The biggest block from having society in harmony with the universe is the belief in a lie that says it’s not realistic or humanly possible. —Johnny Gould (Follow @tandino415 on Instagram)





When faced with the opportunity to do good, I really think it’s the instinct of humanity to do so. It’s in our genetic memory from our earliest ancestors. It’s the altered perception of the reality of what being human truly is that’s been indoctrinated in to every generation for the last 2000 years or more that makes us believe that we are born sinners. I can’t get behind that one. We all struggle with certain things, but I really think that all the “sinful” behavior is learned and wisdom and goodwill is innate at birth.  —Johnny Gould



















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



High Court Declines Case of 60s Black Militant H. Rap Brown

By The Associated Press, April 6, 2020

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is declining to take the case of a 1960s black militant formerly known as H. Rap Brown who is in prison for killing a Georgia sheriff’s deputy in 2000.
As is usual, the justices didn't comment Monday in turning away Brown's case. Brown had argued his constitutional rights were violated at trial.
Brown converted to Islam and now goes by the name Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. He gained prominence more than 50 years ago as a Black Panthers leader and was at one point the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. 
In 2002, Al-Amin was convicted of murder in the death of Fulton County sheriff’s Deputy Ricky Kinchen and the wounding of Kinchen’s partner, Deputy Aldranon English. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Al-Amin had argued that a prosecutor violated his right not to testify by directly questioning him during closing arguments in a sort of mock cross-examination.



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.)

Mailing Address:
Radical Women, National Office
5018 Rainier Ave. S.
SeattleWA  98118

Add us to your address book

For more information
Phone: 206-722-6057





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
www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist



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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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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..

*     *     *     *     *

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) 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.



2) Black Americans Face Alarming Rates of Coronavirus Infection in Some States
Data on race and the disease Covid-19 is too limited to draw sweeping conclusions, experts say, but disparate rates of sickness — and death — have emerged in some places.
"The racial disparities in coronavirus cases and outcomes, public health researchers said, reflect what happens when a viral pandemic is layered on top of entrenched inequalities....The data emerging in some places, researchers said, is partly explained by factors that could make black Americans more vulnerable in any outbreak: They are less likely to be insured, more likely to have existing health conditions and, as a result of implicit racial bias, more likely to be denied testing and treatment. And then, the researchers said, there is the highly infectious nature of the coronavirus in a society where black Americans disproportionately hold jobs that do not allow them to stay at home."
By Richard A. Oppel Jr., Dionne Searcey and John Eligon, April 7, 2020
Credit...Kathleen Flynn/Reuters

In Louisiana, one of the states most devastated by the coronavirus, about 70 percent of the people who have died are African-American, officials announced on Monday, though only a third of the state’s population is black.

In the county around Milwaukee, where 27 percent of residents are black, nearly twice as many African-American residents tested positive for the virus as white people, figures released this week show.

And in Chicago, where African-American residents make up a little less than a third of the population, more than half of those found to have the virus are black. The death toll there is even more alarming: African-American residents make up 72 percent of those who have succumbed to the virus in Chicago.

“Those numbers take your breath away, they really do,” said Lori Lightfoot, the mayor of Chicago, who announced the city’s figures on Monday. “This is a call-to-action moment for all of us.”

Ms. Lightfoot, the first black woman to be elected mayor of the city, said in an interview that the statistics were “among the most shocking things I think I’ve seen as mayor.”
Data on the race of Americans who have been sickened by the coronavirus has only been made public in a handful of places, and it is too limited at this point, experts say, to make sweeping conclusions about the national or long-term picture. But day by day, the emerging statistics show black residents being infected at disturbing rates in some of the nation’s largest cities and states.

The racial disparities in coronavirus cases and outcomes, public health researchers said, reflect what happens when a viral pandemic is layered on top of entrenched inequalities.

The data emerging in some places, researchers said, is partly explained by factors that could make black Americans more vulnerable in any outbreak: They are less likely to be insured, more likely to have existing health conditions and, as a result of implicit racial bias, more likely to be denied testing and treatment. And then, the researchers said, there is the highly infectious nature of the coronavirus in a society where black Americans disproportionately hold jobs that do not allow them to stay at home.

“If you walk outside and see who is actually still working,” said Elaine Nsoesie, an infectious disease modeler at Boston University’s School of Public Health, “the data don’t seem surprising.”

States such as North Carolina and South Carolina have reported that, when compared with white residents, black residents account for a higher proportion of positive coronavirus tests than they represent in the general population. Black people are overrepresented compared with white people among those infected in the Las Vegas area and among those who have tested positive for the virus in Connecticut. In Minnesota, African-Americans have been infected with the coronavirus at rates roughly proportionate to their percentage of the state’s population.
Still, in many places, the data comes with a significant limitation. Officials are reporting racial data for cases where the patient’s race is known. For a large percentage of total cases in those places — sometimes more than 40 percent — no racial information is available.
And officials in many states, including those hard hit by the pandemic — California, New Jersey, New York and Washington — have not provided statewide information about the race of patients.

That has raised anger in some corners. Jumaane D. Williams, the public advocate for New York City, on Thursday sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio calling for the release of a breakdown of cases by race. Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey have demanded that the Trump administration collect race and ethnicity data on coronavirus testing and treatment.

“Despite the clear vulnerability of people of color in this public health emergency, comprehensive demographic data on the racial and ethnic characteristics of people who are tested or treated for Covid-19 does not exist,” the Democratic senators wrote in their letter, referring to the disease caused by the coronavirus.
As for the places where racial data has been tracked and made public, some experts pointed to longstanding structural inequalities as possible explanations for the disparities.
Sharrelle Barber, an assistant research professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Drexel University, said government redlining policies that date to the 1930s left many neighborhoods with black residents lacking job opportunities, stable housing, grocery stores with healthy food and more. That has meant disproportionate rates of asthma and diabetes, she said, as well as residents who cannot simply stay inside their homes and away from work.
“These communities, structurally, they’re breeding grounds for the transmission of the disease,” she said. “It’s not biological. It’s really these existing structural inequalities that are going to shape the racial inequalities in this pandemic.”
Before the pandemic hit, officials had calculated that white Chicagoans had an average life expectancy of 8.8 years longer than black residents.
“Systemic and institutional racism that have driven these inequalities through the years we are now seeing play out in Covid data,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, director of the city’s public health department.
Officials on Monday said they would order health providers to offer complete demographic information on all coronavirus patients so Chicago could deploy what the mayor called “racial inequity rapid response teams” that would monitor symptoms, offer testing and help enforce social distancing in places like grocery stores. Plans were also being put in place to offer extra buses along busy routes so commuters could have more distance between one another.

In Detroit, the Rev. Larry Simmons said, “We see the same thing we always see: There’s a fundamental inequity in America, and this crisis of corona has just revealed it.”
Reporting was contributed by Audra D. S. Burch, Amy Harmon, Mitch Smith and Matt Furber.



3) New Research Links Air Pollution to Higher Coronavirus Death Rates
By Lisa Friedman, April 7, 2020
Credit...Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Coronavirus patients in areas that had high levels of air pollution before the pandemic are more likely to die from the infection than patients in cleaner parts of the country, according to a new nationwide study that offers the first clear link between long-term exposure to pollution and Covid-19 death rates.

In an analysis of 3,080 counties in the United States, researchers at the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that higher levels of the tiny, dangerous particles in air known as PM 2.5 were associated with higher death rates from the disease.

For weeks, public health officials have surmised a link between dirty air and death or serious illness from Covid-19, which is caused by the coronavirus. The Harvard analysis is the first nationwide study to show a statistical link, revealing a “large overlap” between Covid-19 deaths and other diseases associated with long-term exposure to fine particulate matter.

“The results of this paper suggest that long-term exposure to air pollution increases vulnerability to experiencing the most severe Covid-19 outcomes,” the authors wrote.

The paper found that if Manhattan had lowered its average particulate matter level by just a single unit, or one microgram per cubic meter, over the past 20 years, the borough would most likely have seen 248 fewer Covid-19 deaths by this point in the outbreak.
Over all, the research could have significant implications for how public health officials choose to allocate resources like ventilators and respirators as the coronavirus spreads. The paper has been fast-tracked for peer review and publication in the New England Journal of Medicine.
It found that just a slight increase in long-term pollution exposure could have serious coronavirus-related consequences, even accounting for other factors like smoking rates and population density.
For example, it found that a person living for decades in a county with high levels of fine particulate matter is 15 percent more likely to die from the coronavirus than someone in a region with one unit less of the fine particulate pollution.
The District of Columbia, for instance, is likely to have a higher death rate than the adjacent Montgomery County, Md. Cook County, Ill., which includes Chicago, should be worse than nearby Lake County, Ill. Fulton County, Ga., which includes Atlanta, is likely to suffer more deaths than the adjacent Douglas County.
“This study provides evidence that counties that have more polluted air will experience higher risks of death for Covid-19,” said Francesca Dominici, a professor of biostatistics at Harvard who led the study.
Counties with higher pollution levels, Dr. Dominici said, “will be the ones that will have higher numbers of hospitalizations, higher numbers of deaths and where many of the resources should be concentrated.”
The study is part of a small but growing body of research, mostly still out of Europe, that offers a view into how a lifetime of breathing dirtier air can make people more susceptible to the coronavirus, which has already killed more than 10,000 people in the United States and 74,000 worldwide.
In the short term, Dr. Dominici and other public health experts said the study’s finding meant that places like the Central Valley of California, or Cuyahoga County, Ohio, may need to prepare for more severe cases of Covid-19.
The analysis did not look at individual patient data and did not answer why some parts of the country have been hit harder than others. It also remains unclear whether particulate matter pollution plays any role in the spread of the coronavirus or whether long-term exposure directly leads to a greater risk of falling ill.
Dr. John R. Balmes, a spokesman for the American Lung Association and a professor of medicine at University of California, San Francisco, said the findings were particularly important for hospitals in poor neighborhoods and communities of color, which tend to be exposed to higher levels of air pollution than affluent, white communities.

