10:00 A.M.,Saturday
November 2, 2019





Save The Date: Black Lives Matter at School Week, February 3-7, 2020.

Mark your calendar! The Black Lives Matter at School national week of action will be held from February 3-7th, 2020–and educators from coast to coast are organizing to make this the biggest coordinated uprising for racial justice in the schools yet. 
Black Lives Matter At School is a national coalition educators, parents and students organizing for racial justice in education.  We encourage community organizations and unions to join our annual week of action during the first week of February each year. To learn more about how to participate in the week of action, please check out the BLM@School starter kit
If you or your organization would like to support or endorse the week of action, please email us at: BlackLivesMatterAtSchool2@gmail.com.  
During the 2018-2019 school year, BLM@School held its second national week of action in some 30 different citiesaround the country. During the nationally organized week of action, thousands of educators around the U.S. wore Black Lives Matter shirts to school and taught lessons about the guiding principles of the Black Lives Matter Global Network, structural racism, intersectional black identities, black history, and anti-racist social movements. 
In addition to centering Blackness in the classroom, BLM at School has these four demands:
1) End "zero tolerance" discipline, and implement restorative justice
3) Mandate Black history and Ethnic Studies in K-12 curriculum
The lessons that educators teach during the week of action corresponded to the guiding principles of Black Lives Matter:
Monday: Restorative Justice, Empathy and Loving Engagement
Tuesday: Diversity and Globalism
Wednesday: Trans-Affirming, Queer Affirming and Collective Value
Thursday: Intergenerational, Black Families and Black Villages
Friday: Black Women and Unapologetically Black
With your help, this year's BLM at School week of action can continue to grow and provide healing for Black students.  Learn more about how to participate by visiting our website, www.BlackLivesMatterAtSchool.com. Let us know what you are planning for BLM at School week this school year or ask us how to get involved with the action by emailing us at: BlackLivesMatterAtSchool2@gmail.com.





Stop Kevin Cooper's Abuse by San Quentin Prison Guards!


On Wednesday, September 25, Kevin Cooper's cell at San Quentin Prison was thrown into disarray and his personal food dumped into the toilet by a prison guard, A. Young.

The cells on East Block Bayside, where Kevin's cell is, were all searched on September 25 during Mandatory Yard. Kevin spent the day out in the yard with other inmates. In a letter, Kevin described what he found when he returned:

"This cage was hit hard, like a hurricane was in here . . . little by little I started to clean up and put my personal items back inside the boxes that were not taken . . . I go over to the toilet, lift up the seatcover and to my surprise and shock the toilet was completely filled up with my refried beans, and my brown rice. Both were in two separate cereal bags and both cereal bags were full. The raisin bran cereal bags were gone, and my food was in the toilet!"

A bucket was eventually brought over and:

"I had to get down on my knees and dig my food out of the toilet with my hands so that I could flush the toilet. The food, which was dried refried beans and dried brown rice had absorbed the water in the toilet and had become cement hard. It took me about 45 minutes to get enough of my food out of the toilet before it would flush."

Even the guard working the tier at the time told Kevin, "K.C., that is f_cked up!"

A receipt was left in Kevin's cell identifying the guard who did this as A. Young. Kevin has never met Officer A. Young, and has had no contact with him besides Officer Young's unprovoked act of harassment and psychological abuse.

Kevin Cooper has served over 34 years at San Quentin, fighting for exoneration from the conviction for murders he did not commit. It is unconscionable for him to be treated so disrespectfully by prison staff on top of the years of his incarceration.

No guard should work at San Quentin if they cannot treat prisoners and their personal belongings with basic courtesy and respect. Kevin has filed a grievance against A. Young. Please:

1) Sign this petition calling on San Quentin Warden Ronald Davis to grant Kevin's grievance and discipline "Officer" A. Young.

2) Call Warden Ronald Davis at: (415) 454-1460 Ext. 5000. Tell him that Officer Young's behaviour was inexcusable, and should not be tolerated.

3) Call Yasir Samar, Associate Warden of Specialized Housing, at (415) 455-5037

4) Write Warden Davis and Lt. Sam Robinson (separately) at:

Main Street
San Quentin, CA 94964
5) Email Lt. Sam Robinson at: samuel.robinson2@cdcr.ca.gov



Sign Global Petition to Dismiss Charges Against Anti-Nuclear Plowshares Activists Facing 25 Years


This is an urgent request that you join with distinguished global supporters including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, other Nobel laureates and many others by signing our global petition to dismiss all charges against the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 (KBP7). They face 25 years in prison for exposing illegal and immoral nuclear weapons that threaten all life on Earth. The seven nonviolently and symbolically disarmed the Trident nuclear submarine base at Kings Bay, GA on April 4, 2018, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. (View KBP7 reading their statement here.)

This petition is also a plea for us all to be involved in rebuilding the anti-nuclear weapons movement that helped disarm the world's nuclear arsenals from 90,000 down to 15,000 weapons in the 1980s. We must abolish them all. The KBP7 trial is expected to begin this fall in Georgia. Time is short. Please sign the petition and visit kingsbayplowshares7.org. Help KBP7 by forwarding their petition to your friends, to lists, and post it on social media.

The Kings Bay Plowshares 7 have offered us their prophetic witness. Now it’s up to us!

In peace and solidarity,

The Kings Bay Plowshares 7 Support Committee



Vote Socialist 2020!
Gloria La Riva and Leonard Peltier announce presidential run





Courage to Resist
In March of 1970, Al Glatkowski and his friend, Clyde McKay, did something unique in modern U.S. History. As an act of protest, the sailors seized the Columbia Eagle, a merchant ship under contract to the US government to take napalm to US Air Force bases in Thailand for Vietnam bombing missions. This is the first time Al has publicly spoken about what happened 50 years ago.
al glatkowski podcast
"We were weighing out the destruction that these bombs would do on humans. We knew that we were causing more suffering, and we had a chance to actually stand up against it. We honestly believed that our lives were worth less than the lives of all the people that would be affected, as well as the environmental destruction that would be affected. Being sailors and transporting these weapons, it just made it all more real for us. You can't have a war without us," shares Al Glatkowski for the first time.
al glatkowski podcast
This historic Courage to Resist podcast was produced in collaboration with the Vietnam Full Disclosure effort of Veterans For Peace — "Towards an honest commemoration of the American war in Vietnam." This year marks 50 years of GI resistance, in and out of uniform, for many of the courageous individuals featured. If you believe this history is important, please ...
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559
www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist



New Evidence of Innocence Spurs two Court Filings for Mumia Abu Jamal

Press Release


September 9, 2019 Philadelphia—The struggle to free unfairly convicted Mumia Abu-Jamal took a significant step forward on September 3, 2019, when his attorneys submitted two documents to Pennsylvania Superior Court.
Judith L Ritter, Widener University-Delaware Law School, and Samuel Spital, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. released this statement: 
"This week, Mumia Abu-Jamal filed a brief in Pennsylvania Superior Court to support his claim that his 1982 trial was fundamentally unfair in violation of the Constitution. For example, he argues that the prosecution failed to disclose evidence as required and discriminated against African Americans when selecting the jury. And, his lawyer did not adequately challenge the State's witnesses. 
"Mr. Abu-Jamal also filed a motion containing new evidence of constitutional violations such as promises by the prosecutor to pay or give leniency to two witnesses. There is also new evidence of racial discrimination in jury selection."
Abu-Jamal has always said he is innocent and the new documents go a long way in supporting his case, undermining police and prosecution claims of how Philadelphia police officer Danny Faulkner was killed.
The filings are in response to the December 27, 2018 decision by Court of Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker reinstating Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) petitions for the defendant. Tucker ruled Justice Ronald Castille unconstitutionally participated in deciding the appeals in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court after denying Mr. Abu-Jamal's motions asking for his recusal, creating an appearance of judicial bias.
The "Brief For Appellant" in support of his struggle to gain his freedom after 37 years in Pennsylvania prisons re-opens the PCRA petitions as ordered by Tucker.
The "Appellant's motion for remand to the court of common pleas to consider newly discovered evidence" ask the Superior Court that the case be sent back to the Court of Common Pleas "so that he may present newly discovered evidence."
Among the arguments resubmitted in the "Brief For Appellant:"
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel:Failure to make right argument because counsel did not know the law.
Brady Violation—District Attorney Withheld Evidence:Namely that Prosecutor said that he would look into reinstating the driver's license of key witness, Robert Chobert;
Rights Violation of fifth, sixth, and 14th Amendments:District Attorney manipulated key witness to falsely identify Abu-Jamal as the shooter.
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel:Failure to retain ballistics expert when the trial counsel knew Officer Faulkner was killed by a .44 caliber bullet even though it was known Abu-Jamal's firearm was not a .44 weapon.
Batson:Discrimination in jury selection that kept Black jurors from being sworn in.
Juror Misconduct:Several jurors violated court rules by conducting premature discussions, creating potential for prejudgment of evidence.
Basym Hassan, Philadelphia political activist, said: "The district attorney clearly violated Mumia's constitutional rights by withholding clear evidence that should have been exposed from the beginning. Throughout the entire process of Mumia's approaching the scene up until today's current developments, the law has not been applied as it was created—to get to the truth of a matter. Hopefully, Mumia will get a re-trial and the truth will finally get told. We await his release from hell."
Cindy Miller, Food Not Bombs, Solidarity and Mobilization for Mumia reminds us: "Does everybody remember on December 28, when current Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and his staff happened to find six boxes of evidence that had not beforehand been shown? That evidence is partly the reason for this new motion."
The "Appellant's motion for remand to the court of common pleas to consider newly discovered evidence" Miller refers to, includes the suppression of evidence of improper prosecutorial interactions with the state's main two witnesses that were instrumental in ensuring Abu-Jamal's conviction. The motion charges that "Abu-Jamal's capital trial was fundamentally unfair and tainted by serious constitutional violations. Mr. Abu-Jamal respectfully requests that this Court remand the case to the Court of Common Pleas so that Mr. Abu-Jamal may litigate the claims arising from this new evidence."
Pam Africa: "Here's another example of why Mumia shoulda been home—an example of police and prosecutorial misconduct. That evidence has been there for years. It shoulda been in trial records but it was hidden. What else is hidden besides the few things that we have right here."
MOVE 9 member, Eddie Africa said: "If they deal with this issue honestly, they'll have to release him because they know what they did was wrong."
Mumia, 65-years-old, remains in SCI Mahanoy in poor health, suffering from severe itching and cirrhosis of the liver. He recently had cataract surgery in his left eye and is awaiting surgery in his right eye. He also has glaucoma. 
Janine Africa, from the MOVE 9, said: "I just got released from prison after 41 years in May. I want to say, everyone work hard to bring Mumia home so he can be taken care of and get proper medical care, and he don't deserve to be in jail from the beginning."
Mike Africa Jr. added: "The pressure of the people, and of the power of the people is squeezing the evidence of Mumia's innocence out. We shall win."



Board Game


Solidarity against racism has existed from the 1600's and continues until today
An exciting board game of chance, empathy and wisdom, that entertains and educates as it builds solidarity through learning about the destructive history of American racism and those who always fought back. Appreciate the anti-racist solidarity of working people, who built and are still building, the great progressive movements of history. There are over 200 questions, with answers and references.
Spread the word!!
By Dr. Nayvin Gordon



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/



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



One Democratic State of Palestine

Why One Democratic State of Palestine

The colonial entity and its imperial patrons have brought the people of Palestine to a historic juncture.  We, the residents of historic Palestine, must dismantle the terms of our collective extermination so as to set up relations which reject racial segregation and mutual negation.  We must dismantle the closed structure and replace it with an open, non-imperial and humane system.  This can only be achieved by establishing One Democratic State of Palestine for its indigenous people, the refugees who were forced out of the country and its current citizens.  This is the key to a 'fair and permanent resolution of conflict' in the region, and to a 'just solution' for the Palestinian cause.  Failing this, war and mutual destruction will continue.

