7/9 SF LaborFest Forum: Beyond the Controversy: The George Washington High School Murals and the Removal of Public Art

JULY 9 @ 7:30 PM


ILWU Local 34

801 2nd St. San Francisco


The controversy over the Victor Arnautoff murals at George Washington High School brings to San Francisco the public discourse over public art that is interpreted to portray, or actually glorifies, a narrow Eurocentric view of history. This panel will open with a brief visual presentation on both the Arnautoff murals and the multicultural murals painted in response to them in the early 1970s and then discuss their interpretation and effective culturally-sensitive ways to educate through art. It will also explore how the contemporary mural movement portrays provocative themes and how to preserve progressive public art from censorship. The panel will include Robert Cherny(Arnautoff biographer), Lope Yap, Jr.(Washington High Alumni Association), Dewey Crumpler(painter of the 1971 murals at the George Washington High School), and Tamaka Bailey(a member of the Oklahoma Choctaw Nation). The panel will be moderated by Harvey Smith(Living New Deal and National New Deal Preservation Association).

Streamed live on

International Labor Media Network Channel

Pacifica May Day Channel



End Human Detention Camps 

Lights for Liberty Worldwide Vigil Protesting U.S. Concentration Camps

Friday, July 12, 2019

7:00 P.M. – 10:00 P.M.

Powell St. Cable Car Turnaround, S.F.

Lights for Liberty will organize five main events in El Paso, Texas; Homestead, Florida; San Diego, California; New York City and Washington, D.C.

Look for groups holding protests in your city on that day!

Photo of migrants detained under the Paso del Norte International Bridge on March 27, 2019.   pin

Photo of migrants detained under the Paso del Norte International Bridge, March 27, 2019.





Campaign for Medicare for All

At San Francisco Mime Troupe Shows In July

Dear Healthcare Activist, 

We invite you to help us collect postcards in support of HR 1384, the Medicare for All Act of 2019.

We send the postcards to the constituent's Congress Member asking them to support HR 1384 or thanking them if they are already a cosponsor.

In July we will be asking people at many of the San Francisco Mime Troupe shows.  This year's show is about development on Treasure Island.

We will be asking people to sign postcards from noon to 2pm.

The show starts at 2pm. 

Please let us know when you can help.

___ Yes, on July 4 at noon I can collect HR 1384 postcards at Dolores 

Park (18th St and Dolores - 5 blocks from 16th St BART)

___ Yes, on Sat. July 6 at noon I can collect HR 1384 postcards at 41          

Somerset Pl in Berkeley In John Hinkel Park.

___ Yes, on Sun. July 7 at noon I can collect HR 1384 postcards at 41 

Somerset Pl in Berkeley In John Hinkel Park.

___ Yes, on Sat. July 13, I can help collect HR 1384 postcards at         

Frances Willard/Ho Chi Minh Park. Derby & Hillgrass in Berkeley

___ Yes, on Sat. July 20 at noon I can help collect HR 1384 postcards in

          McLaren Park at the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater in San Francisco

___ Yes, on Sat. July 27 at noon I can help collect HR 1384 postcards in 

Balboa Park (San Jose Ave & Havelock in San Francisco)

I look forward to working with you.

Don Bechler

Chair - Single Payer Now


And if you would like to make a financial contribution to keep us strong, you can send a contribution to:

Single Payer Now

PO Box 460622

San Francisco, CA 94146

Or to make a credit cards contribution: Click here



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!

Update June 3, 3029:

Forwarded message from Dr. Joseph Harris:

To All:

With a more complete history I was able to clarify:

1. Mumia is currently suffering from severe visual impairment "functionly" blind.
2. Under current conditions of incarceration his prognosis is dismal. I estimate he will be partially blind in less than 1 year and will be totally or near totally blind in 2 years.


J. Harris MD
(Please circulate)
P.S. In a subsequent email, Dr. Harris said that Mumia gave his permission to circulate this information. 

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. 




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





24 June 2019 ASA 35/0587/2019



Responding to the killings of four Filipino activists over a three-day period, Amnesty International calls on the

Philippine authorities to cease from 'red-tagging' legitimate organizations, or branding them as "communist fronts"which, according to these organizations, have led to increased harassment and attacks by unknown individuals against them. Peaceful activists should not be targeted based on their political views. The authorities must also carry out a prompt, thorough, impartial and effective investigation into the killings, and bring to justice those suspected to

be responsible for the killings. They must take proactive steps to ensure, protect, and promote the human rights of human rights defenders and activists in the country, and guarantee the right to an effective remedy and access to justice to victims and their families.

Local human rights group Karapatan said that two of its staff, 22-year-old Ryan Hubilla and 69-year-old Nelly Bagasala, were gunned down by unidentified persons in Sorsogon City, Sorsogon, on 15 June. The following day, 16 June, farmer-activist Nonoy Palma was shot dead outside his house in San Fernando, Bukidnon, by unknown persons riding a motorcycle. On 17 June, former activist Neptali Morada was driving his motorcycle to the provincial capitol

when he was gunned down by an unknown man in Naga City, Camarines Sur.

Hubilla, Bagasala, Palma and Morada all belonged to 'leftist organizationsthat have been 'red-tagged', or named by the government as "legal fronts" for the Communist Party of the Philippines. In a speech in January 2018, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said that he would "go after the legal fronts," referring to groups with alleged ties to the

communist movement, and reiterated his order to the military to "destroy the [communist] apparatus.Many of these groups say that in the wake of such provocative allegations, they have faced increased attacks by unknown individuals, including killings. Out of concern for the safety of their staff, Karapatan and several other groups have filed a court petition seeking information and protection; in fact, Hubilla had been planning to participate as a witness in hearings relating to this petition. Further evidencing the threats being faced by human rights defenders and activists, a group of UN human rights experts issued a statement on 7 June asking the UN to "establish an

independent investigation into human rights violations in the Philippines ... including sustained attacks on people and institutions defending human rights."

Amnesty International calls on the Philippine authorities to fulfil their international obligations to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights of human rights defenders and activists, including their rights to life, freedom of

expression, and freedom of peaceful assembly. All these rights are guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which the Philippines is a state party. In particular, Amnesty International calls on the Philippine government to conduct prompt, thorough, impartial and effective investigations into the killings of human rights defenders and activists in the country. Philippine authorities should also publicly instruct their officials to end the harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders and activists simply for carrying out human rights work. The authorities should encourage rather than disparage the work of human rights defenders and activists which, in some cases, puts these defenders' lives in danger.

As the human rights situation in the Philippines continues to deteriorate, Amnesty International has called on member states of the UN Human Rights Council to open an independent investigation into human rights violations in the context of the "war on drugs,". This investigation should examine, among other issues, attacks on human rights defenders and activists.


According to the human rights group Karapatan, Ryan Hubilla and Nelly Bagasala had been assisting political prisoners, three of whom were released the day before Hubilla and Bagasala were killed, and had been subjected tosurveillance because of their work. Farmers' group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas said that Nonoy Palma was a member of its local chapter. Neptali Morada was a regional coordinator of the group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan


Amnesty International Public Statement 1

(Bayan) until 2000 and was working as a staff of a former local politician when he was killed; Bayan, however, said that Morada continued to experience surveillance and harassment even after he left the group.

According to media reports, Philippine National Police Chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde has said that he has ordered an investigation into the killings. The reports say that Albayalde has told Karapatan, however, that it has to prove that

both Hubilla and Bagasala are indeed staff of the organization, adding that Karapatan may just be "taking advantage"of the situation by putting the blame on state forces.



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. 

Share This 

[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



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.


    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!




    1) Welcome to the K-12 Surveillance State

    Is tech really the solution to student safety?

    By Charlie Warzel, July 3, 2019


    Security cameras at a middle school in Sidney, Ohio.CreditCreditAndrew Spear for The New York Times

    This article is part of a limited-run newsletter. You can sign up here.

    The home page for Gaggle, a software program that scans student activity across digital platforms like email, computer files and online assignments, features a staggering, if unprovable, statistic. "This past academic year, Gaggle helped districts save 542 students from carrying out an act of suicide," it reads. 

    Calculating figures like suicide prevention is a murky science at best (Gaggle emailed to say that the number was "actually 722 students saved"), but that hasn't stopped digital student monitoring systems like Gaggle, which has roughly five million users, from growing in popularity. In the wake of mass shootings like Parkland, school districts are facing pressure to find new ways to deter violence, and many of them force administrators to make a choice between student safety and privacy. 

    Their decisions are ushering in a K-12 surveillance state. This spring, Western New York's Lockport City School District started testing facial recognition technology with "the capacity to go back and create a map of the movements and associations of any student or teacher." There have been gunfire-detecting microphones installed in New Mexico schools and playgroundsthat require iris scans. A recent ProPublica report explored the deployment of unreliable "aggression detector" cameras in places like Queens, New York. The increase is most likely linked to the number of security and surveillance technology vendors courting school district budgets. 

    "This technology is being promoted by tech vendors, not educators, and it's certainly not being promoted by parents," Monica Bulger, a senior fellow at the Future of Privacy Forum's Education Privacy Project told me. Despite federal statistics that show schools are among the safest places for children, the public believes that schools are more dangerous than ever. "School administrators feel they need to provide a solution. The tech seems to provide a quick, easy fix," Bulger said. "Schools aren't considering whether it is the best fit; they're choosing the fastest one."

    Arguably more troubling than the collection of student data is where that data is stored and who has access to it. As Education Week reported in May, Florida lawmakers are planning to introduce a statewide database "that would combine individuals' educational, criminal-justice and social-service records with their social media data, then share it all with law enforcement." 

    Such a database is likely to reveal sensitive information like which students were bullied or harassed, because of a protected characteristic like their sexual orientation, according to Amelia Vance, who directs the Education Privacy Project. All this information, once compiled, could be exposed through data breachesClose X, sent to child data brokersClose X or misclassified, which could lead to outing students or wrongly identifying innocent students as threats.

    And there's no consensus that monitoring every aspect of a student's life, both in school and via their devices, is a universal good. Bulger, who has been interviewing families of children between the ages of 9 and 17 on their attitudes toward privacy in schools, argued that students are stressed by constant monitoring, while their parents tend not to know it's going on. "Generally, parents feel insecure that they don't understand how their kids are using technology. School is the one place where they feel like somebody is in control and they trust the schools are acting in the child's best interests," she added.

    Worse yet, the students can't opt outClose X. "It's a binary choice for the kids," Bulger said. "A teacher told me years ago, 'If you want to opt out of using the Google education suite, then you'll also need to opt out of fourth grade.'"

    Which is why Vance and Bulger suggest that parents ought to read up on student monitoring in their districts, ask questions and, if necessary, speak out. When it comes to student privacy, parents may be complacent, but the tech companies sure aren't.

    New York Times Archives

    Continuing on this theme, our trip to the archives takes us back to January 1985 to a story about a Supreme Court ruling on student privacy. It's a great historical primer that shows, as the archives tend to show, how little our biggest debates change over the years:

    "Students in school as well as out of school are 'persons' under our Constitution and are possessed of fundamental rights which the state must respect," the Court held in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District. Young people do not, it stated, "shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate."

    The piece shows how this stuff gets thorny quickly. The 1985 case describes how "the Court ruled for the first time that the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable search and seizure applied to schoolchildren." But there's nothing straightforward about the law when it comes to the definition of unreasonable:

    "'Reasonable suspicion' in the courts is no more than a hunch, and I don't think this is an appropriate standard when student rights are involved," said Gerald Lefcourt, a New York lawyer who handles many search-and-seizure cases. "If school officials take an aggressive approach, students' privacy rights will almost evaporate."

    [If you're online — and, well, you are — chances are someone is using your information. We'll tell you what you can do about it. Sign up for our limited-run newsletter.]

    If you're reading this, you probably already know that you're being tracked everywhere online to serve up targeted (read: relevant) advertisements. Since this sort of monitoring is baked into the core of web-browsing architecture, there's not a lot you can do (you can go 'Incognito' and clear cookiesClose X or use an ad blocker). Which is why I enjoyed this experiment in online civil disobedience from researchers at Mozilla. It's called "Hey, Advertisers, Track This!" and it's designed to scramble the brains of the myriad ad trackers that monitor your every move. 

    The experiment, which you can do for yourself here, allows you to choose from one of four fake user profiles (Hypebeast, Influencer, Doomsday and Filthy Rich). Then it launches 100 (yes, 100) tabs in your browser that are designed to make your browsing behavior look like one of its stereotypical profile types. For example, picking Influencer will launch dozens of tabs with Amazon searches for holistic remedies, pages for meditation apps and other online New Age goodies. 

    Once the tabs open, you can close out of the window or delete them individually. If it's successful, the ads that follow you around the internet should change drastically. The hope, according to Mozilla, is to "throw off brands who want to advertise to a very specific type of person."

    A few days ago I tried this for myself. Before the experiment I was getting a lot of tech-related ads for services like Google Fi and Verizon (there were also, somewhat inexplicably, a lot of ads for what appeared to be baggy hemp and linen clothes for women over 30). I dialed up the "Track This!" page and chose Doomsday. I let the cascade of prepper tabs wash over me like an early-aughts Alex Jones monologue. In an instant I navigated to a dozen Amazon pages for products like the Emergency Zone Urban Survival 72-Hour Bug Out bag. There were searches for water purification tablets, survivalist tutorials and a few Home Depot links for "outside equipment."