“We need to make sure that hospitals taking care of folks who are more vulnerable and with even greater air pollution exposure have the resources they need,” Dr. Balmes said.

As more is learned about the recurrence of Covid-19, the study also could have far-reaching implications for clean-air regulations, which the Trump administration has worked to roll back over the past three years on the grounds that they have been onerous to industry.
“The study results underscore the importance of continuing to enforce existing air pollution regulations to protect human health both during and after the Covid-19 crisis,” the study said.
Last week, the Trump administration announced a plan to weaken Obama-era regulations on automobile tailpipe emissions, asserting the rollback would save lives because Americans would buy newer, safer vehicles. But the administration’s own analysis also found that there would be even more premature deaths from increased air pollution.
In weakening a regulation last year on carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants, the Environmental Protection Agency similarly acknowledged that the measure was likely to result in about 1,400 additional premature deaths a year because of more pollution.
Asked whether the E.P.A. was also studying the link between air pollution and the virus or considering policies to address the link, Andrea Woods, a spokeswoman for the agency, referred the question to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and asserted that the Trump administration rollbacks would lead to some air quality improvements.

Beth Gardiner, a journalist and the author of “Choked: Life and Breath in the Age of Air Pollution,” said she was particularly worried about what the coronavirus outbreak would mean for countries with far worse pollution, such as India.
“Most countries don’t take it seriously enough and aren’t doing enough given the scale of the harm that air pollution is doing to all of our health,” she said.
Most fine particulate matter comes from fuel combustion, like automobiles, refineries and power plants, as well as some indoor sources like tobacco smoke. Breathing in such microscopic pollutants, experts said, inflames and damages the lining of the lungs over time, weakening the body’s ability to fend off respiratory infections.
Multiple studies have found that exposure to fine particulate matter puts people at heightened risk for lung cancer, heart attacks, strokes and even premature death. In 2003, Dr. Zuo-Feng Zhang, the associate dean for research at the University of California, Los Angeles, Fielding School of Public Health, found that SARS patients in the most polluted parts of China were twice as likely to die from the disease as those in places with low air pollution.
In an interview, Dr. Zhang called the Harvard study “very much consistent” with his findings.
To conduct the Harvard study, researchers collected particulate matter data for the past 17 years from more than 3,000 counties and Covid-19 death counts for each county through April 4 from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering Coronavirus Resource Center at the Johns Hopkins University. The resulting model, which examines aggregated rather than individual data, suggested what Dr. Dominici called a statistically significant link between pollution and coronavirus deaths.
The researchers also conducted six secondary analyses to adjust for factors they felt might compromise the results. For example, because New York state has experienced the most severe coronavirus outbreak in the country and death rates there are five times higher than anywhere else, the researchers repeated the analysis excluding all of the counties in the state. They also ran the model excluding counties with fewer than 10 confirmed Covid-19 cases. And they adjusted for various other factors that are known to affect health outcomes, like smoking rates, population density and poverty levels.
Dr. Balmes noted that without studying individual characteristics of patients, the study could only suggest a causal connection between air pollution and Covid-19 deaths and would need to be confirmed by more research — a point with which Dr. Dominici agreed. But, Dr. Balmes said, “It’s still a valuable finding.”


4) COVID-19 May Not Discriminate Based On RaceBut U.S. Healthcare Does
Health officials have stressed that novel coronavirus doesn’t discriminate based on race or ethnicity. But disparities long present in the U.S. medical system are now driving what some call a crisis within a crisis: black and brown communities across the country are being hit harder, and with fewer resources to save them. Amna Nawaz talks to Dr. Uché Blackstock of Advancing Health Equity.
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/covid-19-may-not-discriminate-based-on-race-but-u-s-health-care-doesFull Transcript:
  • Judy Woodruff:
    COVID-19 is forcing all of us to live in new ways.
    But, as Amna Nawaz reports, it is also exposing longstanding rifts in American society.
    This story is part of our ongoing series Race Matters.
  • Amna Nawaz:
    Officials have said over and over again the virus doesn't discriminate.
    But the disparities that have long been part of our medical system in America are now leading to what some call a crisis within a crisis, black and brown communities across the country being hit harder, in greater numbers, and with fewer resources to save them.
    For more on this , I'm joined by Dr. Uché Blackstock. She was an associate professor of emergency medicine at New York University. She now runs a consultancy called Health Advancing Equity, and practices in urgent care clinics in Brooklyn, New York.
    Dr. Blackstock, welcome to the "NewsHour."
    Start by just telling us about the patients you're seeing right now. What are they telling you? What are their symptoms? How sick are they?
  • Uché Blackstock:
    So, currently, I work out of an urgent care clinic in Central Brooklyn, where the population is largely black and brown.
    And we have really been seeing patients over the last one to — one to two weeks come in progressively sicker, a lot with fever, cough, worsening shortness of breath, some even sick enough to warrant emergency department visits.
  • Amna Nawaz:
    And are you seeing any kind of trend in their symptoms? Do you know that these are coronavirus cases?
  • Uché Blackstock:
    They're absolutely textbook COVID-19 cases, I mean, down to the type of symptoms, the course of the symptoms, the onset of worsening of symptoms, every patient after the next coming in with the exact same story. It's almost uncanny.
  • Amna Nawaz:
    You know, Dr. Blackstock, you had told me that, before the pandemic even hit, you were worried that those same patients you serve in your community were going to be hit harder. Why is that?
  • Uché Blackstock:
    For multiple reasons.
    I mean, even thinking about the testing criteria that was initially being used to determine whether or not someone had exposure to COVID-19. It included a person needed to have traveled abroad to one of the countries where COVID-19 was endemic, like Italy or China.
    It also required is someone having to know someone who had tested positive.
    And what we knew very early on was that, you know, there were communities that didn't have access to testing. We had heard of celebrities and politicians having very easy access to testing and quick turnarounds.
    And these are communities that already carry very high chronic disease burdens, like diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma. There are also high rates of obesity. And you know, these have all been tied into a racial health disparities linked to structural racism.
    So it's already kind of made of these patients and these communities more vulnerable to COVID-19, as we're seeing that these patients are at increased risk for developing very serious complications.
  • Amna Nawaz:
    You know, it has been studied and documented, as you just mentioned, the racial bias in our medical system, not just in access to care, right, but in how black and brown people are treated once they're in care.
    As the cases spread further, as people get sicker, how are you worried — or what are you worried will happen as a result of all of those institutional biases and how it'll affect your patients?
  • Uché Blackstock:
    What we already know, as you alluded to, is that, when black and brown people interface with the health care system, they often encounter provider bias. So, we know, and it's well-documented, that their pain is undertreated or their complaints are minimized.
    So, my concern is that, when these patients present to emergency departments and hospitals in their areas with COVID-19 symptoms, that their symptoms may be downplayed or they may not be taken seriously.
    And we do already have the data to support that trend continuing to happen.
  • Amna Nawaz:
    You know, we're talking before the peak in New York has even arrived. What do you think your community is going to look like, those communities in which your patients live, a week from now, or two weeks from now, or three weeks from now?
  • Uché Blackstock:
    I am scared. I am. I'm scared that these communities are going to be absolutely ravaged and devastated by COVID-19.
    I mean, when I think about how, each day last week, I just saw sicker and sicker patients, it was — it was significant, and it was also terrifying. And so I do worry.
    And we already actually have some of the preliminary data out today in The New York Times that our poorer areas of the city, which are mostly black and brown, have the heaviest number of patients that have been affected with coronavirus.
  • Amna Nawaz:
    Dr. Blackstock, you, of course, have a family at home, too.
  • Uché Blackstock:
  • Amna Nawaz:
    You have a husband. You have two young kids.
    I wonder if you can tell me how you're processing this right now, whether you're scared for your own safety or theirs.
  • Uché Blackstock:
    Thank you for asking.
    I will readily admit that I am — I am scared. I'm scared about being infected myself. I'm scared about bring disease home to my husband and my two small children.
    I have had to have very difficult conversations with my family recently, including one with my husband the other night, where, once I realized things were really shifting here in New York City, I said to him, you know, there is a chance that I may not make it out of this, working on the front line. And, you know, I want you to know that I love you. I love our children very much. And just please make sure that they always know that their mama loved them.
    And so these are conversations that not just I'm having, but my — many of my colleagues are having with their families as well.
  • Amna Nawaz:
    Thank you for sharing that with us, and thank you for the work that you do.
    That's Dr. Uché Blackstock joining us tonight from New York.
  • Uché Blackstock:
    Thank you for having me.



5) No Trading Floor? No Problem. A Financial Firm Quarantines at the Four Seasons.
Shutdown orders in New York and Chicago prompted Citadel Securities to set up a makeshift trading floor at the resort in Palm Beach, Fla.
By Julia Echikson and Patricia Mazzei, April 8, 2020
Credit...Thomas Cordy/The Palm Beach Post via ZUMA Wire

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Ah, to be quarantined inside a luxury beachfront hotel. Ocean views. Poolside cabanas. A makeshift financial trading floor.

When Citadel Securities, a sibling to the hedge fund company Citadel, decided to isolate a team of stock traders to keep business humming during the coronavirus pandemic, the firm’s billionaire founder, Kenneth Griffin, secured sumptuous Florida quarters: the Four Seasons hotel in Palm Beach.

The firm booked the hotel for New York and Chicago traders just before Palm Beach County put a hold on March 26 on new hotel reservations, and it began operations there on March 30. A few days later, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a stay-at-home order across Florida.
The resort is guarded by off-duty officers from the Palm Beach Police Department who are hired by Citadel Securities. No one other than employees for the firm or the hotel is allowed inside. Mr. Griffin, a prominent political donor and top contributor to Mr. DeSantis, a Republican, owns property nearby and is not staying at the hotel.