Call for a Palestine Liberation Movement

Call initiated by the One State Assembly, February 9, 2019
We are calling for signatures on the statement to create national and global public opinion specially among Palestinians, Arabs and international supporters about the genuine, just and long lasting solution to the seven decades of the ethnic cleansing war and catastrophe of 1948. The One Democratic State  of Palestine (ODSP) initiative stands in opposition and objection to the dead solution of the two states, the Oslo Accords and exposing the latest racist Nation-State Law that was issued by the apartheid state of Israel which emphasizes the real nature of this manufactured colonial state.
This is a crucial time in the history of our struggle, which needs all activists, individuals and organizations, to consolidate and coordinate their efforts in an organized manner to make an impact, make a difference towards the only solution that guarantees the right of return and deals with our people as one united nation on one united homeland: the One Democratic State of Palestine.
Signatories include: Richard Falk, Alison Weir, Ann Wright, Cindy Sheehan, Tariq Ali, Paul Larudee, Kevin Zeese, Joe Lombardo, Tim Anderson, Amal Wahdan, Judith Bello, Ken Stone, Issa Chaer,  Ali Mallah, Alicia Jrapko …..
Endorsers: Free Palestine Movement, Palestine Solidarity Forum (India), Syria Solidarity Movement, International Committee for Peace Justice and Dignity, Hands Off Syria Coalition, Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War, United Front Against Facism and War (Canada), Communist Reconstruction (Canada), Palestine Solidarity Association/University of Western Cape (South Africa), India Palestine Solidarity Forum, Venezuela Solidarity Network, Free Palestine Movement, Akashma News, Media Review Network,  Solidarity Net, Kenya, Human Rights in the Middle East, Cleveland Peace Action, Interfaith Council For Peace In The Middle East Northeast Ohio, Pax Christi Hilton Head, Portsmouth South Downs Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Call for A Palestine Liberation Movement and One Democratic State of Palestine

We say YES to the just national struggle for our rights, which unifies the living energies of our people. We are inspired by our glorious history, our great leaders and their decisive battles, our martyrs, our prisoners, our restless youth and those in refugee camps, waiting on the realization of their inalienable right of return. We say NO to begging at the doors of the occupiers in pursuit of crumbs. This has led Palestinians and will lead them to more division and bloody infighting
Palestine was colonized for strategic, imperial reasons: it is at the junction of three continents, with key transport links and easy access for the hegemonic powers on their way to the oil wealth of the Arab nations. But the colonists could not evacuate the Palestinian people, who have lived here for more than 6,000 years.
After a century of dealing with the European colonial states and American imperialism, our Arab nation has been betrayed, and is still being betrayed, by the terror of these countries.
The illusion that Zionists want peace must be confronted. When will we wake up? We cannot speak of a national state for the Palestinians if we do not liberate ourselves from our petty differences while under siege and occupation. We have to recognize reality: that we continue in a period of national liberation, not in a period of state building.
For this reason we believe in the need to withdraw completely from farcical negotiations with the colonial entity. These only cover up and legalize the occupation. They suggest fair solutions which don't exist, deepening Palestinian conflicts and leading to bloody infighting.
The national liberation stage must precede the construction of the national state. Recognizing this provides a compass to guide us in our national priorities and relations with others. This means no more agreements with the occupiers. They will not commit to agreements, and experience shows they are part of a great deception, falsely called a 'peace process'.
This 'Peace Process' became a façade for the colonial entity to proceed with a so-called 'political solution'. Really, they needed Palestinian participation to pave the way for the oppressive Arab regimes to end the boycott and 'normalize' relationships with the entity.
As Arab markets were closed to the Zionist entity by a blockade, it was necessary to find ways to open them through 'normalization'. But Palestinian resistance had generated popular sympathy in the Arab and Islamic world, and formed a major obstacle to this 'normalization'. Zionist leader Shimon Perez admitted: "The main goal of the Oslo conventions was not Palestinians, but rather normalization with the Arab world and opening its markets."
Yet national liberation requires confronting, not submitting to, foreign hegemony. We say that the leadership of our national movement has ignored this, and has instead engaged in binding relations with the occupying entity and its patrons.
The history of the colonial entity in Palestine is nothing more than a history of the destruction of the Palestinian people and their civilization. Two thirds of our people have been displaced and more than 90% of our land has been stolen. Our land, water and houses are stolen and demolished every day, while apartheid walls are built and the racist nation-state law is being enforced by Israeli legislators. There is also a permanent aggression against the peoples of the region, to subjugate them through Salafist terrorism and economic siege.
The USA supports the Zionist entity with money, weapons, missiles and aircraft, while protecting it from punishment at the UN, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, abolishing its financial support for the United Nations Refugees and Work Agency (UNRWA) and halting its financial aid to the Palestinian Authority. How can the USA or its regional puppets ever be 'honest brokers' for the people of Palestine?
The invaders falsely used divine religion in attempts to destroy the indigenous people and their cultures. They said this was an 'empty land', available for another people with no land, but with the 'divine promise' of a religious homeland. Yet hiding settler colonization behind the banner of Judaism wrongly places responsibility on religion for the crimes of the colonizers.
We have no problem with 'Jewish' people in Palestine. That problem emerged in capitalist Europe, not in our countries. We are not the ones to create a solution to Europe's 'Jewish problem'. Rather, we have to deal with colonization and foreign hegemony in our region.
The colonial entity and its imperial patrons have brought the people of Palestine to a historic juncture. We, the residents of historic Palestine, must dismantle the terms of our collective extermination so as to set up relations which reject racial segregation and mutual negation. We must dismantle the closed structure and replace it with an open, non-imperial and humane system. This can only be achieved by establishing One Democratic State of Palestine for its indigenous people, the refugees who we were forced out of the country and its current citizens. This is the key to a 'fair and permanent solution of conflict' in the region, and to a 'just solution' for the Palestinian cause. Failing this, war and mutual destruction will continue.
Yet the old Palestinian leadership has presided over regression. They make agreements for the benefit of the colonial entity and its patrons. They abandon 1948 Palestine and the refugees. They collaborate with our enemies while delivering no tangible benefit for our people.
For these reasons we say that this leadership has become a real obstacle to any future development or advancement for our people. This leadership has lost its qualifications to lead national action. It looks to its own benefit and is too weak to learn the lessons of the anti-colonial movements of the peoples of Asia, Africa and the Americas. It does not see the advances elsewhere in challenging US hegemony. It does not even see the resistance in the Arab and Muslim World, when they manage to foil US and Zionist projects.
Our movement must be an organic part of the Arab Liberation Movement, putting an end to foreign hegemony, achieving national unity and liberating Palestine from the current apartheid system. Yet this great humanitarian goal directly clashes with the interests of the dominant triad - the forces of global hegemony, settler apartheid and the comprador Arab regimes.
We warn all against chasing the myth of 'two contiguous states' in Palestine. This is a major deception, to portray ethnic enclaves within Palestine as an expression of the right to popular self-determination. The goal must be to replace apartheid with equal citizenship and this can only be achieved by establishing One Democratic State in historic Palestine for all, including its indigenous people, the refugees who we were forced out of the country and its current citizens, including those who were drawn into the country as settlers through the Zionist project.
Palestinian parties negotiating for unity and reform should focus on restoring liberation to the core of the Palestinian National Charter. The Arab homeland will never be liberated and unified by subordination to the USA! It will only be liberated by confronting and ending colonial and imperial dominance.
We say YES to national unity in the framework of our Palestinian Liberation Movement, freed from deceptive agreements which only serve the hegemonic powers and comprador regimes.
LONG LIVE PALESTINE, liberated from racial colonization and built on the foundations of equality for all its citizens, rejecting segregation and discrimination by religion, culture or ethnicity; friends with its regional neighbours and with all progressive forces of the world!
**Your Signature**




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. 



On Abortion: From Facebook

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



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

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

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

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

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

Call: 1-518-474-8390

Email Gov. Cuomo with this form

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



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.]



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!






    1) What Is Brexit? A Simple Guide to Why It Matters and What Happens Next
    By Benjamin Mueller, October 17, 2019
    Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

    Britain has been haggling over the nation's withdrawal from the European Union, the process known as Brexit, since the referendum in 2016. The badly divided government has been in crisis, unable to agree on an approach to perhaps the country's biggest peacetime decision in decades. The deadline for leaving the bloc is fast approaching.
    The struggle has already cost one prime minister, Theresa May, her job; she announced on May 24 that she would resign after failing to come up with a plan that satisfied her party, her coalition partners and officials in Brussels, the seat of the European Union.
    The task then fell to her successor, Boris Johnson. The Conservative Party chose Mr. Johnson, a brash proponent of withdrawal, to succeed Mrs. May and take control of the Brexit process.
    It has not gone well.
    Many lawmakers were outraged over Mr. Johnson's insistence that if need be, he would pull Britain from the European Union even without a formal agreement — a move many warn could mean major economic damage. When he maneuvered to cut out the lawmakers by suspending Parliament weeks before the deadline for withdrawal, Britain's Supreme Court ruled that he had acted unlawfully and that Parliament must be allowed to resume as normal.
    The deadline for withdrawal is currently Oct. 31. On Oct. 17, Mr. Johnson and E.U. negotiators announced that they had struck a draft deal, which still needed to clear several hurdles, including passage in the British and E.U. parliaments.
    What ultimately emerges could determine the shape of Britain and its place in the world for decades. What follows is a basic guide to Brexit, what it is, how it developed into the mess it is today and how it could ultimately be resolved.

    What is Brexit?

    A portmanteau of the words "Britain" and "exit," Brexit is shorthand for Britain's split from the European Union, changing its relationship to the bloc on trade, security and migration.
    Britain has been debating the pros and cons of membership in a European community of nations almost from the moment the idea was broached. It held its first referendum on membership in what was then called the European Economic Community in 1975, less than three years after it joined, when 67 percent of voters supported staying in the bloc.
    In 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron promised a national referendum on European Union membership with the idea of settling the question once and for all. The options it offered were broad and vague — Remain or Leave — and Mr. Cameron was convinced that Remain would win handily.
    Britons voted on June 23, 2016, as a refugee crisis made migration a subject of political rage across Europe and amid accusations that the Leave campaign had relied on lies and broken election laws. An ill-defined Brexit won 52 percent of the vote.
    Not only did that not settle the debate, but it also saved for another day the tangled question of what should come next. After more than three years of debate and negotiation, that remains unanswered.

    How did the referendum vote break down?

    Most voters in England and Wales supported Brexit, particularly in rural areas and smaller cities. That overcame majority support for remaining in the European Union among voters in London, Scotland and Northern Ireland. See a detailed map of the vote.

    Young people overwhelmingly voted against leaving, while older voters supported it.

    Why is it such a big deal?

    Europe is Britain's most important export market and its biggest source of foreign investment, and membership in the bloc has helped London cement its position as a global financial center. An announcement, or at least a threat, from a major business to leave Britain because of Brexit is a regular occurrence. The list of companies that are thinking about relocating includes Airbus, which employs 14,000 people and supports more than 100,000 other jobs.
    The government has projected that in 15 years, the country's economy will be 4 percent to 9 percent smaller under Brexit than it would inside the bloc, depending on how it leaves.
    Mrs. May had promised that Brexit would end free movement, the right of people from elsewhere in Europe to live and work in Britain, and vice versa. That was a triumph for some working-class people who see immigration as a threat to their jobs, but dispiriting for young Britons hoping to study or work abroad.
    On Oct. 17, Britain and the European Union announced that they had struck an agreement on a draft deal. The draft has to be approved by the E.U. leaders, and most crucially, the British Parliament.

    What's holding it up?

    Undoing 46 years of economic integration in one stroke was never going to be easy, and the Brexit process has been bedeviled by the same divisions that led to the referendum in the first place. Both Britain's main parties, the governing Conservatives and the Labour opposition, are divided over what to do, leaving Parliament so factionalized that there may be no coherent plan that would get a majority.
    After the announcement on Oct. 17 of a draft deal, the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland said that they could not support the proposal because of the tax arrangements involved. The Conservative Party has relied on the D.U.P. to remain in government since it lost its majority in the 2017 election, and their support for a Brexit deal is thought to be crucial for Mr. Johnson to get his deal through Parliament.
    Britain's opposition Labour Party slammed the proposed deal and said it wanted to put the agreement to a public vote, giving Britons a chance to support either leaving the European Union on Mr. Johnson's terms or reversing Brexit altogether. It was their strongest endorsement of a second referendum.

