Oakland Un-housed Neighbors

have created the



Oakland City Hall

Oscar Grant Plaza

(Frank H. Ogawa Plaza)

14th & Broadway St.

(nr. 12th Street BART)


Indybay Article:

Article & Photos by Dave Id


Un-housed folks who have been traumatized and brutalized by the city of Oakland, whose encampments have been destroyed, have moved onto Oscar Grant Plaza asking "Where do we go?" Where are the millions that were set aside to upgrade, not evict encampments and to build permanent housing for the homeless?

Oakland like other cities is letting people die on the streets. 

Tents are up in Oscar Grant Plaza in front of Oakland City Hall to protest the city's never ending homeless encampment demolitions and evictions, its lack of seriousness and urgency in addressing the housing crisis.  If you can support, come by!  

This action is 24/7.

If you can help with supplies or just come by – all are welcomed!

Action is organized by: The Village, The East Oakland Collective, and First They Came For the Homeless…



Women in Black Annual Black Friday Action.

Friday, Nov. 29, 11:45:  Meet at Powell St. BART station. 

12:00:  March to Union Square for one hour vigil, chants and "anti-carols".

1:00 return to Powell St.

SFPD will escort us..

Please join them if you can,  

Toby     (We'll be out of town)

Dear all,

Please join Bay Area Women in Black for our annual Black Friday march and vigil in San Francisco. Our fliers and signs will carry the message, on the most profitable shopping day of the year in the US, that people's purchases may be contributing to the illegal and deadly Israeli occupation and colonizing of Palestine.  We will name specific products to be boycotted, explaining the rationale of each call for boycott. We will also urge people to remind their elected representatives of the role of US taxpayers in the increased violence of the Israeli military government toward Palestinian civilians, particularly children,  and in the official steps that Israel is taking, with US support, toward a state worse than apartheid South Africa.

Please dress in black.  Drums are welcome. Let us know if you are willing to wear a "puppet" (see attached photo by Phil Pasquini). And please pass this message along to allies.ro

Peace and be well,

Judith and BAWiB



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.





Federal Executions Put On Hold

Late last night, a U.S. district judge halted four federal executions scheduled for this December and January — the first executions by the federal government set to take place in 16 years. Of course, this is welcome news and an answer to our prayers.

The court's decision, although subject to appeal, prevents the federal government from resuming the practice of executing its citizens and perpetuating a culture of death.

Find more information here:

At the moment, CMN is working to determine next steps to ensure the 16-year hiatus from federal executions becomes permanent. 

Please join me in holding in prayer all those who sit on federal death row, the victims of the crimes which put them there, and the members of our federal government with the power to choose hope over death.

In solidarity,

Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy
Executive Director



Contact Us

Catholic Mobilizing Network

415 Michigan Ave. NE, Suite 210

Washington, DC 20017

(202) 541-5290


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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

"The world is facing unprecedented crises, none of which can be solved within the existing capitalist system. We are in a race against time. The need for the radical reorganization of society on a socialist basis has never been greater or more urgent," said Gloria La Riva in announcing her 2020 presidential candidacy as the nominee of the Party for Socialism and Liberation. 

La Riva's vice-presidential running mate is the renowned Native leader and political prisoner Leonard Peltier, who has been unjustly incarcerated for more than 43 years. He was railroaded into prison by the FBI and federal prosecutors in 1976, despite his innocence. A worldwide movement demands his freedom.

In a letter from the Federal Corrections Unit in Coleman Florida accepting the nomination, Leonard Peltier wrote: "I am not only a Native traditionalist, but also a socialist, who is against any abuse and exploitation of the working and poor class! 

Plus, as you are well aware, we Natives are the true environmentalists. These are just reminders. Nothing has changed for me! So, I'm more than honored to accept your offer to run on your VP ticket."

In announcing their campaign, La Riva and Peltier say: "The greatest threats confronting the working class and humanity worldwide include the growing danger of new and wider wars, catastrophic climate change, and the corporate destruction of stable employment — which will have even more devastating consequences in the looming economic crisis." 



Support the return of Leonard Peltier's Medicine Bundle

November 1, 2019

Dear Friends and supporters,

We need your help in getting Leonard Peltier's- (89637-132) Medicine Bundle returned to him. His Medicine Bundle includes: Pipe bowel, Pipe stem, Eagle feathers, sage and cedar. Leonard is at USP Coleman1, in Coleman FL. which has been locked down since mid-July. This lockdown has led to many "shakedowns" that is where the guards go in to a cell and check it for weapons. Leonard said in a legal letter,  that on"10/22/2019 the shakedown crew came to his cell and destroyed itThey came in and tore apart everything and threw out everything they couldjust because they couldThe most painfuland what caused me the most anger was when they took my religious itemsmyPipe (Chunapain myMedicine Bundleuse in my prayers."

Leonard's lawyer was immediately on top of the situation and asked us to hold off until he could reach Leonard's counselor and get the Bundlereturned.  I heard from the attorney last night and he said the prison has not returned Leonard his Medicine Bundle nor give them any reason for itbeing taken. 

Leonard Peltier as a citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewaa federally recognized American Indian Nation is afforded all the legalprotections and rights pursuant to the American Indian Freedom of Religion Act codified at Title 42 United States Code 1996 et.seq.

I am asking if today you would send e-mails to Coleman I SR. Attorney J.C. DiNicola jcdinicola@bop.gov, public relations officer-COA/Publicinformation@bop.gov and to thenBOP-Southwest Regional office SERO/ExecAssistant@bop.gov requesting the return of Leonard Peltier 89637-132, Medicine Bundle

This lockdown has been extremely hard on Leonard and his Medicine Bundle is his way to help him maintain his relationship to his Creator!


Paulette Dauteuil ILPDC National Office

Sheridan Murphy- President of the ILPDC Board


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



Leonard Peltier's 2019 Thanksgiving Message: "Walking on Stolen Land"

by Levi Rickert

Published November 23, 2019


COLEMAN, FLORIDA – Leonard Peltier, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, who is incarcerated at the U.S. Penitentiary in Coleman, Florida, for his 1977 conviction in connection with a shootout with U.S. government forces, where two FBI agents and one young American Indian lost their lives.

Peltier, who is considered a political prisoner of war by many, released this statement on Thanksgiving through the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee:

The year of 2019 is coming to a close and with it, comes the day most Americans set aside as a day for Thanksgiving. As I let my mind wander beyond the steel bars and concrete walls, I try to imagine what the people who live outside the prison gates are doing, and what they are thinking. Do they ever think of the Indigenous people who were forced from their homelands? Do they understand that with every step they take, no matter the direction, that they are walking on stolen land? Can they imagine, even for one minute, what it was like to watch the suffering of the women, the children and babies and yes, the sick and elderly, as they were made to keep pushing west in freezing temperatures, with little or no food? These were my people and this was our land.. There was a time when we enjoyed freedom and were able to hunt buffalo and gather the foods and sacred medicines. We were able to fish and we enjoyed the clean clear water! My people were generous, we shared everything we had, including the knowledge of how to survive the long harsh winters or the hot humid summers. We were appreciative of the gifts from our Creator and remembered to give thanks on a daily basis. We had ceremonies and special dances that were a celebration of life.

With the coming of foreigners to our shores, life as we knew it would change drastically. Individual ownership was foreign to my people. Fences?? Unheard of, back then. We were a communal people and we took care of each other. Our grandparents weren't isolated from us! They were the wisdom keepers and story tellers and were an important link in our families. The babies? They were and are our future! Look at the brilliant young people who put themselves at risk, fighting to keep our water and environment clean and safe for the generations yet to come. They are willing to confront the giant, multi-national corporations by educating the general public of the devastation being caused. I smile with hope when I think of them. They are fearless and ready to speak the truth to all who are willing to listen. We also remember our brothers and sisters of Bolivia, who are rioting, in support of the first Indigenous President, Evo Morales. His commitment to the people, the land, their resources and protection against corruption is commendable. We recognize and identify with that struggle so well.

So today, I thank all of the people who are willing to have an open mind, those who are willing to accept the responsibility of planning for seven generations ahead, those who remember the sacrifices made by our ancestors so we can continue to speak our own language, practice our own way of thankfulness in our own skin, and that we always acknowledge and respect the Indigenous linage that we carry.

For those of you who are thankful that you have enough food to feed your families, please give to those who aren't as fortunate. If you are warm and have a comfortable shelter to live in, please give to those who are cold and homeless, if you see someone hurting and in need of a kind word or two, be that person who steps forward and lends a hand. And especially, when you see injustice anywhere, please be brave enough to speak up to confront it.

I want to thank all who are kind enough to remember me and my family in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you for continuing to support and believe in me. There isn't a minute in any day that passes without me hoping that this will be the day I will be granted freedom. I long for the day when I can smell clean fresh air, when I can feel a gentle breeze in my hair, witness the clouds as their movement hides the sun and when the moon shines the light on the path to the sacred Inipi. That would truly be a day I could call a day of Thanksgiving.

Thank you for listening to whomever is voicing my words. My Spirit is there with you.


In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Leonard Peltier

Levi Rickert, a tribal citizen of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, is the publisher and editor of Native News Online. Previously, he served as editor of the Native News Network. He is a resident of Grand Rapids, Michigan.



Eddie Conway's Update on Forgotten Political Prisoners

EDDIE CONWAY: I'm Eddie Conway, host of Rattling the Bars. As many well-known political prisoners like Mumia Abu-Jamal continue to suffer in prison…

MUMIA ABU JAMAL: In an area where there is corporate downsizing and there are no jobs and there is only a service economy and education is being cut, which is the only rung by which people can climb, the only growth industry in this part of Pennsylvania, in the Eastern United States, in the Southern United States, in the Western United States is "corrections," for want of a better word. The corrections industry is booming. I mean, this joint here ain't five years old.

EDDIE CONWAY: …The media brings their stories to the masses. But there are many lesser-known activists that have dropped out of the spotlight, grown old in prison, or just been forgotten. For Rattling the Bars, we are spotlighting a few of their stories. There was a thriving Black Panther party in Omaha, Nebraska, headed by David Rice and Ed Poindexter. By 1968, the FBI had began plans to eliminate the Omaha Black Panthers by making an example of Rice and Poindexter. It would take a couple of years, but the FBI would frame them for murder.

KIETRYN ZYCHAL: In the 90s, Ed and Mondo both applied to the parole board. There are two different things you do in Nebraska, the parole board would grant you parole, but because they have life sentences, they were told that they have to apply to the pardons board, which is the governor, the attorney general, and the secretary of state, and ask that their life sentences be commuted to a specific number of years before they would be eligible for parole.

And so there was a movement in the 90s to try to get them out on parole. The parole board would recommend them for parole because they were exemplary prisoners, and then the pardons board would not give them a hearing. They wouldn't even meet to determine whether they would commute their sentence.

EDDIE CONWAY: They served 45 years before Rice died in the Nebraska State Penitentiary. After several appeals, earning a master's degree, writing several books and helping other inmates, Poindexter is still serving time at the age of 75.

KEITRYN ZYCHAL: Ed Poindexter has been in jail or prison since August of 1970. He was accused of making a suitcase bomb and giving it to a 16-year-old boy named Duane Peak, and Duane Peak was supposed to take the bomb to a vacant house and call 911, and report that a woman was dragged screaming into a vacant house, and when police officers showed up, one of those police officers was killed when the suitcase bomb exploded.

Ed and his late co-defendant, Mondo we Langa, who was David Rice at the time of the trial, they have always insisted that they had absolutely nothing to do with this murderous plot, and they tried to get back into court for 50 years, and they have never been able to get back into court to prove their innocence. Mondo died in March of 2016 of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and Ed is going to turn 75 this year, I think. And he has spent the majority of his life in prison. It will be 50 years in 2020 that he will be in prison.

EDDIE CONWAY: There are at least 20 Black Panthers still in prison across the United States. One is one of the most revered is H. Rap Brown, known by his Islamic name, Jamil Al-Amin.

KAIRI AL-AMIN: My father has been a target for many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many years of the federal government, and I think him being housed these last 10 years in federal penitentiaries without federal charges show that the vendetta is still strong. The federal government has not forgotten who he was as H. Rap Brown, or who he is as Imam Jamil Al-Amin.

JAMIL AL-AMIN: See, it's no in between. You are either free or you're a slave. There's no such thing as second-class citizenship.

EDDIE CONWAY: Most people don't realize he's still in prison. He's serving a life sentence at the United States Penitentiary in Tucson.

KAIRI AL-AMIN: Our campaign is twofold. One, how can egregious constitutional rights violations not warrant a new trial, especially when they were done by the prosecution. And two, my father is innocent. The facts point to him being innocent, which is why we're pushing for a new trial. We know that they can't win this trial twice. The reason they won the first time was because of the gag order that was placed on my father which didn't allow us to fight in the court of public opinion as well as the court of law. And so when you don't have anyone watching, anything can be done without any repercussion.

EDDIE CONWAY: Another well-known political prisoner that has been forgotten in the media and in the public arena is Leonard Peltier. Leonard Peltier was a member of the American Indian Movement and has been in prison for over 40 years and is now 75 years old.

SPEAKER: Leonard Peltier represents, in a very real sense, the effort, the struggle by indigenous peoples within the United States to exercise their rights as sovereign nations, recognized as such in treaties with the United States. For the government of the United States, which has colonized all indigenous peoples to claim boundaries, keeping Leonard in prison demonstrates the costs and consequences of asserting those rights.

EDDIE CONWAY: Leonard Peltier suffers from a host of medical issues including suffering from a stroke. And if he is not released, he will die in prison.

LEONARD PELTIER: I'll be an old man when I get out, if I get out.