Local and state orders require social distancing and the closure of nonessential businesses to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Yet officials in the town of Palm Beach say the unusual arrangement at the Four Seasons is not in violation of public health rules because Citadel Securities is the hotel’s only tenant.
The town is treating the property as a private residence where people inside can work — or swim in the pool — as they would in any home, said Michael Ogrodnick, a Palm Beach spokesman.
“As far as we’re concerned, they’re in their own bubble,” Mr. Ogrodnick said.

In a memo Citadel Securities sent to employees on April 1, the firm described setting up the Palm Beach site from scratch in less than a week. The location can accommodate up to 50 employees if needed, the memo said.
“Consistent with our position as one of the largest market makers globally, we believe this business continuity decision is prudent to continue providing liquidity to our retail and institutional clients,” Zia Ahmed, a spokesman for Citadel Securities, said in a statement on Tuesday.

The firm’s effort to continue its work has some neighbors questioning the wisdom of allowing a few dozen employees from its New York and Chicago offices — as well as some of their families — to stay at a staffed hotel while similar properties have been forced to close.

David Kamp, who lives across the street from the Four Seasons, said it was difficult not to think about the contradiction between the traders working at a five-star resort and people unable to ride out the pandemic in similar comfort. Citadel Securities, which is separate from Citadel, Mr. Griffin’s hedge fund, has also moved traders to its office in Greenwich, Conn., another wealthy community.

“It is disheartening to know that this is underway while observing at the corner a public bus idling at its stop, empty of passengers less fortunate than traders,” said Mr. Kamp, the founding partner of a landscape architecture firm.
The town on Tuesday posted on its website that it had received “several messages of concern” regarding Citadel Securities’ presence at the Four Seasons after Bloomberg and later The Miami Herald reported about the firm’s temporary Palm Beach trading site.
“We have responded recently to the Four Seasons for several Violation of Town Ordinance complaints, but to date have not observed a citable violation,” the post said.
With Palm Beach County beaches closed, orange cones on the sand delineate the hotel’s property. Over the weekend, guests played tennis on the resort’s immaculate green clay courts. At one point, music could be heard blaring from the resort.

The hotel is offering “reduced services” to its guests, Laurie Herrick, a Four Seasons spokeswoman, said in a statement. Restaurants are closed, though takeout and in-room dining options are available.
“We have undertaken additional and extensive precautionary measures to ensure the health, safety and well-being of everyone at the resort,” she said, adding that hotel staff members have been trained on social-distancing measures to reduce face-to-face interactions.
Normally, Palm Beach would be preparing for the end of the winter social season, which in recent years has featured an Easter golfing trip by President Trump. This year, there will be no motorcade, no big Passover dinners and no Easter brunches.
Palm Beach County, with its robust population of snowbirds and New York regulars, has recorded at least 64 deaths from Covid-19, more than any other county in Florida, which has more than 14,700 confirmed coronavirus cases. Two people have died in the town of Palm Beach.
Mr. DeSantis announced on Tuesday the opening of a second drive-through testing site operated in conjunction with the Florida National Guard. Testing in Palm Beach lags behind other counties; it is unclear if Citadel Securities traders at the Four Seasons or the hotel staff have been tested.
Mr. Griffin, a 51-year-old Daytona Beach native who grew up in Boca Raton, donated nearly $6 million to Mr. DeSantis’s campaign in 2018. Listed by Forbes as the richest person in Illinois, he was the biggest donor to that state’s former Republican governor, Bruce Rauner, and offered him the free use of his private plane during the campaign.

In the 2016 presidential election, Mr. Griffin backed Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a Republican, and then donated to Mr. Trump’s inauguration. He has had an unofficial relationship advising Vice President Mike Pence on economic and business issues and has appeared in executive White House briefings and calls.

Mr. Griffin’s Four Seasons arrangement inspired Jeff Greene, a billionaire Palm Beach real estate investor who owns the Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa next door to the Four Seasons. He fired off emails to his contacts in the financial industry offering hotel rooms for alternate trading sites of their own.
“I sent them all emails saying, ‘I have a hotel right next door. Could you use a trading floor?’” Mr. Greene said. “And they said, ‘No, I have it covered.’”
Only six or seven rooms at the Tideline have guests, now that hotels can accept new reservations only from workers deemed critical in the pandemic.
“No restaurant. No spa. No pool. No beach,” Mr. Greene said. “It’s a limited paradise.”



6) Trump quietly rewrote the rules of drone warfare, which means the US can now kill civilians in secret
By Sinéad Baker, March 7, 2020

Graffiti protesting US drone strikes seen in September in Sana'a, Yemen. 
Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images

  • US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order ending the mandatory reporting of civilian deaths from US airstrikes outside combat zones.
  • Rights groups criticized the removal of the Obama-era requirement, calling the move "deeply wrong and dangerous for public accountability."
  • Reports showed up to 117 civilian deaths from 2009 to 2016. The Trump administration did not release a 2017 report.

US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order reducing the number of civilian deaths from drones that the government must report.

Trump signed the order Wednesday, revoking an Obama-era requirement for the director of national intelligence to release an annual report on the number of deaths resulting from US operations in noncombat areas around the world.

Such areas include parts of Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan.
President Barack Obama introduced the measure in 2016 as he faced pressure to be more transparent about the increased use of drones.
The government says it will continue to report deaths in "areas of active hostilities" like Iraq and Syria.
Previous reports counted as many as 117 civilian deaths outside these areas from 2009 to 2016. Some years the figures are expressed as a range instead of a precise number. The Trump administration did not release a 2017 report.
Rights groups say these figures do not show the whole picture. 
Congressional requirements for the military to report civilian deaths in active combat areas will still be in place.
But experts say the new system will fail to catch strikes by agencies like the CIA, and represent a fall in transparency.
"Strikes by other government entities like the CIA were included under this requirement. That was the intention of the wording," Rita Siemion, the international legal counsel for the group Human Rights First, told Politico.
Hina Shamsi, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's national security project, said the decision was "deeply wrong and dangerous for public accountability," the Associated Press reported.
"This decision will hide from the public the government's own tally of the total number of deaths it causes every year in its lethal force program."
Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chair of the the House Intelligence Committee, said there was "no justification" for ending the practice, which he called "an important measure of transparency," the BBC reported.
A spokesman for the White House National Security Council told the Associated Press that the government was fully committed to "minimizing — to the greatest extent possible — civilian causalities and acknowledging responsibility when they unfortunately occur during military operations."

Questionable accuracy

The director of national intelligence's reports, which have been released annually since 2016, counted 64 to 116 civilian deaths from US drone strikes in noncombat zones from 2011 to 2015 and one civilian death in 2016.
The 2017 report was not released, though the executive order was then still in place.
The figures for each year are released in the May of the following year and so have not been released for 2018.
Most civilian deaths from US drones occur in combat areas: the Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that 769 to 1,725 civilians have been killed since 2004, based on analysis of data from government, military, and intelligence officials as well as "credible" media and on-the-ground reports.
The bureau said there were 2,243 drone strikes in the first two years of the Trump presidency, compared with 1,878 during Obama's entire eight-year tenure.
Rights and monitoring groups question the figures released by the government, which they say often do not represent the full breath of causalities from US or American-backed actions.
Daphne Eviatar, a director with Amnesty International USA, told The New York Times in 2018 that the Defense Department "has deemed that the vast majority of claims of civilian casualties are not credible without ever investigating them."
"Its numbers therefore likely severely undercount the actual civilian death toll."



Sen. Bernie Sanders arrives at the Capitol for a vote on a coronavirus bill amendment on March 18, 2020. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP

BERNIE SANDERS IS ending his second bid for the presidency, the campaign staff was informed on a conference call Wednesday morning, according to campaign sources.
Sanders’s departure from the race comes a day after the state of Wisconsin went forward with a controversial in-person election, which Sanders had called to be postponed. The Vermont senator was momentarily the frontrunner for the nomination, following a popular-vote win in Iowa, a win in New Hampshire, and a decisive victory in Nevada. His chances fell apart in South Carolina, where the dean of the state party, Rep. Jim Clyburn, gave an impassioned endorsement to former Vice President Joe Biden. A race that had been narrowing turned into a blowout.
Party moderates then coalesced around Biden, who soared in the polls, pulling off the biggest comeback in the shortest amount of time, measured by a swing in the polls, since the modern primary process began in 1972. Biden won a majority of states on Super Tuesday and continued racking up victories throughout March.
Some in Sanders’s inner circle — including, most vocally, Our Revolution Chair and labor leader Larry Cohen — urged Sanders to stay in the race in order to build his delegate total and leverage that for policy wins within the Democratic Party’s platform. Others argued the platform is largely meaningless and that his greatest leverage is in the Senate, where the economy is being reshaped by an ongoing series of relief efforts historic in scope and scale.
The Sanders campaign had raised $182 million by the end of February, with roughly $19 million cash on hand, according to Federal Election Commission records. The Biden campaign, meanwhile, had raised $88 million and had $12 million cash on hand at that point in the campaign.
Sanders’s exit is a boost for Biden, particularly as it relates to campaign finance. Without a primary opponent, he can move more quickly to the general election phase of the race, during which he can spend money raised for that purpose. Had the contest gone all the way to the August convention without Biden having locked up the necessary delegates, he would be restricted to his scarce primary funds only. It’s not entirely clear when Biden can tap general election funds, and lawyers are working to move the date up as much as possible, sources said.
This is a developing story.



