Register for Thursday, April 9th Virtual Conference



Dear Readers, this is a very important list of demands crafted by the group, Socialist Resurgence, that appears at the end of their statement on the COVID-19 pandemic. The article itself is quite long but the most comprehensive statement I've seen and well worth reading at the URL below. Please circulate widely.
—Bonnie Weinstein




A program of action and solidarity

Capitalism stands totally disgraced. Even amidst a global pandemic and the coming ecological collapse, the ruling class in every country is trying to save its own profits at the expense of humanity. Workers have nothing at all to gain from supporting the capitalists, their programs, or their parties. Instead, working people must put forward our own solutions to the crisis and struggle with every weapon we have to achieve them. We call for:

  • Centralized, international commissions of doctors and engineers to coordinate a global response to the pandemic!
  • Retool all non-essential production to provide medical and safety equipment and begin a massive build-out of green infrastructure!
  • No bans, no walls, amnesty for all immigrants and refugees, with full citizenship rights now!
  • Democratic decision-making carried out through public discussion on all restrictions of movement!
  • Free housing, food, and medical care throughout the crisis! Pay for it through the military budgets, with 100% tax on all income over $250,000!
  • Hazard pay of at least 200% for all workers and full implementation of workplace safety measures! Completely free child care now! Stop all foreclosures, freeze all rents and mortgages, and stop all evictions for the duration of this crisis!
  • Evacuate the prisons! Free all non-violent, immuno-compromised, and elderly prisoners, and provide quality housing!
  • Drastically increase funding for domestic violence resources and education! No one stuck in quarantine with an abuser!
  • Decrease hours without a decrease in pay for all who must work! All the necessities for those who are not working!
  • Abortion is an essential service! Free and safe access for all who need it!
  • Aid, not sanctions! Reparations for colonized countries now! Cancel all imperialist debt!
  • Removal of all imperialist troops from the neo-colonial world; re-assign them for immediate use in aid efforts!
  • No bailouts for big business or the banks! Nationalize production and finance under democratic workers’ control!



COVID Newsletter #2020-2 March 25, 2020

Migrants on Hunger Strike at the Laval Immigration Detention Centre: Act Now in Solidarity

Solidarity Across Borders, March 25, 2020

– Stay in touch! Look here for updates and renewed calls for support

Migrants detained at the Laval Immigration Detention Centre have launched an indefinite hunger strike to demand their release in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Around 30 men are currently being held on the men’s side of the detention centre. The ten hunger-strikers are refusing all meals, despite pressure from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to desist. Like other prisoners across Canada and around the world, they are demanding to be released for their own safety. Read their statement here.
We are joining the detainees to demand the immediate release of everyone currently detained, safe and decent housing for everyone released, and an end to new detentions!
Free them all!

Support the prisoners (see details and more background info below)

  • In Canada, call Ministers of Health and Public Safety (contacts and script below)
  • Everywhere, echo their demands on social media, alternative media and mainstream media by passing this message on, or by posting or writing articles demanding their release (background on migrant detention in Canada).


The 34 detainees are inmates of the Laval Immigration Prevention Centre, a prison where migrants are held if they don’t have identity documents, or if Canada wants to deport them and does not think they will comply. Detention is an important tool that Canada uses to keep its borders closed to colonized and racialized people from the global south, while continuing to exploit their labour and natural resources.
Afraid for their health, the prisoners in the migrant prison in Laval point out in their petition the high risks of being kept in a confined space. They are exposed to hundreds of guards, food workers, and health staff entering and leaving the facility every day.
Their demand comes as urgent calls for the release of prisoners multiply – in Quebec, across Canada and elsewhere – as a public health imperative. The pandemic has exposed how interrelated we all are in society, within and across borders, within and outside prison. It calls for solidarity with those who will be hit hardest – those already in the most precarious situations, such as detention.
Meanwhile, visits to the prison for migrants have been cancelled, leaving prisoners even more isolated. Detention is already a major source of psychological distress, especially for trauma survivors, in addition to poor nutrition and sleep, and limited access to healthcare. The lack of visits also poses a significant barrier to legal advice. Mandatory detention review hearings now take place by phone. Last week, CBSA announced that it was halting deportations for at least three weeks, but failed to address detention.
On Thursday, March 19th, the detainees issued a call in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their hand-written petition was sent to the Federal Minister of Public Safety, Federal Minister of Immigration, Prime Minister of Canada, the Federal and Quebec Ministers of Health, and international bodies such as the UNHCR. After a week of inaction on the part of government officials, detainees launched an indefinite hunger strike to demand their release.


  • Federal Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair
Telephone: 613-995-0284
Fax: 613-996-6309
  • Federal Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marco Mendocino
Telephone: 613-954-1064
Fax: 613-952-5533

What to say

– Ten migrant detainees at the Laval Immigration Detention Centre are on hunger strike to demand their release. The situation is urgent and demands immediate action to ensure their safety.
– Locking people inside this facility and taking away their freedom is unjustifiable to begin with, but to force people to remain inside in the midst of a pandemic is beyond unjust, it’s dangerous for everyone
– I am asking for the immediate release of everyone currently detained and decent and safe housing for all of the people who are released.
– I am also asking for an end to new detentions

Communiqué From Prisoners In The Laval Immigration Holding Centre: Hunger-Strike Until We Are Free (Laval, 24 March 2020)

Following the petition we wrote , which had little impact on our situation of detention, we have decided to move to the second phase of our plan. This is to go on an indefinite hunger strike, starting today. This will be done in the most peaceful way and we are not breaking any detention centre rules. Thank you for your support and all help is welcome.
*Petition to free the detainees, sent to Ministers of Immigration and Public Safety on 19 March 2020: We are currently detained at the Laval Immigration Holding Centre. Given the urgent situation of the propagation of the coronavirus, we believe that we are at high risk of contamination. Here in the detention centre we are in a confined space, every day we see the arrival of people, of immigrants, from everywhere, who have had no medical appointment nor any test to determine whether they are potential carriers of the virus. There is also the presence of security staff who are in contact with the external world every day and also have not had any testing. For these reasons we are writing this petition, to ask to be released."

#HungerStrikeLaval #FreeThemAll

Dear Folks,
This is the Kersplebedeb email list, normally devoted to telling you where and when you can buy books i distribute (and sometimes publish); only, all my tabling plans are obviously postponed indefinitely now.
I’m trying something new.
This list will be used proactively to share information about the current unfolding COVID-19 catastrophe, and the resulting political and economic turmoil. These won’t all be articles i agree with, but they will all be articles that i think are worth reading.
Good luck everyone, and stay safe
p.s. You can also see previous newsletters or other documents on COVID-19 on the Kersplebedeb website



We Sit Inside

by Caitlin Johnstone
We sit inside and wonder
what the hell is going on
and what the hell is going to happen.
How we're going to pay the bills
and how the store can still be out of fucking toilet paper.
What the government is hiding from us
and how they'll screw us over this time.
If we'll be okay when we get sick
or if we'll be one of those weird anomalies you read about online.
If those we live with will get bored of us
or if they already are.
If we're going to be okay.
If the world is going to be okay.
If maybe, just maybe,
out of all this chaos and confusion,
in some secret, safe, and sacred space,
something truly good might be birthed.
We sit inside and wonder.
We sit inside and wait
for the lockdown to end
and for the uncertainty to end.
For the latest disturbing news story
and the latest round of disturbing statistics.
For the delivery person
and the video chat ringtone.
For a family member to awaken from sleep
so we don't feel so alone and afraid.
To again hug our elderly loved ones
and to have block parties with our neighbors.
To again meet a set of eyes and smile warmly
at a stranger across the room in a public space.
For the earth to heal itself.
For humanity to heal itself.
For that primal sanity
which lies dormant in our cells
to finally awaken.
We sit inside and wait.
We sit inside and change
our old habits
and our old assumptions.
Our fear of stillness
and our fear of ourselves.
Our hearts
and our minds.
From restless
to rested.
From doing
to being.
From a posture of sprinting
to a posture of meditating.
From frenzied momentum
to the fan blades fully stopping.
From guardedness with our loved ones
to vulnerability and intimacy.
From war with the world
to peace with ourselves.
From an insane species in an awkward adolescence
to who knows what the hell comes next.
Our eyes crack open.
Our hearts crack open.
Our cells sprout leaves.
We sit inside and change.



To the initiators of the “Letter of 

Dissent”: Antiwar Commemoration of the

 Kent State Massacre, May 4, 2020

March 24, 2020

To the initiators of the “Letter of Dissent”

Dear Friends,

Much has happened since last September when we initiated the Open Letter Calling for an ANTI-WAR COMMEMORATION of the KENT MASSACRE, May 4, 2020.  It’s an entirely new world - and not the most copacetic of times.

Yet even in the midst of the unfolding social and economic crisis, it’s heartening to see an organic, working-class solidarity begin to emerge.  People are pitching in to help one another and are beginning to organize - demanding  that human needs come before corporate profits.

Ultimately, overcoming the ongoing disasters will require all of society’s means  – and for that we must dismantle the insatiable war machine and use those vast resources to heal the planet.  We must continue the fight to end US wars, occupations and sanctions

This letter goes out to the 59 original signers of the Letter of Dissent. Over 1000 additional antiwar activists have signed, making our initiative an authoritative statement from the antiwar community. 

The KSU administration refused to respond to our concerns, proceeding instead with a corporate, celebrity-filled program designed to cover up the truth of the massacres and the war. The university has now cancelled the official planned program. An online event is being developed, but it will undoubtedly have the same sanitized character.

As antiwar activists under quarantine, we cannot use traditional marches, pickets and rallies - we will need to create new forms of struggle.  That has already begun, with protests of empty shoes, spaced out picket lines, car caravans and internet actions. 

I’m writing to ask you to help form an online commemoration of the massacres at Kent, Augusta and Jackson.

We can encourage groups and individuals to initiate memorial events or include May ‘70 in other planned actions. Some sites already exist, notably the Kent State Truth Tribunal, which has carried on activities for years and created a large video collection of personal narratives about May 4.  They are here:  https://www.truthtribunal.org/about

For my part, using a previously established blog, there is now a temporary site for individuals to contribute written experiences from May 1970, the national student strike, the GI antiwar movement and similar antiwar experiences.

This is an open venue for anyone and everyone to help write our rich history.  You can share your stories on the Kent Massacre Wall (Click on Share Your Stories): https://kentmassacre.wordpress.com/author/mikealewitz/

Most importantly, this letter is also an invitation to help begin a new Facebook group, KENT MASSACRE ONLINE ANTIWAR COMMEMORATION – a place to post news of events, photos, articles, videos, comments and discussion related to the 50-year commemoration. Please join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2850853628362946/

Today’s social media discussions are focused on issues of staggering importance, such as the elections, pandemics and mass extinctions.  But the civil rights, labor, antiwar and other great movements of the past contain valuable lessons of how to fight and win. We need to spread the collective consciousness and history of the massacres, the national student strike and the antiwar movement. 

Humanity faces unprecedented challenges in the times ahead - but we know that the creative power of the working class is a mighty force when it is unleashed.

In Solidarity,
Mike Alewitz
 - - - - - - - - - -
A slightly altered version of this letter will go out to the 1000+ signers on the Change.org site: http://chng.it/QTLkTvX6


Professor Emeritus


Art Department / Mural ProgramCentral CT State University
1615 Stanley Street/ New Britain, CT  06050

Red Square
116 Federal Street
New London, CT  06320

Mobile: 860.518.4046




Chiapas: EZLN Closes Caracoles Due to 

Coronavirus and Calls on People to Continue Struggle


On March 16th, 2020, the EZLN published a communiqué about the actions that they are going to take against the Coronavirus and a strong call not to give up the struggle:











For more information in Spanish:
EZLN cierra sus centros de reunión, por COVID-19, Chiapasparalelo, 16 de marzo de 2020






Filling sails with warm breeze

The ship Capitali set to sea,

The crowd was cheering  

The vessel was glistening,
Golden nails its timbers fastening.

At the helm stood Captain Narcissus
The Realm’s one stable genius,
Waving he steered west,
On a voyage of conquest.

The moonlight lay over the sea,
By sunrise land was seen. 
After Capitali dropped anchor,
Narcissus went to reconnoiter. 

The Captain stepped onto the beach
And spied a diamond at his feet,
To the natives then he spoke:
“I am a civilized folk,
From a Great Realm come I to negotiate,
This diamond must be mine I so state
Golden glitter from my ship you may take.”

The natives agreed, then with great speed
Returned to his cabin and down on his knees,
A golden nail did he pry,
From floor boards inside.

The exchange then he did make
“I’m incredible” did Narcissus state.
With diamond the size of a fist,
He rowed to his ship through the mist.
From under his bed pulled a treasure chest
Tying rope from leg to chest he lay down to rest.

Many lands did they encounter
So many gems did he pilfer,
And many golden nails he did offer.
Admiring his gem filled chest on the floor
Narcissus said “this has never been done before!”
“”My success” said he, “you wouldn’t believe.”
Tying rope from leg to chest he lay down to sleep.

Returning to the Realm,
The Capitali hit a storm.
A mighty wave did strike the ship,
And timbers shuddered from tip to tip.
Narcissus awoke as the cabin floor split
The Treasure Chest then did fall fast,
Dragging the Captain down into the dark,
Smashing through the hull he shot down like a dart.

The ship drew on water,
The crew did scamper,
Over the side
They all did dive
Into the darkness-- to survive.

Nayvin Gordon 3/30/20





March 16, 2020, is the 20th Anniversary
of the killing in Atlanta that led to the unconscionable imprisonment of Jamil Al-Amin
About Jamil Al-Amin,
the former H. Rap Brown

March 16, 2020


H. Rap Brown
(now Jamil-Al-Amin)
I had first sent out this article below in 2018 about Jamil Al-Amin. Given this is the 20th anniversary of the March 16, 2000 killing of Atlanta Deputy Sheriff Ricky Kinchen, which led to accusations about Al-Amin as the killer, I am sending this out yet again. All of this insane case of accusations against Al-Amin, when Otis Jackson admitted to the killing, is, to me, an indication that the federal government has anxiously wanted to get profound and influential leaders, such as Martin Luther King and Malcolm X,  assassinated or, in Jamil Al-Amin's case, away from the masses by having him in prison. 

This is a partial update of his important history. But, to grasp the importance of his case, this early history is essential. There will be more updates, including about the recent Atlanta hearing in the court on his case and the subsequent legal decisions and considerations.

Being involved in the civil rights movement in the 'South', in the 1960s, means that you would know and/or hear about the great H. Rap Brown (now known as Jamil Al-Amin) in his early organizing work for justice, such as in Alabama. This was prior to his remarkable activism north of the Mason Dixon line. Yes, Brown and others were challenging Alabama's Governor George Wallace and the prevailing white supremacy that denied Blacks virtually everything in terms of what is referred to as democratic rights. The unjust and racist system was entrenched in the South and in the country as a whole, resulting in H. Rap Brown, along with his Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) colleagues, challenging it all.

The activism in the Brown family is and remains remarkable. H. Rap Brown's older brother, the late Ed Brown, was also engaged in every conceivable movement for justice across the South. Originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Ed was ultimately living in Atlanta where he served as the head of the Voter Education Project and other leadership roles. Throughout his on-going career, wherever there was an issue of injustice to be addressed, Ed Brown was there on the front lines, which included, of course, the South African anti-apartheid movement. He was a very dear friend of mine.

H. Rap Brown ultimately took the name of Jamil Al-Amin and, as a Muslim leader, was the influential Imam in Atlanta's West End where he consistently attempted, among other missions, to end the drug invasion in the West End community. Then, in 2000, as mentioned, the Atlanta Deputy Sheriff Ricky Kinchen was killed and Al-Amin was accused of this crime, yet, to repeat,  all the indications are that he was not the killer. In fact, as from the 'Fact Sheet' below, "Evidence that an individual, Otis Jackson, confessed to being the shooter on the evening of March 16, 2000, was never introduced at trial by the prosecution or defense-Otis Jackson continues to maintain that he was the assailant."

When Jamil Al-Amin was first in prison in Atlanta for this alleged crime, I visited him briefly along with Alabama attorney J.L. Chestnut. Chestnut had been defending Al-Amin for years while Al-Amin was engaged in the civil rights movement in Alabama. 

During the 2002 trial, that ended in the conviction of Jamil Al-Amin, we consistently held radio shows on WRFG-Atlanta, along with Al-Amin's brother Ed Brown, regarding updates of the trial and many of us, including myself, were observers in the courtroom. 
Al-Amin is now in the United States Prison (USP) in Tucson, Arizona where he is housed in the general population. He continues to declare his innocence.

In fact, tonight on WRFG-Atlanta (89.3FM) at 6 PM on the Just Peace program, that I host, along with co-producer Ernest Dunkley, we will interview one of Al-Amin's attorney's, Musa Dan-Fodio, along with Bilal Sunni Ali who is a long time colleague of Jamil Al-Amin. We will explore with them, the history of Jamil Al-Amin as well as an update of his on-going legal case.



