron - Counci member, 42nd District, New York City Council
Rosa Clemente - Scholar Activist and 2008 Green Party Vice-Presidential candidate
Patrisse Cullors – Co-Founder Black Lives Matter, Author, Activist
Elena Cohen - President, National Lawyers Guild
"Davey D" Cook - KPFA Hard Knock Radio
Angela Davis - Professor Emerita, University of California, Santa Cruz
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz - Native American historian, writer and feminist
Mike Farrell - Actor and activist
Danny Glover – Actor and activist
Linda Gordon - New York University
Marc Lamont Hill - Temple University
Jamal Joseph - Columbia University
Robin D.G. Kelley - University of California, Los Angeles
Tom Morello - Rage Against the Machine
Imani Perry - Princeton University
Barbara Ransby - University of Illinois, Chicago
Boots Riley - Musician, Filmmaker
Walter Riley - Civil rights attorney
Dylan Rodriguez - University of California, Riverside, President American Studies Association
Maggie Siff, Actor
Heather Ann Thompson - University of Michigan
Cornel West - Harvard University
Institutional affiliations listed for identification purposes only
Call: 1-518-474-8390

Email Gov. Cuomo with this form

Tweet at @NYGovCuomo
Any advocacy or communications to Gov. Cuomo must refer to Jalil as:
Sullivan Correctional Facility,
P.O. Box 116,
Fallsburg, New York 12733-0116



Painting by Kevin Cooper, an innocent man on San Quentin's death row. www.freekevincooper.org

Decarcerate Louisiana

Declaration of Undersigned Prisoners
We, the undersigned persons, committed to the care and custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections (LDOC), hereby submit the following declaration and petition bearing witness to inhumane conditions of solitary confinement in the N-1 building at the David Wade Corrections Center (DWCC). 
Our Complaint:
We, the Undersigned Persons, declare under penalty of perjury: 
1.    We, the undersigned, are currently housed in the N-1 building at DWCC, 670 Bell Hill Road, Homer, LA 71040. 
2.    We are aware that the Constitution, under the 8th Amendment, bans cruel and unusual punishments; the Amendment also imposes duties on prison officials who must provide humane conditions of confinement and ensure that inmates receive adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and must take reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of the inmates. 
3.    We are aware that Louisiana prison officials have sworn by LSA-R.S.15:828 to provide humane treatment and rehabilitation to persons committed to its care and to direct efforts to return every person in its custody to the community as promptly as practicable. 
4.    We are confined in a double-bunked six-by-nine foot or 54 square feet cell with another human being 22-hours-a-day and are compelled to endure the degrading experience of being in close proximity of another human being while defecating. 
5.    There are no educational or rehabilitation programs for the majority of prisoners confined in the N-1 building except for a selected few inmates who are soon to be released. 
6.    We get one hour and 30 minutes on the yard and/or gym seven days a week. Each day we walk to the kitchen for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which takes about one minute to get there. We are given ten minutes to eat. 
7.    The daily planner for inmates confined in the N-1 building is to provide inmates one hour and 30 minutes on yard or gym; escort inmates to kitchen for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to sit and eat for approximately ten minutes each meal; provide a ten minute shower for each cell every day; provide one ten minute phone call per week; confine prisoners in cell 22-hours-a-day. 
8.    When we are taking a shower we are threatened by guards with disciplinary reports if we are not out on time. A typical order is: "if you are not out of shower in ten minutes pack your shit and I'm sending you back to N-2, N-3, or N-4"—a more punitive form of solitary confinement. 
9.    When walking outside to yard, gym or kitchen, guards order us to put our hands behind our back or they'll write us up and send us back to N-2, N-3, N-4. 
10.  When we are sitting at the table eating, guards order us not to talk or they'll write us up and send us back to N-2, N-3, N-4. ) 
11.  Guards are harassing us every day and are threatening to write up disciplinary reports and send us back to a more punitive cellblock (N-2, N-3, N-4) if we question any arbitrary use of authority or even voice an opinion in opposition to the status quo. Also, guards take away good time credits, phone, TV, radio, canteen, and contact visits for talking too loud or not having hands behind back or for any reason they want. We are also threatened with slave labor discipline including isolation (removing mattress from cell from 5:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M.,) strip cell (removing mattress and bedding and stationery from cell for ten to 30 days or longer), food loaf  (taking one's meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and mixing it all together into one big mass, bake it in oven and serve it to prisoners for punishment.)
12.  When prison guards write up disciplinary reports and transfer us to the more punitive restrictive solitary confinement in N-2, N-3, N-4 or N-5, guards then enforce an arbitrary rule that gives prisoners the ultimatum of sending all their books and personal property home or let the prison dispose of it. 
13.  Louisiana prison officials charge indigent prisoners (who earn less than four cents an hour) $3.00 for routine requests for healthcare services, $6.00 for emergency medical requests, and $2.00 for each new medical prescription. They wait until our family and friends send us money and take it to pay prisoners' medical bills. 
Our concerns:
14.  How much public monies are appropriated to the LDOC budget and specifically allotted to provide humane treatment and implement the rehabilitation program pursuant to LSA- R.S.15:828? 
15.  Why does Elayn Hunt Correctional Center located in the capitol of Louisiana have so many educational and rehabilitation programs teaching prisoners job and life skills for reentry whereas there are no such programs to engage the majority of prisoners confined in the N-1, N- 2, N-3, and N-4 solitary confinement buildings at DWCC. 
16.  It is customary for Louisiana prison officials and DWCC prison guards to tell inmates confined in the prison's cellblocks to wait until transfer to prison dormitory to participate in programs when in fact there are no such programs available and ready to engage the majority of the state's 34,000 prisoner population. The programs are especially needed for prisoners confined in a six-by-nine foot or 54 square feet cell with another person for 22-or-more-hours-per-day. 
17.  Why can't prisoners use phone and computers every day to communicate with family and peers as part of rehabilitation and staying connected to the community? 
18.  Why do prisoners have to be transferred miles and miles away from loved ones to remote correctional facilities when there are facilities closer to loved ones? 
19.  Why are prison guards allowed to treat prisoners as chattel slaves, confined in cages 22-or-more-hours-per-day, take away phone calls and visitation and canteen at will, and take away earned good time credits for any reason at all without input from family, one's peers and community? 
20.  Why do the outside communities allow prison guards to create hostile living environments and conditions of confinement that leaves prisoners in a state of chattel slavery, stress, anxiety, anger, rage, inner torment, despair, worry, and in a worse condition from when we first entered the prison? 
21.  Why do state governments and/or peers in the community allow racist or bigoted white families who reside in the rural and country parts of Louisiana to run the state's corrections system with impunity? For example, DWCC Warden Jerry Goodwin institutes racist and bigoted corrections policies and practices for the very purpose of oppression, repression, antagonizing and dehumanizing the inmates who will one day be released from prison. 
22.  David Wade Correctional Center Colonel Lonnie Nail, a bigot and a racist, takes his orders from Warden Jerry Goodwin, another racist and bigot. Both Goodwin and Nail influences subordinate corrections officers to act toward prisoners in a racist or bigoted manner and with an arrogant attitude. This creates a hostile living environment and debilitating conditions of confinement for both guards and prisoners and prevents rehabilitation of inmates.
23.  In other industrialized democracies like Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, et al, it is reported that no prisoner should be declared beyond reform or redemption without first attempting to rehabilitate them. Punitive or harsh conditions of confinement are not supported because they see the loss of freedom inherent in a prison sentence as punishment enough. One Netherlands official reported that their motto is to start with the idea of "Reintegration back into society on day one" when people are locked up. "You can't make an honest argument that how someone is treated while incarcerated doesn't affect how they behave when they get out," the official added. 
24.  Additionally, some Scandinavian countries have adopted open prison programs without fences or armed guards. Prisoners who prove by their conduct that they can be trusted are placed in a prison resembling a college campus more than a prison. The result is a 20 percent recidivism rate, compared to a 67 percent rate in the United States. 
25.  The National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) in a position statement says: "Prolonged (greater than 15 consecutive days) solitary confinement is cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, and harmful to an individual's health."
 What We Believe: 
26.  We believe that when the greater portion of public monies goes to war and the military, this leaves little funds left for community reinvestment and human development.The people have less access to resources by which to get a better idea of human behavior and rely on higher education instead of prison to solve cultural, social, political, economic problems in the system that may put people at risk to domestic violence and crime as a way to survive and cope with shortcomings in the system. 
27.  We believe that investing public monies in the rehabilitation program LSA-R.S.15:828 to teach prisoners job and life skills will redeem inmates, instill morals, and make incarcerated people productive and fit for society. 
28.  We believe that confining inmates in cellblocks 15-or-more=hours-per-day is immoral, uncivilized, brutalizing, a waste of time and counter-productive to rehabilitation and society's goals of "promoting the general welfare" and "providing a more perfect union with justice for all." 
29.  We believe that corrections officers who prove by their actions that incarcerated people are nothing more than chattel slaves are bucking the laws and creating hardening criminals and these corrections officers are, therefore, a menace to society. 
Our Demands:
30.  We are demanding a public conversation from community activists and civil rights leaders about (1) the historic relationship between chattel slavery, the retaliatory assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, and the resurrection of slavery written into the 13th Amendment; (2) the historic relationship between the 13th Amendment, the backlash against Reconstruction, Peonage, Convict Leasing, and Slavery; (3) the historic relationship between the 13th Amendment, the War Against Poverty, the War on Drugs, Criminal Justice and Prison Slavery. 
31.  We demand that the Louisiana legislature pass the Decarcerate Louisiana Anti-Slavery and Freedom Liberation Act of 2020 into law and end prison slavery and the warehousing of incarcerated people for the very purpose of repression, oppression, and using prisoners and their families and supporters as a profit center for corporate exploitation and to generate revenue to balance the budget and stimulate the state economy. 
32.  We are demanding that Warden Jerry Goodwin and Colonel Lonnie Nail step down and be replaced by people are deemed excellent public servants in good standing with human rights watchdog groups and civil rights community. 
33.  We are demanding that the LDOC provide public monies to operate state prison dormitories and cellblocks as rehabilitation centers to teach incarcerated people job and life skills five-days-a-week from 7:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. 
34.  We are demanding that the LDOC release a public statement announcing that "from this day forward it will not support punitive or harsh conditions of confinement," and that "no prisoner should be declared beyond reform or redemption without first attempting to rehabilitate them."
35.  We are demanding that the prison cellblocks be operated as open dormitories (made in part a health clinic and part college campus) so that incarcerated people can have enough space to walk around and socialize, participate in class studies, exercise, use telephone as the need arise. Prisoners are already punished by incarceration so there is no need to punish or further isolate them. Racism and abuse of power will not be tolerated. 
36.  We are demanding an end to unjust policies and practices that impose punishments and deprive incarcerated people of phone calls, visitation, canteen, good time credits, books and other personal property that pose no threat to public safety. 
37.  We are demanding that LDOC provide incarcerated people cellphones and computers to communicate with the public and stay connected to the community. 
38.  We are demanding the right to communicate with reporters to aid and assist incarcerated persons in preparing a press release to communicate to the public Decarcerate Louisiana's vision and mission statements, aims, and plans for moving forward. 
39.  We are demanding the right to participate in the U.S.-European Criminal Justice Innovation Project and share our complaint, concerns, and demands for a humane corrections program. 
40.  We are only demanding the right to enough space to create, to innovate, to excel in learning, to use scientific knowledge to improve our person and place and standing in the free world. The rule of law must support the betterment and uplifting of all humanity. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said: "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." 
41.  We demand that the responsibility for prisoner medical care be removed from DOC wardens and place it under the management of the state's health office; increase state health officer staff to better monitor prisoner healthcare and oversee vendor contracts. 
42.  We have a God-given right and responsibility to resist abuse of power from the wrongdoers, to confront unjust authority and oppression, to battle for justice until we achieve our demands for liberation and freedom. 
We, the undersigned, declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. 
Executed on this 28th Day of January 2019. 
Ronald Brooks #385964 
David Johnson #84970 
Freddie Williams #598701 
Earl Hollins #729041 
James Harris #399514 
Tyrone Carter #550354 
Kerry Carter #392013 
Ivo Richardson #317371 
Rondrikus Fulton #354313 
Kentell Simmons #601717 
Jayvonte Pines #470985 
Deandre Miles #629008 
Kenneth P. #340729 
Brandon Ceaser #421453 
Tyronne Ward #330964 
Jermaine Atkins #448421 
Charles Rodgers #320513 
Steve Givens #557854 
Timothy Alfred #502378 
—wsimg.com, January 2019