8) In Scramble for Coronavirus Supplies, Rich Countries Push Poor Aside
Developing nations in Latin America and Africa cannot find enough materials and equipment to test for coronavirus, partly because the United States and Europe are outspending them.
"'Manufacturers don’t just want to sell to rich countries,' said Paul Molinaro, head of supply and logistics for the World Health Organization. 'They want to diversify, but they’ve got all this competing demand from different governments.' He added: 'When it comes to the sharp end of a hypercompetitive environment with price rises, these low- and middle-income countries are going to end up at the back of the queue.' ...When Zambia tried to place an order for N95 masks, Dr. Holmes said, the broker tried to sell them for “five to 10 times” more than the usual cost, despite checks revealing the masks expired in 2016. 'It’s difficult for countries or governments having those conversations with manufacturers, when much wealthier countries are having those same conversations,' he said. 'The private sector is likely to respond to the highest bidder for many of these supplies, that’s just business.'
By Jane Bradley, April 9, 2020
Credit...Victor Moriyama for The New York Times

Crates of masks snatched from cargo planes on airport tarmacs. Countries paying triple the market price to outbid others. Accusations of “modern piracy” against governments trying to secure medical supplies for their own people.
As the United States and European Union countries compete to acquire scarce medical equipment to combat the coronavirus, another troubling divide is also emerging, with poorer countries losing out to wealthier ones in the global scrum for masks and testing materials.
Scientists in Africa and Latin America have been told by manufacturers that orders for vital testing kits cannot be filled for months, because the supply chain is in upheaval and almost everything they produce is going to America or Europe. All countries report steep price increases, from testing kits to masks.
The huge global demand for masks, alongside new distortions in the private market, has forced some developing countries to turn to UNICEF for help. Etleva Kadilli, who oversees supplies at the agency, said it was trying to buy 240 million masks to help 100 countries but so far had managed to source only around 28 million.

“There is a war going on behind the scenes, and we’re most worried about poorer countries losing out,” said Dr. Catharina Boehme, the chief executive of Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, which collaborates with the World Health Organization in helping poorer countries gain access to medical tests.
In Africa, Latin America and parts of Asia, many countries are already at a disadvantage, with health systems that are underfunded, fragile and often lacking in necessary equipment. A recent study found that some poor countries have only one equipped intensive care bed per million residents.

So far, the developing world has reported far fewer cases and deaths from the coronavirus, but many experts fear that the pandemic could be especially devastating for the poorest countries.
Testing is the first defense against the virus and an important tool to stop so many patients from ending up hospitalized. Most manufacturers want to help, but the niche industry that produces the testing equipment and chemical reagents necessary to process lab tests is dealing with huge global demand.

“There’s never really been a shortage of chemical reagents before now,” said Doris-Ann Williams, chief executive of the British In Vitro Diagnostics Association, which represents producers and distributors of the lab tests used to detect coronavirus. “If it was just one country with an epidemic it would be fine, but all the major countries in the world are wanting the same thing at the same time.”

For poorer countries, Dr. Boehme said the competition for resources is potentially a “global catastrophe,” as a once-coherent supply chain has rapidly devolved into an arm-twisting exercise. Leaders of “every country” are personally calling manufacturing chief executives to demand first-in-line access to vital supplies. Some governments have even offered to send private jets.
In Brazil, Amilcar Tanuri cannot offer private jets. Dr. Tanuri runs public laboratories at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, half of which are “stuck doing nothing,” instead of testing health workers, because he said the chemical reagents he needs are being routed to wealthier countries.
“If you don’t have reliable tests, you are blind,” he said. “This is the beginning of the epidemic curve so I’m very concerned about the public health system here being overwhelmed very fast.”
Brazil is Latin America’s hardest hit country so far, with more than 10,000 confirmed cases and a testing backlog of at least 23,000. It is also the region’s most controversial player in the pandemic, with a president, Jair Bolsonaro, who has been an outspoken skeptic of the risks posed by the coronavirus.

But below the political noise, the country’s scientists began trying to ramp up testing hours after the country’s first case was announced.

Yet within weeks, Dr. Tanuri was left to frantically call private firms on three continents, trying to source the chemical reagents needed for the 200 testing samples his labs receive every day — only to be told that the United States and Europe had already bought up months of production.
“If we purchase something to arrive in 60 days, it’s too late,” he said. “The virus goes faster than we can go.”
The situation is similar for some African countries.
After reporting its first death on March 27, South Africa moved swiftly, introducing a strict lockdown and announcing ambitious house-to-house canvassing that has already seen 47,000 people tested. South Africa has more than 200 public labs, an impressive network that surpasses wealthier countries like Britain and was developed in response to past outbreaks of H.I.V. and tuberculosis.
But, like Brazil, it is reliant on international manufacturers for the chemical reagents, and other equipment, needed to process the tests. Dr. Francois Venter, an infectious diseases expert who is advising the South African government, said the struggle to acquire the reagents was endangering the country’s overall response.
“We have the capacity to do large testing, but we’ve been bedeviled by the fact the actual testing materials, reagents, haven’t been coming,” he said. “We’re not as wealthy. We don’t have as many ventilators, we don’t have as many doctors, our health system was in a precarious position before coronavirus.”
“The country is terrified,” he added.
To address the problem, South Africa’s National Health Laboratory Services has set up a “war room” of around 20 people who are continuously calling different suppliers — yet running into problems sourcing the test kits and protective equipment they need.

“The suppliers are basically saying their production output does not meet the needs,” said Dr. Kamy Chetty, the director of the agency. “They are working flat out.”

Experts say that the industry that produces test kits is quite small. Ms. Williams, the industry representative in Britain, said there was no shortage of chemical reagents but that delays were arising in the production process, including the necessary checks and approvals, because the huge demand was overwhelming the system.
“Manufacturers don’t just want to sell to rich countries,” said Paul Molinaro, head of supply and logistics for the World Health Organization. “They want to diversify, but they’ve got all this competing demand from different governments.”
He added: “When it comes to the sharp end of a hypercompetitive environment with price rises, these low- and middle-income countries are going to end up at the back of the queue.”
Last week, President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to prohibit the export of face masks to other countries and demand that American firms increase production of medical supplies.
One American company that makes masks, 3M, responded by warning of “significant humanitarian implications” if it stopped supplying masks to Latin America and Canada. This week, the company and the Trump administration reached a deal that allows 3M to continue exporting to developing countries, while also providing the United States with 166 million masks over the next few months.
Last month, Europe and China introduced their own export restrictions on tests and protective equipment.

Some private firms, however, are putting profit aside to help developing countries with more fragile health systems.
A British testing manufacturer, Mologic, has received government funding to develop a 10-minute home coronavirus test in partnership with Senegal that, if approved, would cost less than $1 to produce. It would not be reliant on labs, electricity or sourcing expensive supplies from global manufacturers.
Mologic agreed to share its technology with Institut Pasteur de Dakar, a flagship lab in Dakar, to help produce the kit “at cost.” While the goal is to make it widely available, it is predominantly aimed at slowing the spread of the virus in Africa.

For poorer countries, the supply problem is bigger than just testing.
Zambia is at the very beginning of its epidemic curve with only one death so far, but it is already struggling to source masks, as well as testing materials like swabs and reagents, says Charles Holmes, a board member of the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia and the former chief medical officer for the Obama administration’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, known as PEPFAR.
When Zambia tried to place an order for N95 masks, Dr. Holmes said, the broker tried to sell them for “five to 10 times” more than the usual cost, despite checks revealing the masks expired in 2016.
“It’s difficult for countries or governments having those conversations with manufacturers, when much wealthier countries are having those same conversations,” he said. “The private sector is likely to respond to the highest bidder for many of these supplies, that’s just business.”

He said manufacturers have told Zambian officials that they cannot guarantee a delivery date for supplies because “most of them are being snapped up by the U.S. and Europe.”
While few would criticize governments for looking out for their own people, health experts believe that it is in everyone’s interest to help poorer countries get the supplies they need.
“An infection with a highly transportable respiratory virus anywhere in the world puts all countries at risk,” Dr. Holmes said. “Wealthy nations not only have an obligation to look out for countries that are going to struggle, but they should also have some self interest in ensuring that the pandemic is contained in developing countries.”

My NYT Comment:
"Let's be clear. The poor in every country is facing the same lack of tests and supplies—everything from effective face-masks, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and, especially, testing. The vast majority of American working people have not been tested. The vast majority of working people have not gotten a dime in financial "bailouts." We struggle with everything because we have suddenly found ourselves without incomes and very ineffective healthcare or, none at all. I'm a senior and have Kaiser/Permanente and have had to cancel all of my upcoming appointments until further notice, however, my monthly payments have not been cancelled. Yes, the rich can get the virus, but they have the utmost, luxurious care available to human kind. And, they get tested! The capitalist system of vast wealth for the rich and crumbs for the poor has shown itself to be incapable of putting human life above the continued accumulation of wealth off the suffering of others. Working people need to take back the wealth we have created and share it with the world—from each according to ability and talent, to each according to need and want. We are only as strong as our weakest link. We need to take control of production for the purpose of fulfilling human needs and the needs of our planet not for the private coffers of the wealthy rulers—that's socialism." —Bonnie Weinstein



9) Why the Wealthy Fear Pandemics
The coronavirus, like other plagues before it, could shift the balance between rich and poor.
By Walter Scheidel, April 9, 2020
Credit...Bridgeman Images

In the fall of 1347, rat fleas carrying bubonic plague entered Italy on a few ships from the Black Sea. Over the next four years, a pandemic tore through Europe and the Middle East. Panic spread, as the lymph nodes in victims’ armpits and groins swelled into buboes, black blisters covered their bodies, fevers soared and organs failed. Perhaps a third of Europe’s people perished.
Giovanni Boccaccio’s “Decameron” offers an eyewitness account: “When all the graves were full, huge trenches were excavated in the churchyards, into which new arrivals were placed in their hundreds, stowed tier upon tier like ships’ cargo.” According to Agnolo di Tura of Siena, “so many died that all believed it was the end of the world.”
And yet this was only the beginning. The plague returned a mere decade later and periodic flare-ups continued for a century and a half, thinning out several generations in a row. Because of this “destructive plague which devastated nations and caused populations to vanish,” the Arab historian Ibn Khaldun wrote, “the entire inhabited world changed.”
The wealthy found some of these changes alarming. In the words of an anonymous English chronicler, “Such a shortage of laborers ensued that the humble turned up their noses at employment, and could scarcely be persuaded to serve the eminent for triple wages.” Influential employers, such as large landowners, lobbied the English crown to pass the Ordinance of Laborers, which informed workers that they were “obliged to accept the employment offered” for the same measly wages as before.