    We keep hearing about the Irish border. What's that about?

    The single greatest hangup is the question of Britain's only land border with the European Union — the invisible line between Ireland, another member state of the bloc, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.
    Mrs. May and her Irish counterpart, Leo Varadkar, want to prevent checkpoints from going up at the border; such barriers are generally seen as incompatible with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, which brought respite from decades of violence in Northern Ireland.
    But the method she agreed for guaranteeing that — called "the backstop" — has alienated much of Parliament.
    The backstop would keep the United Kingdom in a trading relationship with Europe until a final deal to avoid a hard border could be agreed on, something that hard-line Brexiteers fear would never happen.
    And it would bind Northern Ireland to even more European rules, to the dismay of those who reject any regulatory differences between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom. Most notably, that includes the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland, whose 10 lawmakers give Mrs. May her parliamentary majority.
    Mr. Johnson has promised to negotiate a new deal without the backstop arrangement, which he says would leave Britain in an "absolutely unacceptable" situation.
    D.U.P. lawmakers have long sought a veto on post-Brexit trading rules, seeing that provision as the only way to ensure that the territory does not diverge from the rest of the United Kingdom — but Mr. Johnson's proposal with the E.U. does not provide one.

    How did we end up with an Oct. 31 deadline?

    Just about the only clear decision Parliament has made on Brexit since the 2016 referendum was to give formal notice in 2017 to quit, under Article 50 of the European Union's Lisbon Treaty, a legal process setting it on a two-year path to departure. That set March 29, 2019, as the formal divorce date.
    When it became clear that Parliament would not accept Mrs. May's deal by then, the European Union pushed the precipice back to April 12, to allow her to try again. The timing was dictated by the coming European Parliament elections, the thinking being that if Britain were to take part in that vote, it would need to begin preparing at least six weeks in advance.
    Once again, the "cliff edge" of a no-deal Brexit loomed, but the new deadline did not yield any more agreement in London, forcing Mrs. May to plead, again, for more time. European leaders insisted on a longer delay this time, and set Oct. 31 as the date.
    But in announcing her decision to step aside, Mrs. May acknowledged that lawmakers had yet to find a way to pass that deal, or to agree on what they wanted instead.
    The fantasy that Brexit would be easy has crumbled, and lawmakers who made lofty promises to their constituents are having to face hard reality.
    Somehow, having the nightmare come to a head — again — on Halloween seems fitting.

    What happens next?

    To be ratified, the deal announced on Oct. 17 must be approved by European Union leaders and by the British Parliament. Mr. Johnson's predecessor, Theresa May, had also struck a deal with Brussels but suffered three thunderous defeats in Parliament.
    Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, seen as vital to the passage of the agreement in Parliament, said it did not support the agreement. And the opposition Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, called on members of Parliament to reject it, saying, "It seems the prime minister has negotiated an even worse deal than Theresa May's."
    Mr. Johnson announced the agreement on Twitter, saying that the parties had reached a "great new deal that takes back control" and that Parliament would now be clear to vote on the agreement on Oct. 18. Parliament had passed a law to force Mr. Johnson to seek a Brexit delay if he failed to negotiate a new deal with the E.U. at the summit on Oct. 17 and 18. Mr. Johnson said he would stand by the law but also pledged to lead Britain out of the E.U. on Oct. 31 no matter what happens.

    What are the alternatives?

    Mr. Johnson has said he would be prepared to lead a no-deal withdrawal, but that he would work toward a better deal. A less strident leader might have tacked to the center by committing to a customs union with Europe — a close trading relationship that would prevent the imposition of tariffs and quotas. That would solve the Irish border dilemma and possibly win votes from Labour lawmakers.
    Mr. Corbyn has worked hard not to commit Labour to a distinct course on Brexit. But under pressure from many of his members, he has moved toward supporting a second referendum on the eventual withdrawal agreement. On Oct. 17, Labor gave its strongest endorsement yet for a second referendum, and swiftly walked it back.
    A referendum could take many forms, and even among its backers, there is no agreement on that, either. Nor is it certain that a rerun of the vote would deliver a different result.
    Still other pro-Europe voters want Parliament to kill Brexit on its own, or at least delay it for years, by revoking Article 50.


    2) I Had a Late-Term Abortion. I Am Not a Monster.
    I am a grieving mother who protected her child from a life of pain and suffering.
    By Lyndsay Werking-Yip, October 18, 2019

    CreditCreditGolden Cosmos

    I am a baby killer.
    I stopped mid-step on my way into my office in Manhattan, and that thought scrolled through my brain yet again: "I am a baby killer." It was an April day this year, nine weeks after I ended my child's life.
    I decided to keep walking.
    That is a choice I have to make every day: Give up or keep moving. I have been choosing the latter, over and over again.
    I consider myself "pro-life." But that phrase is heavy with multiple meanings. Like "pro-choice." I identify with both of those terms. I am a walking contradiction.

    It all began in January. My husband and I went to our 20-week anatomy scan. We watched in amazement and excitement as the tech showed us all the precious growing parts of our baby girl: her spine, left hand, right ankle, 10 fingers, 10 toes, lips, tiny little tush. After the appointment, I downloaded all of these images to my phone, where they are still stored. "She looks perfect," the tech said. My heart swelled with pride when she added: "Your baby is being nice. She isn't moving too much."

    Not until the end of the appointment did we get our first hint that all was not well. "I see something," the tech said. "I'm not sure what it is. Come back tomorrow."
    What followed was a few weeks of agony: an amniocentesis, a fetal M.R.I., multiple ultrasounds. After much waiting, we learned the diagnosis: severe brain abnormalities. There was a small empty space where brain matter should have developed in our child's frontal lobe. She also had agenesis of the corpus callosum, which meant that the middle structure joining left and right hemispheres hadn't grown properly. And there was a third abnormality, a "rough" area of gray matter.
    We knew the diagnosis but we didn't know what it would mean for our daughter's daily life. It was explained to us that she would face seizures. Hourly, daily, weekly or monthly? No one could say. She would face developmental delays. Could she breathe? Yes. Could she feed herself, crawl, walk, talk? No one could say. She would face cognitive impairment. Would she know what was happening to her? Would she know us as her parents? No one could say.
    What was certain was pain, confusion, frustration, isolation. Precisely how much? Exactly how severe? Only time would tell.
    If you identify as "pro-life," what does that phrase mean to you? I know that in advocacy circles, it means, essentially, "anti-abortion." But what does life mean to you — the life that you are "for"? Does it mean breathing on your own? Does it mean having a heartbeat? What are the markers of a life of quality, of purpose, of meaning? If your brain was not functioning following a traumatic car accident, would you want your body artificially sustained indefinitely? What is the threshold of experience for you to want to continue living?

    I'm asking honestly. People's answers differ. If it's hard to imagine answering these questions for yourself, can you imagine being asked to answer them for someone else?
    My husband and I chose to end our child's life. Many imagine this as an impossible decision to make, one that would take hours of deliberation. I will be honest with you. You may not want to hear this, but the decision was obvious to us. Our child would not be given a life of pain and suffering. Instead, we would take her pain on as our own.
    I regret that we had to make the choice. I regret that she was so sick, so broken. But I do not regret the decision we made. Within 15 minutes of the diagnosis, we knew what we had to do: We would become baby killers.
    Am I punishing myself by using that term? I don't think so. I want people to know: I ended my child's life. At 23 weeks and six days into my pregnancy, I had a "late term" abortion. When people ask, "How could you?" I reply that allowing her to live would have been a fate worse than death. Her diagnosis was not fatal, not incompatible with the bare mechanics of a living body. But it was incompatible with a fulfilling life. And that makes all the difference to me. That's why I call myself "pro-life."
    The night before our abortion (a procedure that takes three days to complete), President Trump delivered the annual State of the Union address. I did not watch, but later I saw his comments about late-term abortion make the rounds on social media. Who are these monstrous women and doctors that, in his lurid language, "rip" babies "from the mother's womb moments before birth"?
    My child was lovingly cared for until her last heartbeat. She was gently laid to rest after her footprints were stamped in black ink on a rectangle of paper. Those same footprints hang on my bedroom wall along with a locket containing her ashes.
    Is this not the picture of maternal feticide you had in mind? I am not a dark shadowy imaginary figure. I am a grieving mother.

    President Trump lamented the "living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and their dreams with the world." I, too, lament their unlived potential. Through a fluke of nature, my beautiful baby was given a broken brain. A brain that would have limited every moment of her life. If she had made it to full term, what love and dreams would she have shared with the world?
    Do you know what I find more chilling than the specter of a ghoulish doctor "ripping" babies out of their mothers' wombs? The idea that my husband and I should have been given the diagnosis, told of the dire outcomes — and then sent home to hope for a natural miscarriage. Is it any less barbaric to be told that your child will suffer and then be deprived of any ability to protect her?
    October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Most of the related initiatives are designed to help those who have suffered "miscarriage, stillbirth and newborn death." Where do I fit in? If my body had recognized that my baby was sick and miscarried naturally, I know that I would be offered immediate, unqualified compassion. But because I was faced with a choice, I am made to feel unworthy of support.
    I mourn my daughter's absence every day. I whisper her name in the morning when I wake up. I breathe it out before I go to sleep. She is present in my every thought and action.
    I pray you never have to face a decision like the one I faced. You might swear up and down that you could never make the choice I did, but you never know for sure until the time comes. I know I made the best choice for my child. I do not regret it, and I will not hide it.



    3) In Hong Kong, Gasoline Bombs, Masks and … Goodbye Letters
    Preparing for the worst, protesters have started writing "last letters" to their loved ones.
    Video by Cora EngelbrechtOrlando de Guzman and Ainara Tiefenthäler
    Text by 
    "When you find this letter, I might have already been arrested or killed."
    This is how a 22-year-old protester in Hong Kong began what he worries could be the last letter to his family. He used the pseudonym "Nobody"; like most of the young people who have been confronting the police on the front lines, he fears arrest or death.
    I met "Nobody" and his cohort during a recent Sunday demonstration. After 19 weeks of street battles with the police, the protesters' roles are well rehearsed: They move swiftly, each to his or her appointed task, using codes and sign language. They assemble barricades in minutes, only to disperse in seconds.
    But I came to observe handiwork of a different kind. As the violence intensified over the summer, I learned that young protesters were writing farewell notes to family and friends in the event that they were arrested or killed. They call them "Wai Shu," or "last letters." Some carry handwritten copies to the streets in their backpacks or wallets. Others hide them at home, in drawers and under mattresses. Several people read them to me off their phones.
    "Nobody" told me he wrote his letter when he was at a protest last month in Causeway Bay, after witnessing an undercover officer fire into a crowd. "Right in front of me, live bullets," he said. "At that moment, I learned that my life was at stake."

    The protests have become increasingly violent as they drag on. Protesters are now more aggressive, and the police regularly raid their homes. Arrests have surged.

    On the street, "Nobody" and his teammates blend into the crowds of protesters clad in black, faces covered and armed with gasoline bombs. But their individual missives set them apart, chronicling their lives and loves and what might be lost.
    "Dad, I'm unfilial for leaving you so early, before I could fulfill my obligations as a son, to be there for you," "Nobody's" teammate Ming wrote. "When I'm gone, please take good care of yourself."
    Another named Tank wrote: "I would be lying if I told you that I'm not afraid. But of course, we cannot give up."

    "Nobody" is a fashion designer. He is lanky, with thick hair that falls over his eyes. He owns a small business that tailors custom clothing and costumes for stage performers. 
    He lives with his parents, but he was raised by his grandmother in mainland China. Since he joined the protests, he said, he has been doxxed and has had to change phone numbers several times. He won't risk crossing through immigration, for fear of being arrested. The reality that he may never see his grandmother again fills him with regret.
    "I actually worry that I will die and won't see you anymore," he wrote to her in his letter. "I worry that you will cry and feel devastated. But there is no way that I don't take to the streets."