New Prison and Jail Population Figures Released by U.S. Department of Justice

By yearend 2017, the United States prison population had declined by 7.3% since reaching its peak level in 2009, according to new data released by the Department of Justice. The prison population decreases are heavily influenced by a handful of states that have reduced their populations by 30% or more in recent years. However, as of yearend 2017 more than half the states were still experiencing increases in their populations or rates of decline only in the single digits. 
Analysis of the new data by The Sentencing Project reveals that: 
  • The United States remains as the world leader in its rate of incarceration, locking up its citizens at 5-10 times the rate of other industrialized nations. At the current rate of decline it will take 75 years to cut the prison population by 50%.
  • The population serving life sentences is now at a record high. One of every seven individuals in prison – 206,000 – is serving life.
  • Six states have reduced their prison populations by at least 30% over the past two decades – Alaska, Connecticut, California, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont.  
  • The rate of women's incarceration has been rising at a faster rate than men's since the 1980s, and declines in recent years have been slower than among men.
  • Racial disparities in women's incarceration have changed dramatically since the start of the century. Black women were incarcerated at 6 times the rate of white women in 2000, while the 2017 figure is now 1.8 times that rate. These changes have been a function of both a declining number of black women in prison and a rising number of white women. For Hispanic women, the ratio has changed from 1.6 times that of white women in 2000 to 1.4 times in 2017. 
The declines in prison and jail populations reported by the Department of Justice today are encouraging, but still fall far short of what is necessary for meaningful criminal justice reform. In order to take the next step in ending mass incarceration policymakers will need to scale back excessive sentencing for all offenses, a key factor which distinguishes the U.S. from other nations. 

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[Note: China's population is 1,419,147,756* as of April 26, 2019 with 1,649,804 in prison***; while the population of the USA is 328,792,291 as of April 27, 2019** with 2,121,600 in prison.*** 



Courage to Resist
daniel hale drone activist
Drone vet turned activist facing 50 years for whistle-blowing
Daniel Hale, an Air Force veteran and former US intelligence analyst was arrested May 9th and charged with violating the Espionage Act. Daniel is a well-known anti-drone activist who has spoken out a number of anti-war events and conferences. He's a member of About Face: Veterans Against the War, and he's featured in the documentary "National Bird." For years, Daniel has expressed concern that he'd be targeted by the government.  Learn more.
Hal Muskat
Podcast: "There were US anti-war soldiers all over the world" - Hal Muskat
"I told my command officer that I wasn't going to, I was refusing my orders [to Vietnam] … In his rage, he thought if he court-martialed me, he'd have to stay in the Army past his discharge date." While stationed in Europe, Hal Muskat refused orders to Vietnam and joined the GI Movement, resulting in two court martials. This Courage to Resist podcast was produced in collaboration with the Vietnam Full Disclosure effort of Veterans For Peace. Listen to Hal Muskat's story.

Chelsea Manning returned to jail after brief release; Faces half million dollar fine in addition to another 18 months prison
chelsea manning resists
Since our last newsletter less than two weeks ago, Chelsea Manning was freed from jail when the grand jury investigating Julian Assange and WikiLeaks expired. However, a few days later, she was sent back to jail for refusing to collaborate with a new grand jury on the same subject. District Court Judge Anthony Trenga ordered Chelsea fined $500 every day she is in custody after 30 days and $1,000 every day she is in custody after 60 days -- a possible total of $502,000. Statement from Chelsea's lawyers.
Stand with Reality Winner, rally in DC
chelsea manning resists
June 3, 2019 at 7pm (Monday)
Lafayette Square, Washington DC 

Please join friends and supporters as we raise awareness of the persecution of this young veteran and brave truth teller. This marks two years of imprisonment of Reality for helping to expose hacking attempts on US election systems leading up to the 2016 presidential election. For more info, visit the "Stand with Reality" pages on Twitter or FacebookOrder "Stand with Reality" shirts, banners, and buttons from Left Together protest shirts.

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


Funds for Kevin Cooper


For 34 years, an innocent man has been on death row in California. 

Kevin Cooper was wrongfully convicted of the brutal 1983 murders of the Ryen family and houseguest. The case has a long history of police and prosecutorial misconduct, evidence tampering, and numerous constitutional violations including many incidences of the prosecution withholding evidence of innocence from the defense. You can learn more here . 

In December 2018 Gov. Brown ordered  limited DNA testing and in February 2019, Gov. Newsom ordered additional DNA testing. Meanwhile, Kevin remains on Death Row at San Quentin Prison. 

The funds raised will be used to help Kevin purchase art supplies for his paintings . Additionally, being in prison is expensive, and this money would help Kevin pay for stamps, paper, toiletries, supplementary food, and/or phone calls.

Please help ease the daily struggle of an innocent man on death row!



Don't extradite Assange!

To the government of the UK
Julian Assange, through Wikileaks, has done the world a great service in documenting American war crimes, its spying on allies and other dirty secrets of the world's most powerful regimes, organisations and corporations. This has not endeared him to the American deep state. Both Obama, Clinton and Trump have declared that arresting Julian Assange should be a priority. We have recently received confirmation [1] that he has been charged in secret so as to have him extradited to the USA as soon as he can be arrested. 
Assange's persecution, the persecution of a publisher for publishing information [2] that was truthful and clearly in the interest of the public - and which has been republished in major newspapers around the world - is a danger to freedom of the press everywhere, especially as the USA is asserting a right to arrest and try a non-American who neither is nor was then on American soil. The sentence is already clear: if not the death penalty then life in a supermax prison and ill treatment like Chelsea Manning. The very extradition of Julian Assange to the United States would at the same time mean the final death of freedom of the press in the West. 
The courageous nation of Ecuador has offered Assange political asylum within its London embassy for several years until now. However, under pressure by the USA, the new government has made it clear that they want to drive Assange out of the embassy and into the arms of the waiting police as soon as possible. They have already curtailed his internet and his visitors and turned the heating off, leaving him freezing in a desolate state for the past few months and leading to the rapid decline of his health, breaching UK obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights. Therefore, our demand both to the government of Ecuador and the government of the UK is: don't extradite Assange to the US! Guarantee his human rights, make his stay at the embassy as bearable as possible and enable him to leave the embassy towards a secure country as soon as there are guarantees not to arrest and extradite him. Furthermore, we, as EU voters, encourage European nations to take proactive steps to protect a journalist in danger. The world is still watching.
[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/16/us/politics/julian-assange-indictment-wikileaks.html
[2] https://theintercept.com/2018/11/16/as-the-obama-doj-concluded-prosecution-of-julian-assange-for-publishing-documents-poses-grave-threats-to-press-freedom/



Words of Wisdom

Louis Robinson Jr., 77
Recording secretary for Local 1714 of the United Auto Workers from 1999 to 2018, with the minutes from a meeting of his union's retirees' chapter.

"One mistake the international unions in the United States made was when Ronald Reagan fired the air traffic controllers. When he did that, the unions could have brought this country to a standstill. All they had to do was shut down the truck drivers for a month, because then people would not have been able to get the goods they needed. So that was one of the mistakes they made. They didn't come together as organized labor and say: "No. We aren't going for this. Shut the country down." That's what made them weak. They let Reagan get away with what he did. A little while after that, I read an article that said labor is losing its clout, and I noticed over the years that it did. It happened. It doesn't feel good."