    True to its word, the banner ads that followed me around the internet changed pretty quickly. Sensible and chic linen garments became tactical camouflage raincoats. The advertising powers that be thought I'd taken up a sudden interest in Medicare enrollment. The brands had been thrown off!

    As the website for the experiment notes, this is more of a stunt than a solution. After all, you're still seeing ads, just not relevant ones. Still, it's a stunt that lays bare how the online ad ecosystem works. And if there's one revealing truth about the whole thing, it's how it demonstrates what a brute-force tool ad targeting is. Despite the constant intrusions and collection of reams of browsing and personal data, much of what's served up to us via interstitial online ads is semi-relevant at best. The machines may know us, but they don't know us. Yet!

    We just saw the first conviction of a murder suspect who was identified using genealogy website data.

    Here's a great feature on how Amazon is rather quietly building a huge, networked surveillance infrastructure (that we're all willingly welcoming into our homes).

    Just a wee bit more Amazon creepiness: Amazon Is Working on a Device That Can Read Human Emotions

    Like other media companies, The Times collects data on its visitors when they read stories like this one. For more detail please see our privacy policy and our publisher's description of The Times's practices and continued steps to increase transparencyClose X and protections.

    Follow @privacyproject on Twitter and The New York Times Opinion Section on Facebook and Instagram.

    Charlie Warzel, a New York Times Opinion writer at large, covers technology, media, politics and online extremism. He welcomes your tips and feedback: charlie.warzel@nytimes.com | @cwarzel



    2) When 'Black Lives Matter' Is Invoked in the Abortion Debate

    By John Eligon, July 6, 2019


    From left, the Rev. Clinton Stancil, the pastor of Wayman A.M.E. Church in St. Louis; Kawanna Shannon, director of surgical services at the Planned Parenthood Clinic in St. Louis; and the Rev. Michael Jones, the pastor of Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis.CreditCreditAlyssa Schukar for The New York Times

    ST. LOUIS — As a pastor, Clinton Stancil counsels his black congregants that abortion is akin to the taking of innocent life. But as a civil rights activist, Mr. Stancil urges them to understand the social forces that prompt black women to have abortions at disproportionately high rates.

    The national debate over abortion has focused of late on when a heartbeat is discernible in the fetus, on the rights of women to make choices over their bodies and on the vast schism between the opposing views on ending pregnancies.

    But to many African-Americans like Mr. Stancil, who is the pastor of Wayman A.M.E. Church in St. Louis, abortion cannot be debated without considering the quality of urban schools. Or the disproportionately high unemployment rate in black communities. Or the significant racial disparities in health care.

    "As much as I believe with all my heart about the killing, the taking of innocent lives, I also believe that I will never support giving white legislators who have no interest in our community the ability to tell our women what they can do with their bodies," Mr. Stancil said of sweeping abortion restrictions recently approved in Missouri.

    In many black communities, the abortion debate is inextricably tied to race in ways that white communities seldom confront. Social and economic disparities that are particularly challenging to African-Americans, from mass incarceration to maternal and infant mortality, are crucial parts of that discussion.

    The best way to reduce abortions, many black people both for and against the practice argue, is to address the difficult circumstances that lead so many black women to end their pregnancies. Abortions have dropped over the last 15 years among all racial groups. But black women continue to have the highest abortion rate at 27.1 per 1,000 women compared with 10 per 1,000 for white women, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health.

    Those seeking to outlaw abortion lament what they see as an undoing of the fabric of black families. They liken the high abortion rates among black women to a cultural genocide, and sometimes raise the specter of eugenics and population control when discussing abortion rights, as Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court did in a recent concurring opinion.

    Those intent on protecting women's constitutional right to make their own decision on terminating a pregnancy — and even some black abortion skeptics — see a contradiction in the great concern some lawmakers and activists show toward the fetus versus the limited focus on policies that uplift black communities.

    Underlying the debate is the rich heritage of the black church, at once a liberal center of civil rights activism and an institution that preaches religious conservatism.

    In discussions with African-American congregants, the abortion debate can often feel like wading through a series of contradictions. Mr. Stancil, for instance, opposes abortions but is also against far-reaching restrictions that would eliminate all access to them. Most black voters support legal access to abortion but are also split on whether abortion is morally acceptable.

    The racial intolerance that exists in the country is an intrinsic part of the discussion. "Black Lives Matter," a motto born of the abuse black people suffer at the hands of police officers, can be heard on both sides of the abortion debate among black people, with one side emphasizing the life of the mother and the other the fetus.

    "Those who are most vocal about abortion and abortion laws are my white brothers and sisters, and yet many of them don't care about the plight of the poor, the plight of the immigrant, the plight of African-Americans," said the Rev. Dr. Luke Bobo, a minister from Kansas City, Mo., who is vehemently opposed to abortion. "My argument here is, let's think about the entire life span of the person."

    In Missouri, the Republican-controlled Legislature recently banned abortion at around eight weeks of pregnancy — though that law has yet to go into effect — and state officials have said they will not renew the license of the state's only abortion provider. Without the renewal, Missouri would become the first state in the country without access to abortion services since 1974, the year after Roe v. Wade made abortion a constitutional right.

    A state commission gave the clinic, Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region, a temporary reprieve last month, allowing the clinic to provide abortions.

    About half the women who received abortions at the clinic last year were black. The clinic also provides other health care services, and supporters worry that patients from marginalized communities will face the biggest consequences if abortion access in the state is eliminated, including turning to risky, illegal means to terminate pregnancies.

    Black women already have enough challenges, said Kawanna Shannon, who is black and the director of surgical services at the clinic. "And now I have to still deal with the state and the governor now passing laws and telling me what I can and can't do with my own body," she said. "It's just burdensome."

    Polls show that most African-Americans support at least some form of legal access to abortion. More than 33 percent of African-Americans said they believed that abortion should be legal under any circumstance, and 47 percent said they favored allowing it under certain conditions, according to Gallup polls.

    Still, those who believe abortion should be legal, the polls suggest, want limits. More than a third of both black and white respondents said abortion should be legal "in only a few" circumstances. Black and white Americans opposed abortion at similar rates: Around 16 percent of African-Americans said it should be illegal in all circumstances, compared with 17 percent of white respondents.

    Religious teachings may have convinced some African-Americans that life begins in the womb. But having seen firsthand how their communities have been hurt by high incarceration rates, economic disinvestment and a lack of educational opportunities, some have a hard time embracing what they see as one-size-fits-all abortion bans.

    Dr. Bobo, the minister from Kansas City, said he counseled women not to have abortions, but at the end of the day, "It's her choice."

    "I cannot manipulate her into agreeing; I cannot guilt her," he said.

    Mr. Stancil of the Wayman A.M.E. Church said his view that abortion amounted to ending a life was compatible with his belief in a woman's choice because God was the ultimate judge.

    "That's something they're going to have to reconcile with their God," he said of women who chose to have abortions.

    Promoting policies that address some of the root causes of abortions by black women has become a favored approach for many black voters on both sides of the issue, and especially for those against abortion. From womb to tomb, they say, describing their concern for the full life span of black people.

    "We can save a child in the womb, but we also have an environment that could kill that child," said Cessilye Smith, a black abortion opponent in Dallas working to open a free clinic that provides pre- and postnatal care and other services for women. "They both have to be worked on equally."

    The Church of God in Christ, a predominantly black Pentecostal denomination with more than six million members nationwide, is in the process of building a $20 million pregnancy center in Memphis. Four years ago, the church, which opposes abortion, began a campaign to educate its members on the impact of abortion on black communities and to encourage preventive actions like fostering or adopting children.

    The Seymour Institute for Black Church and Policy Studies, a Boston-based think tank, is planning to start a campaign this summer with billboards and advertisements in black media outlets and on social media that speak out against abortion — and against capital punishment and mass incarceration.

    The Rev. Michael Jones, the pastor at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis, said that he believed in preserving life, but that he did not "have the power to take away that choice" a woman makes on an abortion. Regardless of what happens with the Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis, Mr. Jones said his focus was on the church's efforts to help and empower black lives.

    "We're really concentrating on meeting the needs beyond the birth of a child," Mr. Jones said, adding that if a woman decided to have an abortion, "we provide counseling and support for them."

    That position is comforting to Briana Bobo, 30, a staunch supporter of abortion rights who is a member of Friendly Temple and Dr. Bobo's daughter.

    "Black folks," she said, "are just a little bit softer and more able to understand, perhaps, different views on abortion and on life."



    3) An Immigration Policy Worse Than Trump's

    Europe outsources its dirty work. There's a better way.

    By Bret Stephans, July 5, 2019


    Demonstrators at a vigil in Cologne, Germany, for Carola Rackete, the German captain of a migrant rescue ship who was arrested in Italy. CreditCreditFederico Gambarini/DPA, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    HAMBURG — Germany has a new heroine.

    She is Carola Rackete, she is 31, and she is the captain of Sea Watch 3, a German N.G.O.-operated ship that on June 12 rescued 53 desperate migrants in international waters off Libya. Rather than return them to Libya, where they would face inhumane conditions, she plotted a course for Italy, where a populist government has closed the country's ports to migrants.

    After a two-week standoff with Italian authorities, she declared a "state of necessity" and a few days later docked her ship on the island of Lampedusa, bumping into a small patrol boat in the process. Rackete now faces possible trial and a potentially lengthy prison sentence. Jan Böhmermann, Germany's answer to John Oliver, has helped raise a small fortune for her legal costs. Der Spiegel has her on its cover as "Captain Europe."

    But if Rackete's actions were heroic, that's largely because European immigration policy is scandalous.

    The secret to Europe's migration policy is outsourcing. In 2016, the European Union agreed to pay Turkey six billion euros to stanch the outflow of Syrian refugees and other migrants who had overwhelmed Europe the previous summer. It worked, in the sense that it made the crisis less visible and therefore made the sense of responsibility, and the undercurrent of guilt, go away.

    Ask people how those refugees stuck in Turkey are actually faringand you'll likely get a shrug. At least they are better off there than they were in, say, Aleppo.

    The same can't be said for the calamity that's befallen migrants trapped in Libya, thanks in no small part to European diplomacy. In February 2017, a center-left Italian government, with E.U. support, struck a deal with the U.N.-recognized government in Tripoli to stand up a Libyan coast guard tasked with intercepting migrants, while also sharply limiting the ability of N.G.O.'s like Sea Watch to assist endangered migrants.

    The policy has worked only too well: The Libyans have stopped tens of thousands of migrants from coming over. They've also done little to stop many of them from drowning. And the migrants they've seized on the high seas have in many cases been sent to detention facilities that are tantamount to death sentences. A report from Human Rights Watch documented "malnutrition, lack of adequate healthcare, and disturbing accounts of violence by guards, including beatings, whippings and use of electric shocks."

    The remains of a detention center hit by an airstrike in Libya.CreditHazem Ahmed/Associated Press

    On Tuesday, one of those detention centers, near a military base in a suburb of Tripoli, was attacked in a rebel airstrike. At least 50 people were killed.

    Those deaths may not be on Europe's conscience, but they are, at least in part, a consequence of its policies. As Mathieu von Rohr wrote in a Spiegel editorial, "Today's migration policies in the European Union are even more brutal than those pursued by Donald Trump."

    That observation leads to three reflections concerning the U.S.'s border crisis.

    First, what's happening may be an outrage, but it is considerably less outrageous than attempts by other magnet states to manage an unmanageable flow of migrants. That should temper talk of "concentration camps" and similar overblown rhetoric to describe an inundated system.

    If a border patrol station like the one in McAllen, Tex., is a "concentration camp," as some progressives would have it, what language is left for the Libyan detention facilities on which the E.U. relies for its border security?

    Second, decriminalizing border entry, or extending access to health benefits for illegal immigrants, as some Democratic candidates suggest, would make the crisis dramatically worse. There were roughly 132,000 apprehensions at the southern border this May, more than nine times the figure of May 2017. A de facto open border of the sort that Europe briefly had in 2015 would send the numbers even higher, leading to a political backlash that would make the current Trumpist anti-immigrant fervor seem tame.

    The ugliness of current European policy is an outgrowth of its lax policies four years ago. Nobody who cares for the interests of future immigrants should want the same thing.

    Third, a purely punitive immigration policy of the sort envisioned by the Stephen Millers of the world will never work. In Central America, migrants are fleeing conditions that are worse than the worst this administration is capable of throwing at them. A wall the length of the border would not stop the pull-factor (most illegal immigrants arrive legally and overstay their visas). The only lasting answer is to address the push-factor.

    That means a sustained effort by the United States to reduce crime, improve governance and facilitate economic growth in three small countries: El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. That's not a minor task, but the U.S. worked with Colombia to achieve a similar outcome in the last two decades. There's no reason it can't work again.

    The name for such a policy is nation building. It's unpopular. It's still better than the dismal choices supposedly humane states on both sides of the Atlantic now face when it comes to people desperate to reach their shores.