    4) Another Hijab Furor Hits France, Over a Mother on a School Trip
    "Not here, not today," a French politician told a woman wearing a head scarf. A photograph of her crying son went viral.
    By Aurelien Breeden, October 19, 2019

    Protesters in Besançon, France, on Wednesday supported a woman who was chided by a far-right politician for wearing a head scarf while accompanying students on a trip.CreditCreditSebastien Bozon/Agence France-Presse
    PARIS — A heated debate over France's values reignited across the country this week, the latest fight in a culture war that has raged for years in universities, the halls of government and even on the beach.
    This time, it started with a mother wearing a hijab on a school trip.
    Veils and head scarves are political and social lightning rods in France, touching on issues so sensitive — secularism, feminism and the integration of Muslims — that they seem to inspire anger wherever they appear. Although the mother broke no laws by wearing the garment, which does not cover the face, she enraged far-right members of the local assembly that the schoolchildren were visiting. 
    During the visit last week, in the central city of Dijon, one of the politicians, Julien Odoul, asked that the woman uncover herself.

    "Madame has ample time to wear her veil at home, on the street, but not here, not today," he said, citing France's values of secularism, known as laïcité.

    In a post on Twitter that included video of the incident, Mr. Odoul said wearing the veil was a "provocation" that couldn't be "tolerated" after a fatal attack on Paris police officers this month by a Muslim among their ranks.
    A commotion broke out. Other members of the assembly, including the president, objected to the request. The far-right politicians, who belong to the National Rally party, stormed out. And in a moment captured by a picture that soon spread widely, the woman's son cried in her arms.
    She has declined to speak to the news media, but the confrontationquickly gained national attention. Battle lines were swiftly drawn.
    On one side, there are those who say the veil is a symbol of female submission or religious radicalism, an archaic garment that has no place in France's secular republic. On the other are those who argue that veiled women are subjected to barely hidden racism and religious discrimination by people who refuse to accept French multiculturalism.
    Valentine Zuber, a historian at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris who specializes in the study of religious tolerance in Europe, said that these two "intellectual and political camps are now at loggerheads."

    "There is a brutalization of the discourse, even at the elite level, that is quite frightening," she said in an interview. 
    Since 2011, it has been illegal to wear a face-covering veil in public in France. Many French people also agree with laws that bar state employees and school children from wearing "ostentatious" religious symbols.
    But the consensus stops there. Over the past few years, disputes have focused on university studentsburkinis and sports hijabs, to name just a few.
    Whether mothers on school outings should be allowed to wear head scarves has become a particularly charged question, partly because French schools are seen as "sanctuaries" that shield children from external influences, religious or otherwise, Ms. Zuber said. 
    Some politicians want to extend the clothing restrictions currently applied to teachers and students to parents who sign up for class trips. A recent poll, conducted before the incident in Dijon, found that 66 percent of French people agreed. 
    "The veil should be banned on all school time," Christian Jacob, the newly elected head of the right-wing Républicains party, told Le Figaro newspaper on Friday. "Not just on school premises."
    The government has shut the door on such legislation, and President Emmanuel Macron, trying to avoid a political minefield, has refused to weigh in with a formal speech on secularism. Last year, Mr. Macron said that although he respected a woman's decision to wear the veil, he was "not personally happy" about it.

    Mr. Macron, who in the aftermath of the Paris police attack called for a "society of vigilance" against the "Islamist hydra," said this week that his priority was to fight "radicalization" and "communitarianism."
    "These fights are serious, they entail not to divide, not to stigmatize, and to work together," he said. 
    But Mr. Macron's government and his party are split. 
    Some, like the education minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer, and the economy minister, Bruno Le Maire, say that the veil, while legal, is not "desirable" in French society. Others, like the government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye and the lawmaker Aurélien Taché, have supported a mother's right to wear a head scarf on school trips.
    Ms. Zuber, the historian, said tensions over the Muslim veil were rooted in a longstanding cultural aversion to public expressions of faith. 
    Enlightenment philosophers in the 18th century and the founding fathers of republican France largely rejected the influence of the Roman Catholic Church, sometimes fiercely, she said. That thinking, bolstered by a feminist rejection of the veil as a symbol of "submission," is still present. 
    Ms. Zuber said that the "resurgence of religious visibility in the public space" had made many French feel "that our freedoms are threatened." She said some people saw the veil, "in and of itself, as proselytizing" for a faith.
    string of attacks by Islamist terrorists in recent years has only worsened such fears, especially on the far right. Marine Le Pen, for instance, who heads the National Rally party, told Europe 1 radiothis week that "the veil is not a trivial piece of cloth, it is a marker of radicalism."

    Some commentators have gone even further. One columnist, Yves Thréard, said on television that it was his right to hate a religion, and that he would sometimes get off a bus if a woman wearing a head scarf got on. Another journalist suggested that the veil could be considered a "political sign" similar to the Nazi SS uniform. Both later said they had misspoken.
    To some, the tone of the debate has become increasingly alarming. One group of public figures, including actors, artists and academics, asked in an open letter in the newspaper Le Monde this week, "How far will we let the hatred of Muslims go?"
    "How long are we going to accept that citizens be insulted, assaulted, attacked, stigmatized because of their religion?" they asked. The letter was later turned into a petition, which has gathered over 180,000 signatures so far. 
    In an interview with the Collective Against Islamophobia in France, an advocacy group, the mother who went to Dijon said the incident had "destroyed her life." The mother, identified by the group as Fatima E., also intends to file a legal complaint.
    "Today, I have a negative opinion of what we call the republic," she said, arguing that the episode would reinforce the belief held by some descendants of immigrants that "France is against them."
    "I have always argued against that discourse," she said. "When we left the regional council, they came up to me to say: 'You see, we told you so! They don't like us!' And then, I couldn't even speak. The children had come there to learn: What did they learn?"



    5) Fort Worth Police Have More Violence to Answer For, Residents Say
    Black residents of the city complained about mistreatment by the police long before Atatiana Jeffersons death. "I never was supposed to be arrested," said one woman. "I was the caller."
    By Manny FernandezSarah Mervosh and 

    Dorshay Morris, called 911 to report that her boyfriend was drunk and threatening to kick in her door. She ended up spending four days in jail.CreditCreditAllison V. Smith for The New York Times

    FORT WORTH — Before there was Atatiana Jefferson, there was Jackie Craig, a black woman who called the police to report that her white neighbor had grabbed her son — and found herself pinned to the ground by the officer who responded.
    There was Henry Newson, a black man who had just been discharged from the hospital and was waiting for a ride home when two officers working security questioned why he was there. He refused to leave, and a white officer punched him in the face. 
    There was Craigory Adams, also black, who knocked on his neighbor's door late one night carrying a barbecue fork — to keep stray dogs away, he said — and the neighbor called the police. A white officer pointed a shotgun at Mr. Adams but said he wasn't meaning to fire it. He did, striking Mr. Adams in the arm. 

    These names and others have all been brought up again in the days since Ms. Jefferson, a 28-year-old black woman, was shot and killed in her bedroom this month by a white police officer who was standing outside her window. In the largely black and Hispanic neighborhood in southeast Fort Worth where Ms. Jefferson lived, and in others nearby, many residents recalled times when they hadtried calling the police — and ended up sorry that they did.

    "This is not an isolated incident," said the Rev. Kyev Tatum, who is part of a coalition asking the Justice Department to investigate "over-aggressive policing" in Fort Worth's communities of color. "This is historic and it is systemic, and we understand that racism is at the heart of this."

    The long-simmering tensions boiled to the surface this month after Ms. Jefferson became the sixth person to be killed by the Fort Worth police since June. Four of the six were black
    Five years after a police shooting in Ferguson, Mo., stoked a national debate over race and policing, Fort Worth is far from the only community where residents complain that the conversation in their city never really went anywhere.
    In Dallas, just 30 miles east of Fort Worth, a similar case played out tragically over the past year: A white off-duty police officer was sentenced to 10 years in prison earlier this month after she mistakenly entered the apartment of a black neighbor, Botham Shem Jean, and shot him to death while he was watching television.The long-simmering tensions boiled to the surface this month after Ms. Jefferson became the sixth person to be killed by the Fort Worth police since June. Four of the six were black
    Five years after a police shooting in Ferguson, Mo., stoked a national debate over race and policing, Fort Worth is far from the only community where residents complain that the conversation in their city never really went anywhere.
    In Dallas, just 30 miles east of Fort Worth, a similar case played out tragically over the past year: A white off-duty police officer was sentenced to 10 years in prison earlier this month after she mistakenly entered the apartment of a black neighbor, Botham Shem Jean, and shot him to death while he was watching television.

    "There's a pattern," said Ms. Craig, 49. "They want to say that it's not racially motivated," she said. "It's just obvious to the eye that it is."
    Ms. Jefferson's death drew hundreds to a vigil outside her house in Fort Worth. At City Hall, protesters held signs reading "Say Her Name." And on the Democratic presidential debate stage last week in Ohio, Julián Castro brought up Ms. Jefferson's death to discuss police violence.
    Fort Worth has a storied history as a Western outpost — it lives up to its Cowtown nickname with twice-daily cattle drives in the historic district — but today, the nation's 13th largest city is in some ways two different places, divided along racial and economic lines. It is home to the Walmart heiress Alice Walton, the wealthiest person in Texas, but neighborhoods like Ms. Jefferson's are dotted with abandoned homes. 
    Most of the police force, about 65 percent, is white — as are the mayor, the city manager, a majority of the City Council and now the police chief, after the department's first black chief was fired earlier this year. Black and Hispanic residents, who together make up a majority in the city, complain that they often feel ignored by city leadership, and unfairly targeted by the police. Black residents on their own make up about 18 percent of the population, but they accounted for 40 percent of arrests in 2017.

    The latest turmoil began after midnight on Oct. 12, when Ms. Jefferson was playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew. Two officers responded to a neighbor's report that her doors were open. As Ms. Jefferson grabbed a gun from her purse, one of the officers fired the fatal shot through a bedroom window without identifying himself, the police said. The officer, Aaron Y. Dean, who quickly resigned, now faces a murder charge.
    From the beginning, city officials knew the case was going to be unlike any of the previous police shootings. The mayor, Betsy Price, said the interim police chief, Ed Kraus, called her at about 6:30 a.m., and told her the essence of what had occurred overnight.

    "He just said, 'I don't think it's going to be pretty,'" Mayor Price recalled. "'It's too early. I don't have the details yet, but it looks like the wheels fell off.'"
    Public resentment had been building for years. In interviews, many residents said they knew people who had been shot, shocked by stun guns or wrestled by the police. At least four highly publicized encounters have been documented in video footage and lawsuits. Some of those officers have faced criminal charges and left the department; others remain on the force.

    One of the first cases to incite outrage was Ms. Craig's arrest in December 2016. 
    It started with flavored raisins. Ms. Craig's 8-year-old son dropped some raisins onto the street outside her white neighbor's house. The man grabbed her son by the back of the neck and pushed him down to pick up the raisins, she said.
    Ms. Craig called 911 and a white officer, William Martin, responded. As seen in body-camera footage and cellphone videos, one of the first questions Officer Martin asked was, "So why don't you teach your son not to litter?" After Ms. Craig told him that her neighbor did not have the right to put his hands on her son, whether or not he had littered, the officer asked, "Why not?"
    As Ms. Craig grew agitated, he added, "I'm just asking."
    Officer Martin told her that if she did not stop yelling at him, "you're going to piss me off, and I'm going to take you to jail."
    Moments later, the officer pushed aside one of her daughters, Jacques Hymond, who was 15 at the time, pulled out his Taser and pointed it at Ms. Craig as he forced her to the pavement. He later handcuffed and arrested Ms. Craig, along with Jacques and Ms. Craig's other daughter, Brea Hymond, who was 19 at the time.