[On the occasion of the shut-down of the Lordstown, Ohio GM plant March 6, 2019.]



To: Indiana Department of Corrections

Kevin "Rashid" Johnson Should Have Access to His Personal Property

Petition Text

1. IDOC regulation 02-01-101-VIII must be respected! Kevin Johnson (IDOC# 264847) must be allowed to select from his property the items that he most immediately needs. He has been left without any of the material he requires for contacting his loved ones, his writing (this includes books), his pending litigation, and for his artwork. 
2. Kevin Johnson (IDOC# 264847) should be released into General Population. Prolonged solitary confinement is internationally recognized as a form of torture. Moreover, he has not committed any infractions.

Sign the petition here:

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).

Kevin Johnson D.O.C. No. 264847
G-20-2C Pendleton Correctional Facility
4490 W. Reformatory Rd.
Pendleton, IN 46064-9001



Get Malik Out of Ad-Seg

Keith "Malik" Washington is an incarcerated activist who has spoken out on conditions of confinement in Texas prison and beyond:  from issues of toxic water and extreme heat, to physical and sexual abuse of imprisoned people, to religious discrimination and more.  Malik has also been a tireless leader in the movement to #EndPrisonSlavery which gained visibility during nationwide prison strikes in 2016 and 2018.  View his work at comrademalik.com or write him at:

Keith H. Washington
TDC# 1487958
McConnell Unit
3001 S. Emily Drive
Beeville, TX 78102
Friends, it's time to get Malik out of solitary confinement.

Malik has experienced intense, targeted harassment ever since he dared to start speaking against brutal conditions faced by incarcerated people in Texas and nationwide--but over the past few months, prison officials have stepped up their retaliation even more.

In Administrative Segregation (solitary confinement) at McConnell Unit, Malik has experienced frequent humiliating strip searches, medical neglect, mail tampering and censorship, confinement 23 hours a day to a cell that often reached 100+ degrees in the summer, and other daily abuses too numerous to name.  It could not be more clear that they are trying to make an example of him because he is a committed freedom fighter.  So we have to step up.

Who to contact:
TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier
Phone: (936)295-6371

Senior Warden Philip Sinfuentes (McConnell Unit)
Phone: (361) 362-2300



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.

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.

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

Major Tillery Needs Your Help:

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:
    Security Processing Center
    Major Tillery AM 9786
    268 Bricker Road
    Bellefonte, PA 16823
    For More Information, Go To: JusticeForMajorTillery.org
    Kamilah Iddeen (717) 379-9009, Kamilah29@yahoo.com
    Rachel Wolkenstein (917) 689-4009, RachelWolkenstein@gmail.com




    On Monday March 4th, 2019 Leonard Peltier was advised that his request for a transfer had been unceremoniously denied by the United States Bureau of Prisons.

    The International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee appreciates and thanks the large number of his supporters who took the time to write, call, email, or fax the BOP in support of Leonard's request for a transfer.
    Those of us who have been supporting Leonard's freedom for a number of years are disappointed but resolute to continue pushing for his freedom and until that day, to continue to push for his transfer to be closer to his relatives and the Indigenous Nations who support him.
    44 years is too damn long for an innocent man to be locked up. How can his co-defendants be innocent on the grounds of self-defense but Leonard remains in prison? The time is now for all of us to dig deep and do what we can and what we must to secure freedom for Leonard Peltier before it's too late.
    We need the support of all of you now, more than ever. The ILPDC plans to appeal this denial of his transfer to be closer to his family. We plan to demand he receive appropriate medical care, and to continue to uncover and utilize every legal mechanism to secure his release. To do these things we need money to support the legal work.
    Land of the Brave postcard-page-0

    Please call the ILPDC National office or email us for a copy of the postcard you can send to the White House. We need your help to ask President Trump for Leonard's freedom.

    Powered by
    GoDaddy Email Marketing ®

    Free Leonard Peltier!

    Art by Leonard Peltier
    Write to:
    Leonard Peltier 89637-132
    USP Coleman 1,  P.O. Box 1033
    Coleman, FL 33521



    Working people are helping to feed the poor hungry corporations! 
    Charity for the Wealthy!




    Protesters outside California State Prison at San Quentin in 2004.

    Kevin Cooper's name has been in the papers in recent weeks, as it has been on and off for 35 years. This time, it was because Kim Kardashian visited himin prison, part of her advocacy for those she believes were wrongly convicted.

    Cooper was sentenced to death for the hacking murders of Douglas and Peggy Ryen, their 10-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old neighbor. The Ryens' 8-year-old son, Josh, survived his throat being slashed.
    A reality show star is among Cooper's best hopes for exoneration, and the media is generally focusing not on the case, but on backlash against her. These are only the two most recent examples of how Cooper's case exemplifies so much that is wrong with our system. Since his 1983 arrest, Cooper's treatment has exposed one systemic failure after another.
    Cooper describes his childhood as abusive and troubled. His first involvement with the system was at age 7, after he ran away from his adoptive family to escape beatings. He turned to shoplifting and marijuana use, ending up in juvenile detention. In his mid-20s, Cooper was sentenced to four years for burglary, but he wasn't sent to an ordinary prison. He was sent to the California Institution for Men, in Chino, which, despite the conformist name, was founded in 1941 as an experiment in prison reform. It was built to alleviate overcrowding, violence, and oppression in California's other prisons, which newspapers described as "powder kegs ready to explode."
    The man hired to imagine this new system was Kenyon J. Scudder, a veteran penologist who had ideas for how to improve the prison system he saw as archaic and inhumane. Under Scudder, the institution, nicknamed Chino, was rooted in the idea that "prisoners are people," and it sought to treat those incarcerated with dignity.
    Chino's first class of 34 prisoners included those with convictions for minor offenses along with those who were convicted for violent crimes. Chino didn't use terms like "warden" or "guards." Scudder was the "superintendent," and his guards were "supervisors," mostly college-educated people who had never before worked in prisons. This was to avoid any punitive mindsets. Scudder de-emphasized security and weapons, and trained his staff in conflict resolution.  Prisoners chose their own clothing and their own jobs. Their cells were not locked, and instead of a 25-foot wall with gun towers, as was suggested, Scudder built only a five-strand barbed-wire fence. He encouraged loved ones to visit, permitting physical contact, and he refused to segregate on racial lines. Today, this kind of prison would be considered a quixotic dream.
    "For a brief period of time, it seemed that other prisons around the world would follow Chino's lead," write Emily Nagisa Keehn and Dana Walters of the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School. "In the early 1950s, prison experts at the International Penal and Penitentiary Congress agreed that open prisons should eventually replace traditional cell-based prisons for nearly all types of [prisoners]." In 1955, a United Nations resolutionechoed the sentiment. But Chino eventually morphed into a traditional maximum security prison. Several factors doomed Scudder's vision, all part of the tough-on-crime movement, but one high-profile escape was particularly damaging to the model: In 1983, Kevin Cooper walked out of the prison a day after arriving, and was soon the lead suspect in four gruesome murders.
    It makes no sense––morally, financially, or logically––to ignore the good of any given endeavor because one person abused it. But what happened in Chino is part of a pattern wherein politicians act cowardly and walk away from progressive and promising models, usually at the expense of the least enfranchised.
    The system was not done exposing its worst in Cooper's case. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote an exhaustive and devastating column detailing the evidence indicating that Cooper was framed by law enforcement for the murders. "In 1983, four people were murdered in a home in Chino Hills, California," he begins. "The sole survivor of the attack said three white intruders had committed the murders. Then a woman told the police that her boyfriend, a white convicted murderer, was probably involved, and she gave deputies his bloody coveralls. So here's what sheriff's deputies did: They threw away the bloody coveralls and arrested a young black man named Kevin Cooper.
    As in so many cases, Cooper's trial was, to put it mildly, racially charged. One man brought a noose around a stuffed gorilla to a hearing. According to Cooper's current lawyer, "he didn't have a half-decent defense." The crime was high profile and law enforcement was under pressure to punish someone. Kristof dispatches with the evidence against Cooper by exposing law enforcement negligence, such as when the district attorney shut down the on-scene investigation "for fear, he said, of gathering so much evidence that defense experts could spin complicated theories." Kristof also exposes probable lies, like when a deputy suspected of planting evidence claimed not to have entered the room where the evidence was found, but his fingerprints were found there. Various judges have concluded that Cooper was framed. Kristof notes that the bloody coveralls were not the only evidence pointing to a different culprit, but it was all ignored.
    Cooper also faced politicians who cared more about saving face than saving the life of a possibly innocent person. Kamala Harris, as district attorney of California, refused to permit advanced DNA testing that could have exonerated Cooper. It was only after Kristof's column was widely shared, and Harris was no longer in a position to help, that she reversed her position. Former Governor Jerry Brown waited until the very end of his term to finally order new DNA testing, but, as the Los Angeles Times reported, he "inexplicably stopped short of ordering all the testing needed." Shortly after Gavin Newsom took office as governor, he ordered additional DNA testing. The results are pending.
    Not everyone caught in the criminal legal system prompts backsliding on reform, and not everyone is hit with high-profile murder charges. Not everyone is framed. And very few have Kim Kardashian fighting for them. But plenty of people have been railroaded because of their race, their class, or their education. And plenty of people have been disbelieved because law enforcement says otherwise, regardless of how implausible the police story is. Plenty have faced arbitrary refusals of those in power to get to the truth. And a tremendous number have suffered because politicians rolled back reforms after isolated incidents of abuse. Cooper understands all this.
    "I don't have any confidence," he told Kristof. "I don't believe in the system." Cooper believes that the criminal legal system is unfair to poor people and non-white people. "I'm frameable, because I'm an uneducated black man in America," he said. "Sometimes it's race, and sometimes it's class." He is writing a memoir. "That's my motivating factor to get out of here, to tell my story and tell the truth about this rotten-a** system," he said.