    Bret L. Stephens has been an Opinion columnist with The Times since April 2017. He won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary at The Wall Street Journal in 2013 and was previously editor in chief of The Jerusalem Post. @BretStephensNYT  Facebook

    My NYT Comment:

    "This world is in turmoil. People are fleeing wars, starvation, brutal governments, environmental catastrophe that affects masses of people whose only hope of survival is to flee the land they were born to—to which they had no choice. Those who did and still do have a choice—a choice that began with Manifest Destiny—are the Western governments of the wealthy elite. Those governments, the U.S. being at the top of the list, have plundered the wealth of nations across the globe to increase their own coffers at the expense of hundreds-of-millions—billions of the working poor who labor for them for a pittance. These commanders of capital prop up corrupt governments that will bow to their wants and desires no matter how many human lives it costs. This is the root of the problem and the cause of war and poverty everywhere. It's called capitalism, and it has to end. It's time has come. It's destroying the globe to enrich a tiny few who can't see beyond their own lives of luxury. We don't need to live this way. We can share the world with equality and justice for all. It is in the hands of all working people everywhere to realize our power—through unity, democratic organization and solidarity  of action to take control of the means of production into our own hands—to live a life of peace with plenty for all and save the planet, too. It's our only hope for the future. It's socialism or barbarism. That's our choice!" —Bonnie Weinstein




    4) Heat Wave Nudged the Planet to Its Hottest June, European Forecasters Say

    By Henry Fountain, July 3, 2019


    Seeking respite from the heat last week at the Lustgarten on Museum Island in Berlin.CreditCreditSean Gallup/Getty Images

    The heat wave that smothered much of Europe at the end of June helped raise average global temperatures to a record for the month, a European weather forecasting agency has said.

    The European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts said Tuesday that global temperatures for June were about 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit, or 0.1 degree Celsius, higher than the previous record for the month, set in 2016. Europe itself was even warmer, about 2 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the 2016 record.

    During the last week of June temperatures spiked by as much as 18 degrees Fahrenheit above normal across Central and Western Europe. It was 115 degrees in a village in southern France on Friday, the hottest temperature ever recorded in the country. 

    Research groups are studying whether the hot weather in Europe was linked to climate change. In many previous heat waves in Europe and elsewhere, analyses have determined that climate change increased the likelihood that the events would occur.

    A preliminary analysis of the heat wave in France found that climate change had made it at least five times more likely than a heat wave would have been otherwise.

    Want climate news in your inbox? Sign up here for Climate Fwd:, our email newsletter.

    But even without a full analysis, scientists say, periods of extreme heat like the one last week, as well as record monthly and annual averages, are generally in keeping with the overall warming of Earth that has occurred because of human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

    When the 2016 records were set, the world had just experienced a strong El Niño, a series of changes in ocean temperatures and winds in the equatorial Pacific that can affect weather patterns around the world. El Niño conditions returned this year, although they are weaker, meaning that they would be expected to have less influence on regional weather.

    The European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts uses data from the Copernicus Climate Change Service, which operates several satellites. The center takes that data and enters it into computer models that simulate regional or global weather systems to come up with its temperature averages.

    In the United States, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA determine monthly averages as well. Those figures are based only on observational data, which can take several weeks to collect from land and ocean sensors around the world. A NOAA spokesman said the agency would issue June average temperatures for the United States on July 9 and global temperatures on July 18.

    Zeke Hausfather, an analyst with Berkeley Earth, an independent climate research group that does its own temperature analyses, said he expected that the American reports would be similar to the European one, although the rankings of record Junes might differ slightly.

    "June 2019 will likely be the warmest or second-warmest June in all the global temperature data sets since records began in the mid-1800s," Mr. Hausfather said. "This further boosts an already near-record-warm start to the year, putting us on track for 2019 to be the second or third-warmest year on record."



    5) Hungry, Scared and Sick: Inside the Migrant Detention Center in Clint, Tex

    An out-of-the-way border station in the desert outside of El Paso has become the epicenter of outrage over the Trump administration's policies on the southwest border.

    By , DANIEL BORUNDA, AARON MONTES and , July 6, 2019


    A little-known Border Patrol station in Clint, Tex., has become the public face of the chaos on America's southern border, after lawyers reported seeing filthy, overcrowded conditions for migrant children there. Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times

    CLINT, Tex. — Since the Border Patrol opened its station in Clint, Tex., in 2013, it was a fixture in this West Texas farm town. Separated from the surrounding cotton fields and cattle pastures by a razor-wire fence, the station stood on the town's main road, near a feed store, the Good News Apostolic Church and La Indita Tortillería. Most people around Clint had little idea of what went on inside. Agents came and went in pickup trucks; buses pulled into the gates with the occasional load of children apprehended at the border, four miles south.

    But inside the secretive site that is now on the front lines of the southwest border crisis, the men and women who work there were grappling with the stuff of nightmares.

    Outbreaks of scabies, shingles and chickenpox were spreading among the hundreds of children who were being held in cramped cells, agents said. The stench of the children's dirty clothing was so strong it spread to the agents' own clothing — people in town would scrunch their noses when they left work. The children cried constantly. One girl seemed likely enough to try to kill herself that the agents made her sleep on a cot in front of them, so they could watch her as they were processing new arrivals.

    "It gets to a point where you start to become a robot," said a veteran Border Patrol agent who has worked at the Clint station since it was built. He described following orders to take beds away from children to make more space in holding cells, part of a daily routine that he said had become "heartbreaking."

    The little-known Border Patrol facility at Clint has suddenly become the public face of the chaos on America's southern border, after immigration lawyers began reporting on the children they saw — some of them as young as 5 months old — and the filthy, overcrowded conditions in which they were being held.

    Border Patrol leaders, including Aaron Hull, the outspoken chief patrol agent of the agency's El Paso Sector, have disputeddescriptions of degrading conditions inside Clint and other migrant detention sites around El Paso, claiming that their facilities were rigorously and humanely managed even after a spate of deaths of migrant children in federal custody.

    But a review of the operations of the Clint station, near El Paso's eastern edge, shows that the agency's leadership knew for months that some children had no beds to sleep on, no way to clean themselves and sometimes went hungry. Its own agents had raised the alarm, and found themselves having to accommodate even more new arrivals.

    The accounts of what happened at Clint and at nearby border facilities are based on dozens of interviews by The New York Times and The El Paso Times of current and former Border Patrol agents and supervisors; lawyers, lawmakers and aides who visited the facility; and an immigrant father whose children were held there. The review also included sworn statements from those who spent time at El Paso border facilities, inspection reports and accounts from neighbors in Clint.

    The conditions at Clint represent a conundrum not just for local officials, but for Congress, where lawmakers spent weeks battling over the terms of a $4.6 billion humanitarian aid package for facilities at the border. The lack of federal investment, some argue, is why the sites have been so strained. But the reports of squalor prompted several Democratic lawmakers to vote against the final bill, which did not have oversight and enforcement provisions.

    By all accounts, the Border Patrol's attempt to continue making room for new children at Clint even as it was unable to find space to send them to better-equipped facilities was a source of concern for many people who worked there.

    "I can't tell you the number of times I would talk to agents and they would get teary-eyed," said one agent, a veteran of 13 years with Border Patrol who worked at Clint.

    Mary E. González, a Democratic state lawmaker who toured the Clint station last week, said that Border Patrol agents told her they had repeatedly warned their superiors about the overcrowded facility, but that federal officials had taken no action.

    "They said, 'We were ringing the alarms, we were ringing the alarms, and nobody was listening to us' — agents told me that," Ms. González said. "I genuinely believe that the higher-ups made the Clint situation happen."

    A Forward Operating Base

    Architects designed the Clint station as a type of forward base — replete with fueling stations, garages for all-terrain vehicles and horse stables — from which agents could go on forays along the border.

    The station was never intended to hold more than about a hundred adult men, and it was designed with the idea that migrants would be detained for only a few hours of processing before being transferred to other locations.

    Officials have allowed reporters and members of Congress on controlled tours of Clint, but prohibited them from bringing phones or cameras inside, and from entering certain areas. But through interviews with dozens of people with knowledge of the station — including lawyers, former detainees and staff members — The Times was able to model the main areas where children were held: the station's central processing area, with its cinder-block cells; a converted loading area and yard; and a warehouse on the property.

    Parts of the site resemble what might be seen at many government buildings. Photographs in the hallway celebrate the work of the Border Patrol, showing agents on horseback and in all-terrain vehicles. A conference room features high-backed chairs upholstered with faux leather.

    But the sense of normalcy fades away the deeper one goes into the station. A detachment of Coast Guard personnel, sent to assist overworked agents, stock an ad hoc pantry with items like oatmeal and instant noodles. Monitors in blue shirts roam the station, hired through an outside contractor to supervise the detained children.

    Beyond the pantry, a door leads to the site's processing center, equipped with about 10 cells. One day this month, about 20 girls were crowded into one cell, so packed that some were sprawled on the floor. Toddlers could be seen in some cells, cared for by older children.

    One of the cells functioned as a quarantine unit or "flu cell" for children with contagious diseases; employees have at times worn medical masks and gloves to protect themselves.

    A part of the processing area was set aside for detained children to make phone calls to family members. Many broke into tears upon hearing the voices of loved ones, episodes so common that some agents merely shrugged in response.

    Clint is known for holding what agents call U.A.C.s, or unaccompanied alien children — children who cross the border alone or with relatives who are not their parents.

    Three agents who work at Clint said they had seen unaccompanied children as young as 3 enter the facility, and lawyers who recently inspected the site as part of a lawsuit on migrant children's rights said they saw children as young as 5 months old. An agent who has worked for Border Patrol for 13 years — and who, like others interviewed for this story, spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the situation — confirmed reports by immigration lawyers that agents have asked migrants who are teenagers to help care for the younger children.

    "We have nine agents processing, two agents in charge of U.A.C. care and we have little ones that need their diapers changed, and we can't do that," the agent said. "We can't carry them or change diapers. We do ask the older juveniles, the 16-year-olds or 17-year-olds, to help us out with that."

    As immigration flows change, the scene inside Clint has shifted as well. The number of children in the site is thought to have peaked at more than 700 around April and May, and stood at nearly 250 two weeks ago. In an attempt to relieve overcrowding, agents took all the children out of Clint but then moved more than 100 back into the station just days later.

    Unaccompanied boys are kept in a converted loading area that holds about 50 people. Until a few weeks ago, older boys were kept in a tent encampment outside.

    Families, including adult parents, were also sent to Clint earlier this year, and Representative Will Hurd, a Republican whose Texas district includes Clint, said that 11 adult males "apprehended that morning" were also being held at the site when he visited on June 29.

    Before the influx of migrants began to wane in recent weeks, the agents said they had kept the families in a warehouse normally used to house A.T.V.s. It was converted into two holding areas initially intended to house 50 people each.

    A Chief Agent Under Fire

    At least two Border Patrol agents at Clint said they had expressed concern about the conditions in the station to their superiors months ago. Even before that, senior Homeland Security officials in Washington had significant concerns about the El Paso Sector's brash chief patrol agent and his oversight of the facility over the past year, when tighter security along other sections of the border prompted a steep rise in migrant crossings along the section that runs from New Mexico through West Texas.

    The situation became so severe that in January, officials at Customs and Border Protection, the agency that oversees the Border Patrol, took the unusual move of ordering the sector chief, Mr. Hull, to come to headquarters in Washington for a face-to-face meeting. The officials were concerned that Mr. Hull, an agency veteran who speaks with a pronounced Texas twang, had moved too slowly to put safety measures in place after the deaths of migrant children, according to a Homeland Security official. After the meeting, Mr. Hull moved forward with the new procedures.

    But tension has persisted between Mr. Hull and officials in Washington, particularly in recent months, as the number of migrants continued to increase at his facilities. The officials believe that Mr. Hull and Matthew Harris, the chief of the Clint station, have been slow to follow directives and communicate developments at the facilities in their sector, according to two Homeland Security officials.

    Mr. Hull is seen as a hard-liner on immigration issues. He has often been heard saying that migrants exaggerate the problems they face in their home countries.

    Officials at the border agency declined multiple interview requests.

    Last month, the acting head of C.B.P., John Sanders, ordered an internal investigation into the Clint facility. The investigation — which is being conducted by the agency's Office of Professional Responsibility and the department's inspector general — has examined allegations of misconduct.

    As part of the review, investigators have conducted interviews and watched hours of video footage to see how agents treated detainees. So far, investigators have found little evidence to substantiate allegations of misconduct. But they have found that the facility is several times over capacity and has horrendous conditions.

    The uproar over the site is drawing scrutiny on Border Patrol facilities that are some of the least-regulated migrant detention centers in the United States.

    That is in part because they are intended in most cases to hold migrants for no more than 72 hours, before they are turned over to better-equipped facilities operated by other government agencies with stricter regulations on, say, the number of toilets and showers required. But the 72-hour limit has been frequently breached during the current migrant surge; some children have been housed at Clint for weeks on end.

    Lawyers who visited the Clint station described children in filthy clothes, often lacking diapers and with no access to toothbrushes, toothpaste or soap, prompting people around the country to donate supplies that the Border Patrol turned away.

    But Mr. Hull painted a far different picture of his need for supplies in April, when the numbers of children held in Clint were soaring. Mr. Hull told commissioners in Doña Ana County in Las Cruces, N.M., in April that his stations had more than enough supplies.

    "Twenty years ago, we were lucky if we had juice and crackers for those in custody," Mr. Hull said, as quoted in The Las Cruces Sun-News. "Now, our stations are looking more like Walmarts — with diapers and baby formula and all kinds of things, like food and snacks, that we aren't resourced or staffed for and don't have the space to hold."