    Ms. Craig said she had hoped her arrest would serve as a warning of the need to make changes in the police department. A task force appointed by the City Council examined issues of race and culturein the police force, but major reforms never happened. The officer was suspended for 10 days but remains with the department. 
    "I believe it will continue, because I'm not seeing any consequences behind the actions that these police officers are taking," Ms. Craig said. "If there's no punishment behind it, why not keep doing it?"

    Another incident occurred in August 2017, when Dorshay Morris called 911 to report that her boyfriend was drunk and threatening to kick in her door. She had a knife in her purse to protect herself.
    The two officers who arrived made her feel like a criminal, she said. When she refused to give them her ID, the officers grabbed her by the hair, and Sgt. Kenneth Pierce, who is white, ordered a rookie officer to shoot her with a Taser. She was taken into custody and charged with resisting arrest and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. She said she spent four days in jail. The charges were later dropped. Sergeant Pierce was fired, but was reinstatedafter he appealed.
    "I never was supposed to be arrested," Ms. Morris said in an interview this week. "I was the caller."

    So far this year, Fort Worth police officers have fired shots at nine people, killing six and injuring two. The fatal shootings have all happened since June, and are more than the department had in the previous two years combined.

    Policing experts caution against extrapolating from one year of data — the numbers can fluctuate from year to year — but six fatal shootings is more than most police departments in similarly sized cities have recorded. For example, in Indianapolis, police have fired at three people this year, killing one. And in San Francisco, police have not fired a gun at anyone this year, a spokeswoman said.
    In one of the fatal cases in Fort Worth, an officer shot a white Army veteran who had barricaded himself with a rifle in his father's home. The police said they thought he had pointed the rifle toward them when he was shot, but in fact, it was a flashlight
    In another scrutinized case, an 18-year-old black man who was a person of interest in a homicide was killed while holding a gun and running from the police, according to video footage. Activists noted that he was shot in the back.
    In each of the fatal shootings this year, the victims were armed. In several, they had barricaded themselves inside a home or vehicle in a standoff with the police. Still, four of the six victims, including Ms. Jefferson, were black, and community members have questioned whether the police could have done more to de-escalate or avoid risk. 
    "Just because they had firearms doesn't warrant a death sentence on the street," said Pamela Young, an organizer who is pushing for community oversight of the police department.

    The mayor and police officials have apologized for the killing of Ms. Jefferson, which they condemned as inexcusable. City leaders said that they planned to bring in an outside team of experts to review the police department, and that they were working on other changes to improve diversity and accountability.

    "Please, do not let the actions of one officer reflect on the other 1,700," Chief Kraus, who has been on the job since May, said during an emotional news conference. "There's absolutely no excuse for this incident, and the person responsible will be held accountable."
    In an interview, Mayor Price said she had heard from some black residents who said they feared the police so much that they would no longer call them for help. She was deeply worried by that sentiment. But she flatly rejected the idea that the city's white leadership was not engaged with black residents.
    "I am in the minority community more than anywhere else," the mayor said.
    The tensions gripping the city were on full display on Oct. 15 when residents poured into City Hall for the City Council's first meeting after the shooting — so many that a large, frustrated crowd was forced to wait for hours outside.

    Many residents demanded to know not only what the city was going to do for the family of Ms. Jefferson — who many call "Tay" — but for everyone else.
    "You mentioned that we need to provide Tay's nephew with anything he needs," Jen Sarduy, a black Fort Worth resident, told the council. "He needs his aunt alive. He needs to not have witnessed her murder. He needs the city to be equitable and just and safe."



    6) In a Strong Economy, Why Are So Many Workers on Strike?
    By Noam Schreiber, October 19, 2019
    "Corporate profits are near a record high, up nearly 30 percent since the pre-recession peak in 2006. During the same time, the income of the typical household has increased by less than 4 percent. ...Overall strike activity has fallen sharply since the 1970s, as the ranks of unions have been depleted, dropping to about 10 percent of the work force from over 25 percent."

    Teachers in Arizona, Chicago and elsewhere have walked out in recent years, demanding that local officials put more money into schools.CreditRoss D. Franklin/Associated Press

    At first glance, it may seem like a paradox: Even as the economy rides a 10-year winning streak, tens of thousands of workers across the country, from General Motors employees to teachers in Chicago, are striking to win better wages and benefits.
    But, according to those on strike, the strong growth is precisely the point. Autoworkers, teachers and other workers accepted austerity when the economy was in a free fall, expecting to share in the gains once the recovery took hold.
    Increasingly, however, many of those workers believe that they fell for a sucker's bet, having watched their employers grow flush while their own incomes barely budged. Corporate profits are near a record high, up nearly 30 percent since the pre-recession peak in 2006. During the same time, the income of the typical household has increased by less than 4 percent. Some workers are responding with measures like strikes partly as a result.

    "That was the understanding — that if we gave up the concessions back in 2007 and 2009, that once G.M. got back on their feet, we would slowly get those things back," said Tammy Daggy, who worked at the now-idled G.M. plant in Lordstown, Ohio, for nearly 25 years. But on many issues, "we never did."

    To an extent, the pattern of strikes reflects a recurring feature of the labor market: Workers typically become bolder the longer an expansion continues, using the leverage they have when jobs are harder to fill to demand greater compensation. This was particularly true during the three decades after World War II, according to a survey of research by Jake Rosenfeld, a sociologist at Washington University in St. Louis.
    Overall strike activity has fallen sharply since the 1970s, as the ranks of unions have been depleted, dropping to about 10 percent of the work force from over 25 percent. Employers have also responded more aggressively — for example, by permanently replacing striking employees.
    Now, though, workers appear increasingly willing to walk off the job. Last year, the number of workers who participated in significant strikes soared to nearly 500,000, its highest point since the mid-1980s, while the total duration of such strikes reached a 15-year high.

    The backdrop for this trend is a rising gap between the money employers are making and the portion they're sharing with workers. The share of the national income that workers receive fell in the early 2000s to its lowest level since World War II according to some measures, then collapsed further in 2009. It has yet to recover.

    That may be partly because the labor market is weaker than the picture painted by the official unemployment rate of 3.5 percent. That rate measures only the number of out-of-work Americans who say they are looking for jobs. It excludes Americans in their prime working years who are not actively looking for work but, given the opportunity, might choose to re-enter the work force.
    According to Neel Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, the group who could quickly re-enter the work force is potentially large, and may help employers avoid bidding up wages to lure those who are currently employed. "We still don't know how much shadow labor is out there," Mr. Kashkari said in an interview on Thursday.
    But regardless of the strength of the labor market, in recent decades employers have amassed more power to hold wages down.
    "In the late 1990s, it seemed like maybe a hot economy was sufficient" to substantially raise workers' incomes and narrow inequality, said Jason Furman, who led the White House Council of Economic Advisers during President Barack Obama's second term. But a series of reports that Mr. Furman's council released in 2016 documented changes that have allowed employers to pocket more of the gains from growth. Those changes include noncompete clauses in employment contracts and even outright collusion, in which companies explicitly agree not to hire workers away from one another or to offer identical wages.
    Employers argue that they need additional flexibility with their work force as they contend with global competition and technological changes.
    Scholars say there was an element of economic opportunism behind the strikes of the 1950s and '60s, as unions exploited their bargaining power in tight labor markets.

    But workers say today's strikes are fueled by a deeper sense of unfairness and economic anxiety. This past week, for example, unions representing about 2,000 workers at copper mines and smelters in Arizona and Texas went on strike, saying their members had not received raises for a decade.

    "It's about: 'O.K., the government is not going to take care of us. Business is not going to take care of us. We've got to take care of ourselves,'" said D. Taylor, president of the hospitality workers union, UNITE HERE, which has had thousands of members strike in the past two years, including at Marriott International. "It's been bubbling up for some time. Now it's come up to the surface."
    In the airline industry, workers who made numerous concessions amid a wave of post-9/11 corporate restructurings complain that they continue to struggle under austerity even as the airlines post outsize profits.
    "They got all these employees to agree to terms within the shadow of bankruptcy court, then they created these megamergers and are making billions," said Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants.
    While airline workers, unlike most private-sector workers, must receive permission from the government before they can strike, they have repeatedly demonstrated their anger. Thousands of airline catering workers, many of whom make under $12 per hour, voted to strike this year, pending the assent of a federal mediation board. Airline mechanics, including at Southwest Airlines, have won raises after effectively gumming up the operations of their employers: The mechanics significantly increased the number of low-grade maintenance problems they identified, leading to widespread flight delays and cancellations. (The mechanics denied that this was their intention.)
    Teachers have expressed frustration that their districts were slow to reverse the spending cuts that followed the economic crisis a decade ago, even as state and local budgets have recovered.
    "When the recession hit, teachers kind of buckled down. We said: 'We get it. Everybody has got to pull their weight,'" said Noah Karvelis, who helped organize last year's teacher walkouts in Arizona that forced lawmakers to raise teacher salaries and partially restore education funding. "But 10 years later, the state's economy is back, we're doing really well, and still the cuts are there. It was a huge, huge thing for us."

    In Chicago, teachers who went on strike on Thursday are demanding that local officials devote more of a recent billion-dollar cash infusion from the state to raises. They point out that teaching assistants' pay starts at around $30,000 a year but they are required by law to live in the high-cost city. And veteran teachers often leave the district during the several years in which they only receive cost-of-living increases. The teachers also want the district to hire more school nurses and librarians, who are in short supply across Chicago.
    "In Chicago, the citizenry during the austerity talks believed it," said Michelle Gunderson, a first-grade teacher on the union's bargaining committee, referring to the lean contract negotiated in 2016. "At that time, we had a Republican governor who wasn't funding our schools. But now an infusion of money has come in that has not made it to the classroom."
    The school district has noted that $700 million of that money went directly to teacher pensions, and that the rest kept the district solvent. The district has proposed raising salaries 16 percent over five years and substantially increasing the number of nurses.
    For its part, while G.M. has made $35 billion in profits in North America over the past three years, sales appear to be slowing in the United States and China. Domestic automakers also say they are under pressure from foreign rivals, which have lower labor costs in nonunion factories in the South, and to invest in developing electric vehicles.
    That is one reason G.M. sought to preserve a so-called two-tiered wage scale introduced amid the company's struggles over a decade ago, in which workers hired after 2007 make up to 45 percent less than the $31 an hour that veteran workers currently earn. The company also relies on a cadre of temporary workers who earn even less.
    As part of the tentative deal the company reached with the United Automobile Workers, G.M. appears to have agreed to a path for temps to become permanent workers, and to alter its tiered wage scale. Workers will vote on the agreement over the next several days, and a result is expected on Friday.

    Some workers are skeptical that the union made sufficient progress on these questions, and on the extent to which G.M. can continue to shift production to Mexico, which has imperiled jobs in the United States.
    Selina Estrada, 32, who assembles doors at the G.M. plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., said she feared the company would prevent temporary workers from attaining permanent status by laying off those workers before they had achieved the required three years of "continuous service."
    "They'll keep turning them around and laying them off right before their three years," she said. "It's never going to happen."

    David Yaffe-Bellany contributed reporting.



    7) Marijuana and Vaping: Shadowy Past, Dangerous Present
    A technology initially promoted to help cigarette smokers has transformed marijuana use, too. Now, with cases of severe lung illness rising, health investigators are warning people to stop vaping cannabis.
    By Matt Richtel, October 21, 2019
    Marijuana vaping devices appeal to some people because they are discreet, leaving no ash and little smell. But a recent outbreak of vaping-related lung illnesses has experts worrying about their risks.CreditCreditJim Wilson/The New York Times

    SAN FRANCISCO — For years, a divisive debate has raged in the United States over the health consequences of nicotine e-cigarettes. During the same time, vaping of a more contentious substance has been swiftly growing, with scant notice from public health officials.
    Millions of people now inhale marijuana not from joints or pipes filled with burning leaves but through sleek devices and cartridges filled with flavored cannabis oils. People in the legalized marijuana industry say vaping products now account for 30 percent or more of their business. Teenagers, millennials and baby boomers alike have been drawn to the technology — no ash, a faint smell, easy to hide — and the potentially dangerous consequences are only now becoming evident. 
    Most of the patients in the outbreak of severe lung illnesses linked to vaping — which has left 1,479 people sick and 33 dead so far — vaped THC, the ingredient in marijuana that makes people high. Until more information is known, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have warned people not to vape cannabis products.
    To some scientists, and even industry leaders, warning signs have been apparent for years as vaping cannabis grew in the shadows, propelled by a patchwork of regulations, a wave of state-by-state legalization and a soaring supply of low-cost marijuana.