Jamil Al-Amin

Imam Jamil Al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown, was sentenced to life without parole in the Georgia prison system. He became involved in the civil/human rights movement primarily in the southern part of the United States as early as 1962. As a result of his participation, speech-making, and subsequent election as Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), in May 1967, the United States government targeted him in its illegal surveillance and entrapment programs, specifically COINTELPRO, initiated by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.  
"We Protest the Violation of Imam Jamil's Basic Rights"
Ed Brown in the center wearing a white shirt - Photo: Heather Gray (2006)
During his earlier years, the United States government and its state and local branches charged and imprisoned him for counseling to arson, inciting to arson and riot, federal firearms violations, and bond violations. These charges were fabricated and unfounded. By 1968 while under house arrest, U.S. Congress members, and governors were calling for law enforcement to arrest him, and "slam the doors" of the prisons behind him. On April 11, 1968, the "Rap Brown" Federal Anti-Riot Act passed as an amendment to fair housing law. This law against dissent made it illegal to travel from one state to another, write a letter, make a telephone call, or speak n radio or television with the  "intent" to encourage any person to participate in a riot. By 1970, Imam Jamil was placed on the FBI's "10 Most Wanted List," simply for failing to appear for trial on the fabricated 'inciting to arson and riot' charges.

From 1971 until 1976, Imam Jamil was imprisoned in the State of New York on charges related to eradicating drug activity in African American communities. Upon his release, he relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, where he immediately began to establish and organize a Muslim community. He devoted years to traveling throughout the United States, the Sudan, Pakistan, India, the West Indies, and Saudi Arabia. He also served on boards of major Islamic organizations with a national and international agenda. After 24 years, he was arrested on March 20, 2000, and charged with the death of one and the assault of another Fulton County Georgia Sheriff's deputy.
The Case of Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin

Al-Amin with his son
In January 2002, the Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia summoned a jury pool of approximately 1500 residents of the county to be considered to serve as jurors in the case against Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. Charged with 13 counts, including the murder of one Fulton County sheriff's deputy and the wounding of another deputy on the evening of March 16, 2000, Imam Jamil retained a team of four attorneys to present his defense. The jury of nine African Americans, two Caucasians, and one Hispanic took less than 10 hours to reach its verdict in the three-week trial. The sentencing phase began on March 11, 2002, with relatives of the deputies reading victim impact statements. For three days, Imam Jamil's defense team called 20  character witnesses. On March 14, 2002, the same jury that found Imam Jamil guilty of all 13 counts of the indictment, pronounced the sentence of life without the possibility of parole on the murder and felony murder counts. In addition, the presiding judge imposed an additional 30 years to the sentence as punishment on the remaining 11 counts. 

The jury declined to pronounce the death penalty. Imam Jamil immediately was moved to Georgia's maximum security state prison in Reidsville, Georgia. He remained in Reidsville in a 23-hour involuntary lock-down until Georgia turned him over to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. On August 1, 2007, with no federal charges or convictions, Imam Jamil was moved to the Supermax ADMAX USP in Florence, Colorado.

Photo: Heather Gray (2006)
As a Georgia state prisoner, Imam Jamil was transferred into federal custody based on a March 1990 Agreement between Georgia and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP) to house an inmate for the state, Georgia turned Imam Jamil over to the FBOP after determining that Muslin Georgie inmates wanted him to serve as the Imam for all Georgia state inmates. The Department of Corrections, along with the FBI, maintained that this "solidarity movement" would be a "threat" to the security of the Georgia prison system. With the prompting of the FBI, Georgia conceded to the transfer, although Georgia maintained that it was not recommending any particular prison for Imam Jamil to be held.

Imam Jamil remained at the Florence ADX in solitary confinement for seven years. His status at Florence as a state prisoner prevented him from participating in the institution's step-down program. As a result, he remained in limbo while other federal inmates had the capability to work their way out of solitary confinement to another federal institution.  


Rally in support of Jamil Al-Amin in Atlanta, GA
Photo: Heather Gray (2006)
Imam Jamil continues to challenge his Georgia conviction. There is consensus that Imam Jamil was convicted well before the jury announced its verdict. Contradictions highlighted during the trial and comments made by the prosecution smacked at First Amendment rights. Moreover, Imam Jamil's history as a civil/human rights leader at the time of the trial spanned nearly 35 years of government surveillance and harassment. Additionally, before the trial ended, the trial judge ruled that the Imam's initial May 31, 1999 stop, search, and arrest by the Cobb County police officer indeed was an illegal and unjustified stop.

Supporters continue to raise the following issues that surfaced during the trial:

* Prosecution almost systematically eliminated older African American women who could have been expected to have some knowledge of the FBI's COINTELPRO program, which targeted African American leaders. 

* Deputies stated that one or even both deputies had shot the assailant.

* The surviving deputy was emphatic when describing the assailant as having grey eyes - Imam's eyes are brown.

 * The crime scene contained blood on the street and in a neighboring abandoned house, however, the blood was discounted.

* The deputies offered conflicting accounts of the description of the assailant and clothing worn - the description did not match the Imam.

* The testimony of 911 tapes confirming reports of a wounded person in the area of the Imam's store on the night of the shooting was not admitted into evidence.

* The Imam's fingerprints were not found on any firearm associated with the crime.

* Pieces of evidence relating to the sheriff's vehicle were either lost or destroyed prior to court proceedings.

*  FBI agent Ron Campbell who admitted to kicking and spitting on the Imam during the White Hall, Alabama arrest, escaped total scrutiny as to his role in the case; and local residents refuted the account of the U.S. Marshals who claimed the lmam shot at them in White Hall.

* Evidence that an individual, Otis Jackson, confessed to being the shooter on the evening of March 16, 2000, was never introduced at trial by the prosecution or defense-Otis Jackson continues to maintain that he was the assailant.

Imam Jamil's federal habeas addresses discrepancies as well as constitutional errors that occurred during the Georgia trial that resulted in his conviction. His federal appeal will continue, during 2018, before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, asserting among other issues that the prosecutor's closing argument and actions were not "harmless error," therefore, the conviction should be overturned.
Free Jamil Al-Amin
Photo: Heather Gray (2006)
In 2013, lmam Jamil became ill with a dental problem that ultimately caused two abscesses that the Florence FBOP ADX medical staff ignored. As a result of a major campaign by family members, human rights activists, organizations, supporters and ultimately Congressional reps, the Imam received tests that indicated the presence of a stage of multiple myeloma, cancer of the plasma cells, which required a bone marrow biopsy. After further public pressure urging the FBOP to stop the "execution by medical neglect" of the Imam, he was moved on July 15, 2014, from the Florence supermax prison to the federal Butner Medical Center, in North Carolina.

On July 23, 2014, at the Butner FMC, Imam Jamil received medical results that he had smoldering myeloma, an intermediate pre-cursor stage of multiple myeloma, which needed to be monitored. He was moved from Butner, in October 2014, to the USP Canaan federal prison, in Waymart, PA, where he was placed in the general population after 14 years of being subjected to administrative and solitary confinement.

Supporters continue to urge the FBOP to monitor the Imam's medical condition and to provide quality treatment at a facility in a warmer climate, Imam Jamil subsequently was moved, in December 2015, from Waymart to the USP, in Tucson, Arizona where he is housed in the general population. He continues to declare his innocence, and supporters are advocating for his return to a Georgia facility where he will be able to assist his legal team is appealing his conviction.

# # #

Questions and comments may be sent to info@freedomarchives.org

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Chelsea Manning Ordered Free From Prison

Chelsea Manning, photographed in Washington, D.C., in January 2018.
Photo: Jesse Dittmar/Redux





Coronavirus, Epidemics and Capitalism:

The Bugs Are in the System

Radical Women supports and recommends this thoughtful analysis of the novel coronavirus by our sister organization, the Freedom Socialist Party. The statement raises excellent demands to protect workers, women, the poor, and people of color being scapegoated for the crisis. 
Woman cleaning bus

Governments around the globe have had since December to prepare for the novel coronavirus. And while some countries have done better than others with their response, here in the U.S. the for-profit medical industry is practically ensuring that more people catch the virus and more die from it. As with other disasters and emergencies, capitalism makes things worse.

Billionaire White House occupant Donald Trump shot us all in the foot when he fired his pandemic response team in 2018. A year later, his administration scaled back the Centers for Disease Control’s pandemic prevention teams in several countries, including China. His 2021 budget proposal includes a 16% cut in the CDC’s budget, this after the department endured over a decade of budget cuts going back to the Obama administration. Now in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., Trump visited the CDC and asked, “Who would have thought?” (New York Times, 3/8/20).

Coronavirus has so far claimed more than 4,600 lives worldwide. Cases of people with COVID-19 have been confirmed in 114 countries, including the United States, with the disease reported in 42 states so far. Washington state is the initial epicenter with over 330 cases confirmed and possibly 1,000 or more undetected.

On one hand, there is a constant drumbeat from corporate media outlets that invites panic. On the other, elected leaders are too concerned with the economic disruption to take this threat seriously enough. Testing for the virus is a good example of this. Initial kits from the CDC were faulty and the agency was slow to remove senseless restrictions on who could be tested. In Washington state, the insurance commissioner directed insurance companies not to charge any co-pays for the tests — but those without insurance still have to pay. This guarantees greater suffering for homeless people and the lowest-paid and most marginalized workers, meaning women, immigrants and people of color.

And there are still shortages of test kits, letting the virus continue to spread. Congress passed an $8.3 billion anti-coronavirus spending package on March 4, which should buy more testing kits. But if a tenth of that money had been spent years ago developing a coordinated, international strategy of prevention we might not be in this fix. Not to mention Trump’s ridiculous revolving-door Cabinet that has included four different Secretaries of Health and Human Services and his appointment of Vice President Mike Pence as his coronavirus czar. Pence is famous for his slow response to an outbreak of the AIDS virus as governor of Indiana, a delay that caused it to spread far and wide.

Trump and his fellow far-right world leaders are using the virus as an excuse to double down on xenophobic nationalism, upping the rhetoric and shutting down borders. Racist bigots everywhere are following their example. Violence against Asian people has escalated, as witnessed in London and on a New York City subway last month. Asian-owned businesses across the U.S. have been shunned and hotels have turned away customers because of their race.

It doesn’t help matters that 24% of all U.S. workers and 58% of those in the service industry receive no paid sick leave. That leaves them to choose between being getting fired or potentially causing their co-workers and customers to fall ill. The Healthy Families Act would give everyone at least a week’s sick leave, but even if it becomes law it won’t be enough. Many serious illnesses are contagious for more than a week and many workers, especially women, need to care for sick family members.

Like other epidemics before it, coronavirus is a threat compounded by capitalist greed and callousness. As disease ecologist Peter Daszak recently put it, “Unprecedented road-building, deforestation, land clearing and agricultural development, as well as globalized travel and trade” make pandemics likelier than ever, especially when “between outbreaks, the will to spend money on prevention wanes.” Global warming and nuclear proliferation have shown that capitalists will always trade tomorrow’s welfare for today’s dollar if we let them.

Now is the time to mobilize our unions and community organizations, along with small businesses to insist on immediate and effective action to protect public health.

To address this crisis, the Freedom Socialist Party raises these demands:
  • A universal, free, nonprofit, nationalized medical industry, including pharmaceuticals, managed by healthcare workers and patients
  • Free testing, treatment and vaccines
  • International cooperation on the virus treatment and vaccine research; outlaw profit-making from the crisis
  • Unlimited paid sick leave for all workers, with government assistance as necessary plus full compensation for lost wages due to closures or quarantines
  • Free laptops and Wi-Fi at home and free lunch programs for all students when schools close; free childcare for parents who have to work
  • Emergency financial assistance for small businesses hurt by the epidemic, including subsidies for paid sick leave
  • Increase public and private staffing levels to perform the intensified cleaning required
  • Train all at-risk workers and provide proper protective equipment
  • Stop the racist scapegoating of Chinese and all Asian and immigrant communities
  • No abridgement of civil liberties
  • Redirect military spending and border wall funding to coronavirus response, prevention and cure

You can find fiery Radical Women writings on the RW webpage. Learn more about RW through The Radical Women Manifesto, an exhilarating exploration of Marxist feminist theory and organizing methods. Buy a copy or read it on Google Books.
Donations are appreciated! As a grassroots group, Radical Women is sustained by support from people like you. Please contribute online or mail a check, payable to Radical Women, National Office 5018 Rainier Ave S Seattle, WA 98118 USA.

Check out the Freedom Socialist newspaper, a bi-monthly socialist feminist newspaper with news and analysis from around the globe. It also features book reviews, irreverent political cartoons, movement news and letters-to-the-editor. You can read or listen to articles online. Subscribe online or send $10 for one year or $17 for two to Freedom Socialist, 5018 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle WA 98118. (Students $8 for one year, strikers and unemployed $5.)

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Friday post   Hate%2BSocialism



The American way of life was designed by white supremacists in favor patriarchal white supremacy, who have had at least a 400 year head start accumulating wealth, out of generations filled with blood sweat and tears of oppressed people. The same people who are still on the front lines and in the crosshairs of patriarchal white-supremacist capitalism today. There's no such thing as equality without a united revolutionary front to dismantle capitalism and design a worldwide socialist society.

—Johnny Gould

(Follow @tandino415 on Instagram)






National Solidarity Events to Amplify Prisoners Human Rights 


To all in solidarity with the Prisoners Human Rights Movement:

We are reaching out to those that have been amplifying our voices in these state, federal, or immigration jails and prisons, and to allies that uplifted the national prison strike demands in 2018. We call on you again to organize the communities from August 21st - September 9th, 2020, by hosting actions, events, and demonstrations that call for prisoner human rights and the end to prison slavery.

We must remind the people and legal powers in this nation that prisoners' human rights are a priority. If we aren't moving forward, we're moving backward. For those of us in chains, backward is not an option. We have nothing to lose but our chains.

Some people claim that prisoners' human rights have advanced since the last national prison strike in 2018. We strongly disagree. But due to prisoners organizing inside and allies organizing beyond the walls, solidarity with our movement has increased. The only reason we hear conversations referencing prison reforms in every political campaign today is because of the work of prison organizers and our allies! But as organizers in prisons, we understand this is not enough. Just as quickly as we've gained ground, others are already funding projects and talking points to set back those advances. Our only way to hold our ground while moving forward is to remind people where we are and where we are headed.

On August 21 - September 9, we call on everyone in solidarity with us to organize an action, a panel discussion, a rally, an art event, a film screening, or another kind of demonstration to promote prisoners' human rights. Whatever is within your ability, we ask that you shake the nation out of any fog they may be in about prisoners' human rights and the criminal legal system (legalized enslavement).

During these solidarity events, we request that organizers amplify immediate issues prisoners in your state face, the demands from the National Prison Strike of 2018, and uplift Jailhouse Lawyers Speak new International Law Project.

We've started the International Law Project to engage the international community with a formal complaint about human rights abuses in U.S. prisons. This project will seek prisoners' testimonials from across the country to establish a case against the United States Prison Industrial Slave Complex on international human rights grounds.

Presently working on this legally is the National Lawyers Guild's Prisoners Rights Committee, and another attorney, Anne Labarbera. Members of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), Fight Toxic Prisons (FTP), and I am We Prisoners Advocacy Network/Millions For Prisoners are also working to support these efforts. The National Lawyers Guild Prisoners' Rights Committee (Jenipher R. Jones, Esq. and Audrey Bomse) will be taking the lead on this project.

The National Prison Strike Demands of 2018 have not changed.. As reflected publicly by the recent deaths of Mississippi prisoners, the crisis in this nation's prisons persist. Mississippi prisons are on national display at the moment of this writing, and we know shortly afterward there will be another Parchman in another state with the same issues. The U.S. has demonstrated a reckless disregard for human lives in cages.

The prison strike demands were drafted as a path to alleviate the dehumanizing process and conditions people are subjected to while going through this nation's judicial system. Following up on these demands communicates to the world that prisoners are heard and that prisoners' human rights are a priority.

In the spirit of Attica, will you be in the fight to dismantle the prison industrial slave complex by pushing agendas that will shut down jails and prisons like Rikers Island or Attica? Read the Attica Rebellion demands and read the National Prison Strike 2018 demands. Ask yourself what can you do to see the 2018 National Prison Strike demands through.


We rage with George Jackson's "Blood in my eyes" and move in the spirit of the Attica Rebellion!

August 21st - September 9th, 2020


Dare to struggle, Dare to win!