    An Inspector Arrives

    One day in April, a man from Washington arrived unannounced around midday at the Clint station. He introduced himself as Henry Moak, and told the agents inside that he was there to inspect the site in his role as Customs and Border Protection's chief accountability officer.

    The Clint station was far over capacity on the day of Mr. Moak's visit, bulging with 291 children. Mr. Moak found evidence of a lice infestation; children also told him about going hungry and being forced to sleep on the floors.

    One girl, a 14-year-old from El Salvador, had been in custody for 14 days in Clint, including a nine-day stretch in a nearby hospital during which Border Patrol agents accompanied her and kept her under surveillance. Mr. Moak did not specify in his report why the girl had been rushed to the hospital. When the girl returned to Clint, another child had taken her bed so she had to sleep on the floor.

    Two sisters from Honduras, one 11 and the other 7, told Mr. Moak that they had to sleep on benches in the facility's hold room, getting their own cot only when other children were transferred out. "The sisters told me they had not showered or brushed their teeth since arriving at Clint station," Mr. Moak said in his report. Showers had been offered twice during the girls' time in custody, but the girls were asleep each time, his review showed.

    Mr. Moak in the end stated that Clint was in compliance with standards.

    One of a team of lawyers who inspected the station in June, Warren Binford, director of the clinical law program at Willamette University in Oregon, said that in all her years of visiting detention and shelter facilities, she had never encountered conditions so bad — 351 children crammed into what she described as a prisonlike environment.

    She looked at the roster, and was shocked to see more than 100 very young children listed. "My God, these are babies, I realized. They are keeping babies here," she recalled.

    One teenage mother from El Salvador said Border Patrol agents at the border had taken her medicine for her infant son, who had a fever.

    "Did they throw away anything else?" Ms. Binford said she had asked her.

    "Everything," she replied. "They threw away my baby's diapers, formula, bottle, baby food and clothes. They threw away everything."

    Once at Clint, she told Ms. Binford, the baby's fever came back and she begged the agents for more medicine. "Who told you to come to America with your baby, anyway?" one of the agents told her, according to the young woman's account to Ms. Binford.

    Border Patrol agents have said they have adequate supplies at Clint for most of the migrants' needs. The facility lacks a kitchen, they said, so the ramen, granola bars, instant oatmeal and burritos that serve as most of the sustenance for migrants has been the best they could do.

    Children sometimes could be seen crying, said one Border Patrol agent, who has worked for seven years at the Clint facility, but it most often seemed to be because they missed their parents. "It's never because they're mistreated; it's because they're homesick," she said.

    A Father Finds His Sons

    Not long after Mr. Moak signed off on the conditions inside Clint, a man named Ruben was desperately trying to find his sons, 11-year-old twins who both have epilepsy.

    The boys had crossed the border together in early June with their adult sister. They were hoping to reunite with their parents who had come to the United States earlier from El Salvador in order to earn enough money to pay for the boys' epilepsy medications. They require daily injections and a strict regimen of care to prevent the seizures they began having at age 5.

    But the twins were separated at the border from their sister and sent to Clint.

    The first time they spoke to Ruben on the phone, the two boys sobbed intensely and asked when they would be able to see their parents again.

    "We don't want to be here," they told him.

    Ruben asked that his last name and the names of his sons be withheld for fear of retaliation by the American government.

    Only later did Ruben learn that the boys had been given at least some of their epilepsy medication, and neither one had had a seizure. But one boy reported breaking out in a skin rash, his face and arms turning red and flaky. Both had come down with fevers and said they had been sent temporarily to the "flu cell."

    "There is no one to take care of you there," one told his father.

    It took 13 days after the boys were detained to speak to their father over the phone. A lawyer who had entered the facility, Clara Long of Human Rights Watch, met the boys, tracked down their parents, and helped them make a call. The boys were stoic and quiet, she said, and shook her hand as if "trying to act like little adults" — until they spoke to their father. Then, they could answer only with one- or two-word answers, Ms. Long said, and were wiping tears from their faces.

    Much of the overcrowding appears to have been relieved at Clint, and overall arrivals at the border are slowing, as new policies make migrants, mainly from Central America, return to Mexico after they request asylum, as the summer heat deters travelers and as Mexico's crackdown on its southern border prevents many from entering.

    A Border Patrol agent who has long worked in the El Paso area said agents had tried to make things as easy as possible for the children; some bought toys and sports equipment on their own to bring in. "Agents play board games and sports with them," he said.

    But the Border Patrol long "took great pride" in quickly processing migrant families, and making sure children did not remain in their rudimentary stations for longer than 72 hours, the agent said. Clint, he said, "is not a place for kids."

    In the surrounding town, many residents were puzzled and sad at the news of what was happening to children in the station on Alameda Avenue.

    "I don't know what the hell happened, but they've diverted from their original mission," said Julián Molinar, 66, a retired postal deliveryman who lives in a house facing the station. He served in the Army in Europe as the Berlin Wall came down, he said, and was dismayed that there was now talk of building a border wall near his home. As for the Clint facility, he said, "children should not be held here."

    Dora H. Aguirre, Clint's mayor, expressed sympathy for the agents, who are part of the community in Clint and neighboring El Paso. "They're just trying to do their job as a federal agency," she said. "They are trying to do the best they can."

    Simon Romero, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Manny Fernandez and Caitlin Dickerson reported for The New York Times, and Daniel Borunda and Aaron Montes reported for The El Paso Times. Reporting was contributed for The New York Times by Emily Cochrane from Clint; Christina Goldbaum from New York; Miriam Jordan from Los Angeles; and Michael Schmidt from Washington. Lauren Villagran contributed reporting from El Paso for The El Paso Times.



    6) An Online Preschool Closes a Gap but Exposes Another

    It is not a program for children of the rich. It is geared to lower-income families who have fewer prekindergarten options.

    By Nellie Bowles, July 7, 2019


    Kamila Peralta, in front, and Yadira Briones receive graduation certificates and hats after completing an online kindergarten readiness program in Taylorsville, Utah, run by a nonprofit group, Waterford.org.CreditCreditKim Raff for The New York Times

    FOWLER, Calif. — David Cardenas, a mechanic and the mayor of Fowler, knows families in his town want high-quality and free daylong preschool.

    But options are thin. A government-subsidized program fills up fast and fits only a small fraction of the town's 4-year-olds, he said. A private program that closed a decade ago was unaffordable for many of the 6,500 residents of Fowler, a predominantly Latino community of agricultural workers in California's Central Valley. Otherwise, there are a handful of private day cares.

    So Mr. Cardenas recently seized on an unusual preschool alternative that a group from Utah presented to him. "This is something that I have never seen before," he said. "I wanted to be on the front line right away."

    Mr. Cardenas was referring to a "kindergarten readiness program" for 4-year-olds that takes place almost entirely online. Called Waterford Upstart and run by a nonprofit group, Waterford.org, it has children spend 15 minutes a day, five days a week over the course of nine months, tapping through lessons on a computer. About 16,000 children in 15 states graduated from the program this year, and the Waterford expects to expand the program to a projected 22,000 students by 2020.

    This is not a program for children of the rich, who are generally enrolled in play-based preschools that last at least several hours. Instead, it is geared to lower-income families with fewer prekindergarten options. Like hospitals that have doctors consulting through teleconferencing and elder-care facilities that offer nursing via avatar, online preschools are cheaper than traditional schooling.

    Several Democratic presidential contenders have universal prekindergarten prominently on their agendas. But the arrival of the digital preschool alternative raises questions about education quality and what exactly preschool is meant to teach. As the economic chasm in the United States grows, who gets access to human interaction is becoming a stark dividing line through every stage of life.

    "Children who come from families of means have always gone to and still go to terrific quality pre-K programs," said Nancy Carlsson-Paige, a co-founder of Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit campaign promoting universal pre-K. "Any program, you see the same thing — it's kids engaged with teachers, blocks, paints and other kids. It's all these things that everybody knows is quality."

    Not surprisingly, many early-education experts balk at the idea of preschool online. Steve Barnett, co-director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University, said a good preschool program typically developed a child's social and emotional abilities, as well as ingraining lessons like thinking before you act.

    "All of that can't be done online," he said.

    But some advocates and Waterford Upstart argue that an online program is better than the current preschool options available to most low-income families, which are often nothing. Through the program, children can learn nursery rhymes and letter sounds from the comfort of their homes, with just a computer. In one lesson, for example, children can listen to a song and watch a video about how "gh" is silent in many words. The program is free to families that register.

    Waterford Upstart says the quality of its videos is higher than most YouTube content for youngsters, and an independent study from 2014 found that children who had completed the reading program outperformed those who hadn't used it.

    For parents like Toni Butler, a single mother of four in Rushville, Ind., who could not afford $164 a week to pay for preschool, Waterford Upstart has been a revelation. One of her children, Jameson, will graduate from the program on Wednesday.

    "Each lesson was animated, so it made it funny and interesting and kept his attention on it," said Ms. Butler, 34. The graduation will be the only in-person event of the program, aside from registration.

    While the at-home, laptop program is not what longtime advocates of universal pre-K imagined (and some fear it could undermine their fight), it may increasingly be what they get. Most states have a vast patchwork of preschool choices — some public, some private, half day, full day, local and state run. But many families still fall in between, earning too much to qualify for public programs while not being able to afford private ones, or living too far from the nearest school.

    That has pushed statehouses and city managers to search for other options. In Montana, Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat who is running for president, tried passing bills to bring in money for brick-and-mortar universal pre-K in 2015 and 2017, but the efforts largely failed and the state is now rolling out a Waterford Upstart pilot. In Indiana, where legislators worked for years on more preschool funding, $1 million was set aside for online kindergarten readiness in 2017.

    "We simply don't have the money to provide a quality pre-K experience to every child in North Carolina, even though I absolutely agree that a face-to-face, high-quality pre-K is the best option," said State Representative Craig Horn, a Republican leading an effort to get North Carolina to fund an Upstart program. "But when it's not an option for the child, I refuse to ignore that child."

    Upstart was created by the Utah Legislature in 2009, with Waterford.org, which focuses on technology in education, chosen to provide the program. The group is funded by state legislatures; private donations from programs like TED's philanthropic arm, the Audacious Project; and grants from the federal Department of Education.

    Claudia Miner, Waterford's executive director, said Utah had been trying to provide a cost-effective early-education option and turned to tech as a solution.

    "For families, private preschool can be as expensive as college," she said. "So what do you do?"

    Now nearly half of Utah's 4-year-olds are enrolled in Waterford Upstart, Ms. Miner said, and the program has spread to states including Delaware, Mississippi and Wyoming. 

    Stuart Adams, a Republican state senator in Utah, said the program was a way to serve rural children and religious communities where parents believe young children should be educated at home. Waterford Upstart costs hundreds of dollars per child, he said, compared with thousands per child in preschools.

    Parents are often scared of the idea of an online school, Mr. Adams added, "but once they get past the initial fear and you look at the data, it's all there."

    In Fowler, Mr. Cardenas faces a tight budget for education each year. So when Waterford reached out to him this year, he was curious. Instead of building preschools, hiring teachers and navigating thorny transportation logistics, he said, he could watch preschool almost magically manifest in every home through the program.

    "I thought this was too good to be true," he said.

    Recently, a dozen families gathered at Fowler's senior center to hear about the program. Isaac Troyo, the director of national Upstart implementationsspoke for 30 minutes explaining how it worked, first in English and then in Spanish.

    "When your children sit down to use the program, they're going to learn with games, with songs and puzzles," he told the audience. "Activities that are visually appealing and engaging for them, so they're going to have a good time, but they're really going to learn all the things that they need to be successful when they get to kindergarten, which is really a win-win."

    He said Waterford Upstart would give participants a computer that they would keep, plus internet service for the duration of the program. Jose, 4, immediately ran up to the front and asked if he could get his computer, prompting laughter.

    His mother, Rebecca Molina, 31, once had Jose in a day care program that cost $30 a day. But Ms. Molina, who is an office clerk, said her husband was a field laborer, which meant gaps in wages between crop cycles. So they pulled Jose out of the day care. (Her husband now works at a grocery store.)

    "It was an internal struggle for me," Ms. Molina said. "I wanted him to be with kids his age and in that routine. But just financially, it didn't make any sense for us."

    Ms. Molina and others at the event said their children were "tablet kids," often left during the day with relatives and a tablet stocked with youth-oriented content.

    When a demo of the program played, it featured an entrancing series of animated sketches focused on letters and sounds. Even the adults in the room recited the answers.

    Resources are scarce in farming towns, said Brenda Quintana, Waterford's community liaison. "It's not like folks are bending over backward to bring in resources for these kids," she said. "One of the best things about Waterford is they're willing to go into these rural areas."

    As the event wrapped up, Mr. Cardenas cleaned the room. The mayor had spent the day canvassing town with the Waterford Upstart team, knocking on doors to encourage families to sign up. About 50 have signed up so far; the goal for the county is a pilot of 200 families. 

    "With this program, those kids who were left out in years past, now they're going to be included," he said.