PAULETTE D'AUTEUIL: His wellbeing is that he rarely gets a family visit. His children live in California and North Dakota. Both places are a good 2000 miles from where he's at in Florida, so it makes it time consuming as well as expensive to come and see him. He is, health-wise, we are still working on trying to get some help for his prostate, and there has been some development of some spots on his lungs, which we are trying to get resolved. There's an incredible mold issue in the prison, especially because in Florida it's so humid and it builds up. So we're also dealing with that.

EDDIE CONWAY: These are just a few of the almost 20 political prisoners that has remained in American prisons for 30 and 40 years, some even longer. Mutulu Shakur has been in jail for long, long decades. Assata Shakur has been hiding and forced into exile in Cuba. Sundiata has been in prison for decades; Veronza Bower, The Move Nine. And there's just a number of political prisoners that's done 30 or 40 years.

They need to be released and they need to have an opportunity to be back with their family, their children, their grandchildren, whoever is still alive. Any other prisoners in the United States that have the same sort of charges as those people that are being held has been released up to 15 or 20 years ago. That same justice system should work for the political prisoners also.

Thank you for joining me for this episode of Rattling the Bars. I'm Eddie Conway.



Courage to Resist

Reality Winner, a whistleblower who helped expose foreign hacking of US election systems leading up to the 2016 presidential election, has been behind bars since June 2017. Supporters are preparing to file a petition of clemency in hopes of an early release. Reality's five year prison sentence is by far the longest ever given for leaking information to the media about a matter of public interest. Stand with Reality shirts, stickers, and more available. Please take a moment to sign the letter

Vietnam War combat veteran Daniel Shea on his time in Vietnam and the impact that Agent Orange and post traumatic stress had on him and his family since. Listen now

This 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



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."

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The Campaign To Bring Mumia Home


As many of you know, Jalil has been to the parole board twelve times since 2002, when he first become parole eligible.

Jalil has been denied each time for a variety of reasons, all of which are tantamount to the nature of the crime—something that will never change.

Pursuant to NYS Constitutional Article IV, Section 4, Jalil has filed an Application to Commute the Sentence to Time Served with NYS Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. Governor Cuomo has the authority to grant the Application and order Jalil's immediate release from NYS DOCCS custody.

Since the Application's submission it has been revealed that the NYS Board of Parole had a "secret deal" with the NYC Police Benevolent Association (PBA), permitting them to submit opposition letters directly to the Board of Parole from their website. These opposition letters negatively influenced the decision-making process, ensuring Jalil would not receive a fair and impartial parole hearing. During Jalil's 2014 parole hearing, he was told that "current and former members of law enforcement" were parole commissioners, many of whom decided to deny his release.

On December 4th & 5th, 2016, The New York Times published an extensive exposé entitled "The Scourge of Racial Bias in New York States Prisons" that informed: "The racism can be felt from the moment a black inmate enters New York's upstate prisons." This implacable racism has been institutionalized in the entire parole system, permitting subjective biases of parole commissioners to influence parole decisions.

Since the submission of the Application to Commute the Sentence to Time Served, Governor Cuomo has received many letters and communications urging him to grant Jalil's Application. However, due to the revelation of political collusion between the Board of Parole and the PBA, and the PBA/media backlash and scrutiny of the Parole Board's release of Jalil's co-defendant, it has become necessary to launch this initiative in support of Jalil's Application.

Jalil exceeds all requirements for release. His release on parole has been supported by activists, academics and community leaders from across the country and around the world, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the family of one of the victims. The political nature of his conviction has prevented parole commissioners from giving fair and impartial consideration to his release, despite the overwhelming community support.


During his 48+ years of his imprisonment, Jalil has accomplished the following: Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, Certificate of Architectural Drafting, Certificate of Computer Literacy.

He has established many programs, such as the first Men's Group for therapeutic training in the NY State prison system, an African/Black Studies program, a computer literacy class, a Sociology class and a poetry class. He has received two commendations for preventing prison riots. He has raised money for the children's fund, was office manager of the computer lab and a teacher's aide for GED classes.

Jalil is also the recipient of several certificates for rehabilitation programming, and is a published author, poet, educator and blogger.

As a human rights advocate, he had the first U.S. prisoners national petition heard and recorded by a Special Committee at the United Nations on U.S. prisons and the existence of U.S. political prisoners. He has litigated several civil rights complaints on behalf of prisoners. In 2000, Essence magazine featured an article on father-daughter relationships. The article, entitled "Daddy Says," quoted Jalil stressing the importance of maintaining these relations even during incarceration.

We request that people do the following for Jalil throughout the months of November and December:

We are requesting that Friends and Supporters call, tweet, email and write NYS Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's office and appeal to him to grant Jalil's Application to Commute the Sentence to Time Served.

We also request that this initiative be widely posted on social media platforms, encouraging freedom loving people around the world to join in this initiative.

Since this will be ongoing throughout the months of November and December, we propose that people tweet and/or email Governor Cuomo every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and call and write the Governor every Tuesday and Thursday.

Communications to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's office must refer to Jalil as: ANTHONY JALIL BOTTOM, 77A4283, Sullivan Correctional Facility, P.O. Box 116, Fallsburg, New York 12733-0115.

Write the Governor:

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo

Governor of the State of New York

Executive Chamber

State Capital Building

Albany, New York 12224

Call the Governor: 1-518-474-8390

Tweet the Governor: @NYGovCuomo

Email the Governor: https://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form

For more information concerning Jalil's case, check his website: www.freejalil.com and https://thejerichomovement.com/

Click here to download a pamphlet to distribute to your family, friends, neighbors, faith group, etc.



"There is no time for despair, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. This is how civilizations heal."

-Toni Morrison



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



Action Alert for Shaka Shakur

Urgent Action Alert: Stop Prison Officials from Blocking Shaka Shakur's Access to Educational and Vocational Services

Shaka Shakur is a politically active, incarcerated, New Afrikan who was transferred on December 18th, 2018, from the Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC) to the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) as part of campaign to neutralize his activism by prison officials. This transfer was done in violation of his due process rights as a prisoner. He is currently incarcerated at the Sussex 1 State Prison in Waverly, Virginia. His VA DOC # is 135647.  Since being held there, his right to access educational and vocational programs has been violated. Below is a summary of these violations in Shaka's own words:

"1) i was moved out of the state of Indiana against my will in violation of Indiana Code and due process. i was never afforded any form of hearing where i was informed as to why i was being shipped out of state nor allowed to present evidence challenging the decision to move me.

2) Upon my arrival to the prison system in Virginia, i was never given any form of orientation. I've never been informed as to what my rights are, nor informed as to how i can go about challenging any decision made by the state of Va. I've only been informed that the state of Va has custody of my body and that all decisions pertaining to my classification, security level and placement was being determined and controlled by the state of Indiana and its Department of Corrections (IDOC).

3) There is supposed to be an IDOC liaison that oversees my placement in Va and communicates with an official in the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) named Ms. Collins. She has refused to respond to any and all efforts to contact her by myself or any outside sources. Any questions i've had pertaining to video visits, security level, placement, and classification have gone unanswered except for being told that it is up to Indiana.

4) Per Indiana Code i am supposed to be afforded the same rights and privileges as if i was still in Indiana. That includes jobs, programming, religious services etc.s To deny me such is a const violation and discrimination. In fact, it denies me equal protection under the law. I am not being allowed to find a job outside of the housing unit. i'm being told that i'm not going to be allowed to drop my security level even though my points will drop as low as 10 points in Va and less than 15 in indiana. Both of which would qualify me for a level 3 security level placement.

5) The counselor Ponce falsified my classification review/progress report by lying and saying that i had assaulted a staff member within the last 12 months. This was in order to justify my continued placement at a level 4/5 prison. When this was brought to her attention, she pretended that she had corrected it and instead further falsified the report and then blamed it on Indiana. i have copies of these documents and my lawyer have the originals [see images posted in event below]."


6) The doctors at Sussex 1 have not been provided with Shaka's medical records past 2014. Shaka experiences nerve and other issues due to a degenerative disc on which he has been operated. Without these records he cannot be provided with the necessary care for his chronic condition.

7)There is no appeals process available to Shaka or any other out-of-state inmate. Indiana code establishes the sender state [Indiana] as having unchallenged authority in cases of interstate transfer. Having access only to internal grievance procedures in Virginia, Shaka is unable to appeal decisions made in Indiana

You can read about Shaka's long history of activism and rebellious activity in Indiana prisons here and here.

What You Can Do to Support Shaka:

On Monday, 11/11, call  the Indiana DOC Executive Director of Classification Jack Hendrix at (317) 232-2247. Leave a message with whoever you are able to speak to, or a voicemail. You can also email Jack Hendrix at jdhendrix@idoc.in.gov.

Please tell them to drop Shaka's  security level dropped to a level 3 for which he qualifies so that he can access vocational and educational programs, or to authorize Shaka's lateral transfer to a facility where he can be allowed to participate in vocational and educational programs.

As Shaka stated:

"How am i supposed to work my way back to Indiana if i'm not being allowed to participate in anything positive or constructive?"

To make a donation to Shaka Shakur's legal defense fund and for more info on his case, go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/shaka-shakur-legal-defense-fund

For more information, contact Seth Donnelly at sethdonnelly2000@yahoo.com.



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.


    ©2019 ILPDC | 116 W Osborne Avenue Tampa, FL 33603 

    Free Leonard Peltier!






    1) After False Drug Test, He Was in Solitary Confinement for 120 Days

    Hundreds of New York State prisoners were locked in cells, denied release or removed from programs when tests erroneously showed they had used narcotics, according to a lawsuit.

    By Jan Ransom, November 20, 2019


    While incarcerated, a urine test falsely showed that Michael Kearney had used a painkiller. He was then held in prison beyond his release date.Credit...Bryan Bennett for The New York Times

    Michael Kearney could not understand how he had tested positive for drugs. He stared in disbelief at the corrections officers in an upstate New York prison where he was serving time. Though he had once been addicted to crack cocaine, he had been clean for two years.

    Yet the corrections officers had arrived with handcuffs, saying a urine test showed that Mr. Kearney had used a prescription painkiller. Prison officials gave him 120 days in solitary confinement just a week before he was supposed to be released. It took officials seven months to realize the test results were wrong, he said.

    "I think about it every day," Mr. Kearney, 50, said in a phone interview this week. "Where I could have been."

    Mr. Kearney is one of hundreds of New York State prisoners who say they were punished after tests falsely determined they had used drugs, according to a federal class-action lawsuit filed on Wednesday.

    Many of the inmates spent months in solitary confinement or locked in cells. Others were denied release on parole, removed from programs, or held beyond their scheduled release dates after testing positive for narcotics, according to the complaint filed in Federal District Court in Brooklyn. 

    The plaintiffs, who include former and current inmates, claim that the manufacturer of the drug-testing equipment used in the prisons — Microgenics Corporation and its parent company, Thermo Fisher Scientific — failed to ensure that its devices produced accurate results. 

    State prison officials and the state inspector general are investigating the matter. 

    The state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision has begun reviewing tests taken this year that came back positive for the opioids Suboxone and buprenorphine, according to the lawsuit. 

    Thomas Mailey, a spokesman for the department, said the prisons had stopped using the Microgenics equipment after learning that results were inaccurate. They "immediately reversed any actions taken as a result of these tests, and restored privileges to any potentially affected inmates," he said, adding that prison officials were preparing a lawsuit against the manufacturer.

    Prisoner advocates said the prison system had reversed some guilty findings, reinstated educational and recreational programming for inmates who had been removed from it, and released some people who were being held longer because of faulty tests. Mr. Mailey declined to say how many findings were reversed, when the state stopped using the equipment, or how officials learned the tests were faulty.

    The Inspector General's Office began investigating Microgenics's drug-testing system two months ago, a spokesman, Lee Park, said. 

    Lawyers for the plaintiffs said the company that built and marketed the devices should be held accountable.

    "If you're producing these machines and selling this product, you know about the serious consequences that flow from a mistake on your part," said Matthew D. Brinckerhoff, a lawyer with Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady who is representing the plaintiffs. "You have an obligation to ensure they don't happen."

    Microgenics did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

    The prison system has been using the Microgenics devices since 2018, when the state entered into a five-year, $1.6 million contract with the company to supply 52 prisons with its Indiko Plus "urinalysis analyzers," according to the lawsuit and public records. In brochures, Microgenics says its products "provide true operational reliability." 

    Inmates began to complain almost immediately. Prisoners' Legal Services of New York, a nonprofit that assists prisoners, received letters from 158 inmates with the same grievance: They had tested positive for drugs when they had not used any, and received harsh punishments. Many of the letters came from people with no disciplinary history. 

    Under state law, prisoners who are caught taking prohibited drugs can be sentenced to extra time, can be placed in isolation and can face other punishments after a hearing.

    One inmate said she was handcuffed while visiting with her family and sentenced to 60 days in solitary confinement after a positive drug test, the lawsuit said.

    "It's a civil rights issue. It's a justice issue," said Karen Murtagh, executive director of the Prisoners' Legal Services of New York, which is also representing the plaintiffs. Even though the corrections department is "doing what it can to make people whole, it is not completely undoing or remediating the harm caused by putting someone in solitary confinement for weeks or months." 

    Mr. Kearney, who had been convicted on a burglary charge, had violated his parole and was sent back to prison in 2016 because he missed a curfew and took drugs. But he maintains he did not use drugs while incarcerated. 

    But after the test suggested that Mr. Kearney had used an opioid, he was held in prison beyond his release date of March 6. At his disciplinary hearing, prison officials dismissed his claims of innocence. He said he explained to them that he would have never used drugs knowing he was set to be released in a week. He also pointed out he had taken at least four other random tests in prison with negative findings.