We are--

"Jailhouse Lawyers Speak"  


PRISON STRIKE DEMANDS:  https://jailhouselawyerspeak.wordpress.com/2020/02/11/prisoners-national-demands-for-human-rights/  



Courage to Resist
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559
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Presidential candidate Gloria La Riva denounces Trump's new Iran sanctions
La Riva speaking on human impact of U.S. Sanctions
Campaign tweet of La Riva at anti-war protest speaking on the human impact of U..S. sanctions
"Sanctions are a silent killer that have already had devastating effects in Iraq and Iran. I denounce Mike Pompeo's and Steven Mnuchin's announcement of more sanctions on Iran, which are solely intended to create suffering on the Iranian people," said Gloria La Riva, 2020 presidential candidate and longtime anti-war activist. "It is clear that the Trump administration is not backing down from its belligerence. In fact, Trump is forcefully pursuing further confrontation, and is all the more reason for us to remain mobilized against a new war on Iran." Join the Sat. Jan. 25 – Global Day of Protest – No War On Iran! "Sanctions are an act of war," she continued, "I traveled three times to Iraq during the 1990's when the United States government imposed a total blockade of the country for more than 12 years. I witnessed the human toll, thousands of people dying every month from the blocking of food, medicine, and infrastructure materials after the 78-day U.S... military bombing of 1991." La Riva produced the 1998 award-winning documentary, Genocide by Sanctions: The Case of Iraq, based on her investigative work there... "And now President Trump, via executive order, is virtually tightening a noose on Iran." In the Friday address Treasury Secretary Mnuchin announced that Trump's sanctions included penalties that would be applied to any individual or governments trading with or involved with Iranian construction, manufacturing, textiles or mining industries. "Sanctions are designed to destabilize a country's society, they are part of a larger war drive," La Riva said. "They hit the most vulnerable people first, the sick, young children, elderly and the poor because they lose access to necessary items. In Iran the prices of potatoes have already increased over 300% from previous sanctions. The costs of rice and chicken and many other goods have gone up.......... The point of sanctions is to create suffering—with these kinds of acts it is no wonder Iran and the Iraqi Parliament have called for the expulsion of the U..S. military from the region. "There is no justification for these sanctions. In fact United Nations resolutions state that there is no justification for policies that target a whole population.... Such an act of aggression is recognized as genocide." Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that Iranian general Qassem Soleimani was behind imminent threats to Americans but when asked for specifics, he only cited the death of a U.S.. contractor killed in Iraq. However, that was weeks prior to the killing of Soleimani. La Riva said, "by logic and definition a past occurrence does not constitute not an imminent threat. What we know instead is that with Trump's abrogation of the JCPOA, he embarked a while ago on an offensive that the people of the United States and worldwide are extremely worried about.." La Riva has been in the streets of San Francisco with thousands of other people demanding No New War on Iran.... She is running nationally for the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and in California she is seeking the Peace and Freedom Party nomination. Her vice-presidential candidate is Leonard Peltier, Native political prisoner unjustly held in federal prison now for 43 years. Point five of La Riva's Presidential 10 Point Program reads, "Shut down all U.S. military bases around the world—bring all the troops, planes & ships home... U...S. foreign policy uses the pretext of national security to enforce the imperialist interests of the biggest banks and corporations... That is what is behind the endless wars and occupations. Use the $1 trillion military budget instead to provide for people's needs here and worldwide. Abolish nuclear weapons... Stop U.S. aid to Israel. Self-determination for the Palestinian people, including the right of return. End the U.S.. blockade of Cuba and sanctions against Venezuela, Iran and all countries...... Independence for Puerto Rico and cancel its debt!"
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Questions? Comments? Contact us. This email was sent to caroleseligman@sbcglobal.net. To stop receiving emails, click here. Created with NationBuilder, the essential toolkit for leaders.

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La Riva / Peltier 2020 Campaign
10-Point Program
10 Point Program                              
The 10-Point Program of the La Riva/Peltier 2020 Campaign is a fighting program that represents the interests and needs of the vast majority of people of the United States and extends international solidarity to the peoples of the world. Our campaign will reach to every corner of the U.S. with the message that only socialism can solve the crises of climate change, racism, poverty and war. It will take a people's movement for real, lasting and sustainable change. We hope you will join us! Donate to our campaign today!
★ 1 | Make the essentials of life constitutional rights The U.....S. has more than enough so that all the essentials of life — food, housing, water, education, health care and a job or basic income can be guaranteed rights — rather than distributed only for profit. Create a completely free and public healthcare system.. Make education free—cancel all student debt. Fully fund rebuilding of the infrastructure in transport, water and utility systems... Stop all foreclosures and evictions. End all discrimination based on ability/disability.
★ 2 | For the Earth to live, capitalism must be replaced by a socialist system Global warming, pollution, acidified and depleted oceans, fracking, critical drought, plastics choking the seas, nuclear weapons and waste — it is clear that capitalism and production for profit are destroying the planet and threatening all life.. The crisis is already here, with the most vulnerable and oppressed areas of the U.S.. and Global South bearing the brunt. Using truly sustainable energy and seizing the oil and coal companies to stop fossil fuel pollution, are urgent steps needed to reverse climate change.. Ultimately, only the socialist reorganization of society can assure the future of the people and the planet.
★ 3 | End racism, police brutality, mass incarceration. Pay reparations to the African American community Mass incarceration and racist policing are symptomatic of the 400 years of brutal repression meted out to African-descended peoples in the U.S. Reparations must be paid! More than 2....2 million people are behind bars in the largest prison complex in the world. End mass incarceration of all oppressed and working-class people. Fully prosecute all acts of police brutality and violence. Free Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu-Jamal and all political prisoners!
★ 4 | Full rights for all immigrants Abolish all anti-immigrant laws. Stop the raids and deportations and demonization of immigrants......... Shut down ICE and the concentration camps and reunite families.. The government's war on immigrants must end. The border wall must be dismantled. Amnesty and citizenship for those without documents... Full rights for all!
★ 5 | Shut down all U.S.. military bases around the world—bring all the troops, planes & ships home U.S. foreign policy uses the pretext of national security to enforce the imperialist interests of the biggest banks and corporations... That is what is behind the endless wars and occupations. Use the $1 trillion military budget instead to provide for people's needs here and worldwide. Abolish nuclear weapons... Stop U....S... aid to Israel.. Self-determination for the Palestinian people, including the right of return. End the U.S. blockade of Cuba and sanctions against Venezuela, Iran and all countries.. Independence for Puerto Rico and cancel its debt!
★ 6 | Honor Native treaties... Free Leonard Peltier now Both major parties have continued to allow the destruction and theft of Native lands by mining and corporate agricultural interests in blatant disregard of indigenous sovereign rights.. 33% of Native children live in poverty and many of the poorest U..S... counties are reservations..... The crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and the over-incarceration of Native peoples shows the bankruptcy of capitalism from its earliest inception in the Americas until today..
★ 7 | Full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people Fight back against anti-LGBTQ discrimination and violence.... Defend marriage equality. Full equality in all matters governed by civil law, including employment, housing, healthcare and education.. No to "religious exemption" laws that allow discrimination against LGBTQ people!
★ 8 | Equality for women and free, safe, legal abortion on demand Stop the attack on women's reproductive rights and defend Roe v. Wade... Women must have the fundamental right to choose and to control their own bodies. Women still earn 22 percent less than men, and the gap is even more severe for Black and Latina women.. Close the wage gap and end the gender division of labor......
★ 9 | Defend and expand our unions Support the right of all workers to have a union. Fight back against the attacks on collective bargaining...... Require employers to recognize card check union votes. Repeal the Taft-Hartley Act. Focusing on low-wage worker organizing, rebuild a fighting labor movement.
★ 10 | Take over the stolen wealth of the giant banks and corporations – Jail Wall St.. criminals The vast wealth of the giant banks and corporations is created by workers labor and the exploitation of the world's diminishing natural resources. The billionaires looted and destroyed the economy. It is time to seize their assets and use those resources in the interests of the vast majority. Power must be taken out of the hands of the super rich, and Wall Street criminals must be jailed.
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Stop Kevin Cooper's Abuse by San Quentin Prison Guards!

https://www.change.org/p/san-quentin-warden-ronald-davis-stop-kevin-cooper-s-abuse-by-san-quentin-prison-guards-2ace89a7-a13e-44ab-b70c-c18acbbfeb59?recruiter=747387046&recruited_by_id=3ea6ecd0-69ba-11e7-b7ef-51d8e2da53ef&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=petition_dashboard&use_react=false puTHCIdZoZCFjjb-800x450-noPad 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



Eddie Conway's Update on Forgotten Political Prisoners

November 19, 2019


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.....



Letters of support for clemency needed for Reality Winner 

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 SIGN THE LETTER 

Support Reality Podcast: "Veterans need to tell their stories" – Dan Shea 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 ... DONATE NOW 
to support these podcasts

COURAGE TO RESIST ~ SUPPORT THE TROOPS WHO REFUSE TO FIGHT! 484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559 www.....................couragetoresist..org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist 



Mobilization4MumiaM4B4NPhPzWJt87DARVR5-kdDE-Zg2kjzd9P8nMAFdnq1BkTLxJK1Xa51LKuxjKkeEz-kux6VKGqePHOFaWubSaquw7k5tBjwuV6BgOokFROdNa14U07z2Ec-zMrrLptAlmM8JoO4215-724-1618 Mobilizatio4Mumia.com   mobilization4mumia@gmail.com PRESS RELEASE Contact Sophia Williams 917-806-0521, Ted Kelly 610-715-6924 or Joe Piette 610-931-2615
Philadelphia, Jan. 30 - Mumia Abu-Jamal has always insisted on his innocence in the death of police officer Daniel Faulkner, blaming police, judicial and prosecutorial misconduct for his politically-tainted conviction. Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner is expected to announce his response this week to the legal briefs for Post Conviction Relief Act hearings and the request to remand Abu-Jamal's case back to Common Pleas court, filed by his attorneys in early September 2019. Abu-Jamal's supporters will rally outside DA Krasner's office at 4:30 on Friday, January 31, whether or not he challenges Mumia's appeals. We call for Mumia's release...
Recent exonerations of 10 Philadelphia residents unfairly convicted for crimes they did not commit reveal a simple truth - the Philadelphia police, courts and prosecutors convicted innocent Black men based on gross violations of their constitutional rights. The same patterns of constitutional violations plague the case of Abu-Jamal. Since Jan. 2018, Sherman McCoy, James Frazier, Dwayne Thorpe, Terrance Lewis, Jamaal Simmons, Dontia Patterson, John Miller, Willie Veasey, Johnny Berry and Chester Holmann III have all been exonerated by DA Larry Krasner's Conviction Integrity Unit.  Philadelphia is not alone. The National Registry of Exonerations counted 165 exonerations last year. The registry has tallied 2,500 wrongful convictions since 1989, costing defendants more than 22,000 years of incarceration. Seven of the ten men released in Philadelphia were convicted by longtime district attorney Lynne Abraham, a "tough-on-crime" prosecutor who regularly sought maximum punishments and death spentences. Abraham as Common Pleas Court Judge arraigned Abu-Jamal in 1981and years later as District Attorney fought his post conviction relief hearings... Ineffective counsel, false witness testimony, witness coercion and intimidation, phony ballistics evidence, prosecution failure to turn over evidence to the defense as required by law, racist jury selections -- these and other legal errors led to the exoneration of these innocent defendants after decades in prison.. These are the same police, judicial and prosecutorial misconduct practices Abu-Jamal's attorneys and supporters have been citing since 1982. In the late 1970s and early 80s, Abu-Jamal was a daily radio reporter for WHYY and NPR who earned acclaim for his award-winning reporting. As a journalist who reported fairly on the MOVE organization's resistance against state repression, he drew the ire of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police and the notoriously racist Police Commissioner and later Mayor Frank Rizzo. On Dec. 9, 1981, while driving a cab to supplement his income, Abu-Jamal happened upon his brother in an altercation with Faulkner. Faulkner was killed. Abu-Jamal, who was shot and severely beaten by police, was charged in Faulkner's death, even though witnesses reported seeing another man, most probably the passenger in Abu-Jamal's brother's car, running from the scene. Imprisoned for nearly four decades, Abu-Jamal has maintained his innocence. He successfully won his release from Pennsylvania's death row in 2011.. In December 2018 he won the right to appeal his 1982 conviction because of biased judicial oversight by PA Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille In early January 2019, DA Krasner reported finding six boxes of previously undisclosed evidence held by prosecutors in the case and allowed Abu-Jamal's attorneys to review the files. In September 2019 Abu-Jamal's lawyers filed new appellate briefs, including a request that the case be returned for a hearing before the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court based on finding of concrete evidence of prosecutorial misconduct by the DA's office in his 1982 trial. A Sept.. 9, 2019 Abu-Jamal's attorneys Judith Ritter and Sam Spital filed a brief in PA Superior Court to support his claim that his 1982 trial was fundamentally unfair and violated the Constitution. They argue the prosecution failed to disclose evidence as required and discriminated against African Americans when selecting the jury. And, his 1982 lawyer did not adequately challenge the State's witnesses.                                                                                               The attorneys also filed a motion revealing 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. Attorney Ritter contends that the new evidence shows Abu-Jamal's trial was "fundamentally unfair and tainted by serious constitutional violations." https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZgI0jvcWY5soAh_DXKdNnJJZSY0HEftuRwthQMurgd8/edit?usp=sharing



Mumia Abu-Jamal: New Chance for Freedom

Police and State Frame-Up Must Be Fully Exposed!

Mumia Abu-Jamal is innocent. Courts have ignored and suppressed evidence of his innocence for decades.... But now, one court has thrown out all the decisions of the PA Supreme Court that denied Mumia's appeals against his unjust conviction during the years of 1998 to 2012! 

This ruling, by Judge Leon Tucker, was made because one judge on the PA Supreme Court during those years, Ronald Castille, was lacking the "appearance of impartiality." In plain English, he was clearly biased against Mumia. Before sitting on the PA Supreme Court, Castille had been District Attorney (or assistant DA) during the time of Mumia's frame-up and conviction, and had used his office to express a special interest in pursuing the death penalty for "cop-killers." Mumia was in the cross-hairs. Soon he was wrongly convicted and sent to death row for killing a police officer.....

*     *     *     *     *

Mumia Abu-Jamal is an award-winning and intrepid journalist, a former Black Panther, MOVE supporter, and a critic of police brutality and murder.  Mumia was framed by police, prosecutors, and leading elements of both Democratic and Republican parties, for the shooting of a police officer.. The US Justice Department targeted him as well... A racist judge helped convict him, and corrupt courts have kept him locked up despite much evidence that should have freed him. He continues his commentary and journalism from behind bars. As of 2019, he has been imprisoned for 37 years for a crime he did not commit. 

Time is up! FREE MUMIA NOW!

*     *     *     *     *

DA's Hidden Files Show Frame-Up of Mumia

In the midst of Mumia's fight for his right to challenge the state Supreme Court's negative rulings, a new twist was revealed: six boxes of files on Mumia's case--with many more still hidden--were surreptitiously concealed for decades in a back room at the District Attorney's office in Philadelphia. The very fact that these files on Mumia's case were hidden away for decades is damning in the extreme, and their revelations confirm what we have known for decades: Mumia was framed for a crime he did not commit!

So far, the newly revealed evidence confirms that, at the time of Mumia's 1982 trial, chief prosecutor Joe McGill illegally removed black jurors from the jury, violating the Batson decision. Also revealed: The prosecution bribed witnesses into testifying that they saw Mumia shoot the slain police officer when they hadn't seen any such thing.... Taxi driver Robert Chobert, who was on probation for fire-bombing a school yard at the time, had sent a letter demanding his money for lying on the stand....... Very important, but the newly revealed evidence is just the tip of the iceberg! 

All Evidence of Mumia's Innocence Must Be Brought Forward Now!

Mumia Abu-Jamal's trial for the murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner was rigged against him from beginning to end........ All of the evidence of Mumia's innocence--which was earlier suppressed or rejected--must now be heard:

• Mumia was framed - The judge at Mumia's trial, Albert Sabo, was overheard to say, "I'm gonna help 'em fry the n____r." And he proceeded to do just that.... Mumia was thrown out of his own trial for defending himself! Prosecution "witnesses" were coerced or bribed at trial to lie against Mumia.. In addition to Chobert, this included key witness Cynthia White, a prostitute who testified that she saw Mumia shoot Faulkner... White's statements had to be rewritten under intense pressure from the cops, because she was around the corner and out of sight of the shooting at the time! Police bribed her with promises of being allowed to work her corner, and not sent to state prison for her many prostitution charges.

• Mumia only arrived on the scene after Officer Faulkner was shot - William Singletary, a tow-truck business owner who had no reason to lie against the police, said he had been on the scene the whole time, that Mumia was not the shooter, and that Mumia had arrived only after the shooting of Faulkner. Singletary's statements were torn up, his business was wrecked, and he was threatened by police to be out of town for the trial (which, unfortunately, he was)...

• There is no evidence that Mumia fired a gun - Mumia was shot on the scene by an arriving police officer and arrested. But the cops did not test his hands for gun-powder residue--a standard procedure in shootings! They also did not test Faulkner's hands. The prosecution nevertheless claimed Mumia was the shooter, and that he was shot by Faulkner as the officer fell to the ground. Ballistics evidence was corrupted to falsely show that Mumia's gun was the murder weapon, when his gun was reportedly still in his taxi cab, which was in police custody days after the shooting!

• The real shooter fled the scene and was never charged - Veronica Jones was a witness who said that after hearing the shots from a block away, she had seen two people fleeing the scene of the shooting.... This could not have included Mumia, who had been shot and almost killed at the scene. Jones was threatened by the police with arrest and loss of custody of her children. She then lied on the stand at trial to say she had seen no one running away. 

• Abu-Jamal never made a confession - Mumia has always maintained his innocence. But police twice concocted confessions that Mumia never made. Inspector Alfonso Giordano, the senior officer at the crime scene, made up a confession for Mumia. But Giordano was not allowed to testify at trial, because he was top on the FBI's list of corrupt cops in the Philadelphia police force... At the DA's request, another cop handily provided a second "confession," allegedly heard by a security guard in the hospital......... But at neither time was Mumia--almost fatally shot--able to speak.. And an earlier police report by cops in the hospital said that, referring to Mumia: "the negro male made no comment"!