    My NYT Comment:

    "No schools or teachers for you!" This is the thrust of this article promoting Waterford.org online preschools for the poor. This is how sick this system has become. I watched the video supposedly "teaching" letter sounds. What an insult to children! All children need to be around other children their own age in a creative environment, with plenty of play time where children do most of their learning—not being plastered to a screen where they can't interact with other children their age. How arrogant the Waterford company is. And how arrogant are the politicians and so-called educators are who support their program. My mother, Sylvia Weinstein, once coined a phrase in the 1970s during a movement that won free public preschool for all in San Francisco: "It will be a great day when the schools get all the money they need and the Navy has to hold a bake sale to buy a ship." —Bonnie Weinstein




    7) ICE Used Facial Recognition to Mine State Driver's License Databases

    By Catie Edmondson, July 7, 2019


    Vermont is one of at least three states where Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials asked to comb through driver's license photos.CreditCreditToby Talbot/Associated Press

    WASHINGTON — Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have mined state driver's license databases using facial recognition technology, analyzing millions of motorists' photos without their knowledge.

    In at least three states that offer driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants, ICE officials have requested to comb through state repositories of license photos, according to newly released documents. At least two of those states, Utah and Vermont, complied, searching their photos for matches, those records show.

    In the third state, Washington, agents authorized administrative subpoenas of the Department of Licensing to conduct a facial recognition scan of all photos of license applicants, though it was unclear whether the state carried out the searches. In Vermont, agents only had to file a paper request that was later approved by Department of Motor Vehicles employees.

    The documents, obtained through public records requests by Georgetown Law's Center on Privacy and Technology and first reported on by The Washington Post, mark the first known instance of ICE using facial recognition technology to scan state driver's license databases, including photos of legal residents and citizens.

    Privacy experts like Harrison Rudolph, an associate at the center, which released the documents to The New York Times, said the records painted a new picture of a practice that should be shut down.

    "This is a scandal," Mr. Rudolph said. "States have never passed laws authorizing ICE to dive into driver's license databases using facial recognition to look for folks."

    He continued: "These states have never told undocumented people that when they apply for a driver's license they are also turning over their face to ICE. That is a huge bait and switch."

    The use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement is far from new or rare. Over two dozen states allow law enforcement officials to request such searches against their databases of driver's licenses, a practice that has drawn criticism from lawmakers and advocates who say that running facial recognition searches against millions of photos of unwitting, law-abiding citizens is a major privacy violation.

    The F.B.I., for example, has tapped state law enforcement's troves of photos — primarily those for driver's licenses and visa applications — for nearly a decade, according to a Government Accountability Office report. The bureau has run over 390,000 searches through databases that collectively hold over 640 million photos, F.B.I. officials said.

    The Georgetown researchers' documents covered 2014 to 2017, and it was not immediately clear if those states still comply with the ICE requests. Representatives for the states' motor vehicles departments could not immediately be reached for comment Sunday night.

    Matt Bourke, an ICE spokesman, said the agency would not comment on "investigative techniques, tactics or tools" because of "law-enforcement sensitivities."

    But he added: "During the course of an investigation, ICE has the ability to collaborate with external local, federal and international agencies to obtain information that may assist in case completion and subsequent prosecution. This is an established procedure that is consistent with other law enforcement agencies."

    The researchers sent public records requests to each state, searching for documents related to law enforcement's relationship with state motor vehicles departments. They received varying degrees of responsiveness but discovered the ICE requests in Utah, Washington and Vermont, which have come under fire before for sharing driver's license information with the agency.

    The Seattle Times reported last year that Washington State's Department of Licensing turned over undocumented immigrants' driver's license applications to ICE officials, a practice its governor, Jay Inslee, pledged to stop. And a lawsuit in Vermont filed by an activist group cited documents obtained under public records law that showed that the state Department of Motor Vehicles forwarded names, photos, car registrations and other information on migrant workers to ICE, Vermont Public Radio reported this year.

    The relationship between Washington's Department of Licensing and ICE officials may prove to be particularly interesting to privacy experts because of a law the State Legislature passed in 2012 stipulating that the department could use a facial recognition matching system for driver's licenses only when authorized by a court order, something ICE did not provide.

    Facial recognition technology has faced criticism from experts who point to studies that show that recognition algorithms are more likely to misidentify people of color — and in particular, women of color. At least 25 prominent artificial-intelligence researchers, including experts at Google, Facebook and Microsoft, signed a letter in April calling on Amazon to stop selling its facial recognition technology to law enforcement agencies because it is biased against women and racial minorities.

    The use of the technology has also come under fire from a bipartisan group of lawmakers. The House Homeland Security Committee, led by Representative Bennie G. Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi, will hold a hearing on Wednesday grilling Department of Homeland Security officials about their use of facial recognition. The chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Representative Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, has pledged to investigate the use of the rapidly expanding technology in the public and private sectors.

    "This technology is evolving extremely rapidly, without any, really, safeguards, whether we are talking about commercial use or government use," Mr. Cummings said at a hearing on the issue last month. "There are real concerns about the risks that this technology poses to our civil rights and liberties, and our right to privacy."



    8) This Chemical Kills. Why Aren't Regulators Banning It?

    By Daniel Horowitz, July 8, 2019


    Explosions last month at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions oil refinery complex could have imperiled hundreds of thousands of people living within a few miles of the plant.CreditCreditMatt Rourke/Associated Press

    Last month's spectacular explosions at a large Philadelphia oil refinery complex injured five workers, terrorized city residents and drove up gasoline prices. But the impact could have been vastly worse had the explosions triggered a release from the refinery's huge inventory of toxic hydrogen fluoride — up to 420,000 pounds' worth, according to information the company filed with the Environmental Protection Agency in 2017. That disaster, had it occurred amid the chaos on the morning of June 21, would have imperiled hundreds of thousands of people living within a few miles of the plant.

    The explosions occurred in the 149-year-old refinery's alkylation unit, where hydrogen fluoride is used to convert butane and other chemicals into heavier hydrocarbons that raise the octane rating of gasoline. Of the nation's approximately 135 oil refineries, only about 48 use hydrogen fluoride. Among refinery workers and safety experts, hydrogen fluoride-based alkylation commands the highest level of fear of any process used to make gasoline, and with good reason.

    Hydrogen fluoride, also known as hydrofluoric acid, is a highly corrosive agent that requires specialized equipment and constant vigilance to prevent a release. Human exposure to just 170 parts per million in the air for 10 minutes can result in death or serious injury. Hydrogen fluoride binds to the calcium in human cells, causing severe, disfiguring chemical burns and compromising the heart, lungs and bones. Inhalation is rapidly fatal because of massive internal hemorrhaging and cardiac arrest. 

    In 2012, the release of a reported eight tons of hydrogen fluoridefrom a South Korean industrial plant sickened thousands of peoplein an agricultural area and left a disaster zone in its wake. Crops were destroyed and residents had to be relocated. Five plant workers died, and 18 others were severely injured. According to its 2017 filing with the E.P.A., the Philadelphia refinery stores about 24 times the amount of hydrogen fluoride that was released in South Korea.

    In the 1980s, the oil giant Amoco commissioned tests in the Nevada desert to determine what would happen if hydrogen fluoride were suddenly released from a refinery. The results were nightmarish: All the spilled hydrogen fluoride immediately became airborne and formed a dense, ground-hugging aerosol cloud. Within minutes, dangerous concentrations of hydrogen fluoride — twice the lethal threshold — were detected two miles downwind.

    Responding to the findings, oil companies invested in more safety systems — water sprays, chemical additives and emergency inventory dump systems — to try to contain a hydrogen fluoride release. None of these methods have been shown to be completely reliable. At the same time, oil companies lobbied to oppose further restrictions, and thus the fundamental danger has remained. Each company files a worst-case accident scenario with E.P.A., including the population at risk, but Congress has restricted this information to a handful of E.P.A. reading rooms.

    On Feb. 18, 2015, the Los Angeles area came close to witnessing hydrogen fluoride's effects firsthand when a powerful explosionripped through a pollution control device at the Exxon-Mobil refinery in Torrance. Investigators from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board found that the explosion had hurled a 40-ton piece of equipment within five feet of striking two large tanks containing hydrogen fluoride. Three schools and hundreds of homes lie within a mile of the tanks. A crisis was averted, but barely. The refinery shutdown that followed the Torrance explosion raised gasoline prices, costing California motorists an estimated $2.4 billion at the pump.

    Three years later, on April 26, 2018, an explosion devastated the Husky Energy Refinery in Superior, Wis., threatening the integrity of the plant's hydrogen fluoride alkylation unit. The refinery is still rebuilding and won't resume partial operations until at least 2020, at an estimated cost of $400 million. Investigators found that debris from the explosion pierced an asphalt tank that was located farther from the blast site than the refinery's hydrogen fluoride tank, which could easily have been hit.

    Accounts published by Reuters and The Philadelphia Inquirerindicate that the blasts last month in Philadelphia essentially destroyed the refinery's alkylation unit. Under such conditions, it is miraculous that no hydrogen fluoride was released. Given the oil refining industry's inadequate attention to process safety, however, it is only a matter of time before refinery workers and the public are exposed to hydrogen fluoride's dangers.

    The Philadelphia plant is closing, but that leaves 47 refineries in the United States still handling hydrogen fluoride. In four years, three major accidents have occurred that could have led to large hydrogen fluoride releases. This exposes a shocking level of disregard for public safety. Oil companies are passing along large accident-related costs to consumers while pleading poverty when asked to replace hydrogen fluoride with processes that use safer chemicals. 

    The oil refining industry can produce gasoline more safely, without using hydrogen fluoride. But industry associations have objected, saying the conversion is too costly. Refineries in Utah and Louisiana are quietly installing alkylation units that use safer catalysts like advanced sulfuric acid and ionic liquids that will never vaporize in an accident to threaten workers and the public.

    Nonetheless, the industry is working diligently to defeat any regulatory efforts to phase out hydrogen fluoride. The American Chemistry Council, a trade association that represents major hydrogen fluoride producers like Honeywell, sponsors dubious, previously unknown grass-roots organizations like "Californians for a Sustainable Economy" that advocate for continued use of hydrogen fluoride to produce gasoline and argue that any restriction will cause refinery closures, job losses and higher gas prices. Voting on party lines in Southern California last month, a Republican-controlled committee of air pollution regulators narrowly defeated a community-supported effort to phase out hydrogen fluoride from two of the state's refineries in populated areas near Los Angeles.

    At the federal level, industry lobbyists from groups like the American Chemistry Council and the American Petroleum Institute were among those pushing President Trump's Environmental Protection Agency to begin the process of scrapping Obama-era environmental rules that finally would have required oil refineries to evaluate using safer technologies. If enacted, the E.P.A.'s May 2018 Reconsideration Rule will turn the clock back years on the agency's process safety regulations,squarely putting short-term corporate profits ahead of public safety. Even modest regulatory improvements — like requiring facilities to have third-party safety audits and to investigate the root causes of their own chemical accidents and near misses — stand to be repealed.

    The E.P.A. should be moving in the opposite direction. Recently enacted toxic chemical legislation, as well as the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, give the agency ample authority to restrict or prohibit unduly hazardous chemicals in industry. That is particularly important with chemicals like hydrogen fluoride that are widely and unnecessarily used in urban areas and can be replaced with safer substitutes.

    Millions of Americans will be safer if the E.P.A. takes positive action. If the it fails to do so, Congress must intervene.

    Dr. Daniel Horowitz, an organic chemist, served as managing director of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, a federal agency that investigates chemical disasters, from 2010-2018.



    9) In Berlin, Socialism Is Suddenly Hot Again

    By Anne Sauerbrey, July 8, 2019


    Activists in Berlin delivered petitions calling for the local government to take over the large companies that control much of the city's housing stock.CreditCreditGregor Fischer/picture alliance, via Getty Images

    BERLIN — Is this city, the former capital of communist East Germany, returning to socialism, this time in both parts of the once divided city? From the tenor of the increasingly anxious debate around Berlin's housing crisis, it certainly seems so: On June 14, activists handed the Berlin Senate a petition with 77,000 signatures calling for the local government to take over the large companies that control a major portion of the city's housing stock, the first step toward a public referendum on the proposal. A few days later, the Senate advanced a separate proposal that would put a complete halt to rent increases for five years. 

    Housing is a big problem in cities worldwide, but few cities in Europe have it quite as bad as Berlin. Every year the city adds between 40,000 to 50,000 people, on top of a population of 3.6 million. Housing construction can't keep up; as a result, rents on new apartments have gone up 50 percent in the last five years. 

    The rising cost of living is not unique to Berlin. Many people across Germany pay the largest chunk of their income for housing. Add to that the fact that Germany is a nation of tenants. Almost 60 percent of households rent their homes. All of this makes the rising cost of living an existential problem for many, one that is driving many Germans to consider radical solutions.

    I've experienced this rapid shift firsthand. When I moved to the city a decade ago as a newspaper trainee, I found an apartment in the trendy neighborhood of Kreuzberg. My apartment was a dream: Located in an old, spacious building, it was close to a park, shops and restaurants. It was small — about 65 square meters, or about 700 square feet — but it was cheap, about 560 euros, or $650. Even though I was not exactly rich, I felt at ease financially. I could afford to dine out and take vacations.

    A few years later, when my husband and I knew we wanted a child, we decided we would like to rent or buy a house with a garden — but by then rents and home prices had risen so high, so quickly, that even though we were both working, we couldn't afford conventional rent on a larger place in the central city, let alone afford to buy one. Instead we joined a building cooperative, a group of 30 families who had acquired a patch of land just outside central Berlin. We jointly financed the development of several townhouses and apartments around a courtyard. 