    He was not freed until October, a month after prison officials learned that the results were inaccurate, he said. Mr. Kearney had served about a third of his 120 days of extra time in solitary confinement, he said. 

    "If you're going to arrest somebody and put them in the box and treat them like a locked-up dog, get the right results," Mr. Kearney said, adding that he had lost a construction job that he had waiting for him in March.

    Nadezda Steele-Warrick said she was stunned in April when a sergeant and an officer arrested her in her private cell at the Albion Correctional Facility, about 45 minutes west of Rochester. It was her day off from teaching classes in the gym. She had been in bed reading "Small Great Things" by Jodi Picoult.

    At first, she said, she thought the corrections officers were playing a bad joke. But they were not. When they accused her of using drugs, she told them she had never taken illicit drugs before. 

    Ms. Steele-Warrick, 36, had been a model prisoner since her conviction in 2015 on an assault charge, and prison officials had let her spend the weekend with her husband and 7-year-old son in April under a family reunification program.. But she had to take drug tests before and after the visit. One of the tests came back positive. 

    Her husband testified on her behalf at a disciplinary hearing that he had not seen her use drugs during his visit with her. But she was sentenced to confinement in general population for 11 days. She was only allowed to leave her cell for 10 minutes each to day to shower.

    "All I was doing was crying," she said. "The turmoil I went through and the mental anguish — I wouldn't want it to happen to anyone again."

    Four months after Ms. Steele-Warrick was released from prison in May, the result of the hearing was overturned. The drug test was faulty, the lawsuit said.



    2)  As Rents Outrun Pay, California Families Live on a Knife's Edge

    The state's severe housing shortage is driving up rents, leaving many lower-income families struggling to stay in neighborhoods they once could afford.

    By Jill Cowan and Robert Gabeloff, November 21, 2019


    Priscilla Fregoso plays with her son Jared Coughran, 4, at their apartment in Los Angeles. A rent increase may soon force them to move out.Credit...Jessica Pons for The New York Times

    LOS ANGELES — When Priscilla Fregoso and her family moved into their apartment in Van Nuys, a neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley, three years ago, she finally breathed a sigh of relief. 

    They had bounced from home to home in Long Beach and Orange County and then in Pacoima, long known as a diverse working-class area of the Valley. But when their rent there increased by $220 a month, they found themselves living in their car.

    In Van Nuys, they now have room for their two young boys. They have a small patio and big couches. Ms. Fregoso's husband, Ryan Coughran, owns a television for the first time in his life. 

    Recently, though, Ms. Fregoso said she received a notice from her landlord. The rent for the compact three-bedroom apartment, in a labyrinthine complex on a densely packed street in Van Nuys, was increasing from $1,236 to $1,456 a month.

    Which means that, with an annual income of about $40,000, her family is once again balancing on a financial knife's edge. And it may again come time to move.

    "It's a lot of unknown — that's the scariest part," she said. 

    Much attention has been focused on the more visible extremes of California's housing crisis: the $100 million mansions not far from where people live on the streets. But thousands of families like Ms. Fregoso's — working renters whose pay has inched upward while housing costs have rocketed — are barely hanging on in a housing market that has tipped further and further in favor of homeowners.

    As property values rise, the resulting rent increases have forced these tenants to move from home to home, sometimes pushing them into homelessness and often sending them far away from jobs and support networks.

    This, experts say, has caused housing shortages to ripple outward from the state's higher-cost regions, effectively destabilizing the lives of legions of workers who form the base of the state's economy.

    "That cuts across all industries," said David Garcia, policy director of the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley.

    The impact does not end with the economy, he added: There are downsides for the environment and the very social fabric of the state.

    "Where folks are being pushed further and further away and spend far too much time commuting," he said, "that has implications for family life."

    California lawmakers recently passed a milestone statewide rent cap, as part of a broader effort to protect renters, but many observers say the measure will not be enough to keep many lower-income renters in stable housing.

    Roughly one in three renters in Los Angeles report spending more than half their income on housing, census data shows. 

    The average apartment in the city goes for $2,517 a month, according to the research firm RENTCafe.com — $1,056 more than the national average. 

    The most basic form of affordable housing — a one-bedroom apartment renting for less than $1,000 — has become particularly scarce. Los Angeles County, with a population of more than 10 million, has 154,000 such units today, half as many as there were in 2010, according to census data.

    In Van Nuys, where the average rent has shot up by $300 a month since 2016, more than 35 percent of families in rental housing report paying at least half their income to live there.

    Such unsustainable rents have resulted in more lower-income people moving out of the Los Angeles area than are moving in.

    Not only are they being replaced by higher earners whose arrival pushes up housing costs in Los Angeles, but their relocation to less expensive areas of the state also tends to drives up costs in those communities.

    "We get a lot of spill-out that comes from the Bay Area and L.A.," said Amber Crowell, an assistant professor of sociology at California State University, Fresno.. "And we expect it to get worse."

    This was not always the case.

    In Southern California, as the region's economy grew in the 1970s and 1980s, there was a symbiotic relationship between job growth and home construction. In those decades, the economy created a new housing unit for every three new jobs. The economy slowed down over the following 20 years, but the area still gained nearly a million more new homes.

    The recovery from the most recent recession has played out differently. The job market has churned to life, but housing construction has slowed to a trickle. These days only one new housing unit is being built for every eight new jobs, and supply has fallen short of demand.

    Mr. Garcia, of the Terner Center, said that in the years since the most recent recession, it had also become much more difficult to get a mortgage.

    "You're not seeing the same kind of lending, with no check on income or ability to pay, because of what happened 10 years ago," he said. "That's good on one hand."

    On the other, Mr. Garcia said, it is helping to increase pressure on renters, who are now at greater risk of being displaced than are their neighbors who own their homes. That is a reversal of the conditions during the recession, when underwater homeowners were among the most vulnerable.

    Home sale prices have risen sharply, and middle-class buyers are snapping up homes in neighborhoods they avoided in the past. 

    This has pushed many longtime residents — particularly renters — out of black and Latino neighborhoods, even as those who were able to purchase homes decades ago have seen their property values rise. 

    "What's causing displacement here in Inglewood is corporate speculation and increased perceptions of desirability," said D'Artagnan Scorza, a community advocate with the group Uplift Inglewood and a member of the city's school board. 

    Real estate has actually appreciated faster in working class sections of Los Angeles than in the city over all, an analysis of sales data provided by ATTOM Data Solutions shows. That trend translates into sharp rent increases in those areas.

    Still, the effects of the crisis are playing out across the region.

    When Catherine Butler, 55, arrived in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of Los Angeles in 1999 from San Francisco, she paid $750 a month to rent a one-bedroom apartment. When she left that apartment in 2011 to get a bigger place to raise her daughter, the rent had risen to just under $1,000.

    Ms. Butler, who works as an archivist for a Hollywood nonprofit group, said she considered buying a house then. But many of the places she saw in her price range needed a lot of work. It made more sense to rent, she said.

    "I had friends who leapt and bought, and ended up losing," she said. 

    Ms. Butler eventually found a two-bedroom house to rent in Altadena, an enclave tucked between Pasadena and the Angeles National Forest. Her rent there has increased over the years to $2,200 a month.

    She has good benefits, a master's degree and makes a bit less than $70,000 a year — which fits squarely within what experts describe as middle class for the region — but she pays almost half of her take-home pay in rent, and she is anticipating another increase soon. That has her planning to move out.

    Leaving the region is a nonstarter. Ms. Butler has worked at her job, which she loves, for 15 years. Her daughter is in school.

    Which means she has been scrambling to figure out another solution. 

    "I've reached out to people on Facebook, like, 'Does anybody need help making their mortgage?'" she said.. "It's all cobbled together. I'm not moving forward, I'm not succeeding."

    Although the crisis has been a consuming source of frustration for leaders across the state, current California laws provide little incentive for them to change local zoning policies to allow more development.

    New housing units raise the cost of government services, but strict caps on property taxes imposed under Proposition 13 limit the amount of money that would flow to local budgets to pay for expanded police, education and public works.

    And lawmakers, largely elected by homeowners, have little incentive to change existing law.

    That, Mr. Garcia said, is in no small part because homeowners, intentionally or not, benefit from a market in which scarcity is a driving force, which places their interests fundamentally at odds with those of renters.

    "Over all, they see greater increases in the value of their own property," he said. 

    A closely watched statewide proposal to relax zoning to allow for more multifamily housing development stalled this year in the California Legislature. Critics said the plan would lead to more high-end development and do little to address housing affordability.

    Proponents said it was one of the few proposals before lawmakers that could have made a serious dent in the shortage.

    "You have this attitude that high housing costs are a cross that California needs to bear, that it's just what it means to be California," said Christopher Thornberg, the founding partner of Beacon Economics, a consulting firm in Los Angeles. "What makes me crazy about that is it flies in the face of what's happening across the nation. We're turning California into Country Club California."

    A health care worker who makes $20.97 an hour, Ms.. Fregoso said she and her husband have weighed leaving the state. They have considered living in Washington State or Arizona.

    But the heat in Arizona, she fears, would be more than her 4-year-old son could bear. He is autistic and sensitive to stimuli. She also worries that lower wages and fewer benefits there would cancel out any savings from cheaper housing.

    Ms. Fregoso's parents live in the Santa Clarita area north of Los Angeles, and she leans on them for help. 

    In other words, Ms. Fregoso said, the family is stuck where it is. And without any sliver of financial cushion, she said, "every day is a risk."



    3) The Jim Crow South? No, Long Island Today

    An investigation reveals widespread housing discrimination against blacks and other minorities in New York's suburbs, more than 50 years after the Fair Housing Act.

    By The Editorial Board, November 21, 2019


    An aerial view of Merrick, Long Island, where eight out of 10 residents are white.Credit...Johnny Milano/Bloomberg

    White Americans have long found comfort believing that racial discrimination is a thing of the past.

    Black Americans feel they know better, and a three-year investigation of Long Island real estate agents by the local newspaper Newsday provides the latest depressing evidence that they are right. 

    More than half a century after the great civil rights battles to end discrimination, the newspaper found that black home buyers are being steered to black neighborhoods and more closely scrutinized by brokers.

    Newsday sent white investigators posing as buyers to meet with 93 real estate agents about 5,763 listings across Long Island. Then, they sent a second buyer — either black, Hispanic or Asian — to meet with the same agents. The practice is a gold-standard methodology known as "paired testing," in which real estate agents are contacted by pairs of prospective clients with similar financial profiles.

    Black testers were treated differently than white ones 49 percent of the time. Hispanic buyers encountered unequal treatment 39 percent of the time and Asian buyers 19 percent of the time.

    Along with steering minority testers to majority-minority areas, and white testers to mostly white areas, some agents required black buyers to meet additional financial conditions that they didn't demand of white buyers with the same profile.

    Sometimes, in exchanges recorded by undercover cameras, agents would deter white buyers from house hunting in minority areas.

    "Follow the school bus, see the moms that are hanging out on the corners," Rosemarie Marando, a Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage agent, told one buyer.

    In another case, Le-Ann Vicquery, then a Keller Williams Realty agent, extolled the virtues of the Long Island hamlet of Brentwood to a black buyer. But to a white buyer interested in Brentwood, Ms. Vicquery sent this text message: "You may want to look into recent gang killings in the Brentwood area online."

    The agents gave white buyers an average of 50 percent more listings than black buyers. Some declined to do business in areas with large minority populations.

    The discrimination found by Newsday flagrantly violates the Fair Housing Act, approved as part of the 1968 Civil Rights Act, banning discrimination in housing based on race, religion, national origin, sex, handicap or family status.

    The Fair Housing Act offered watershed relief to black, Jewish, and other Americans who had long been blocked — by the force of federal, state and local laws, as well as racial terrorism — from living in or buying homes in majority-white or non-Jewish neighborhoods.

    New York's suburbs were no exception. Levittown, the Long Island suburb of tidy homes whose name became synonymous with middle-class success in postwar America, was all-white, even as the development was only made possible because of federally backed loans.

    Those loans were administered by the Federal Housing Administration, which maintained color-coded maps of neighborhoods across the United States. Under a process known as "redlining," the federal agency marked off areas where black people lived, then refused to insure mortgages in those areas.

    Under the same federal rules, black Americans weren't able to buy homes in new developments like Levittown, even under the much-celebrated G.I. Bill that helped so many white Americans enter the middle class. 

    It is no longer 1949; explicit racism in real estate is no longer legal. But the Newsday investigation makes clear that the changes in the rules are greater than the changes in reality. Real estate agents will shake the hands of black buyers, and show them around, but those buyers are still being treated as second-class citizens because of the color of their skin.

    In a country where homeownership has long been the way to build wealth, discrimination in housing is uniquely harmful. It is the chief reason behind the deep segregation in New York's public schools, which is among the worst in the country. It also helps explain the startling racial gap in wealth in the United States. The median wealth of white Americans is $134,000, according to the Economic Policy Institute. The median wealth of black Americans is $11,030.

    Americans would find it unfathomable if schools or water fountains were labeled "White Only," as was commonplace across the South just several decades ago. They would be kidding themselves to think this kind of discrimination in housing, without the labels, is any less pernicious. 

    But there's plenty that can be done about it.

    The New York State attorney general, Letitia James, said on Tuesday that her office's Civil Rights bureau would investigate housing discrimination on Long Island. Officials said anyone with information about possible violations of the Fair Housing Act can call (212) 416-8250, or email civil.rights@ag.ny.gov.

    Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a former head of the federal housing department, said in February 2016 that New York would launch a "fair housing enforcement program," using paired testing and beginning in Buffalo, Syracuse and New York City's northern suburbs. But Newsday found that the state has not conducted any additional paired testing after that initial round of 88 tests. The Newsday investigation makes clear that the state needs to get up off the couch.