• The crime scene was tampered with by police - Police officers at the scene rearranged some evidence, and handled what was alleged to be Mumia's gun with their bare hands... A journalist's photos revealed this misconduct. The cops then left the scene unattended for hours.. All of this indicates a frame-up in progress....

• The real shooter confessed, and revealed the reason for the crime - Arnold Beverly came forward in the 1990s. He said in a sworn statement, under penalty of perjury, that he, not Mumia, had been the actual shooter. He said that he, along with "another guy," had been hired to do the hit, because Faulkner was "a problem for the mob and corrupt policemen because he interfered with the graft and payoffs made to allow illegal activity including prostitution, gambling, drugs without prosecution in the center city area"! (affidavit of Arnold Beverly).

• The corruption of Philadelphia police is documented and well known - This includes that of Giordano, who was the first cop to manufacture a "confession" by Mumia... Meanwhile, Faulkner's cooperation with the federal anti-corruption investigations of Philadelphia police is strongly suggested by his lengthy and heavily redacted FBI file......

• Do cops kill other cops? There are other cases in Philadelphia that look that way. Frank Serpico, an NYC cop who investigated and reported on police corruption, was abandoned by fellow cops after being shot in a drug bust. Mumia was clearly made a scape-goat for the crimes of corrupt Philadelphia cops who were protecting their ill-gotten gains.

• Politicians and US DOJ helped the frame-up - Ed Rendell, former DA, PA governor, and head of the Democratic National Committee--and now a senior advisor to crime-bill author Joe Biden--is complicit in the frame-up of Mumia. The US Justice Department targeted Mumia for his anti-racist activities when he was a teenager, and later secretly warned then-prosecutor Rendell not to use Giordano as a witness against Mumia because he was an FBI target for corruption..

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All this should lead to an immediate freeing of Mumia! But we are still a ways away from that, and we have no confidence in the capitalist courts to finish the job. We must act! This victory in local court allowing new appeals must now lead to a full-court press on all the rejected and suppressed evidence of Mumia's innocence!

Mass Movement Needed To Free Mumia! 

Mumia's persecution by local, state and federal authorities of both political parties has been on-going, and has generated a world-wide movement in his defense... This movement has seen that Mumia, as a radio journalist who exposed the brutal attacks on the black community by the police in Philadelphia, has spoken out as a defender of working people of all colors and all nationalities in his ongoing commentaries (now on KPFA/Pacifica radio), despite being on death row, and now while serving life without the possibility of parole (LWOP)...

In 1999, Oakland Teachers for Mumia held unauthorized teach-ins in Oakland schools on Mumia and the death penalty, despite the rabid hysteria in the bourgeois media. Teachers in Rio de Janeiro held similar actions. Letters of support came in from maritime workers and trade unions around the world.. Later in 1999, longshore workers shut down all the ports on the West Coast to free Mumia, and led a mass march of 25,000 Mumia supporters in San Francisco................ 

A year later, a federal court lifted Mumia's death sentence, based on improper instructions to the jury by trial judge Albert Sabo.. The federal court ordered the local court to hold a new sentencing hearing... Fearing their frame-up of Mumia could be revealed in any new hearing, even if only on sentencing, state officials passed. Much to the chagrin of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP)--which still seeks Mumia's death--this left Mumia with LWOP, death by life in prison.. 

Mumia supporters waged a struggle to get him the cure for the deadly Hepatitis-C virus, which he had likely contracted through a blood transfusion in hospital after he was shot by a cop at the 1981 crime scene. The Labor Action Committee conducted demonstrations against Gilead Sciences, the Foster City CA corporation that owns the cure, and charged $1,000 per pill! The Metalworkers Union of South Africa wrote a letter excoriating Governor Wolf for allowing untreated sick freedom fighters to die in prison as the apartheid government had done. Finally, Mumia did get the cure.. Now, more than ever, struggle is needed to free Mumia!

Now is the Time: Mobilize Again for Mumia's Freedom!

Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal


Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal | Mumia Abu-Jamal is an I.....

November 2019
"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



50 years in prison:  ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!! 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, CSP-LAC P.O. Box 4490 B-4-150 Lancaster, CA 93539 -- Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863...................9977 https://freedomarchives.org/



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 150bb949-a203-4101-a307-e2c8bf5391b6 
Take action now to support Jalil A. Muntaqim's release
63cefff3-ac06-4c55-bdf9-b0ee1d2ce336 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. 
Write: 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: ANTHONY JALIL BOTTOM, 77A4283, Sullivan Correctional Facility, P.O. Box 116, Fallsburg, New York 12733-0116



Funds for Kevin Cooper

https://www.gofundme.....com/funds-for-kevin-cooper?member=1994108 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.....  Sign now! 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. Sign now! [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/ Sign this petitionhttps://internal.diem25.....org/en/petitions/1 



Words of Wisdom LouisRobinsonJr77yrsold 

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.........] https://www.......nytimes.com/interactive/2019/05/01/magazine/lordstown-general-motors-plant...html


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 Email:  exec.director@tdcj.texas.....gov Senior Warden Philip Sinfuentes (McConnell Unit) Phone: (361) 362-2300



1) Creating the Next Pandemic:
It Was Never a Question of If, But When

(member, editorial board of The Organizer newspaper)
 Please distribute widely! 

“We, at the World Health Organization [WHO] think that the world is now in the greatest possible danger of a pandemic,” stated Dr. Takeshi Kasai, the WHO’s Western Pacific Regional Director on Feb. 23, 2005 at a three-day Avian Bird Flu Conference in Ho Chi Minh City. The Avian Bird Flu – H5N1, the WHO concluded, was much more lethal than the strain found in Hong Kong in 1997. “There is an increasing risk of the spread of the avian flu influenza,” Dr. Kasai warned, “that no poultry-keeping country can ignore.”

Two days earlier, at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Julie Gerberding, then-director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States stressed: “Scientists believe that it is highly likely that the avian flu virus that has spread through bird populations in Asia will evolve into a pathogen that was deadly to humans. The reason that it is so ominous,” she explained, “is that this new strain is one to which the human population has no immunity.”

Both the CDC and the WHO urged governments to prepare for a pandemic that could kill multi-millions as had prior ones throughout the modern era.

More Deaths Than From Weapons of War

1918-1919: The H1 virus had been first reported in Canton, China but became known commonly as the Spanish flu because of the extensive reporting by journalists in Spain. There were three waves of this influenza epidemic. The second wave in late August 1918 was the most lethal, but a third wave emerged in March and April 1919. Schools and factories were closed as over half the world’s population became sick with the flu — 1 billion people out of the world population at the time of 1.7 billion. As many as 40 million to 50 million people died – 4% of those stricken with the disease. More soldiers who served in World War I died from the H1 virus than from weapons of war. The number dead surpassed the number who died from the Black Death (Bubonic Plague) during the Middle Ages. 

February 1957: A second pandemic developed with a bird virus origin. This was H2, the Asian Flu, so called because it originated in China. By the time it worked its way around the world 1 million people had died, 70,000 of them in the United States during the late summer and early autumn. 

1968 saw yet another pandemic — H3 — a further permutation of the H bird virus. This was called the Hong Kong flu. Three quarters of a million people died throughout the world.

Thus, in January 2005, when the outbreak of a highly pathogenic strain of H5N1 appeared among multiple species of birds in more than half of its cities and provinces of Vietnam, the Vietnamese government took swift action. An order was issued for more than 1.2 million captive poultry to be slaughtered immediately.

The great fear among public health officials was that this particular avian flu also would evolve and spread among humans. By the end of September, David Navarro, the United Nations System Coordinator for Avian and Human Influenza, warned that an outbreak of avian influenza could kill between 5 million and 150 million people and called on governments to rush the development of a human vaccine. 

Humanity escaped this time. The H5N1 virus that devastated the avian population did not develop into a human pandemic. While an estimated 140 million birds in many parts of the world, including migratory birds, either died or were killed because of the outbreak, only some human cases were reported with 74 people dying in several Asian countries.

Public health experts and virologists knew, however, that it was not a question of if, but when. Consequently, emergency plans were drafted and experimental H5N1 vaccines were created and tested. Antiviral drugs were stockpiled. On Feb. 13, 2019 Helen Branswell reported in Stat News: “The virus continued to kill chickens and occasionally to infect and sometimes kill people. But as the years passed,” Branswell noted, “the number of human H5N1 cases subsided. There has not been a single H5N1 human infection detected since February 2017.”

Don’t become complacent

Don’t become complacent, warned Malik Peiris, professor of virology at the University of Hong Kong. “The H5N1 virus has not gone away. It’s just changed into different versions of itself,” he observed. 

In addition to H2N1 there are cousins, so to speak, such as H7N9. H7N9 emerged in China in 2013. While only 1,500 people became ill in China over the next five years, the virus proved to be exceptionally lethal, killing roughly 40% of those infected. After a surge of cases — 766 — in early 2017, only three cases were recorded in 2018 and none were reported in 2019.

This brings us to a discussion of the current pandemic sweeping the world – COVID-19. It had been 17 years since Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), another coronavirus, first appeared in the Guangdong province of southern China. Within months, SARS spread to 26 countries in Europe, North America, South America, and Asia. By the time the global outbreak was contained in July 2003, over 8,000 people worldwide were diagnosed with SARS and 10% of them — 800 people with known infections were dead. Once again, there was no known treatment, and only supportive care could be administered.

Scarcely nine years passed before a second SARS outbreak was identified in Saudi Arabia in April 2012. This time it was a betacoronavirus. It was named Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) because of its first reported location. It didn’t reach epidemic proportions but still concerned public health officials because of the very high 34.5% mortality rate. Since the initial outbreak, the CDC has reported 2,442 laboratory-confirmed infections, most of them on the Arabian Peninsula, with 842 people dead.

On the Heels of SARS

On Dec. 31, 2019, only seven years later, Dr. Li Wenliang sent a “WeChat message” to a few colleagues. Dr. Li had been treating seven patients who were under quarantine in a hospital in the city of Wuhan. He thought these pneumonia cases might be caused by a SARS-like virus and warned doctors to wear protective gear.

The Chinese government no longer could keep news of the virus under wraps. It sent notice that same day to the World Health Organization that officials in Wuhan were trying to cope with an outbreak of a novel strain of coronavirus which caused severe illness.

It took but a few days for Chinese scientists to sequence the genome and make the data available to researchers worldwide. Dr. Li’s surmise had been correct. Once again, the world was confronted with a SARS coronavirus similar to that first identified by the WHO in 2003 for which there was no known treatment except supportive care. The WHO named the virus SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus-2).

The WHO Sounds the Alarm

Officials at the WHO were becoming increasingly alarmed. Chinese officials acknowledged on Jan. 21 that new cases stemmed from human-to-human transmission, that is, that they were community acquired. Two days later, on Jan. 23, Wuhan, China, a city of some 11 million people, was placed under state-imposed lockdown, with all flights, trains and buses cancelled and highway entrances blocked.

Other cities in Hubei province adopted similar restrictions. The unprecedented sweeping measures taken by the Chinese government affected more than 60 million people. Before long, authorities in other Chinese cities and provinces followed suit until 760 million Chinese – one in 10 people on earth – were sheltered at home. 

On Jan. 30, 2020 the World Health Organization issued an alert worldwide that the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak was a Public Health Emergency of International Concern for which governments throughout the world should prepare. By Feb. 11, the WHO announced a name for the new coronavirus disease — COVID-19 — that would evolve soon afterwards into a worldwide pandemic. Here was a virus that could — and soon would — fulfill the worst-case scenario of public health officials. Left unchecked, the rate of infections would increase exponentially. Healthcare systems in even the most advanced industrial nations would be unable to handle the number of patients requiring intensive care. Untold numbers of people, particularly the elderly and others with underlying health conditions, such as, pulmonary, heart, cancer, obesity, and diabetes, could be expected to die. 

Trump Ignores the Warnings

Throughout January, as the epidemic of unprecedented size for the modern era was developing in China, in the United States, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the CIA prepared daily briefing papers and digests for President Trump filled with ominous reports about the novel coronavirus

Yet, nothing was prepared. At the highest level of federal government, the president dismissed the concerns of his intelligence and health officials and then sought to muzzle them. It wasn’t just their description of how COVID-19 could engulf the United States and overwhelm the healthcare system; Trump also defied their recommendations about how to proceed to stem the tide and save lives.

Noted the Washington Post, March 20: “The surge in warnings,” revealed the Post, didn’t result in a massive public health response. Instead, it “coincided with a move by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) to sell dozens of stocks worth between $628,033 and $1.72 million.” Burr, as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, “was privy to virtually all of the highly classified reporting on the coronavirus.”

Burying the Evidence

Public health officials do not pull their predictions and recommendations out of a hat. Aside from their experience handling past epidemics and pandemics, federal agencies conduct simulations regularly. The last scenario, reported the New York Times, March 19, was carried out only months ago by the Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services. Code-named “Crimson Contagion” it included a series of exercises that ran from January to August 2019 in Washington D.C. and 12 states, including New York and Illinois.

The simulation imagined an outbreak of a “respiratory virus that began in China and was quickly spread around the world by air travelers, who ran high fevers. In the United States, it was first detected in Chicago, and 47 days later, the World Health Organization declared a pandemic. By then,” continues the Times, “110 million Americans were expected to become ill, leading to 7.7 million hospitalized and 586,000 dead.”

Above all, the simulation exposed “confusion” in the federal response as hospitals struggled to locate equipment. Eventually cities and states had no choice but to act on their own.

In retrospect, this particular simulation appears prescient, in regard both to the trajectory of the current pandemic as well as the Trump administration’s refusal to respond effectively to it. The Trump administration didn’t leap into action despite the horrifying result predicted in this comprehensive simulation. Instead, the simulation report was buried and news of its conclusions didn’t see the light of day until the New York Times report on March 19, when the U.S. already was in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This Should Not Come As A Surprise

“Public health and national security experts shake their heads,” reported the Washington Post on March 13, “when President Donald Trump says the coronavirus ‘came out of nowhere’ and ‘blindsided the world.’

“They’ve been warning about the next pandemic for years,” the Post continued, “and criticized the Trump administration’s decision in 2018 to dismantle a National Security Council directorate at the White House charged with preparing for when, not if, another pandemic would hit the nation. … Trump’s elimination of the office suggested, along with his proposed budget cuts for the CDC, that he did not see the threat of pandemics in the same way that many experts in the field did.”

On Feb. 27, when the U.S. had but 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19, President Trump was suggesting that the virus could be seasonal. “It’s going to disappear, Trump insisted. “One day, it’s like a miracle. It will disappear.” Even as late as March 9, with the virus making its way across the continent, Trump tweeted at 4:48 pm: “Nothing is shut down, life and the economy go on.” 

As had occurred during last year’s Department of Health and Human Services simulation, it did not take long before city and state officials abandoned looking towards the federal government for action. There were few if any test kits, supplies of essential protective gear for healthcare workers were in short supply and there weren’t enough beds or ventilators to handle people who required critical care.

The Last Resort

Mayors and governors, as well as the leaders of the Navajo Nation, following the examples of other countries, took matters into their own hands. They resorted to “social distancing” in an attempt to “flatten the curve” of new cases.

By mid-March, schools were closed in various parts of the country, businesses shuttered except for those providing essential services, and the stock market plunged. By Tuesday, March 24, over 175 million people in 17 states, 26 counties, and 10 cities in the U.S joined the millions around the world who had been ordered or urged to stay home. 

Meanwhile, on that same day, March 24, Trump called for easing shelter at home guidelines very soon and for sending people back to close contact in schools, the workplace, and social activities. By April 12, he announced on Fox News, “you’ll have packed churches all over our country.”

State and local officials took guidance instead from their public health officials. By March 27, only three days later, 48 million more people in the U.S. had been required or advised to shelter at home. The total had reached 223 million people in at least 24 states, 74 counties, 14 cities and one territory, more than two-thirds of the population. (New York Times)

How The Pandemic Evolved

With increased world travel, SARS-CoV-2, first reported in Wuhan, China, spread rapidly before the Chinese government imposed strict restrictions to contain transmission. The world stood by shocked as draconian measures were instituted and the Chinese economy and the provincial economy was brought to a halt, but public health officials worldwide knew already there was no choice to stem the viral tsunami that would soon overtake China and the world.

Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei province in central China’s industrial heartland, is renowned for its iron and steel manufacturing. According to UNESCO, half of the world’s long-span bridges and 60% of high-speed railways have been designed by Wuhan engineers. Its automobile and parts industry include joint ventures with several foreign carmakers, such as General Motors and Renault. An estimated 1.7 million vehicles were produced in Wuhan alone in 2018. There is a major airport, ferry ports and three major rail stations serving 22,000 miles of rail lines in and out of Wuhan.

The New York Times on March 22 reported in an online graphic display entitled “How the Virus Spread,” that “The timing of the outbreak could not have been worse. Hundreds of millions of people were about to travel back to their home towns for the Lunar New Year.

On Jan. 1, “at least 175,000 people left Wuhan just on that day,” according to a Times analysis of data published by Baidu and major telecoms, which tracked the movements of cell phones. “The departures,” the Times, reports, “accelerated over the next three weeks. About 7 million people left in January before travel was restricted. Thousands of travelers were infected.”

“As the outbreak moved across China in early January,” the Times reported, “international travel from Wuhan continued as normal. Thousands of people flew out of Wuhan to cities around the world.” The first documented overseas case appeared mid-January when a 61-year-old woman had traveled from Wuhan to Bangkok, Thailand, suffering from a fever, headache and sore throat — what she thought had been the flu.