    While the government and researchers poured resources into studying e-cigarettes, federal rules sharply limiting research into the health effects of cannabis — because it is classified as a controlled substance with a high potential for abuse — have left a void in scientific knowledge about what THC vaping does to the lungs.
    Last year, Dr. Neal Benowitz, a professor of medicine and a researcher on nicotine and vaping at the University of California, San Francisco, sent a letter to Congress warning of the risks posed by leaving a hugely popular practice unstudied.
    "Very little is known about the safety or effects of vaped cannabis oil," he wrote, cautioning that some ingredients mixed into the oils "could have harmful, toxic effect on users, including the potential for causing and/or promoting cancer and lung disease."

    "It's disgraceful," Dr. Benowitz said in a recent interview as reports of hospitalizations and deaths from vaping-related lung illnesses mounted. "I'm not able to take products we think are potentially harmful and do analysis. I can buy a vape device around the corner, but I can't bring it into the lab and test it."

    Even members of the legalized marijuana industry acknowledge the lack of hard science about the cannabis vaping products they sell.
    "There's a glaring gap in trying to understand this product," saidJerred Kiloh, president of the board of the United Cannabis Business Association, which represents 165 marijuana dispensaries in California, where marijuana was legalized for recreational use in 2016.
    Mr. Kiloh, who owns the Los Angeles dispensary Higher Path, said he believed that the vape pens sold in his stores and in other licensed and regulated stores are likely safe because the ingredients were measured and tested by the state. The Bureau of Cannabis Control did not return calls asking for comment.
    Vaping oils typically include other additives, solvents and flavor enhancers, and health investigators believe some such ingredients, including vitamin E acetate, could be responsible for some of the lung illness cases. The problem of unknown and potentially dangerous additives, Mr. Kiloh and others said, is vastly worse in a soaring black market in the nearly 40 states where recreational marijuana is still illegal. 
    Even in states where the drug is legal, counterfeit cartridges are cheaper than the licensed, tested and taxed products. It is hard for legal players who pay taxes to compete. A regulated vape pen with half a gram of THC costs $55, compared with $25 or less on the street for an untested product.
    "We don't know what the chemical composition is," Mr. Kiloh said, "and we especially don't know what the chemical composition is once it's been combined, heated and inhaled."

    In the earliest days of cannabis vaping, a small group of innovators saw the technology as a safer way to help medicinal marijuana patients. They hoped that vaping — which entails heating THC so that it turns to an aerosol — would be less harmful to the lungs than inhaling combusted marijuana.

    But that ethos quickly gave way to a different lure: the pure convenience of vaping, which allowed users to avoid rolling joints, spilling ash, giving off a telltale smell — or getting caught. Vape pens brought the sheen of high technology to a drug associated with hippies and grunge, along with the discretion of, say, texting beneath the dinner table. 
    "You could vape in a police station and no one would even know, not that you'd want to do that," said a 35-year-old man outside Harvest, a marijuana dispensary in San Francisco, who declined to give his name because he said he did not want to hurt his job-hunting prospects.

    Other Harvest customers said they once embraced vaping but now have doubts. "It's convenient, neat, easy. No lighter," said Michael, who, with his wife, Laurie, both in their 70s, declined to give a last name because they didn't want their teenage granddaughter to know about their habit.
    With news of vaping-related hospitalizations and deaths, though, Laurie was growing concerned. So this time she came to Harvest to buy flower, the old-fashioned bud rolled in joints. It was a switch the couple said they would continue while they await more vaping science.
    Others were undeterred. Cynthia Valdivia, 34, bought a THC vape cartridge after using one to try marijuana for the first time this summer. She said she was not worried about what she bought from a legal store. 
    "There's someone behind the brand and they don't want to kill people," she said. "They want their money."

    The market has flourished in the absence of regulation, said Eric N. Lindblom, a former tobacco official at the Food and Drug Administration. The federal government, he said, has been unsure of how to respond to state legalization of marijuana, and the uncertainty has left a void of regulation, research and enforcement. 
    "Only now that we have this special, extra weird mystery crisis with the disease and deaths is there now interest in doing something," he said.
    Some think it may be too late. 
    "The market has run amok," said Carlos de la Torre, the owner of Cornerstone Wellness, a dispensary in Los Angeles.
    Mr. de la Torre came to the cannabis business in 2007 after a career in television advertising. That year he opened his shop in a Los Angeles suburb, selling marijuana flower and edibles to customers with medical cards.
    "At the time, I don't think vaping really existed," he said.
    Not commercially, at least. There was a rich and informal history among a narrow band of regular marijuana users who bathed weed in alcohol to extract THC — so-called honey oil or hash oil. That was the domain of the "biker, LSD, hippie crowd," said David Downs, the California bureau chief of Leafly, a cannabis news and product website.
    The first commercial marijuana vaping brand was called the Volcano, and it was the brainchild of a German entrepreneur, Markus Storz, who obtained a patent for it from his native country in 1999.

    The Volcano came to the United States in 2003, and it is aptly named. It is built on a sturdy, triangular-shaped base — "the kind of thing that sat on a coffee table and weighed a pound," Mr. de la Torre said.

    It heated marijuana flower until the THC baked off as vapor. A user then inhaled the aerosol from a large plastic bag attached to an inhalation pipe.
    Industry insiders thought it might be healthier than smoking a joint because burning marijuana contains carcinogens like tar and carbon monoxide. "If we were really helping cancer patients, then adding carcinogens was not helpful," said Mr. Kiloh, who in 2003 opened his first medical dispensary, Green Cross, in San Francisco, seven years after California legalized marijuana for medical purposes.
    Federal research restrictions allow the study of marijuana under certain conditions, and scientists at the University of California, San Francisco, found that the Volcano produced less carbon monoxide and tar compared with smoking marijuana. 
    The Volcano was built around inhalation of pure marijuana vapor, created by heating the plant itself. In a few years, the technology would change in a fundamental way.
    "What happened was that the oil came next," Mr. Kiloh said.
    Entrepreneurs began to extract oil by bathing the leaf in ethanol or butane, filtering out the solid material that remained and then evaporating the solvent to leave the concentrated oil. Another method used carbon dioxide, which, when pressurized, creates a fluid that can used to extract the oil. (There is no "toxicological" research about the relative health effects of the different methods, according to Christopher Havel, an analytical chemist at U.C.S.F. who works with Dr. Benowitz). 
    Once extracted, the THC oil could then be heated up using a small battery, kept in a cartridge or penlike case, creating aerosol, which is then inhaled from one end of the device. Consumers fell in love.

    As marijuana became legal in a growing number of states, a new area of entrepreneurship burgeoned. Businesspeople found they could use the entire plant to extract oil rather than throw away stems and other parts discarded by smokers, which maximized the value of the crop. 
    The oil also could be mixed with other additives to give flavor, to create the effect of big puffs of smoke or just to cut the THC to substitute less expensive chemicals.

    At the time, Mr. Kiloh was dubious: What was in these things? The packages either did not list ingredients or, if they did, the labels seemed untrustworthy, he said, because the oil sometimes smelled off. 
    Sometimes he would test the product and discover the THC had been watered down, initially with propylene glycol, which is used in fog machines, to add a smokey luster.
    "People started getting greedy," Mr. Kiloh said, describing the early vape pen manufacturers around 2012. "You didn't know how much was propylene glycol and how much was THC."
    After initially carrying the vape pens in his dispensary, Mr. Kiloh temporarily pulled them from his shelves.

    "I didn't want to sell them," Mr. Kiloh said. "What people said for the next three or four months was, 'Can you bring them back?'" But he told them he wasn't sure the pens were safe. 
    Mr. Downs, of Leafly, said the worry was valid. "It's very clear innovation has eclipsed the sophistication of consumers as well as regulators and investigators," he said. "We've been engaging in an uncontrolled mass experiment with inhaling concentrations of cannabinoids."
    In states that legalized marijuana, farmers could grow the crop openly, creating a vast, lower-cost supply that flooded not just legal markets but spilled into illegal ones, said Beau Kilmer, director of the Rand Drug Policy Research Center.

    Prices plummeted. While national figures are hard to come by, Rand's research shows that an oversupply in Oregon caused the price per pound to fall more than 50 percent, from $1,250 in 2016 to $500 in 2018. 
    Much of the product went to oil.
    "The fastest growing segment of the market is extract for inhalation," Mr. Kilmer said.
    And researchers remain in the dark. In August, the Drug Enforcement Administration loosened rules to allow some scientific institutions to apply to grow their own marijuana for study. However, the restrictions still prevent researchers like Dr. Benowitz from examining the kind of THC oil sold widely on the legal and black markets.
    He summed up what little is known about vaping THC oil: "All we know is that there weren't many problems until recently."



    8) 'There Is No Hope': Crisis Pushes Haiti to Brink of Collapse
    Haitians say the violence and economic stagnation stemming from a clash between the president and the opposition are worse than anything they have ever experienced.
    By Kirk Semple, Photographs by Meridith Kohut, October 20, 2019
    Protesters last week in Les Cayes, Haiti, surrounded a vehicle that had been burned in a previous demonstration. Impassable roads have contributed to the country's emergency.

    LÉOGÂNE, Haiti — The small hospital was down to a single day's supply of oxygen and had to decide who would get it: the adults recovering from strokes and other ailments, or the newborns clinging to life in the neonatal ward.
    Haiti's political crisis had forced this awful dilemma — one drama of countless in a nation driven to the brink of collapse. 
    A struggle between President Jovenel Moïse and a surging opposition movement demanding his ouster has led to violent demonstrations and barricaded streets across the country, rendering roads impassable and creating a sprawling emergency. 
    Caught in the national paralysis, officials at Sainte Croix Hospital were forced to choose who might live and who might die. Fortunately, a truck carrying 40 fresh tanks of oxygen made it through at the last minute, giving the hospital a reprieve.

    "It was scary, really scary," said Archdeacon Abiade Lozama of the Episcopal Church of Haiti, which owns the hospital. "Every day, things become more difficult, day after day."
    Though the country has been trapped for years in cycles of political and economic dysfunction, many Haitians say the current crisis is worse than anything they have ever experienced. Lives that were already extremely difficult, here in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, have become even more so. 
    Weeks of unrest around Haiti, coupled with rampant corruption and economic malaise, have led to soaring prices, a disintegration of public services and a galloping sense of insecurity and lawlessness. At least 30 people have been killed in the demonstrations in the past few weeks, including 15 by police officers, according to the United Nations.
    "There is no hope in this country," said Stamène Molière, 27, an unemployed secretary in the southern coastal town of Les Cayes. "There's no life anymore."
    Trash piling up in Port-au-Prince, the capital, where  many public services have collapsed.

    Gas shortages are worsening by the day. Hospitals have cut services or closed entirely. Public transportation has ground to a halt. Businesses have shuttered. Most schools have been closed since early September, leaving millions of children idle. Widespread layoffs have compounded chronic poverty and hunger. Uncertainty hangs over everything. 
    Many Haitians with the means to flee have left or are planning to, while most who remain are simply trying to figure out where they are going to get their next meals. 
    Haiti was once a strategic ally for the United States, which often played a crucial role here. During the Cold War, American governments supported — albeit at times grudgingly — the authoritarian governments of François Duvalier and his son, Jean-Claude Duvalier, because of their anti-Communist stance.
    In 1994, the Clinton administration sent troops to restore Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power after his ouster as president, but 10 years later, intense pressure from the United States helped push Mr. Aristide out again. 
    Now, protesters are criticizing the United States for continuing to stand by Mr. Moïse. The Trump administration has urged respect for the democratic process, but has said little about the unrest in Haiti.
    "If you look at Haitian history, governments are overthrown when the United States turns on them," said Jake Johnston, a research associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

    The current crisis is a culmination of more than a year of violent protests, and the product, in part, of political acrimony that has seized the nation since Mr. Moïse, a businessman, took office in February 2017 following an electoral process that was marred by delays, allegations of voter fraud and an abysmal voter turnout.
    Outrage over allegations that the government misappropriated billions of dollars meant for social development projects provided the initial impetus for the protests. But opposition leaders have sought to harness the anger to force his ouster, calling for his resignation and the formation of a transitional government.
    The protests intensified in early September, at times turning violent and bringing the capital, Port-au-Prince, and other cities and towns around the country to a standstill.