    The paired testing Newsday relied upon is expensive, but necessary. The Department of Housing and Urban Development conducts a national test every decade, which reliably findsevidence of discrimination. The most recent results were published in 2012.

    Taxpayers need not foot the bill. By licensing real estate agents, New York is conferring a valuable privilege. That license also comes with obligations and, evidently, a need for more supervision. The conclusion is straightforward: New York should impose a fee on real estate agents to fund a vigorous program of paired testing, and agents who are found to be discriminating against clients should face severe penalties.

    Yet the persistence of discrimination suggests the need for still stronger correctives.

    In Australia and the United Kingdom, home buyers rarely hire their own real estate agents. Instead, the agent selling a home handles the whole process. This is significantly cheaper for buyers and sellers, and it limits the opportunity for discrimination, since buyers decide which houses to visit on their own.

    The key difference is that buyers in those countries pay agents directly, whereas in the United States, the trade associations that control real estate listings require sellers to agree to pay the buyer's agent as a condition of listing a home.

    Consumer advocates have long attacked this "buyer broker rule" as a key reason agents still are able to command such high fees. That is reason enough for New York to end the practice. But reducing the reliance of buyers on real estate agents — or at least shifting the relationship so the agent is paid by the buyer — could also make a meaningful difference in reducing the practices uncovered by Newsday.

    More than 50 years after the Fair Housing Act, black Americans and other minorities are still waiting for the protection of full citizenship under the law, and in everyday life.

    Their fellow Americans may be shocked. But they can no longer say that they didn't know.



    4) Dogs Can't Help Falling in Love

    One researcher argues that a dog's ability to bond has more to do with forming emotional attachments than being smart about what humans want.

    By James Gorman, November 22, 2019


    Clive Wynne, a psychologist at Arizona State University, at home with his dog, Xephos, who loves him very much.Credit...Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times

    TEMPE, Ariz. — Xephos is not the author of "Dog Is Love: Why and How Your Dog Loves You," one of the latest books to plumb the nature of dogs, but she helped inspire it. And as I scratched behind her ears, it was easy to see why.

    First, she fixed on me with imploring doggy eyes, asking for my attention. Then, every time I stopped scratching she nudged her nose under my hand and flipped it up. I speak a little dog, but the message would have been clear even if I didn't: Don't stop.

    We were in the home office of Clive Wynne, a psychologist at Arizona State University who specializes in dog behavior. He belongs to Xephos, a mixed breed that the Wynne family found in a shelter in 2012. 

    Dr. Wynne's book is an extended argument about what makes dogs special — not how smart they are, but how friendly they are. Xephos' shameless and undiscriminating affection affected both his heart and his thinking.

    As Xephos nose-nudged me again, Dr. Wynne was describing genetic changes that occurred at some point in dog evolution that he says explain why dogs are so sociable with members of other species. 

    "Hey," Dr. Wynne said to her as she tilted her head to get the maximum payoff from my efforts, "how long have you had these genes?"

    No one disputes the sociability of dogs. But Dr. Wynne argues against the scientific point of view that dogs have the ability to understand and communicate with humans. He thinks they have a unique capacity for interspecies love, a word that he has decided to use, throwing aside decades of immersion in scientific jargon. 

    "Dog Is Love" is one of several new books on dogs out this year, and one of a flood of such books over the last decade or so. Brian Hare, an evolutionary anthropologist and researcher of dog behavior at Duke University, who founded the Duke Canine Cognition Center, recently wrote that there are 70,000 dog books listed on Amazon

    Since 2000, around the time dog research had a resurgence, a small but significant number of those books are written by scientists for a general audience. Like Dr.. Hare's "The Genius of Dogs," published in 2013, the books address what is going on in a dog's heart and mind. Most emphasize the mind.

    Dr. Wynne's book runs counter to Dr. Hare's when it comes to the importance of dog's thinking ability, which Dr. Hare sees as central to their bond with humans. By using the L word, Dr. Wynne may well appeal to the many besotted dog owners. But he may also disappoint. The reason dogs are such "an amazing success story" is because of their ability to bond with other species, he said. Not just humans.

    Raise a dog with sheep and it will love sheep. Raise a dog with goats and it will love goats. Raise a dog with people … you know the rest. 

    Some now extinct wolves attached themselves to humans 15,000 years ago or longer because we had good leftovers, or so the dominant theory goes, although what actually happened is lost to time.. Apparently, humans liked the renegade wolves quite a bit and eventually started controlling their breeding and letting them sleep on down coverlets. 

    Now, as Dr. Wynne said in a talk at the International Canine Science conference in Phoenix in October, dogs are an astonishing evolutionary success. Wolves, not so much. "For every one surviving wolf on this planet, there are at least 3,000 dogs." On the other hand, nobody puts a silly Halloween costume on a wolf.

    In the early 2000s, when Dr. Wynne began research on dogs, one of his experiments was a follow-up on the work of Dr. Hare who had concluded that dogs were better than wolves or other animals at following human directions. In particular, dogs followed human pointing better than other animals. Dr. Wynne and Monique Udell, an animal behaviorist at Oregon State University, expected to confirm Dr. Hare's findings. 

    The wolves they chose to work with were hand-raised and socialized at Wolf Park, in Lafayette, Ind.. Dr. Wynne said he found the wolves were as good at following human pointing as the best pet dogs. 

    Dr. Hare and his colleagues responded by questioning whether the experiments were really comparable, maintaining that dogs have an innate ability to follow human pointing without the special attention the wolves were given. The debate continues.

    The second part of Dr. Wynne's argument has to do with how social dogs are. There is no question that they bond with people in a way that other canines do not. Dr. Wynne recounted an experiment showing that as long as puppies spend 90 minutes a day, for one week, with a human any time before they are 14 weeks old, they will become socialized and comfortable with humans..

    Interestingly, the experiment found no genetic absolutism about the connection between dogs and humans. Without contact with humans when they are young, dogs can become as wary of humans as wild animals. Wolves are not so easily socialized. They require 24-hour-a-day involvement with humans for many weeks when they are puppies to become more tolerant of human beings. They never turn into Xephos.

    Admittedly, Xephos is at the tail-wagging, face-licking, cozy-cuddling end of dog friendliness. Anyone who knows dogs can call to mind some that are not friendly at all, or are friendly to only one person. But in general there is no comparison in friendliness between dogs and wolves.

    "O.K., she's not every dog, but she's not radically atypical," Dr. Wynne said of Xephos as she snuggled up to me. "Are you sweetie — you're not completely untypical of your kind?"

    Dogs, like Xephos, are such a success story because of their bond with humans, but they seem to bond with any species. Credit...Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times

    The evidence of dog affection for humans goes beyond the observable actions of Xephos and those like her. Gregory Berns, a neuroeconomist at Emory University, who himself was drawn into animal study by wanting to understand what his own dog, Callie, was thinking, used magnetic resonance imaging machines to watch what was going on in their brains.

    Among his findings is that the part of dogs' brains that light up when they hear their owners' voices is the same part of the human brain that lights up when we are fond of someone or something. His first book was "How Dogs Love Us."

    By looking at the lemon-sized dog brain, he has shown, for instance, that, based on how the reward center lights up, a dog likes praise as much as it likes hot dogs. In testing outside of the M.R.I., Dr. Berns has also found that, given a choice, some dogs prefer their owners to food.

    He agreed that the hypersociality of dogs is what makes them special rather than particular cognitive abilities. "It's hard to demonstrate any cognitive task that dogs are superior in," he said. But he pointed out that "ultimately the difficulty is in saying what is a cognitive function and an emotional function."

    Alexandra Horowitz, head of the Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College, and a prolific writer on dogs, also addressed the question of love briefly in her new book, "Our Dogs, Ourselves."

    Without doubt, dogs have feelings, she wrote, but she cautioned that just as certainly, those feelings were not the same as humanfeelings. Nor, she argued, should we assume that dogs are in between robot and homo sapiens on an emotional spectrum. She wrote in her book, "For all we know, dogs' emotional experience is far more elaborate than ours."

    Central to that experience, although unknown in its complexity, is the pleasure a dog experiences in the presence of humans. The intensity of that pleasure and the ease of triggering it, Dr. Wynne said, is built into the dog genome.

    He found this in his research with Bridgett vonHoldt, a molecular biologist at Princeton University. She and a team of researchers identified genes in dogs that in humans are associated with Williams-Beuren syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. One of the many symptoms of the syndrome is indiscriminate friendliness. Dr. Wynne and Ms. Udell worked with Dr. vonHoldt on a subsequent study of wolves and dogs that tied behavior and genetics together. They concluded that the genes associated with Williams-Bueren syndrome in humans underlie the friendless of dogs compared to wolves.

    Humans, they suggested, may have selected friendly dogs over thousands of years of domestication and the Williams-Beuren genes may be one of the results. Other scientists have been cautious about the results, seeing the work as presenting an intriguing hypothesis that requires more research.

    Whether these are the genes involved, humans appear to have molded dogs to be friendly to other species beyond humans. Apparently, puppies introduced to any other species when they are young enough, form a strong bond with that species. 

    This hasn't been tested with all species, of course. But consider the sheep and goats. Ray Coppinger of Hampshire College, who died in 2017, had documented that puppies of certain breeds kept with sheep bond to the sheep. They stay with the flock and guard it. The same thing happens when puppies are kept with goats and other less likely creatures, like penguins

    Dogs have "an abnormal willingness to form strong emotional bonds with almost anything that crosses their path," Dr. Wynne said. "And they maintain this throughout life. Above and beyond that they have a willingness and an interest to interact with strangers."

    How and when this free love, or hypersociality evolved in dogs is up for debate. Dr. Wynne is betting that after some ancient wolves began to associate with humans 15,000 or more years ago and became dogs, and humans began to live in settlements and farming took off about 8,000 years ago, humans began to breed dogs for friendliness, causing the genetic differences that Dr. vonHoldt found. With luck, future research on modern and ancient dog DNA will show if he is right. 

    For now, we humans can at least enjoy the amiability of dogs. Looking at Xephos as we wrapped up our conversation, he said, "It's not strange that she wants to interact with me. What's strange is that she wants to be friends with you. Right?"

    Well, I don't know about that. I'm a pretty good ear scratcher. "Right, Xephos?"



    5) Colombians Fill Streets in Protest, Riding Region's Wave of Discontent

    Tens of thousands protested everything from economic inequality to violence against civic leaders, testing an unpopular government as unrest grips the region.

    By The Associated Press, November 21, 2019


    Protesters clashed with the police at Bolivar Square in Bogota on Thursday,Credit...Fernando Vergara/Associated Press

    BOGOTA, Colombia — Colombians angry with President Iván Duque and hoping to channel Latin America's wave of discontent took the streets by the tens of thousands on Thursday in one of the biggest protests in the nation's recent history.

    Students, teachers and labor union organizers marched across the country protesting everything from economic inequality to violence against civic leaders, testing an unpopular government as unrest grips the region..

    Police estimated 207,000 people took part.

    "It's about time," said Julio Contreras, 23, a medical student. "No more of the same — lies, corruption. We're here to put up a fight."

    The protests were largely peaceful but by turned violent at night as demonstrators hurled rocks at riot police, who responded with tear gas. At one point, protesters tried to enter the nation's congress and tore down a part of black cloth protecting a historic building in Bolivar Square.

    Analysts were skeptical the march would generate the prolonged unrest seen in Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador, noting a lack of unifying factors in a divided country that is one of the region's stronger economic performers.

    "We're not in a pre-insurrectional climate," said Yann Basset, a professor at Bogota's Rosario University. "I'm not sure there's a general rejection of the political system."

    The protest nonetheless sent a resounding message to Mr. Duque, whose government deployed 170,000 officers, closed border crossings and deported 24 Venezuelans accused of entering the country to instigate unrest.

    "If the government doesn't make changes, next year will be very difficult," said Ariel Ávila, deputy director of the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation.

    Mr. Duque, who has a lackluster 26 percent approval rating, went on a recent charm offensive, seeking to counter erroneous social media claims that he has proposed raising the retirement age and reducing wages for young workers.

    "I'm not here to talk about a garden of roses," he said in a radio interview before the protest. "I'm talking about a country that is recovering, an economy that is improving and is today one of the best in Latin America."

    Still, many Colombians say they have plenty of reasons to be angry.

    Despite the previous administration's 2016 peace accord with leftist rebels, much of Colombia is still engulfed in violence as illegal armed groups compete for territory where the state has historically been absent. Dozens of indigenous and social leaders have been killed in crimes that remain largely unsolved.



    6) Ta-Nehisi Coates: The Cancellation of Colin Kaepernick

    "Cancel culture" has always existed — for the powerful, at least. Now, social media has democratized it.

    By Ta-Nehisi Coates, November 22, 2019


    The former N.F.L. quarterback Colin Kaepernick at a workout for talent scouts and the media in Riverdale, Ga., on Nov. 16.Credit...Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters

    We are being told of the evils of "cancel culture," a new scourge that enforces purity, banishes dissent and squelches sober and reasoned debate. But cancel culture is not new. A brief accounting of the illustrious and venerable ranks of blocked and dragged Americans encompasses Sarah Good, Elijah Lovejoy, Ida B. Wells, Dalton Trumbo, Paul Robeson and the Dixie Chicks. What was the Compromise of 1877, which ended Reconstruction, but the cancellation of the black South? What were the detention camps during World War II but the racist muting of Japanese-Americans and their basic rights? 

    Thus any sober assessment of this history must conclude that the present objections to cancel culture are not so much concerned with the weapon, as the kind of people who now seek to wield it.