Cases soon showed up in Tokyo, Singapore, Seoul, and Hong Kong and the first U.S. case was confirmed Jan. 20 when a 35-year old man, who had traveled to Wuhan returned to Washington State. Before long, COVID-19 reached all 50 states, Washington D.C. Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. By the end of March, COVID-19 had spread to all continents except Antarctica, with confirmed cases in the outer reaches of Mongolia and the tropical islands of Fiji and Papua, New Guinea and cases were no longer caused by travelers but by community-acquired transmission.

Exponential Growth

After all is said and done, the numbers of people infected worldwide, let alone in the United States, will never be known because of limited testing and reporting. We know, however, that by March 11, over 124,000 cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, with over 4,500 deaths. By March 22, the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center listed 169 countries with 329,275 confirmed cases of which 74% come from outside mainland China, 14,376 deaths meaning that 75% of COVID-19 deaths now come from outside China.

By March 24, only two days later, the number had increased to 417,966 with 18,614 deaths (53,972 in the U.S. with 712 deaths). New York City became the worldwide epicenter as documented cases topped 25,000. Just two days later, March 26, the number of cases confirmed in the United States (81,321) surpassed all those in China which has over four times the population. It had been less than a month (Feb. 29) since the first coronavirus-related death had occurred in King County, Washington.

Placing Blame

By March, too, recriminations and alleged conspiracies of biowarfare took off: President Donald Trump, in search of an enemy, made incessant references to COVID-19 as the “China virus” in daily press briefings deployed as a substitute for his cancelled campaign rallies. Trump not only inspired racist attacks against Asian-Americans, as he had done previously with remarks against other people of color, but fueled speculation about an insidious Chinese origin. The British newspaper the Daily Mail, as well as the U.S. conservative newspaper the Washington Times, as well as the digital magazine Global Research all speculated that there might have been a viral leak from the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory, which is part of the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Not to be outdone, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian sent out a Twitter post on March 12 that was posted and reposted throughout China in which he speculated about U.S.  biowarfare origins: “It might be U.S. army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan,” he wrote.

U.S scientists soon put to rest speculation that the virus was of test tube origin, whether of U.S. or Chinese origin.

Understanding the Virus Itself

Scripps Research Institute reported on March 17 that an analysis of public genome sequence data from SARS-CoV-2 and related viruses found no evidence that the virus was made in a laboratory or otherwise engineered (“The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2,” published in Nature Medicine). Scientists even figured out how the virus infected people: They found that the RBD (receptor-binding-domain), a kind of grappling hook that grips onto host cells, acts as a molecular can opener to allow the virus to enter host cells. It has evolved to target effectively a molecular feature on the outside of human cells called ACE2, a receptor involved in regulating blood pressure.

The international group of research scientists concluded that there are two possible scenarios to explain the origin of SARS-CoV-2. It evolved through natural selection in a non-human host and then jumped to humans as have previous coronavirus outbreaks — civets for SARS and camels for MERS. Bats have been proposed as the most likely reservoir because the SARS-CoV-2 as it is very similar to a bat coronavirus. Since there are no documented instances of bat-human transmission, it is speculated that an intermediate host was involved.

A second scenario is that a non-pathogenic version of the virus jumped from a different animal host, such as pangolins, into humans and then evolved within humans to its current pathogenic state within the human population.

Understanding the mechanism of how the virus works may help researchers develop treatment options and, eventually, vaccines to prevent future outbreaks of this specific virus. It does not, however, have impact on the criminal mismanagement of the COVID-19 or future pandemics that threaten the lives and livelihood of billions of workers and communities of the oppressed worldwide. 

Thus, it has never been a question of if, but when.


In 2005, when health officials worldwide were concerned that the Asian Bird Flu could create a worldwide pandemic, Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone prepared a meticulously documented series — “Creating the Next Pandemic” — for their Pacifica radio network program, Taking Aim with Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone. The shows can be accessed on the Taking Aim archive at www.takingaimnow.com. Scroll down to the dates below and press on the download option to listen. [Please note that the home page is outdated and that the show is no longer on the air.]

Creating the Next Pandemic
050315  Part One 
050322  Part Two
050329  Part Three: Staging the Operation
050405  Part Four: Unraveling the Fabric of Life
050419  Part Five: Weapons of the Terror State
050426  Part Six: The New Dr. Strangelove’s Biological Armageddon
060411  Part Seven: From Military Lab to Mass Infection
060418  Part Eight: Profits and Repression
090428. The Swine Flu Epidemic in Mexico and the Resort to Military Rule


2) Jobs Aren’t Being Destroyed This Fast Elsewhere. Why Is That?
It’s not too late to start protecting jobs or to make medical care for Covid-19 free.
"Start with the labor market. In just one week, from March 15 to March 21, 3.3 million workers filed for unemployment insurance. According to some projections, the unemployment rate might rise as high as 30 percent in the second quarter of 2020. This dramatic spike in jobless claims is an American peculiarity. In almost no other country are jobs being destroyed so fast. Why? Because throughout the world, governments are protecting employment. Workers keep their jobs, even in industries that are shut down. The government covers most of their wage through direct payments to employers. Wages are, in effect, socialized for the duration of the crisis. ...in both the United States and Britain, the government is asking restaurant workers to stay home. But in Britain, workers are receiving 80 percent of their pay (up to £2,500 a month, or $3,125) and are guaranteed to get their job back once the shutdown is over. ...The government should impose excess profits taxes, as it has done several times in the past during periods of crisis. In 1918, all profits made by corporations above and beyond an 8 percent rate of return on their capital were deemed abnormal, and abnormal profits were taxed at progressive rates of up to 80 percent. Similar taxes on excessive profits were applied during World War II and the Korean War. These taxes all had one goal — making sure that no one could benefit outrageously from a situation in which the masses suffered."
By Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, March 30, 2020

Credit...Angela Weiss/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic is laying bare structural deficiencies in America’s social programs. The relief package passed by Congress last week provides emergency fixes for some of these issues, but it also leaves critical problems untouched. To avoid a Great Depression, Congress must quickly design a more forceful response to the crisis.

Start with the labor market. In just one week, from March 15 to March 21, 3.3 million workers filed for unemployment insurance. According to some projections, the unemployment rate might rise as high as 30 percent in the second quarter of 2020.

This dramatic spike in jobless claims is an American peculiarity. In almost no other country are jobs being destroyed so fast. Why? Because throughout the world, governments are protecting employment. Workers keep their jobs, even in industries that are shut down. The government covers most of their wage through direct payments to employers. Wages are, in effect, socialized for the duration of the crisis.

Instead of safeguarding employment, America is relying on beefed-up unemployment benefits to shield laid-off workers from economic hardship. To give just one example, in both the United States and Britain, the government is asking restaurant workers to stay home. But in Britain, workers are receiving 80 percent of their pay (up to £2,500 a month, or $3,125) and are guaranteed to get their job back once the shutdown is over. In America, the workers are laid off; they must then file for unemployment insurance and wait for the economy to start up again before they can apply for a new job, and if all goes well, sign a new contract and resume working.

Even if unemployment is generously compensated — as it is in the $2.2 trillion bill Congress passed — there is nothing efficient in letting the unemployment rate rise to double digits. Losing one’s job is anxiety inducing. Applying for unemployment benefits is burdensome. The unemployment system risks being swamped soon by tens of millions of claims. Although some businesses may rehire their workers once the shutdown is over, others will have disappeared. When social distancing ends, millions of employer-employee relationships will have been destroyed, slowing down the recovery. In Europe, people will be able to return to work, as if they had been on a long, government-paid leave.

The battle for the speediest recovery starts today. The next congressional bill needs measures to protect employment for the duration of the shutdown. This does not raise insuperable technical difficulties. The bill passed last week provides support for wages in one industry, airlines. Congress could easily extend this program to other sectors. Some countries — like Germany, with its Kurzarbeit system, a policy aimed at job retention in times of crisis — already had the government infrastructure in place to send workers home while the state replaced most of their lost earnings. But several nations with no experience in that area — like BritainIreland and Denmark — were able to introduce brand-new employment guarantee programs on the fly during the epidemic.
This situation for laid-off workers would be bad enough if it were not aggravated by a second American peculiarity. As they are losing their jobs, many workers are also losing their employer-provided health insurance — and now find themselves faced with the Kafkaesque task of obtaining coverage on their own.
One option involves continuing to be covered by one’s former employer, a program known as COBRA. It is prohibitively expensive: Participants have to bear the full cost of insurance, $20,500 per year on average. Another option is to go shopping for a plan on the Affordable Care Act insurance exchange, where one is faced with a bewildering choice between plans like Blue Shield’s Bronze 60 PPO (with a deductible of up to $12,600 per year) and Aetna’s Silver Copay HNOnly (with a $7,000 deductible and up to $14,000 in annual out-of-pocket expenses). The last option is to join the ranks of the uninsured, a catastrophic solution during a pandemic. There are reports that people have already died of Covid-19 because they refused to go to the hospital, worried about bills, or because they were denied treatment for lack of insurance.
The bill passed last week does nothing to reduce co-pays, deductibles or premiums on the insurance exchanges; nor does it reduce the price of COBRA. The next bill should introduce a Covidcare for All program. This federal program would guarantee access to Covid-19 care at no cost to all U.S. residents — no matter their employment status, age or immigration status. Fighting the pandemic starts with eradicating the spread of the virus, which means that everybody must be covered.

Covidcare for All would also cover the cost of Covid-19 treatments for people who are insured. Insurance companies would be barred in return from hiking premiums, which might otherwise spike as much as 40 percent next year.
The United States also needs to ramp up its support to businesses. Since containing the epidemic requires government-mandated economic shutdowns, it is legitimate to expect the government, in return, to shelter businesses from the economic disruptions. To keep businesses alive through this crisis, the government should act as a payer of last resort. In other words, the government should pay not only wages of idled workers, but also essential business maintenance costs, like rents, utilities, interest on debt, health insurance premiums, and other costs that are vital for the survival of businesses in locked down sectors. This allows businesses to hibernate without bleeding cash and risking bankruptcy. Denmarkwas the first nation to announce such a program; it is being emulated by a growing number of countries, including Italy.
In the United States, calls to support businesses have been met with excessive skepticism so far. To be sure, the congressional relief package includes $350 billion in help for small businesses, but the program is complex, limited in scope and only a fraction of eligible businesses are likely to use it.
A liquidationist ideology seems to have infected minds on both the left and the right. On the right, opposition to government grants to businesses is grounded in the view that markets should be left to sort out the consequences of the pandemic. Let airlines go bankrupt; shareholders and bondholders will lose but the airlines will restructure and re-emerge. The best way government can help is by slashing taxes, according to this view. The relief package includes more than $200 billion in tax cuts for business profits.
This view is misguided. There is nothing efficient in the destruction of businesses that were viable before the virus outbreak. The crisis cannot be blamed on poorly managed corporations. Government support, in the case of a pandemic, does not create perverse incentives. Bankruptcies redistribute income, but in a chaotic and opaque way. And while bankruptcy might be a way to deal with the economic fallout of the pandemic for large corporations, it is not well adapted to small businesses. Without strong enough government support, many small businesses will have to liquidate. The death of a business has long-term costs: The links between entrepreneurs, workers and customers are destroyed and often need to be rebuilt from scratch.
On the left, a popular view contends that the government should help people, not corporations. It holds that big corporations acted badly before the crisis — buying back their shares, paying C.E.O.s exorbitant salaries — and should not be bailed out. If they are, in this view, they should be subject to strict conditions, like swearing off share buybacks, reducing C.E.O. pay, and a $15 minimum wage for their employees.
The concerns underlying this view are understandable. Inequality has surged since the beginning of the 1980s. This crisis, however, is unlike the financial crisis of 2008-9. The firms seeking aid today bear no direct responsibility for the disaster that threatens their survival. If the government mandates a shutdown for public health reasons, why should it attach any conditions to temporary financial support for directly affected industries?

No doubt some companies will exploit loopholes in government relief plans. Some businesses, more broadly, will disproportionately benefit from the pandemic. While tens of thousands of brick-and-mortar stores are closed, Amazon sales rise. The Seattle-based company is one of the few S&P 500 firms whose stock price is higher today than at the beginning of the year. Cloud computing is exploding. Facebook traffic is booming.
But these windfall profits have a fair, comprehensive and transparent solution: The government should impose excess profits taxes, as it has done several times in the past during periods of crisis. In 1918, all profits made by corporations above and beyond an 8 percent rate of return on their capital were deemed abnormal, and abnormal profits were taxed at progressive rates of up to 80 percent. Similar taxes on excessive profits were applied during World War II and the Korean War. These taxes all had one goal — making sure that no one could benefit outrageously from a situation in which the masses suffered.
To help make this happen, the next bill needs an excess profits tax. If Congress fails to act, the pandemic could well reinforce two of the defining trends of the pre-coronavirus American economy: the rise of business concentration and the upsurge of inequality.
Some will say that the solutions we’ve outlined show excessive faith in government. They will correctly point out that some of these policies are undesirable in normal times. But these are not normal times. The big battles — be they wars or pandemics — are fought and won collectively. In this period of national crisis, hatred of the government is the surest path to self-destruction.



3) Judge Urges Release of Migrant Children After 4 Test Positive for Coronavirus in Detention
“The threat of irreparable injury to their health and safety is palpable,” said lawyers seeking the release of thousands of migrant children being held in federal custody.
By Miriam Jordan, March 29, 2020
Credit...Eve Edelheit for The New York Times

LOS ANGELES — Concerned that thousands of migrant children in federal detention facilities could be in danger of contracting the coronavirus, a federal judge in Los Angeles late on Saturday ordered the government to “make continuous efforts” to release them from custody.

The order from Judge Dolly M. Gee of the United States District Court came after plaintiffs in a long-running case over the detention of migrant children cited reports that four children being held at a federally licensed shelter in New York had tested positive for the virus.

“The threat of irreparable injury to their health and safety is palpable,” the plaintiffs’ lawyers said in their petition, which called for migrant children across the country to be released to outside sponsors within seven days, unless they represent a flight risk.

There are currently about 3,600 children in shelters around the United States operated under license by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement, and about 3,300 more at three detention facilities for migrant children held in custody with their parents, operated by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Advocates for immigrants have tried for decades to limit the government’s ability to detain children apprehended after crossing the border, arguing that it is psychologically harmful, violates their rights and undermines their long-term health. 

Now, some say, the coronavirus represents an even more immediate threat.

In addition to the four children who tested positive in New York, at least one child is in quarantine and awaiting results of a test for the virus at a detention facility operated by ICE, according to documents filed with the court.

In her ruling on Saturday, the judge declined to order an immediate release of all the detained children, given current travel restrictions and the need to ensure that children are released to suitable sponsors, most often family members.
She said, however, that both of the agencies operating migrant children detention facilities must by April 6 provide an accounting of their efforts to release those in custody.

“Her order will undoubtedly speed up releases,” said Peter Schey, co-counsel for the plaintiffs in the court case.

Judge Gee’s jurisdiction stems from a 1997 consent decree, known as the Flores agreement, that established a 20-day limit on the secure detention of migrant children, as well as standards for their care. 
In September, Judge Gee rejected new regulations that would have let the government hold children and their parents in detention for indefinite periods, one of the Trump administration’s signature efforts to curtail the large number of families that had been arriving from Central America.
In her order, Judge Gee said the plaintiffs had a strong likelihood of succeeding with their claim that both ICE and the refugee resettlement office had breached the Flores agreement by failing to release minors in a prompt manner, especially in light of the widening coronavirus outbreak.
The court found that the Office of Refugee Resettlement “appears to be in substantial compliance” with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control for protecting children from the threat of disease. But it found that ICE, which operates two facilities in Texas and one in Pennsylvania, “appears deficient.”
The agency had not included social distancing, increased personal hygiene or coronavirus testing as part of its protocol for detainees as of March 15, when reports were submitted to the court.
Nor did it recognize the potential psychological harm of quarantining or isolating children for disease control purposes, the court said, adding that recent observations showed “uneven implementation” of recommended public-health measures.

Last week, the refugee office said it had halted placements of unaccompanied children in California, New York, and Washington, where there have been large outbreaks of the coronavirus. It also reported that several staff members at shelters for migrant children had been diagnosed with Covid-19.



4) He Got Tested for Coronavirus. Then Came the Flood of Medical Bills.
Hidden costs for E.R. visits and other fees could cost people thousands of dollars.
"Mr. Cencini’s test was free but his visit to the E.R. to get it was not. ...The coronavirus bills passed so far — and those on the table — offer inadequate protection from a system primed to bill patients for all kinds of costs. ...The coronavirus aid package provides a stimulus payment of $1,200 per person for most adults. Thanks to the billing proclivities of the American health care system, that will not offset Mr. Cencini’s medical bills."
By Elizabeth Rosenthal and Emmarie Huetteman, March 30, 2020
Credit...Lindsey Wasson/Reuters

By March 5, Andrew Cencini, a computer science professor at Bennington College, had been having bouts of fever, malaise and a bit of difficulty breathing for a couple of weeks. Just before falling ill, he had traveled to New York City, helped with computers in a local prison and gone out on multiple calls as a volunteer firefighter.