    2) How Many Times Does a River Have to Burn Before It Matters?
    When Cleveland's Cuyahoga caught fire, it was as much about urban blight as environmental crisis.
    By Neil M. Maher, June 22, 2019

    The Cuyahoga River fire of Nov. 1, 1952.CreditCreditBettmann/Getty Images
    It was like a game of telephone.
    In the first whispers, which appeared in local newspapers on June 23, 1969, Cleveland's Cuyahoga River didn't burn. A floating oil slick did, for only 25 minutes, damaging a couple of train trestles.
    In the next telling, which appeared in Time magazine a month later, the heavily polluted river "burst into flames" and "nearly destroyed" the trestles. The photograph accompanying the article showed firefighters frantically spraying down a boat surrounded by flaming water.

    The final version played out in the early 1970s, in National Geographic, a watchdog report by Ralph Nader and numerous accounts that credit the fire with helping to jump-start the modern environmental movement. Even The New York Times reportedmuch later that the 1969 fire "led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and to the passage of the Clean Water Act."

    Yet the Cuyahoga River fire's iconic environmental status is as much a result of burning cities as it is of burning water. Cleveland, like the river flowing through it, was also polluted. Its poorest neighborhoods — which were rife with dirty air, garbage-strewn streets and unhealthy housing — caught fire several times during the long hot summers of the late 1960s, as happened in cities all over the northern United States. And it was Mayor Carl Stokes, the first African-American to lead a major city, who first put the two narratives together.
    An aerial view of a curve in the Cuyahoga River near where the 1969 fire occurred. Circa 1968.CreditAlfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection, via Getty Images

    Cleaning up both the city and the river became imperative. As a New York Times editorial argued, less than a year after the 1969 fire, "these two vital sets of demands are interwoven aspects of the same environmental problem."
    This was far from the first time the Cuyahoga had caught fire. The waterway had burned at least 10 times since 1868. It was hard to keep track. Remember that photograph of the boat surrounded by flaming water in Time? It was actually of a fire in 1952, which the magazine's editors recycled for the 1969 blaze.
    So how did this sadly regular occurrence become so alarming?
    The usual story goes something like this: The day after the 1969 fire, Mr. Stokes took a scrum of local reporters on a "pollution tour" of the river. They walked past broken pipes leaking raw sewage, alongside chemical and steel companies whose dumping had turned the river cloudy white and rusty red. The final stop on the tour were those train trestles damaged by the fire.
    "There may be some wry humor in the phrase 'the river is a fire hazard'," Mr. Stokes told the reporters. But "this is a longstanding condition that must be brought to an end."

    The mayor's timing was perfect. By the late 1960s not only had residents of Cleveland and its suburbs become more environmentally aware, but so had the nation. Rachel Carson's publication of "Silent Spring" in 1962 set off public concern, which culminated in the first Earth Day celebration in 1970. Between those book ends, a barrage of environmental disasters — including an oil spill off Santa Barbara, Calif., a few months before the Cuyahoga fire and the accidental poisoning of the Rhine around the same time as the blaze — linked the city's pollution problems to a burgeoning national and international environmental movement.

    The mayor's connections were also important. One year after the fire, Carl Stokes's brother, Louis, who represented several Cleveland neighborhoods in Congress, supported a water-pollution bill in the House and used the Cuyahoga River to defend it.
    "The rape of the Cuyahoga River has not only made it useless for any purpose other than a dumping place for sewage and industrial waste," said Representative Stokes before a congressional subcommittee, "but also has had a deleterious effect upon the ecology of one of the Great Lakes."
    The bill passed, and built legislative momentum for both the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency later that year and the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972. The Cuyahoga River fire was catalytic, the story goes, because it occurred at the "right" time. 
    But what about the right place?
    At the end of his "pollution tour," the day after the fire, Mayor Stokes broadened his message. "It's a terrible reflection on the city," he said. But when he added that "this is a longstanding condition that must be brought to an end," he was referring not only to the river, but to Cleveland itself.
    In the summer of 1969, the city was a poster child for urban blight. Hometown companies had shuttered, including Standard Oil, which had stopped refining in Cleveland in 1966. Since 1952, 60,000 manufacturing jobs had been lost, along with 125,000 residents, as many white families departed for the suburbs. Abandoned homes lined streets teeming with garbage, which caused a citywide rat infestation. Poverty, frustration and violence flourished, especially in African-American neighborhoods such as Hough and Central — both on Cleveland's east side, which just three summers prior had gone up in flames during six days of unrest.

    Mayor Stokes cared about those fires as well. Having grown up in Central, he understood their connection to the flames that engulfed the Cuyahoga.

    It hadn't always been like this, in the city or on the river. Earlier in the century, a complex of oil-refining industries had grown along the Cuyahoga's flats, with attendant factories, warehouses and docks. By the early 1930s, two massive steel mills had followed, along with 850,000 workers who had settled nearby in compact working-class neighborhoods. 
    Cleveland's political and commercial elites encouraged this economic relationship between the city and its river by dredging, widening and straightening the Cuyahoga. In those days, an oily sheen on the water was seen as a shimmering symbol of Cleveland's financial fitness.
    That's why the previous fires on the Cuyahoga had mainly raised economic concerns. The New York Times coverage of the 1883 fire was basically a ledger of economic losses. Nearly a dozen oil tanks exploded, and 100,000 barrels went up in flames. The Times lamented that the loss "cannot figure up less than $250,000." Even the 1952 fire was couched in purely financial terms. "The oil slick menace is bound to affect fire insurance rates," said an editorial in one local newspaper. "That would be an economic loss."
    Back then it wasn't the Cuyahoga that Clevelanders worried about. It was the cash.
    By the summer of 1969 this was no longer the case. The relationship with the city's economy and the Cuyahoga had frayed.
    "Because so few Clevelanders continued to work and live along the Cuyahoga, they no longer relied on the river as an industrial artery," said David Stradling, a history professor at the University of Cincinnati and the co-author, with his brother, Richard, of "Where the River Burned: Carl Stokes and the Struggle to Save Cleveland." "That allowed them to think of the Cuyahoga as a river again." This reimagining transformed the waterway from a cog in Cleveland's economic machine into a threatened ecological system.

    Similar socioeconomic changes were occurring across the country, in cities like Newark, Detroit and Los Angeles, as well as Omaha, Rochester and Minneapolis. And while rivers in these cities never burned, their poor neighborhoods did, in part because of the same economic and environmental problems that plagued Cleveland.
    But such details rarely inform the Cuyahoga fire's telephone game, which typically ends on a high note. As The Times reported in 2009, the river's cleanup had actually begun the year before the fire, in 1968, when Cleveland residents voted to tax themselves $100 million to begin restoring the river. Such efforts continued after the fire, when industries along the Cuyahoga chipped in $3.5 billion to reduce sewage and industrial waste flowing into the waterway. The result? Beavers, blue herons, bald eagles and more than 40 species of fish are thriving along the Cuyahoga.
    That is reason to celebrate. Hough and Central, however, remain two of the poorest neighborhoods in Ohio.
    Neil M. Maher is a history professor in the Federated History Department at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers University, Newark, and the author, most recently, of the book "Apollo in the Age of Aquarius."


    3) Queer People of Color Led the L.G.B.T.Q. Charge, but Were Denied the Rewards
    By Scott James, June 22, 2019

    Jose Sarria performs at the Black Cat bar in San Francisco, 1958.CreditCreditJosé Sarria Papers/Courtesy of GLBT Historical Society

    The words of José Sarria, typed with handwritten edits on aging paper, are enshrined behind glass at the GLBT Historical Society Museum in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood.
    "Tonight I would like to explain my platform, 'Equality before the Law,'" Mr. Sarria wrote in a campaign speech when he was running for city supervisor. In 1961 he was the first openly gay person to run for public office in the United States.

    Mr. Sarria did not win, but like so many involved in the initial battles for L.G.B.T.Q. rights, he was a minority-group member and defied gender conventions — he worked as a drag queen at a local nightclub.
    A campaign flier for José Sarria's election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1961.CreditJosé Sarria Papers/Courtesy of GLBT Historical Society

    Transgender people, drag queens, blacks and Hispanics played outsized roles during many of the earliest milestones of the gay rights movement. Today, however, these same groups have been denied many of the benefits of the revolution they sparked.

    They led the riots at Stonewall in New York in 1969, Compton's Cafeteria in San Francisco in 1966, and Cooper Do-nuts in Los Angeles in 1959.
    They also fronted early legal battles.
    Maxine Perkins, a transgender woman, risked spending most of her life in prison in North Carolina in 1961 when she fought laws against homosexuality. And Donna Burkett and Manonia Evans, African-American women, defiantly asked for a license to marry in Milwaukee in 1971, and when they were denied they took the case to court.
    "I don't think it's a coincidence," said Joshua Burford, a historian and co-founder of the "Invisible Histories Project," an organization that is compiling and preserving L.G.B.T.Q. history in the South.
    Many early skirmishes were "led by queer people of color," Mr. Burford said. "They had already been marginalized to such a degree, and the fact that they were trans or gay at the time just added another level to which they could be discriminated against. They fought back. They had been pushed and pushed and pushed into such a corner."

    "They are always on the front line," said Susan Stryker, professor of gender and women's studies at the University of Arizona. "They are the ones who are being who they are, no matter what. They are catching all the homophobia, all the transphobia that are being directed at queer folks."

    Some were on those front lines because they could not pass as straight.
    "The idea of choosing to come out is a luxury for some people," said Mason Funk, founder of the Outwords Archive, an effort to collect videotaped interviews with L.G.B.T.Q. pioneers. Excerpts from the interviews were first published in May in "The Book of Pride."
    The L.G.B.T.Q. community owes "a huge debt of gratitude to the ones who really didn't have that much of a choice, who were out there taking the beatings, and taking the verbal abuse," Mr. Funk said. "They paved the way."
    But experts point out that even though transgender people and L.G.B.T.Q. racial minorities were often vanguards for equal rights, these same groups have lagged behind in gains.
    For example, researchers say that while gay and bisexual men have experienced the same rates of poverty as heterosexual men, same-sex couples of color and transgender people have been three and four times more likely to live in poverty than their white and straight counterparts, citing United States census numbers and other research.
    Transgender people and gay and lesbian minorities also experience higher levels of H.I.V. and sexual violence, according to the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Transgender Survey.