    The current crisis is a culmination of more than a year of violent protests, and the product, in part, of political acrimony that has seized the nation since Mr. Moïse, a businessman, took office in February 2017 following an electoral process that was marred by delays, allegations of voter fraud and an abysmal voter turnout.
    Outrage over allegations that the government misappropriated billions of dollars meant for social development projects provided the initial impetus for the protests. But opposition leaders have sought to harness the anger to force his ouster, calling for his resignation and the formation of a transitional government.
    The protests intensified in early September, at times turning violent and bringing the capital, Port-au-Prince, and other cities and towns around the country to a standstill.

    "We're not living," Destine Wisdeladens, 24, a motorcycle-taxi driver, said at a protest march in Port-au-Prince this month. "There is no security in the country. There's no food. There's no hospitals. There's no school."
    Mr. Moïse has been defiant, saying in public comments last week that it would be "irresponsible" for him to resign. He has named a commission of politicians to explore solutions to the crisis.

    Amid the current turmoil, daily routines, never a sure thing in this vulnerable country, have been thrown even more deeply into doubt.
    With public transportation having ground to a halt, Alexis Fritzner, 41, a security guard making about $4 per day, walks about 10 miles each way to work at a clothing factory in Port-au-Prince. He has not been paid for more than a month, he said, yet he still goes to work for fear of being fired.
    "It's because there are no other options," he said.
    The mounting problems at Sainte Croix Hospital here in Léogâne are emblematic of the crisis. Though the town is only about 20 miles from Port-au-Prince, near-daily barricades have impeded traffic. Suppliers in the capital have been forced to close or have had trouble receiving imports, making medicine hard to get. 
    At least one patient at the hospital died in recent days because of a lack of crucial medicine, said the Rev. Jean Michelin St.-Louis, the hospital's general manager.
    It has been hard to wrangle fuel to run the hospital's generators, its only power supply, he said. At times, ambulances have been blocked from crossing the barricades despite promises from protest leaders to the contrary. Some of the hospital's staff members, including the chief surgeon, have not always been able to make it to work because of the protests.
    "It's the first time I've been through such a difficult experience," Father St.-Louis, 41, said.

    The crisis is particularly stark in Les Cayes, the most populous city in southern Haiti, which has effectively been cut off from the capital by barricades on the main road.

    The city endured a total blackout for nearly two months. The power company started to mete out electricity again earlier this month, though in tiny increments — a few hours on one day, a few more on another.
    The city's public hospital shut down recently when protesters, angry over the death of one of their comrades, smashed its windows and destroyed cars in its parking lot. After the attack, the staff fled, said Herard Marc Rocky, 37, the hospital's head of logistics.
    Even before the riot, the hospital was barely functioning. For three weeks, it had been without power after running out of fuel for its generators. 
    Archdeacon Lozama, 39, who oversees an Episcopal parish in Les Cayes, said demonstrators forbid him from holding services on two recent Sundays. "We couldn't open the doors," he said. "People would burn the church."
    Thieves have stolen the batteries from solar panels that provide electricity to the parish school. The keyboardist in the church music ensemble was recently wounded by a stray bullet. And protesters manning a barricade took food that Archdeacon Lozama was delivering by truck on behalf of an international charity. 
    "There's no one you can call," he lamented. "There's no one in charge."
    Street protests have intensified in recent months. The turnout can bring even Port-au-Prince to a standstill. 

    People, he said, are desperate. "As they have nothing, they can destroy everything. They have nothing to lose."
    Intersections throughout Les Cayes are scarred with the remains of burned barricades made with wood, tires and other debris, vestiges of near-daily protests.
    "I'm hiding out here, I'm hunkering down, I'm not even on my porch," said Marie Prephanie Pauldor Delicat, 67, the retired headmistress of a kindergarten in Les Cayes. "I'm scared of the people."
    Shop owners say sales have plummeted. Violent demonstrations have forced them to curtail their hours, and it has become harder to restock merchandise.
    Several regional opposition leaders, in an interview at a dormant nightclub in Les Cayes, blamed infiltrators sympathetic to the government for the violence. But they defended the roadblocks, saying they helped thwart the movement of security forces accused of aggressions against residents.
    "We get the support of the population despite it all, because all the population has the same demand: the departure of Jovenel Moïse," said Anthony Cyrion, a lawyer.

    A wellspring of opposition in Les Cayes is La Savane, one of its most forlorn neighborhoods, where simple, rough-hewed homes line unpaved roads and the stench of open sewers commingles with the salty perfume of the Caribbean Sea.
    On a visit this month, reporters from The New York Times were surrounded by crowds of desperate and angry residents, each with a list of grievances against the government and accounts of utter despair. 
    One young man opened his shirt to reveal a bullet wound in his shoulder. Another showed where a bullet had hit his leg. They blamed the police.
    "We are all victims in many ways!" shouted Lys Isguinue, 48. "We are victims under the sticks of the police! We are victims of tear gas! We are victims because we cannot eat! We are victims because we cannot sleep!"

    Venise Jules, 55, a cleaning woman at a grade school and the mother of Ms. Molière, the unemployed secretary, said her entire family had voted for Mr. Moïse.

    "He said everything would change," she recalled. "We would have food on our plates, we would have electricity 24/7, we would have jobs for our children and salaries would increase."
    Ms. Jules, three of her five children and a cousin live in a narrow house in La Savane made from mud and stone. The corrugated metal roof leaks when it rains. The bathroom is an outhouse with a hole in the ground. With no running water, the family has to fill buckets at a public tap several blocks away. 
    They cook over coal — when they have something to cook.
    "I didn't put anything on the fire today," Ms. Jules said. It had been a full day since she had eaten anything.
    With the schools closed, Ms. Jules had been without work — or an income — for weeks. Even when she worked, earning $47 per month, she had not been able to amass any savings. Now she sends her children to eat at the homes of friends with something to spare. 
    Her despair, she said, has driven her to consider suicide. 
    On a recent evening, she sat with Ms. Molière, her daughter, in their house as it sank into the shadows of the night. Ms. Molière began to cry softly. Seeing her tears, Ms. Jules began to cry as well.
    "It's not only that we're hungry for bread and water," Ms. Molière said. "We're hungry for the development of Haiti."
    "Haiti is very fragile," she said.

    Harold Isaac and Meridith Kohut contributed reporting.



    9) Northern Ireland Set to Legalize Abortion and Same-Sex Marriage
    The collapse of local government allowed Parliament to step in and bring the territory's laws in line with Britain's principles of human rights.
    By Ceylan Yeginsu, October 21, 2019
    Protesters supporting the legalization of abortion in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Sunday.CreditCreditCharles Mcquillan/Getty Images

    BELFAST, Northern Ireland — Traditionally conservative Northern Ireland is about to legalize both abortion and same-sex marriage, a head-snapping about-face that was imposed on the territory by the British Parliament.

    The changes, bitterly resisted by anti-abortion and church groups, were mandated in an amendment to a routine bill on governance of Northern Ireland that Parliament passed in July amid a power vacuum created by the collapse of the region's governing assembly nearly three years ago.
    The amendment will go into effect at midnight on Monday, weeks after the High Court in Belfast rebuffed a legal challenge, ruling that Northern Ireland's 158-year-old abortion laws are incompatible with the United Kingdom's human rights commitments.
    The judgment was a major victory for women's rights activists, who had felt left behind after the Republic of Ireland voted to legalize abortion last year. Although Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom, and the majority of its people say they would like abortion to be made available, the regional power-sharing government had blocked abortion reform before collapsing in 2017 over sectarian divides.

    British lawmakers saw the political paralysis as an opportunity, and, during a Parliamentary sitting in July, overwhelmingly voted to legalize same-sex marriage and abortion. While both have been hot-button issues in the United States and other countries, same-sex marriage has not stirred the intense reaction in Northern Ireland that the lifting of the abortion ban has.
    At the Northern Ireland Assembly's mammoth building in Stormont on Monday, lawmakers reconvened for the first time in nearly three years in a last-ditch and almost certainly futile attempt to prevent the new abortion law from going into effect.
    As they met, groups of activists from both sides of the issue faced off on the grounds outside. "Pro-life, that's a lie — you don't care if women die," one group chanted as opposing protesters held up pictures of fetuses emblazoned across signs that read "Save me, be my voice, please let me live."
    "We are not going to stick with the guilt and the shame any longer," said Dawn Purvis, a prominent women's rights activist and former independent member of the Northern Ireland Assembly. "Tomorrow the law changes in this place, and for the first time in Northern Ireland, women will be free."
    As the women chanted, Martin Power, an activist from Belfast who opposes the legalization of abortion, hung his head in disapproval.

    "I can't believe they are here celebrating a law which will allow women to indiscriminately kill our Lord's children," he said. "The people of Northern Ireland are being forced to adhere to a law we weren't even allowed to vote for. It's undemocratic and vile."

    For activists who support making abortion legal, the change was long overdue.
    "For too long, women and girls in Northern Ireland have been left behind their counterparts in the rest of the U.K. when it comes to their human rights," said Stella Creasy, a British lawmaker for the main opposition Labour Party, who put forward the amendment to extend abortion rights to Northern Ireland.
    "Today, women can know that their houses will not be raided for abortion pills," Ms. Creasy said. "They will not be reported to the police if they seek aftercare at the doctor's, and they will not be dragged through the courts and threatened with prison just for accessing basic health care."
    Before now, Northern Ireland had one of the world's most restrictive abortion laws, prohibiting the procedure in almost every circumstance except for when the mother's life is in danger. In cases of rape, incest or fetal abnormalities, women have had to either carry the pregnancy to term or travel outside the territory for the termination. Violations of the ban carry severe penalties, including life imprisonment
    When the Marie Stopes family planning clinic opened in Belfast in 2012 and started providing abortions for women eligible under the law, hundreds of anti-abortion activists staged protests, which continued on a smaller scale until the clinic shut down in 2017.
    "They blocked the entrance. They stood in front of them. They tried to lure them to their own place down the street," said Dawn Purvis, the former director of the clinic. "They showed them plastic fetuses in buckets of blood and held posters and placards outside."

    Activists who favor legalizing abortion now worry that the decriminalization will embolden the anti-abortion movement and propel them to use the same aggressive tactics they have employed in the Republic of Ireland — opening fake abortion clinics and help lines designed to obstruct abortions. 
    "Now that the police and courts won't be able to do anything, the pro-lifers are going to step in harder and try and traumatize us at every opportunity," said Milly Cunningham, a Northern Ireland native who traveled for an abortion when she was 19 and now lives in London, where she volunteers as a host for Northern Irish women seeking abortions.
    "They receive all their funding and training from the U.S., so we are expecting quite a strong response from them, which can be quite scary, especially when you are pregnant and vulnerable," she said.
    Precious Life, the biggest anti-abortion group in Northern Ireland, has organized protests and vigils as part of a "fight back" campaign against the amendment. Its leaders say they will continue to lobby against allowing abortions.
    "When Gods warriors go down on their knees, their battle is not over it has just begun," the group's director, Bernadette Smyth, wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday.
    Under the government's new abortion guidelines, all existing investigations and prosecutions against women who have sought abortions will be dropped from Tuesday. That includes charges brought against a woman who helped her 15-year-old daughter obtain abortion pills after the teenager became pregnant from an abusive partner.