    We were lucky — not everyone can afford to join such a development (or find an amenable group of like-minded people to join with). Such cooperatives are appealing, though hardly a citywide solution. But for us, for a time, it felt as if we'd found a life raft.

    Then last year, my husband and I split up, and I found myself back on the overheated Berlin housing market. I had a comfortable income by then, and yet, for the first time in my life, I wasn't sure whether I could make ends meet, whether I could find a place that would satisfy my logistical needs (close to my work, close to our kindergarten, and so on) and my budget. I ended up with a one-bedroom apartment that met my needs, at almost the exactly same size as my first place, but double the price.

    Still, I feel lucky — there are so few places in the city available at any price, and many people, even middle- or upper-middle-class people like me, end up moving far away and enduring long commutes. But because I'm renting, I also don't feel secure: What will my rent be in a few years? And what will I do when my son needs a room of his own? 

    I can only dimly imagine what it must feel like for the many retirees, single parents, unskilled workers and lower-middle-class families who still make up the largest part of Berlin's population and cannot resort to building cooperatives. The market has created fear, and fear has created anger.

    So far, this anger has focused on the property owners, in particular on the company Deutsche Wohnen, which controls 160,000 apartments nationwide — 110,000 of them in Berlin alone. In 2018 it reported a net profit of 1.8 billion euros, or $2.3 billion. But Deutsche Wohnen isn't alone; Berlin's hot property market has attracted global investors. An investigation by my newspaper, Der Tagesspiegel, recently revealed that a single British family bought thousands of apartments in the city, using a web of shell corporations, some located offshore, to minimize taxes.

    Berlin, as well as the German federal government, has experimented with "rent brakes" — various regulatory devices to slow or halt rising rents — but with little success. Which is how we got to the radical yet widely popular idea of having the city government simply take over companies like Deutsche Wohnen.

    There are many objections to this so-called expropriation initiative. It is uncertain whether it would survive judicial scrutiny, and even if it did, the city would have to compensate the owners, spending money it could otherwise use to build new housing. Yet around 40 percent of Berliners say they approve of the idea, according to one survey. 

    The Berlin Senate's plan, the five-year cap on rent hikes, came in response to the expropriation petition, and it is almost as radical — however just it might seem, it would throw the market into chaos. Deutsche Wohnen is publicly traded, and its stock is considered so safe that some small investors hold shares to fund their retirement. After the Senate announced its plan, the company's stock plummeted

    What's more, the cap would apply equally to big companies and individual building owners, thousands of whom make a small but reliable livelihood from rents. The same for state-owned companies and cooperatives, who collect rents but put their profits back into the community. 

    And there was one particularly perverse outcome: Associations that represent property owners encouraged their members to raise rents immediately, while they still could; some did, sending out notices to shocked tenants. Experts also warn that although the cap might ease market pressure on tenants momentarily, it would lead to owners taking apartments off the regular market, transforming them into furnished flats rented out for the short term, for example.

    So what's the right answer? Building new housing should be a priority. Because Berlin's government is exceedingly complex (among other things, it is both a city and a federal state, with 12 largely autonomous boroughs), and it can't be counted on to move quickly itself — so private initiative is necessary. Therefore, rather than stigmatizing big housing companies, the city should cut a deal that benefits both sides — for example, by requiring a significant portion of apartments at fixed and subsidized rates.



    10) Restoring Forests Could Help Put a Brake on Global Warming, Study Finds

    By Somini Sengupta, July 5, 2019


    Researchers found that Earth could support an additional 2.5 billion acres of forestland. CreditCreditChristie Hemm Klok for The New York Times

    What if we stopped cutting down forests to produce palm oil and cattle? What if we grew new forests on vacant city lots, old industrial buildings — even golf courses?

    For the first time, scientists have sought to quantify this thought experiment. How many trees could be planted on every available parcel of land on Earth, where they could go, and what impact could that have on our survival?

    They concluded that the planet could support nearly 2.5 billion additional acres of forest without shrinking our cities and farms, and that those additional trees, when they mature, could store a whole lot of the extra carbon — 200 gigatons of carbon, to be precise — generated by industrial activity over the last 150 years. 

    Parts of the study — led by researchers at ETH Zurich, a university that specializes in science, technology and engineering — were immediately criticized.

    The critics did not dispute that 200 gigatons of carbon could be absorbed by trees if you planted them on every space of land available. They disputed the implications. 

    The study's authors asserted that, under their model, forest restoration could absorb two-thirds of historic emissions. Zeke Hausfather, an analyst for the climate science website Carbon Brief, said the true figure would be closer to one-third. That's because part of the emissions absorbed by the additional trees would have been absorbed by the soil or the seas anyway. 

    "That's not to say that reforestation is not an important mitigation strategy, just to caution that like every other climate solution, it's part of a larger portfolio of strategies rather than a silver bullet," Mr. Hausfather said. 

    Pep Canadell, director of the Global Carbon Project, an Australia-based scientific group that produces global carbon budgets, said that reforestation "won't fix the climate problem, albeit it should be part of the solution."

    The senior author of the study, Thomas Crowther, a professor of environmental systems science at ETH Zurich, acknowledged that mass reforestation would not be a quick fix for climate change but said it would result in an "unexpectedly huge carbon drawdown solution" in the long term.

    "The new information simply allows us to re-prioritize investment into the restoration of forests and the conservation of existing forests as this has more potential for carbon capture than we could have anticipated," he said.

    Since the start of the industrial age, the average global temperature has risen by 1 degree Celsius, or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, because of accelerating greenhouse gas emissions. Temperatures are on track to rise even more in the coming years, raising the prospects of debilitating heat waves, wildfires and rising seas.

    The reason forests are important is that they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and incorporate it into their roots and branches. That absorbed carbon becomes part of the soil when trees die and decompose. Depending on factors like temperature and soil management, it can remain there for millenniums.

    In some cases — like when there is a forest fire, or when a drought or pest infestation destroys a large number of trees — a forest can release more carbon than it absorbs. But one study, led by University of Arizona researchers, found that even mass die-offs of trees release less carbon than expected into the atmosphere.

    The latest United Nations-backed climate science panel has estimated that it would take 2.5 billion acres of new forest cover to stave off the most devastating impacts of climate change. The study led by ETH Zurich tried to quantify where on Earth new trees could be grown.

    The researchers used Google Earth to generate maps of what they call Earth's tree-carrying capacity, taking into account the effects of rising temperatures in the near-term. 

    A handful of countries could make a very big difference. The researchers found that Russia could restore 373 million acres, or 151 million hectares, of forest. That was followed by the United States, with 255 million acres and Canada with 193 million acres.Other large countries like Australia, Brazil and China also have large areas suitable for forest restoration.

    Somini Sengupta covers international climate issues and is the author of "The End of Karma: Hope and Fury Among India's Young." @SominiSengupta  Facebook



    11) Hong Kong Protesters Are Fueled by a Broader Demand: More Democracy

    By Amy Qin, July 8, 2019


    Protesters in Hong Kong on Sunday. In addition to urging the government to fully withdraw an unpopular bill, they also called for the legislature to be dismissed and for free elections.CreditCreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

    HONG KONG — When hundreds of thousands of people in Hong Kong peacefully took to the streets last month, they had a few specific demands, including the withdrawal of an unpopular bill and an investigation into police abuse. In recent days, they added another call: the right to direct elections.

    This latest demand brought into focus the issue that has been quietly seething at the heart of the protests: Hong Kong's increasingly fraught relationship with mainland China and the authoritarian ruling Communist Party.

    That longstanding anxiety flared last week when a small group of demonstrators stormed the city's legislature, blacked out the name for mainland China from Hong Kong's official emblem and spray-painted slogans calling for universal suffrage.

    It was a dramatic rebuke of a political system that protesters say created a ruling class that has become more beholden to Beijing than to Hong Kong since the former British colony's return to Chinese rule 22 years ago. The protesters' forceful charging of the legislature brought this anger so jarringly to the fore that even a few members of the pro-establishment camp have urged the government in recent days to revisit steps toward political reforms.

    On Sunday, when tens of thousands of protesters once again urged the government to fully withdraw a bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China, they also called for the legislature to be dismissed and for free elections.

    "Mainland China worries us the most," said Patrick Luk, 37, an administrative staffer at a community college who joined the protest with his wife and 5-year-old son. That is why, he said, universal suffrage is his most important priority.

    "They force people to adhere to their doctrines," Mr. Luk added, referring to the Communist Party. "They want us to be faithful to them."

    Hong Kong's embattled leader, Carrie Lam, has suspended the bill indefinitely but not fully withdrawn it, and has not indicated any willingness to meet the protesters' demands. The protests were piling pressure on Mrs. Lam as a few pro-establishment politicians on Monday called for a shake-up of her senior advisers.

    Protesters and pro-democracy lawmakers want to protect the high degree of autonomy Hong Kong was promised when it was returned to China in 1997 under a policy known as "one country, two systems." That autonomy is guaranteed until 2047, but the Communist Party and its security apparatus have increasingly encroached on the territory.

    The last sustained protest movement demanding a direct say in the election of the territory's chief executive ended in failure in 2014. Since then, Beijing has intervened to remove six politicians elected to Hong Kong's legislature, a major setback for the opposition. Several others were disqualified from running in local elections by officials who questioned the sincerity of their belief that Hong Kong is an "inalienable part" of China.

    As a result, protesters and experts say, the political playing field is so far out of balance that many of Hong Kong's youth have felt shut out, and blame the generations of politicians before them for compromising their futures for the sake of seeking Beijing's favor.

    The experts and protesters say this may help explain why, when those frustrations boiled over at the legislature last week, many others in the movement remained sympathetic, seeing it as a culmination of years of pent-up anger.

    "At first, I was shocked by their behavior too, but then I understood," said Candy Wong, 56, a dentist and mother of two who joined a rally of thousands of parents on Friday to express support for the protesters.

    "Those young people are not rioters," Ms. Wong added. "They have tried everything else to make the government listen, but nothing has worked."

    Some politicians in the pro-establishment camp, possibly with an eye on future elections, have also spoken out about the need for the government to tackle the political structure that is the root cause of the protesters' anger.

    Jasper Tsang, a former president of the Legislative Council and a founding member of the largest pro-Beijing party in Hong Kong, turned heads last week when he raised the possibility of revisiting the debate over political reform.

    "One of the main reasons there is so much anger is that the Hong Kong people, especially the youth, haven't been given any hope for universal suffrage," Mr. Tsang told HK01, a local news site.

    Ronny Tong, a lawyer and member of the chief executive's top advisory body, the Executive Council, echoed that suggestion.

    "If the current difficulty in some way is caused by a failure of political reform, then we should consider bringing back political reform," Mr. Tong said in an interview. He added that if the democratic lawmakers agreed to talk without any preconditions, he could "guarantee that the Hong Kong government would be willing to do just that."

    Samson Yuen, an assistant professor of political science at Lingnan University in Hong Kong who studies local social movements, said most protesters agreed that Hong Kong needed more democracy but that some were concerned it could distract from the movement's more achievable demands.

    "There have been a lot of splits even within the protesters regarding whether people should shift their demands to asking for democracy because that's not what this movement is for," Mr. Yuen said.

    There is also the question of what political reform would even look like. Beijing once offered a form of direct elections that would have allowed the public to elect Hong Kong's chief executive from a slate of two or three preapproved candidates.

    But pro-democracy legislators voted down the measure in 2015, and Beijing's supporters in the legislature said then that the Communist Party was unlikely to offer more generous terms. Since then, Hong Kong has continued to rely on a 1,200-member committee heavily weighted in Beijing's favor to pick its chief executive.

    In an editorial on Monday, the pro-Beijing Hong Kong newspaper Wen Wei Po dismissed the calls for universal suffrage as irrelevant and having no legal basis. The paper argued that no city leader or government would "be able to, or have the authority to" agree to such a demand.

    Last week, Lau Siu-kai, vice chairman of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, a semiofficial research institute with ties to Beijing, told a Hong Kong broadcaster that any debate on political reform would only "further divide society."

    The way to resolve the issue is to improve the government's communication with the public, Mr. Lau and others said.

    "None of our leaders have been able to articulate a vision of our future under 'one country, two systems' which has been inspiring to our young people," said Regina Ip, a pro-establishment lawmaker and another member of the Executive Council.

    Calls for political reforms are likely to be rejected by the Chinese leadership under Xi Jinping, who has strengthened authoritarian controls across China since coming to power in 2012, experts said.

    Mr. Xi has already made an extraordinary concession to the protesters by allowing Mrs. Lam to suspend the bill, said Ma Ngok, an associate professor of government at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. So the chances that Mr. Xi would agree to political reforms in Hong Kong, Mr. Ma said, are slim.

    "Given that the entire country is still well on the road to full autocratic rule," Mr. Ma said, "it's unlikely they would initiate any kind of liberalization in Hong Kong."

    Ezra Cheung and Katherine Li contributed reporting.



    12) The Power of a Unified 'No!': U.S. Asylum Restrictions Hit a Bump

    "We wanted the court to hear our story," said Michael Knowles, the president of Local 1924 of the American Federation of Government Employees, the union that filed the brief on behalf of asylum officers in the Washington, D.C., area. "This is folks doing the work, saying, 'This is wrong.'"