So with Covid-19 cases rising across the country, he called his doctor for direction. He was advised to come to the doctor’s group practice, where staff took swabs for flu and other viruses as he sat in his truck. They came back negative.

By Monday, March 9, he reported to his doctor that he was feeling better but still had some cough and low-grade fever. Within minutes, he got a call from the heads of a hospital emergency room and infectious-disease department where he lives in upstate New York: He should come right away to the E.R. for newly available coronavirus testing. Though they offered to send an ambulance, he felt fine and drove the hour.

In an isolation room, the doctors put him on an IV drip, did a chest X-ray and took the swabs.

Now back at work remotely, he faces a mounting array of bills. His patient responsibility, according to his insurer, is now close to $2,000, and he fears there may be more bills to come.

“I was under the assumption that all that would be covered,” said Mr. Cencini, who makes $54,000 a year. “I could have chosen not to do all this, and put countless others at risk,” he added. “But I was trying to do the right thing.”
The new $2 trillion coronavirus aid package allocates well over $100 billion to what Senator Chuck Schumer of New York called “a Marshall Plan” for hospitals and medical needs.
But no one is doing much to similarly rescue patients from the related financial stress. And they desperately need protection from the kind of bills that patients like Mr. Cencini are likely to incur in a system that charges expansively for every bit of care it dispenses.
On March 18, President Trump signed a law intended to ensure that Americans could be tested for the coronavirus free, whether they have insurance or not. (He had also announced that health insurers have agreed to waive patient co-payments for treatment of the disease.) But their published policies vary widely and leave countless ways for patients to get stuck. 
While insurers had indeed agreed to cover the full cost of diagnostic coronavirus tests, that may well prove illusory: Mr. Cencini’s test was free but his visit to the E.R. to get it was not.

As might be expected in a country where the price of a knee X-ray can vary by a factor of well over 10, labs so far are charging between $51 (the Medicare reimbursement rate) to more than $100 for the test. How much will insurers cover?
Those testing laboratories want to be paid — and now. Last week the American Clinical Laboratory Association, an industry group, complained that they were being overlooked in the coronavirus package.
“Collectively, these labs have completed over 234,000 tests to date, and nearly quadrupled our daily test capacity over the past week,” Julie Khani, president of A.C.L.A., said in a statement. “They are still waiting for reimbursement for tests performed. In many cases, labs are receiving specimens with incomplete or no insurance information, and are burdened with absorbing the cost.”
There are few provisions in the relief packages to ensure that patients will be protected from large medical bills related to testing, evaluation or treatment — especially since so much of it is taking place in a financial high-risk setting for patients: the emergency room.
In a study last year, about one in six visits to an emergency room or stays in a hospital had at least one out-of-network charge, increasing the risk of patients’ receiving surprise medical bills, many demanding patient payment.
That is in large part because many in-network emergency rooms are staffed by doctors who work for private companies, which are not in the same networks. In a Texas study, more than 30 percent of E.R. physician services were out-of-network — and most of those services were delivered at in-network hospitals.
The doctor who saw Mr. Cencini works with Emergency Care Services of New York, which provides physicians on contract to hospitals and works with some but not all insurers. It is affiliated with TeamHealth, which is a medical staffing business owned by the private equity firm Blackstone and has come under fire for generating surprise bills.

Some senators had wanted to put a provision in the coronavirus bill to protect patients from surprise out-of-network billing — either a broad clause or one specifically related to coronavirus care. Lobbyists for hospitals, physician staffing firms and air ambulances apparently helped ensure it stayed out of the final version. They played what a person familiar with the negotiations, who spoke on condition of anonymity, called “the Covid card”: “How could you possibly ask us to deal with surprise billing when we’re trying to battle this pandemic?”
Even without an E.R. visit, there are perilous billing risks. Not all hospitals and labs are capable of performing the test. And what if my in-network doctor sends my coronavirus test to an out-of-network lab? Before the pandemic, the Kaiser Health News-NPR Bill of the Month Project produced a feature about Alexa Kasdan, a New Yorker with a head cold, whose throat swab was sent to an out-of-network lab that billed more than $28,000 for testing.
Even patients who do not contract the coronavirus are at a higher risk of incurring a surprise medical bill during the current crisis, when an unrelated health emergency could land you in an unfamiliar, out-of-network hospital because your hospital is too full with Covid-19 patients.
The coronavirus bills passed so far — and those on the table — offer inadequate protection from a system primed to bill patients for all kinds of costs. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, passed this month, says that the test and its related charges will be covered with no patient charge only to the extent that they are related to administering the test or evaluating whether a patient needs it.
That leaves hospital billers and coders wide berth. Mr. Cencini went to the E.R. to get a test, as he was instructed to do. When he called to protest his $1,622.52 for hospital charges (his insurer’s discounted rate from over $2,500 in the hospital’s billed charges), a patient representative confirmed that the E.R. visit and other services performed would be “eligible for cost-sharing” (in his case, all of it, since he’d not met his deductible).
This weekend he was notified that the physician charge from Emergency Care Services of New York was $1,166. Though “covered” by his insurance, he owes another $321 for that, bringing his out-of-pocket costs to nearly $2,000.
By the way, his test came back negative.
When he got off the phone with his insurer, his blood was “at the boiling point,” he told us. “My retirement account is tanking and I’m expected to pay for this?”
The coronavirus aid package provides a stimulus payment of $1,200 per person for most adults. Thanks to the billing proclivities of the American health care system, that will not offset Mr. Cencini’s medical bills.



5) Martin, Malcolm and the Fight for Equality
By Annette Gordon-Reed, March 31, 2020

Credit...Marion S. Trikosko/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.
By Peniel E. Joseph

What an era that could see the rise to national prominence of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. In his immensely valuable new book, “The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.,” Peniel E. Joseph describes this time, roughly from 1954 to 1965, as “the civil rights movement’s heroic period,” aided greatly by the actions of these two men. In these years, King and Malcolm X captured the varied imaginations of African-Americans, approaching the subject of what was to be done about the circumstances of black life in the United States from different premises and vantage points. Their images have fallen prey to cliché: the benign King, who dreamed of a utopian “beloved community” in which American society would become fully integrated racially, and the more dangerous Malcolm X, who promoted a black nationalism that sought nothing from whites save for noninterference with blacks’ effort to build lives of dignity.

“The Sword and the Shield” shows the reality to have been far more complicated. Indeed, Peniel argues for a “new interpretation” of the two leaders. King and Malcolm X may have been polar opposites at the start of their time in the public eye, but they had moved toward each other by the time their lives on the public stage were ended, both by an assassin’s bullet. King would die at the hands of a member of a race to whom he had reached out with an offer of friendship, Malcolm X at the hands of men of the race in whom he had put so much faith and trust.

One of the great strengths of this book is the detail with which Joseph supports his thesis. Because their lives have been the subject of award-winning biographies — and Malcolm X produced his own widely read autobiography — we know much about both men, and how their origins influenced their approach to activism. King famously hailed from what could be called the black middle class, the son of a prominent pastor, and we know that Malcolm X had a more hardscrabble youth, with a father lost either through an accident or murder, and a mother lost to mental illness. But this biography’s dual nature, with its close comparison and contrast of King’s and Malcolm’s journeys to their ultimate fates, enhances our understanding of how these men came to their respective conclusions about the state of the world, and how to change it.

Joseph’s depiction makes clear that both men believed themselves indispensable to the black struggle. Their instinct for leadership pushed them to their physical limits, as they worked and traveled near nonstop, to the detriment of family life. One gets the sense that Malcolm’s path, particularly as he became estranged from the Nation of Islam, was more daunting. Unlike King, who had the structure of the black Christian church that had supported him from childhood, and the aid of established black secular organizations like the Urban League, the N.A.A.C.P. and its legal arm, the Legal Defense Fund, Malcolm was constantly setting up new groups to help fulfill his vision for black advancement. Although King sought ties with allies overseas, Malcolm X had the more ambitious plan to bring people of African descent, and then all people of color, together in a coalition to promote the rights of nonwhites around the world. Joseph posits that Malcolm X’s demand for “radical dignity” for black people was heavily influenced by his parents, Earl and Louise Little, who had been followers of Marcus Garvey. Garvey’s Back to Africa movement was as much about instilling racial pride and black self-determination as actually leading African-Americans back to the Mother Continent.

In writing about King, Joseph joins a chorus of voices — among them, Tommie ShelbyBrandon M. Terry and Michael Honey — who have argued against the present-day image of King as a harmless figure, mouthing platitudes so broad and comforting that people from all points on the political spectrum could agree with them. The newest writings remind us that King’s insistent “quest for radical black citizenship” made him far from comforting to large segments of the American population. The editorials and articles written in opposition to him, the persistent death threats and the surveillance by the F.B.I. (which surveilled Malcolm X, too) show a level of hostility that might shock younger generations raised from elementary school age to celebrate him as a universally loved figure whose birthday is now a national holiday.
The new writings also emphasize King’s radical economic vision. Even before he became a public man, he wrote of his affinity for socialism. Joseph highlights this aspect of King’s thought, and gives a persuasive account of King’s migrating view on the subject of economic justice and the role it could play in fostering racial justice. This migration, or evolution of views, is a theme that allows Joseph to tie his subjects together in an especially effective way. For as King altered his views, so did Malcolm X. Joseph shows that Malcolm’s transformation began even before his famous trip to Mecca, and that some of the changes were due to his increasing respect for King and the movement that had grown up around him.
Reading Joseph’s side-by-side consideration allows us to see two men’s visions move toward convergence as the reality of the limitations of their initial positions became clear. King’s faith in nonviolence and Christian charity bumped up against a hard wall of hatred and white supremacy that was unmoved by arguments about morality and love. As uplifting as King’s arguments might be, as a strategy against white supremacy they repelled Malcolm X, since they suggested a lack of self-awareness and self-love. King came to realize that more concrete policy initiatives — that did not simply rely on changing hearts — were needed, and that the self-esteem of black people, under constant attack by white supremacy during and after slavery, mattered greatly. At the same time, Malcolm’s justifiable call for self-defense, which sometimes shaded into the hint that whites and blacks might eventually do battle with each other, faced a hard reality: Blacks, greatly outnumbered, would be at a decided disadvantage in any toe-to-toe fight against whites. Strategic but respectful alliances with enlightened whites might be fruitful. That, of course, is what King’s movement had been about.
In a way, “The Sword and the Shield” answers the old question about whether the times make the person or the person makes the times. It would be hard to find a context more suited to the talents and interests of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. than the years of the Cold War, the optimism of the post-World War II economic boom and the dismantling of European colonial empires. Both men, and the movements they led, benefited enormously from the West’s ideological battle against Communism. How could the United States, with its own version of an “iron curtain” of legalized segregation, lay claim to a moral high ground? Prosperity, for a time, banished the selfishness that arises in eras of scarcity. And the hopes engendered by the rise of people of color in all parts of the world could be connected to the battle for civil rights in America. We are no longer in those times. Joseph’s book makes one wonder how the two men would have deployed their talents in our less than heroic age.



6) Border Wall Work in Arizona Speeds Up, Igniting Contagion Fears
Border town residents in Arizona say the huge influx of workers exposes them to the coronavirus. Gov. Doug Ducey imposed a statewide stay-at-home order, but it was not expected to slow the federal project.
By Simon Romero, March 31, 2020
Construction of the border wall in Ajo, Ariz., last week.Credit...Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times

AJO, Ariz. — Motels, mobile home camps and Airbnbs in this small Arizona border town are full up. Work crews stream into eateries for takeout orders. License plates on trucks parked outside the crowded laundromat come from as far away as Alaska.

Around the country, some states have cut back on constructionactivity to curb the spread of the coronavirus, and hotels and restaurants in many cities have closed. But here in Arizona, the federal government is embarking on a frenetic new phase of construction of the border wall.

The Trump administration contends that the wall will help prevent the spread of the virus into the United States from Mexico, though epidemiologists and the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say such a barrier would not mitigate the outbreaks already occurring in every state.

The intensification of construction during the pandemic is raising fears among residents of Ajo, Ariz., and other nearby border communities that the growing influx of workers increases their risk of exposure. Some disease specialists in Arizona are warning that workers clustered in tight quarters along the border could spread the virus around the country when they return to their families.

“This administration’s priority is to get the wall done. The rest of us might as well be damned,” said Maria Singleton, 57, an Ajo resident who has documented in Facebook posts how wall construction is affecting the town — with traffic, noise, dust and, now, new worries about getting sick.

The busy scenes around Ajo are among the many signs of relatively brisk business in Arizona, which until Monday had been one of a shrinking number of states where governors had opted against issuing stay-at-home orders. In fact, Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, prohibited county and city officials in Arizona from declaring their own shelter-in-place orders.
But the governor changed course on Monday after the mayors of several large cities, including Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff, wrote a letter urging him to “learn from the unfolding events in our sister states” and issue a statewide stay-at-home order.
Mr. Ducey issued a directive preventing people from leaving their homes except for food, medicine, exercise and other “essential activities.”
He said the order, which allows police officers to warn violators before citing them, was aimed at ensuring there would be sufficient capacity in Arizona’s health care system for infected patients. Mr. Ducey is still allowing businesses to remain open if they are considered essential, which in Arizona includes golf courses, nail salons and pawn shops.

The state is facing a surge in coronavirus cases. Pima County, which includes small outposts like Ajo as well as the city of Tucson, had 187 confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of Monday afternoon, with six fatalities. Across the state, at least 20 people are known to have died from Covid-19 and more than 1,100 have tested positive for the virus.

The new wall construction in southern Arizona is part of a wider plan to expand fencing along the 1,100-mile border, a signature goal of President Trump’s.
The Department of Homeland Security announced plans this month to build or replace more than 91 miles of barriers along the border between Arizona and Mexico. Authorities are also planning to build 86 miles of wall along stretches of the border in other states.
In recent days, New York, Washington State, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania have all put limits on nonessential construction, leaving room in some cases for such projects as hospitals and homeless shelters.
But in Kansas City, Mo., work is moving forward on the $1.5 billion expansion of the Kansas City International Airport. And in Florida, Virgin Trains USA is proceeding on a $4 billion train route between Orlando and West Palm Beach. Construction is also still taking place on some major public venues, such as the $4.9 billion SoFi Stadium, a sports-and-entertainment complex on the site of the former Hollywood Park racetrack in Inglewood, Calif.
Turner AECOM Hunt, the joint venture overseeing the construction of the stadium, confirmed this week that an ironworker on the site had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Ajo, a haven for artists and retirees that draws snowbirds in the winter from around the United States, is far removed from most of the coronavirus hot spots in the country, and seemingly ill-prepared for any outbreak.

The town’s hospital, founded by the Phelps Dodge Corporation in the days when Ajo was a copper mining town, lies abandoned; a small clinic now provides basic health care.
Many of those living in Ajo are older adults, and there are fears that they are especially vulnerable to any transmission among the crowds of construction workers, engineers and truck drivers who have been descending in recent months.
During her morning routine of writing in her journal, praying and drinking coffee, Ms. Singleton all month has been counting the large number of semi trucks barreling through Ajo to worksites along the border.
“I counted 22 trucks one morning and it made me sick to my stomach,” Ms. Singleton said.
While bars are closed and restaurants are only providing takeout, it remains hard to get a hotel room in the town. Workers unable to stay in hotels or RV parks are living cheek by jowl in rented houses.
“Put the wall on pause immediately, that’s my advice,” said Kacey Ernst, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Arizona who has watched the new construction boom with alarm. “These workers are potentially amplifying the virus around the country when they return home. This needs to stop.”

So far, there appears to be no plan to slow down construction. Raini Brunson, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said the agency was following “government and C.D.C. guidelines” to determine how best to proceed with the work.
“As the guidance changes, decisions will be made as to how contractor employees will be affected,” Ms. Brunson said in a statement.
Kiewit Corporation, the Nebraska construction giant that has hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts to build the wall near Ajo and other stretches along the border, said it had taken steps to protect workers, including having support personnel work from home, reorganizing work crews, sanitizing shared equipment and screening employees for virus symptoms.

“This is an unprecedented situation, and we are updating our policies, procedures and guidance to workers daily as the situation evolves,” said Angela Nemeth, a Kiewit spokeswoman. Ms. Nemeth said there were no known cases of company workers on the border wall testing positive for the coronavirus.

The outbreak has been seized on as new ammunition for Mr. Trump in his longstanding effort to justify the border barrier.

“We will do everything in our power to keep the infection and those carrying the infection from entering our country,” he said at a campaign rally in February.
But epidemiologists say that a wall would do little or nothing to stop the virus, which initially entered the country via infected travelers who arrived on airplanes and cruise ships.

“I’ll be blunt: We already have so many outbreaks around the country and so much community transmission that the wall is meaningless for preventing spread of the virus,” said Tara C. Smith, an epidemiologist at Kent State University in Ohio.
Dr. Smith added, “Even if a few extra cases make it across the southern border, those are teardrops in the ocean right now in terms of what we are facing.”
In an unusual twist to border politics, leaders in Mexico are expressing concern that the widening outbreak in the United States could threaten stability in Mexico. The governors of states in northern Mexico have recently urged their president to do more to stop people from crossing into Mexico from the United States.
Yet some in Ajo are not at all perturbed about the pace of border wall construction, which they see as a welcome lift for the town.
“The wall is a blessing,” said Zakir Shah, 47, a Pakistani immigrant who owns La Siesta Motel & RV Resort, which is nearly at full capacity thanks to the influx of wall workers. “Business is getting stronger for me now. There’s no need to shut this down.”