    Until recently, cancellation flowed exclusively downward, from the powerful to the powerless. But now, in this era of fallen gatekeepers, where anyone with a Twitter handle or Facebook account can be a publisher, banishment has been ostensibly democratized. This development has occasioned much consternation. Scarcely a day goes by without America's college students being reproached for rejecting poorly rendered sushi or spurning the defenders of statutory rape

    Speaking as one who has felt the hot wrath of Twitter, I am not without sympathy for the morally panicked who fear that the kids are not all right. But it is good to remember that while every generation believes that it invented sex, every preceding generation forgets that it once believed the same thing.
    Besides, all cancellations are not created equal. Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Brett Kavanaugh at his Supreme Court confirmation hearings of sexually assault, was inundated with death threats, forced from her home and driven into hiding. Dave Chappelle, accused of transphobia, collected millions from Netflix for a series of stand-up specials and got his feelings hurt.

    It would be nice to live in a more forgiving world, one where dissenting from groupthink does not invite exile and people's occasional lapses are not held up as evidence of who they are. But if we are to construct such a world, we would do well to leave the slight acts of cancellation effected in the quad and cafe, and proceed to more illustrious offices.

    The N.F.L. is revered in this country as a paragon of patriotism and chivalry, a sacred trust controlled by some of the wealthiest men and women in America. For the past three years, this sacred trust has executed, with brutal efficiency, the cancellation of Colin Kaepernick. This is curious given the N.F.L.'s moral libertinism; the league has, at various points, been a home for domestic abuserschild abusers and open racists.

    And yet it seems Mr. Kaepernick's sin — refusing to stand for the national anthem — offends the N.F.L.'s suddenly delicate sensibilities. And while the influence of hashtags should not be underestimated, the N.F.L. has a different power at its fingertips: the power of monopoly. Effectively, Mr. Kaepernick's cancellation bars him from making a living at a skill he has been honing since childhood.

    It is true that he has found gainful employment with Nike. But only so much solace can be taken in this given that Mr. Kaepernick's opponents occupy not just board rooms and owner's boxes, but the White House. "Wouldn't you love to see one of these N.F.L. owners, when somebody disrespects our flag to, to say, 'Get that son of a [expletive] off the field right now,'" President Trump said in 2017. The N.F.L. has since dutifully obeyed.

    Perhaps it is shocking for some to see the president of the United States endorse the cancellation of a pro football player, like he endorsed the cancellation of Hillary Clinton ("Lock her up"), and of Ilhan Omar ("Send her back"). But it is precisely this kind of capricious and biased use of institutional power that has birthed the cancel culture practiced by campus protesters and online. But whereas the wrongdoing of elite institutions was once hidden from public view, in the era of Donald Trump it is all there to be seen. 

    A sobering process that began with the broadcast beatings of civil rights marchers at Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma in 1965, then accelerated with the recorded police brutality against Rodney King, has achieved its zenith with the social media sharing of the executions of Walter ScottLaquan McDonald and Daniel Shaver.

    Mr. Trump's boasting of sexual assault proved no barrier to the White House. Roger Ailes's career as a media exec was but a cover for his true calling, sexual coercion. Bill Cosby, once exalted as America's dad, was unmasked as a mass rapist.

    The new cancel culture is the product of a generation born into a world without obscuring myth, where the great abuses, once only hinted at, suspected or uttered on street corners, are now tweeted out in full color. Nothing is sacred anymore, and, more important, nothing is legitimate — least of all those institutions charged with dispensing justice. And so, justice is seized by the crowd.

    This is suboptimal. The choice now would seem to be between building egalitarian institutions capable of withstanding public scrutiny, or further retreat into a dissembling fog. The N.F.L. has chosen the latter option. First there was the notion that Mr. Kaepernick was not good enough to play in the league. When this fiction collapsed under the weight of injury and journeymen pulled off the streets, the N.F.L. conjured up a distraction. Whatever one thinks of Jay-Z's partnership with the league, what it achieved was the replacement of the name of the N.F.L. commissioner, Roger Goodell, by Jay-Z's headlines. 

    And then last week there was the rushed "tryout," the details of which are still murky. But what followed was a debate over Mr. Kaepernick's comportment, attire and what he had to say. The debate helped obscure this central fact — a multibillion-dollar monopoly is, at this very hour, denying a worker the right to ply his trade and lying about doing so.

    It has been said that Colin Kaepernick missed an opportunity, that no matter how crooked the bargain, if he were truly serious about getting a job, he would have acceded to the N.F.L.'s demands. But Mr. Kaepernick is not fighting for a job. He is fighting against cancellation. And his struggle is not merely his own — it is the struggle of Major Taylor, Jack Johnson, Craig Hodges and Muhammad Ali.

    This isn't a fight for employment at any cost. It is a fight for a world where we are not shot, or shunned, because the masters of capital, or their agents, do not like our comportment, our attire or what we have to say.

    Ta-Nehisi Coates is the author of "Between the World and Me" and, most recently, "The Water Dancer."



    7) The Moral Injury of Pardoning War Crimes

    The president may feel like he's righting a wrong, but he's damaging the nation's moral compass.

    By The Editorial Board, November 22, 2019


    Mauricio Lima/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    Post-traumatic stress — the nightmares, flashbacks and anxiety set off by terrifying events — is a defining injury of the global war on terrorism. But in the past few decades, the mental health community and the military have come to understand that there is a related, intensifying phenomenon called moral injury.

    Moral injury doesn't simply result from witnessing or participating in the horrors of war. Moral injury comes from participating in events that violate soldiers' morality or, as the Department of Veterans Affairs describes it: "failing to prevent immoral acts of others, or giving or receiving orders that are perceived as gross moral violations."

    A person suffering from moral injury may be unable to trust friends and family, or the society that enabled the immorality. The injured can question whether virtue exists. Moral injury is often described as a bruise of the soul.

    To avoid such injury, militaries long ago adopted procedures to ensure that those who don the uniform can do so with honor and then remove it with pride. One of the pillars of that framework is the military justice system; another is societal taboos against aberrant behavior.

    President Trump threatened both those pillars by pardoning Clint Lorance, a former Army officer serving a 19-year sentence for murdering two civilians, and Maj. Mathew Golsteyn, accused of killing an unarmed Afghan, and by reversing the demotion of Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, the subject of a high-profile war crimes trial.

    Patrick Swanson, who was Mr. Lorance's company commander in Afghanistan, told The Times: "The tragedy is that people will hail him as a hero, and he is not a hero. He ordered those murders. He lied about them."

    That Mr. Trump would pardon men accused or convicted of war crimes should come as little surprise, given that he campaigned on promises to torture the nation's enemies and kill their families. Mr. Trump in May became the first modern president to pardon a person convicted of war crimes, when he pardoned Michael Behenna, a former Army lieutenant, who had been convicted of killing a prisoner in Iraq.

    The president may think he's supporting men and women in uniform. "When our soldiers have to fight for our country, I want to give them the confidence to fight," he said in a statement issued by the White House. "We train our boys to be killing machines, then prosecute them when they kill!" he said on Twitter last month.

    Whatever the reason, absolving people who commit war crimes does great harm to society in general, and the men and women who served honorably — as far more than "killing machines" — in the wars since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in particular.

    A nation has to know that military action being taken in its name follows morally defensible rules — that soldiers do not, for instance, kill unarmed civilians or prisoners.

    To excuse men who have so flagrantly violated those rules — to treat them as heroes, even — is to cast the idea of just war to the winds. It puts the nation and veterans at risk of moral injury, the shattering of a moral compass.

    One of the loudest groups pushing for Mr. Trump's pardons was United American Patriots, a nonprofit organization that supportsnumerous soldiers accused of crimes, including Mr. Lorance, Mr. Behenna and Major Golsteyn. Last month, Chief Gallagher suedtwo of his former lawyers and United American Patriots, alleging that his lawyers tried to delay the case to increase fund-raising for the organization.

    Supporters of the pardoned men say the military justice system comes down too hard and too often on honorable soldiers fighting through the fog of war. That wouldn't explain why United American Patriots has made a cause célèbre of Robert Bales, who pleaded guilty to slaughtering 16 Afghan civilians in their homes during a one-man nighttime rampage in 2012.

    The president might truly believe these pardons won't endanger soldiers by damaging allied support or emboldening enemies, and they're probably unlikely to encourage future war crimes, though critics have raised such a specter.

    But the impact such formal absolution will have on the veterans of these murky wars and the society that they are working to rejoin will be lasting. Venerating these pardoned men will cause even greater damage.

    Mr. Lorance was a lieutenant with three days of experience leading his platoon when the murders occurred. His men testified that one of the first things he told the platoon was that they should conduct night raids to terrorize civilians, even children. When one of his men told him that there were three men on a motorcycle about 200 yards away, he ordered his troops to shoot them.

    "There was no threat from those guys whatsoever," Staff Sgt. Daniel Williams told The Times. After his own men refused to fire, Mr. Lorance radioed a nearby truck to open fire.. "This was straight murder," Sergeant Williams said.

    After Mr. Lorance falsely told commanders that villagers had carried away the bodies before they could be identified, his own men turned him in. Nine of them testified against him.

    "I'm actually proud of everything that happened to me," Mr. Lorance declared on Fox News's 
    "Fox & Friends" on Monday, his first media appearance since being pardoned by President Trump.

    "It is awesome to have you here," said Pete Hegseth, a co-host of the show and an Iraq war veteran, slapping his guest on the thigh.

    "I'm so happy to be an American," Mr. Lorance said.

    Chief Gallagher was charged after nearly a dozen members of his platoon demanded that action be taken against him, even though they were threatened with career retribution for doing so. Two SEAL snipers told investigators that Chief Gallagher shot a girl walking on a riverbank with other girls.

    He was charged with shooting indiscriminately at unarmed civilians and stabbing a prisoner in 2017. Chief Gallagher was found not guilty of those crimes. A military court did find him guilty of posing for photos with a teenage captive's dead body. Mr. Trump reversed the demotion that resulted from that conviction.

    The president also pardoned Major Golsteyn of the Army Special Forces. In 2010, according to investigators, Major Golsteyn — then a captain — killed an unarmed Afghan detainee and buried his body in a shallow grave. He later returned to dig up the body so that it could be incinerated. He admitted to the killing on Fox News in 2016. The pardon ends any military investigation into what happened.

    "These are men who went into the most dangerous places on earth with a job to defend us, and made tough calls on a moment's notice," Mr. Hegseth said on Fox this year, before mentioning Chief Gallagher, Major Golsteyn and Mr. Lorance. "They're not war criminals, they're warriors who have now been accused of certain things that are under review."

    Of course, all war criminals fancy themselves warriors who had to make tough calls, facing the judgment of people who couldn't possibly understand their actions.

    The president has the undisputed power to pardon. Indeed, he should use it more often in cases where guilt or a fair trial are in genuine doubt. But that power cannot be exercised without a cost, in this case injury to the morality of a nation that once held its own to account.

    The commander of the Navy SEALs tried to salvage some honor by formally ousting Chief Gallagher from the elite unit and removing the iconic "Trident" pin from Chief Gallagher and three of the officers who oversaw him. Mr. Trump intervened again on Thursday to stop the ouster. The Navy, insisting that it has a responsibility to maintain professional and moral standards, is forging ahead to remove Chief Gallagher from the unit.

    The United States military — and its civilian commander — doesn't have the luxury of simply asserting that it is morally superior to its enemies. It needs to be morally superior, which means abiding by the rule of law, not some sense of American exceptionalism that presumes that monsters cannot exist in our midst.



    8) Venezuela's Kids Are Dying. Are We Responsible?

    By Nicholas Kristoff, November 23, 2019


    Daniela Serrano lost a daughter to malnutrition this year.Credit...Fabiola Ferrero for The New York Times

    CARACAS, Venezuela — This country is a kleptocracy ruled incompetently by thugs who are turning a prosperous oil-exporting nation into a failed state sliding toward starvation.

    So a young mom named Daniela Serrano weeps for her baby girl, Daisha — and I can't help wondering if American economicsanctions also bear some responsibility.

    Serrano, 21, lives in the impoverished, violent slum of La Dolorita, where I met her. The baby was fading from malnutrition in May, so she frantically sought medical help — but three hospitals turned the baby away, saying there were no beds available, no doctors and no supplies.

    One emergency room finally found someone to examine the 8-month-old girl — on condition that Serrano supply a blank sheet of paper, because the hospital had no paper of its own on which to record notes. It then discharged Daisha, who died at home that night.

    "I realized she was cold and wasn't breathing," Serrano told me, tears streaming down her cheeks. "I screamed." A helpful neighbor called 911, but 11 hours passed before "first responders" showed up. They took Daisha's corpse away.

    The hard question for Americans: Do our sanctions, intended to undermine the regime, actually make it more likely that babies like Daisha die?

    President Nicolás Maduro's brutal socialist government is primarily responsible for the suffering, and there are steps Maduro could take to save children's lives, if he wanted to. But there is evidence that sanctions imposed by President Barack Obama and President Trump are adding to the economy's deterioration and the torment of ordinary Venezuelans.

    "The Venezuelan economy was a drunk floundering in a choppy ocean, struggling to stay afloat, begging for a life buoy," Francisco Toro, a Venezuelan journalist, told me. "The Trump administration threw it a hammer instead. A hammer is no help at all. It's heavy. It might make the drunk sink a bit faster. But you can't put the hammer at the center of a narrative about why the drunk is drowning."

    Venezuela may now be sliding toward collapse and mass starvation, while fragmenting into local control by various armed groups. Outbreaks of malaria, diphtheria and measles are spreading, and infant mortality appears to have doubled since 2008.