But as successive waves of plague shrunk the work force, hired hands and tenants “took no notice of the king’s command,” as the Augustinian clergyman Henry Knighton complained. “If anyone wanted to hire them he had to submit to their demands, for either his fruit and standing corn would be lost or he had to pander to the arrogance and greed of the workers.”
As a result of this shift in the balance between labor and capital, we now know, thanks to painstaking research by economic historians, that real incomes of unskilled workers doubled across much of Europe within a few decades. According to tax records that have survived in the archives of many Italian towns, wealth inequality in most of these places plummeted. In England, workers ate and drank better than they did before the plague and even wore fancy furs that used to be reserved for their betters. At the same time, higher wages and lower rents squeezed landlords, many of whom failed to hold on to their inherited privilege. Before long, there were fewer lords and knights, endowed with smaller fortunes, than there had been when the plague first struck.
But these outcomes were not a given. For centuries and indeed millenniums, great plagues and other severe shocks have shaped political preferences and decision-making by those in charge. The policy choices that result determine whether inequality rises or falls in response to such calamities. And history teaches us that these choices can change societies in very different ways.
Looking at the historical record across Europe during the late Middle Ages, we see that elites did not readily cede ground, even under extreme pressure after a pandemic. During the Great Rising of England’s peasants in 1381, workers demanded, among other things, the right to freely negotiate labor contracts. Nobles and their armed levies put down the revolt by force, in an attempt to coerce people to defer to the old order. But the last vestiges of feudal obligations soon faded. Workers could hold out for better wages, and landlords and employers broke ranks with each other to compete for scarce labor.
Elsewhere, however, repression carried the day. In late medieval Eastern Europe, from Prussia and Poland to Russia, nobles colluded to impose serfdom on their peasantries to lock down a depleted labor force. This altered the long-term economic outcomes for the entire region: Free labor and thriving cities drove modernization in western Europe, but in the eastern periphery, development fell behind.
Farther south, the Mamluks of Egypt, a regime of foreign conquerors of Turkic origin, maintained a united front to keep their tight control over the land and continue exploiting the peasantry. The Mamluks forced the dwindling subject population to hand over the same rent payments, in cash and kind, as before the plague. This strategy sent the economy into a tailspin as farmers revolted or abandoned their fields.
But more often than not, repression failed. The first known plague pandemic in Europe and the Middle East, which started in 541, provides the earliest example. Anticipating the English Ordinance of Laborers by 800 years, the Byzantine emperor Justinian railed against scarce workers who “demand double and triple wages and salaries, in violation of ancient customs” and forbade them “to yield to the detestable passion of avarice” — to charge market wages for their labor. The doubling or tripling of real incomes reported on papyrus documents from the Byzantine province of Egypt leaves no doubt that his decree fell on deaf ears.
In the Americas, Spain’s conquistadores faced similar challenges. In what was the most horrific pandemic in all of history, unleashed as soon as Columbus made landfall in the Caribbean, smallpox and measles decimated Indigenous societies across the Western Hemisphere. The conquistadores’ advance was expedited by this devastation, and the invaders swiftly rewarded themselves with enormous estates and whole villages of peons. For a while, heavy-handed enforcement of wage controls set by the Viceroyalty of New Spain kept the surviving workers from reaping any benefits from the growing labor shortage. But when labor markets were finally opened up after 1600, real wages in central Mexico tripled.
None of these stories had a happy ending for the masses. When population numbers recovered after the plague of Justinian, the Black Death and the American pandemics, wages slid downward and elites were firmly back in control. Colonial Latin America went on to produce some of the most extreme inequalities on record. In most European societies, disparities in income and wealth rose for four centuries all the way up to the eve of World War I. It was only then that a new great wave of catastrophic upheavals undermined the established order, and economic inequality dropped to lows not witnessed since the Black Death, if not the fall of the Roman Empire.
In looking for illumination from the past on our current pandemic, we must be wary of superficial analogies. Even in the worst-case scenario, Covid-19 will kill a far smaller share of the world’s population than any of these earlier disasters did, and it will touch the active work force and the next generation even more lightly. Labor won’t become scarce enough to drive up wages, nor will the value of real estate plummet. And our economies no longer rely on farmland and manual labor.
Yet the most important lesson of history endures. The impact of any pandemic goes well beyond lives lost and commerce curtailed. Today, America faces a fundamental choice between defending the status quo and embracing progressive change. The current crisis could prompt redistributive reforms akin to those triggered by the Great Depression and World War II, unless entrenched interests prove too powerful to overcome.

Walter Scheidel, a professor of classics and history at Stanford University, is the author of “The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality From the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century.”



10) The U.S. Approach to Public Health: Neglect, Panic, Repeat
Time to give new life to an old idea: A strong public health system is the best guarantor of good health.
By Jeneen Interlandi, April 9, 2020
Credit...Damon Winter/The New York Times

A once-in-a-century public health crisis is unfolding, and the richest country in the world is struggling to mount an effective response. Hospitals don’t have enough gowns or masks to protect doctors and nurses, nor enough intensive care beds to treat the surge of patients. Laboratories don’t have the equipment to diagnose cases quickly or in bulk, and state and local health departments across the country don’t have the manpower to track the disease’s spread. Perhaps worst of all, urgent messages about the importance of social distancing and the need for temporary shutdowns have been muddied by politics.
Nearly all of these problems might have been averted by a strong, national public health system, but in America, no such system exists.
It’s a state of affairs that belies the country’s long public health tradition. Before the turn of the previous century, when yellow fever, tuberculosis and other plagues ravaged the country’s largest cities at regular intervals, public health was generally accepted as a key component of the social contract. Even before scientists identified the microbes that cause such diseases, governments and individuals understood that a combination of leadership, planning and cooperation was needed to keep them at bay. Some of the nation’s oldest public health departments — in Boston, New York and Baltimore — were built on that premise.
By pushing infectious disease outbreaks to the margins, those health departments helped usher in what scientists refer to as the epidemiological transition: the remarkable leveling off of preventable deaths among children and working-age adults. That leveling off continued in the second half of the 20th century, as new federal laws ensured the protection of food, air and water from contamination, and national campaigns brought the scourges of nicotine addiction and sexually transmitted infections under control.

So great was the effect of these public health measures that by the time the century turned again, life expectancy in the United States had risen sharply, from less than 50 years to nearly 80. “Public health is the best bang for our collective buck,” Tom Frieden, a former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told me. “It has consistently saved the most lives for the least amount of money.”
One would never guess as much today. Across the same century that saw so many public health victories, public health itself fell victim to larger forces.
“It was like a great forgetting took place,” Wendy Parmet, a public health law scholar at Northeastern University, told me. “As the memory of epidemics faded, individual rights became much more important than collective responsibility.” And as medicine grew more sophisticated, health began to be seen as purely a personal matter.
Health care spending grew by 52 percent in the past decade, while the budgets of local health departments shrank by as much as 24 percent, according to a 2019 report from the public health nonprofit Trust for America’s Health, and the C.D.C.’s budget remained flat. Today, public health claims just 3 cents of every health dollar spent in the country.
The results of that imbalance were apparent long before Covid-19 began its march across the globe. Local health departments eliminated more than 50,000 jobs — epidemiologists, laboratory technicians, public information specialists — between 2008 and 2017. That’s nearly 23 percent of their total work force.

Crucial programs — including ones that provide vaccinations, test for sexually transmitted infections and monitor local food and water supplies — have been trimmed or eliminated. As a result, several old public health foes have returned: Measles and syphilisare both resurgent, as is nicotine consumption among teenagers and the contamination of food and water with bacteria and lead.
Each of these crises has received its own flurry of outrage, but none of them have been enough to break what experts say is the nation’s default public health strategy: neglect, panic, repeat.
“We ignore the public health sector unless there’s a major catastrophe,” said Scott Becker, the head of the Association for Public Health Laboratories. “Then we throw a pile of money at the problem. Then we rescind that money as soon as the crisis abates.”
There is a better way.
Imagine a public health system in which all public health entities used the same cutting edge technology in their laboratories and on their computers. This would include equipment that enables rapid diagnostic tests to be developed and deployed quickly in a crisis; web portals where data on disease spread, hospital capacity and high-risk communities can be logged and shared across the country; and user-friendly apps that enable private citizens to facilitate the efforts of epidemiologists.
The technology to create such a system already exists — it only has to be adapted and implemented.
That, of course, requires investment. In 2019, a consortium of public health organizations lobbied the federal government for $1 billion to help the nation’s public health system modernize its data infrastructure. They were granted $50 million. In the wake of Covid-19, that sum has been increased to $500 million. But much more is needed. There is a $5.4 billion gap between current public health spending and the cost of modernizing public health infrastructure, according to the Trust for America’s Health report.
However much money is ultimately allotted for this work, it will have to be deployed equitably, in high-income and low-income communities alike. Health departments everywhere are struggling to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, but that struggle is particularly acute in marginalized communities, where health is already fragile, public health departments are sometimes nonexistent and mistrust of officials tends to run high.
Early data from several states indicates that Hispanics and African-Americans already account for a disproportionately high number of coronavirus-related deaths, a finding that is both unsurprising and unacceptable. A better system would direct federal aid to where it’s needed most — and would work to eradicate legacies of injustice and abuse that mar the history of public health victories.