    It has even been a struggle for equity within the larger L.G.B.T.Q. community.
    "This is not universal because the gay and lesbian community and feminism are broad, diverse. But some of the people who have been absolutely the worst on trans issues have been some cisgender gay men and some cisgender feminists and lesbians," said Ms. Stryker, referring to those whose gender corresponds with their birth sex.
    After Stonewall, Ms. Stryker said, the tactics of many in the gay rights movement eventually shifted from rebellion to seeking acceptance.
    "It's predicated on being a man or woman like other men and women," Ms. Stryker said. "The trans question is the one, like, 'No I'm not that.' The trans question kicks that foundation out from under the main thrust of the gay and lesbian movement from the early 1970s forward."
    Perhaps the most divisive example of this rift involved the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act, known as ENDA, which would have banned workplace discrimination against L.G.B.T.Q. people. The bill passed in the House of Representatives in 2007, but only after eliminating protections for transgender people.
    ENDA failed in the Senate, but there continues to be bitterness from some in the transgender community toward supporters of the bill, including the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largestL.G.B.T.Q. rights organization.
    Tina White, a board member, is part of the organization's new leadership that has worked to be more inclusive and move past the controversy, but it still stings. Ms. White said she was recently confronted by a transgender activist who blamed the Campaign for a continued lack of jobs and equality.
    "'We're still living in horrible, deplorable conditions and we hold that group accountable'," Ms. White quoted the woman as saying. "It wasn't the answer I wanted to hear, but it was a very fair answer," Ms. White said.

    But Ms. White is hopeful for greater equality and opportunities, and she said she believes change will happen because of the views of those who were not born when early L.G.B.T.Q. pioneers took their stands.
    "Teens and people in their 20s — they have such a different outlook," Ms. White said, noting that many in America's latest generations do not seem to be biased against minorities or those in the L.G.B.T.Q. community. "They're opening up a whole new conversation."


    4) ICE Is Expected to Begin Operation on Sunday Targeting 2,000 Immigrant Family Members
    "If officers find undocumented parents with children who are citizens, ICE is likely to book a hotel room until a relative can claim the children. The parents would then be taken to family detention centers, where there is limited space."
    By Zolan Kanno-Youngs, June 21, 2019

    Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arresting undocumented immigrants last year during a raid in Brooklyn.CreditCreditJohn Moore/Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — Immigration and Customs Enforcement is expected to send agents into communities on Sunday morning to begin a coordinated operation deporting undocumented immigrant family members across the country, according to two Department of Homeland Security officials.
    The effort has been planned as a show of force to deter migration to the southwestern border, but immigration agents and experts have also described the planning and logistics for the operation as flawed.
    The effort will focus on more than 2,000 undocumented family members who entered the United States in recent years and had their cases expedited on a specialized docket and were served deportation orders in at least 10 major cities, including Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and New Orleans.

    ICE branches in additional cities were also told to prepare to conduct deportations, according to one of the homeland security officials.

    It remained unclear whether families in all of the cities would be detained. According to one federal official, agents in New York have been instructed to go to the homes of undocumented families and instruct them to leave the country in 30 days. The families may be fitted with an ankle bracelet for tracking.
    In an interview with ABC News, Mark Morgan, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said that 2,040 family members would be targeted, without specifying the timing of the operation.
    "This is not about fear," Mr. Morgan said. "No one is instilling fear in anyone. This is about the rule of law and maintaining the integrity of the system."
    Such operations have been carried out under previous administrations, including that of President Barack Obama. While people are often detained at home, work or courthouses, the operation on Sunday would be a coordinated effort across the country over multiple days. Mr. Morgan is hoping the deportations will quell a record number of Central Americans seeking asylum who have overwhelmed Border Patrol facilities.
    It is rare for an administration to publicize an operation days before it is conducted, said Theresa Cardinal Brown, a former policy adviser at Customs and Border Protection.

    "Having this all out in the public open like this is not ideal if your goal is to apprehend people and detain them," said Ms. Brown, the director of immigration policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center. "If your goal is to put fear in people and make them afraid, mission accomplished."
    While President Trump said on Twitter this week that ICE would deport millions of undocumented immigrants, the acting secretary of homeland security, Kevin McAleenan, is said to have resisted the operation because of the logistics behind it. That reluctance has been met with displeasure at the White House.
    The agency does not have the resources to carry out a mission of that size, and its deportation officers, which number about 6,000, also do not know the addresses of many of the undocumented immigrants.
    Some immigration experts doubted that the agency would reach the target of 2,000, partly because families most likely fled their homes after Mr. Trump's tweet late Monday night. "They know we're coming," said Ronald D. Vitiello, the former acting director of ICE.
    In advance of the effort, agents from Homeland Security Investigations, who usually conduct long-term investigations rather than deportations, have been directed to join deportation officers.
    Homeland security officials have been wary of the coordinated effort because it could lead to the separation of families. It is unclear what will happen if ICE agents encounter undocumented parents at home while their children, who may be citizens, are away.
    "Past raids have left children alone and afraid in empty homes, praying they won't be left to care for younger siblings by themselves, with no idea if they'll see their parents again," said Sandra Cordero, the director of Families Belong Together, an advocacy group.

    If officers find undocumented parents with children who are citizens, ICE is likely to book a hotel room until a relative can claim the children. The parents would then be taken to family detention centers, where there is limited space.
    Affected families would stay at those centers until officials secure travel documents for their deportation. Many of the families are likely to reopen their immigration cases because they did not receive proper notice for a removal hearing.
    On Friday, the Los Angeles Police Department said it would not help the federal government with any planned raids.
    The chief of the Los Angeles Police, Michel R. Moore, had earlier told The Los Angeles Times that he expected the raid to affect about 140 people in Southern California.
    Gov. Gavin Newsom of California criticized the proposed deportations, saying the plans were "cruel, misdirected and are creating unnecessary fear and anxiety."
    He added, "California is a place of refuge — that includes our schools, our courts and our hospitals and clinics."

    Maggie Haberman, Jose Del Real, Miriam Jordan and Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.


    5) Students of Color are More Likely to Be Arrested in School. That May Change.
    New York City's new discipline code could have an immediate impact.
    By Eliza Shapiro, June 20, 2019

    City statistics have shown that the New York City school system has disciplined black and Hispanic students at higher rates than white and Asian children.CreditCreditMark Abramson for The New York Times
    Andrea Colon, an 18-year-old student activist from Far Rockaway, Queens, traveled a thousand miles to a presidential campaign stop for Mayor Bill de Blasio in Hiawatha, Iowa — not to hear his views on national issues, but to confront him about arrests in schools. 
    "If we act like young people, if we get into a fight or talk back, we are going to get suspended or have an interaction with the police," Ms. Colon said on Thursday, explaining what she told Mr. de Blasio. As a young Hispanic girl in a large city high school, she said, "I just realized that you don't get the benefit of the doubt."
    Ms. Colon's criticism of city policy reflects a broader movement focused on reducing the role of police officers in schools. On Thursday, responding to longstanding concerns that the system penalizes black and Hispanic students, Mr. de Blasio announced new rules that will limit arrests in schools for low-level offenses.
    In addition, it's likely that the maximum amount of time for suspensions will be sharply reduced. 

    For decades, city statistics have shown that the New York City school system has disciplined black and Hispanic students at higher rates than white and Asian children — an unsettling yet consistent feature of the nation's largest school district.

    The new guidelines represent perhaps Mr. de Blasio's most dramatic attempt to change how students of color are disciplined — and how police interact with students in school. All New York school buildings have a New York Police Department school safety agent, and other police officers are allowed in schools. 
    Ms. Colon said she went to Iowa to ask the mayor to eliminate all arrests and summonses in schools. Though she didn't get the exact answer she hoped for, she said the changes are "a step in the right direction."
    Black and Hispanic students represent about 90 percent of arrests and summonses in schools, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union.
    Though suspensions have plummeted by about 30 percent since Mr. de Blasio took office, 46 percent of total suspensions last year were issued to black students, who make up 26 percent of the school system.
    After years of sometimes rocky experimentation with ways to replace former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's so-called zero tolerance approach, the city will use restorative justice practices that emphasize defusing conflict over suspensions in all middle and high schools starting in the next school year. The city will add 85 new social workers, funded as part of the final city budget, to schools in an attempt to ease the transition.

    Over the last five years, civil liberties leaders and student activists have made racial disparities in discipline a major liability for Mr. de Blasio, who has promised to reduce inequality in all aspects of city life.

    Students who have had experiences with arrests in schools have pleaded with the mayor to adopt a new strategy. Paola Mena, a 17-year-old city high school student, said being arrested after a fight outside of her Bronx middle school several years ago was one of the worst experiences of her life. 
    Paola said she was sticking up for a friend who had been bullied when she got into a verbal fight with another student. Paola said the other girl spat on her, and Paola tried to throw a punch that didn't land. A few moments later, she remembered being grabbed from behind by police officers and taken to the local precinct, where she said she was handcuffed to a chair. 
    "Ever since that day, walking through the halls in school, I felt really ashamed," said Paola, who was 14 at the time of her arrest. "Everyone knew what happened, everyone saw me being dragged by people who were twice my size." 
    The mayor will likely still have to grapple with criticism from both sides of the issue. 
    Many black and Hispanic students have said they want to see metal detectors eliminated in schools, and some teachers, along with the union that represents school safety agents, say Mr. de Blasio has removed discretion from professionals about how to enforce discipline. 
    Though major crime in schools has dropped by nearly 30 percent since 2014, Teamsters Local 237 and some teachers have said schools are underreporting issues in order to appease City Hall.