    Maduro's response is unconscionable. He buys the loyalty of military officials with money or resources that could go for medicine, he refuses to accept some foreign aid and he bars entry by important international humanitarian organizations.

    The best thing for the Venezuelan people would be a new government. But sanctions have failed to drive Maduro from power, inflicting anguish instead on vulnerable Venezuelans.

    Even in the capital, Caracas, the best-off part of the country, the suffering is incalculable. Elsys Silgado, 21, has two small children. Last month, they were both near death: Alaska, 5, from severe malnutrition (she weighed 26 pounds) and Jeiko, 3, from a severe infection and a persistent fever of 104 degrees.

    Silgado and her children were turned away from four hospitals because there were no beds available. I wasn't allowed to visit public hospitals, which are tightly controlled by armed gangs hostile to journalistic inquiry (doctors explored trying to smuggle me in, but it would be very dangerous for them as well). I understand why the authorities don't want journalists visiting hospitals: Silgado described filthy emergency rooms with no electricity or running water.

    "It was raining," she recalled, "and all I could see was mud everywhere."

    Alaska and Jeiko eventually recovered, but Silgado continues to worry that she may lose Alaska to malnutrition. "I'm afraid she will die," Silgado told me. "Because I now know that I can't take her to a hospital.. They have nothing."

    Many people in the slums told me they had initially supported Hugo Chávez, who founded this regime, but almost all had turned against Maduro.

    "When Chávez died, I cried," one woman in the San Isidro shantytown told me. "But I would poison Maduro myself."

    I sat down with Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader. Guaidó, whose effort to topple Maduro has unfortunately lost momentum, expressed confidence that at some point Venezuelans would manage to overthrow the dictatorship.

    When pushed, he acknowledged the possibility that the sanctions may make the humanitarian crisis worse. "It's a dilemma, for Venezuela and for the world," he said, but he favors sanctions anyway as one more source of leverage to remove Maduro. "We need to use every pressure tool we can get," he said.

    Maybe that's right. But my mind keeps returning to the slum dwellers I met.

    On the advice of my guide, I had removed my watch and wedding band before entering the slums, for fear of robbery. Then a truly hungry family led me up dubious, broken stairs to a rickety, crowded apartment, and one person rushed out to buy drinks and potato chips to offer me as an honored guest. I felt terrible — and humbled. 

    People like this are already suffering from Maduro's indifference, and a cataclysm may lie ahead. So let's seek new ways to pressure the kleptocracy without adding to the suffering of ordinary Venezuelans. Maybe an oil-for-food program could help, along with greater efforts to force Maduro to allow more humanitarian aid. As we careen toward a humanitarian catastrophe in our hemisphere, let's rethink our strategy.

    My NYT Comment:

    The U.S government tried to get rid of Hugo Chavez too. They did everything they could to oust him but he kept getting reelected—as did Maduro. U.S. sanctions are designed to bully the people into getting rid of the leader they voted for by keeping the country in poverty. This is blatant interference by a foreign government—the U.S. government—into the internal affairs of another country. The U.S. has done this all over the world. I might add, war is also interference into the internal affairs of other countries—albeit the most bloody and violent kind of interference. The U.S. has no business policing the world. But it does have business interests that it will stop at nothing to protect—starving and bombed children and families and the environment are just the collateral damage necessary to protect their investments. That's what this is all about! I applaud you for at least pointing out that the sanctions are not working and are hurting the innocent. —Bonnie Weinstein




    9) As Hong Kong Votes, Pro-Democracy Candidates Make Surprising Gains, Early Returns Show

    If the district council election, normally a quiet affair, was a referendum on the protests, Beijing may find the result disquieting.

    By Austin Ramzy, Elaine Yu and Keith Bradsher, November 24, 2019


    Voters waiting outside a polling station in the Ap Lei Chau neighborhood of Hong Kong on Sunday.Credit...Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

    HONG KONG — Pro-democracy campaigners took a strong lead in Hong Kong local elections on Sunday, according to early results, in a vote that turned a usually low-key affair into a referendum on the unrest that has created the city's worst political crisis in decades.

    The election on Sunday was for district council members, one of the lowest rungs of Hong Kong's elected offices. District councils mainly deal with noise complaints, bus stop locations and neighborhood beautification projects. Elections for them are usually quiet affairs focused on community issues. 

    But in the midst of the increasingly violent protests that have divided the city, the race took on outsize significance. The vote was the first test of whether the protests could transform public anger that has led millions to take to the streets into actual votes, or whether the populace had grown weary of acts of civil disobedience that have snarled transportation and forced the closing of schools and businesses.

    The results were expected hours after the polls closed at around 10:30 p.m. in Hong Kong. The election drew record-setting throngs of voters to polling places on Sunday.

    Through it all, the city was calm, as democracy advocates appeared to focus on participating in one of the few elections that Beijing allows in the territory under its sovereignty

    "Politically speaking, the battle of the district councils as a whole is a crucial battle in taking control," said Eddie Chu, a pro-democracy legislator who is also running for district council. 

    Here's a look at the race and what is at stake: 

    More than 69 percent of voters had hit the polls with around an hour left before sites closed. Those numbers surpassed the 47 percent turnout in the entire election four years ago. Back then, it had already set a record, lifted by an awakening of political interest that accompanied the Umbrella Movement a year earlier.

    Before voting began on Sunday morning, the government had strongly denied a persistent rumor on social media that the polls might close after the first several hours, instead of being open for the scheduled 15 hours. 

    That rumor gave both sides in the election an incentive to urge their voters to show up early. Four times as many people voted in the first hour of polling as did in the 2015 district council elections. 

    "I haven't been voting for a while; this time is very important," Ada Chan, 30, an office worker, said as she left a polling place after casting her ballot early.

    Lines quickly became so long on Sunday morning that Patrick Nip, the territory's secretary for constitutional and mainland affairs, appealed to the public to have more confidence that the polls would stay open. 

    "The voting time is very abundant, so you don't have to concentrate on voting at the same time," he said.

    By late afternoon, lines had disappeared at some locations. The voters had dwindled to a trickle at the Yau Ma Tei Community Center polling station, nestled between the city's famous street market for jade and the graceful banyan trees of an ancient temple.

    A call to expand Hong Kong's limited democracy is one of the demands of the protest movement, which began in June over a now-withdrawn proposal that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China. 

    Protesters have called for direct elections for the entire legislature, where currently only 40 of the 70 seats are selected by popular vote. They have also called for the chief executive, who is selected by a largely pro-Beijing election committee, to instead be chosen by voters. 

    The district councils have no lawmaking power. They control small amounts of public funds for simple infrastructure, like rain shelters. They lodge concerns with government departments over noise, traffic, sanitation and other issues. (Of the 479 district council seats, 452 are directly elected.)

    The district council members do have a modest role in choosing the chief executive, Hong Kong's highest official. Whichever side wins a majority of the seats controls 117 votes in the 1,200-member chief executive election committee.

    That election committee is dominated by pro-establishment corporate interests, and the chief executives they have selected have always been loyal to Beijing. But a win would give the overall pro-democracy camp control of an additional 10 percent of the votes, and put it close to the 150 votes necessary to nominate a candidate.

    The brochures of district council candidates typically show neighborhood concerns they pledge to fix: trash-filled alleys, air-conditioners dripping on sidewalks and streets lined with illegally parked cars.

    This year, several pro-democracy candidates have included protest slogans on their materials. Law Cheuk-yung, 22, said he was inspired to run for district council because of recent social movements. He said he would demand answers from the police after residents complained of possible testing of tear gas in his district, Tuen Mun. 

    "I want to imagine local government being more responsive," he said. "At the moment the district council is just a rubber stamp. They do whatever the government wants." 

    For such candidates, it is more about playing to the sentiment of the protests rather than taking action. They would not have much of a role in addressing protesters' demands, which include an investigation into the police's use of force, offering amnesty to those arrested in the protests and expanding direct elections.

    "They are all trying to capitalize on public anger," said Suzanne Pepper, a scholar of Chinese politics who lives in Hong Kong.

    Establishment parties have long had an advantage in these races, in part because they are much better funded, with backing from businesses. Currently the pro-Beijing camp holds 327 district council seats versus 124 for the pro-democracy group. 

    Rising interest in the election has meant that pro-democracy candidates are participating in every race, unlike previous years, when some establishment district council members ran unopposed. And after worries about disqualifications, only one of the camp's candidates, the prominent activist Joshua Wong, was barred from running this year for political reasons. An election officer ruled that Mr. Wong could not uphold Hong Kong law because his political organization viewed independence from China as a possible goal for the city.

    A string of violent attacks on election candidates has hung over the race. Twelve opposition figures, including prominent politicians and activists as well as first-time candidates, have been ambushed and bloodied by gangs of masked men or attacked while canvassing for votes.

    "We can see Hong Kong isn't as free and as civilized as we'd previously imagined," said Jannelle Leung, a 25-year-old accountant who was struck in the back of her head with a hard object in early October the day she announced she was officially running. She also said she received sexually harassing phone calls before the attack. 

    Jocelyn Chau, a first-time candidate like Ms. Leung who received similar lurid calls before being punched by a man while canvassing last month in the pro-Beijing neighborhood of North Point, criticized the government for not condemning the attacks on pro-democracy figures. "Not even superficial gestures," said Ms. Chau, 23.

    The polarizing pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho was injured in a knife attack this month and his offices were vandalized. He called the attack "a dark day for the district council election," adding that the "orderly election had been completely obliterated."

    The attacks on candidates and vandalism had stirred worries that the election might be postponed. Some pro-democracy figures had said that a delay could harm their strength at the polls.

    Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's chief executive, had said the government would do its best to ensure the election would go on as scheduled. The government posted riot police officers near polling places across the city, though outside the zones marked with yellow tape where only voters could go.

    The city had been convulsed by two weeks of intense protest, including on several campuses. At Chinese University of Hong Kong, protesters clashed with the police and occupied the college for five days. At Hong Kong Polytechnic University, more than 1,000 people at one point were trapped by a police siege.

    Patrick Nip, the secretary for constitutional and mainland affairs, warned last Monday that further unrest would reduce the chances of the election's being held as scheduled. He called for an end to violence "and all kinds of duress." 

    In the past few days, protests ebbed drastically, however, as the city prepared to take its conflicts to the polls.



    10) Student Sets Himself On Fire, Highlighting Broader Distress in France

    Since a 22-year-old's desperate act in Lyon this month, other students around the country have joined protests against their financial insecurity.

    By Melissa Godin, November 24, 2019


    A rally in Lyon, France, this month after the suicide attempt of a student. Credit...Nicolas Liponne/NurPhoto, via Getty Images

    PARIS — Early this month, Anas K., 22, sat in front of the student center at a university in Lyon and posted what he believed would be his final Facebook status.

    "I accuse Macron, Hollande, Sarkozy and the European Union of having killed me by creating uncertainties for the future of all," he wrote.

    Shortly after clicking the post button, he set himself on fire.

    Today, the young man, whose family has asked that his full name not be published to protect his privacy, has burns over 90 percent of his body. As of Nov. 18, Anas K.'s condition is stable, though he remains in an artificial coma.

    Although little is known publicly of Anas K.'s psychological state before his suicide attempt on Nov. 8, the act touched a nerve with students across France. It quickly became another indication, like the Yellow Vest protests, of the precariousness that many French feel has come to define their lives.

    The incident has inspired protests in various cities against student financial insecurity. Student unions have demanded a re-evaluation of university tuition and changes to scholarships. They also want more student housing and better health services on university campuses. 

    Thousands of students have blocked the entrances of universities in recent weeks, and they have demonstrated in front of the Ministry of Higher Education. On Twitter, some have posted using the hashtag #LaPrécaritéTue, or "Precariousness kills." 

    Such an outpouring of anger over economic uncertainty among students may seem out of place in France. The price of higher education, even at some of the country's best schools, is nowhere near comparable to that in the United States, where the average yearly costs for both public and private four-year schools are in the five-figure range

    In France, a bachelor's program at a public university costs 170 euros, or about $187, a year. Many of the "Grandes Écoles," the eliteuniversities in France, charge students based on their parents' income. 

    Students can receive money from the state to subsidize their living expenses. In 2017, 39 percent of students qualified for financial assistance.

    Yet many French students still struggle to get by.

    One in five French students lived below the poverty line in 2017, according to a report by the National Union of Students of France. Almost half worked during the school year to finance their studies. 

    For the past 10 years, the cost of living for students in France has increased, further compounding their financial instability. And for some students, that insecurity continues after they finish their studies. 

    In his Facebook post, Anas K. expressed anxiety about his future, wondering whether he would be able to find work at a time of "mass unemployment" in a country where, despite recent improvements, 20.77 percent of young people were unemployed in 2018. 

    Anas K. was repeating his second year at university for the third time, and his academic troubles had resulted in the rescinding of his scholarship at University Lumière Lyon 2.

    In the post, which has since been taken down, Anas K. explicitly attributed his suicide attempt to the financial insecurity he faced as a student, writing that his "last wish is that my peers continue to fight so we can be finished with this, once and for all."

    At first, the government was slow to respond to the incident, which received widespread media attention in France, and was initially dismissive of students' concerns, denouncing "the political instrumentalization" of the event.

    Amélie de Montchalin, the secretary of European affairs, said she found it "dangerous" that activist associations were "using the situation."

    The student protests have now become yet another obstacle for the government of President Emmanuel Macron to navigate in an increasingly tumultuous political landscape. 

    Though Mr. Macron's government is still vowing to change France, a proliferation of protests on a number of fronts is threatening to upend his agenda. 