Of course, none of these changes will help if the underlying system is not grounded in and guided by rigorous, apolitical science. Public health agencies were created precisely because the decisions required to stop a pandemic in its tracks, or protect the nation’s food supply, or keep measles at bay were considered too difficult and too important to be swayed by politics.
The vision for public health reform is not especially complicated or expensive. But it is bold — and it will require boldness from every corner of the country.
Politicians will have to incorporate public health into their priorities; they might start by making “Public Health for All” as urgent a rallying cry as any concerning health insurance. Universal access to health care is a human right, but it will not protect us from the next pandemic — or clean water crisis, for that matter.
Captains of industry will have to commit acts of genuine altruism, because not all of the innovations needed to build a modern public health system will be clearly lucrative. If you’re making a fortune out of cornering the market on ventilators, for example, designing a cheaper, easier-to-make version of your product might sound like bad business. Likewise, developing vaccines and antibiotics may seem like a risky investment compared with the prospect of another million-dollar cancer drug. But when the next pandemic threat arrives, millions of lives — not to mention the entire global economy — may depend on exactly these things.
Mind-sets will have to change, too. A society that prizes individual liberty above all else is bound to treat health as a private matter. But if Covid-19 has taught us anything, it’s that our health and safety depend on collective action. That’s what public health is all about.



11) Jailed on a Minor Parole Violation, He Caught the Virus and Died
Two weeks after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo promised to release 400 Rikers inmates held on minor parole violations, only half have been freed.
By Jan Ransom, April 9, 2020
Credit...Dave Sanders for The New York Times

Last summer, Raymond Rivera was arrested on a minor parole violation and sent to Rikers Island, where he waited months for a final decision on his release. As his case dragged on, the coronavirus spread through the jail complex and he became sick.
On Friday, state parole officials finally lifted the warrant against Mr. Rivera as he lay in a bed at the Bellevue Hospital Center. He died the next day.
“It was a tragedy the way it happened,” said Mr. Rivera’s wife, who asked not to be named to protect her privacy. “Why did he have to wait so long?”
Nearly two weeks ago, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo promised to release about 400 people who were on Rikers Island for minor parole violations as part of an effort to reduce the impact of the coronavirus in the city’s crowded jail complex.

“We’re releasing people who are in jails because they violated parole for nonserious reasons,” Mr. Cuomo said in a television interview on March 27. “And wherever we can get people out of jails, out of prisons, now we are.”
But carrying out that order has proved difficult, defense lawyers say. The state parole system has largely ground to a halt because of the pandemic, leaving hundreds of people in limbo, including those like Mr. Rivera who were detained on technical violations. So far 195 parole violators have been released from New York City jails, city officials say.
Aides to Governor Cuomo dispute that number and defend their efforts, saying the state has been moving as expeditiously as possible to release people who pose little danger to the public but who are at a high risk of dying from the virus — mostly older inmates with underlying medical problems.
On Tuesday, the governor’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, said about 700 parole violators who were deemed to be a “low-risk to public safety” had been released across the state, including about 240 from Rikers Island.
Still, public defenders and civil liberties groups say too many people arrested on technical parole violations — like breaking curfew or missing an appointment — are still in city jails waiting for a hearing.

Mr. Rivera and one other inmate, Michael Tyson, a repeat offender who was also sent to jail on a minor parole violation, became the first two people to die after being detained for months at the jail complex during the current pandemic, which has sickened hundreds of people there.

In the month since the virus was first detected in the city’s jails, the situation has worsened. By Wednesday, 288 inmates, 488 correction staff and 78 health care workers had tested positive for the virus. Seven jail employees had died, and 11 percent of the city’s 11,500 correction officers had self-quarantined.
At Rikers Island, parole hearings have, for the most part, been suspended as the rate of coronavirus infections continued to climb, forcing officials to quarantine 59 percent of the city’s jail population.
A judicial center at Rikers where parole revocation hearings were held was shuttered after a senior parole officer contracted the virus last month. The cases being heard now — via telephone conference without the parolee present — are limited to some preliminary hearings and those in which state officials have agreed to release the person. But because hearings were on hold, people have been arrested and held on Rikers without lawyers, who are assigned to represent them at the first hearing, knowing that they were there.
“Every day that they wait to release people is life-threatening at this point,” said Lorraine McEvilley, director of the Parole Revocation Defense Unit at the Legal Aid Society. “Every day matters.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio has been working with prosecutors, public defenders, the police and courts to secure the release of vulnerable people awaiting trial for nonviolent crimes or who have served most of their jail sentences. To date, more than 1,500 people have been released from city jails, including those serving a year or less, inmates held on minor crimes and those who are older and have underlying conditions.

State parole officials have, so far, lifted warrants on 242 people detained in city jails for minor, or “technical,” violations, like breaking curfew or missing an appointment, said Colby Hamilton, spokesman for the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. There are still 476 technical parole violators in city jails, he said.
“We look forward to receiving from the state as soon as possible the balance of the people who they will consent to release during the remainder of the pandemic,” Mr. Hamilton said.
Mr. Rivera, 55, was convicted on burglary charges in 2014 after he walked into a garage in Queens and took a motorcycle cover. He had also stolen bicycles from another address, according to his parole report. He served over four years in state prison and was placed on parole.
Last summer, Mr. Rivera, who had long struggled with heroin addiction, was arrested with another person at a Family Dollar Store on shoplifting charges, which he denied. A parole officer ordered him into a residential drug treatment program, but he left the facility and did not report to his parole officer.
On Aug. 19, parole officers showed up to the family’s home in Queens and arrested him, taking him to Rikers Island, said his son, also named Raymond Rivera.
Mr. Rivera’s case was delayed. He had to change lawyers because of a conflict of interest with a co-defendant, and then waited months. Six weeks ago, an administrative judge decided to release him.
After that hearing, Mr. Rivera should have been freed in five days, public defenders said, but it took six weeks. The Department of Correction and Community Supervision said the circumstances surrounding his case are under investigation.

Mr. Rivera became ill and fainted in jail. He was sent to the prison ward on the 19th floor of the Bellevue Hospital Center, where he not only tested positive for the coronavirus, but doctors discovered he had cancer. Though an administrative judge had said he could be paroled, a correction officer stood outside of his room.
“He’s supposed to be a free man,” his son said.
On April 3, state parole officials lifted the warrant against Mr. Rivera, releasing him from custody. That meant Mr. Rivera was moved out of the prison ward to a hospital room three floors down, where he died hours later. “Somebody messed up somewhere,” said his son.
“He needed to be home,” Mr. Rivera’s wife said.
A day later, Michael Tyson, 53, who had been held on Rikers Island since Feb. 27 after he failed to report to his parole officer, also died at Bellevue Hospital Center following complications from Covid-19. His sister, April Wade, said he had heart surgery and was coping with diabetes and high blood pressure.
In his case, state officials said they would not have supported release. He had done seven stints in state prison for convictions that included attempted rape and attempted robbery.
Still, he never had a chance to make his case before a judge, public defenders said. He had a parole revocation hearing scheduled for April 20 but was hospitalized on March 26.
Ms. McEvilley said Mr. Tyson’s lawyers did not know he was at the jail. They only learned about his case after he was taken to the hospital. “This was at the height when the pandemic was really hitting,” Ms. McEvilley said. “This is the black hole that people are sent into.”
Jesse McKinley contributed reporting.



12) Everything Is Awful. So Why Is the Stock Market Booming?
Investors are betting that powerful interventions from Washington will protect the long-term profitability of major companies.
"The large companies that make up major stock indexes tend to have reliable access to capital, particularly after the Fed’s latest actions to prop up corporate lending. They may be more likely than small, independent-owned businesses to weather the economic storm and come out on the other side with greater market share and profits."
By Neil Irwin, April 10, 2020
Credit...Johannes Eisele/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

What on earth is the stock market doing?
Death and despair are all around. The number of people filing for unemployment benefits each of the last two weeks was about 10 times the previous record — and is probably being artificially held back by overloaded government systems. Vast swaths of American business are shuttered indefinitely. The economic quarter now underway will most likely feature Great Depression-caliber shrinkage in economic activity.
Yet at Thursday’s close, the S&P 500 was up 25 percent from its recent low on March 23. It is down only about 14 percent this year — and is up from its levels of just 11 months ago. There are answers as to why (more on that below). But that doesn’t take away the extremity of the juxtaposition between an economy in free fall and a stock market that is, in the scheme of things, doing just fine.
Two powerful forces are pushing in opposite directions. Commerce is being disrupted to a degree that seemed impossible just weeks ago. But simultaneously, stock investors are betting that powerful interventions out of Washington — including an additional $2.3 trillion in lending programs from the Federal Reserve announced on Thursday — will be enough to enable major companies to emerge with little damage to their long-term profitability.
It’s a battle between collapsing economic activity and, to use a silly meme from finance Twitter, the federal government’s money printer going “brrr.” In the stock market, at least, the revving of the money printer is winning.

Paradoxically, said Gene Goldman, the chief investment officer of Cetera Investment Management, the shockingly high numbers of jobless claims can even be viewed as helpful to the market, as they increase political pressure on Congress to scale up rescue measures beyond the $2 trillion legislation already enacted.
“Imagine you’re a Democrat or a Republican talking about 16 million people unemployed,” he said. “It really creates more bipartisan pressure to support the next stimulus package.”
The large companies that make up major stock indexes tend to have reliable access to capital, particularly after the Fed’s latest actions to prop up corporate lending. They may be more likely than small, independent-owned businesses to weather the economic storm and come out on the other side with greater market share and profits.
The analysts who project corporate earnings are, in the aggregate, forecasting a relatively mild hit. They expect the companies that make up the S&P 500 to experience only an 8.5 percent decline in earnings in 2020, with revenue falling a mere 0.1 percent, according to FactSet.
Then there are technical factors.
Some of the strongest performers in this market rally have been the companies most severely affected by the coronavirus crisis, like cruise lines, hotel chains and airlines. That suggests “short squeeze” dynamics, in which a small upturn forced investors betting against those companies to close out their positions, turning the small rally into a large one.