    The new discipline code will have an immediate impact when school opens in September. 
    School safety agents will be discouraged — but not explicitly banned — from arresting students or giving summonses for minor offenses like marijuana possession, graffiti or disorderly conduct. 
    That shift, which was first reported by the education news site Chalkbeat, is covered under an agreement between the Police Department and Department of Education that had not been updated since former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani's administration. Mr. de Blasio is also proposing that the maximum length of an out-of-school suspension drop to 20 days from 180 days.
    Ms. Colon, the student from Queens, remembered that one girl who had gotten into a fight at her high school was suspended for 180 days. "She came back a year later and I was like, 'what the hell happened to you?'"
    The new rules are not quite mandates; there are exceptions for violent offenses, incidents related to guns and other weapons and other issues. 
    Mr. de Blasio has learned that total bans on suspensions and arrests are unpopular. A 2016 plan to eliminate all suspensions for kindergarten students was opposed by the city's teachers union and eventually softened.
    Mr. de Blasio has heralded his school safety agenda as a microcosm of his broader goal that the city can be both safe and fair to black and Hispanic communities who have had the most contact with the criminal justice system.

    "This is a moment of change, this is a moment where students are going to get the support they need to be their best selves," Mr. de Blasio said at a news conference on Thursday. "It's going to help us build a stronger and fairer city."

    Eliza Shapiro is a reporter covering New York City education. She joined The Times in 2018. Eliza grew up in New York City and attended public and private schools in Manhattan and Brooklyn. @elizashapiro


    6) The Long, Cruel History of the Anti-Abortion Crusade
    Abortion opponents don’t care what happens to an unwanted child, and they’ve never cared about the mother.
    By John Irving, June 23, 2019
    CreditCreditAssociated Press

    Amid the anti-abortion measures being pushed through state legislatures, consider the mazy history of abortion in the United States. Women, capable of determining and managing their reproductive rights, have been undermined by men in power before.
    Prior to the 1840s, abortion was widespread and not illegal in our country. In the time of the Puritans, America’s deeply religious founding fathers, abortion was allowed until the fetus was “quick” — when the woman could feel the fetus move. Before modern diagnostic ultrasound, abortion was permissible beyond the first trimester — up to four or five months. Our founding fathers got this right; the choice to have an abortion or a child belonged to the woman.
    Beginning in the 1840s, and continuing over decades, abortion was outlawed state by state, becoming illegal everywhere in the United States by 1900 — until 1973, when the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision held that a woman had a constitutional right to an abortion. For more than two centuries, after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, abortion was largely permitted. Why was it prohibited for almost a century?

    In the 1830s, women having babies at lying-in hospitals ran a far greater risk of dying from puerperal sepsis than women having babies at home. With the help of midwives, women had been having babies and abortions at home — since colonial times. Had midwives been as busy performing abortions as delivering babies? Beginning in the 1840s, doctors sought to gain control of the reproduction business. Doctors were establishing their new profession; midwives and homeopaths were their competition. But why did doctors lobby for abortion to be illegal? What was their logic? Did doctors underestimate how great the need for abortion was? We know what the doctors wanted, and they achieved it; they became the arbiters of women’s reproductive health care. We don’t know the doctors’ reasons for making abortion illegal. In the 1840s, the fetus wasn’t yet sacred. Fetal life was still defined by “quickening” — when the woman felt the fetus move, not before the fourth or fifth month. From the 1840s to 1900, we know the results of what the doctors did — not their thoughts.

    One job of a society with a social conscience is to rescue its citizens who are trapped, who are painted into a corner. I see my job as a fiction writer with a social conscience as the opposite. As a storyteller, I look for worst-case scenarios; my job is to trap my characters. I began “The Cider House Rules,” my sixth novel, in the early 1980s. I purposely wrote a historical novel, beginning in the 1920s, when abortion was illegal, unsafe and (for the most part) unavailable. Maine was one of the first states to make abortion illegal; I put the orphanage I called St. Cloud’s in Maine. I purposely painted my protagonist, Homer Wells, into a corner. Homer is an orphan; his several adoptions don’t work out. Homer keeps coming back to the orphanage — St. Cloud’s is his only home. Dr. Larch, the orphanage physician (and abortionist), teaches Homer to be a doctor. In Dr. Larch’s opinion, Homer has near-perfect obstetrical and gynecological procedure. But Homer doesn’t want to perform abortions. He’s an orphan; his mother let him live.

    Homer has no argument with Dr. Larch’s decision to give women what they want, but Homer has a personal reason (and a good one) not to perform abortions. Here’s the corner Homer is painted into: How can Homer not feel obligated to help women, when women can’t get help from anyone else? If women have no choice, how can doctors have a choice? Homer will leave St. Cloud’s; he refuses to perform abortions. What he will encounter, in the world outside the orphanage, is a woman who can’t get help from anyone else. The death of Dr. Larch will bring Homer back to the orphanage — this time, to be the physician (and the abortionist) at St. Cloud’s. In a no-choice world, Homer is trapped.
    It took 14 years to make the film of “The Cider House Rules.” I won an Oscar for best adapted screenplay. Over time, it’s more meaningful to me that the movie also won a Maggie Award — named after Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, in recognition of “exceptional achievement in support of reproductive rights.”
    I respect your personal reasons not to have an abortion — no one is forcing you to have one. I respect your choice. I’m pro-choice — often called pro-abortion by the anti-abortion crusaders, although no one is pro-abortion. What’s unequal about the argument is the choice; the difference between pro-life and pro-choice is the choice. Pro-life proponents have no qualms about forcing women to go through childbirth — they give women no choice.
    Before the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973, the opposition to abortion wasn’t widely referred to as right to life. Pope Pius XII used the “right to life term in a 1951 papal encyclical — an “Address to Midwives on the Nature of Their Profession.” “Every human being, even the child in the womb, has the right to life directly from God and not from his parents, not from any society or human authority,” the pope told the midwives. Poor midwives — first doctors stop them from helping women, then the pope. I must remind the Roman Catholic Church of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” In other words, we are free to practice the religion of our choice, and we are protected from having someone else’s religion practiced on us. Freedom of religion in the United States also means freedom from religion.
    The “pro-life” term was adopted by anti-abortion crusaders after the Roe v. Wade decision. The anti-abortion cause didn’t promote itself as “pro-life” until the more punitive-sounding “anti-abortion” label failed. In 1976, with the passing of the Hyde Amendment, prohibiting the use of federal funds for most abortions, opposition to abortion gained support among Republicans. The Christian right was on the rise; their socially conservative policies are inseparable from today’s Republican Party. In 1980, aided by the Baptist minister Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority, the pro-life zealots took control of the Republican Party’s platform committee. Four anti-abortion presidents followed — Ronald Reagan, George H. W. and George W. Bush, and Donald Trump. Isn’t it as clear now as it was in the Reagan years? Aren’t the same people who sacralize the fetus generally opposed to any meaningful welfare for unwanted children and unmarried mothers?

    The prevailing impetus to oppose abortion is to punish the woman who doesn’t want the child. The sacralizing of the fetus is a ploy. How can “life” be sacred (and begin at six weeks, or at conception), if a child’s life isn’t sacred after it’s born? Clearly, a woman’s life is never sacred; as clearly, a woman has no reproductive rights. The Roman Catholic Church, and many evangelical and fundamentalist churches, willfully subject women to mandatory childbirth and motherhood — procreation is deemed a woman’s primary purpose and function. I’m not overstating. In his 1951 “Address to Midwives,” Pope Pius XII states that “the procreation and upbringing of a new life” is the primary end of marriage.
    When “The Cider House Rules” was published, some of my younger friends and fellow feminists thought it was quaint that I’d written a historical novel about abortion. They meant: now that abortion rights were secure, now that Roe v. Wade was the law of the land. At the time, I tried to say this nicely: “If you think Roe v. Wade is safe, you’re one of the reasons it isn’t.” Not surprisingly, my older women friends — women who were old enough to have had sex before 1973 — knew better than to imagine that Roe v. Wade would ever be safe. Men and women have to keep making the case for women’s reproductive rights; women have been making the case for years, but more men need to speak up.
    Of an unmarried woman or girl who got pregnant, people of my grandparents’ generation used to say: “She is paying the piper.” Meaning, she deserves what she gets — namely, to give birth to a child. That cruelty is the abiding impetus behind the dishonestly named right-to-life movement. Pro-life always was (and remains) a marketing term. Whatever the anti-abortion crusaders call themselves, they don’t care what happens to an unwanted child — not after the child is born — and they’ve never cared about the mother.
    John Irving is writing his 15th novel, and is adapting his fourth novel, “The World According to Garp,” for television.

    7) Trump’s Immigration Plan Would Have Missed This Nobel Prize Winner
    I.I. Rabi came up with the idea behind M.R.I.s. Who brought it to fruition? A man whose family fled genocide.
    By Kevin Baker, June 24, 2019

    CreditCreditCorbis, via Getty Images

    “Had we stayed in Europe, I probably would have become a tailor.”
    Those words were spoken by one of the great figures in American science, Isidor Isaac Rabi. In one sentence, they tell us two big things we need to know about the history of immigration to this country, and why President Trump’s proposal to “reform” our current system is fatally flawed.
    In a Rose Garden speech last month, Mr. Trump presented his “big, beautiful, bold plan” for a predominantly “merit-based” system of immigration. This would entail the first “major overhaul of our legal admissions policy” in “54 years” — or since President Lyndon Johnson signed the Hart-Celler Act in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, on Oct. 3, 1965.
    Hart-Celler was a long overdue reform, one that removed the racist, anti-Semitic national quotas for immigration that we had in place since the 1920s. Under that previous law — the Johnson-Reed Act — immigration was based on the countries of origin of Americans, according to the 1890 census. It was a eugenics-inspired effort to severely limit the immigration of Jewish, Southern, and Eastern Europeans, and to ban Africans and Asians altogether.

    What Trump wants is to establish a system that will also supposedly have nothing to do with race, religion or national origin. His new plan, Mr. Trump averred, would raise “the proportion of highly skilled immigration from 12 percent to 57 percent” or higher.