7) A Widening Toll on Jobs: ‘This Thing Is Going to Come for Us All’
After the initial impact of shutdowns on a few industries, the coronavirus pandemic is leaving a much broader swath of unemployment.
By Ben Casselman and Patricia Cohen, April 2, 2020

A boarded-up restaurant in Denver late last month.Credit...Daniel Brenner for The New York Times

The tendrils of the coronavirus pandemic reached deeper into the American economy last week, leaving millions more people out of work as the damage spread to jobs and industries that were spared at the outset of the crisis.
More than 6.6 million people filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department said Thursday, setting a grim record for the second straight week.
The latest claims brought the two-week total to nearly 10 million.
The speed and scale of the job losses is without precedent. Until last month, the worst week for unemployment filings was 695,000 in 1982. By shuttering businesses and forcing vast layoffs, the coronavirus outbreak has in two weeks wiped out more jobs than the worst months of the last recession.

“What usually takes months or quarters to happen in a recession is happening in a matter of weeks,” said Michelle Meyer, chief U.S. economist for Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

The economic damage from the pandemic was initially concentrated in tourism, hospitality and related industries. But now the pain is spreading much more widely. The Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday that the manufacturing sector, which had recently begun to recover from last year’s trade war, was contracting again. Data from the employment site ZipRecruiter shows a steep drop in job postings even in industries usually insulated from recessions, like education and health care.
Law firms, technology start-ups and other white-collar employers that were initially able to keep workers on payroll and let them work from home are now laying people off as revenue dries up.
Even ZipRecruiter isn’t immune — the company cut hundreds of jobs this week as the steep drop in job postings cut into its business.

“People are being way too sanguine about a lot of the white-collar industries,” said Martha Gimbel, an economist and labor market expert at Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative. “This thing is going to come for us all.”

Erica Battle, an education consultant in Nashville, figured her industry was as close to recession-proof as any — no matter how bad the economy, schools stay open. But as schools moved to online learning because of the virus, business began to dry up. Then, on March 16, as she was preparing for a weeklong consulting trip to Alabama and Texas, she got a call: The gigs were canceled.

“It was like, this is unbelievable, this is not really happening,” Ms. Battle said. “I’m going to wake up and I’m going to have to catch a flight.”
April was meant to be one of her busiest months, as schools rush to get students ready for standardized testing season. Instead, she is home with her husband and teenage son, trying to figure out how to cut expenses. They have gotten their bank to defer this month’s mortgage payment. Ms. Battle’s husband, a substance abuse counselor, still has a job, but they aren’t sure how long that will last.
“When you have to think about paying for groceries or for therapy, which one are you going to do?” Ms. Battle said.
Economists have warned that those sorts of choices — groceries or therapy? — could turn an acute economic crisis into a long recession. If laid-off workers can’t pay their bills, there could be a cascade of further layoffs and business failures. The greater the damage, the less chance of a quick economic rebound once the health crisis eases.
“The deeper the layoffs get, the longer the recovery will take,” said Julia Pollak, a labor economist for ZipRecruiter.
The $2 trillion emergency outlay by Congress last week was meant, in part, to prevent that cascade. The government will provide businesses with low-interest loans — which in some cases could turn into grants — to help them avoid layoffs and keep the lights on. And the law temporarily expanded the unemployment insurance system to cover more workers and offer them more generous benefits.

But even before that expansion, the unemployment system was strained by the surge in job losses. State unemployment offices have reported record levels of calls and online inquiries, and jobless workers have struggled to get through to file claims.
Dustin Sullivan, 39, finished his final shift at the check-in desk at the W Hotel in Times Square on March 19, but he had to wait to apply for jobless benefits until Wednesday of the following week — the day that New York had designated for people whose last names begin with the letters O through Z.

He spent most of the next week struggling to file a claim, first encountering a website crash and then a telephone nightmare: “Calling on the phone and getting a busy signal. Calling and getting an automated message saying no one’s available and hanging up on me. Calling and immediately getting a message in Spanish that I don’t understand. Calling and getting through-ish — to the first part of the session” — the part that takes your information and Social Security number before telling you to hold on to speak to a representative — “and then hangs up on you.”

Finally, on Tuesday, he managed to file his claim.
“So I now join the group who can shout out to the rest: ‘There’s hope!’” Mr. Sullivan wrote in an email.
Mr. Sullivan was one of more than 366,000 New Yorkers to file claims last week, up from 80,000 the week before, according to Thursday’s federal data. California, another state that has struggled with the deluge of filings, reported close to 900,000 claims last week, up from 186,000. Those figures, unlike the nationwide total, are not adjusted for seasonal patterns.
In a news conference this week, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said he knew the state’s claims system wasn’t keeping up with the surge, and he said hundreds of people were working to expand capacity.
“The site is so deluged that it keeps crashing because you literally have hundreds of thousands of people at any time trying to get on the site,” he said. “I apologize for the pain. It must be infuriating.”
Economists, too, have struggled to keep pace with the speed of the collapse. A month ago, most forecasters still thought the United States could avoid a recession. Today, many economists are expecting a decline in gross domestic product that rivals the worst periods of the Great Depression.
On Friday, the Labor Department will release its monthly report on hiring and unemployment, usually one of the most-watched indicators on the economic calendar. But the data was collected in early March, an eon ago in the coronavirus age. Most forecasters expect it to show only a modest uptick in the unemployment rate and a small decline in jobs, despite the wave of layoffs that hit later in the month.
For workers and businesses, the reversal of fortune has been head-spinning.

Barely a month ago, Elizabeth Mora quit her job in Utah to take a new position as a supply chain manager for MGM Resorts in Las Vegas. But by the time she crossed the state line in a moving truck two weeks later, the hospitality industry was beginning to shut down. After two days on the job she was furloughed, and the MGM hotel where she was staying temporarily as part of her relocation package had closed.
“In a moment, I became both jobless and homeless,” she said.
Now Ms. Mora is staying with an acquaintance and living out of the suitcase she filled with two weeks’ worth of clothes when she moved. The rest of her belongings are in a storage facility. She is applying for any job she can find and briefly considered selling home-baked bread — until she discovered that the local grocery stores had no more flour.
When she accepted the job at MGM, Ms. Mora said, she was excited to begin a new phase. Now, she said, she is just trying to survive.
“I picked up my entire life and I moved here, not only physically but emotionally,” she said. “I’ve never felt the sense of uncertainty like I do now.”

My NYT Comment:
"Why aren't the money hoarders being forced to suffer along with the rest of us. Those who have more money than they and their families can spend in their entire lifetimes? Why are they allowed to keep all that wealth created by the workers who were employed in their factories, business, industries? Why are they immune to economic catastrophe, homelessness, hunger and lack of healthcare? And why can't "the greatest and wealthiest nation on earth" supply protective equipment to our medical staff? This virus is serving as austerity on steroids for the masses and even more accumulation of wealth for those on top of the money chain. And, meanwhile, the U.S. war industries continue to thrive bringing death and destruction all over the world. Capitalism is insane and is what's causing all of this. It has to be stopped! We need to change from production for private profit to production for the needs and wants of all. Socialism is the only solution. Then, instead of corporations competing for a cure or vaccine for profit, the world could cooperate to find one free to all, Socialism is cooperation not competition. Let’s leave competition to sports—cooperation for everything else!" —Bonnie Weinstein



8) No Masks, Disinfectant or Soap. This Is Detention Amid a Pandemic.
Asylum seekers must be released before it is too late.
By Kate Goldman, April 2, 2020
Credit...Eric Gay/Associated Press

I am a translator and interpreter for asylum seekers held at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, and elsewhere in the country. I had never imagined that there could be more urgency around the work I do. The detainees I talk to are afraid of being deported, or being held indefinitely. Some are sick over being separated from their children, and unable to protect them from harm. Over the past few days, those concerns are increasingly being eclipsed by the fear of being infected with the coronavirus and dying alone in jail.

Their fears are not unwarranted. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has reported that at least four immigrants in custody and five ICE facility employees have tested positive for Covid-19. The Office of Refugee Resettlement has confirmed four cases of coronavirus among minors in its custody, and at least one child has been placed under quarantine while awaiting results. Eight personnel or foster parents in programs in New York, Washington and Texas have also reported testing positive for Covid-19.

Leaked photos, videos, and audio recordings paint a grim picture. In March migrants held at the Hudson County Jail in New Jersey, where two people have tested positive for Covid-19, went on a hunger strike, demanding access to soap and toilet paper. In a video-visitation call to The Intercept, a woman in a Louisiana detention center held a sign that read, “A women here with us is sick. She may have Covid-19.” The other detainees are afraid they will also get sick.

On Monday, The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, or RAICES, released a recording of two fathers detained with their children in the Karnes Detention Center in Texas. They have not been given information on how to prevent the spread of the virus. They said their children are sick with flu-like symptoms. They live in a cell with five other people — it is impossible to put six feet between each person. They have not been given masks, disinfectant, or soap. “Everyone is really desperate and I think this is all about to collapse,” said one of the fathers.

Their lives are at risk even though many of them have committed no crime and if they have, it was that they crossed the border without authorization.
Detained migrants have limited access to medical services even at the best of times. The South Texas Family Residential Center, where the Dilley Pro Bono Project provides services to detained mothers and children, has a history of not providing adequate care to detainees. In 2015, some 250 children were given adult doses of the hepatitis A vaccine. More recently, I watched a 2-year-old boy with a fever fall asleep on a chair while I interviewed his mother. Others have told me that the wait to see a doctor is so long it often means missing meals. When they do they get to see a doctor, they’re given ibuprofen and VapoRub. ICE Detention centers simply don’t have the capacity to handle a coronavirus outbreak.
As Americans shelter in place or practice social distancing, the organizations I work with are mobilizing to stop what may be the inevitable result of a disastrous immigration policy. Respond Crisis Translation has drafted a one-page guide on how to prevent the spread of the virus that we’ve translated into over a dozen languages. Immigration attorneys who volunteer for organizations like Al Otro Lado are fighting for the release of all those in ICE detention, while the American Civil Liberties Union and RAICES have filed suits to secure the release of detainees who pose no danger to society.
Their efforts have met with some success. Last week a federal judge ordered the immediate release of 10 immigrants with underlying medical conditions held by ICE in New Jersey jails with confirmed cases of Covid-19. On Saturday, a federal judge in Los Angeles urged the Health and Human Services Department and ICE to release migrant children or explain why they must be kept in custody amid the pandemic. This week a judge in Pennsylvania ordered the release of 11 immigration detainees over concerns that their health could be in jeopardy if they contracted coronavirus in detention. But it is far from enough.

Migrants who are released while they wait for their asylum court hearings are already routinely monitored with ankle bracelets. Most have a sponsor in the U.S. — usually a family member — who has already agreed to be responsible for their welfare. Those who don’t could be paired with families willing to sponsor them or sanctuary churches that can house them. Or there could be other solutions, like temporarily housing asylum seekers in dorms or hotels. But it has to be done now. They must be released before it is too late.



9) Location Data Says It All: Staying at Home During Coronavirus Is a Luxury
By Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, Denise Lu and Gabriel J.X. Dance, April 3, 2020
“ 'People want to talk about this virus as an equal opportunity pathogen, but it’s really not,' said Dr. Ashwin Vasan, a doctor and public health professor at Columbia University. 'It’s going right to the fissures in our society.' ...Dr. Vasan and other public health experts cautioned that the nature of this virus means that inequality in health outcomes puts the entire population at greater risk. Pockets of people who are untested or who don’t get the appropriate medical treatment can quickly become new clusters.
“I just really want people to understand that it’s hard right now to go to work and live for other people,” said Adarra Benjamin, a health worker in Chicago who is proud to be essential but worried about getting ill from the virus.Joshua Lott for The New York Times

It has been about two weeks since the Illinois governor ordered residents to stay at home, but nothing has changed about Adarra Benjamin’s responsibilities. She gets on a bus nearly every morning in Chicago, traveling 20 miles round trip some days to cook, clean and shop for her clients, who are older or have health problems that make such tasks difficult.

Ms. Benjamin knows the dangers, but she needs her job, which pays about $13 an hour. She also cannot imagine leaving her clients to fend for themselves. “They’ve become my family,” she said.

In cities across America, many lower-income workers continue to move around, while those who make more money are staying home and limiting their exposure to the coronavirus, according to smartphone location data analyzed by The New York Times.
Although people in all income groups are moving less than they did before the crisis, wealthier people are staying home the most, especially during the workweek. Not only that, but in nearly every state, they began doing so days before the poor, giving them a head start on social distancing as the virus spread, according to aggregated data from the location analysis company Cuebiq, which tracks about 15 million cellphone users nationwide daily.
Beginning in early March, people across the country started limiting their movements as the coronavirus spread.
Similar trends can be seen from coast to coast, including in the 25 most populous metropolitan areas.
The wealthiest people, those in the top 10 percent of income, however, have limited their movement more than those in the bottom 10 percent of the same metro areas, according to a Times analysis of cellphone location data.
By March 16, when President Trump asked people to stay at home to slow the spread of the virus, those in the wealthiest and poorestareas were both moving less than usual.
But by that date, those in the highest-income locations had already cut their movement by nearly half. Poorer areas did not see a similar drop until three days later.
The data offers real-time evidence of a divide laid bare by the coronavirus pandemic — one in which wealthier people not only have more job security and benefits but also may be better able to avoid becoming sick. The outbreak is so new that the relationship between socioeconomic status and infection rates cannot be determined, but other data, including recent statistics released by public health officials in New York City, suggests that the coronavirus is hitting low-income neighborhoods the hardest.
Concerns about getting infected have incited protests and strikesby workers in grocery stores, delivery services and other industries who say their employers are not providing them with enough protection or compensation to counter the increased health risks, even as their jobs have been deemed essential.
Rules vary among states, but essential workers generally include those in health care and public safety roles, as well as caregivers, delivery drivers, grocery clerks and plumbers. Hardware stores, pharmacies and takeout restaurants also remain open and staffed. All of these workers are able to stay on the job — a boon in an economy seized by shutdowns — but in most cases they cannot claim unemployment benefits if they quit.
“People want to talk about this virus as an equal opportunity pathogen, but it’s really not,” said Dr. Ashwin Vasan, a doctor and public health professor at Columbia University. “It’s going right to the fissures in our society.”
The mobility data provides a snapshot in time, and the behaviors it captures could change amid a fast-moving crisis. Although several public policy experts who reviewed the data said it strongly indicated that wealthier people are better able to stay home, they added that there could be other reasons for the differences — perhaps higher awareness of the risks or better access to information, for example — and others that are not yet obvious.
Economists and public health researchers said the data pointed to holes in the government’s response to the pandemic’s fallout for low-income workers, which has focused on those who have lost their jobs because of shutdowns and not on those with essential duties.
“Covid-19 is exposing a lot of the structural disadvantages that low-income people face,” including a lack of job security and uneven access to health care, said Adie Tomer, a fellow at the Brookings Institution who has studied the essential work force. “The well-off are employed in industries where they are at a desk, and so there are some advantages built into these high-income neighborhoods during this pandemic,” he added.
In metro areas with the greatest disparity between the richest and the poorest residents — and where there are orders to stay home — people in higher-income neighborhoods have essentially halted movement. People in lower-income neighborhoods have also drastically reduced their movement, but the data shows an uptick in their movements after the third weekend of March, coinciding with the start of another workweek.
In other areas where income disparity was not as high, it was much more likely that both the richest and poorest continued to move. These cities were also in places that were less likely to have mandated that residents stay home.
Many essential workers are in lower-income jobs and have positions that require them to leave home and work face-to-face with others, economists said. “The people at this income, they’re either furloughed and not coming in to work, or they are essential construction, grocery cashiers, workers in long-term care institutions,” said Matthew Rae, who directs a program on health care markets at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
“And hundreds of thousands of them don’t have health insurance.”
Ms. Benjamin, the health worker in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood, is 26 and among those without health insurance. She carries bottled soap and hand sanitizer with her and is vigilant about not touching her face. But she is worried.
“I do have gloves, but I just ran out of masks,” she said, “and I have no idea where I’m going to get any from.”
Just 15 miles north of Ms. Benjamin, in the Uptown neighborhood, John Williams has been working at home since March 16, five days before the governor’s order went into effect. A communications worker for nonprofits, Mr. Williams said people on his team were already used to telecommuting but that his husband, a high school music teacher, had faced more challenges.“Honestly, we are grateful for the privilege and security we have at the moment, knock on wood,” he said. “It’s uncomfortable, but it’s not life-threateningly scary.”
As federal lawmakers contend with shuttered businesses and millions of people suddenly out of work, little of their legislation has been tailored to help essential workers affected by the pandemic. These workers will get the same stimulus checks that other people get from the $2 trillion economic stabilization package, and the second phase of the coronavirus legislation expanded the mandate for paid sick leave related to Covid-19. But while Democrats have renewed their push to include expanded occupational safety requirements for workers, which failed to gain traction in the most recent legislation, and are also calling for additional hazard pay for workers on the front lines, it is unclear if either of those will prevail in future negotiations.
Mr. Tomer, of Brookings, said life insurance and targeted coronavirus-related health insurance for essential workers could help. “It’s about peace of mind for them and their families, and a form of compensation,” he said.
In reports from many cities, workers have alternated between fear at being exposed to the virus and relief at having a job while so many others are unemployed. Ridership on New York’s subway system has plummeted, but stations in poorer areas remain crowded.
In Seattle, one of the earliest coronavirus hotspots in the country, Cassandra Fejarang, a Teamsters union member, was laid off from her restaurant supply position in March but was able to find work in a Safeway grocery distribution center. She travels a few miles by car to the warehouse in Auburn, Wash.
“I’m blessed to still be able to work,” said Ms. Fejarang, 34. She said she has been pulling 10- and 16-hour shifts, loading packs of frozen food, toilet paper, bleach and other goods onto pallets to be taken to stores. Grocery warehouse workers in her union make a good wage — $20 to $29 an hour — and have negotiated extra benefits during the coronavirus crisis.
“I definitely wear gloves and try to keep my mask on because we’re surrounded by people all day,” she said. “We are all washing our hands, trying to keep our distance. It’s hard, but I feel safe when I’m there.”
Washington State, which had the earliest known major outbreak of coronavirus in the United States, stands out from the rest of the country because the wealthiest people there had nearly a week’s head start over the poorest when it came to staying home.
With this highly transmissible virus, even days can make a difference in limiting or igniting an outbreak, said Dr. Vasan, the Columbia professor.
“It’s just moving like wildfire through communities,” Dr. Vasan said. “We talk about flattening the curve, and every day people are not staying home just makes that harder.”
Dr. Vasan and other public health experts cautioned that the nature of this virus means that inequality in health outcomes puts the entire population at greater risk. Pockets of people who are untested or who don’t get the appropriate medical treatment can quickly become new clusters.
Ms. Benjamin, the home care worker, said she was proud to be essential but would feel better with assurances that she could be taken care of if she fell ill.
“I just really want people to understand that it’s hard right now to go to work and live for other people,” she said. “I want to make sure that they know we’re all in this together. Everyone is scared, but the world is in this together.”