And Saudi Arabia and Russia apparently reached a truce to reduce oil output, causing a rally in oil prices, which is good news for oil companies that have been hammered by plunging prices of crude.
Finally, the gush of money into safe investments, both from private savers and the Fed, is pushing down longer-term interest rates. That makes even weak or uncertain future earnings for shareholders more appealing than they would have been when interest rates were higher.
But just because there are reasons for the stock market rally doesn’t mean those reasons are good ones.
Stock prices are always based on what the world will look like in the future, not the present. In the global financial crisis, stock prices bottomed out in March 2009. The economy did not begin expanding again until July, and the unemployment rate would not peak until October.
But current market pricing suggests that investors are counting on a speedy rebound.
“If this doesn’t go on much longer than expected, if it really is a three- to six-month event from the time we turned the switch on the economy off to when we turn it on, then markets have already accounted for that and are looking ahead,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist for the Leuthold Group. “It could be that the virus stays hot, and this situation stays in place for three or four quarters, and we’re not priced for that.”
In effect, financial markets are betting that there is some reasonable approximation of normal on some foreseeable horizon.
The current pricing assumes that a cascading series of failures will not happen. That widespread job losses and drops in income won’t cause the mass closure of businesses. That people will have a job to go back to and will be willing to spend when the public health crisis ebbs.

Everything about this crisis has been incredibly fast, with the economy going from full health to devastating recession within weeks. In that sense, the financial markets are pre-emptively adjusting to a possible world in which trillions of dollars from the Treasury and the Fed do the trick and prevent the virus from doing lasting damage.
“The stock market during periods of stress can be quite manic,” said Jason Pride, chief investment officer of private wealth at Glenmede. “What is happening here is a flip-flopping of perception from the ‘sky is falling’ for the majority of March, to being able to glimpse a light at the end of the tunnel today.”
It is, in other words, an unusual time in which we can only hope that stock investors know something that millions of people facing a catastrophic economic situation don’t.



13) A New Front for Nationalism: The Global Battle Against a Virus
Every country needs the same lifesaving tools. But a zero-sum mind-set among world leaders is jeopardizing access for all.
"Now, just as the world requires collaboration to defeat the coronavirus — scientists joining forces across borders to create vaccines, and manufacturers coordinating to deliver critical supplies — national interests are winning out. This time, the contest is over far more than which countries will make iPads or even advanced jets. This is a battle for supremacy over products that may determine who lives and who dies. ...'The parties with the deepest pockets will secure these vaccines and medicines, and essentially, much of the developing world will be entirely out of the picture,' said Simon J. Evenett, an expert on international trade who started the University of St. Gallen project. 'We will have rationing by price. It will be brutal.'"
By Peter S. Goodman, Katie Thomas, Sui-Lee Wee and Jeffrey Gettleman, April 1-, 2020
Max Guther

As they battle a pandemic that has no regard for borders, the leaders of many of the world’s largest economies are in the thrall of unabashedly nationalist principles, undermining collective efforts to tame the novel coronavirus.
The United States, an unrivaled scientific power, is led by a president who openly scoffs at international cooperation while pursuing a global trade war. India, which produces staggering amounts of drugs, is ruled by a Hindu nationalist who has ratcheted up confrontation with neighbors. China, a dominant source of protective gear and medicines, is bent on a mission to restore its former imperial glory.
Now, just as the world requires collaboration to defeat the coronavirus — scientists joining forces across borders to create vaccines, and manufacturers coordinating to deliver critical supplies — national interests are winning out. This time, the contest is over far more than which countries will make iPads or even advanced jets. This is a battle for supremacy over products that may determine who lives and who dies.

At least 69 countries have banned or restricted the export of protective equipment, medical devices or medicines, according to the Global Trade Alert project at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. The World Health Organization is warning that protectionism could limit the global availability of vaccines.

With every country on the planet in need of the same lifesaving tools at once, national rivalries are jeopardizing access for all.
“The parties with the deepest pockets will secure these vaccines and medicines, and essentially, much of the developing world will be entirely out of the picture,” said Simon J. Evenett, an expert on international trade who started the University of St. Gallen project. “We will have rationing by price. It will be brutal.”
Some point to the tragedy playing out around the world as an argument for greater self sufficiency, so that hospitals are less reliant on China and India for medicines and protective gear.
China alone makes the vast majority of the core chemicals used to make raw materials for a range of generic medicines used to treat people now hospitalized with Covid-19, said Rosemary Gibson, a health care expert at the Hastings Center, an independent research institution in New York. These include antibiotics, blood pressure treatments and sedatives. “Everyone is competing for a supply located in a single country,” Ms. Gibson said.

But if the laudable goal of diversification inspires every nation to look inward and dismantle global production, that will leave the world even more vulnerable, said Chad P. Bown, an international trade expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.
President Trump and his leading trade adviser, Peter Navarro, have exploited the pandemic as an opportunity to redouble efforts to force multinational companies to abandon China and shift production to the United States. Mr. Navarro has proposed rulesthat would force American health care providers to buy protective gear and medicines from U.S. suppliers.
“We just don’t have the production capacity,” Mr. Bown said, noting that Chinese industry is restarting, while American factories remain disrupted. “Just as you don’t want to be too dependent on China, you don’t want to be too dependent on yourself. You have now walled yourself off from the only way you can potentially deal with this, in your time of greatest need, which is relying on the rest of the world.”

For seven decades after World War II, the notion that global trade enhances security and prosperity prevailed across major economies. When people exchange goods across borders, the logic goes, they become less likely to take up arms. Consumers gain better and cheaper products. Competition and collaboration spur innovation.
But in many countries — especially the United States — a stark failure by governments to equitably distribute the bounty has undermined faith in trade, giving way to a protectionist mentality in which goods and resources are viewed as zero-sum.
Now, the zero-sum perspective is a guiding force just as the sum in question is alarmingly limited: Potentially vital supplies of medicine are in short supply, exacerbating antagonism and distrust.

Last week, the Trump administration cited a Korean War-era lawto justify banning exports of protective masks made in the United States, while ordering American companies that produce such wares overseas to redirect orders to their home market. One American company, 3M, said halting planned shipments of masks overseas would imperil health workers in Canada and Latin America. On Monday, 3M said it struck a compromise with the government that will send some masks to the United States and some overseas.

In recent weeks, Turkey, Ukraine, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, South Africa and Ecuador have all banned the export of protective masks. France and Germany imposed bans on masks and other protective gear, lifting them only after the European Union barred exports outside the bloc. India banned exports of respirators and disinfectants.
Britain has prohibited exports of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug now being tested for potential benefits against the virus. Hungary has banned exports of the raw material for that drug and medicines that contain it.
“The export bans are not helpful,” said Mariangela Simao, assistant director general for medicines and health products at the World Health Organization in Geneva. “It can disrupt supply chains of some products that are actually needed everywhere.”
President Trump has been especially aggressive in securing an American stockpile of hydroxychloroquine, disregarding the counsel of federal scientists who have warned that testing remains minimal, with scant evidence of benefits.
India is the world’s largest producer of hydroxychloroquine. Last month, the government banned exports of the drug, though it stipulated that shipments could continue under limited circumstances.
“In this situation, each country has to take care of itself,” said Satish Kumar, an adjunct professor at the International Institute of Health Management Research in New Delhi. “If we are not able to take care of our population, it will be a very critical situation.”

After Mr. Trump demanded that India lift the export restrictions on Monday night while threatening retaliation, the government appeared to soften its position.
“In view of the humanitarian aspects of the pandemic,” said India’s foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava, the government would allow exports “to some nations who have been particularly badly affected” — an apparent nod to the United States.
Arithmetic suggested that a policy of stockpiling for national needs might leave other countries short. India is likely to require 56 metric tons, but now has only 38 metric tons, said Udaya Bhaskar, director general of the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India, an industry body set up by the government to promote exports of Indian medicines.
One manufacturer, Watson Pharma, owned by Teva Pharmaceuticals and based in the western Indian state of Goa, was seeking to triple its production of hydroxychloroquine over the next two weeks.

As global pharmaceutical companies explore new forms of treatment for the coronavirus — a complex undertaking even under ideal laboratory conditions — they are having to navigate an additional layer of real-world intricacy: geopolitics.
Companies steeped in genomics and the rigorous demands of manufacturing must find a way to develop new drugs, begin commercial production and also anticipate how the predilections of nationalists running major economies may limit supplies.

One of the most closely watched drugs, remdesivir, is made by Gilead, an American company. Though clinical trials have not yet been completed, the company has been ramping up manufacturing to meet global demand in advance of the drug’s approval.
Like many newer drugs, remdesivir’s formula includes “novel substances with limited global availability,” according to a statement on the company’s website.
Gilead is increasing production in part by expanding beyond its own facilities in the United States, contracting with plants in Europe and Asia, in a move that appeared to hedge its bets against trouble in any one place. “The international nature of the supply chain for remdesivir reminds us that it is essential for countries to work together to create enough supply for the world,” said Daniel O’Day, Gilead’s chairman and chief executive, in an April 4 statement.
Gilead says it has enough of the drug to treat 30,000 patients, while aiming to amass enough to treat one million by the end of the year. But outside experts questioned whether that would be sufficient.
“There is going to be a real fight over the allocation of the remdesivir supply if indeed it proves effective,” said Geoffrey Porges, an analyst for SVB Leerink, an investment bank in Boston.
Another drugmaker, the New York-based Regeneron, is preparing a U.S. plant to produce a cocktail of antibodies developed in genetically engineered mice, with tests planned for hospitalized patients and as a preventative treatment. A similar antibody cocktail proved effective against Ebola.
The company is planning the extraordinary action of shifting the production of some of its most profitable drugs — one that treats eczema, another for eyes — to a factory in Ireland to make room for the experimental treatment.