    This month alone, hospital workers protested poor working conditions, and 28,000 Yellow Vest protesters turned out to mark the one-year anniversary of their movement. Tens of thousands marched in Paris and across France to protest high rates of domestic violence in the country, where more than 100 womenhave been killed so far this year by a partner or former partner. And protests against Mr. Macron's proposed retirement overhaul are scheduled for Dec. 5. 

    As a result, and as student anger remains unabated, the government has begun to tread more carefully.

    Frédérique Vidal, the French minister of education, met with student associations in recent days, promising to create a help line for students by the end of the year. 

    To the protesters' dismay, however, she did not increase the budget for student financial assistance, saying the current budget of €5.7 billion was underutilized.

    Instead, the government promised measures to make students more aware of existing financial resources.

    In a radio interview, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said that many students did not take advantage of existing systems, "either because it is too complicated or because they do not know these arrangements exist.''

    ''We're trying to improve our communication," he said.

    Now, Mr. Macron himself has weighed in. 

    "Such acts are always unfathomable and inexplicable,'' he said of Anas K.'s self-immolation. "His suffering reminds us, though it does not make us discover, the difficulties of student life."

    He also reminded students of the things he had already done for them, like decreasing the cost of a driver's license and simplifying the scholarship system. 

    "Right now, our country is too negative about itself," he said.

    But many students have found the government response unsatisfying.

    "We are living in a time of economic uncertainty, we are constantly passing reforms that make work and retirement more precarious," said Sophie La Toix, 25, a friend of Anas K. and a member of his student union.

    "We don't know if all the hardship and hard work we put into our studies will be rewarded, because we know more and more people who have several diplomas and master's that find themselves without work," she added. "On top of that, there is uncertainty about the climate."

    Such financial stresses contribute to the fact that students are more likely to have "suicidal ideas" than the general Frenchpopulation, according to data from the French Observatory of Student Life.

    "The feeling of being in great financial danger is associated with higher levels of depression," said Yannick Morvan, a clinical psychologist and a member of the group. 

    Dr. Morvan said that in Anas K.'s case, "talking about the psychological aspects of this could be seen as diminishing the political message of this act."

    In France, protesting is seen as a rite of passage, and citizens expect the state to provide a level of financial security that would be unimaginable in an American context.

    While French students may be relatively well-off when compared with the United States, Ms. La Toix, the student, said she did not think "it should be a race to the bottom."

    "I understand that from an American perspective, we are privileged," said Ms. La Toix. "We know we have ambitious political ideas, but we believe the right to education is a fundamental one that must be available to everyone."

    Still, the students have not persuaded everyone of their distress, and some consider their demands overblown.

    "I do not think financial insecurity or poverty is a massive phenomenon among students," said Olivier Galland, a French sociologist and a director at the French National Center for Scientific Research. 

    He pointed out that most students were supported by their parents or by the state. But that does not mean that Mr. Macron's government could risk ignoring their complaints, either.

    "I think governments, no matter who they are, are always scared of young people," Dr. Galland said. "Young people are unpredictable."



    11) White Alabama Officer Guilty of Manslaughter for Killing Black Man

    The officer shot Greg Gunn after initiating a stop-and-frisk encounter as the unarmed man was walking home from a card game in 2016.

    By Vanessa Swales and Andeel Hassan, November 22, 2019


    Greg Gunn, 58, was killed by a Montgomery, Ala., police officer in 2016.Credit...Albert Cesare/The Montgomery Advertiser, via Associated Press

    An Alabama jury found a white police officer guilty of manslaughter on Friday in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man in Montgomery in 2016, the latest case in which an officer has been held to account for using lethal force. 

    The officer, Aaron Cody Smith, 26, faced a murder charge, but the 12-person jury also had the option of convicting him of manslaughter, which it did after a few hours of deliberation. He resigned from the Montgomery Police Department after the verdict, Capt. Regina Duckett, a spokeswoman, said in an email.

    Mr. Smith was patrolling the Mobile Heights neighborhood in February 2016 when he stopped Greg Gunn, who was returning home from a late-night card game. According to Mr. Smith, Mr. Gunn fled midway through the stop-and-frisk encounter. 

    Mr. Smith chased Mr. Gunn, used his Taser on him three times, struck him with a metal baton and fired seven bullets from his gun. Five hit Mr. Gunn, who died steps from his home.

    He later said that Mr. Gunn, 58, fit the description of a black man in dark clothing who had previously run from him in an area where burglaries had been reported. He also said Mr. Gunn tried to strike him with a paint pole during the encounter.

    Prosecutors said Mr. Smith's account had many inconsistencies, including about the struggle that broke out after he patted down Mr. Gunn. Mr.. Smith did not turn on his body and dashboard cameras after getting out of his vehicle to stop Mr. Gunn at 3:20 a.m.

    "We were very confident in the facts of the case," Daryl Bailey, the Montgomery County district attorney, said in comments to reporters after leaving the courtroom. Mr. Bailey said his office would ask for the maximum punishment, which is 20 years. Mr. Smith remained in custody after the verdict and his lawyer, Mickey McDermott, said he would appeal.

    "He needs to be in the county jail until he goes to prison just like everybody else," said Mr. Bailey, who said there was no sentencing date yet.

    The case created tensions between the city and the district attorney, who criticized the decision to allow Mr. Smith to remain on the payroll for the last three years. But Mr. Bailey reiterated on Friday afternoon that "this is not a conviction against the Montgomery Police Department."

    There have been at least a dozen fatal police shootings in Alabama since 2015, according to a database created by The Washington Post. In February, an officer who killed a 21-year-old black man he had mistaken for a gunman was ultimately not taken to trial.

    "This is a tragedy that we must not forget, we must learn from it, and move forward together to do everything in our power to make sure something like this never happens again," Steven Reed, Montgomery's mayor, said in a statement. 

    "Better training could prevent a tragedy and prevent crime in general," he added, saying he would examine police practices. "One family's wounds will never be fully healed."

    A national movement for racial justice, Black Lives Matter, was ignited when Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York were killed by white police officers in the summer of 2014. Since then, there have been several more high-profile cases across the country in which a black man was killed by a white officer. 

    Jason Van Dyke, a Chicago officer, was sentenced to seven years in prison in January for murdering Laquan McDonald.. Last month, Amber Guyger was sentenced to 10 years after murdering Botham Jean in his Dallas apartment. Ms. Guyger was off duty at the time of the shooting.

    The verdict in the Alabama case was the culmination of a winding judicial process

    Eight judges had recused themselves in the case, which was relocated from Montgomery, where protests broke out after the shooting, to Ozark, about 85 miles southeast, in the majority-white Dale County. There had been concerns that news media coverage of the case could taint the pool of jurors.

    "They brought this case to a very conservative county, expecting a different outcome," Franklin Gunn, Mr. Gunn's brother, said after the verdict was read. "But I believe that we have seen the best of Alabama today. One bad apple in a bunch has been weeded out."

    Neil Vigdor contributed reporting.



    12) Glenn Greenwald: Bolsonaro Wants to Silence Free Press in Brazil

    The president's political movement regards journalists as obstacles and prefers intimidation and violence to civic discourse.

    By Glen Greenwald, November 25, 2019


    Supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil making gestures mimicking a gun, a signature of his campaign, at the launch of his new political party, Alliance for Brazil, on Thursday.Credit...Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters

    RIO DE JANEIRO — On Nov. 7, I was physically assaulted by a far-right, pro-Bolsonaro pundit, Augusto Nunes, at a television and radio studio in São Paulo while we were live on the air.

    This is the latest, and perhaps most vivid, example of journalists and news organizations in Brazil being threatened, menaced and subjected to actual violence by the Bolsonaro movement, all for doing our jobs.

    The episode illustrates how press freedoms and the democratic order in Brazil are endangered — not just with words, but violence — by this authoritarian movement that now wields power in the world's fifth-most-populous country.

    Mr. Nunes had once been a prominent mainstream journalist as the editor in chief of the country's largest newsweekly, Veja. Seven weeks before he assaulted me, he responded on his radio program to a series of journalistic exposés I have published in The Intercept revealing corruption at the highest levels of the government of President Jair Bolsonaro.

    Seemingly out of nowhere, he called on a family court judge to investigate whether I and my husband, David Miranda, a congressman for the Socialism and Liberty Party, are taking proper care of our two adopted children. A judge should investigate, he argued, since we both work.

    But that attack on our family did not come out of nowhere. President Bolsonaro has long featured anti-L.G.B.T. animus as a central weapon in his political arsenal and has repeatedly used anti-gay attacks against me. He and his allies have attacked other journalists and activists who oppose him.

    During the last six months of The Intercept's reporting on Mr. Bolsonaro's government, the right-wing leader not only repeatedly and publicly threatened me with prison, but also explicitly accused me and my husband of having a sham marriage, and of having adopted Brazilian children as a fraud, in order — he claimed — to enable me to avoid being deported. With that ugly history from the president himself, Mr. Nunes's attack as retaliation for the journalism I've been doing made complete sense.

    On the program in which I appeared with Mr. Nunes, I told him on the air that his was an act of cowardice, because he'd never call for a similar investigation for the millions of heterosexual couples with children who both work, including his own bosses and colleagues. He then physically attacked me, and the video of the attack quickly went viral on social media within Brazil and outside of it. I was not hurt, but the reaction in Brazil to that incident speaks volumes about the imperiled state of press freedoms and democracy here.

    While mainstream journalists and political officials from across the ideological spectrum denounced Mr. Nunes's attack, the leading figures of the Bolsonaro movement, including the president's two politician sons and his "guru," Olavo de Carvalho, explicitly cheered it. That the violence against me should be worse the next time — not a slap but a closed-fist punch or worse — was a common theme.

    The Bolsonaro movement, like most authoritarian factions, favors intimidation and violence over civic discourse — against their adversaries in general, but especially against journalists they regard as obstacles. Predictably, the climate for journalists since the 2018 presidential election has become far more dangerous than before.

    Other journalists have suffered similar attacks. Patrícia Campos Mello, a journalist from the nation's largest newspaper, broke a major story during the 2018 campaign about illegal, unreported financing by Mr. Bolsonaro's rich supporters through WhatsApp messaging campaigns. She then spent months being targeted with credible threats of violence, along with a highly organized and well-financed fake news network spreading horrific lies about her.

    In July, one of the nation's most famous and influential journalists, Globo's Miriam Leitão, was forced to cancel a public appearance after being deluged with threats following the president's attacks on her.

    That same month, I was invited to speak about our journalistic exposés at a famous literary event in the town of Paraty that typically draws international authors and journalists. Event organizers were so concerned about the number of threats of violence aimed at me that they required me to arrive by a small boat rather than by land.

    As we arrived, we had fireworks shot at us horizontally by Mr. Bolsonaro's supporters. Throughout my speech, they continued to shoot fireworks at us, one of which landed in the crowd of 3,000 people and lit a flag on fire. Mr. Bolsonaro's supporters, including Congress members from his party, celebrated that aggression. 

    After a Globo investigation last month revealed the Bolsonaro family's links to the 2018 assassination of City Councilwoman Marielle Franco, the president made good on his pledge to cut off public funds to Globo. He's long threatened to do the same to the newspaper Folha, and even promised in the last speech he gave before being elected president that he would usher in a Brazil "without Folha of São Paulo."

    When I was called to testify before the Congress in July about The Intercept's reporting, numerous members of Mr. Bolsonaro's party demanded that I be arrested before I left the building. Since we began reporting on The Intercept's explosive Brazil archive, neither I nor my husband has left our house once without a team of armed security guards and an armored vehicle.

    Before his 2018 victory, Mr. Bolsonaro spent nearly three decadesas a congressman on the fringes of political life because of his overt support for the brutal military dictatorship that ruled the country until 1985.

    Recently, his congressman son, Eduardo Bolsonaro, and Mr. de Carvalho explicitly threatened a return of dictatorship-era decreesin the event that civic disorder necessitates repression — a state of affairs they clearly are eager to provoke so that their real, often explicit goal, the reinstatement of tyranny, can be realized.

    That is why they want intimidation and violence in lieu of politics and journalism. They need that as the pretext for ushering in the repression they crave.

    Fortunately, Brazil's Constitution guarantees press freedoms that are even more robust and specific than those guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. As long as there is a free press, we are able to not just reveal corruption and wrongdoing by the nation's most powerful actors, but also to ensure that history is not rewritten, that the horrors of Brazil's two decades of military regime are not whitewashed or forgotten.

    That's precisely why members of the Bolsonaro movement target us: They know that transparency and free discourse are the primary obstacles to returning Brazil back to its darkest days. The more they show their true face, the more resistance they have encountered. The job of journalists, the purpose of a free press, is to ensure that this truth remains clear.

    Glenn Greenwald is a journalist based in Brazil and the author of several books, including "No Place to Hide." He is a co-founding editor of The Intercept and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his reports on global surveillance programs.



    13) Hong Kong Election Results Give Democracy Backers Big Win

    A surge in voting, especially by young people, allowed democracy advocates to win many more seats on local councils.

    By Keith Bradsher, Austin Ramzy and Tiffany May, November 24, 2019


    Democracy supporters celebrating in Hong Kong on Sunday night outside a polling station.Credit...Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

    HONG KONG — Pro-democracy candidates buoyed by months of street protests in Hong Kong won a stunning victory in local elections on Sunday, as record numbers voted in a vivid expression of the city's aspirations and its anger with the Chinese government. 

    It was a pointed rebuke of Beijing and its allies in Hong Kong, and the turnout — seven in 10 eligible voters — suggested that the public continues to back the democracy movement, even as the protests grow increasingly violent. Young Hong Kongers, a major force behind the demonstrations of the past six months, played a leading role in the voting surge. 