    Right now, about two-thirds of immigrants are admitted because of their family ties, with another 5 percent chosen by a lottery system (though to be eligible for the lottery, under the Diversity Visa Program, immigrants must have a high-school education, or a minimum of two years working in a profession that requires two years of training or experience).
    The Trump plan would eliminate the lottery and cut the percentage of family relations admitted almost in half, all in favor of a self-described “easy-to-navigate points-based system” in which preference would be given to those with an advanced education, a job offer in hand, “a plan to create jobs” and “a valuable skill.” They will also have to learn English and pass a civics exam, “in order to promote integration, assimilation, and national unity.”
    Leave aside the obvious jokes about the president’s newfound respect for the social safety net, national unity, civics, the English language or financial self-sufficiency. Or Mr. Trump’s already stated predilection for immigrants from Norway over, well, other places. On its face, at least, the president’s plan is designed to attract “higher-wage workers” and “never undercut American labor” or strain the national Treasury. It would emulate systems currently in place in “Canada and so many modern countries” and make us “globally competitive.”
    Instead, as our immigration policy stands now, “We discriminate against genius,” Mr. Trump claims. “We discriminate against brilliance.”
    So what’s not to like?
    Well, to begin with, the fact that the Trump plan would have excluded most of the immigrants who did so much to make America what it is today. A prime example is Dr. Rabi.

    He was born Israel Isaac Rabi, in Galicia, a region in Eastern Europe that for centuries had been picked like a bone by its more powerful neighbors — another of those more benighted places that Mr. Trump so despises.
    There is little doubt that young Rabi was a genius. He published a paper on the design of a radio condenser in a popular magazine when he was still in grammar school. In high school, he placed first in the New York State Regents exam in history.
    But who could have predicted that? When his parents came to Brooklyn at the turn of the century, they did not speak English and they had never taken a civics class. His father’s skill, tailoring, was so valuable that it could only be found on every corner, and the Rabis had no plans to create jobs beyond the Brownsville grocery they started to support themselves. As Jews, they belonged to a minority unjustly scorned by many Americans at the time as innately criminal and sinister.
    What they seem to have possessed was the ineffable ability to teach their son how to think. When he came home from school, Dr. Rabi later recalled, his mother, Sheindel, asked him not what he had learned, but “Izzy did you ask a good question today?”
    Certainly he possessed the tenacity, the work ethic, the moral courage and the loyalty to his new country that Mr. Trump would like to see in immigrants. Studying chemistry and engineering at Cornell, Dr. Rabi survived on a scholarship so small he began losing teeth to malnutrition. At other points he worked analyzing the chemical contents of milk and furniture polish to support his education. He published a local newspaper and did office work for a lawyer.
    Later he accepted a fellowship in physics to Columbia so he could be closer to the woman he loved, a student at Hunter College named Helen Newmark. He married her, and they had two daughters and stayed married until Dr. Rabi’s death, almost 62 years later.
    During the First World War, he did research on manganese, a key element in munitions. During the Second World War, he consulted on the development of radar and the Manhattan Project, though afterward he spoke out publicly against the creation of the hydrogen bomb, and the McCarthyist attacks on Robert Oppenheimer, who as the chief scientist on the project did more than any other individual to ensure that the U.S. had atomic weapons ahead of the fascist powers.

    In between, Dr. Rabi’s work on particle beam experiments led to the theory behind what became magnetic resonance imaging — the M.R.I. — and won him a Nobel Prize in 1944. But this was far from his only contribution to science. Once the only Jewish professor in the sciences at Columbia, Dr. Rabi would go on to chair a physics department there that boasted 11 future Nobel laureates, and for the rest of his life would go on contributing not only to major advances in the sciences, but also to building the framework of scientific education and research throughout the Western world.
    Dr. Rabi’s work would be carried forward by a remarkable string of other immigrant scientists, including Felix Bloch and Nicolaas Bloembergen both of whom escaped war and persecution in Europe to win Nobel Prizes in America. And he would live to see an M.R.I. machine, invented by yet another brilliant polymath, Dr. Raymond Damadian, whose family had fled the Armenian genocide for New York.
    “I saw myself in that machine. I never thought my work would come to this,” Dr. Rabi said.
    There may not be too many I. I. Rabis. But immigrants whose lights were hidden under a bushel when they arrived abound in our history. Alexander Hamilton was certainly a prodigy when he arrived in America, but he was also a penniless teenager born out of wedlock, with almost no formal education and no plans to create jobs (or start revolutions). Irving Berlin was one of eight children in a family so poor that he went to live on his own at age 14. Andrew Carnegie was the son of a bankrupt weaver, who had to take a job as a telegraph messenger boy at 13 to help his family get by.
    Then there was Rudolph Heinrich Baer, whose father worked in a shoe factory, and who was forced to leave school at age 11 when the Nazis came to power because he was Jewish. When his family came to the United States a few months ahead of Kristallnacht, Rudolph — now Ralph — went to work 10 hours a day in a Bronx box factory. Serving his country in Germany during the war, he amused his fellow soldiers by refiguring enemy land mines to work as radios. Afterward, he used the G.I. Bill to get one of the first college degrees in television engineering ever awarded. And one day in 1966, waiting for a colleague on a sweltering day outside New York’s Port Authority bus station — just the sort of situation conducive to “genius” insights — Ralph Baer thought up the idea for a “game box” that could be attached to any television. The video game was born.
    But lest you think that the only thing the Trump plan is missing is an aptitude test for children, what about William Ford, a farmer from County Cork, Ireland — whose son, Henry, was only born 31 years after he came to America? Or Stephanie Louise Kwolek, the inventor of Kevlar, whose parents were immigrants from Poland, or Dr. Patricia Bath, inventor of the laserphaco, a revolutionary device for removing cataracts and installing new lenses, whose father had been a merchant seaman and newspaperman in Trinidad before immigrating to Harlem, where he became the first black motorman in the M.T.A.?
    Certainly, there was genius in all these individuals and so many more men and women who have come to these shores. And there is uncommon skill and courage among the unsung immigrants who have done the dangerous, backbreaking work over the decades: the Chinese who blasted the Transcontinental Railroad through the Sierras and the Rockies; the Irish who dug the Erie Canal, and riveted together our skyscrapers; the descendants of those forced “immigrants,” enslaved Africans, who dug out so many tunnels as sand hogs. The people from everywhere who do the hardest and the meanest and the least rewarded jobs in our society then and now.
    People who Mr. Trump dismissed in that same Rose Garden speech about his big, beautiful, bold plan as “mostly low-wage and low-skilled” and who “put pressure on our social safety net and generous welfare programs.” For a man who spent so much of his life in construction, Mr. Trump seems amazingly oblivious to what it takes to make a living with your hands, but there is a lot he doesn’t understand about genius, either.

    This is the other thing that Dr. Rabi’s story tells us. Brilliance, genius, call it what you will, is not just bred in the bone but raised up by us all. As a small, sickly child growing up in Brownsville, young Izzy scoured the local public library, and soon became a devoted admirer of the work of Jack London, with all its grassroots socialism: “What appealed to me was the democratic ideal that anybody could become anything.”
    He discovered ideas, too, that led him to challenge the most deeply held beliefs of his parents. They wanted him to study Torah. Once Izzy found a book on Copernicus, that was over: “It’s all very simple. Who needs God?” he told them. (They compromised on a bar mitzvah held at home, in which he gave a talk in Yiddish about how an electric light works.)
    After he first encountered anti-Semitism in academia, Dr. Rabi always made it a point to write out his entire name. Yet at the same time, he would say, “I turned away from the Old World. I realized I had to be an American, not a Jewish-American. In all of my reading, I tried to become an American. I read a tremendous amount of colonial history.”
    An immigrant who was not ashamed of who he was or where he came from, but has his face set resolutely toward being an American. Someone who understood the role the library and free public schools had played in coaxing out his genius. Who knew what he stood to gain from our universities even as he faced down their bigotry. Who did what he could to defend his new country but was willing to speak out against injustice and warmongering as he saw it. Who gave back, throughout his life, in ways great and small.
    This is not somebody you find with a points system. It is not someone who arrives prepackaged with a big bank account and impeccable English and plans for a new factory in his back pocket, but someone who will be molded by America just as he or she helps to mold it.
    This is someone Mr. Trump will never be able to comprehend, much less welcome. But I.I. Rabi knew: “It takes a person like me to really understand what a wonderful country America is.”


    8) Trump’s ‘Concentration Camps’
    The cruelty of immigrant family separations must not be tolerated.
    By Charles M. Blow
    CreditCreditLynne Sladky/Associated Press

    I have often wondered why good people of good conscience don’t respond to things like slavery or the Holocaust or human rights abuse.
    Maybe they simply became numb to the horrific way we now rarely think about or discuss the men still being held at Guantánamo Bay without charge or trial, and who may as well die there.
    Maybe people grow weary of wrestling with their anger and helplessness, and shunt the thought to the back of their minds and try to simply go on with life, dealing with spouses and children, making dinner and making beds.
    Maybe there is simply this giant, silent, cold thing drifting through the culture like an iceberg that barely pierces the surface.

    I believe that we will one day reflect on this period in American history where migrant children are being separated from their parents, some having been kept in cages, and think to ourselves: How did this happen?
    Why were we not in the streets every day demanding an end to this atrocity? How did we just go on with our lives, disgusted but not distracted?
    Thousands of migrant children have now been separated from their parents.
    As NBC News reported in May:
    “At least seven children are known to have died in immigration custody since last year, after almost a decade in which no child reportedly died while in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.”
    Homeland Security’s own inspector general has described egregious conditions at detention facilities.
    And, last week, an attorney for the Trump administration argued before an incredulous panel of judges on the Ninth Circuit that toothbrushes, soap and appropriate sleeping arrangements were not necessary for the government to meet its requirement to keep migrant children in “safe and sanitary” conditions.
    As one of the judges asked the attorney:
    “Are you arguing seriously that you do not read the agreement as requiring you do something other than what I described: Cold all night long. Lights on all night long. Sleep on the concrete floor and you get an aluminum blanket?”