Regeneron’s chief executive, Dr. Leonard Schleifer, said the decision to make the new drug cocktail in the United States was both geopolitical and practical.
“You want to make it close to where the need is, and we anticipate there will be great need in the United States,” he said.
He acknowledged that making products overseas now posed risks that they could be subject to export bans in that country. In addition, Regeneron is receiving federal funds to expand its manufacturing of the vaccine, which carries the expectation that the company will prioritize the American market.
“It just made good sense to us to do this in the United States,” Dr. Schleifer said.

China has seized on the pandemic as an opportunity to present itself as a responsible world citizen, in contrast to Western democracies that failed to reckon with the threat — not least the United States, now the epicenter of the outbreak.
Ever since President Trump took office, unleashing tariffs on friends and foes alike, China’s paramount leader, Xi Jinping, has sought to exploit the American abdication of global leadership as a chance to crown himself champion of the rules-based trading system.
Given that China is ruled by an unelected Communist Party that subsidizes state-owned companies and tolerates the widespread theft of intellectual property, those claims have strained credulity.

China’s reputation has also suffered as it pursues its Belt and Road Initiative, a $1 trillion collection of infrastructure projects stretching from East Asia to Europe and Africa that has been engineered to spread Beijing’s influence and generate business for Chinese companies. Some recipients of Chinese credit have come to see the terms as predatory, prompting accusations that China is an ascendant colonial power.
China has dispatched doctors and ventilators to Italy while offering aid to France, Germany and Spain. Last month, as the European Union banned exports of protective gear, Serbia’s president, Aleksandar Vucic, embraced China’s largess, even kissing the Chinese flag.
“European solidarity does not exist,” Mr. Vucic declared. “I believe in my brother, my friend, Xi Jinping, and I believe in help from China. The only country that can help us now is China.”
Chinese factories make 80 percent of the world’s antibiotics and the building blocks for a huge range of drugs. Chinese officials have pledged to continue to make these wares available to the world. Such moves may bolster China’s standing, yet appear unlikely to pacify the Trump administration.
“Certainly, it would help in projecting China’s soft power,” said Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations. “But I don’t know whether this would ease concerns in the West, particularly the United States, on the need to diversify the supply of the manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients.”
President Trump has long obsessed over the trade deficit with China as a supposed scorecard of American victimization. But given China’s role as a dominant supplier of hospital gear and medicines, American health effectively depends on being able to buy more from Chinese factories.
“Right now, the brightest shiny hope that we have is imports of this stuff,” said Mr. Bown, the trade expert. “We’d like to run the biggest trade deficit we could possibly find.”

“It’s not that we are buying this stuff from China that’s made us vulnerable,” he added. “It’s that we are buying this stuff from China, and we decided to start a trade war with them.”

China aims to become the first nation to crack the code for a vaccine, a milestone that could cement its status as a world superpower, resonating not unlike the United States’ putting a person on the moon.
“Its importance lies in being able to display our scientific and technological prowess to other countries,” said Yang Zhanqiu, a virologist at Wuhan University, in the central Chinese city where the coronavirus first emerged.
About 1,000 Chinese scientists are now engaged in creating vaccines for the virus, with nine potential versions in development, according to the government. The government is considering bypassing some phases of planned clinical trials to rush potential vaccines into emergency use as soon as this month.
But one element appears in conspicuously short supply — international collaboration.
In 2003, when another coronavirus, known as SARS, spread through China with deadly impact, officials from the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deployed to Beijing to help the government forge a containment strategy. In the years that followed, Chinese and American authorities collaborated on epidemics in Africa.
But in recent years, American public health authorities have sharply diminished their presence in Beijing at the direction of the Trump administration, said Jennifer Huang Bouey, an epidemiologist and China expert at the RAND Corporation.

“Given the overall sentiment that any scientific research will be helping China, the United States is really trying to reduce any collaboration with China,” said Ms. Bouey. “That really hurts global health.”
“There’s a lack of trust,” said Mr. Huang at the Council on Foreign Relations. “Nationalism remains very strong among the Chinese public.”
Some international collaboration is taking place. Dr. Seth Berkley, the chief executive of the Gavi Alliance, a nonprofit group started by Bill and Melinda Gates that works to get vaccines to the world’s poor, noted that one of the best Ebola vaccines was discovered by a Canadian public health lab that was transferred to an American drug maker and then manufactured in Germany.
“That’s how science is done, and we really ought to follow that paradigm,” he said. “Nothing illustrates the global nature of this problem better than Covid-19, which started off in Wuhan and spread to 180 countries within three months. This is a global challenge that requires a global response.”
But even before a vaccine is confirmed, national governments are already seeking to lock up future supply.
In Belgium, a company called Univercells is preparing to manufacture two vaccines that are under development even before clinical trials are completed, according to its co-founder, José Castillo. Univercells expects to begin production by September, with the eventual aim of making as many as 200 million doses a year at a pair of plants south of Brussels.
One country — Mr. Castillo declined to disclose it — has already ordered half of the supply of vaccines that his company will initially make, a share that would decline to 10 percent as production increases.

Some countries will most likely fail to secure enough vaccine. “It’s really a matter of scarcity,” Mr. Castillo said.
More than overwhelming demand explains the anticipated shortfall. Though the science behind developing vaccines has advanced substantially, making them often involves labor-intensive techniques that are not designed to quickly produce billions of doses.
“The bottleneck is to produce it, to make it in very large quantities,” Mr. Castillo said.
The sense of urgency appears to have inspired President Trump to try to persuade a German company that is developing a possible vaccine to relocate to the United States. The company, CureVac, has denied it was approached by the United States, and said it had no plans to move.
The president has other weapons. He could cite the Defense Production Act to force American companies to give the United States government priority over other buyers for potential vaccines.
A little-known unit within the Department of Health and Human Services, whose mission is to protect American residents from bioterrorism and pandemics, gives grants to companies to speed their vaccine development. It also often comes with the requirement that recipients supply the government with a stockpile, said James Robinson, a vaccine manufacturing expert who sits on the scientific advisory board of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, an international consortium dedicated to making vaccines available worldwide.
That division, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, recently gave nearly $500 million to Johnson & Johnson to help it develop a coronavirus vaccine and set up a U.S. manufacturing facility.
Johnson & Johnson declined to say whether its arrangement with the government would require it to set aside vaccines for American use. It said it currently had the ability to produce as many as 300 million doses a year at its facility in the Netherlands, was preparing to manufacture a similar number in the United States, and was working with outside partners to add capacity elsewhere.

“If the current administration is still in place when the vaccines are available, they are going to be really merciless in terms of privileging the U.S. for supply versus the rest of the world,” said Michel De Wilde, a vaccine research consultant, and a former executive at Sanofi, a French vaccine manufacturer.
Around the world, 50 potential vaccines are now in the early stages of development, according to the W.H.O. If history is any guide, scientists will eventually produce an effective version.
What is less certain is whether the benefits will be shared.
“I’m worried about every country that has the potential to manufacture the vaccine,” said Dr. Richard Hatchett, the chief executive of the vaccine consortium. “They all have the ability to impose export controls. They all have the ability to nationalize their vaccine industry.”
If that is what happens, the dangers proliferate.
“If there are epidemics out of control in parts of the world,” said Dr. Berkley, of the Gavi Alliance, “we will never get control of this because the virus will come back and continue to spread.”
Reporting was contributed by Hari Kumar, Karan Deep Singh, Kai Schultz, Javier Hernandez and Andrew Jacobs.



14) Hedge funds 'raking in billions' during coronavirus crisis
Managers are pocketing large sums while care workers can barely scrape by, says TUC
By Rupert Neate and Jasper Jolly, April 9, 2020
Jonathan Ruffer, the founder of Ruffer Investment, told clients it had made £2.4bn during the global stock market collapse. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA

Hedge funds have been accused of raking in billions from market bets during the coronavirus crisis while care workers in high-risk environments can barely scrape by.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC trade union body, launched a stinging attack on hedge fund managers on Thursday after it was revealed one London hedge fund had made £2.4bn betting on market moves as investors panicked over a global economic shutdown.
News of the multibillion-pound windfall came as Crispin Odey, the Brexit supporter who made millions betting against the pound in the run up to the EU referendum, said his fund had made its biggest monthly gain since the financial crisis.
O’Grady told the Guardian: “It’s a sign of our broken economy that hedge fund managers are raking in billions, while care workers who are putting their lives on the line can barely scrape by. When the immediate crisis has passed, we need to rebuild a more equal economy. The super-rich must be made to pay their fair share and ordinary workers should get the respect and pay they deserve.”
Ruffer Investment, which was founded by multimillionaire financier Jonathan Ruffer, told clients it had made $2.6bn (£2.4bn) during the coronavirus pandemic-induced global stock market collapse after a series of cheap “protective investment” bets on market volatility delivered huge returns. The story was first reported by the Financial Times
It also came to light that a US hedge fund made a 4,144% return betting on a stock market collapse in the year to the end of March. The Miami-based Universa Investments fund, which is advised by The Black Swan author Nassim Taleb, made a return of 3,612% in March alone. “I think we’ve shown Universa’s method of risk mitigation to be the most effective,” Mark Spitznagel, the fund’s president and chief investment officer, said in an investor letter seen by Bloomberg.
Odey Asset Management declined to comment on the TUC’s call for hedge fund owners to pay a “fair share” towards the fight against coronavirus. The fund made a return of 21% in March.
Odey, who has an estimated £800m fortune, privately told clients that the world was facing a crisis as bad as the Great Depression in the 1930s.
In a letter to investors on Thursday and reported by Bloomberg, Odey said: “This is not like 2008-9, nor 2001-2, nor even 1989-92. The fall in global gross national product for this year will echo 1931-2. That was a terrible time when countries and institutions disappeared and characters like Adolf Hitler seized their chance to take over Germany.”























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