    With three million voters casting ballots, pro-democracy candidates captured 389 of 452 elected seats, up from only 124 and far more than they have ever won. The government's allies held just 58 seats, a remarkable collapse from 300.

    To many democracy advocates, Sunday was a turning point.

    "There has been a very deep awakening of the Hong Kong people," said Alan Leong, chairman of the Civic Party, one of the largest pro-democracy parties.

    The elections were for district councils, one of the lowest elected offices in Hong Kong, and they are typically a subdued affair focused on community issues. The job mostly entails pushing for neighborhood needs like bus stops and traffic lights. 

    But this election took on outsize significance, and was viewed as a referendum on the unrest that has created the city's worst political crisis in decades. In a semiautonomous part of China where greater democracy is one of the protesters' biggest demands, it gave residents a rare chance to vote. 

    The gains at the ballot box are likely to embolden a democracy movement that has struggled with how to balance peaceful and violent protests to achieve its goals.

    They are also likely to deepen the challenges for China's central government, which wants to curb the unrest in Hong Kong. And they might exacerbate Beijing's fears about giving the city's residents even greater say in choosing their government.

    The district councils are among the most democratic bodies in Hong Kong. Almost all the seats are directly elected, unlike the legislature, where the proportion is just over half. The territory's chief executive is also not chosen directly by voters, but is instead selected by a committee stacked in favor of Beijing.

    The election results will give democracy forces considerably more influence on that committee, which is scheduled to choose a new chief executive in 2022.

    The district councils name about a tenth of the group's 1,200 members, and now all of these will flip from pro-Beijing to pro-democracy seats. Democracy advocates already control about a quarter of the seats, while other previously pro-Beijing sectors of the committee are now starting to lean toward democracy, most notably accountants and real estate lawyers.

    Mr. Leong, the Civic Party chairman, called on the Chinese Communist Party to change its policies in Hong Kong.

    "Unless the C.C.P. is doing something concrete to address the concerns of the Hong Kong people," he said, "I think this movement cannot end.." 

    Regina Ip, a cabinet member and the leader of a pro-Beijing political party, said she was surprised to see so many young voters, many of whom tried to confront her with the protesters' demands.

    "Normally," she said, "the young people do not come out to vote. But this time, the opposition managed to turn them out."

    Ahead of the election, the city's leadership was concerned that the vote would be marred by the chaos of recent months. Some of the most violent clashes yet between protesters and the police took place last week, turning two university campuses into battlegrounds

    But the city remained relatively calm on Sunday as voters turned out in droves. Long lines formed at polling centers in the morning, snaking around skyscrapers and past small shops. Riot police officers were deployed near polling stations on Sunday.

    David Lee, a retired printer approaching his 90th birthday, was among the earliest voters on Hong Kong Island and said he had come because he wanted democracy.

    "This is important," he said. 

    Some analysts had predicted that pro-democracy candidates would have difficulty making big gains. Pro-Beijing candidates are much better financed, and the district races have traditionally been won on purely local issues, not big questions like democracy, saidJoseph Cheng, a retired professor at City University of Hong Kong.

    But voter turnout soared to 71 percent, far surpassing expectations. Typically in district council elections, it is little more than 40 percent. Four years ago, after the 2014 Umbrella Movement increased public interest in politics, turnout climbed to 47 percent. This year, the number of registered voters hit a record.

    On Sunday, several prominent pro-Beijing politicians lost their races, among them Michael Tien, a longtime establishment lawmaker. After his defeat, he said the increase in young voters signaled that they were becoming more politically engaged, adding that the government should listen to them.

    In the district of Tuen Mun, about a hundred people celebrated with cheers and champagne the defeat of Junius Ho, a controversial lawmaker many protesters accused of supporting mob attacks against them.

    The victory on Sunday eclipsed the pro-democracy camp's last big win in these elections, when they won 198 seats, still short of a majority, following huge protests in 2003. Those demonstrations led the government to scrap a national security bill requested by Beijing that critics said would have endangered civil liberties in Hong Kong.

    The government's allies dominated the elections that followed, though. Beijing began investing heavily in grass-roots mobilization efforts, including busing large numbers of older Hong Kong citizens from retirement homes in mainland China to polling places in Hong Kong.

    Instead of just focusing on local issues, many pro-democracy candidates ran on the broad themes of the protest movement, especially anger at police brutality, and the intensity of the demonstrations sometimes spilled into the race. Candidates on both sides were attacked while campaigning. 

    Mandy Lee, 53, a homemaker who voted at the Kowloon Bay neighborhood, showed up to vote for the pro-Beijing establishment and criticized the protests.

    "It's not that I have no sympathy toward young people, but I strongly believe that their efforts are futile," she said. "We are a tiny island; it's only a matter of time before China takes us over and integrates us."

    The outcome of the election could further complicate the position of Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's embattled chief executive. Critics say that she has failed to engage with the community over the protests and many have demanded she step down.

    On Monday, Mrs. Lam said in a statement that the government respected the results of the election. "Many have pointed out that the results reflect the public's dissatisfaction with the social situation and deep-seated problems," she said, adding that the government would "listen to the views of the public with an open mind and seriously reflect on them."

    In June, Mrs. Lam set off enormous protests by pushing ahead with a bill that would have allowed the extradition of Hong Kong residents to the opaque judicial system in mainland China. The issue played to deeper worries about Beijing's encroachment on Hong Kong, which has maintained its own political and judicial system since the former British colony was reclaimed by China in 1997.

    Mrs. Lam withdrew her proposal after months of protests, but many said she acted too late. The protesters are now demanding additional concessions, including the introduction of universal suffrage and an independent inquiry into police conduct. 

    The election results on Sunday will allow them to argue that the public supports them. About 57 percent of voters cast ballots for pro-democracy candidates, while nearly 40 percent voted for Beijing's allies. The remaining 3 percent voted for independents, who won five seats.

    Many pro-Beijing political parties receive large donations from the Hong Kong subsidiaries of state-owned enterprises in mainland China, which they use to organize picnics and other campaign events. But the results on Sunday showed the limits of these efforts.

    Reporting was contributed by K.K. Rebecca Lai in New York and Jin Wu and Katherine Li in Hong Kong.



    14)  Corruption Inquiry Spreads to U.A.W. Lakeside Resort

    A dozen union officials have been charged or convicted in a sprawling federal investigation.

    By Neal Boudette, November 25, 2019


    Rather than a showplace for the U.A.W., the union's Black Lake resort is a part of the union's financial difficulties.Credit....Neal E. Boudette/The New York Times

    ONAWAY, Mich. — The United Auto Workers union is based in Detroit, but its spiritual home lies 250 miles to the north, in a dense and remote forest on the shores of Black Lake.

    Here, 40 miles from the nearest Starbucks, the U.A.W. owns a spartan retreat known to few people outside the auto industry, though it opened nearly 50 years ago. Covering 1,000 acres, the gated compound includes cabins, lodges, a banquet hall and a recreation center with an Olympic-size swimming pool. An eternal flame marks the hilltop resting place of the ashes of Walter Reuther, who built the U.A.W. into one of the most powerful unions in the country in the 1950s and 1960s.

    This tranquil scene was disrupted in August when the F.B.I. raided the compound, seizing documents and records. The raid was the latest chapter in a yearslong Justice Department investigation into corruption at the union that has thrown the U.A.W. into turmoil and embroiled two of Detroit's Big Three automakers — Fiat Chrysler and General Motors

    The resort was one of a half-dozen locations government agents searched. The raids signaled that investigators were not done with their work, despite having charged or won convictions of a dozen union officials and three Fiat Chrysler executives.

    Last week, the U.A.W. president, Gary Jones, resigned as the union's executive board was preparing to remove him for the submission of false expense reports and using union money for personal gain. The U.A.W. said Mr. Jones had concealed the use of more than $1 million in union funds for luxury travel, extravagant dinners and purchases of high-price cigars, golf clubs and apparel for himself, his family and his lieutenants.

    What drew federal agents to Black Lake is not clear. But union members and labor experts have criticized the U..A.W.'s unusual decision to build a luxury lakeside cabin at the resort for the exclusive use of Mr. Jones's predecessor as president, Dennis Williams. Federal agents searched the cabin and separately raided a home owned by Mr. Williams in Corona, Calif. The union is reviewing other financial transactions for possible wrongdoing, and now plans to sell the cabin and the land that it sits on in a secluded corner of the retreat, said Brian Rothenberg, a U.A.W. spokesman. 

    The decision to sell the cabin was part of a set of reforms instituted by the acting president, Rory Gamble, after he took the helm from Mr. Jones. "Restoring the full faith and trust of our membership and protecting their interests is the top priority," Mr. Rothenberg said.

    The U.A.W. provided more modest, rustic cabins within the retreat complex for other previous retired presidents, and the union is considering ending that practice, too.

    Union members and supporters say it is particularly disappointing that the resort — formally called the Walter P. and May Reuther Family Education Center — has been pulled into the investigation. The union uses it as a place for members to study the past and plan for the future in training seminars and conferences.

    "Black Lake serves a critical purpose for the union," said Harley Shaiken, a labor relations professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who has attended and taught seminars at the retreat since the 1970s. "It's historically important for the union. It's meant to get people together to debate critical issues. It's a place of thinking and engaging."

    When the retreat opened in 1970, it was heralded for its timbered beams and spare Scandinavian design.

    Today, rather than a showplace for the U.A.W., Black Lake is a part of the union's financial difficulties. The union spends several million dollars a year to operate it — money that is classified as a loan to the subsidiary that operates Black Lake. In 2018, the accumulated debt amounted to more than $60 million.

    Anyone can book a stay there. During a recent overnight stay, I found it dated. Guest rooms feature few of the amenities found in modern hotels, like Wi-Fi and cable TV. Some hallways were marked by musty odors.. But a golf course the U.A.W. built just outside the retreat in 2000, at a cost of $6.7 million, is considered one of the best in Michigan.

    At the main gate, I was told only union-made vehicles were allowed on the grounds. I had to park my Volkswagen in a lot outside the perimeter. Some Chevrolets and Fords were parked there, too, because vehicles made in Mexico are not welcome, either.

    That week Black Lake was hosting about 150 workers for a weeklong seminar on the history of organized labor and the U.A.W. Any member is welcome to attend such courses. The union covers the cost and offsets the wages workers would have earned that week. Participants said they spent much of the day in lectures — instructors take attendance. One afternoon is set aside for recreation.

    When I visited, the large gymnasium with two full-size basketball courts and the pool were empty most of the day. Six pool tables remained untouched in a darkened room.

    These days, senior union officials often hold meetings in places like Orlando, Fla., Washington, D.C., and May, N.J. Before becoming the U.A.W. president in 2018, Mr. Jones ran a regional office in Hazelwood, Mo., and held annual conferences in Palm Springs, Calif. Court filings by federal prosecutors and an internal union complaint against Mr. Jones claim that he and other union officials booked luxury villas for four weeks or more, even though the Palm Springs conferences lasted less than a week.

    In raids at Mr. Jones's home and elsewhere, agents seized thousands of dollars in cash, hundreds of bottles of high-price liquor, hundreds of golf shirts, multiple sets of golf clubs and large quantities of cigars that had been billed to union accounts, according to court filings. One dinner described by prosecutors ran up a bill of $6,599.87 that included $1,760 for four bottles of Louis Roederer Cristal Champagne.

    A lawyer for Mr. Jones, J. Bruce Maffeo, said the suggestion that the conference expenses had been concealed "is without any basis in fact." Spending for the conferences in Palm Springs was "laid out in sufficient detail to the U.A.W. accounting department over a period of years."

    A close associate of Mr. Jones who helped organize the conferences in Palm Springs and has been charged by federal prosecutors, Vance Pearson, resigned from the U.A.W. on Sunday. The union had been taking steps to remove him from his post as a regional director.

    Back at the union's Black Lake resort, the stone and glass cabin for Mr. Williams, the former president, is in a fenced-off area more than a mile from the main complex. But it is accessible from the lake. Wading in to its shoreline, I found the home with picture windows facing the lake. According to the county planning office, the 1,885-square-foot residence has cherry cabinets, granite countertops, three-and-a-half baths and a stone patio.

    Mr. Reuther hoped the union would train future generations of leaders in the contemplative setting far from the toil of assembly lines. At one time, it had a day care center — Mr. Reuther imagined workers' families joining them on their retreats.

    He also hoped it would be a place where the U.A.W. could use its power to solve societal problems. The first event held at Black Lake was a conference on the environment that the union organized with the United Nations in the summer of 1970.

    Such was the U.A.W.'s reach that it could attract foreign government officials to Northern Michigan. But Mr. Reuther didn't attend the event. He died in a plane crash while traveling to Black Lake a few months earlier. 

    Shortly after the resort opened, the union waged a bitter strike against G.M., and it eventually prevailed, coming away with significant wage increases. The strike was tough on the union, which depleted its strike fund and went into debt, even mortgaging Black Lake to the Teamsters for a time.

    By the 1980s, the Big Three auto companies and the union were in a slow decline. Today, the U.A.W.'s membership has fallen to about 400,000, from as many as 1.5 million when Mr. Reuther ran it. But it still remains a potent force, recently winning higher wages and bonuses for G.M. workers after a 40-day strike.

    Around the time G.M. and Chrysler were in bankruptcy in 2009, the U.A.W. tried sell the resort, which was viewed as a luxury when thousands of workers were losing their jobs. But the union couldn't find a buyer.

    That's good news, said JoAn Matney, a retired autoworker from Toledo. "It's empowering and fun to go there," she said. "I definitely think they should keep it."



































    Working people are helping to feed the poor hungry corporations! 

    Charity for the Wealthy!


    Posted by: Bonnie Weinstein <bonnieweinstein@yahoo.com>
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