    Stop and think about that. Not only do these children in question not have beds, they are not even turning off the lights so that they can go to sleep. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture, plain and simple.
    How is this happening? Why is this happening?
    An Associated Press report last week discussed the descriptions by lawyers of “inadequate food, water and sanitation for the 250 infants, children and teens” at a Texas border patrol station.
    According to the report:
    “A 2-year-old boy locked in detention wants to be held all the time. A few girls, ages 10 to 15, say they’ve been doing their best to feed and soothe the clingy toddler who was handed to them by a guard days ago.”
    The report explained at another point:
    “Three girls told attorneys they were trying to take care of the 2-year-old boy, who had wet his pants and had no diaper and was wearing a mucus-smeared shirt when the legal team encountered him.”
    The report described at another point:
    “A 14-year-old girl from Guatemala said she had been holding two little girls in her lap. ‘I need comfort, too. I am bigger than they are, but I am a child, too,’ she said.”
    Anyone whose heart doesn’t break upon reading that is a monster. And yet, too many Americans seem perfectly O.K. with these conditions. Last year, Fox News’s Laura Ingraham compared child detention centers to “summer camps.” These are not summer camps. They are closer to what Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called them: concentration camps.
    She received quite a bit of blowback for that description, her critics complaining that the term was too closely tied to the ghastly horrors of the Holocaust.

    No one wants to be accused of invoking Godwin’s law: “As an online discussion continues, the probability of a reference or comparison to Hitler or the Nazis approaches 1.” In other words, 100 percent.
    However, last week MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes wrote on Twitter:
    “Last comment on this: ‘concentration camp’ is an extremely charged term and I get why many people are, in good faith, uncomfortable with its application for Godwin’s Law purposes among others. So let’s just call them “detention camps” and focus on what’s happening in them.”
    The creator of the law himself, Mike Godwin, responded:
    “Chris, I think they’re concentration camps. Keep in mind that one of their functions by design is to punish those individuals and families who are detained. So even the “charged” term is appropriate.”
    Folks, we can use any form of fuzzy language we want, but the United States under Donald Trump is currently engaged in an unconscionable act. He promised to crack down on immigrants and yet under him immigrants seeking asylum have surged. And he is meeting the surge with indescribable cruelty.
    Donald Trump is running concentration camps at the border. The question remains: what are we going to do about it?


    9) ‘There Is a Stench’: No Soap and Overcrowding in Detention Centers for Migrant Children
    "The reports of unsafe and unsanitary conditions at Clint and elsewhere came days after government lawyers in court argued that they should not have to provide soap or toothbrushes to children ...'When we encountered the baby and her mom, the baby was filthy. They wouldn’t give her any water to wash her. And I took a Kleenex and I washed around her neck black dirt,' said Hope Frye, who was leading the group, adding, 'Not a little stuff — dirt.' After government lawyers argued in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco this week that amenities such as soap and toothbrushes should not be mandated under the legal settlement originally agreed to between the government and migrant families in 1997 and amended several times since then, all three judges voiced dismay."
    By Caitlin Dickerson, June 21, 2019
    CreditCreditCedar Attanasio/Associated Press
    A chaotic scene of sickness and filth is unfolding in an overcrowded border station in Clint, Tex., where hundreds of young people who have recently crossed the border are being held, according to lawyers who visited the facility this week. Some of the children have been there for nearly a month.
    Children as young as 7 and 8, many of them wearing clothes caked with snot and tears, are caring for infants they’ve just met, the lawyers said. Toddlers without diapers are relieving themselves in their pants. Teenage mothers are wearing clothes stained with breast milk.
    Most of the young detainees have not been able to shower or wash their clothes since they arrived at the facility, those who visited said. They have no access to toothbrushes, toothpaste or soap.
    “There is a stench,” said Elora Mukherjee, director of the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School, one of the lawyers who visited the facility. “The overwhelming majority of children have not bathed since they crossed the border.”

    Conditions at Customs and Border Protection facilities along the border have been an issue of increasing concern as officials warn that the recent large influx of migrant families has driven many of the facilities well past their capacities. The border station in Clint is only one of those with problems.
    In May, the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security warned of “dangerous overcrowding” among adult migrants housed at the border processing center in El Paso, with up to 900 migrants being held at a facility designed for 125. In some cases, cells designed for 35 people were holding 155 people.
    “Border Patrol agents told us some of the detainees had been held in standing-room-only conditions for days or weeks,” the inspector general’s office said in its report, which noted that some detainees were observed standing on toilets in the cells “to make room and gain breathing space, thus limiting access to the toilets.”
    Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas on Friday announced the deployment of 1,000 new National Guard troops to the border to help respond to the continuing new arrivals, which the governor said have amounted to more than 45,000 people from 52 countries over the past three weeks.
    “The crisis at our southern border is unlike anything we’ve witnessed before and has put an enormous strain on the existing resources we have in place,” Mr. Abbott said, adding, “Congress is a group of reprobates for not addressing the crisis on our border.”

    The number of border crossings appears to have slowed in recent weeks, possibly as a result of a crackdown by the Mexican government under pressure from President Trump, but the numbers remain high compared to recent years. The overcrowding crisis has been unfolding invisibly, with journalists and lawyers offered little access to fenced-off border facilities.
    The reports of unsafe and unsanitary conditions at Clint and elsewhere came days after government lawyers in court argued that they should not have to provide soap or toothbrushes to children under the legal settlement that gave Ms. Mukherjee and her colleagues access to the facility in Clint. The result of a lawsuit that was first settled in 1997, the settlement set the standards for the detention, treatment and release of migrant minors taken into federal immigration custody.
    Ms. Mukherjee is part of a team of lawyers who has for years under the settlement been allowed to inspect government facilities where migrant children are detained. She and her colleagues traveled to Clint this week after learning that border officials had begun detaining minors who had recently crossed the border there.
    She said the conditions in Clint were the worst she had seen in any facility in her 12-year career. “So many children are sick, they have the flu, and they’re not being properly treated,” she said. The Associated Press, which first reported on conditions at the facility earlier this week, found that it was housing three infants, all with teen mothers, along with a 1-year-old, two 2-year-olds and a 3-year-old. It said there were dozens more children under the age of 12.
    Ms. Mukherjee said children were being overseen by guards for Customs and Border Protection, which declined to comment for this story. She and her colleagues observed the guards wearing full uniforms — including weapons — as well as face masks to protect themselves from the unsanitary conditions.
    Together, the group of six lawyers met with 60 children in Clint this week who ranged from 5 months to 17 years old. The infants were either children of minor parents, who were also detained, or had been separated from adult family members with whom they had crossed the border. The separated children were now alone, being cared for by other young detainees.
    “The children are locked in their cells and cages nearly all day long,” Ms. Mukherjee said. “A few of the kids said they had some opportunities to go outside and play, but they said they can’t bring themselves to play because they are trying to stay alive in there.”

    When the lawyers arrived, federal officials said that more than 350 children were detained at the facility. The officials did not disclose the facility’s capacity but said the population had exceeded it. By the time the lawyers left on Wednesday night, border officials told them that about 200 of the children had been transferred elsewhere but did not say where they had been sent.
    “That’s what’s keeping me up at night,” Ms. Mukherjee said.
    Some sick children were being quarantined in the facility. The lawyers were allowed to speak to the children by phone, but their requests to meet with them in person and observe the conditions they were being held in were denied.
    The children told the lawyers they were given the same meals every day — instant oats for breakfast, instant noodles for lunch, a frozen burrito for dinner, along with a few cookies and juice packets — which many said was not enough. “Nearly every child I spoke with said that they were hungry,” Ms. Mukherjee said.
    Another group of lawyers conducting inspections under the same federal court settlement said they discovered similar conditions earlier this month at six other facilities in Texas. At the Border Patrol’s Central Processing Center in McAllen, Tex. — often known as “Ursula” — the lawyers encountered a 17-year-old mother from Guatemala who couldn’t stand because of complications from an emergency C-section, and who was caring for a sick and dirty premature baby.
    “When we encountered the baby and her mom, the baby was filthy. They wouldn’t give her any water to wash her. And I took a Kleenex and I washed around her neck black dirt,” said Hope Frye, who was leading the group, adding, “Not a little stuff — dirt.”
    After government lawyers argued in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco this week that amenities such as soap and toothbrushes should not be mandated under the legal settlement originally agreed to between the government and migrant families in 1997 and amended several times since then, all three judges voiced dismay.
    Among the guidelines set under the legal settlement are that facilities for children must be “safe and sanitary.”

    The Justice Department’s lawyer, Sarah Fabian, argued that the settlement agreement did not specify the need to supply hygienic items and that, therefore, the government did not need to do so.
    “Are you arguing seriously that you do not read the agreement as requiring you to do anything other than what I just described: cold all night long, lights on all night long, sleeping on concrete and you’ve got an aluminum foil blanket?” Judge William Fletcher asked Ms. Fabian. “I find that inconceivable that the government would say that is safe and sanitary.”

    Miriam Jordan in Los Angeles and Dave Montgomery in Austin, Tex., contributed reporting.

    My NYT Comment:
    "This has got to be one of the most horrendous stories I've read in a long time. When are we—the overwhelming majority of us who do the work—going to acknowledge the fact that those who own and control the wealth of the world through brute force of violence are the criminals and we—the masses of us—are the ones who they steal from. The U.S. military plunders the world in search of the raw materials to make corporate executives wealthy at the expense of all of us—especially those who are duped into serving them. These are not the sons and daughters of the wealthy elite—they are our sons and daughters who come home broken, or worse, in a box. We just don't need to live like this. We need to change all of this—we need to live in peace, equality and justice for all—it's capitalism that's rotten to the core! Socialism—democratic control over the means of production by the working majority—is the only solution to the descent into barbarism we're being dragged into before it's too late!" —Bonnie Weinstein






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