    A public consultation on the proposed legal framework for abortion will open after Tuesday, and full services are scheduled to be rolled out in Northern Ireland by March 31. Until then, all health professionals there who are approached by women considering terminations must provide information about state-funded abortion services.

    The government said it recognized that during the interim period women may continue to try to buy medical abortion pills, which cannot be obtained legally without a prescription. However, those who require medical help after using such pills bought online will be able to seek assistance in Northern Ireland, and health professionals will not be obliged to report the offense.
    Over all, the guidelines for the interim period have been welcomed by experts, though some questions remain.
    Fiona Bloomer, an abortion policy researcher at Ulster University, said that women who cannot travel for abortions have not been given specific consideration, and that it was not clear whether the funding for travel covers partners and carers who may wish to accompany them.
    The main priority for activists and experts now is to ensure that the consultation on providing services will be rolled out without restrictions or delays.
    Even after the provisions are rolled out, activists say that the battle against stigma and the deep divisions surrounding the issue will continue. For women who had painful experiences under the restriction laws, the next few months will also be about processing it all.
    "I had a horrendous experience with the pills," said Kellie Turtle, a women's rights activist who attempted a self-administered abortion at her home in Northern Ireland in 2016. "I didn't find it liberating or empowering to be taking the matter into my own hands. It felt like you were totally on your own, you were dumped, basically, to go away and deal with this thing and silence and shame."

    Ms. Turtle spent days in bed in excruciating pain, and after three doses realized that the pills were not working. That night she booked flights to Liverpool, England, for an abortion at a clinic. 
    "I think the reason I had such an amazing experience in Liverpool was because it contrasted so much to walk into a place where everyone treated you with respect and understood what you were going through," she said. "It was clinical, which isn't what everyone wants, I know, but for me, it just felt safe after the experience I'd just had of lying in my bed for two days in excruciating pain knowing that I couldn't tell anyone."



    10) Beaten and Left in Solitary Confinement, He Thought He Would Die
    Transferred off Rikers Island, he was among four young men who won a $980,000 settlement after a lawsuit described brutal beatings at an Albany jail.
    By Jan Ransom, October 20, 2019
    Steven Espinal was one of four men who said they were beaten at the Albany jail. CreditCreditVictor J. Blue for The New York Times

    Davon Washington thought he was going to die last year while handcuffed and shackled inside a small, dark cell in an upstate jail more than a hundred miles north of Rikers Island in New York City.

    City officials had transferred Mr. Washington from Rikers to the jail in Albany, N.Y., after he was accused of attacking a guard. Soon after he arrived, guards there beat him, he said. His tooth was chipped, his lip was split and he had bruises all over his body. 
    Then he was sentenced to serve 360 days in solitary isolation.
    Mr. Washington was one of four young detainees who sued the city last year, charging that city correction officials had sent them to the Albany County Correctional Facility knowing they would be beaten and thrown into solitary confinement for months. They claimed the transfers were intended to circumvent the city's ban on using isolation as a punishment for youths.
    On Friday, the four men reached a $980,000 legal settlement with the city. As part of the deal, Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration reversed its earlier position and agreed to stop transferring young inmates from the city's jails to the Albany County jail.

    "In the future nobody will have to go through what we went through," Mr. Washington said in a phone interview on Friday. "They won't have to experience that feeling." 
    Four years ago, the city banned solitary confinement for inmates 21 and younger, a bold policy change that solidified Mr. de Blasio's national image as a progressive leader in criminal-justice reform. 
    The ban came amid public outrage over the suicide in that same year of Kalief Browder, a young man who spent three years at Rikers Island, much of it in solitary confinement, before charges against him were dropped. 
    But, even as the mayor trumpeted the change, city correction officials quietly stepped up a practice of sending young inmates who they believed posed a security or safety risk to jails outside the city, where they could be kept in isolation for months, The New York Times reported last year.
    Mr. de Blasio defended that policy, saying the city needed the ability to transfer some inmates to other counties for their own protection.

    Under Friday's settlement, the city has promised not to send inmates to the Albany County jail, but it will continue to transfer inmates to other counties if they are vulnerable to attack or present a high risk to other inmates or to guards. 
    "We believe there are a small number of cases where a transfer makes sense to protect the safety and security of individuals in our facilities," a spokeswoman for the mayor, Avery Cohen, said in a statement. "The settlement will result in a more transparent process, which we believe is in the best interest of all parties."
    Mr. Washington, who had been convicted of attempted robbery, was 21 when he was transferred from Rikers Island to the Albany facility in March 2018, two weeks after he said he had gotten into an altercation with a deputy warden. 
    Currently, 10 detainees are being housed in jails outside of the city, including one person who is under 22. The city has not sent inmates to the Albany jail since November 2018, officials said. 
    The settlement came as Mr. de Blasio celebrated the City Council's decision to close Rikers Island and to build new jails in four boroughs — his main criminal justice initiative since becoming mayor. That decision marked a milestone in the effort to reduce the jail population in New York City. 
    While Mr. de Blasio had been a leader in that effort, some advocates for inmates and elected officials criticized the administration's practice of transferring young inmates to county jails. 
    Not only did the practice seem to be an end-run around the city's own rule on solitary confinement, these critics said, it seemed to fly in the face of the plan to close Rikers Island and move inmates closer to their families and to legal services.

    "Hopefully, this case sends a message: The city can't absolve itself of responsibility from what happens to its detainees just by transferring them," said Doug Lieb, a lawyer for the four young men. "They should monitor and prevent a situation where detainees are being brutalized or treated in an unlawful manner."

    Officials in Albany and in New York did not admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement, and the evidence will not be tested at trial. 
    But a federal judge in Manhattan said in an April ruling that permitted the lawsuit to go forward that the transfers appeared to be punitive and referred the matter to state and federal prosecutors for investigation. The Albany County sheriff, Craig D. Apple, did not return a request for comment.
    "Barbarity of the sort alleged — cannot be tolerated in a civilized society," Chief Judge Colleen McMahon wrote in the decision. "There is reason to conclude, even at this early stage, that at least some of the horrors that are described in that pleading actually took place."
    One inmate, Steven Espinal, who had led an attack on a Rikers guard last year, was stomped and kicked so badly at the Albany jail that he lost hearing in his left ear and passed blood in his urine, the lawsuit said. Following hospitalization, he was sentenced to 600 days in solitary confinement.
    Mr. Espinal is serving a 10-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to the Rikers attack, and to attempted murder and weapons possession in connection with his original arrest.

    Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating the allegations and recently interviewed the young men, one of their lawyers, Katie Rosenfeld, said. 
    The lawsuit claimed the abuse was designed to punish inmates from Rikers who had been accused of assaulting correction officers, in violation of their constitutional rights. The inmates claimed high-ranking correction officials in Albany targeted them for brutal treatment. The suit named as defendants the City of New York, Albany County officials and individual correction officers.
    The city, in court papers, placed the blame on the State Commission on Correction, which authorized the jail transfers. The judge dismissed that argument.
    Under the agreement, inmates sent to the Albany jail after Mr. de Blasio leaves office must be treated according to New York City rules, meaning solitary confinement for inmates under 22 would be outlawed, according to the agreement.
    Benjamin Weiser contributed to this report.



    11) G.M. Workers Begin to Size Up the Deal Their Union Is Selling
    By Neal E. Boudette, October 18, 2019
    Workers picketed Thursday outside the Renaissance Center in Detroit, the global headquarters for General Motors, as leaders of union locals met to go over a tentative contract agreement.CreditCreditBrittany Greeson for The New York Times

    The tentative contract hammered out by the United Automobile Workers and General Motors won't please all of the union's members, but it is sure to get strong support at the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant.

    The factory, which employs 700 U.A.W. members, is scheduled to close in January. But under the contract, G.M. has promised to spend $3 billion to retool Hamtramck to make battery modules and electric trucks, most likely increasing its work force and ensuring its operation for at least several more years.
    "I think it's a good contract," Wiley Turnage, chairman of Local 22, which represents Hamtramck workers, said Friday. "I'm happy." He said he planned to vote in favor of the contract and to recommend that his members do the same.
    If ratified by the U.A.W.'s rank and file, the contract will end a strike that has idled 34 factories in seven states for more than a month and has cost G.M. an estimated $2 billion in operating profit. The walkout's effects have rippled through the North American auto industry, affecting production and idling workers at parts suppliers and G.M.'s operations in Canada and Mexico.

    Voting on the contract will take place next week, with a result due on Friday. A simple majority is required for ratification, but it must include a majority of skilled-trades workers — the electricians and other technical specialists who maintain machinery. If it does not, the union will have to bargain with the company to address their concerns — as occurred in 2015, the last time G.M. negotiated a contract.
    The agreement includes provisions for higher wages and a process that allows temporary workers to become full-fledged employees. It also enables full-time hourly workers to rise to the top wage of $32 an hour within four years, ending a two-tier wage system that fostered tensions between workers. Each worker would also be paid a bonus of $11,000.

    RBC Capital Markets estimated that the contract would raise G.M.'s labor costs by $100 million a year.
    For its part, G.M. secured the union's acceptance that three plants already idled, including a factory in Lordstown, Ohio, will close permanently. That will help G.M. guard against excess manufacturing capacity at a time when auto sales are slowing, and put G.M. in a more stable position if the economy goes into a recession. The union went into the talks hoping to prod G.M. into reactivating the Lordstown plant.

    A rejection of the contract would be a major setback for the U.A.W. president, Doug Jones, and the union's other senior officials at a delicate moment. Before the strike, union leaders had come under heavy criticism from the rank and file over a federal corruption investigation in which several high-ranking officers have been charged with using union funds for lavish travel and personal purchases.
    Many union locals have started planning informational meetings to explain the terms of the contract to members. Darlene Maddox, who was laid off when the Lordstown factory closed this year and accepted a transfer to Lansing, Mich., said she was very disappointed that her old plant wouldn't be saved but wanted to know more before deciding how to vote.
    "My first instinct is to vote no," she said. "But the major highlights appear to be good."
    Others said they were encouraged that temporary workers would be able to become permanent employees with full benefits after three years of service.
    Under current rules, temporary workers earn about $15 an hour, can be laid off at any time and have no dental or vision insurance.
    Linda Castro, a temporary worker at a plant making sport utility vehicles in Spring Hill, Tenn., joined G.M. in January 2017, was laid off after a few months and more than a year later was recalled. She said she was worried that G.M. would lay off temporary workers before they could become full employees.

    "No one is going to make it to three years," she said. "So it's useless."
    Others said the end of the two-tier wage system was a big victory. Under current conditions, some G.M. workers earning less than $20 an hour work alongside veterans making $31 an hour, the current top wage. The proposed contract would move workers to the top wage in four years, half the time it takes now.

    "For me, what matters is making sure everyone makes the same wage, and to be able to do that in a time frame that's not eight years," said Ashly Luna, an assembler at a truck plant in Flint, Mich., who has been at G.M. for 12 years.
    The proposed contract also would leave the workers' share of health care costs unchanged at about 3 percent, well below the level paid by other manufacturing workers and G.M.'s salaried staff.
    D. J. Calma, another line worker in Flint, said autoworkers deserved generous health care terms because of the physical toll of assembly work.
    "In the short amount of time I've been here, 12 years, I never thought my body would feel this way," he said. "It's the repetitious squeezing. You're putting your body to the test, truck to truck."
    Todd Campanella, an officer in a U.A.W. branch that represents more than 800 G.M. employees in Rochester, N.Y., said the leadership of his local would meet with senior union officials over the weekend to discuss the contract before presenting it to members for a vote.
    Mr. Campanella attended the meeting on Thursday in Detroit at which leaders of G.M. union locals gathered to debate the proposed contract. He said representatives from idled plants had voiced concerns about the agreement before the group voted to recommend it to workers.
    "We're all in this together, and when some of us are hurting, we're all hurting," Mr. Campanella said. "That's really where the discontent would come from. Other than that, a lot of the contract was very positive for a lot of the plants."

    David Yaffe-Bellany and Scott Atkinson contributed reporting.
















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


    Posted by: bonnieweinstein@yahoo.com

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