    By Amanda Taub, July 7, 2019


    Supporters of employees at Wayfair, an online furniture retailer, rallying in Copley Square in Boston last month.CreditCreditKayana Szymczak for The New York Times

    The message of the amicus brief filed with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in late June was simple: Officers tasked with enforcing the Trump administration's restrictive new asylum policy believe it violates federal law and fundamental American principles.

    "We wanted the court to hear our story," said Michael Knowles, the president of Local 1924 of the American Federation of Government Employees, the union that filed the brief on behalf of asylum officers in the Washington, D.C., area. "This is folks doing the work, saying, 'This is wrong.'"

    The impact of that message may reach far beyond the court.

    It is part of a little-noticed shift, in recent weeks, in the public response to the Trump administration's border crackdown. Institutions and groups that are not normally partisan or political have begun to state publicly that the administration's policies violate their core values, and to back up those statements with action.

    A few days before Mr. Knowles's union filed its brief, for instance, employees at the Boston headquarters of Wayfair, an online furniture retailer, walked off the job in protest of their company's decision to sell furniture to a detention center for migrant children.

    It is too early to say whether more institutions will follow their lead. But, experts say, the history of successful mass movements around the world suggests that if they do, that could have a profound effect on public opinion and policy.

    "My guts told me that sports activism would be a powerful tool," said Richard Lapchick, an organizer of the American anti-apartheid boycott of South African sports teams, including the Davis Cup team, in the late 1970s.

    "If you put what apartheid was on the sports pages, on the sports news, then there would be more people reading it or watching it," he said.

    Having seen firsthand the effect that such boycotts had on apartheid opposition in Europe, Mr. Lapchick resolved to do the same in the United States. By 1978, opposition to South Africa being allowed to play in the Davis Cup was so substantial that thousands protested outside the stadium.

    "There were significantly more people outside than there were inside watching the match," he recalled.

    Historians believe that the boycotts of South African athletes and sports teams — including by the Olympics, by international soccer, rugby, and cricket leagues and by the Davis Cup tennis competition — played an important role in bringing an end to apartheid.

    Jesse Owens on the podium at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.CreditGetty Images

    "Arguably not since Jesse Owens ascended the Berlin Olympic podium four times against a backcloth of Nazi triumphalism has an intervention through sport had such broad political repercussions," Rob Nixon, a Princeton University professor, wrote in a 1992 article.

    Doug Booth, a professor at the University of Otago in New Zealand who has studied the boycotts, has a more measured view, but does believe that they may have affected global opinion, cementing the view among the general public that supporting apartheid was socially unacceptable.

    Respected institutions can cause sudden, sharp changes in what societies perceive as right and wrong, said Betsy Levy Paluck, a Princeton University professor who studies social norms and public morality. Her research, for instance, showed that after the United States Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, Americans became much more likely to believe that the country as a whole supported the decision. International sports' leagues anti-apartheid boycott would have sent a similar message.

    Wayfair and the asylum officers' union lack that kind of reach. But hearing from "a variety of groups that speak for a broad spectrum of Americans," Dr. Paluck said, could have a similar effect. Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union speak to one community, online businesses like Wayfair to another, and the government employees' union to yet another.

    And if that coalition grows broader or more diverse, its normative power would grow, too.

    The sports boycotts also imposed direct consequences on groups of people who might otherwise have been left unscathed by apartheid. "In a 1977 survey, white South Africans ranked the lack of international sport as one of the three most damaging consequences of apartheid," Dr. Nixon wrote in the 1992 article.

    The walkout by Wayfair employees, though tiny in comparison with the global anti-apartheid boycott, offers a glimpse of how protests might bring similar consequences to Americans who would not otherwise be directly harmed by the border policies.

    The direct costs to Wayfair, in this case, were limited. The company promised, under pressure, to donate $100,000 — which it estimated to be more than the profit it made from the sale to the detention facility — to the Red Cross. But it refused to pledge to change its business practices, the employees' main demand.

    But the walkout also raised the specter of broader action, such as consumer boycotts or employee walkouts at other companies that do business with agencies involved in border enforcement. That expands the population now worrying about the border policies' effect on their well-being — and if such actions occur, that group could widen even further.

    "Irrespective of diverging religious opinions we shall fight for the right of our Jewish brothers and sisters to keep the freedom we ourselves value more highly than life," Lutheran pastors throughout Denmark read aloud from a pastoral letter on Oct. 3, 1943.

    The letter, which was signed by every Danish bishop and read aloud in Sunday services, was issued in response to the Nazi occupiers' orders to round up and deport Danish Jews. Those orders, the bishops were saying in no uncertain terms, were not to be followed. Danes must protect their Jewish neighbors.

    The public heeded that message, which was echoed by trade unions and other respected institutions. A rescue effort, organized by the Danish resistance and supported and funded by many ordinary citizens, managed to hide and then safely transport nearly all Danish Jews to safety in nearby Sweden.

    Employees at Wayfair walked off the job to protest their company's decision to sell furniture to a detention center for migrant children.CreditKayana Szymczak for The New York Times

    "Local institutions, those that have a real impact on your daily life, they seem to have more of an impact on attitudes," Dr. Paluck said.

    That helps to explain why the Wayfair walkout, in which the employees gathered to protest in Boston's Copley Square, has drawn more attention than some previous institutional activism.

    Last year, for instance, more than 100 Microsoft employees posted an open letter to the company asking that it refrain from working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, one of the agencies involved in the separation and detention of migrant families at the border. But that letter was not followed by any action.

    Wayfair employees also began their action with an open letter. But they followed it with a public walkout in a busy city, communicating that this was a strongly held view within the community of Wayfair employees — and, it turned out, Boston more broadly.

    "Workers in Copley Square looked out the window and went down to join," Dr. Paluck said. "They're getting other people, at least in the downtown Boston area, to think about this," she added.

    The power of public statements can be undermined if they are perceived as coming only from leaders, rather than a community as a whole, Dr. Paluck said.

    Although a number of American religious leaders, including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and a number of prominent evangelical leaders, have condemned the family separations and the conditions in which children are being detained, their statements have been framed as critiques from leaders, rather than the unified condemnation of their religious communities. That has weakened their normative effect.

    By contrast, the brief that the asylum officers' union filed explicitly positions itself as speaking for its members — who, until recently, were the only officers piloting the restrictive new asylum policy.

    "The consensus of a group that you wouldn't necessarily think of as entering into this debate — that's a very powerful signal of norms," Dr. Paluck said.

    Mr. Knowles, the union president, said that the ability to speak for the officers collectively was a role his organization took very seriously. "The brief does not mention us by name, it says the union on behalf of its officers," he said.

    The brief was an expression of collective alarm that the administration's policies have left the American asylum system, and the vulnerable refugees it is supposed to shield, in extreme jeopardy, he said.

    Asked what prompted them to act now, he paused.

    "Why wait until the damage is irreparable?" he wondered. "Why wait to pull the fire alarm?"



    13) To Reduce Hospital Noise, Researchers Create Alarms That Whistle and Sing

    By Emily S. Rueb, July 9, 2019


    After an unsettling hospital stay, Yoko Sen founded a startup that creates more pleasing sounds for medical devices.  For some patients, it may be the last sound they ever hear.CreditCreditKate Warren for The New York Times

    In 2012, Yoko Sen was in an emergency room, tethered to a machine bleating relentlessly in her ear.

    She was "freaked out," she said, and felt helpless.

    When a nurse returned to the room, Ms. Sen asked if it was O.K. the device was screaming.

    "Yeah, this thing just beeps," she recalled the nurse saying.

    Ms. Sen, an electronic musician, was stunned. How could something "so loud and so jarring" be considered normal?

    "The fear of not knowing amplified the feeling of anxiety," she said.

    And how, she wondered, could clinicians withstand the clangor?

    As she lay there, she said, a cardiac monitor rang out in a tone close to the musical note of C, clashing with a distant device wailing in a high-pitched F sharp, creating what's called the devil's interval, a dissonance so chilling that medieval churches forbade it.

    Hospitals today can be sonic hellscapes, which studies have shownregularly exceed levels set by the World Health Organization: droning IV pumps, ding-donging nurse call buttons, voices crackling on loudspeakers, ringing telephones, beeping elevators, buzzing ID scanners, clattering carts, coughing, screaming, vomiting.

    Then there are the alarms. A single patient might trigger hundreds each day, challenging caregivers to figure out which machine is beeping, and what is wrong with the patient, if anything. (Studies have shown that as many as 99 percent of alarms are false.)

    The proliferation of pinging and bleeping can contribute to patient delirium and staff burnout. And because caregivers know that many devices are crying wolf, they might be less responsive or apathetic, a potentially fatal safety issue known as alarm fatigue.

    From 2005 to 2008, more than 500 patients in the United States had adverse outcomes, mostly death, because an alarm was ignored, a device was silenced or mismanaged in some way, according to the Food and Drug Administration, which tracks adverse events involving medical devices.

    "You don't need to have alarms scream at you," said Judy Edworthy, a professor of applied psychology at the University of Plymouth, in Britain.

    But, she said, "people take a lot of convincing" that alarms don't need to be so startling.

    For device manufacturers, sound is often an afterthought in the design, Dr. Edworthy said, and they are worried about being sued if a machine had failed to cry out.

    So, without an enforceable, universal standard, alarms have run riot.

    They are also using sounds based on an outdated set of international safety standards, which have, paradoxically, perpetuated the din.

    Dr. Edworthy, who has been called the godmother of alarms, is leading a passionate group of specialists, including Ms. Sen, who now works with device manufacturers and hospitals to incorporate the needs of patients and clinicians, and Elif Ozcan, who leads the Critical Alarms Lab in the Netherlands.

    Together, this group is developing tones that replace the anodyneblare of the current alarms with signals that mimic electronic dance music and or a heartbeat.

    They are working to make alarms quieter, combining audible alarms with visual cues like interactive screens that look like paintings, and working to develop a new standard that is likely to go into effect early next year.

    "Unnecessary noise is the cruelest absence of care," Ms. Sen said to a room full of medical professionals at a conference last year about end-of-life management. The words came from the mother of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, who worked in the Crimean War in the 19th century.

    Deep in the rule book for safety and performance of medical devices is IEC 60601-1-8, which sets the standards for medical device alarm sounds. The particulars of the code were hashed out over many years by a joint working group, assembled by the International Electrotechnical Commission, a nonprofit based in Switzerland that publishes guidelines for electronic and technical equipment used by hospitals.

    Among other specifications, the standard sets forth tones for six critical functions: cardiovascular, drug administration, ventilation, oxygen, temperature and artificial perfusion (the flow of blood and oxygen), also known as "the six ways people die."

    At one point, the popular melody "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" was floated as a possible signal for cardiac problems, but ultimately, it did not make the cut.

    "The songs are not supposed to be the Billboard top 100," said Dr. Frank Block Jr., an anesthesiologist and musician, who was on the committee that passed the 2006 standard that is still largely in place.

    Among the tones that were approved was a tune reminiscent of the old NBC chime, meant to mimic rising and falling lungs, Dr. Block said.

    And the sound for mechanical blood flow and oxygenation was modeled after the "yo-EE-oh" of the Witch's guards from "The Wizard of Oz," a musical tritone known as the devil's interval.

    The sound for drug infusions was intended to mimic drops falling and "splashing" up, represented by a jazz chord called an inverted ninth.

    But each ditty has the same rhythm and the same number of pulses, making them difficult to tell apart and difficult to learn. And they were never tested. Dr. Block later issued a public apology on behalf of the committee for approving the sounds.

    "We did the best we could," he said recently, "but the sounds were basically terrible."

    Now, Dr. Edworthy is spearheading the creation of a "revolutionary" set of tones, Dr. Block said.

    Audio technology has changed drastically since the eight tones were created, said Dr. Edworthy, who has created sonic alerts for nuclear plants and train systems.

    "It's now possible to produce pretty much any sound you want from a medical device," she said. "Of course, that's a new set of problems."

    The proposed sounds, called auditory icons, are representative of their functions, like the crumpling paper sound that your computer makes when you throw files in the trash. In this case, the sounds represent critical organ functions and imitate the lub-dub sound of a heartbeat, or a rattling pill bottle for a drug infusion, or a whistling teakettle for temperature.

    "We've amassed a load of data demonstrating that these sounds work very well," said Dr. Edworthy, who is collaborating with other researchers, including Dr. Joseph Schlesinger an associate professor at Vanderbilt University, to test how quickly clinicians are able to learn and respond to the sounds, how easily they can be identified, and how loud they need to be.

    She has presented her findings to the current committee, which has been described as a "United Nations of medical sound," and includes representatives from medical device companies and from countries with differing philosophical and cultural perspectives on alarms.

    "You're asking people to make changes that are going to cost millions of dollars, and some just don't want to," she added.

    That said, the strength of the standard varies between countries, which can adopt all, parts or none of the written guidelines. In the United States, Dr. Block said, the Food and Drug Administration usually follows the standards, but it may add further requirements.

    But the bottom line is that no device manufacturer wants a dead patient tethered to one of its machines.

    Dr. Edworthy said she was confident that the new sounds would be adopted, provided politics don't get in the way.

    At the Critical Alarms Lab, Dr. Ozcan recorded rattling pill bottles and running water to effect Dr. Edworthy's concepts.