10) Just When They’re Needed Most, Clinics for the Poor Face Drastic Cutbacks
Clinics that treat the poor and uninsured are facing hard times just when they are most needed. The coronavirus pandemic has depleted their revenues.
By Kirk Johnson and Abby Goodnough, April 5, 2020
Credit...Karen Ducey/Getty Images

SEATTLE — Providers of health care in the nation’s poorest neighborhoods are used to toiling below the radar, treating chronic diseases and other ravages of poverty in places many Americans never see.
But the spillover effects of the coronavirus, in cutting off routine procedures and checkups that are the day-to-day rhythm of medical economics, are hitting this sector hard too, with layoffs, furloughs and fears that a system of government-supported clinics dating back to the War on Poverty could collapse.

“Our first official day of unemployment was the 23rd,” said Tracy Baker, 39, a dental auxiliary worker at a nonprofit medical clinic in a rural area of northeast Washington State where the jobless rate was already more than double the national average even before the recent blows to the economy. Her husband, Josh, 41, a machinist, lost his own job a week after she did.

Ms. Baker’s employer, New Health Community Health Center, has laid off more than a third of its work force — 60 out of 175 — over the last two weeks, as revenues plummeted from fewer paid patient visits. “It’s heartbreaking for us,” said Desiree Sweeney, the executive director of New Health. “They’re good people.”
The nation’s latticework of nonprofit community health centers was first established in the 1960s and now stretches across every state to provide about 29 million people with primary care, regardless of their ability to pay. Almost a quarter of the centers’ patients are uninsured, and almost 70 percent live in poverty. The centers are a crucial link in a fragmented American health care system that too often fails to reach into poor neighborhoods.
Recent years have been pretty good for these places. When most states expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act to cover many previously uninsured low-income adults, many community health centers saw their revenues improve, sometimes dramatically. But now, the centers are being battered by ferocious crosswinds as routine medical care — including dental work, a primary source of revenue — has been put on hold to conserve resources and keep the coronavirus from spreading.
At the same time, doctors and administrators in clinics from Massachusetts, Kentucky, Idaho, Iowa and Washington State said they are being put in a new role: working with hospitals to screen people for the virus, while bracing for a surge in patients if those hospitals become overwhelmed and people have nowhere else to go. Plus preparing for a time of greater economic pain in their already struggling patient populations.

“We are expecting there will be more people seeking our services at the same time we’re not able to keep all our staff on hand,” said Chuck Jones, the chief executive at Harbor Health Services, which runs six community health centers from Boston to Cape Cod.

Mr. Jones was forced to furlough 160 people over the last few weeks — a quarter of the work force. In consolidating care and staff, he also had to shut down in-person appointments at the nation’s first community health center, called Geiger Gibson, which opened in 1965 in the basement of a public-housing project in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood.

“It is nonsensical that in the biggest health care crisis our country has ever faced, organizations like ours are being forced to furlough people we will need,” Mr. Jones said. He said he fears for his patients, a group of Americans who, in isolation or poverty, “quietly pass off our radar.”

“I worry a lot,” he added, “that if community health centers go away, we won’t as a society hear the struggles of these people.”

Community health centers are expecting a boost from the $2 trillion stimulus package recently passed by Congress and signed by President Trump; they will share $1.3 billion. But spread across 1,362 of the centers, the money will only keep the system afloat for about 37 days from the start of the first payments, according to estimates by the National Association of Community Health Centers.

Finding a meaningful role in the crisis is the challenge that consumes people like Bill Wagner, the longtime executive director of Family Health Centers, which has eight sites serving 42,000 patients in and around Louisville, Ky. His organization’s revenue dropped by 30 percent in March, after Gov. Andy Beshear signed an executive order requiring that all non-urgent care be put on hold; he expects an even bigger loss this month.
“What is the role of a community health center during a pandemic?” Mr. Wagner said. “The roles of the hospital I.C.U.s and E.R.s and the public health departments are clear. But we’re kind of in the middle here.”
Family Health Centers is trying to ramp up telemedicine visits — using both phone and video — to help patients keep common ailments like diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and depression in check. The organization spent a portion of the $100,000 it received from the first round of stimulus spending on 40 new tablets for providers to conduct video visits. But while Medicaid now pays for such visits, they can be difficult for low-income patients who often “don’t have the minutes on their phone, don’t have the data plan,” Mr. Wagner said.
For now, Mr. Wagner’s clinics are devoting afternoons to screening patients who might be infected with the coronavirus; they wait in the parking lot until an exam room is free. They have tested more than 100 patients to date, including 14 who were positive for the virus.
Mr. Wagner said he is particularly concerned about educating patients who are homeless or refugees about the virus; Family Health Centers has a site dedicated to each of these populations.

In Ottumwa, Iowa, Dr. Ken Jones, the dental director for River Hills Community Health Center, said he feels that the need for clinics in his service area will only grow as the epidemic and its harsh economic impact both unfold at the same time.

“In southeast Iowa we serve eight counties, the poverty belt, so we already have a high number of uninsured patients,” Dr. Jones said. Widespread layoffs will only increase the ranks of the uninsured, he said. “I think the role of the community health centers is just going to be that much more important.”

One dentist on Dr. Jones’s staff, Jessica Williams, who is now performing only urgent care dental work, said the already high infection risk in her job has been compounded by the unknowns of the coronavirus’s spread and the staff reductions on the dental team. “I have to put that fear aside,” Dr. Williams wrote in an email, describing two patients who came in recently with bad infections and dire pain.
“When I took out their abscessed, crumbling teeth, scooped out the pus and infected tissue, and said ‘It’s out,’ they sighed, thanked God, and thanked me profusely. In that order. It’s just a reminder that those patients appreciate us, see the value in our work, our sacrifice. Reminds me of the job I signed up for and why.”
In Whatcom, County, Wash., which is served by Sea Mar Community Health Centers, based in Seattle, 10,696 people have filed for unemployment over the last two weeks, in a county with about 229,000 people.
Hard times, said Dr. Christine Hancock, a family practitioner at Sea Mar, will lead more economically struggling or uninsured patients to Sea Mar’s doors. “Patients basically don’t have anywhere to go except for a few community health centers in the county,” she said. “It’s just kind of the reality.”
Kirk Johnson reported from Seattle, and Abby Goodnough from Washington.



11) Gaps in Amazon’s Virus Response Fuel Warehouse Workers’ Demands
Shifting sick-leave policy and communication issues are causing employees to assert themselves after they stayed on the job.
By Karen Weise and Kate Conger, April 5, 2020
Doug Chayka

SEATTLE — Jonathan Bailey, a 30-year-old Amazon warehouse employee in Queens, has a system for protecting himself from the coronavirus at work. He wears a medical mask with a bandanna tied over it. When he returns to the apartment he shares with his wife, he dumps his mask, work gloves, neon green Amazon safety vest and other clothes into a plastic trash bag.
He’s not certain it really works, but he figures it’s better than nothing. “We’re very careful,” Mr. Bailey said. “We’re in the epicenter of it all.”
As millions of Americans heed government orders to hunker down, ordering food and medicines and books and puzzle boards for home delivery, many of Amazon’s 400,000 warehouse workers have stayed on the job, fulfilling the crushing demands of a country suddenly working and learning from home. Orders for Amazon groceries, for example, have been as much as 50 times higher than normal, according to a person with direct knowledge of the business.

The challenge is keeping enough people on the job to fill those orders, according to more than 30 Amazon warehouse workers and current and former corporate employees who spoke with The New York Times. (Many requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly and feared losing their jobs.) For all of its high-tech sophistication, Amazon’s vast e-commerce business is dependent on an army of workers operating in warehouses they now fear are contaminated with the coronavirus.

“None of this works without our employees,” said Jay Carney, the company’s senior vice president for corporate affairs. And the employees have been motivated to remind Amazon of their importance.
The surge of orders is testing the limits of Amazon’s vaunted distribution system and forcing changes to the company’s relationship with its employees. While Amazon’s workers are not unionized, the crisis has given workplace organizers like Mr. Baileyunexpected leverage to demand better pay, better sick leave and more of a voice in how the company is run.
By mid-March, attendance at Amazon warehouses had fallen as much as 30 percent, according to one corporate employee involved in the response. This week, small groups of employees protested working conditions in Michigan and on Staten Island. New York State and New York City officials also said they were investigating whether Amazon improperly retaliated against a worker it fired who had been involved in the protest.
Amazon said that it did not fire employees for speaking out about their workplace conditions and that it had fired the worker because he was on paid quarantine and violated safety measures by going to the protest. But in a leaked memo published Thursday by Vice, Amazon’s top lawyer called the fired worker inarticulate and discussed strategy for making him out to be the face of the worker movement.

David Zapolsky, the general counsel, said he had been frustrated by what he called a safety violation. “I let my emotions draft my words and get the better of me,” he said.

Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, both of New Jersey, recently wrote to Amazon’s chief executive, Jeff Bezos, to express concern about warehouse safety. The senators, all Democrats, condemned Mr. Zapolsky’s remarks in statements to The Times.
“It’s troubling, racist and has no place in our country,” Mr. Menendez said. “Amazon should do everything it can to protect its workers instead of disparaging them.”
Amazon’s response to the pandemic has differed from warehouse to warehouse. Over the years, that sort of autonomy has allowed Amazon to nimbly adjust to local market conditions. Now it is leading to distrust, as workers see some facilities close for cleaning while others remain open.
Since the first worker in the Queens facility learned on March 18 that he had tested positive, the company has learned of cases in more than 50 other facilities, out of the more than 500 it operates across the county.
In recent weeks, Amazon has raised wages and added quarantine leave, and it is offering overtime at double pay. It said it had tripled its janitorial staff. And it has added space between many workstations. But in private groups, conversations with their managers and public protests, some workers have expressed alarm about their safety.
Mr. Carney said the company had been cautious about telling workers about cases out of privacy concerns and because one of its first likely cases, a corporate employee in Europe, turned out not to have the virus. He said Amazon was managing the needs of its workers and the public the best it could in a situation for which no company has a real playbook.

“We’re pushing out these new rules as we decide on them,” Mr. Carney said. But some warehouses acted more rapidly on the policies than others. “Compliance has been unbelievably good but not perfect,” he said. On Thursday, Amazon announced that it would audit warehouses’ compliance with the rules.

For Amazon, like many companies in America, the danger of the coronavirus started as a problem in its supply chain. The company was concerned about acquiring products that were made in China, and by mid-February, it was placing larger orders than normal to stockpile supplies

But on Feb. 27, Amazon learned that an employee in Europe who had traveled to Milan had contracted the virus. It immediately halted all nonessential travel, including within the United States, making it the first known major company to suspend domestic travel.
In the first week of March, Amazon told its headquarters employees to work from home. Warehouse employees were later offered unlimited unpaid time off instead. Workers would normally be fired after missing too many shifts, so Mr. Carney said the message that executives hoped to convey with the new policy was: “You won’t lose your job, don’t worry.”
Many workers did stay home, just as panic buying set in — first for masks and hand sanitizer, then toilet paper and eventually webcams. Eric Heller, a former Amazon senior manager who advises major brands at Wunderman Thompson Commerce, said his clients saw canned meat sales rise 700 percent. Pet food went up 300 percent.
Companies began sending in products to restock Amazon’s warehouses. But with attendance down and more items coming in, workers could not replenish the supplies fast enough. Trucks backed up, waiting days to be unloaded. The company offered shift after extra shift, raised wages $2 an hour and paid double the hourly rate for overtime. It eventually announced that it would hire 100,000 new workers.

In mid-March, Amazon stopped accepting new shipments into its warehouses that were not for priority products, like health care and baby supplies.
On March 16, Jeysson Manrique, an employee of a delivery company that contracts with Amazon, woke up with a fever. His body ached. He called his supervisor to say he was sick. Mr. Manrique, 29, was asked to text a picture of his temperature on a thermometer. He couldn’t find one, so he went in for his shift at an Amazon facility in Queens. Amazon said it was investigating the situation with the contracting company because its policy requires employees stay home if they feel sick.
Two days later, Mr. Manrique’s father-in-law — they live together in a house with other members of the family — was sorting packages at the same facility when his doctor called to tell him that he had tested positive for the coronavirus. His father-in-law shared his test results with his supervisors and went home.
When the warehouse closed for cleaning, he was the first publicly known case inside Amazon’s vast warehouse operations in the United States. Mr. Manrique joined his father-in-law and other members of the household in quarantine without venturing out for a test.
On March 23, rumors circulated at the Queens facility that another employee had tested positive. Hours later, there were whispers of a third. The building was shut down March 24 and March 25 for deep cleaning. The company had also begun instructing warehouses to keep employees apart, staggering when they arrive and canceling group meetings at the start of shifts.
Some workers said they were still handling products that were helpful but hardly critical. One warehouse employee posted a picture on social media of moving large boxes, including a Power Wheels Jeep that a child can ride, with the hashtags #SoManyPingPongTables and #TreadmillsAreEssentialProductsApparently.
Ira Pollock, an employee in the Queens facility who has organized other workers, said having people show up to ship nonessential items endangered the community. “Amazon has to earn its right to call itself an essential service,” he said.

“The priorities are the priorities,” Mr. Carney said. “We’re not going to ship a prom dress or a Ping-Pong table if that’s going to slow down in any way the intake or outflow of essential items.”

When Amazon announced unlimited unpaid leave, it also said it would pay two weeks of sick time for “all Amazon employees diagnosed with Covid-19 or placed into quarantine.” On Friday, a day after it received questions from The Times about the situation, Amazon said it had issued a check for Mr. Manrique’s father-in-law, who is ending his second week of quarantine.
Documents viewed by The Times show that workers around the country applied for leave without a formal diagnosis. The workers said they had compromised immune systems or had been ordered to stay home because of contact with someone who was sick, but did not have the paperwork required to qualify for paid time off.
In a number of cases, employees continued to work after showing symptoms but before their tests came back positive — when they would be eligible for paid leave. One person in New York started having symptoms on March 18 but did not stop working until March 25, when she went into quarantine, the documents show.
Amazon said workers could still use unlimited unpaid or regular paid sick time off, if they had accrued enough hours.
“Paid leave is important,” said Dr. David Michaels, a former head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration who teaches at George Washington University, “because you need to do everything you can to ensure that potentially sick workers stay home in order not to infect co-workers and others in the public.”

On March 25, the attorneys general in 14 states and Washington, D.C., wrote a letter to Amazon saying the requirement for testing or a formal quarantine was “particularly insufficient given the realities of the public health crisis, where the lack of access to Covid-19 testing has been widely reported.” Two days later, Amazon expanded its policy.
Mr. Carney said the leave policy had been developed at a time when Amazon expected testing to be widely available.
“When it became clear that the complete scarcity of tests was an obstacle to people finding out whether or not they had Covid, we made it clear that the additional paid time off applied to people who had suspected they had Covid,” he said.
But the message has not reached everyone. The internal website for warehouse employees has not been updated, and on Monday, a warehouse employee in the South asked for paid leave after her child tested positive. In an email viewed by The Times, the employee was told to take unpaid time off “as you wait for test results.”
While Amazon said it could not confirm the situation, it added that that response did not reflect its policy and that any employee caring for someone with a doctor-diagnosed case of Covid-19 should receive up to two weeks of pay.
Karen Weise reported from Seattle, and Kate Conger from Oakland, Calif. Frances Robles contributed reporting from Key West, Fla.


























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