    Dr. Ozcan, who has had practice translating vast quantities of data into audio cues for the European Space Agency's mission control dashboards, said her group at the lab was developing devices to hush the intensive care unit, which can be louder than a vacuum cleaner, and challenging conventional device design, possibly even making alarms "beautiful," she said.

    One of her group's projects, called CareTunes, is a speculative, even quixotic, melodic design.

    The device transcribes a patient's physiological condition into songs that sound a bit like chill electronic dance music. (Ms. Sen was an artistic adviser to the project.)

    The melody is derived from a patient's vital signs: drums for the heartbeat, guitar for oxygen saturation and piano for blood pressure. When a patient is stable, the tune is harmonious, but it becomes dissonant when a patient's status changes for the worse, ideally grabbing a caregiver's attention.

    The device would not replace a "code blue," Dr. Ozcan said, but it could potentially reduce the number of beeps, as caregivers would be alerted that a patient was veering into a danger zone before an alarm is triggered.

    The challenge, said Dr. Ozcan, is balancing the needs of patients and clinicians, who would have to learn and integrate new devices into their work flow.

    Dr. Ozcan said she was hopeful that the research done at her lab could be applied in other settings, such as air traffic control rooms, or would be relevant for research on how sound influences health in general, especially in work environments.

    "We owe it to the community and health care," she said.

    Yoko Sen has since recovered from her illness, but the bleating monitors are still "the soundtrack of my life," she said.

    Through her start-up Sen Sound based in Washington, she has collaborated with medical device engineers to create new tones for home heart monitors, and with interior designers to build a so-called tranquillity room, where clinicians can relax, making them less likely to slam doors or talk loudly.

    During a person's last moments, her eyes might be closed, his nose covered by a ventilator, her food ingested by tube. Unless someone is holding her hand, she might feel nothing.

    "For patients who die in the I.C.U., that sound of the alarm might be last sound they hear," she said.

    As part of a project with OpenIdeo, Ms. Sen interviewed hundreds of people about the last sound they would want to hear during their final moments.

    Many people said they wanted to hear sounds from nature, like the ocean, or voices of family members.

    No one, she said, mentioned bleating alarms.



    14) California Today: How California's Housing Crisis Could Hit Seniors Hard

    By Jill Cowan, July 9, 2019


    Audrey Jenkins, a resident of Heritage Park at Hilltop, an affordable housing development in Richmond. She and others living there are worried about rising rents. Jim Wilson/The New York Times

    It's Tuesday. So far this week, my colleagues have reported on why the ShakeAlertLA app didn't notify Angelenos about the two big quakes that jolted Southern California and how Representative Eric Swalwell became the first Democrat to drop out of the presidential race while the billionaire Tom Steyer jumped in.

    The Los Angeles Times published a sweeping — if grim — projectexamining the effects of a rising sea on California's cherished coastline.

    But today, I'm going to dig into what Californians say is the state's most urgent and thorny problem: the housing crisis, which lawmakers are set to discuss this afternoon when they take up Assembly Bill 1482. I wrote about whom it could leave out: 

    Audrey Jenkins's apartment isn't fancy or large. Though she's had mold and leaks, her place is tidy and packed with almost two decades' worth of mementos from a full life.

    When I visited earlier this year, she was proud to show off her latest project: a huge family quilt, one person per square, tracing her lineage back to 1841. Also close at hand was a poster board-sized "Thank you" card from the preschoolers she taught at the nearby Y.M.C.A. until she retired two years ago.

    At 82, Ms. Jenkins said having to move all that would be devastating. She doesn't know where she'd go.

    But that's a problem she and other tenants of Heritage Park at Hilltop, a complex in Richmond for low-income seniors, could face if rents continue to rise.

    "I've never had to think about living on the street," she told me recently. "And, believe me, that's in the back of my mind."

    Unlike many in the Bay Area, Heritage Park residents are not being summarily evicted from longtime homes to make way for a high-rise or a tech start-up's open-plan headquarters, and suburban Richmond is still a far cry from the Mission District in San Francisco.

    Instead, experts say the situation at the complex illustrates a troubling gap in efforts to get a handle on the state's consuming housing crisis: The fixed incomes of many senior tenants aren't keeping up with even smaller, incremental rent increases.

    As a result, one of the last remaining tenant-protection proposals before legislators this year, A.B. 1482, may not help them.

    Heritage Park residents said they first became alarmed about a year ago when they received notices that their rents would increase by as much as 12 percent.

    Tenants started meeting with one another about heading off the change and got help from organizers with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.

    After some work with Richmond city officials, the rent increase was reduced to closer to 3 percent. Residents — who must be at least 55 to live in the 192-unit complex, though many are older — told me they were left feeling on edge, so they poured their energy into activism.

    They took bus trips to Sacramento, where they camped out in lawmakers' offices and carried handmade signs advocating for a suite of bills, including A.B. 1482, aimed at protecting tenants like themselves.

    Then, late last month, residents were sent notice that their rents would increase again, on Aug. 1, by an average of almost 5 percent.

    For Ms. Jenkins, who has a two-bedroom, that translates to $1,465 in rent, up from $1,396, which itself was a difficult jump to make last year, from $1,351. Her income is about $2,800 per month — an annuity from a government job she worked for 30 years

    Geoff Brown is the president and chief executive of USA Properties Fund, the Roseville-based company that owns and manages Heritage Park. He said the company's hands were tied. Maintenance and insurance are getting more expensive, he said, as are regulatory costs associated with building new housing.

    That's where he said he thought legislators needed to focus: Encouraging the building of supply.

    "This whole movement to solve the problem by rent control, in my opinion, is going to have an adverse reaction," he said. "At every corner, developers have to go through hell to get a project built in California."

    He emphasized that the rent increases at Heritage Park were well within legal bounds, both according to the city of Richmond and according to rent limits for government-subsidized affordable housing. Those limits are tied to a regional area median income determined by the federal government.

    Officials at Richmond Rent Program said Heritage Park rent increases were technically in compliance, since it's not subject to local rent controls.

    But Paige Roosa, the program's deputy director, said there's a broader disconnect between what the Department of Housing and Urban Development deems affordable for Richmond's low-income renters and what they can actually pay.

    "The way their formula works is not really taking into consideration the local situation," she said, noting that Richmond's incomes are lumped in with those of Walnut Creek, a wealthy East Bay bedroom community, and Oakland, which is grappling with its own wave of tech-fueled gentrification.

    Case in point: The median family income in the Oakland-Fremont metro area that HUD is using this year is $111,700. That includes Richmond. But according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income in Richmond is $61,045.

    That's near the core of a looming problem for communities across the state, said Nari Rhee, the director of the retirement security research program at U.C. Berkeley's Center for Labor Research and Education.

    Just because high rents are legally defensible and are supported by the market doesn't mean they are sustainable for a fast-growing and increasingly vulnerable senior population, she said.

    Research she's worked on has shown that more Californians, especially women and people of color, are retiring with fewer resources. And there's almost no way that the state will be able to build enough below-market rate homes for them.

    "We always talk about the housing crisis but it's going to be really dire for seniors," Ms. Rhee said. "There's this kind of attitude we will charge whatever we can, and there's no essentially moral calculus about what is actually a justifiable rent increase."

    According to a 2015 report Ms. Rhee edited, well more than half of Bay Area seniors 65 and older who were renters did not have enough income to meet their basic needs. Those numbers were projected to get worse.

    Assemblyman David Chiu, the author of Assembly Bill 1482, said he knew the bill was not a complete fix.

    It would bar rent increases of more than 7 percent plus inflation or 10 percent — whichever is lower — and was recently amended to require landlords to show "just cause" for evictions.

    But the law would sunset after three years, and that 7 percent-plus-inflation figure represents a compromise that at least one group described as watered down to the point of being counterproductive. And lobbying groups for landlords have opposed it, saying it would discourage crucial new development.

    Still, Mr. Chiu said the shelving of Senate Bill 50, the high-profile and controversial proposal to boost housing supply, has made tenant protections even more urgent.

    "We have millions of tenants who are a rent increase away from being able to make it, and our hope is that the rent-gouging cap will help many of them," he said.

    Elsa Stevens, a 65-year-old who moved into Heritage Park six years ago with her husband so they could be close to their autistic son's group home, said she had not given up hope that the state could provide some relief — even if it's not for her.

    "That 10 percent cap doesn't help most low-income people, but it helps the young families and young professionals," she said recently. "We're getting Californians used to the idea that something has to be done."

    California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com. Were you forwarded this email? Sign up for California Today here.

    Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, went to school at U.C. Berkeley and has reported all over the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles — but she always wants to see more. Follow along here or on Twitter, @jillcowan.

    California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.



    15) Art by Migrant Children in Texas Catches the Smithsonian's Eye

    By Jacey Fortin, July 9, 2019


    This drawing, created by a child migrant whose identity is unclear, could end up in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History.CreditCreditAmerican Academy of Pediatrics, via Associated Press

    At a Catholic respite center in McAllen, Tex., last month, three children put marker to canvas and created little works of art.

    The children were migrants who had recently been released from the custody of United States Customs and Border Protection, and their drawings recalled conditions at their detention facilities. All three pieces are dominated by heavy lines — crisscrossed or up and down — that seem to represent cages or fences.

    Now, the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History has expressed an interest in their pieces. A curator there inquired about the drawings "as part of an exploratory process," the museum said in a statement on Monday.

    The museum said it had reached out to CNN, which reported on the drawings last week, and to the American Academy of Pediatrics, which helped bring the drawings to the attention of the news media. But it added that it "does not publicize nor speculate on potential collecting prior to formally accessioning artifacts."

    An A.A.P. staff member took pictures of the drawings last month after visiting government facilities in Texas at the invitation of customs officials, the academy's incoming president, Sara Goza, said in an interview on Monday.

    On the trip, she toured the Border Patrol's Central Processing Center in McAllen, a facility often known as Ursula.

    "First and foremost, as pediatricians, the A.A.P. is convinced that children don't belong in Customs and Border Control facilities," Dr. Goza said, adding that the experience can be traumatic and have lasting effects on children.

    A team from the American Academy of Pediatrics took photographs of the children's drawings in Texas and shared them with national news outlets.CreditAmerican Academy of Pediatrics, via Associated Press

    "When they opened the door for us to go into the facility, the first thing was the smell — a mixture between urine and sweat and feces," she said. She said she saw families as well as unaccompanied children inside, and some seemed frightened while others wore unnervingly blank expressions.

    Later, she went to the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande ValleyHumanitarian Respite Center in McAllen.

    The center is a resting spot for families. Those who pass through it are usually coming from one of several detention facilities run by customs officials in the Rio Grande Valley, of which Ursula is one. The migrants usually do not stay at the respite center more than 24 hours; they are on their way to find family members or sponsors after being released from federal custody.

    Dr. Goza said she had been told the three artists were 10 and 11 years old, but she did not know their names. Nor did Sister Norma Pimentel, the executive director of the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, who oversees the respite center. In an interview Monday, she said the drawings were in her organization's possession.

    Two of the drawings show stick figures that look as if they are in cages. In one drawing, five figures look as if they are lying on the floor under blankets, while another figure in a hat looks over them.

    In another, there is a cage holding five figures. Three more figures are outside the cage — one small, like a child, and two larger, with hats.

    In the third picture, there are no people — only a couple of toilets in a corner. Those are behind bars, too.

    The A.A.P. staff member's photographs of the drawings caught the attention of the news media and became a poignant symbol of the plight of migrant families and children.

    One child drew a scene with no people — only toilets behind vertical bars.CreditAmerican Academy of Pediatrics, via Associated Press

    Thousands of children have been separated from their families because of controversial immigration policies under President Trump, and an influx of migrant families from across the southern border has highlighted the failure of the administration's hard-line policies to deter them.

    Customs and Border Protection officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday night.

    Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations human rights chief and a former president of Chile, on Monday condemned how the United States treats migrant children arriving from Mexico, saying she was "shocked" at the conditions they faced in detention centers after crossing the border.

    And last week, the Department of Homeland Security's independent watchdog said that squalid, overcrowded conditions at migrant centers along the southern border were more widespread than had previously been revealed. After visiting facilities in the Rio Grande Valley, inspectors from the department's Office of Inspector General said in a report that they found children with few spare clothes and no laundry facilities, and that many migrants were given only wet wipes to clean themselves and bologna sandwiches to eat, causing health problems.

    Sister Pimentel said that children at the respite center in McAllen — the vast majority of whom had migrated from Central or South America — created many pieces of art, and not all of them were about detention.

    "Here, children have an opportunity to be children again, because they've been scared and they've seen their parents crying," she said. "I believe that these children show a lot of resilience. Many of their drawings show very positive things, and that's something that's very beautiful."

    The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History has a collection of more than 1.8 million objects. Part of its mission is to "explore the infinite richness and complexity of American history," and its artifacts include Abraham Lincoln's top hat, Dizzy Gillespie's trumpet and the flag that inspired the national anthem.

    The museum is also home to various artifacts from the United States border with Mexico, including a uniform worn by American border agents; a piece of an old border fence between the Mexican city of Mexicali and Calexico, Calif.; and everyday items — a toothbrush, a razor, a comb — left in the Arizona desert by migrants.

    In its statement, the museum said it "has a long commitment to telling the complex and complicated history of the United States and to documenting that history as it unfolds."

















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